Is White March the best Pillars of Eternity has to offer in the entire franchise story/lore-wise?

duckroll

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,313
Singapore
Is it? I'm like, half-way or more in White March Pt2 now, and the entire thing has been a rollercoaster ride of super interesting stuff that the game alluded to but never really actually does, all packed into a tiny but dense expansion campaign. It's really good! Is Deadfire and any of the PoE2 expansions anything like this?
 

CrichtonKicks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,200
Is it? I'm like, half-way or more in White March Pt2 now, and the entire thing has been a rollercoaster ride of super interesting stuff that the game alluded to but never really actually does, all packed into a tiny but dense expansion campaign. It's really good! Is Deadfire and any of the PoE2 expansions anything like this?
YMMV but I think PoE 2 is better. I'm assuming that you haven't finished PoE 1 if you are still in WM so I'll be vague but PoE 2 gets a lot of mileage out of dealing with various revelations at the end of PoE 1. They don't need to pussyfoot around certain things. Consequently PoE 2 tackles lore/history stuff a bit more head on than the main game of PoE 1. I
 

Sinatar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,930
White March is definitely the high point of the series. POE2 takes a huge nosedive in quality.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
7,893
Not America
White March is definitely the high point of the series. POE2 takes a huge nosedive in quality.
Man I hear these things and wonder whether I should even play the game given I backed it on Fig. At the least, PoE2 is perhaps the most visually spectacular isometric RPG I have ever laid my eyes on that does not need a monstrous system to run it given how they amalgamate 2D and 3D elements.
 

Durante

Dark Souls Man
Member
Oct 24, 2017
5,007
I'm currently playing the first DLC of Pillars of Eternity 2, and I'd say it's just as good as The White March in terms of lore (while also benefiting from the improvements to almost everything else in PoE2 as I outlined here).

White March is definitely the high point of the series. POE2 takes a huge nosedive in quality.
I couldn't disagree more. Basically everything about PoE2 is an improvement over 1 except for the main quest. That's a shame, sure, but it's a small part of a huge game.
 
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Sinatar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,930
I couldn't disagree more. Basically everything about PoE2 is and improvement over 1 except for the main quest. That's a shame, sure, but it's a small part of a huge game.
Encounter design, area design, narrative, difficulty, pacing and music are all worse in 2. Significantly so.
 

CrichtonKicks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,200
Encounter design, area design, narrative, difficulty, pacing and music are all worse in 2. Significantly so.
Narrative is the only thing on here I might agree with. Even then it's close- the main plot in PoE 2 is too light but the faction stuff more than makes up for it. Encounter design (in its current patched state) blows away a fully patched PoE 1. Same with areas (PoE 1 had far too much dead space).

Music is the same quality wise. It's just disappointing that the game relies so much on PoE 1 compositions.
 

Moff

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,967
I didn't like white march at all and didn't even finish it. I liked POE2 the best.
 

Durante

Dark Souls Man
Member
Oct 24, 2017
5,007
Encounter design, area design, narrative, difficulty, pacing and music are all worse in 2. Significantly so.
Let me respond to these individually.
  • Encounter design - PoE2 has a lot of bounties which are often just groups o enemies on a pretty nondescript battlefield. This was also the case in 1, but it had fewer in total. So if you look at the totality of all battles and do some average over them then I may agree.
    For the main game though (and main sidequest lines/dungeons), I cant say that I do. Interestingly, in both games the best encounters from a tactical perspective might be in their DLC. Talking about DLC, PoE2 also has its set of free patched-in superbosses, which are a rather special category of encounter (and honestly just too difficult for me to bother with).
  • Area Design - I just don't agree with this, primarily due to the amazing quality of Neketaka. It's my favourite city in any CRPG in ages, and since cities are probably my favourite locations in these games I just can't fault the game for its area design. Honestly though, even outside of Neketaka the areas seem cool. The pirate fortresses, the shantytowns, the mercantilistic trading posts, the research outposts, the engwithan ruins, they all make sense and are fun to explore.
  • Narrative - I already agreed on the main story. But beyond that? The factions are so much more interesting, fleshed out, and relatable in PoE2 compared to PoE1. (Not that PoE1 was bad in the broader scheme of games). The all have believable backstories, motivations, goals, methods, and even various characteristic types of interpretations of these within their own ranks. And you can notice almost everywhere how the state of the entire setting is formed by and in turn forms these factions. And to me, all of that is narrative -- and more important than the main storyline just by virtue of how much time you spend interacting with it.
  • Difficulty and Pacing - I put these together because I think they relate. PoE2 is a much more open game than PoE1, which had a somewhat strict act structure that also greatly limits where you can go. I'd argue that a preference between those two is ultimately subjective. What's certainly true is that an open structure in an RPG means that it will have some impact on difficulty. PoE2 seeks to address this with various difficulty options (i.e. no level scaling, only upscaling, full scaling) and difficulty levels. It worked out pretty well for me, but I can see that it might not (probably cannot) do so for everyone.
  • Music - Admittedly, when a game isn't Nier or Ar Tonelico then I don't pay too much attention to music. I love the sea shanties though.

