Update #85: Hunkerin' Down and Hey, Wasteland 2 is Out!
Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:25 pm
Update by Darren Monahan, Fulfillment Fellow and Obsidian Co-founder
With the backer beta out now, and the *con season (Gamescom, PAX, Gen Con, et al.) coming to a close for the year, we wanted to give you an update on what we've been up to. We’re busy working on three big things: 1) getting everything on the fulfillment side ready to go, 2) working through many changes and improvements based on feedback from folks playing the backer beta, and 3) wrapping up the game proper.
As of this week, we’re busy finishing and/or approving all of the final designs for nearly all of the physical rewards so production can begin. It’s very exciting to see this all coming together and often isn't part of the process we get to be involved in at such a deep level on our other projects. It’s one thing to have a playable game here in the studio that we continually maintain – it’s another to be able to really help design the look, feel, and content of every little bit of what comprises a game that ultimately will ship out to you.
Here’s a sample of what the collector’s edition box is going to look like for backers:
In future updates we’ll show some of the other goodies.
We’ve been working really closely with the great folks at Dark Horse who are putting together the finishing touches on the amazing Collector’s Book for the game, and the equally great folks at Prima are busy working on the strategy guide. We’re working with the same author from the Fallout: New Vegas strategy guide, which we’re very excited about!
Backer Beta Feedback
A very big THANK YOU to all of those playing the backer beta and providing feedback on our forums! We’re focusing on a lot of changes right now based on your feedback – big improvements to pathfinding and combat, some significant changes to scouting and stealth and how they work, and we’re doing a lot of reviews on the game’s UI and overall presentation to improve the experience. Expect to see a lot of changes coming in on the beta over the coming weeks. Again, thank you to all of you providing feedback – we really appreciate it. We have folks internally who are scouring every single post and thread daily to move bugs and other feedback into our bug tracking system internally.
Wrapping the Game Up
Over the next several weeks, the team is focusing on a couple key things: area and quest finalization and plowing through the many final tasks and bugs. To keep things “old school”, we’re even employing the Quest Whiteboard of Baldur’s Gate 2 and Icewind Dale fame, where all of the quests in the game are posted on a very visible whiteboard in the office, and designers and QA fight (to the death?!) to certify that quests are 100% done and clean, by removing the evil X’s in their respective department columns. In this case, two X’s enter, ZERO X’s leave. That’s the goal anyway. Here it is as it was finished being set up - note, each item on this board can have many steps and states that all have to be checked before the X can come off for the entire thing.
We’ll be back in a couple weeks with some more pics of other physical rewards and an update on how we’re doing. Have a great weekend!
Wasteland 2 is Out!
By the way, since today is Friday, September 19th – Wasteland 2 is now shipping!
Congratulations to our good friends and fellow ex-Interplay/Black Islanders over at inXile Entertainment on their release today of Wasteland 2! I know what I’ll be doing this weekend – hopefully you’ll be doing the same!
If you’re not familiar with Wasteland 2, it’s the modern follow up to the granddaddy of post-apocalyptic RPG’s, Wasteland; it’s actually one of the games that heavily inspired me to first apply at Interplay back in 1994. It’s exciting to see it come out and that so many backers, like many of you, were a big part of it being made in the first place.
If you’re one of the folks who gets a copy of the game as a reward for one of your Pillars of Eternity tiers, the Steam version is available immediately, and for those of you who prefer to get the game on GOG, we’ll have an announcement shortly once we have those keys ready for distribution.
Greetings, and welcome, at long last, to the Backer Beta! We appreciate all the support our backers have given us on the long road that started with our Kickstarter campaign. Now it's time to take a look at what we've been working on, shake it up, and see how things can be improved.
Before you dive in, I'd like to talk a bit about the nuts and bolts of the Backer Beta, what content is available, what you won't be seeing, things we're most interested in hearing feedback on, and known issues.
The Nuts and Bolts
The Backer Beta is initially being released only through Steam and only for the Windows platform. We are working hard on bringing Mac and Linux to you guys in the next few weeks. Note that if you are concerned about linking the Backer Beta to the final product, you need not worry -- the Backer Beta is considered a separate product. If you want to participate in the Backer Beta, your final product will not be locked into Steam or Windows.
The first release of the Backer Beta is the build we have put together for the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany. What you will be initially playing is what we are showing there. We plan to update the Backer Beta over time to test performance improvements, bug fixes, balance passes, and other changes we'd appreciate your feedback on.
There are no NDAs for those who are participating in the Backer Beta. If you want to share images, videos, or general feedback on content with the public, we appreciate your thoughts and criticism.
