Fighters are one of the 11 Classes in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire, and in this Guide we’re going to take a look at how they work in order to not only help you make a better Fighter, but also help you to determine if this is the class for you. If you are new to Pillars of Eternity 2 or just need a refresher when it comes to Class selection and Character Creation, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Let’s get started…
Fighter Builds and How They Work
Fighters are a melee class in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire that specialize in hand-to-hand combat with multiple enemies. Fighters have many passives that not only increases their offense, but also their defense, making them very well rounded characters. Nearly every martial class can benefit from these passives, which is why they are a solid choice for Multiclassing, as well as new player friendly. When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a Fighter.
Fighters use Discipline for their resource, and they can spend in combat on their Active Abilities. They will gain more Discipline each time they reach a new Power Level, allowing them to not only use more powerful Abilities, but also use them more often. This is similar to the Barbarian’s Rage or the Monk’s Mortification.
A unique aspect of the Fighter is the Stances that they possess. Defender Stance allows you to Engage +3 enemies, and also reduces the damage you take by 5% for each. Cleaving Stance triggers an AoE attack on all nearby foes if the Fighter downs a target. Warrior Stance increases both Accuracy and Deflection by +5. Only one Stance can be active at a time, and the Fighter can switch between them at will, both in or out of combat. These Stances can even be upgraded to have more potent effects.
Characters can Engage enemy units by wielding a melee weapon and getting close to the target. Enemies will stop once Engaged, and must Disengage in order to continue along their path. When Disengaging, enemies will receive an attack from the character that has Engaged them, regardless of whatever else that character may be doing. For all intents and purposes this is a “free attack”. Because of the Fighter’s Defender Stance, and the passive ability Hold the Line, they are the most suited class in the game to Engage enemies. This usually drops them into the tank role, because Engaging enemies prevents other characters from being attacked, and means that you will be taking the blows meant for them.
Fighter Subclasses, Which to Choose
In this section we’re going to take a look at the Subclasses of the Fighter and see why you might choose one of them, or not. Fighters can DPS or tank, so the Subclass you choose will largely determine which of these roles they fulfill. This is not black and white, however, because the Stances of the Fighter allow for some flexibility. This means you could be a “tanky warrior” or a “warriory tank”, or somewhere in between. Let’s take a look at what the Fighter Subclasses are, and talk a bit about what sort of Builds you can make with them.
Black Jackets are the Jack-of-all-Trades Fighter that doesn’t specialize in one weapon type, but like to use a variety when in combat. If you’re the sort of player that likes to begin encounters with a Bow, but end up in the thick of it with a Two-Hander or Daggers, then this is the Subclass for you.
Bonus: Start with an additional Weapon Set and Weapon Proficiency. Reduced Recovery Time penalty when switching weapons.
Penalty: Loses Constant Recovery.
Black Jackets lose Constant Recovery in exchange for freedom and gain an extra Proficiency with weapons and an additional weapons slot. They also swap weapons faster than other characters, allowing them to take full advantage of the many weapons they carry. Weapon Proficiency does not increase your Accuracy, Penetration or Damage in Pillars of Eternity 2, but simply provides access to the weapon’s Modal Ability. Be sure to study what these are on the Wiki, and select weapon types that have Modal Abilities that best fit your Build. Oh and don’t forget Weapon Specialization!
Because Black Jackets lose access to Constant Recovery, which is the Fighters main heal while in combat, they will need to rely heavily on Second Wind. This means Black Jackets will want to have many points invested into Athletics to get the biggest heal possible when used. Laborer is a solid choice of Background for this, but there are many Backgrounds that give at least +1 Athletics if you’d like to be spread around a bit more.
When it comes to Multiclassing Black Jackets want to look for Classes that give more “general” bonuses to Damage and Accuracy rather than one specific type. Four really good Classes, in my opinion are Cipher, Monk, Paladin and Druid. Cipher gives a percentage increase to all Weapon Damage, regardless of type, so is a good fit here. Monk has Lightning Strikes which not only increases Action Speed, but also adds +30% damage dealt as Shock to any weapon attacks, including ranged. Bleak Walkers Paladins give increased Burn and Corrode Damage with Flames of Devotion, regardless of weapon used. Druid gives a passive increase in elemental damage when Spiritshifted, and they have a variety of ranged and melee Abilities which works nicely.