Finally, let me counter with a small list of things that I believe PoE2 does amazingly well, and even better than its predecessor: setting, itemization, quest and gameplay variety, systemic character growth, inventory and battle UI, skill design, and obviously graphics and overall presentation.
 
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OP
duckroll

duckroll

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,313
Singapore
Instead of arguing about whether PoE2 is a better game than PoE1, I'm more interested in talking about the different focus in tone for the narrative in each of the PoE projects. It's kinda fascinating how it feels so different in intent, even in the same game world.

PoE1 was meant to be a classic BG style traditional fantasy campaign. It got a lot of flake for being a bit too dry and grounded, only teasing at bigger things. I liked it well enough (although clearly not loving it enough to finish it when it first came out, stopping just before the end because I thought Twin Elms was dragging on but it was actually the end of the game but I thought there would be more and kinda got distracted). I appreciate the history and world building in PoE a ton, but yeah, maybe it could have been more interesting.

And that's where White March comes in. At first it seems like another throwaway "magic Dwarvern forge" side content expansion which isn't consequential to anything. But it builds and builds, goes completely off the rails, and embraces the far off lore in the game more than anything in the original campaign. Totally nuts.

So then I wonder if when I finally beat PoE in the next week or two, and move on to PoE2, whether this is more of what I can expect, because it feels like it might be a change in direction they decided on while planning the sequel. But nope, I'm told that PoE2 is more like New Vegas with pirates. A fun swashbuckling adventure with factions and Obsidian's patented reputation driven narrative design. Sounds to me like Defiance Bay expanded into the entire main campaign. Which.... is not a bad thing but also not what I expected seeing what they did in White March. And then I'm wondering... what are the PoE2 expansions like? Because it sounds like not many people played them at all. Looking at the Steam descriptions, one of them sounds like a throwaway arena combat DLC? Wut?

So what is that makes all the PoE campaigns so different from each other? And what's next for the setting? Is Obsidian's new position as a MS studio even a good thing for the future of the franchise?
 

CrichtonKicks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,200
So then I wonder if when I finally beat PoE in the next week or two, and move on to PoE2, whether this is more of what I can expect, because it feels like it might be a change in direction they decided on while planning the sequel. But nope, I'm told that PoE2 is more like New Vegas with pirates. A fun swashbuckling adventure with factions and Obsidian's patented reputation driven narrative design. Sounds to me like Defiance Bay expanded into the entire main campaign. Which.... is not a bad thing but also not what I expected seeing what they did in White March. And then I'm wondering... what are the PoE2 expansions like? Because it sounds like not many people played them at all. Looking at the Steam descriptions, one of them sounds like a throwaway arena combat DLC? Wut?
While this is all true, there is a lot more underlying lore in this stuff than you got in Defiance Bay. The Deadfire is full of it. And both Beast of Winter and Forgotten Sanctum are *extremely* heavy into lore (I haven't got to Forgotten Sanctum yet but that's going by reading impressions from those who have).
 

