Divinity: Original Sin II

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General Tips

  • Save often, manually. The game is intended to be difficult, and certain things can instantly kill you and your entire party at once instantly. Do NOT rely on auto-saves, as those are infrequent, usually happening either just before entering a point which will have a fight, or at the start of a fight.
  • If you play both co-op and single-player, create different profiles from the main menu to keep them separate, as quicksaves and auto-saves made in the same profile will will overwrite themselves regardless of whether you are playing single-player or co-op.
  • Be sure to save before trying something you suspect might be dangerous.
  • You can use Shift to display the vision cones of NPCs. This can help you determine if Sneaking would get you spotted without trying to sneak yourself (which can sometimes result in NPC's losing disposition if they see you).
  • Tired of clouds blocking your vision in combat? In addition to displaying vision cones, Shift shows the boundaries of vision blocking things like smoke clouds, letting you determine where you can move to get a clear sight line to a target.
  • If a conversation is going to result in combat, you can stall it indefinitely by not clicking on (end) and freely re-position your 3 characters not in the conversation to places of tactical advantage. This is kinda cheesy though.
  • Status effects on characters in conversation are paused, so this can be used to pre-buff a character about to engage in conversation you know or suspect will end in combat, then you can buff someone else right before switching to the first to end the conversation.
  • You should always engage enemies at your level or lower whenever possible. Enemies one level higher can be beaten, but are much more dangerous. Avoid fighting enemies two levels or more than you are.
  • If you keep running into enemies too high a level for you, explore in a different direction until you find level-appropriate enemies.
  • Keeping your gear up to date level to level makes a HUGE difference. If you're a physical attacker, you always want an up-to-date weapon.
  • The only difference between Tactician and Honor difficulties is that Honor has permadeath and deletes your single save file. It also auto-saves when someone in your party dies. It is not recommended to play Honor mode as your first (blind) playthrough, there are lots of ways to get screwed by things you might not have expected, and then there goes your entire playthrough. You have been warned.
  • You can talk to NPC's to distract them, or turn their view cone for thievery.
  • After finishing the first act, you unlock the ability to respec your character and change their appearance infinite times for free at the mirror.
  • After finishing the first act, you get an opportunity to change up your companions once, and if you don't like them, you can switch to hired mercenaries without stories, but they also don't have tags. There are also only a limited number of mercenaries, but you can resurrect them just like PC's.

Character Creation

  • You have the choice between creating an Origin character or a custom character. The Origin characters have their own history with their own personal Tag allowing for custom interactions between the Origin character an NPC's, and their own individual quest, and they have a fixed name and gender (and a partly customizable appearance), but they can otherwise be customized as you choose. Origin characters don't have a personal tag or an individual quest, but can have their appearance fully customized.
  • Character Presets are only suggestions. You can change almost everything from a preset. The only thing fixed by a preset, in fact, are the starting weapons found in the "Confiscated Weapons" chest.
    • Battlemage: One-Handed Axe + One-Handed Axe
    • Cleric: Mace + Shield
    • Conjurer: Wand + Shield
    • Enchanter: Staff
    • Fighter: Sword + Shield
    • Inquisitor: Two-Handed Hammer
    • Knight: Two-Handed Sword
    • Metamorph: Two-Handed Spear
    • Ranger: Bow
    • Rogue: Dagger + Dagger
    • Shadowblade: Dagger
    • Wayfarer: Crossbow
    • Witch: Dagger
    • Wizard: Wand + Wand
  • Certain quests are unable to be completed without the Scholar tag. That is the only tag which has such a restriction. Red Prince, Sebille, and Fane all start with the tag.
  • Physical-damage parties are considered easier than magic-damage parties, because nearly nothing in the game resists physical damage. Magic is perfectly viable, though.
  • Because of the physical and magical armor system, trying to have some physical and some magical damage dealers will make the game harder for you. It's better to go all one type, or hybridize--summoners can do either damage type, and scoundrels can shred magic armor, for instance. It's possible to bring casters with a physical group if they are summoners (neutral and blood incarnates do physical damage), supportive/buffing/healing rather than offensive elemental casters, and/or necromancers (necromancy does physical damage). Magic parties can have melee presence with staff wielders and summons, since warfare talents will scale with Int if you're wielding a staff.
  • Damage to armor is affected by resistances. For example, an enemy with 50 Fire Resistance and 0 Air Resistance will lose more armor when hit by an air-damage spell than a fire-damage spell of the same power.

