Character Creation & Development

This is a great guide on STEAM

General Info
This guide is WiP. I’m investigating all of the classes gradually and so it’s going to be updated along with my progress. If you prefer videos, I have a fresh playlist here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4UqltmSKaEeiHExNqo-Hkk-HrvuejI2KThis guide is adapted for the Path of the Damned difficulty as that’s the only way I play it nowadays. But, of course, stuff that works on PoTD will be appropriate on the lower difficulties.

When it comes to the attributes, Pillars of Eternity is a min-maxing game – to make a real difference, you really need to max the stats out. Which requires a lot of points so you’ll have to minimize something too. Therefore, there are pretty much three default settings for the attribute – 3 aka min, 10 aka norm, 18 aka max.

Min-maxing is especially important for the main character as the maxed out stats not only make him combat-viable, they also allow him to solve dialogue situations. Without min-maxing, you’ll have only two stats at the level of 17-18 (and that’s what required to solve the really tough challenges). With it, you’ll have three or four such stats – much more solutions available.

One of the toughest choices about the game is custom party vs companion party. Companions have personal stories and plenty of dialogues, but they’re all build rather horrible so the combat is harder with them. And they take away the joy of building your party and your strategies – PoE’s system is very rich and there are lots of combos to try out. On the other hand, custom companions deprive you of the NPC storylines. Without using mods (which allow you to respec NPCs and even change their classes), it’s a lose-lose situation. So either use them or decide what is more important for you (and, well, if put your bet on the companions, don’t set the game difficulty too high – normal is fine with them).

The party composition here is rather simple – you need one tank and one half-tank on the frontline, up to two second-line damage dealers and the rest are third-line pure damage dealers and crowd controllers. The difference between second and third line damage dealers is their durability – seconds can usually take some damage, though not a lot (barbarians, for example), whereas the thirds are very squishy and, should the things go wrong, will melt in a second. You can skip second-liners altogether, but that will make your party rather prone to the ambushes – that can be worked around, but relies on save-loading and/or metagaming.

Percentage increases to damage are better than they seem. Say, two-handed gives x1.15 damage – 15%. So the average ~17 damage from the large weapon becomes ~19,5. Against the DR 10 (nearly all foes have high DR, never forget that) 17 damage is 7 damage per hit. 19.5 is 9.5. And that’s 35% more than 7.

To explain it easily, each 5 points in both accuracy and deflection equal to 10% of effectiveness. That’s how the formulae work when you’re evenly matched. To a new player, wizard’s 20 starting accuracy being very low and rogue’s 30 accuracy being very high may look confusing – it’s just 10 point difference, no? But, as you see, it’s 20% less hits for the wizard. Same for deflection – 15 deflection of his is 30% more hits on him than on the paladin’s very high 25. Keeps this “5=10%” thing in mind to easily gauge the benefits of various talents and abilities.

One important thing for this guide is that you first distribute your ability points, second choose your culture. But, as you distribute the points, you do that with the +1 resolve culture already included. So if there’s 1 point somehow missing for some of my builds, that’s because of that – just switch your culture to the mentioned one and it’s gonna fit.

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