Obsidian Entertainment’s newest gem, Pillars of Eternity is a modernized, yet old-school RPG hearkening back to the days of isometric RPGs. If you are thinking of starting this game, but don’t know how to create an ideal character, what do all these stats and abilities mean, and whether the starting character and the recruitable companions are enough, read on. This short guide will help you in creating your first character, your additional companions or even your first full 6-man party.
Options are your friends.
Before starting the game, consider taking a look at the options menu.
In the Game section, you can tick in the options circled in red on the screenshot above. If you do this, all conversation options and all reputation effects will appear, even if you don’t meet their requirements; they will still be greyed out, of course. Also, this option doesn’t show you the actual content of the unavailable choices, it just shows you that there are more possibilities there than what you would see by default. Many dialogue options are locked out by stats such as Might, Dexterity or more; main character’s race; main character’s Culture and so on, thus these options can make it a bit easier to plan for a next playthrough.
When creating your first character, you can just go for any class you want; there isn’t any big disadvantage for picking Wizard over Fighter, for example. What you need to pay attention to are Attributes – you should put the most point to the ones marked by a golden star, then the silver-starred ones are next. Read each Attribute’s description on why is it necessary for your class, and decide on how to spend your points. If you want to min-max your character, then pay attention to Race, Culture and Background to get the most Attribute bonuses out of them.
Then class-specific things come, such as songs for Chanters, spells for Wizards, etc. – this part depends on character class, but I would recommend that you pick either Endurance-recovering or offensive abilities /spells. You won’t really need support spells in the beginning, especially if you only go with the companions you encounter.
Appearance and voice are entirely personal choices not affecting the actual game, so pick what you like there.
About the available companions
There are three ways you can play Pillars of Eternity.
- Soloing is meant for very experienced players, and this method means not recruiting anyone or using anyone in addition to the main character. If you are a first-time player, don’t play alone, as you will find the game to be too hard.
- Main character + recruitable companions: Want to play Baldur’s Gate style? Then you can just play the game and accept new companions as you go. There are 8 companions available, with the first two of them (Aloth and Edér) being in Gilded Vale, just after you enter the village in the beginning of Act I. You should recruit these two ASAP if you choose this style. These characters have personalities and background stories you can discover as you progress.
- Main character + player-made Adventurers: This is the ideal choice for min-maxers, since you can create a full party of 6 adventurers, like in Icewind Dale. Or you can use a mix between the actual companions and these adventurers, as you prefer.
Some tips for leveling up in general
- Every character should have at least 3 points in Athletics, as this significantly decreases the amount of Fatigue they will receive from combat, thus enabling you to fight longer before needing to rest.
- If you have two of the same spellcaster class (wizard, chanter, etc.), then don’t give the exact same spells to both. Be flexible, and train both in different areas of their expertise.
- Always have one character with a high Mechanics skill, and go in Stealth mode in dungeons. Disarming the detected traps will give XP, and will save you from certain death many times, especially in the Endless Paths.
- Wizards – Don’t pick the Bonus 1st-level and Bonus 2nd- level talents when leveling up, as after reaching Level 9 and 11, you will gain Per Encounter spell casts for these, instead of Per Rest, making these talents useless.
Written by Adam Vogl, follow him on Twitter @Hurricane1989.