Attributes

  • Do not split your attribute points between two different damage-boosting abilities (Strength, Intelligence, Finesse), you can only deal damage in one way at a time (either physical or magical), and it cuts your damage output making you less effective at both than a specialist. Pick only one to focus on. (The only way splitting points can work is on a Lone Wolf run.)
  • There is a hard cap of 40 on attributes. Since they start out at 10, that means you can only put a maximum of 30 points into any one attribute (or 15 level-ups worth). There is only about enough XP in the game to reach level 21 or 22, so it would take the majority of your points to cap an attribute.
  • Characters start out with 3 Memory slots and gain one free slot every two levels, meaning with no investment into Memory, at level 21, you would have a total of 13 Memory slots. Only one Unique item in the game has a boost to Memory, it does not appear on any other item.
  • Because of skill cooldowns, casters will naturally want more Memory than physical attackers. Regardless, a Memory of more than 20-25 probably means you're not investing enough points into attributes which boost your damage.
  • All regular skills require only one Memory slot. Source skills which require 2 SP to cast require two Memory slots, Source skills which require 3 SP to cast require three Memory slots, but those are the most powerful ones.

Combat Abilities

  • The most powerful skills (3 Source Point skills) only require a minimum of 5 points into any Skill school, so unless you specifically want the 3-Source Point skill for that school, you may want to consider leaving the school at 3 points, which allows you to learn all but one of the skills in that school (not counting crafted skills). That said, the 3 SP skills are some of the most powerful in the game.
  • Warfare boosts all physical damage, even daggers, bows/crossbows, and Necromancy spells.
  • Healing from Necromancy's passive bonus and skills is "neutral" and does not damage Undead. Living people under the Decaying status effect is similar, except for the Bloodsucker skill, which DOES still cause damage like regular healing.
  • Avoid Retribution and Perseverance. They need to be maxed out to be of any use, which takes half your total Combat Ability points, crippling you everywhere else. Retribution is particularly crappy because enemies have much higher HP and armor than players, and even dealing 50% of their attack damage back to them isn't very effective. Perseverance is only triggered by a handful of status effects, and doesn't restore enough armor to matter without a crippling amount of points invested.
  • Leadership grants decent bonuses to nearby allies, but it does nothing for the character who takes Leadership, and the 5-meter range requires other characters to be crammed very closely together. That limits the usefulness, and like the other defense abilities, heavy investment in Leadership sucks up a bunch of points which will lower your effectiveness at maximizing damage.
  • If you want a character to be a summoner, rush their Summoning skill to 10 as soon as possible. Grab any gear you can find with +Summoning to this end. It's worth it. Summoning falls off in power in the late game, (Definitive Edition) but in the Definitive Edition, Totems gain more power to keep up better.
  • Necromancy is worth investing in for a damage-focused warrior or rogue because it gives 10% lifesteal per point. With 5 Necromancy, you're healing back half the damage you deal, and there are plenty of utility Necromancy skills that don't need Int investment.
  • Shields are very, very strong. If a character's primary focus is on CC, support, or utility rather than damage, consider giving them a one handed weapon and a shield.
  • Prioritize getting movement abilities (Teleport, Cloak and Dagger, Phoenix Dive, Emergency Retreat, Spread Your Wings), they make combat significantly more fun.

Civil Abilities

  • Civil Abilities cap at 5 base points, but can be increased over the cap with bonuses from items. You only get a total of 6 Civil ability points throughout an average playthrough, so you can only max out one of them, and its advised to stick with a different one for each party member, and max out the chosen ability first.
  • If you plan on having your chosen main character talk to most of the people, it's advised that they take Persuasion as their chosen civil ability.
  • With the Pet Pal Talent you can talk to animals, and sometimes they have persuasion checks, so Pet Pal is often suggested as a Talent for your Persuasion character, although perhaps not enough to make it mandatory.
  • Lucky Charm (free items in containers), Bartering (4% decreased purchasing price and increased selling price per point), and Thievery (pickpocketing and lockpicking) are essentially three different ways to increase your wealth.
  • Avoid taking Sneaking and Telekinesis as Civil Ability points. Sneaking is of no use in combat, and not that difficult outside of combat, anyone can sneak without it. Telekinesis is only useful to invest in for a very specific gimmick build based around using TK to throw containers packed with as many things as possible at enemies to deal massive damage. If that's not your thing, skip it.
  • Lucky Charm is shared party-wide, all other civil skills are not.

