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Pillars of Eternity: Josh Sawyer talks mods, PC-first focus, Big Head mode, and more

Hayden Dingman | Feb. 23, 2015
Pillars of Eternity is about a month away from release, so with the game mostly finished I got the chance to sit down for one last, lengthy chat with Obsidian's Josh Sawyer to talk expansion plans, sequel rumors, why PCs are amazing, fast/slow mode, Big Head Mode, Gothic castles, and why Might affects the damage inflicted by a pistol.

On friendly fire

JS: (To Carver) Show one of Aloth's AOEs. You can see there are two radii for that. The inner circle is completely friend-or-foe. Everyone will be hit [by the spell]. That border area? That's a bonus from his intellect, and that area is foe-only.

So you can throw a fireball and if something falls in that outer ring, if it's an ally they won't be hurt. That's a way we allow those spells to scale without, "This gets bigger but my party gets hurt more easily."

On guards

JS: Guards will call for help. They won't run away but they will call for help. And you do have to be careful about where you choose to engage them. You can actually take on individual guards by themselves, but there are patrollers so you might have adds, and when you have those adds they might shout and pull guys from behind them. You kind of have to watch.

We tried to make sure every map did have some patrollers on it because even a few of them can really change the dynamics of how fights play out.

Read on to page two for more information on expansions, tabletop Pillars of Eternity, Big Head Mode, and more.

On experience parity

JS: We went back and forth on this a number of times and there were lots of people crying about it, so we had to be careful about how we did it. Initially we only gave quest XP. You got experience from doing quests, you didn't get it from killing monsters.

A lot of people were really mad about that. But we also didn't want to make that situation where "I did the stealth route. I got less XP than everyone else." Or "I did the stealth route and now I'm going to go back and kill all the things I passed the first time around."

So what we do is: We have a bestiary, and it unlocks more as you kill more monsters. You get XP as you unlock it, but when you're done with an entry you don't get any more XP for it. So as you go through the game you do get combat XP, but you stop getting XP for a given creature way before the point where you've exterminated all of them in the world.

It does make you feel like you get rewards for it, but it's not encouraging you to slaughter the entire population of the world. Hopefully that does give a nice balance so if you choose to circumvent a group of monsters that's okay because you'll still get that XP somewhere later in the game.


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