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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Update #9 - The power of MODES and Godlike races: Our $2.3M Stretch Goal

We love giving players options: character build options, personality options, story options -- all the options you might want to play around with. We recognize that many players also want to play the game their way and have an experience that matches their particular RPG tastes. RPG fans share a lot of common ground, but on matters of visible mechanical feedback, complexity, and the overall level of punitive face-punching a game provides, there's a big spectrum of opinions. In a lot of cases, it's not too hard for us to provide options to turn an individual feature on or off, so we want to make that possible when resources permit us to do so.

Additionally, even among the ranks of RPG superfans, there exists a subset of players who can't get enough challenge. They want all of the difficulty features set to "I am pro." Collectively, we've worked on a bunch of these challenge modes in the past and enjoyed the results. Project Eternity seems like a very appropriate place to highlight suites of these difficulty options as distinct gameplay modes that players can opt-into at the beginning of any game. We've come up with three modes we'd like to support, which also includes the ability to turn many of their sub-features on and off on an individual level in an ordinary game: Expert Mode, Trial of Iron, and Path of the Damned.

Expert Mode will disable all of the common ease-of-use / in-case-you-missed it gameplay elements like the display of skill thresholds, influence/reputation modifiers, and similar "helper" information. In a fashion similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode will also enable more punitive and demanding gameplay elements, in and out of combat. We're not saying we're going to have weighty gold (for real, we're not saying that), but if we did, you can bet that would be automatically turned on by Expert Mode.

If you guessed that Trial of Iron is like Temple of Elemental Evil's Ironman Mode, you guessed right. When you start a Trial of Iron game, you have one save game that persists for the entire campaign... or until you die. And if you die, your save game is deleted. Enjoy!

Path of the Damned is a spiritual successor to Icewind Dale's Heart of Fury mode. In our encounters, we like to turn individual combatants on and off based on the level of difficulty. If you come into an area on Easy, maybe casters are replaced with weak melee enemies. If you come in on Hard, maybe the casters are augmented by a tough melee enemy or two. With Path of the Damned, that goes out the window. All enemies from all levels of difficulty are enabled and the combat mechanics are amplified to make battles much more brutal for everyone involved.

The first question you may have is, "Can I enable multiple challenge modes at once?" Yep, you sure can. They have to be selected at the beginning of the game, but if you want to play with two or all three at the same time, you can certainly can do so. If you're not quite sure you want all of the elements that come along with a given mode, this funding level will also cover implementing the ability to enable and disable the individual sub-features.

Along with these modes, we also want to introduce the Godlike races. These folks have been described previously as being similar to the humanoid "planetouched" in D&D: aasimar, tieflings, and genasi. That is a good high-level description of them, but they are viewed differently by various factions, faiths, and cultures in the world of Project Eternity. Godlike were "blessed" before birth by one or more of the meddling deities of this world. Though their appearances vary, they are unmistakeably otherworldly when anyone gets a clear look at them. Sometimes, the reaction they get is overwhelmingly positive. Many times, the reaction is overwhelmingly not. For better or worse, the physical "gifts" that mark them as Godlike always come with supernatural blessings (and curses) of their own.

The first question you may have after reading this may be, "Hey, what about the other races that have already been funded?" Those races are in the process of being fully designed and concepted -- and they can't be summarized quite as simply as "sort of like planetouched". We'll have more for you on those guys in the not-too-distant future. Thanks again for your support, your patience, and your questions.

Update from Josh Sawyer

In addition to today's update, we've got a few backer badges for you, including one for the fantastic Obsidian Order of Eternity!

FORUM THREAD: Join the discussion on Update #9!

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Comments

    1. Creator Liam Hyde on October 4, 2012

      All of your everthing are belong to us.

    2. Creator Antonidas|Archmage of the Obsidian Order on October 2, 2012

      Muhahaha. I stole the kitchen sink 'cause it wasn't bolted down! :D

    3. Creator Antonidas|Archmage of the Obsidian Order on October 2, 2012

      Agreed, and please give us some tools to break the bolts and steal that too, all you're loots are belong to me! :P

    4. Creator Matt on September 30, 2012

      Allow me to chime in on shopkeepers. I have to vent about shops in Oblivion. They were the biggest steaming pile of junk I have ever seen because they NEVER had money. I am loathe to leave gold/doubloons/dinero in a dungeon, and will happily make multiple trips back to town until I have taken everything that isn't nailed down. About halfway through the game the streets of every village and hamlet were littered with my discarded loot because the shops never had more than $20.19 at a time. Every time I came through town I'd wade through a small ocean of the stuff to grab a handful of magic glass lances or something (each easily worth a king's ransom, according to the backstory) and sell them for a measly $20. Please, allow the shops to carry an appropriate (e.g. extremely high, but not unlimited) amount of money. Thanks.