Devoted Fighters specialize in one specific weapon type to the detriment of all others. This Subclass is best selected when you know exactly which Weapon you wish to use, which is why it isn’t advised for new or beginning players.
Bonus: May select a single Weapon Proficiency as their chosen weapon. Increased Penetration with their chosen weapon (+2). Increased Critical Hit damage with their chosen weapon (+25%).
Penalty: Accuracy is penalized whenever using a weapon that is not their chosen weapon (-10). Only gain a single proficiency and no new proficiencies during level up.
Devoted gain +25% Critical Damage and +2 Penetration with their chosen weapon which is a significant increase in overall damage to say the least. However, they take a -10 Accuracy penalty when using any other weapon that is not of the one Proficiency they will ever have. Shields are not included in this, and players can use a Shield, or another of the same type of weapon in their off-hand with no penalty. Also note that all characters gain Proficiency: Unarmed at level 1, so Devoted can technically fight Unarmed or with their chosen weapon with no penalty.
Since One-Handed Style converts 20% of Hits to Crits, it is advised that if you are playing as a Devoted that you play with only 1 One-Handed weapon. A great choice is the Battle Axe, which adds a further increase to Critical Damage, but any One-Handed weapon will work fine. Just try not to pick one that gives -% Critical Damage. Also, be sure to upgrade Disciplined Barrage to Disciplined Strikes ASAP!
When Multicassing the Devoted is free to chose pretty much anything, but looking for Abilities that increase your Crit Chance is ideal. Rogues, Barbarians and Chanters are the ideal candidates because of the Abilities they possess.
Rogues have several passive abilities that all help this style of play. Dirty Fighting further increases the likelihood your Hits will Crit, as does Uncanny Luck. And Deep Wounds converts some of your attack damage to Raw Damage over time. Raw Damage can’t be reduced or resisted.
Barbarians have the passive ability Bloody Slaughter, which increases the likelihood of your Hits to Crits, and Critical Damage, against Near Death enemies. They also possess Uncanny Luck, and on top of that, Barbaric Blow increases your Damage, chance to Crit and Critical Damage and the upgraded version will even refund the Rage cost if you kill the target.
Skald Chanters gain an additional Phrases 50% of the time when they Critically Hit a target with a melee weapon, so there is some good synergy here. Chanters also Chant passively while in combat, allowing for extra damage and healing. Picking a Skald will also give you access to some Invocations that can help to CC targets, and will make you more of a hybrid character.
The Unbroken are the best suited to “tank” of the Fighter Subclasses, and probably any class in the game. Not only do they gain additional Armor when using a Shield, but they also gain tons of Penetration on Disengagement attacks, allowing them to hit for high damage against targets trying to get past them.
Bonus: +1 Engagement. Increased Penetration on Disengagement Attacks (+10). Gains “Shield Mastery” providing bonus Armor Rating while wearing a shield (+1).
Penalty: Lower Stride in combat (-10%). Lower Reflexes (-15).
Unbroken Fighters are extremely hard to kill, and they can Engage an additional opponent, helping to protect your party members. They excel at using a Shield, so you will want to be sure you use one. There are 3 types of Shields: Small, Medium and Large and each possesses it’s own Ability (if you have Proficiency). In addition, each Shield has a differing amount of +Deflection and -Accuracy, so you’ll want to take all of these factors into consideration when selecting which is best for you. Reducing your Accuracy too much might hamper your ability to connect on Disengagement attacks, decreasing the effectiveness of the Subclass. Overbearing Guard will help with this, as well as increase your Damage with Disengagement attacks, so get it when you can.
When Multiclassing it’s a great idea to look for Classes that get bonuses for being hit or surrounded, and Paladin, Monk, Barbarian and Rogue are all excellent options here.
Paladins gain +8 to all Defenses and can get the passive ability Retribution that will increase the damage of your attacks when hit. Shieldbearers of St. Elgca also gain additional Engagement for equipping a Shield, which has a natural synergy here.
Monks gain Wounds when they take damage, so they are an excellent choice for Multiclassing with Unbroken. They can spend Wounds on Abilities that Interrupt targets, or provide bonuses to the character, like reduced hostile Duration. Helwalker Monks also gain +1 Might when they gain a Wound, in exchange for taking +5% more damage per Wound. This can work really well here, sacrificing some defensive capability for increased offense.
Barbarian’s can take the passive One Stands Alone which increases their melee damage by +20% when Flanked, and also increases the amount of enemies needed to be Flanked by one. This synergizes well because you will often be Flanked when tanking.
