Rogues 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 Rogue, 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…
Rogue Builds and How They Work
Rogues in Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire are a melee class that has a heavy focus on Stealth and debuffing enemies. Rogues gain huge Damage bonuses when attacking Afflicted or Flanked enemies, and when striking from Stealth or Invisibility. They also have surprisingly good Defenses and can work in the tank role. Choose this class if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.
Rogues use Guile for their resource and can spend it in combat on Active Abilities. Rogues gain more Guile each time they gain a Power Level, not only allowing them to use more powerful abilities, but also use them more often. This functions similarly to the Fighter’s Discipline or the Hunter’s Bond, and will replenish after each encounter.
A big part of the Rogue’s damage, as mentioned above, comes from Sneak Attack. Sneak Attack allows them to do increased damage while an enemy has an Affliction or is Flanked, or within the first 2 seconds of combat. This makes is particularly important to keep debuffs up on enemies, which is why many Rogue abilities apply them. Sneak Attack is largely affected by your Subclass and we will take a look at those shortly.
Rogues have the capability of turning Invisible with their Smoke Veil ability (and others). This is useful for getting the extra damage from Backstab, but Smoke Veil also makes them untargetable for the Duration. This allows them to get away with little to no armor, and let’s them focus on Attributes that help with raw damage.
Rogue Subclasses, Which to Choose
In this section we’re going to take a look at the Subclasses of the Rogue and see why you might choose one of them, or not. Rogues focus on disabling and killing targets quickly, using Stealth and Invisibility as tools to accomplish this. However, they also have some great defensive abilities, and ones that are just generally good. Let’s take a look at what the Rogue Subclasses are, and talk a bit about what sort of Builds you can make with them.
Assassins trade defense for pure damage. Their ability to kill targets in a single strike is unrivaled, and they can produce some of the biggest damage numbers in the game. Choose this Subclass if you are willing to sacrifice some surviveablity for increased offense.
Bonus: Gain Assassinate passive. From Stealth or Invisibility, attacks receive +4 Penetration, +25 Accuracy and +50% Critical Hit Damage.
Penalty: All Damage received is increased by 15%
Assassin Rogues want to hit as hard as they can, and try to take their targets down quickly. To accomplish this they will need to be Stealthed or Invisible often in order to gain the huge damage increases from Backstab. This means they will need to take abilities like Smoke Veil and Shadowing Beyond, so that they can do so once combat has begun.
It is a good idea to have your Assassin begin each fight by taking out a single enemy from Stealth, and you can use a Ranged Weapon if it’s easier. This saves you one use of Smoke Veil, which costs 2 Guile, and will allow you to return to Stealth again in combat more often. Just be sure not to use Smoke Veil until you absolutely are ready to kill your target, so if you need to reload or get closer, be sure to do so first.
Assassins Multiclass very well with other martial classes that have high damaging abilities, freeing up their Guile to be used on Smoke Veil, while you use the other class’ resource for big-hitters. Barbarian, Paladin and Cipher all work well here. Be sure to take Murderous Intent if you don’t Multiclass, as it will make Empower kill ANYTHING.
Barbarians have the ability Barbaric Blow, which does increased Damage, is more likely to Crit and does increased Crit Damage. In addition, the upgraded version: Barbaric Smash will refund the cost if you kill the target, and this ability can be used in melee or at range.
Paladins have Flames of Devotion which hits hard and does increased Burn and Corrode Damage if you’re a Bleak Walkers Paladin. In addition it only costs 1 Zeal, which is extremely cheap, and its increased Accuracy means that it is more likely to Crit. This ability can be used in melee or at range.
Ciphers Multiclass well with Rogues because of their passive increase to Weapon Damage via Soul Whip, which makes all Assassin attacks hit that much harder. And, if you take the Soul Blade Subclass, you will gain the ability Soul Annihilation which does tons of Raw Damage. Raw Damage bypasses Armor and Resistances.
