Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lessons from the Endless Path

A scene from Pillars of Eternity

I completely underestimated the Endless Paths of Od Nua.

The result? My Moon Godlike Monk is now stuck in limbo at level 13 of the Endless Paths.

I could probably make my way out if I sacrificed my companions. Unfortunately, that's not the role I had in mind for this character.

So now I find myself starting over in Pillars of Eternity.

But wait. There has to be a lesson in here somewhere, right? If we don't learn from our mistakes we're bound to repeat it. So here's my thoughts on the matter.

Beware of traps

In ancient dungeons, you can expect traps aplenty. This wasn't the case in old games like Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale. Oh, there were traps but they were few and far between. The fact that you can rest almost anywhere made them easier to deal with too. Just trigger them and so long as everybody's alive you can just rest to recover HP.

In the Endless Paths, traps are everywhere. The further down you go the more abundant they become. You'll want a healthy Mechanics skill level to detect and disarm them. I made the mistake of not investing in Mechanics early on. It was a painful experience.

Secure your supply line

As I said, in Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale you basically could rest anywhere. There were areas that disallowed resting but those were pretty rare. In Pillars of Eternity you needed camping supplies to rest at all. The higher the difficulty the fewer you could stock up on. Case in point, Path of the Damned allows only 2 camping supplies! So, be sure to secure a safe path to the nearest merchant at all times.

I made the mistake of using one too many shortcuts and exhausting my camping supplies. With no clear path back to the surface I couldn't return to resupply hence my current predicament.

Save often

I got lots of save games for my character. Unfortunately, the most recent save I had from before I got stuck was pretty far back. Just thinking of redoing all those fights was a bit demoralizing. I'd much rather start a new character built with what I now know about the game.

It's a good idea to not just keep a lot of saves but to keep saves with small time gaps between each other too. In case you get stuck somewhere you'll have less things to redo. Don't rely on autosave to have your back.

You can always come back later

From sizeable groups of Animats to Crystal Eaters to Spectres, you definitely don't want to underestimate the monsters you'll encounter while exploring the Endless Paths. Even with a well equipped party plus a detailed attack plan, you're going to suffer through quite a number of fights.

If the going gets tough, choose to strategically retreat, replenish supplies, then come back for a rematch. There's no way you'll finish this massive dungeon swiftly. Slow and steady wins the race here.

Conclusion

The ideas I present here certainly aren't new. But it's still a good idea to remind ourselves every now and then on the basic strategies that help us beat a game. I know I forget them all the time and get stung as a result.

But that just means I get to start with a new build with clearer ideas of what I need to clear various parts of the game.

Keep these ideas in mind as you play and the game should be more manageable. Particularly combat. As for the rest, just enjoy the nice sceneries and lore of the game.

Related Posts:

Why Pillars of Eternity is awesome