When it comes to choosing a class in Pillars of Eternity, there is realistically two completely different ways to approach it. The PC character (you) is always part of your party and will always be there. You will have the same level of control from companions, mercenaries, and hired help that you have for your PC character, the only difference being that it isn't game over if they perish - the game continues. 

With that in mind, I suggest choosing the class you want to always have in your party as the first primary objective and the second is the one you want to roleplay with the most. For many classes, most background options are 100% open (Priest and Paladin have a few heavy restrictions), so the class won't play that strongly into the game's lore. If you're confused by what attributes do, be sure to check out our attribute guide.

Below is a no nonsense guide to what each class is, so you can easily understand the choices and make a choice for yourself and for your party. 

Best PC Classes 

I'd argue to play as a PC the following: 

Chanter: Because you'll always have a buffer in the party. 

Paladin & Priest: I'd only play these if you want to roleplay and they force you to RP as much as possible in order to be effective, utilizing the neat mechanic that they have. They both do defense and support very well.

Wizard: Super fun spell caster, which is good if you want a mostly DPS character.

Barbarian 

This class is primarily melee DPS. They have low deflection and don’t specifically make great tanks, but make up for it with raw AoE DPS.  

Special Starting Ability: Carnage - The Barbarian cleaves enemies when it attacks in melee. 

  • Endurance: 45 + 16 / level 
  • Health: 6 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 25 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 15 (Static) 

Barbarians have very little in the way of skills. You'll gain a few as you level up, but you'll probably focus mostly on attacking an enemy and using abilities when necessary. They are very vanilla and make for a great PC character if you want to set it and forget it, because while there is some strategy (mostly in using Savage Defiance to stay alive or Wild Spring to engage battle), you don't really have to worry about much. 

Barbarians are not affected by moral choices, they are bloodthirsty. NPC Barbarians are very vanilla, so much so there isn't a barbarian companion. I consider them to be very low maintenance in battle. They can also be used for crowd control, through fear. 

Chanter 

This class is very different from the other classes, because it's extremely powerful and I would almost argue a necessary component in every party. They are primarily support, so don't expect them to do very much in the way of DPS. I don't consider it a bad choice for the PC, because you'll always have someone around to support and buff your party. 

  • Endurance: 36 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 4 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 25 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 25 

Chanters work like so: when you start, you choose two chants and one invocation. Chanters have a special UI element that lets them chain together chants, which provide passive buffs / debuffs in an area of effect around them. The chanter will move from one chant to the next and repeat again as soon battle begins, with each effect lingering around for a small amount of time. 

Each successful chant gains one "chant" which allows you, after enough, to use an invocation. This is a powerful spell that can only be activated after enough chants are chanted, usually to summon spirits into the world or do damage, or something to that affect. 

A Chanter is a buff powerhouse, but they're weak otherwise. As you can see, they have low health and endurance and while at lower levels against lower level enemies they are strong, they will eventually fall quickly later in the game. I suggest if you want to buff your front line, put a nice meaty shield on your Chanter and something like a mace or hatchet with heavy armor. You can also slot in a ranged weapon to provide buffs to a primarily ranged team, although don't expect much damage. 

The Chanter companion is Kana Rua. 

Cipher 

Magic melee DPS, basically a melee / ranged physical wizard of sorts. They have low endurance and health, but make up with it with their ability to crowd control and utilize DoTs. You'll want a nice bow or dual wielding, depending on if you want to generate more focus (melee) or play it safer (ranged). 

  • Endurance: 36 + 10 / level 
  • Health: 4 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 25 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 20 

Special Ability: Focus (generate focus on damage, used to cast spells). 

You can utilize Soul Whip to generate more focus to use more spells, but sadly you can't take a lot into battle with you. Ciphers can play as a ranged control artist or a melee assassin type character and, at the launch build, are considered to be some of the best damage dealers and have the highest DPS, although this point is arguable. 

The cipher companion is Grieving Mother. 

Druid 

A shapeshifter similar to Diablo 2's Druid, and are confusing when you're making them. Your spiritshift form decides a lot of what you do, although you can take any spells with you. They can shapeshift into an animal which gives them a special ability like an knock down or interupt. 

  • Endurance: 36 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 4 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 20 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 20 

Druids are pretty cool but rather basic, they focus mostly on interrupts, knockdowns, pushbacks, etc. Shapeshift forms are neat and help specialize (cat for DPS, bear for fear, etc.). 

Hiravias is the Druid companion. 

Fighter 

Boring plain melee tank and DPS. There isn't much else to say about Fighters. I prefer them as NPCs, never as a PC, but you could see otherwise. They regenerate Endurance in combat, making them powerful, powerful tanks. Eder (the Fighter companion) can join you very early in your journey and will prove the power of a fighter.  