If you have purchased the Backer Beta or if it is included in your Kickstarter tier (all tiers of $110.00 or above) you can now head over to your Account Profile to redeem your Backer Beta Steam key.
On the account page, you will want to click the link on the left that reads "Products." This tab displays all of the products you have associated with your account that are now available. As we release additional rewards, they will appear here.
Click on the "Pillars of Eternity - Backer Beta" entry to expand the entry.
Press the "Generate" button.
You will be asked to confirm that you would like to generate a key for the Beta. If you wish to generate a key at that time, press the "Generate Key" button.
If you generate a key, you should see a banner at the top of the tab that confirms your success.
Expand the "Pillars of Eternity - Backer Beta" entry again and you should see your key with instructions in how to install it on Steam. Enjoy your first experience in the world of Eora!
Backer Beta Content
The content of the Backer Beta encapsulates the village of Dyrford and surrounding wilderness and dungeon environments. You will begin by choosing basic difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard, or Path of the Damned), optional modes (Expert and Trial or Iron), and building your character. In the Backer Beta, you have access to all character races and subraces, all classes, and all starting cultures and backgrounds.
You build a character at 1st level, but you will start the game with enough experience to advance to 5th. While we have very few Talents in the Backer Beta, you should be able to get a very good idea of the core functionality of all eleven classes. It is extremely important to us that the fundamentals of each class feel solid before we implement more Talents or move Abilities around.
In addition to the character you make, you will start with a list of four pre-made, intentionally (extremely) generic party members: BB Fighter, BB Rogue, BB Priest, and BB Wizard. The characters are lightly equipped with Fine (quality) gear and set to level 5. None of these characters are companions in the full game and they are under-equipped in terms of overall gear (rings, cloaks, booties, consumables, etc.).
The quests available in the Backer Beta have an artificially-inflated amount of experience points associated with them to ensure you can advance from 5th to 8th level assuming you do everything offered. We want you to advance your characters significantly within the Backer Beta so you get a sense of how the different classes change from level to level.
Other than exploration, conversation, combat, and loot-grabbing, there are other systems you can experiment with in the Backer Beta:
Crafting and Enchanting - Crafting allows you to make consumables (food, potions, and scrolls). Enchanting allows you to modify weapons, armor, and shields. Even unique items can have additional effects added.
Hiring Adventurers - If you speak with Dengler at the Dracogen Inn, you can ask to hire adventurers, allowing you to make additional party members.
Camping Supplies and Inns - Pillars of Eternity primarily uses a resource-based rest system. While "in the field", you can rest using a limited number of Camping Supplies (the number in the corner of the campfire icon near the center/bottom of the main HUD). The number of supplies you can carry is limited by your level of difficulty. However, you may also choose to rest at the Dracogen Inn. Resting in the stables is cheap but provides no additional benefit. The more expensive rooms provide the party with long-term benefits in the form of buffs.
First, nothing in the Backer Beta has a direct connection to the critical path/main story of Pillars of Eternity. We have intentionally excluded any spoiler content so our backers can play the beta worry-free. None of the quests are connected to the crit path and none of the pre-made companions are going to be in the final game.
Second, the stronghold mechanics aren't in the Backer Beta. The stronghold includes a lot of additional maps, characters, and content, some of which are part of the critical path. Including them would have been difficult and the scope would have increased a great deal.
Finally, no content above 8th level is in the Backer Beta. If some bits and pieces wind up in the Backer Beta data, they have not been a focus for us at all. You may, through the magic of h4x, find a way to access them, but they are out of scope for these tests.
High Priority Feedback
As participants in the Backer Beta, you're free to give feedback on whatever you feel like. However, if you'd like to be extra-helpful, there are a few areas where your thoughts would be especially helpful.
Classes - Do all classes feel distinct and useful? Does the progression of their abilities seem consistent? Do any classes feel too high-maintenance? Do any classes feel too uninvolved?
Races - Do the races and their subtypes feel distinct? Do their models and textures appeal to you? Do their bonuses and special abilities seem worthwhile?
Attributes - Do you find any attributes invaluable, such that you would never build a character without emphasizing that attribute? Are there any attributes you consistently dump because they don't seem to have apparent value? Do the attributes seem to skew away or toward different classes?
Equipment - Did you like or dislike the variety of weapons, armor, shields, potions, scrolls, and miscellaneous items? What items did you find invaluable or useless?
Crafting and Enchanting - How easy were the systems to understand and use? Did you find them worthwhile?