Streetfighters generally fulfill the tank role for the Rogue class. They gain bonuses when surrounded or hurt, and penalties when not, placing them squarely in the thick of it. Streetfighters Multiclass very well with other tanking Subclasses.
Bonus: -50% Recovery time +50% Damage against Flanked, Mind Afflicted or Body Afflicted targets, when the street fighter is Flanked or Bloodied. +100% Weapon Crit damage when the Streetfighter is both Flanked and Bloodied.
Penalty: +20 Recovery Time when the Streetfighter is neither Flanked nor Bloodied.
Streetfighters will be found surrounded by many foes, because in order to obtain their bonuses, they must be Flanked or Bloodied. This generally drops them into the tank role and means they will need to focus more on Defense than other Rogues. Streetfighters will want to be sure to take the Persistent Distraction passive, to increase the number of enemies Engaged and makes them Distracted.
Since Rogues possess the Riposte ability, allowing them to potentially strike for a Full Attack against targets that miss them with Melee Weapons, Streetfighters will want to have high Deflection. Resolve helps with this, as do Shields. However, the Dagger Weapon Ability gives +10 Deflection vs melee attacks, which is also a great option. This allows you to get almost as much Deflection as that of a Shield, but also reduced Recovery Time (if you dual wield), and has no penalty to Accuracy. Note that if you dual wield them you still only get +10 Deflection, not +20.
Streetfighters multiclass well with Classes that provide benefit to Deflection and Defenses. These are Paladin, Fighter, Monk, and Wizard in no particular order. They also work well with Barbarians, if you’d rather DPS, as they increase damage by 20% and require +1 enemy to be considered Flanked with their Hold the Line ability.
Paladins naturally gains a bonus to all Defenses, which includes Deflection. Enduring Beacon provides further Deflection and Blinds enemies, reducing their Accuracy. They can also increase their own Resolve, which helps further.
Fighters possess Stances that either increase Deflection and Accuracy or reduce the damage they take for each Engaged enemy, and either works well here. They can also increase their Deflection with Superior Deflection and Vigorous Defense.
Monks can reflect Ranged attacks that miss 50% of the time, and when combined with Riposte, makes you deal considerable damage for being so tanky. They can prevent themselves from being struck by melee attacks for 3.0 seconds with the Blade Turning ability. Lastly, they gain Wounds when struck, which is another resource Streetfighters can use to deal damage or buff themselves.
Wizards seem like an odd choice here, however their ability: Mirrored Image, provided +30 Deflection for 60 seconds. Wizards can also buff their Armor and give themselves Inspirations that have rather long Durations. Most of these spells have 0.4 second cast times, making them totally viable for hand to hand combat.
Tricksters gain several Illusion spells from the Wizard class, allowing them to get some benefits of Mulitclassing without actually having to do so. Choose this Subclass if you would like to have some spells, or plan to Multiclass with another casting class.
Bonus: Learns Arkemyr’s Dazzling Lights. Gains access to select illusion Wizard spells at power levels 3,5,7 9.
Penalty: Sneak Attack only deals +20% damage (instead of +50%).
Tricksters can fulfill the DPS or Tank roles, while providing some support for their group. Sneak Attack provides bonus damage vs Afflicted targets, and Tricksters can cast long ones on their opponents which works well. The downside, is that Sneak Attack does less damage than other Rogues. Tricksters can also buff their Deflection with Mirrored Image, allowing them to take less damage and get more Ripostes. This can be used to help keep them alive while DPSing, or in a similar manner to the Streetfighter.
Tricksters can Multiclass with just about any class in the game effectively, including Wizard. Consider Multiclassing them with Fighter, Monk or Paladin if you wish to tank. Barbarian or Paladin if you wish to DPS, or Druid or Wizard if you wish to be even more of a hybrid character. Tricksters are the most suited of the Rogue Subclasses to mesh with a caster because their Sneak Attack is much weaker, meaning they won’t lose out as much while casting.
