The depth of the character creation process in Pillars of Eternity is so deep, that I would probably have to take several hours of your life to delve into every choice, removing any and all fun from a game that is designed to be replayed multiple times to figure out what is and isn't the best class to play. Additionally, balance changes with each patch will prevent there from ever being one class / skill combo to rule them all.
Instead, we're going to discuss the basics, enough to where if you're not an RPG fan then you will at least be able to understand a bit more of the process. Every choice you make has a huge impact on the dialog in the game. The "watcher" or the PC isn't specifically the most powerful character in your team - you'll get to add a variety of other NPCs including companions, mercenaries, and even go through the process to make some characters to add to your party of your own.
While the PC is always with you, never worry too much about making bad choices. You can either recreate the game and reroll or utilize console commands to respec with IE Mod (use FindCharacter then ChangeClass). It's important to note that MOST of these changes are going to affect dialog and most of that dialog is just alternative choices (like I'm a mercenary! vs I'm a merchant!).
Race and Gender
When choosing your race and gender, these are not fluff components of the game. Well gender is going to affect dialog and NPC reactions to a small degree, but your race will provide you with an active bonus.
The bonuses are directly listed on the character creation page. To decipher any attributes, check out my attribute / stat guide.
As for the best race, they all give a net gain of two attributes. Your sub race will give you your passive bonus. These will usually be once per encounter abilities that restore stamina or grant bonus stats.
There are 11 total classes. Here is a quick rundown of each one's specific default role, each class can be sped'd into some interesting alternative roles though:
- Barbarian: Melee DPS.
- Chanter: Chants various passive and offensive buffs/debuffs, after a specific number of chants per encounter, they can cast various invocation spells. You can choose which chants to chant during battle, switching between them automatically with the effect lasting while each chant is chanted and a few seconds after.
- Cipher: A melee magic DPS. They have more sustainability than other magic classes, due to the fact they're melee, but are generally focused on DPS. Utilize Focus, which generates through combat damage.
- Druid: A spellcaster that can transform, basically Diablo 2 Druid. Lots of AoE and support spells.
- Fighter: Generic tank / melee DPS.
- Monk: Magic tank, bonus to unarmed damage.
- Paladin: Basically a Diablo 2 Paladin, a melee buffer / DPS'er. You will pick an order that specializes your Paladin a bit more and limits what backgrounds you can come from.
- Priest: Can buff allies and cast offensive spells. Will select a Diety, successful worship of the Diety will result in a stronger Holy Radiance (endurance heal). Read the diety dispostion, it requires you to roleplay in dialogs in order to maintain alignment, so choose which direction you wish your character to go in (see above).
- Ranger: Animal companions and ranged damage.
- Rogue: Glass cannon DPS, best used in a party with a tank, rather fragile.
- Wizard: They hold grimoires with specific spells inscribed within, cast ranged damage. A large portion of it is AoE. You'll pick four spells to start off with.
Every class can play a variety of roles... thanks to attributes.
Each attribute affects your defense and a variety of other statistics. You shouldn't worry too much about straying outside of the recommended section, but, putting your points into the recommended stats isn't a bad idea. It'll take a bit to understand how you'll want to spec each character, but the game was designed with the intent of allow you to specialize however you choose. A Wizard with a lot of mechanics isn't specifically weakened, just... different and different spells will radiate to you. The recommended stats though are probably always the best way to go when starting out.
You can return to the attribute screen after selecting your culture and background to few the final stat disposition.
Culture & Background
Additional stat point selection, will affect NPC dialog.
Up to you!
Well I hope that should demystify the character creation process a bit for you and help you not worry too much about making the wrong choice.
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