Thursday, March 26, 2015

Pillars of Eternity: First Impressions

I was killed by a bear.

In fact, I'm pretty sure this was how my first death in Baldur's Gate happened. So by that standard, Pillars of Eternity is already off to an excellent start.

Pillars of Eternity is a new RPG by Obsidian, who are Black Isle veterans responsible for games like Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment. PoE was kickstarted a couple of years ago, to make an RPG like the great D&D RPGs of the late 1990s.

I'm only an hour in, and so far the game looks excellent. It's very much in the style of Baldur's Gate, with the same isometric view, and similar controls. However, the setting is completely new. I haven't seen very much of the game though.

The game is very text-heavy. It's looking like the level of Planescape: Torment. I consider this an excellent sign, but your mileage may vary.

I created a human paladin. One interesting thing about paladins in this game is that there are five Orders. Each order values different traits. The game measures what decisions you make that are in accordance with your traits, and your paladin abilities scale with that. So if your Order values diplomacy, the more diplomatic actions you take, the stronger a paladin you are.

The Orders are pretty neat, especially the Bleakwalkers, who are cruel and merciless. They feel that the best way to end war is to make fighting so deadly that the enemy sues for peace rather than engaging in combat. To that end, they give no quarter in battle. I chose a more traditional paladin order, though.

All the classes seem to have different elements like this, and there are something like 11 classes.

For videogames, PoE represents a triumph of Kickstarter. An excellent, meaty game made in a genre and style which the major publishers have ignored. It looks like Obsidian has delivered exactly what the backers desired.

If you were a fan of the old Bioware and Black Isle RPGs, I strongly recommend you check this game out.


  1. I've been seeing good reviews of this game, thanks for adding your recommendation. Do you tend to choose a paladin class in a new game when it is available?

  2. If you were a fan of the old Bioware and Black Isle RPGs, I strongly recommend you go buy this right now.

    Fixed that for you, Rohan.

  3. @Atherne, I do tend to choose a paladin. I really like the archetype and paladins from literature like Paksenarrion.

    As well, I like defensive melee classes with some support and healing. That's usually the paladin's niche, so I enjoy the playstyle in most games.

  4. Love how you started this post.

    I grabbed a copy and was also killed by the bear. Despite your heads up and the in-game warning. Three times. Because it couldn't be that bad, surely, in the starting area. Because it surely got lucky and/or perhaps I could one-shot it with a cone of fire before it ate me. Because perhaps I could find something with the sneaking thing despite a lack of points in sneaking (and it's a really grumpy bear). I will have my vengeance one day.

    Quite impressed by how customizable the gameplay is. The crafting seems a bit hurried though.

    Amusingly, the acronym clash with Path of Exile has caused a fair bit of chatter in the forums - though likely to the benefit of both.

  5. @JThelen, Heh, yeah, maybe I'm being over-cautious in my recommendation.

  6. @Durentis, playing a mage, are you?

    I actually thought about the acronym class when I was writing this post. "PoE, seems familiar somehow?". But ultimately, I think the two genres are different enough that it will be obvious which game you are referencing.