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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #84: Backer Beta Released!

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Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #84: Backer Beta Released!

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 19 August 2014, 02:39:15

Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

As you've probably heard by now, the Pillars of Eternity backer beta is finally here, and is already being played by those backers who pledged for it. If you're eligible for a copy, go get your Steam key from the game's portal and join in! The accompanying Kickstarter update has all the details, plus this little greeting from Josh Sawyer in Cologne:



The Nuts and Bolts

The Backer Beta is initially being released only through Steam and only for the Windows platform. We are working hard on bringing Mac and Linux to you guys in the next few weeks. Note that if you are concerned about linking the Backer Beta to the final product, you need not worry -- the Backer Beta is considered a separate product. If you want to participate in the Backer Beta, your final product will not be locked into Steam or Windows.

The first release of the Backer Beta is the build we have put together for the Gamescom convention in Cologne, Germany. What you will be initially playing is what we are showing there. We plan to update the Backer Beta over time to test performance improvements, bug fixes, balance passes, and other changes we'd appreciate your feedback on.

There are no NDAs for those who are participating in the Backer Beta. If you want to share images, videos, or general feedback on content with the public, we appreciate your thoughts and criticism.

To keep up to date on the latest announcements and information on the Backer Beta head over to our Pillars of Eternity Backer Beta announcements forum.

Backer Beta Content

The content of the Backer Beta encapsulates the village of Dyrford and surrounding wilderness and dungeon environments. You will begin by choosing basic difficulty settings (Easy, Normal, Hard, or Path of the Damned), optional modes (Expert and Trial or Iron), and building your character. In the Backer Beta, you have access to all character races and subraces, all classes, and all starting cultures and backgrounds.

You build a character at 1st level, but you will start the game with enough experience to advance to 5th. While we have very few Talents in the Backer Beta, you should be able to get a very good idea of the core functionality of all eleven classes. It is extremely important to us that the fundamentals of each class feel solid before we implement more Talents or move Abilities around.

In addition to the character you make, you will start with a list of four pre-made, intentionally (extremely) generic party members: BB Fighter, BB Rogue, BB Priest, and BB Wizard. The characters are lightly equipped with Fine (quality) gear and set to level 5. None of these characters are companions in the full game and they are under-equipped in terms of overall gear (rings, cloaks, booties, consumables, etc.).

The quests available in the Backer Beta have an artificially-inflated amount of experience points associated with them to ensure you can advance from 5th to 8th level assuming you do everything offered. We want you to advance your characters significantly within the Backer Beta so you get a sense of how the different classes change from level to level.

Other than exploration, conversation, combat, and loot-grabbing, there are other systems you can experiment with in the Backer Beta:
  • Crafting and Enchanting - Crafting allows you to make consumables (food, potions, and scrolls). Enchanting allows you to modify weapons, armor, and shields. Even unique items can have additional effects added.
  • Hiring Adventurers - If you speak with Dengler at the Dracogen Inn, you can ask to hire adventurers, allowing you to make additional party members.
  • Camping Supplies and Inns - Pillars of Eternity primarily uses a resource-based rest system. While "in the field", you can rest using a limited number of Camping Supplies (the number in the corner of the campfire icon near the center/bottom of the main HUD). The number of supplies you can carry is limited by your level of difficulty. However, you may also choose to rest at the Dracogen Inn. Resting in the stables is cheap but provides no additional benefit. The more expensive rooms provide the party with long-term benefits in the form of buffs.
What's Missing?

First, nothing in the Backer Beta has a direct connection to the critical path/main story of Pillars of Eternity. We have intentionally excluded any spoiler content so our backers can play the beta worry-free. None of the quests are connected to the crit path and none of the pre-made companions are going to be in the final game.

Second, the stronghold mechanics aren't in the Backer Beta. The stronghold includes a lot of additional maps, characters, and content, some of which are part of the critical path. Including them would have been difficult and the scope would have increased a great deal.

Finally, no content above 8th level is in the Backer Beta. If some bits and pieces wind up in the Backer Beta data, they have not been a focus for us at all. You may, through the magic of h4x, find a way to access them, but they are out of scope for these tests.​

The full update has details on the sort of backer feedback Obsidian is particularly interested in, a list of currently known issues with the beta, and also a plea for civility in the forums. Yeah, good luck with that, Obsidian. Let the fun begin!

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