Pillars of Eternity: The White March Part I Previews

Obsidian's developers were present at Gamescom this year to give some hands-off presentations of the first expansion for Pillars of Eternity, The White March Part I, which is why we're now seeing a handful of pieces on the add-on surface on the net. As usual, we've rounded them up for our readers.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun talked with game director J.E. Sawyer, who explained the philosophy behind the expansion. Interestingly, despite being called "Part I", it apparently won't end on a cliffhanger:

(The first part ends cleanly, there's no cliffhanger), he said, (and part two will introduce even more new areas.)


There are two new companions and one of them is an artificial construct called the Devil of Caroc. She can't wear armour because she is armour but her body can be upgraded. She is my favourite character and I haven't even met her yet. There's also Zahua, a monk who you first encounter while he's concealed in a barrel of dead fish. He's my second favourite character.

Obsidian's approach to the expansion can be seen in the treatment of these new characters. The original set of companions have new dialogue to allow for interactions with the new folks, and those new folks will comment on locations and quests in the base game setting. Everything in The White March plugs into Pillars rather than being stapled on the end.

And that means you'll be able to start a new game (perhaps even for the first time) and enjoy all of the new content. There's a new high level area in the Dyrwood for those who already have a tough party and cold of The White March will have dangers all of its own. It contains over a dozen new maps.

PC Gamer has a full piece on the story and some details on the optional level scaling:

The expansion becomes available about a third of the way into the game, after you take control of Caed Nua. Your steward contacts you with a request for help from the village of Stalwart in The White March. The village has fallen on hard times. The solution, as the townspeople see it, is to open Durgan's Battery an old dwarven stronghold that's been abandoned for around 100 years. Durgan's Battery is home to the White Forge, which for a time was used to create legendary armour and weapons out of Durgan's Steel. Magic, perhaps, or expert craftsmanship it doesn't matter. The secrets of the White Forge where lost when the stronghold mysteriously closed.

For Stalwart, this is an opportunity. They hope to restart The White Forge, and get rich from selling the quality equipment it can make. This is where the ogres come in. When you enter the village, it's under attack. The ogre's matron has had visions showing what will happen if Durgan's Battery is reopened, and plans to destroy Stalwart to stop this from happening. You, as the player, are going to reopen the forge ogres or not. "You don't have to kill them," Sawyer says, "but you do have to confront them."

The Sixth Axis:

Yet the White March area will have its own visual style, moving on from the greenery that was inspired by Baldur's Gate to take on the snowy, wintery climes of Icewind Dale. Not everything will be confined to a sub-world map for the White March Mountains, with Crägholdt Bluffs added to the main map of Dyrwood. It's intended to be an ultra-challenging location for players coming to the expansion at high levels.

Josh said, (We know a lot of players will be coming to the expansion at very high level, and while they can choose to scale the content up, some players might just want very high challenge content areas, just as they are. So for that reason, we added a couple of new regions that are specifically targeted for high level parties.)

Crägholdt Bluffs sees you trying to break through the mercenary force that is laying siege to the keep, which is a potential threat to your own stronghold at Caed Nua