    5. Creator Saevel on September 29, 2012

      I think it's really important to include some kind of incentive to playing in these various modes. I'd really like to play the expert mode, but knowing I could miss out on stuff because of fewer playing aids might dissuade me from it.

      This wouldn't have to be a big thing at all, maybe a handful of items or artifacts are only available in these modes, or perhaps even only some different cosmetic options

    6. Creator Vincent Prescious Altieri on September 28, 2012

      My wish list:

      1. Awesome static item drops and locations, ala Baldur's Gate 2 Celestial Fury
      2. No insane randomization of items and dungeons ala Dia-blow, a little randomization of drops is ok
      3. Challenging, tough, strategic combat
      4. Multiple ways around one situation, combat, diplomacy, etc. which branches the story a little different
      and adds to replay value
      5. Static enemies, and areas that open up as you get stronger
      6. Somewhat linear with the ability to branch off to do side quests, similar to BG2
      7. Fun, interesting, meaningful quests AND side quests, as opposed to find and fetch
      8. Shopkeeps that stock powerful static items that you need to save up lots of loot from combat, selling,
      etc. to buy
      9. Interesting companions, relationships, companion side quests, romances, etc.

    7. Creator Kyle Robichaud on September 28, 2012

      I hope there's also an option to turn down the difficulty. I've never been very good at RTS type combat.

    8. Creator Alec Dundes on September 28, 2012

      Yes, I agree with the suggestion regarding possibility of increased puzzle difficulty. May or may not be feasible, but there is definitely some interest in such a thing

    9. Creator Shaun Huang on September 28, 2012

      Very nice difficulty customization!!!

    10. Creator Billy Ingram on September 28, 2012

      Cassie A is right, puzzles are a really great part of classic and tabletop RPGs. I'd really like puzzles that didn't give me any forced hints or intelligence rolls to automatically figure out or anything if I have the difficulty set that way. Stuff I have to do brainwork for and type in.

    11. Creator Cassie A. on September 27, 2012

      It'd be nice if there could be a mode that focused on upping the difficulty of the puzzles instead of always the gameplay. I loved it when I played the game Silent Hill 3 and they gave me the option to jerk up the riddles to stupidly hard, and ever since then it's disappointed me that the option doesn't come up more often.

    12. Creator George Ramirez on September 27, 2012

      Some things I would like:
      Italian and Turkish language options,
      an editor.
      With these three things in a reachable stretch goal, I will add 35 to my pledge.

    13. Creator Craig on September 27, 2012

      I think Obsidian need a goal set just on hiring some QA guys and put a lot of polish into the end product.

    14. Creator Ber on September 27, 2012

      I agree with Nathan Destler - better loot for hard modes is a bad idea for the reasons he stated. Also, agree with Kevin Ho - cosmetic awards such as custom avatars and achievements are the way to go. Lastly, I agree with where Paola is coming from - when you have a game with great story, it's nice to have a 'tell me a story' mode where combat challenge is almost completely removed so people who aren't good at game combat mechanics can also enjoy the story.

    15. Creator Sempavor - Bandit of the Obsidian Order on September 27, 2012

      Please, no different reward (like weapon, armor, etc) for players playing at higher difficult level, and players playing at "sheep-power" difficult level! That's not an hack 'n slash game...

    16. Creator Bryy Miller on September 27, 2012

      I think you guys can really benefit from a more linear, uniformed Stretch Goal image.

    17. Creator David Scott on September 27, 2012

      You know, I really like the idea of the new modes, except that to me, things like permadeath mode aren't about the difficulty, they're about the roleplaying and living the life of the character, I like them in conjunction with needing to eat, and sleep, and otherwise interact with the environment in ways that I HAVE to interact with the environment in real life, but generally are given a pass on in games.