No Subclass Rogues are a great choice for Multiclassing, and work well as a Single Class. They don’t have any of the drawbacks of the other Rogue Subclasses, and allow for more freedom in the way they are played. Choose this Subclass if you don’t want to micromanage your Rogue as much.
No Subclass Rogues don’t need to worry about taking increased damage, about being Bloodied or Flanked, and don’t lose Sneak Attack Damage. They also don’t gain any benefits, but Rogue is a strong class and doesn’t particularly need them. No Subclass Rogues are a good choice when you plan to Multiclass or if you are unsure just exactly how you will play this character. Highly recommended for new or inexperienced Rogue players.
Rogues can Multiclass effectively with just about any other class well because most of their Abilities can be used at range. However, because they have a Sneak Attack bonus of 50%, they’re more suited to merge with a martial class, because Sneak Attack only works with weapons, and not spells. Paladins, Fighters, Rangers, Monks and Ciphers all make great choices.
Attributes and Races
The last thing we’re going to cover here is Attributes and Races and how they affect the Rogue. The game recommends Dexterity and Intellect and highly recommends Might and Perception. Dexterity helps with Action Speed, making the Rogues attack faster. Intellect helps with Duration of Invisibility, but also negative effects applied to enemies. Might increases Damage and Perception helps with Accuracy and Crit chance.
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:
Assassin – Prioritize Might and Perception. Assassins want to kill things quickly, and Might is the best way to do that. However, Assassins also gain a bonus to Critical Damage, so increasing Perception makes it more likely you will achieve this. Assassins don’t need to be worried too much about Duration, because they want things dead ASAP. Aumaua or Elf are good choices.
Streetfighter – Resolve, Constitution and Might. Resolve will help you Deflect more attacks, not only resulting in increased Damage, but also helping keep you alive. Since Streetfighters benefit from being Bloodied, having high Constitution helps make this happen in a manner where you won’t die. Might helps with Damage. Humans make great choices because they also gain benefits from being Bloodied.
Trickster – Prioritize Intellect, Perception and Might. Intellect helps with the positive and negative Durations of your Abilities and spells. Perception helps with Accuracy and is particularly important for anyone casting spells because Accuracy is harder to come by for them. Might helps with Damage. Godlike is a great choice here.
No Subclass – Prioritize Might, Perception and Intellect. No Subclass Rogues will play much like the Assassin, but with a little more focus on Duration because they don’t have to try to kill things instantly. Aumaua or Elf are good choices.
The primary way Rogues gain their Sneak Attack bonus is by attacking enemies that are suffering from some sort of Affliction (or Flanked). Be sure you are always targeting one who is, and reapply debuffs if necessary. In addition, the passive ability Deathblows will increase your weapon damage by a further 50% if your target has 2 or more Afflictions. This can drastically help to increase your DPS, so get in the habit of applying Afflictions, and pick up the passive when you can.
Rogues have many Abilities that revolve around Critical Hits, which is why Perception is one their highly recommended Attributes. Be sure to keep your Accuracy as high as you can in order to Crit more often, and pick up Dirty Fighting. Doing so will allow you to get the most out of your Rogue, especially if you picked the Assassin Subclass.
Rogues gain a bonus 150% damage when attacking from 2m or less while Invisible or Stealthed, with the Backstab passive. This is a big increase to their damage which means they want to be Invisible as often as they can. This creates an issue for Single Class Rogues. If they use all their Guile on Smoke Veil, they will have little to none left to attack with. This is the biggest argument for Multiclassing a Rogue. Multiclass Rogues can use Guile to go Invisible and then spend the resource of the other class striking the target with something like Barbaric Blow or Flames of Devotion for HUGE damage.
Lastly, remember that Rogues can use most of their abilities at range, which opens up a lot of possibilities for them. During the Beta, my Holy Slayer (Rogue/Paladin) was outperforming nearly every other Build I made, using an Arquebus from range. It could 1-shot 4 enemies in a 10 second span taking minimal damage itself. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box a bit and play around with the different weapons.
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.