Conversations and Quests - Did you enjoy the conversations and quests in the Backer Beta? Were there any aspects of the aesthetics, presentation, or flow of conversations or quests that you didn't enjoy?
Combat - Did you enjoy the overall experience of combat, especially pacing, difficulty, and mechanics? Did the basic attack/defense resolution system (Miss/Graze/Hit/Crit) make sense? Was the relationship between damage and damage threshold clear? Was the relationship between stamina and health clear?
User Interface - Was character creation enjoyable and clear? Did each stage of the process give you all the information you needed to make choices? Was the main game HUD easy to understand and use? Were any portions of it confusing, poorly-positioned, or did they use visual language that was hard to decipher? Were the inventory, character sheet, and journal interfaces clear and easy to understand/use?
As backers who have elected to participate in the Backer Beta, you are almost assuredly among the most passionate and detail-oriented people who will eventually play Pillars of Eternity. As such, we, the developers, fully expect that you will have very strong positive and negative opinions about many of the things you see in the Backer Beta. While you should not hold back in your opinions on a given feature or piece of content, please try to focus on constructive criticism that we can use to make the game better. It's useful to know if you don't like something, but it's more useful to know what types of changes would make you like it more.
Pillars of Eternity has been in its beta stage for a while, but it's a big game with a lot of systems and a lot of content. As we fix things, we often break other things inadvertently. There are also things we realized we needed after beta started and have had to address. And of course, thousands of backers are going to see combinations of classes, races, and equipment that we may not have tested internally. Even so, we do have a list of known issues in the Backer Beta. These issues range from minor to major but we wanted to let you know we are already working on solutions to them.
If you find any issues, please report them on the Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta Bug forum. Please do not contact Support for bugs or technical issues - use the indicated forum. Support will be handling problems with accounts or Backers that are unable to access their beta.
Pathfinding - We are in the middle of revising the pathfinding system. In the Backer Beta at launch, you may see issues with characters jittering, getting stuck, getting "bottlenecked" between other characters, and overlapping their selection circles with other characters in combat.
Sliding - You may notice characters sliding in various situations, where their movement does not match their animation. This is a known issue.
AI - Some characters (including party members) may not respond to a command. Alternately, they may become stuck in an attack or reload loop. We've also found that our initial batch of instruction sets for enemy AIs need additional functionality and parameters that we decided to continue implementing during beta.
Selection Feedback - We are also working on the feedback you receive when selecting characters and actions for them to perform. It's important to us that the feedback is clear and immediate.
Stat Blocks - Many spells, abilities, and items are not yet programmatically displaying all relevant information about them. We are in the process of adding that information to all appropriate interfaces.
Attribute Balance - Testers have reported that Perception and Resolve are less compelling for their character builds than Might, Constitution, Dexterity, and Intellect. We are discussing different solutions for this.
Stamina and Health are Unintuitive - We have consistently found with players and testers that the stamina and health system are unintuitive as presented in game. However, we have also consistently found that, once explained and understood, the system was well-received by the people who used it. We are working on solutions to this disconnect.
Rangers are Buggy - The unique shared stamina/health of rangers and their animal companions has been a tricky system to implement and we are aware that their mechanics have a bunch of issues.
Chanters are Overpowered - Yes, they are. They'll be dialed back a bit, but in the meantime, enjoy playing a game where the bard-type class is king.
UI - Our UI is still being polished and fully implemented. Things like our death screen, stealth UI, and the engagement UI, are all being implemented or tweaked.
Abilities and Spells are Buggy - We are working through all of our abilities, but you may find certain spells and abilities that are not working as they are described.
Some Missing Assets - There are some pieces of the game that are still being implemented - like VFX, Audio, and Icons. You may notice that some assets are either missing or are temporary.
Fog of War Working Incorrectly - The Fog of War is not currently blocking line of sight.
Optimizations - We have not fully optimized the game yet. You may notice that load times and performance still need to be improved.
Save and Load - We are still working through many save and load issues. Passive and modal abilities can sometimes double on a character after they are loaded. Also, the Continue option is still being worked on. It is best to use the Load Game feature instead of the Continue feature.
Again, thank you all for everything you have done to make Pillars of Eternity possible and thank you for participating in our Backer Beta! With your help, we can improve on Pillars of Eternity and make the final product as fun as it can be.
