Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire beginner's guide: Tips for getting started

The vast unexplored archipelago region of the Deadfire is a dangerous place. I don't need to tell you that as you'll find out when you and your character sets off on an adventure, but I've rounded up some tips that are worth bearing in mind to make your life a little easier when setting sail in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.

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Pause often

This is something that can be a little frustrating for those who enjoy fluid combat that plays out without issue. The thing with Pillars of Eternity (and other classic RPGs with similar combat mechanics) is there is a lot going on at any given time. It's far too much for you to handle unless you're an expert with hundreds of hours under your belt. Even then, controlling up to five characters simultaneously can be a little stressful.

The easiest way to break combat down is to pause the game, issue a few commands, then unpause. Do this a few times in each battle to ensure you're getting the most out of each party member, taking down the enemy and moving them into more effective positions. You don't want your ranged mage to get blasted by a sledgehammer, do you?

Be strategic

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars 2 (Image credit: Microsoft)

Speaking of which, you must think ahead before making moves. Pillars of Eternity is a game you can easily wrap your head around and complete without losing a single party member. However, it's also a gamer that will gladly punish any human error or misjudgment. You don't want to go charging into an unexplored area just because you see a single enemy you know you can kill. If you have a party member out of position, it could end badly.

This becomes even more important as you enter into more complex and hectic fights.

Get mechanical

No, seriously. Get some points down in your mechanical skill branch. This is an invaluable skill that comes into play from the start, but you don't meet a party member that has it locked down until later in the game. Having a few points in mechanics at the start will set you up for disarming traps and picking locks.

I'm lovin' it

Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Adventuring takes its toll on party members, especially if they get knocked down or are blasted by a trap. Eating food replenishes their health and cures injuries, but some foods and liquids also come with other benefits or debuffs. What's more is you can assign different foods to party members, taking full advantage of buffs that enhance their performance in battle.

Battling at sea

The naval battle system is pretty addictive once you get the hang of it, especially as you take down other vessels and look to pool your resources for a larger ship upgrade. What you should bear in mind is when boarding an enemy vessel instead of attacking it using your cannons, it's your crew and party members themselves taking on the damage rolls. Play it safe at the start and only close in if you absolutely must or desire to get a little practice with the sword.

Pick a pet

Go on, pick up a random animal wondering around and thank me later for supplying your party member with an additional buff.

See our Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire review

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Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.