IvorB

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,343
I enjoyed the White March but really hated the way it was slotted into the main game like that. It's a very awkward way to do an expansion and I hope they don't repeat it. It felt like a really huge tangent and robbed the main story of urgency and continuity. Just add the expansion at the end of base game like everyone else please.
 
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BhetjaXIV

Member
Sep 8, 2018
180
Belgium
I played PoE1 because I wanted to play 2 (pirates !!)
And yeah. I had my issues with the game but playing the White March DLC changed everything, it was really, really good. Better than the main game imo
 

Eumi

Member
Nov 3, 2017
2,659
I personally found the White March dlcs waaaay less interesting than the main game and was kinda shocked to find out I seem to be in the minority there.

Kinda makes me want to replay it, but I don’t have time.
 

Enduin

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,758
New York
Factions in Deadfire are the game. The main plot quests make up like 15% of the game at best. I enjoyed it and thought it was a decent enough primer, but yeah it's nothing special. But I'm fine with that as virtually everything else in the game hangs on or is adjacent to the core conflict between the 4 main factions within the Deadfire and that was something I found extremely compelling and interesting. They all offer their own ideologies, histories and attributes to both admire and despise. And they all feature a great deal of world building in their own way, both exploring the factions themselves as well as exploring different aspects of the established lore and elements of the world. And with the game being completely wide open you are rarely ever forced to complete any content you're not interested in and can pursue those threads that interest you the most.
 

Gestahl

Member
Nov 2, 2017
374
Encounter design, area design, narrative, difficulty, pacing and music are all worse in 2. Significantly so.
Deadfire's just plain bad. Probably the worst writing I've personally experienced in a good bit (describing a dwarf's wrinkly face in excruciating detail despite his portrait being right there, describing a smelly old drunk pirate entering a cabin and then having a character remark on how smelly and drunk they are, how imbecilic most of your dialogue options sound, everyone in the game being some combination of boring + shithead capitalist/imperialist/monarchist/slaver), had to dump Xoti just so I'd stop seeing those creepy as fuck dialogue options. No game, I do not want to wipe the grime from her face, I do not want to nestle her into my shoulder, please leave me alone
 

Dazraell

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
1,043
Poland
While I didn't beaten Deadfire yet, both parts of The White March were much better than a regular campaign. The White March was quite a ride and amazing experience on its own. It's ironic that most of the best memories I have from Pillars 1 are the ones from both expansions.
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,017
I could never get over how White March was basically ripping the story from the DnD starter set campaign, The Lost Mines of Phandelver.
 

Miletius

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
757
Berkeley, CA
Neketaka feels like Defiance Bay expanded, actually. But I think that the setting change makes up for it in many ways, Neketaka is way more compelling that Defiance Bay because you've got that sort of colonial thing going on. The Gullet is where the game shines the most II think. And to answer your question duckroll I honestly don't know if there's going to be another Pillars of Eternity, so I'm just going to take what both 1 and 2 offered for what is it -- and yeah, the White March is probably a good part of that.

While I didn't beaten Deadfire yet, both parts of The White March were much better than a regular campaign. The White March was quite a ride and amazing experience on its own. It's ironic that most of the best memories I have from Pillars 1 are the ones from both expansions.
Eh, if you think about it -- the best part of BG2 is ToB, the best part of NVN2 is Mask of the Betrayer (or Storm of Zehir if you're an iconoclast), the best part of Icewind Dale is Heart of Winter and the best part of NVN1 is Hordes of the Underdark so it's kind of par the course for these kind of games. I think expansions let people put their hair down a bit and design something that can shine just a little bit more.
 

Dazraell

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
1,043
Poland
Eh, if you think about it -- the best part of BG2 is ToB, the best part of NVN2 is Mask of the Betrayer (or Storm of Zehir if you're an iconoclast), the best part of Icewind Dale is Heart of Winter and the best part of NVN1 is Hordes of the Underdark so it's kind of par the course for these kind of games. I think expansions let people put their hair down a bit and design something that can shine just a little bit more.
It's not exactly like that in my case, but I can see your point. Mask of the Betrayer was clearly a highlight, but I didn't liked Storm of Zehir. Both main campaign and Mysteries of Westgate made a better impression on me than what they done in a final expansion.