Obsidian to partner with Paizo Inc. to release electronic Pathfinder games
INDIANAPOLIS -- August 13, 2014 -- Obsidian Entertainment, the developer of Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: the Stick of Truth and the Kickstarter phenomenon Pillars of Eternity, announced that they have entered into a long-term licensing partnership with Paizo Inc. to produce electronic games based on its popular Pathfinder Roleplaying Game intellectual property
Obsidian's first licensed product will be a tablet game based on the highly successful Pathfinder Adventure Card game, a cooperative game for 1 to 4 players. Players each have a unique character composed of a deck of cards and a set of stats. Characters have classes such as fighter, rogue, wizard and cleric, as well as numbers that define attributes such as strength, wisdom and charisma etc. Players will be able to customize their deck to better suit each individual’s vision of their character.
"At Obsidian we have a long history of working with the greatest RPG franchises, and we're thrilled to get to play in the Pathfinder universe now," said CEO Feargus Urquhart. "We're huge fans and can't wait to bring what we do in the electronic gaming world to Pathfinder fans everywhere".
In the world of Pathfinder, players take on the role of brave adventurers fighting to survive in a world beset by magic and evil. The Pathfinder RPG is currently translated into multiple languages, with hundreds of thousands of players worldwide. The Pathfinder brand has also been licensed for comic book series, graphic novels, miniatures, plush toys, apparel, and is being developed into a massively multiplayer online roleplaying game.
"Obsidian is a video game developer at the top of its game", said Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens. "Being able to bring that type of experience and passion to Pathfinder can only mean great things, both for our loyal Pathfinder community and for all fans of great CRPG's."
Obsidian will be at Gen Con 2014 showing off an early prototype of the digital Pathfinder Adventure Card Game in the Paizo booth (#203) and in their own booth (#2151) featuring the first consumer hands on for Pillars of Eternity.
Update #83: Backer Portal, Backer Beta, and Wasteland 2 Keys
Fri Aug 08, 2014 11:07 pm
Update by Brandon Adler, Lead Producer
We have some important information for you regarding the Backer Beta and how to manage your pledge. We also have exciting news for you regarding Wasteland 2 keys and how you can get your key from the backer portal. Our next update will be focused on how to redeem your Eternity beta keys and special Backer Beta information.
Important Backer Information
A few very important changes will be happening on August 22nd.
First, we will be ending the crowdfunding period for Eternity. This means that as of August 22nd, you will only be able to preorder the game and will be unable to back the game at reduced prices. If you have already backed the game before August 22nd this won't have any effect on you, but if you would like to back an additional copy of the game at reduced prices or buy any add-ons, please make sure you do it before August 22nd.
Second, we are completely locking all tiers on August 22nd. This is necessary so we can start the manufacturing process for the various fulfillment rewards.
We are going to completely lock down all surveys as well. We locked these surveys a few months ago for anyone that had in-game content (items, NPCs, inns, etc.), but we were still allowing people to enter in content for their credits and memorial stones. So, if you have any remaining credits or memorial stone surveys to finish, please do so before the 22nd.
If you backed a tier which included a Wasteland 2 key we have exciting news for you. Starting now, you can head over to the Products tab in your Account Profile to snag your Wasteland 2 Steam key. Please note: Only Steam keys are presently available. If you want Wasteland 2 on GOG, that won’t be available until InXile has released the game.
On the account page, you will want to click the link on the left that reads "Products." This tab displays all of the products you have associated with your account.
Click on the Wasteland 2 entry to expand the entry.
Once the Wasteland 2 entry is expanded, click on the "Generate" button.
You will be asked to confirm that you would like to generate a key for Wasteland 2. If you wish to generate a key at that time, press the "Generate Key" button.
If you generate a key, you should see a banner at the top of the tab that confirms your success.
Expand the Wasteland 2 entry again and you should see your key with instructions in how to install it on Steam.
Enjoy your post-apocalyptic experience!
Backer Portal Additions
Darren and the web support team have been hard at work adding some additional functionality into the backer portal to make it easier to manage your pledge and your account. Below we will discuss a couple of the new features and how to use them.
For those of you that will have physical goods shipped to you, you may now view your address on record. If you have a physical goods order, please verify that the address we have on file is correct. You’ll have some time to update us if not; we’ll let you know exactly when we need to stop taking address changes.
Once you are on your Account Profile page, you can click on the "Addresses" tab and view your default address on record. If this address is incorrect, you can click the Edit link below the address to update us.
For now this will bring you to a form where you can request that the Obsidian team changes your address, but in the future we will add in functionality for backers to edit their addresses directly.
One of the cool new features we have been working on is the ability for backers to purchase additional add-ons without having to create a new order or cancel existing orders. This means if you would like to add a beta key add-on (or any other add-on) to your order you can do so easily.