Rogues posses some excellent abilities that pair well with Unbroken. First, they gain the Riposte ability, allowing them to counter attack against melee opponents that miss them. Second, Adept Evasion allows them to turn Grazes that target Reflex into Misses, further preventing the damage they take. Last, the Streetfighter Subclass increases Crit Damage and reduces Recovery Time while Flanked or Bloodied, which you will constantly be.
Like Black Jacket’s, No Subclass Fighters don’t specialize in one specific thing, allowing for multiple play styles. This is a solid choice for a new player, or another Class that’s Multiclassing and just wants to pick up some passives.
No Subclass Fighters have much of the flexibility of Black Jackets, but they don’t loose access to Constant Recovery, which might be the deciding factor for many players. Having a 45 second Heal over Time is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it occurs passively, with no need to spend time casting. Consider picking this Subclass if you can’t decide how you will play or if you have another martial class that could benefit from many of the Fighter’s excellent passives.
Any of the Classes listed above work well with the Fighter, which is a lot, for mostly the same reasons given. Rangers also work well, because Confident Aim and Disciplined Barrage both work with ranged weapon attacks. Conversely, you can play a melee Fighter with an animal companion if you wish.
Attributes and Races
In this section we’re going to cover Attributes and Races and how they affect the Fighter. The game recommends Might and highly recommends Constitution and Resolve. Might helps to increase your damage and the healing of Constant Recovery. Constitution helps increase your Health to allow you to take Hits and keep fighting. And Resolve helps you avoid damage all together, and reduces hostile Durations.
Just exactly how much of these you should have depends on the Subclass you selected, and I will make my recommendations along with Race below:
Black Jacket – Prioritize Resolve, Constitution and Might. Resolve will help keep you alive while in combat. Constitution will allow you to take Hits without dying, which buys you time to heal up with Second Wind or via another party member. Might will increase your damage. Humans make excellent Black Jackets.
Devoted – Prioritize Might, Resolve and Constitution. Might will help increase your damage, which should be high, and increase the effectiveness of Constant Recovery and Second Wind. Resolve will help you to avoid damage, and Constitution will help give you a large enough Health pool that you can heal up before dying. Again Human is a great choice here or Aumaua.
Unbroken – Prioritize Resolve, Constitution and Might. Resolve will help keep you alive, Constitution will give you high Health (which you will need because of frequent attacks), and Might will help with damage. Human is the best choice again here, although if you don’t care about the Attributes, Moon Godlike grants healing when your Health is low.
No Subclass – Prioritize Might and Resolve. Might for damage and healing and Resolve to stay alive. What else you focus on will very much be determined by your other class, so the Race may change based on this aspect. Otherwise Human is the way to go.
Fighters are probably the easiest class in the game to play. They are tough to kill, have decent healing, deal respectable damage, and are simple to build. This makes them very new player friendly, and if you are completely unsure what class to choose, this is probably the best place to begin. They also Multiclass extremely well.
Although it is advised Fighters Multiclass with another martial class (when Multiclassing), because of better synergies, they can do so with casting classes and still provide benefit. Passive Abilities like: Determination, Constant Recovery, Fearless, Unstoppable, Body Control, Weapon Specialization and Armored Grace will all come in handy for nearly any class. In addition, Tactical Barrage not only gives you Concentration, which casters sorely need, it also increases your Power Level and gives you +5 Intellect. Since casters typically need high Intellect, this a great addition.
The biggest problem that Single Class Fighters will face is that they will blow through their Discipline quickly, leaving them auto-attacking in longer fights. This isn’t as important if you are playing in the tank role, however, if you are a DPS this can be problematic. For this reason it is advised that DPS Fighters Multiclass to pick up additional resources they can spend in combat, so they’re not just standing there swinging or shooting.
Lastly, Fighters have more of a focus on weapons than any other class, so be sure to make yourself familiar with all the different weapon types and Weapon Abilities. Some weapons have added bonuses or penalties that you might not be aware of, like the Battle Axe. And, Weapon Abilities might drastically alter your play style or build, but require Proficiency in order to use. It’s a very good idea to check these out before you create your character (especially if you picked Devoted), because it takes some time to gain new Proficiency.
Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Class Guides as we cover all 11 Classes as well as Character Creation! What did you think of the Guide? Was it helpful? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.