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Session Name:

Gods and Dumps: Attribute Tuning in 'Pillars of Eternity'


Pillars of Eternity was a crowfunded game inspired by A/D&D classics like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment. To stay true to backers' expectations, one of their early constraints was a classic six attribute spread - a constraint that doesn't always play well with different classes and character concepts. In the classic games, it was easy to build a non-viable character - even if the player didn't realize it until they were 10 hours deep. Conversely, in Pillars of Eternity, the team often deviated too far from convention for player tastes. This talk will explore the specific RPG mechanic as it was in the classic games, as they developed it through the Pillars of Eternity beta, and how they continued to use player feedback to tune it post-launch. The talk will also take a look back across the project as a whole to see how the design of attributes influenced other game systems and the player experience in the long run.

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  • GDC 2016
  • Josh Sawyer
  • Obsidian Entertainment
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design