With Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Beta now live, we’ve gotten to spend quite a bit of in-game time with the latest installment, the sequel to Obsidian Entertainments award winning CRPG Pillars of Eternity. One of the new features added, among many, with Pillars of Eternity 2 is the option to “Multiclass“. Multiclassing allows the player to choose a second Class with most of the bells and whistles that come with it. Multiclass characters aren’t as powerful in either Class as a Single Class character, however, the combination can potentially make them more effective overall. So the question is, should you Multiclass? Let’s take a look!
To Multiclass or Not to Multiclass
In order to answer this question I’ll need to explain to you some basics of the game’s mechanics so you have much clearer picture of how everything all works. First of all let’s talk a bit about Power Source and Power Level, and what this means for a character, since the decision to Multiclass or not will depend on these quite a bit. There are other factors of course, but this is the best place to begin.
Power Sources and Power Level
Each Class has it’s own “Power Source“. Barbarian, for example, has Rage. Rage determines the effectiveness of many of the Abilities in the Barbarian Ability Tree. Rage doesn’t increase the damage of abilities, but rather their number of Projectiles, Penetration and other effects, such as Duration. Increasing the effectiveness of Rage is called gaining a “Power Level“. This is the case with all Power Sources, allowing players to Multiclass without feeling too much of a damage reduction in their Abilities.
When playing as a Multiclass character there are obvious benefits over a Single Class character, but not everything is better. For example, you gain a Power Level for each 2 levels you gain when you are Single Class. When you are Multiclass this becomes every 3 levels. This means that you won’t have access to higher level Abilities as quickly if you Multiclass, because you unlock the next tier of Abilities each time you gain a Power Level. This is one of the biggest downsides to Multiclassing, and it can make early parts of the game harder until you are geared up.
Secondly, Multiclass characters cannot access Ability Level 8 or 9 of either Class they play because their Power Level only increases every 3 levels instead of ever 2. This is another huge downside of a Multiclass character, because the best and most powerful Abilities are at the bottom of each Tree. Be sure to preview these Trees when making your character so you can see what you’ll be missing out before confirming during Character Creation. This alone makes a case for a Single Class character.
Power Source Points and Combat
Each Class uses its Abilities with the Power Source Pool of that Class: Rage, Arcane, Discipline, Bond, etc. Abilities cost varying amounts of Power Source Points, which will replenish out of Combat. Instead of giving each Ability a certain number of uses like they did in PoE, now the player is free to decide how to spend his/her points in whatever combination makes sense for the victory. Wizards and casting Classes can only cast a certain number of each level of spell per encounter, but they no longer need to Rest to replenish these. Players can also use an Ability called “Empower” that will allow them to increase the effectiveness of an Ability or regain half of their max Power Source Points. This can only be used once per encounter per character and replenishes upon Resting.
If you are a Single Class, every 2 levels you will gain an extra Power Source Point. If you are a Multiclass character you will gain 1 Power Source Point for both Classes every 3 Levels, regardless of how you leveled up each time. This means that at level 7 if you are a Single Class character you will have a total of 6 Power Source Points to use for you Abilities per encounter (you begin the game with 3). If you are a level 7 Multiclass Character you will have a total of 10 Power Source Points (5 in each Class). This means Multiclass characters will have much more Abilities to use, albeit with lesser effectiveness.
Health, Defense and Skills
Another important point to note is that when you create your character, it will start with a certain amount of Health, Deflection, Reflex, Fortitude and Will to begin the game. When you Multiclass you begin the game with an average of the 2 Classes you chose (rounded down). Each time you level up you will gain +3 to Deflection, Reflex, Fortitude and Will. Whether you Multiclass or play as a Single Class, it makes no difference. You will gain +3 to each per level.
Health is handled a bit differently. Each Class has a fixed amount of Health they begin the game with (Base Health), as well as a fixed amount they gain per level. When you Multiclass you average the Base Health of your two Classes and that is what they start with. Each time you level up you will gain an average of what those two Classes would have gained. Let’s do an example:
- Let’s say you are playing a Barbarian and a Wizard (Warlock). Barbarians get 46 Health and Wizards get 38. Averaging that out you can calculate you will begin the game with 42 Health.
- Barbarians gain +16 Health per level and Wizards gain +8. Averaging that out we get +12 Health per level.
Skills are handled much the same way, and each Class in the game begins with a certain amount of points into each Skill. To calculate how many points in each Skill you will have, you simply need to add together the total points in each Skill for both Classes and then divide by 2. The exception being that Skill points added with Background are not affected by Multiclassing and will give their full value.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Classes Can I Play at Once?
You can only have a total of 2 Classes when you Multiclass. This was done for balancing reasons, as well as to make sure each combination had its own identity.
Does it Matter What Order I Select My 2 Classes in?
No it does not. There is not a “Primary Class” and a “Secondary Class”. Instead both Classes are treated equally, no matter the order, until such a time as you begin Leveling Up and you decide. You can of course alternate 1 to 1 if you wish to have a balance.
If I Didn’t Multiclass in Character Creation, Can I do it at a Later Time?
This is a very good question, and unfortunately the answer to this is still unknown. I would wager though that it is likely based on the information given by the developers.
Can I Still Pick a Subclass if I Multiclass?
Yes. You will be able to pick a Subclass for each Class you select. There is a total of 55 Multiclass “combinations” and if you factor in Subclasses that number gets WAAAAYYY bigger…
Do Single Classes and Multiclasses Get the Same Number of Ability Points?
No. Multiclasses will get an additional Ability Point every time they reach a new Power Level, which is every 3 levels. This means at max level they will have obtained 7 more Ability Points than a Single Class character. This is another compelling reason to Multiclass.
After looking it all over you can see that Multiclassing done well has a decent advantage over a Single Class character. They gain more Abilities, they have more Power Source Points to spend and they have access to two Ability Trees. However, if done wrong it can be catastrophic and you’ll end up regretting your decision. This is the reason that the game doesn’t recommend Multiclassing for new players, and until you get the feel of the game and have had some success, it’s probably good advice.
Another thing is that we currently don’t know is, what the bottom half of each Ability Tree will look like, so we’re only seeing about half of each Class’s Abilities. Perhaps some of these Abilities will be so powerful that there’s no way you shouldn’t Single Class. My guess is that it will be a tough choice, all said and done, and one that many players will spend hours pondering (which is great). I can’t wait to find out!
Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire does not yet have a release date, but is expected sometime in early 2018. Stay tuned for more Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire coverage through out the Closed Beta, and be sure to check out our other Pillars of Eternity 2 Guides!