  • Endurance: 42 + 14 / level 
  • Health: 5 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 30 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 25 

Sword and board, get the best shield and any one-hander and go to town with tanking. They are tanks and are good at it. Not a lot to say, most of their skills focus on restoring endurance. 

Eder is the Fighter companion. 

Monk 

Monks are melee DPS that have some high survivability. They're a fun alternative to Barbarians and have a few tanking abilities. They do really good unarmed damage, and their abilities are actually mostly powered by Wounds (which generate when damage is taken). Wounds also absorb damage, making them a bit tougher than a lot of classes. 

  • Endurance: 42 + 14 / level 
  • Health: 6 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 30 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 25 

They have a bonus of staying alive and do good damage. They are well balanced for fighting things. 

Paladin 

Paladins stay alive and support the team. That's what they do. You get to choose a specialization at the start that buffs your stats, but that's a personal choice on if you want to go more defense, supportive, or offensive. When selecting the order, you will be forced to roleplay based on it. NPCs don't, they come with a default faith statistic. Faith is controlled by how much you follow your orders guidance. 

  • Endurance: 42 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 5 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 25 + 3 /level 
  • Deflection: 25 

Paladins are very strong tanks and can support very well with skills like Zealous Endurance which is +3 damage reduction and not a chant. 

The Paladin companion is Pallegina Mes Rei. 

Priest 

priest

Priests are to me a very pure support class, but can be played offensively and do have some control abilities. When you make your Priest you'll have to choose a Deity, successful worship (dialog option choices) will powerup you Holy Radiance (your AoE endurance heal). Lots of talents modify Holy Radiance. 

  • Endurance: 36 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 3 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 20 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 15 

Priests work well with guns and bows, standing in the back line restoring endurance and buffing their team. They will have to rest a lot, but that's totally okay. I recommend a Priest for a PC character if you're into roleplaying, because focusing your investment on making a strong Priest will make the game easier and safer. 

There is also A LOT of spells and variety and they can restore large amounts of Endurance and can prevent death for 20 seconds and other really cool skills, plus debuffs that lower defenses and set enemies on fire. 

The Priest companion is Durance. 

Ranger 

Rangers are basically ranged Barbarians without the survivability and a pet. Very, very basic ranged attackers. They're easy to play and very easy to set and forget it. Pets share the same endurance / health pool as the Ranger though, so you do have to watch out for them. For variety, you can build a melee ranger. 

  • Endurance: 36 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 5 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 30 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 20 

Rangers are just that, rangers / archers / ranged DPS. The pet is really cool, because it gives you a second character to control in each battle and they can do some interesting abilities. Here are the pets: 

  • Antelope: Tank 
  • Bear: Tank 
  • Boar: DPS, more DPS when under 50% Endurance. 
  • Lion: Can terrify enemies. 
  • Stag: AoE DPS Active Ability 
  • Wolf: DPS / high speed. 

Sagani is the Druid companion. 

Rogue 

Boring, plain, and very vanilla, Rogues are pure melee DPS. They are glass cannons, super low health, high accuracy, and are capable of doing a lot of damage if they can live to deal it. PoE doesn't reward stealth a lot, in my opinion, but you can get the attention of an enemy then flank them with a Rogue to make it the most powerful. They are very simple, few abilities, and not a lot of choice on how to build them out. 

  • Endurance: 36 + 12 / level 
  • Health: 4 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 30 + 3 level 
  • Deflection: 15 

They're super weak. Have a fighter or a Paladin take aggro and then send them in for the kill. They get a bonus to mechanics and stealth, which is awesome for a PC character, but I personally find them very vanilla. 

Wizard 

Finally we come to the Wizard, the super cool magic caster that does nothing but literally cast magic. Wizards store spells in grimoires, able to switch them out to cast different varities. Since I'm sure you know what a Wizard is, let's move on to talking about how to play one. 

  • Endurance: 30 + 10 / level 
  • Health: 3 x Endurance 
  • Accuracy: 20 + 3 / level 
  • Deflection: 10 

You put spells into grimoires, which hold a specific number of spells (up to four). You can switch grimoires in combat, but it'll put your spells on cooldown. You'll get to cast a specific number of spells before having to rest. Spells range from AoE DPS to control to some support, but mostly AoE DPS. The AoE stat is super important for Wizards, because a lot of their spells also can hurt allies as well.  

Some cool spells create duplicates, some are targeted attacks, and some are buffs. It's a pretty cool class with a lot of variety. 

The companion Wizard is Aloth. You can meet him early on in the game. 

 


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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2016

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