    18. Creator Paola on September 27, 2012

      For me, the story is the game. The combat is something to do in order to progress the story. I hope that I won't be penalized for playing the game on an easier setting.

    19. Creator Ashram - Obsidian Order on September 27, 2012

      I like the fact that the races are expanding the way they are and that there will be options for difficulty. Looking forward to seeing this project through to fruition. It has been some time since a quality RPG has surfaced.

    20. Creator Craig Dolphin on September 27, 2012

      Very excited about PE and seeing Obsidian creating a game free of publisher interference.

      However, I cannot help but notice there's a facebook page. My personal preference is not to have anything to do with FB so hopefully Obsidian are delivering the same content on their main PE website, and other social networks (such as G+).

    21. Creator Nathan Destler on September 27, 2012

      I'm actually going to take the other side of the whole "better rewards for harder modes" argument. I don't think harder modes should have better rewards. If you add better rewards, the rewards will become the purpose of the modes. That's rather contrary to the point. These modes exist to make the game more fun for people who enjoy specific types of new challenges. Those people don't need incentives to play these modes. If you add incentives anyway, the psychological literature suggests that the modes will actually become less fun. They'll start to feel like work, instead of games-within-games. I don't want to feel like I'm working when I'm gaming. Don't do that to us.

      I do love what you're talking about with difficulty settings. Adjusting encounters is a much more interesting alternative to just increasing enemy health/damage.

    22. Creator Peter James Christensen on September 27, 2012

      Even if gold did have weight you could add a companion/pet to act as a pack animal like in Dungeon Siege.
      I am super excited about this game though! Its going to be SO awesome!!!

    23. Creator Chris Bayes on September 27, 2012

      How long of a game are we talking about. I really enjoyed the length of Baldurs Gate 2 and Dragon Age Origins. Will it be about this length or longer(hopefully)? I put almost 300 hours into both games.

    24. Creator Scorchy on September 27, 2012

      For ironman mode, I'm not in the camp that needs better rewards and drops, but I'd like

      - An automatic saved screenshot for if (when) I die
      - An achievement and a 'pat on the head' screen if I make it to the end

    25. Creator Rath - Obsidian Order's Barking Wilder on September 27, 2012

      This made my day. Oh, and it also made me expand my pledge to the USD 250 tier :)

      I'm not that in favour of better rewards per se. What would be excellent though would be some little gimmicks like encounters that you can only trigger in a certain mode (e.g. say, there's a group of drunks in a seedy tavern. The option to provoke them into attacking you isn't there in normal mode, but in the harder modes you can tear the whole place apart), or the like.

    26. Creator Tyson Senway on September 27, 2012

      @Lars Møller

      I soo agree! I hope they do indeed do something like that on the harder difficulty modes.

    27. Creator James Home on September 27, 2012

      I like turning on these options because I enjoy the immersion and the intensity. I

      like the idea of better drops, or at least the teasing, carrot-like possibility of better drops.

    28. Creator Lars Møller on September 27, 2012

      As a number of persons have already stated here: Please introduce something to reward the different gameplay modes. Playing on hardcore (or whichever other mode) becomes OH so much more appealing, when you know that the increased difficulty can result in better drops, items you cannot find in Vanilla mode, a different looking Avatar or the like!
      I personally would never increase the difficulty of a game just for the hell of it - but knowing that rewards would be waiting for me - rewards I had not seen in the previous playthrough - that would be awesome!

    29. Creator Jay Bernard Ang on September 27, 2012

      I agree with Chris Birmingham. Playing Human races usually meant playing with the blank slate that can be anything without any special talents in anything. Jack of all trades, master of none sort of deal.

    30. Creator Bo-Chiao Wang on September 27, 2012

      Godlike race is something blessed before your birth, but how about something you do change you forever after your birth, for ex you behave like a super nice guy then you soul makes you half- angel? Or you have been a badass then you become a half-demon or something. Your behavior makes you who you are---or how you look.

    31. Creator Chris Birmingham on September 27, 2012

      The more I hear about this game the better it sounds. Definitely like the idea of being able to tweak the more Hardcore options to my personal play style, I ca think of some things that will definitely be going off and staying off (I'm looking at you skill thresholds!).

      As for the new race, anything that gives the game more options and customisation is always a good thing. Though the new race may be easily comparible to an existing IP race, I am very keen to see how they differ in feel and play to those already in existence.