Best parts of Baldur's Gate II at least for me happened in a main campaign. Throne of Bhaal was really epic, but I do appreciate more the adventure in Shadows of Amn. Icewind Dale is a really peculiar case, because I totally can't remember anything from Heart of Winter and Trials of Luremaster. Everything I remember very fondly is from a main campaign.
 

Sinatar

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,930
Let me respond to these individually.
  • Encounter design - PoE2 has a lot of bounties which are often just groups o enemies on a pretty nondescript battlefield. This was also the case in 1, but it had fewer in total. So if you look at the totality of all battles and do some average over them then I may agree.
    For the main game though (and main sidequest lines/dungeons), I cant say that I do. Interestingly, in both games the best encounters from a tactical perspective might be in their DLC. Talking about DLC, PoE2 also has its set of free patched-in superbosses, which are a rather special category of encounter (and honestly just too difficult for me to bother with).
  • Area Design - I just don't agree with this, primarily due to the amazing quality of Neketaka. It's my favourite city in any CRPG in ages, and since cities are probably my favourite locations in these games I just can't fault the game for its area design. Honestly though, even outside of Neketaka the areas seem cool. The pirate fortresses, the shantytowns, the mercantilistic trading posts, the research outposts, the engwithan ruins, they all make sense and are fun to explore.
  • Narrative - I already agreed on the main story. But beyond that? The factions are so much more interesting, fleshed out, and relatable in PoE2 compared to PoE1. (Not that PoE1 was bad in the broader scheme of games). The all have believable backstories, motivations, goals, methods, and even various characteristic types of interpretations of these within their own ranks. And you can notice almost everywhere how the state of the entire setting is formed by and in turn forms these factions. And to me, all of that is narrative -- and more important than the main storyline just by virtue of how much time you spend interacting with it.
  • Difficulty and Pacing - I put these together because I think they relate. PoE2 is a much more open game than PoE1, which had a somewhat strict act structure that also greatly limits where you can go. I'd argue that a preference between those two is ultimately subjective. What's certainly true is that an open structure in an RPG means that it will have some impact on difficulty. PoE2 seeks to address this with various difficulty options (i.e. no level scaling, only upscaling, full scaling) and difficulty levels. It worked out pretty well for me, but I can see that it might not (probably cannot) do so for everyone.
  • Music - Admittedly, when a game isn't Nier or Ar Tonelico then I don't pay too much attention to music. I love the sea shanties though.

Finally, let me counter with a small list of things that I believe PoE2 does amazingly well, and even better than its predecessor: setting, itemization, quest and gameplay variety, systemic character growth, inventory and battle UI, skill design, and obviously graphics and overall presentation.
We are talking about the White March, not base POE1.
 
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OP
duckroll

duckroll

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,313
Singapore
I finished White March Pt 2 yesterday night and it was a blast. Now I'm wondering how much of PoE1 I should bother to wrap up before going for the ending and exporting to PoE2.

Here's what I'm considering:
- Clear the dungeons under my keep, I think I have maybe 5 more floors tops.
- Finish the remaining companion quests. Hopefully they don't take too long each.
- Do the new patched in quest where there's a challenge to the ownership of the keep (I heard this was good).

I'm probably going to ignore all the remaining quests I had in Twin Elms because that place is just so boring. Anything I'm missing out that I should definitely do before the end?
 

CrichtonKicks

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,200
I finished White March Pt 2 yesterday night and it was a blast. Now I'm wondering how much of PoE1 I should bother to wrap up before going for the ending and exporting to PoE2.

Here's what I'm considering:
- Clear the dungeons under my keep, I think I have maybe 5 more floors tops.
- Finish the remaining companion quests. Hopefully they don't take too long each.
- Do the new patched in quest where there's a challenge to the ownership of the keep (I heard this was good).

I'm probably going to ignore all the remaining quests I had in Twin Elms because that place is just so boring. Anything I'm missing out that I should definitely do before the end?
Do the quest in Twin Elms with the baby.

Basically I would research what PoE 2 imports and make sure you complete at least all of that.