Pillars of Eternity Post-funding Update #87: New Beta Build, Internal Playtest, Companion VO

A new post-funding update has been published on the Pillars of Eternity official forums, one that covers the results of Obsidian's recent internal playtest of the game, celebrates the successful conclusion of the voice acting recording for the game, and offers a quick look at some of the new art that's been implemented in the game.

I'm taking the liberty to quote a few of the conclusions the developers have reached on the game's current state:

  • Pillars of Eternity is a big game. Only two of our developers managed to finish. One was a designer who developed a lot of the crit path and sprinted straight for the end. The other found an early ending and decided to wrap his story up there. About half of the developers had not yet made it to Defiance Bay (the first big city).
  • Most of the devs had a lot of fun playing the game. The players ranged from hardened IE veterans to fresh newcomers. There was enough challenge for the old guard but none of the new players were so overwhelmed that they couldn't learn as they went along.
  • Even so, tutorial tips and the Glossary can go a long way. While some of the players picked things up quickly, most found the learning curve to be difficult. We're addressing the major points with tutorial messages, clearer and more descriptive Glossary entries, and refinements to the UI.
  • Despite our bug fixes to animation and Recovery times, combat was still too fast. We increased the Recovery of most creatures and tuned the global Recovery factor to slow down combat overall. Movement speed was also tuned down for a large number of creatures (specifically, spiders, beetles, many spirits, and other creatures).
  • Melee Engagement needs to be communicated more clearly. The arrows we currently use are really a secondary piece of information, who is Engaging whom. We will be modifying the selection circle itself when someone is Engaged to make the state very obvious at a glance. Additionally, we still need a visual effect to indicate when a Disengagement Attack is occurring.
  • We also found that the standard casting and Recovery times were too long. People felt that they could not respond to threats quickly enough. The standard casting time was adjusted down to make casting feel less sluggish.
  • Hiring adventurers, buying items, crafting, and enchanting were all much too expensive. These have all been made more affordable, especially crafting and enchanting. All classes need a per encounter ability to use at 1st level. Early in the game, it's easy to run completely out of per rest abilities and you may have few or no companions. Per encounter abilities ensure that every class has something to do other than auto-attack at low levels.

And embed the few samples from the companion dialogue they've uploaded on YouTube:

It's also worth noting that a new Windows build of the game's Backer Beta has been published today. A changelog is available on Obsidian's forums, including both the implemented bug fixes and a list of known bugs that the developers want to fix in the future. I'm going to focus on what's been fixed:

  • Fog of War does now persists on Save/Load and transitions
  • BB Fighter will no longer become invisible after Save/Load
  • Uninstalling the game should now remove all files that the game created

Area Design
  • Hendyna no longer wanders off to the forest at times

  • Medreth's Boar Companion no longer follows the party from scene to scene, causing combat issues
  • Hazard spells (Slicken, Web, Chill Fog, etc...) are no longer attaching themselves to affected targets
  • Creatures should now properly play death animations and drop loot
  • Fighter Passive Armored Grace has had its description updated to reflect its recovery modification
  • Paladin Auras, Zealous Focus, Zealous Charge, and Zealous Endurance no longer deactivate immediately when clicked
  • Fan of Flames level 1 Wizard spell, no longer plays a VFX with improper textures
  • Charmed/Dominated creatures no longer attack themselves
  • Crystal Eater Spiders, Crystal Eater Spiderlings, and Widowmaker Spiders are no longer bypassing 10 DT.
  • Missed attacks in combat are still causing hit reactions and hit SFX

  • Hendyna's home has a visual shaking effect when entered and zoomed in. - Thread Link Morning Stars (of the non-Fine Quality) are transparent in game and character creation. - Thread Link User Interface Targeting reticles persist after death if the creature is killed while moused over
  • Winfrith and Tenfrith's shops do not have name and values listed for items in the shop UI
  • Savage Endurance tooltip is showing too many decimals
  • Character Creation buttons can have a significant delay when clicked
  • Opening and closing the Area Map shifts 2D UI elements (Including character circles)
  • Temp Status icons are sometimes appearing during combat (White Squares with Green Circles)