It is as easy as heading to your pledge management page and pressing the "Buy Addons" button. This will take you to a list of add-ons that we have available for purchase. Please note: Physical addons will no longer be available after August 22nd!
Backer Beta is still on track to be released on August 18th. There were some key pieces of information I wanted to make sure everyone knew about, though:
We will be releasing the Backer Beta on Steam only. The reason for this is because Steam makes the process of uploading new builds much easier than other platforms. This will allow us to put out updated versions of the game more quickly than we could otherwise. The main game will still be available on all previously promised options (Steam, GOG, etc.)
You will be able to download your Backer Beta key from our backer portal. Once we release the Backer Beta, we will send instructions on how to get your key.
The Backer Beta key WILL NOT be the same key that you use to get the final game. It will only give you access to the beta version of the game. The main reason we are doing this is so that backers are not locked into Steam for the final version of the game. For example, you can use Steam for the Backer Beta and GOG for your retail copy of the game if you wish.
For feedback, we will be creating a special forum for Backer Beta discussions and bug reports. Our QA Lead, Matthew Sheets, will be on the forums often to collect data and get it input into issues for the team to fix.
Initially, we are releasing the Backer Beta on Windows only. We are still working out a few kinks on Mac and Linux, but we expect that we will be able to release those a few weeks after our initial release, if not sooner. We want to get Mac and Linux players in the game as soon as possible too.
That's it for the update. Our next update will be when we release the Backer Beta!
RPS: In terms of making sure that the game is feasible for anyone to complete with so much freedom, how much work goes into balancing areas and party members? Also, when it comes to parties – I tend to pick people that I like rather than people who are useful. And in the game. Will I need to pick people with specific skillsets to progress in Pillars?
Sawyer: This actually came up in the last interview, talking about the Baldur’s Gate wizard battles. They necessitated that you have a certain class of character who can cast a certain spell. We try to not do that. Ever.
If you want to have people there because you like them, that’s cool. If you want to build a very utilitarian party, you can do that too. We never force you to have certain characters in your party. For example, the way that our health mechanic works – in combat, a priest may be useful in combat, helping to restore stamina during the fight. But if your character gets knocked out, the priest can’t bring health back. Only stamina. So they’re handy within a fight but not a necessary part of recovering after every fight.
I'm anxious to see the implementation of this. I like creating the kind of curveball parties that go outside of the established norm of tank/dps/healer/artillery. If well implemented a system where any kind of party can succeed and there are multiple solutions to any given problem would be golden, I just hope they don't take the route where everything is simplified to the point where tactics are not needed and classes essentially lose what's unique about them.
Hello backers! In today's update, we'd like to show off a few of our creatures that you might have heard us talk about in previous updates. With the end of production getting closer every day, we have some news about our backer updates, and we’re also pleased to announce a date for the upcoming Backer Beta! In our next update, we’ll get into more detail about that.
First, let’s get to the creatures.
Blights are lost souls or soul fragments that have bonded with elemental substances. They are often victims of natural disasters (floods, rock slides, forest fires, etc.). They are incoherent, confused, and full of rage, an amorphous cloud that swirls endlessly and with great violence. Within the vortex, dozens of humanoid shapes materialize and vanish from moment to moment. Faces scream in silent agony while hands desperately clutch and claw at their surroundings, as though still trying to escape their tragic fates.
Bîaŵacs, storms that can rip the soul out of a person’s body, often create blights. If souls are ripped free from their bodies and caught in the center of the storm, they may become stuck together and bonded with any other elemental substances in the maelstrom. They are pure chaos and confusion, and destroying them is considered by many to be a mercy to the souls trapped within them.
Blights have been the subject of controversial research carried out by the animancers of Eora. On the one hand, attempts at vivisection have led to promising strides in treating patients who, for one reason or another, contain within their bodies two or more complete souls fused together, which has been identified as the root cause of a variety of mental and physiological disorders. On the other, however, some groups lament that there is a lack of transparency on the methods being employed in these experiments, the general concerns being that these might be somehow inhumane or present some broader risk to the surrounding populace. There are also some who accuse animancers of deliberately trying to create blights for study, but the veracity of these claims is difficult to substantiate.
This hairless humanoid is about the size of an orlan. It has an elongated snout and snake-like eyes, giving it a very reptilian appearance. Its legs end in three-toed feet, while its elongated arms end in three-fingered claws.
Xaurips adorn themselves with the bones of fallen enemies - mostly xaurips from rival tribes. They also have an affinity for large feathers, which they hang and pin to their attire. Skin tones can vary from light green, to a rustic brown. Their elongated snouts (which makes speech impossible) and overly-aggressive behavior have hindered them from communicating with the more civilized races of the world. They live in secluded, tribal territories and are known for ruthlessly attacking any foolish enough to cross their path.
