A reader offers some beginner’s advice for Divinity: Original Sin 2 and urges players not to give up early on the classic role-player.
The recent Inbox submission by reader Ciara wasn’t the first time I’ve read about someone having Bloodborne-esque struggles with the early stages of Divinity: Original Sin 2.
This isn’t a game for everyone. I’m not someone that has loads of time for gaming, but I’m not someone who has a real chronic lack of time for gaming either, and it took me seven months to finish this game. I think you’d be looking at a minimum of 50-60 hours to finish the game on any difficulty setting without completely rushing. Like the SoulsBorne games, you’ll also be punished mercilessly for most mistakes you make, but you’ll keep doing a little bit better every time you attempt a battle, and the game almost always remains very fair – there are some late game enemies that can move more than you can, which I and some others feel is cheap, but you’ll be all in by then, and the satisfaction is memorable.
If the above all sounds like stuff that’d be OK for you, I can’t stress enough that this is a game worth persevering with.
Once the game opens up, you won’t look back. The beauty of Original Sin 2 is that you don’t just bowl into battle, see what your enemy’s elemental weakness is, and use it against them to win and move on. Beating a lot of the fights involves dying once or twice just to get a good bead on what abilities your foes have at their disposal, and the game really encourages you to develop and go in with a plan, so when you do beat an enemy you really feel like it was because of you and the decisions you made.
But it is hard, especially on the Tactician difficulty setting and especially in the first area, Fort Joy (although it pretty much stays difficult throughout). Like Bloodborne though, the game does give you a chance to even the odds a bit once you’ve got past the first area, by giving you access to an item that allows you to reallocate your skill points. This really helps you to tailor your party to specific battles and means you never reach a wall can’t get past because of any character creation choices you might have made.
Here is a bit of advice to hopefully get you over the line:
Steal everything that isn’t nailed down
The traders that are available to you get new stock in often, and you need to have the absolute best gear available equipped at any given time. Even if it’s just wooden buckets or shells off the beach, if you can get your hands on it, do so and sell it to keep yourself well stocked. Also, be aware that you can trade with anyone, and although most people in the early game only have junk on them, there are a couple of people with some useful items – there’s an old women near the beach in particular who has some useful scrolls.
Cashflow becomes less of an issue later in the game so you won’t have to necessarily keep this up.
If you want to get through the early game on Tactician, you’re going to have to check your morals at the door. You need every bit of experience and gold you can get and to be blunt one way you’ll get there is to do everyone in. There are a couple of guards that have patrol routes away from prying eyes, so kill them. The gangs in the prison both become beatable and you can get some assistance in the encounter in the camp kitchen if you make friends with Butter first, so kill them. The tragic Migo has got a very useful item on him, so kill him (after you’ve completed the small side quest that involves him). Killing the latter in particular made me feel pretty bad, but not as bad as having to give up on a game I paid £30 for just because I couldn’t get past the first bit.
There are various consequences, both expected and unexpected, that might result from these actions, but as far as I’m aware there’s nothing game-breaking and nothing that will prohibit you from accessing any of the endings, including if you kill the story characters you don’t choose to include in your party (unless it was their ending you wanted to see, of course). On that note I’d make sure you recruit and don’t kill Ifan though, as he gets access to a very handy bow early on via a side quest.
Do the battles in order
When you first start out in Fort Joy there are various battles available to you – the frogs, the crocodiles, the arena – if you’re anything like me the first time you attempt all of these you are going to die really quickly and be left with the impression they’re all impossible. Some are actually much more manageable than others though. There’s much more to it than this but basically if you start with the crocodiles you’ll be on the right track.
This is a pattern that repeats itself as you move from area to area, and again necessitates a bit of dying to feel out the most feasible order to tackle the encounters in.
ABT – Always Be Teleporting
This is the skill you will use the most in the game. I’ve looked online to see if anyone has done a ‘DOS2 no teleportation run’ video, but there isn’t one. And there’s one for everything, that’s how much you’ll use it. So not to labour the point but it’s in your favour to learn this skill as soon as possible. You get an accessory from the crocodiles which lets you use it and when you reach level 4 Gawin will sell you the skill, you need two in the Aerothurge stat for it to work.
Look for opportunities to use it in battle to get enemies away from you, as well as outside to get to inaccessible places. There’s usually some loot to be had, for instance, on top of the broken bridge outside the front of the fort and by entering the fort via the southeast corner.
Specifically, there’s a really good opportunity to use it in the frog battle to strand them up high on a rock – if you can’t see it try moving further into the cave, just make sure you wait until their own jump skill is on cooldown, but they tend to use this straight away anyway.
I hope that’s enough to get anyone who might be struggling with Fort Joy through this area. As I’ve said, the challenge doesn’t really let up afterwards, but you’ll have seen enough of how the game works by this point to push on yourself and enjoy what is one of the best games of the last decade.
By reader Charlie
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