      One thing I'm very much looking forward to is the idea of "sub-races" to provide different aspects to the races, especially humans. I'm hoping for no more humans that are just the "blank-slate" race, able to do anything and be anything, but without anything special to make them stand out against the rest of the fantastic races.

    32. Creator Derek Belanger on September 27, 2012

      A challenging game? A rare find these days.

    33. Creator Sempavor - Bandit of the Obsidian Order on September 27, 2012

      Will try the Trial of Iron mode...just for a few seconds. Till i'll die. XD

    34. Creator Renraven - Shaman of the Obsidian Order on September 27, 2012

      I so can't wait ... this game is so promising! :3 Hardmode sounds really good and of course the character customization too!

    35. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on September 27, 2012

      great update! since I'm a casual gamer these modes will probably not be for me - but I think it is great to include them for all the gamers who want them. Also I hope that these options also extend to character creation because I bet some people want to spend hours polishing their starting character, but for me personally i would like an option where i can chose a preset character or some way to automate / speed up character creation.

    36. Creator Vojta Adalbert Čejka / Dream Traveller on September 27, 2012

      Wow, you actually got Björk and Bowie in one scene! Keep up the good work!

    37. Creator Matthia on September 27, 2012

      I love Obsidian and their old projects, and although I heavy hyper for P.E...

      I don't like your actions for stretch goals...

      2.3 milions for an other race? But, isn't godlike race already quoted early? Think rather about new heavy wall and quality text, romances, books, lore, NPC and companion personality, think rather about new gaming styles ( stealth, hotspot ambient interaction, investigation quest, puzzle quest, and more ideas )... and PUT ITALIAN TRANSLATION IN PROJECT, please

      Here you can put all ideas and no limit to create an other RPG only-combat for publisher whishes

      PS: Think less on combat and more on text & other gameplay modes
      PS: ITALIAN SUB, PLEASE
      PS: beautiful Labyrinth t-shirt

    38. Creator Vince Vazquez on September 27, 2012

      ^ lol @Ben Lillie: "Russel Crowe CONFIRMED"

    39. Creator Robert Grosso on September 27, 2012

      The only thing I hope is that the races you are bringing in are not carbon copies of what Dungeons and Dragons have already created. No real need to see the PE version of a Tiefling or Gensai in the mix. I am contempt enough to expect it, but I would hope for something a tad more original.

    40. Creator Сергей Невмержицкий on September 27, 2012

      23M stretch (the e-mail notice header) is more enjoyable )))

    41. Creator Ben Lillie on September 27, 2012

      Russel Crowe CONFIRMED

    42. Creator George McNamara "Critical - O.O." on September 27, 2012

      As did I.... Also I hope tieflings will be represented more like 3rd Ed and not 4th Ed

    43. Creator Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on September 27, 2012

      Aaaaand updated my kicstarter name.

    44. Creator Darth Trethon - Exile in Torment on September 26, 2012

      So will there be any further stretch goals?

    45. Creator Rafat Shah on September 26, 2012

      It is impossible for me to play Fallout NV without hardcore mode on. Once you've sampled it's ammo weight, hunger thirst, radiation addled goodness, you can't go back.

    46. Creator Scotty on September 26, 2012

      Michael, I have seen a LOT MORE praise around the internet for F:NV's hardcore mode that criticisms. And why would you ever ask for something to be taken out that is a completely optional. Nobody forces you to use hardcore mode, it is a choice.

      That's like me complaining to a game company to remove the option to use anti-aliasing just because I don't like anti-aliasing. I don't like it, I don't use it. Try doing the same.

      Obsidion please make a hardcore mode for this game too.

    47. Creator Scorchy on September 26, 2012

      I can't play F:NV without hardcore mode on.

    48. Creator Michael Melnikoff on September 26, 2012

      I hope you guys have taken the criticisms of F:NV's Hardcore Mode to heart and will not be implemented anything similar.

      It was not hard or fun - it was *tedious*, and I'd like to think you guys learned your lesson from it.

    49. Creator Fragga - Judicator of the Obsidian Order on September 26, 2012

      i hope there will be an evil playable race... like the drow .. i love them i wanna play one ^^

    50. Creator Joshua Ross Partridge on September 26, 2012

      Well, this has convinced me to increase my backing to $50.