Xaurips revere dragons as deities and build their communities around the lairs of these powerful creatures. It is not uncommon for a small tribe to wander until it has found a wurm to worship. Once a tribe dedicates itself to a dragon, they will defend it at all costs. Elaborate rituals, in which the dragon consumes xaurip sacrifices, are normal. As a dragon grows in age and size, these sacrifices become large religious events that cost the lives of hundreds of xaurips. The power and prestige of a xaurip tribe directly correlates with the age of its dragon. The most powerful tribes have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Warriors and shamans of these large tribes typically paint their bodies to resemble their draconic overlord.
Extremely rare, very dangerous creatures with natural cipher powers. They are mostly humanoid in shape, slightly taller and thinner than humans, but with horrific, fanged spider-like heads. Like spiders, they are capable of spinning silk, though they use it to make their own very intricate and fine robes. Males and females are indistinguishable from each other. They are primarily spellcasters and mental manipulators, like ciphers, though they will also attack with their fangs when forced into melee combat. Despite their extreme intelligence and power, vithrack are not a major force in the world due to their extremely low birth rates.
Given their arachnid appearance, it's no surprise that vithrack have traditionally used spiders as companions and minions. Though highly intelligent and socially organized, little is known about their culture as they are both hostile to outsiders and rare.
Their psionic powers allow them to communicate mentally with one another. Like many social insectoids, their society includes a variety of specific roles, including scouts and defenders. While their low birth rates are likely responsible for their hostility toward other races, they have also made the vithrack highly altruistic when it comes to their own kind. They will defend their nests to the death.
Hey, everyone. Brandon here. With production moving into the finalization phase for Eternity, the team and I are hunkering down to finish up the game over the next few months. Going forward, we will be spacing out our backer updates a bit more from now until the project ships. They’ll come a bit less predictably, but you can still expect updates as we have big announcements or special news for you. This will really help us focus as much of our efforts into putting out the best game we possibly can for everyone.
In our next big update, we will discuss the upcoming Backer Beta in more detail as well as what it will entail and how to redeem your copy.
Speaking of the Backer Beta...
We will be releasing our Backer Beta on August 18th. As we mentioned above, we will get into all of the specifics about the Backer Beta in our next update. Be on the lookout for it over the next month.
We also wanted to let all of our backers know about a decision we'd recently come to about our Documentary DVD/Bluray item. We were faced with a bit of a dilemma when it came to the full documentary footage. In order to provide a physical copy of the documentary when the game shipped, we would be unable to show the final leg of production in order to have time to print all of the discs and packaging. We want our backers to be able to share the entire experience of making this game with us - from the earliest beginnings to the very end. To do this, we've decided to forgo making a physical copy of the documentary, and will instead release a digital downloadable extended version. We recognize that some of you may be upset by this decision, but we hope that you'll understand our reasoning.
We will be replacing the DVD/Blu-ray with another reward though. Stay tuned for a future update to find out all of the particulars.
That's it for this update, head over to our forums and let us know what you think.
Arcanum, Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale - the games we love and cherish all employed isometric view, and of course Pillars of Eternity does the same. It's just not the view that is similar to BG though, which the Escapist points out:
The short demo was impressive, and immediately upon seeing the opening sequence, memories of Baldur's Gate came flooding back. While the isometric view was part of that, the art and Infinity-engine style - down to the movement cursor and colored circles around characters and enemies - was strikingly similar, and that's not a bad thing.
The game apparently starts out with a classic whodunnit scenario, and I gather the big question at the beginning of the game is just who attacked your caravan, just like you're asking who caught you for what reason in BG2, and who stole the Waterdhavian creatures in Neverwinter Nights.
The story, or as much as we got of it, begins with your character joining a caravan, which eventually stops for the night. When a runner sent out to get supplies fails to return, you and a companion are sent to find him. You find him dead, which gives you pause to check the safety of the caravan, but you return to find almost all of them dead as well. The caravan quartermaster still lives and he joins your party.
One thing that never sat well with me was the artificial class restrictions on equipment imposed by some (usually older) games. I get that a wizard may not have equivable training with a longsword compared to a fighter, but lacking training shouldn't mean you're physically incapable of grasping the hilt.