Notable Talents

  • Lone Wolf restricts your party to 1 or 2 characters, but is EXCEEDINGLY powerful, bordering on broken thanks to getting double the value per point invested in Attributes and Combat Abilities. Use it for a game with less fiddly inventory/character management." (Definitive Edition) In the Definitive Edition, Lone Wolf has the same cap of 40/10 Attributes/Combat Abilities as anyone else, so it won't be quite as powerful in the late game.
  • Glass Cannon is tempting, but enemies will always beeline that character, so if you want to take the risk, make sure it's on someone who can be in safety and has the mobility/CC to get away, like an archer or a summoner. It's a death sentence on a melee character.
  • Your Persuasion character should be the one taking Pet Pal.
  • Good talents for a melee fighter or rogue: Opportunist, Executioner, The Pawn (mutually exclusive with Executioner), Living Armour, Comeback Kid, Picture of Health (if you plan to stack Warfare).
  • Good talents for a ranger: Executioner, Glass Cannon (if you want to take the risk), Stench (if not your Persuasion character), Hothead. AVOID Elemental Ranger and Arrow Recovery, they are not especially useful.
  • Good talents for a damage caster: Far Out Man, Mnemonic, Executioner, Savage Sortilege, Hothead (only with Savage Sortilege), Stench (if not your Persuasion character), Glass Cannon (if you want to take the risk), Elemental Affinity if you are a mage, but you'll need to stand on damaging surfaces to get the benefit for Earth, Fire, and Air spells.
  • Good talents for a summoner or utility caster: Far Out Man, Mnemonic, Stench (if not your Persuasion character), All Skilled Up (for summoners to reach Summoning 10 faster).

Crafting

  • If an item, when right-clicked, does not have "Combine" as one of the options in the pop-up menu, it is not usable in crafting. Feel free to sell it.
  • Handy Recipes:
    • Empty Potion Bottle + Penny Bun Mushroom = Small Healing Potion
    • Small Healing Potion + Small Healing Potion = Medium Healing Potion (Repeat for better versions. This also works for armor potions and poison potions)
    • Mortar & Pestle + Bone = Bone Dust
    • Mortar & Pestle + Stardust Herb = Stardust
    • Bonedust + Stardust = Pixie Dust
    • Small Rune + Small Rune (same type) + Pixie Dust = Medium Rune (Same Type. Repeat for better versions. the highest level rune will require Superior Pixie Dust )
    • Knife/Sword + Long Branch = Short Branch
    • Knife/Sword + Short Branch = Arrow Shafts (8)
    • Nails + Any Footwear = Add Immune to Slipping property added to footwear.
    • Hammer + Nails = Lockpicks (4)
    • Sheet of Paper + Earth Essence + Whisperwood = Fortify Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + Water Essence + Bluegill Mushroom = Armor of Frost Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + Water Essence + Penny Bun Mushroom = Restoration Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + Water Essence + Life Essence = Resurrection Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + High Quality Water Essence + Starfish = Healing Ritual Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + High Quality Shadow Essence + Fish Bone = Bone Cage Scroll
    • Sheet of Paper + Air Essence + Feather = Teleportation Scroll
    • Cooking Pot + Campfire = Cooking Station
    • Elemental Skillbook (Fire, Earth, Air, Water) + Non-Elemental Skillbook (everything else) = Crafted skill [1] requiring one point in each skill school.
    • If one or both of the skillbooks is a Source skillbook, it makes a more powerful Source version of the skill, requiring 2 Memory slots and 2 points in each skill school.

Vendors

  • If there's a vendor you plan to use a lot, it's worthwhile to boost their attitude towards you up to 100. You do this by giving them things without asking for anything. The amount you have to pay is not a lot, and it's fixed based on the vendor's level. It starts at about 150 gold for vendors in Fort Joy, and goes up to about 4750 gold at level 20, which is really cheap. The discount for maxed attitude is a substantial 20%.
  • Vendors stock new skillbooks starting at Player Levels 4, 9, and 16 (with a single second-tier Source Skill at level 13). It's not based on the vendor level.
  • Vendors refresh when any party member gains a level, or if you wait an hour before interacting with them.