Also, there is no charisma stat in this game. Whilst I was initially shocked, it seems that they are going for a more reputation/choice based system of dialogue and quite frankly I like the sound of that. Ask yourself; why should a fighter be less suave than a rogue in dialogue? What success in dialogue comes down to in the end is things like experience, maturity, the recipient's disposition towards you and the aura of respect you command; it's not like being able to skulk in the shadows gives you the upper hand here.
That brief snippet of story showed off a bit of the new Pillars rule system for classes, which doesn't confine a class to specific weapons or armor types. We saw a mage in heavy armor still casting spells unencumbered. We also got a bit of insight into the character creation process, and how a character can evolve during gameplay.
"You will have an opportunity to use some of your skills in dialogue as well as combat," Brennecke said. "The answers you give can change your reputation with people and be save as part of your character's history."
I just have to reiterate how much I am looking forward to this game.
Update #81: The Front Line: Fighters and Barbarians
Thu Jun 26, 2014 7:03 pm
Update by Josh Sawyer, Project Director
In this, our final class update, we will be discussing fighters and barbarians. Along with the wily, pain-powered monks (covered in Update 52), these three classes form the front line. The front line defines the heart of any battle, where two sides tangle face-to-face. The responsibility of the front line is more than simply dealing damage. It means holding the line no matter what tries to break through. If the party rogue needs a breather, the characters in the front line need to be able to cover her retreat. If a swarm of xaurips descends on the group after the wizard hurls his fireball, the front line needs to be able to neutralize them en masse or absorb their attacks before they overwhelm the entire party. Designed to take punishment and tackle hordes, the front line are the first in and, more often than not, the last standing in any battle. Next update will focus on some brand new creatures that we haven't shown yet, so be on the lookout.
Each class holds the line in its own way. As covered in Update 52, the monk absorbs damage to fuel special attacks through the use of accumulated Wounds. These attacks can stun, push, or weaken individuals or small groups around them. While monks have to be monitored to ensure their Wounds do not overwhelm them, they can absorb a large amount of punishment and hamper enemy movement on the battlefield. In contrast, the fighter holds the line the traditional way: by standing her ground, blocking opponents, and being infuriatingly difficult to knock out. Barbarians are designed to jump into the fray swinging wildly. Lacking the accuracy and strong Deflection of the fighter, the barbarian makes up for his lack of discipline through sheer speed, savagery, and abilities tailored for fighting groups of enemies. We've already covered the monk's Wounds and how they play into their use, but the other two front line classes differ in how they stem the enemy tide and how players monitor and use them over the course of combat. To show you how they differ, let's look at the details.
If one of Pillars of Eternity's eleven classes is the rock (we'll skip the obvious "pillar" joke), it's the fighter. All across Eora, fighters are known for their discipline, skill, and durability. In the Eastern Reach, they are often employed as caravan guards, soldiers, and personal bodyguards. Accustomed as they are to long marches, strange places, and life on the road, all fighters gain a minor skill bonus to Athletics, Lore, and Survival.
In combat, fighters are steadfast and stalwart. Even novice fighters enjoy the highest base Deflection defense of any class and the ability to passively recover a small amount of Stamina every second. As the levels rise, fighters gain access to weapon specialization, modestly increasing their overall damage for all weapons in a specific category. These categories are broader than they were in the Infinity Engine games. E.g. the Knight category covers battle axes, swords, morning stars, crossbows, and war bows. The Peasant category includes hatchets, spears, quarterstaves, hunting bows, and blunderbusses. The selections are designed to cover a variety of damage types, to include one- and two-handed options, and to always feature at least one ranged weapon. At even higher levels, fighters gain abilities to recover Stamina immediately after being wounded, to protect nearby allies from incoming attacks, to knock down groups of enemies, and even to yank enemy passersby into the fray. Overall, fighters are designed to be low-maintenance, reliable, and long-lived even in marathon battles. Here are more detailed descriptions of some of the fighters' abilities:
Defender (Modal) - Allows the fighter to trigger Melee Engagement on up to three enemies and increases the fighter's Deflection. While active, the fighter's attack rate is reduced.
Vigorous Defense (Active) - Dramatically increases all defenses for the fighter for a short period of time. 1/encounter.
Unbending (Active) - For a moderate time, the fighter will recover 50% of lost Stamina from an attack over the 5 seconds following it. This has no effect on the amount of Health lost and does not prevent the fighter from being knocked unconscious from a temporary dip in Stamina from a strong attack. 3/rest.
Confident Aim - 20% of a fighter's Grazes are converted to Hits. Additionally, the minimum damage for any melee weapon they use is increased by 25% of the range between the minimum and maximum.
Critical Defense - 20% of all incoming Crits against a fighter are converted to Hits.
Crippling Guard - When a fighter Hits or Crits with a Disengagement Attack, the target is automatically Hobbled for a brief duration.
Unbroken (Active) - This ability can only be activated when the fighter is at 0 Stamina. When used, the fighter will stand back up with 50% of her Stamina. For a short while, her defenses and Damage Threshold are both increased. 1/rest.
A QA (Quality Assurance) favorite at Obsidian, barbarians are the wild, unconventional counterparts to fighters. Barbarians need not be from the "hinterlands" of Eora, though the vast majority are. In the Eastern Reach, barbarians most often come from Eir Glanfath, though some can be found in rural Dyrwoodan communities or drifting in from abroad through port cities like Defiance Bay and New Heomar. Barbarians are often used as shock troops for dealing with mobs or simply to intimidate the easily-cowed with their ferocity. As the Dyrwood has settled down over time, the regular employment of foreign barbarians has slowed significantly, but they still make up the majority of Glanfathan front-line forces. Barbarians all have a strong skill focus in Athletics and lesser focus in Survival.
While fighters rely on disciplined adherence to proven combat techniques to weather difficult battles, barbarians charge furiously into melee and wreak enormous damage to everyone around them. Barbarians are relatively inaccurate, but every melee attack they make gives them an opportunity to strike out at bystanders. Barbarians have the highest Health and Stamina of all classes, which they need given their low Deflection -- a defense that suffers additional penalties when the barbarian frenzies. A barbarian's Frenzy is one of his most valuable tools, allowing him to dramatically increase his damage output and Stamina for a short period of time. However, in addition to suffering penalties to Deflection, the barbarian's Stamina and Health meters are obscured for the duration. It's not uncommon for barbarians to suddenly drop unconscious -- or dead -- when their frenzies come to an end. Many of the barbarians' higher-level powers shine when they are surrounded by a throng of enemies, outnumbered and often badly-wounded. Even so, they are designed to burn brightly and expire brilliantly in the unfortunate event that a battle drags on. Due to the nature of their abilities, barbarians are a higher-maintenance class than fighters.
Carnage - When barbarians hit with melee attacks, they automatically make reduced-damage attacks at all additional enemies within a short distance of the target.
Wild Sprint (Active) - The barbarian gains a large movement bonus that lasts a few seconds. While active, it allows the barbarian to ignore the stop effect from Engagement as well as the hit reaction from an Engagement Hit. Additionally, his Deflection is reduced during the sprint. 3/rest.
Blooded - When a barbarian falls below 50% Stamina, he gains a bonus to damage for as long as his Stamina is below 50%.
Thick-Skinned - Allows the barbarian to take only 1 Health damage per 8 Stamina damage received, instead of the normal 1 per 4 ratio.
Brute Force - When finesse fails, barbarians rely on brute force. On any attack that normally targets Deflection, the barbarian will automatically target the enemy's Fortitude if it is the lower defense.
One Stands Alone - When barbarians are Engaged by two or more enemies, they gains a bonus to melee damage. They cannot be Flanked unless they are Engaged by more than three enemies.
Vengeful Defeat - When barbarians are reduced to 0 Stamina and have melee weapons equipped, they immediately make instant Carnage attacks at every enemy around them. 1/encounter.
Heart of Fury (Active) - In a blur of movement, the barbarian performs a melee attack with each equipped weapon at every enemy within 2m. Each attack does increased damage and Carnage applies. 1/rest.
Our take on the traditional front line classes attempts to capture the spirit of their Infinity Engine predecessors while introducing some interesting and fun differences for players to experiment with. We hope that you've enjoyed this and all of our other class updates. More importantly, we hope that you enjoy making all the parties you can imagine when the game comes out. As always, let us know what you think in our forums. Thanks for reading.
Hey, everyone. This is Brandon Adler. I just wanted to give you a quick update about our E3 presentation.
Everything went really well and the game was well received by the gaming press. We gave short ten to fifteen minute demos in which we showed off the first few areas and explained the basic concepts of the game. After the demo we had a quick question and answer session and gave any interviews that we could fit in before the next batch of journalists. All in all, it was a grueling, yet rewarding, experience.
There have been some questions about why we chose to do a closed door demo for the press and have not released footage from the demo. While the demo looked great, there are still parts of the game that need more polish before we release videos to the public. In addition, a lot of the demo footage was filled with spoilers and we would like to show off portions that are less critical to the story. Look for a video that shows some non-spoiler, polished gameplay sometime in the next couple of months.
If you would like to learn more about the demo and what was shown, take a read through some of these great articles:
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