Editor's Note: This was played on June 18th during E3, but this preview was embargoed until this date
Sitting down with Obsidian was a pleasure, and with this I got to see gameplay from Pillars of Eternity's first expansion: The White March, and it takes place east of Dyrwood. This new content is built into the game, rather than being something that happens after the story. So long as you've built up your stronghold within the story, and have reached level 7 to 13, you'll be able to begin the new quest-line. Obsidian began the quest to gain access to Durgen's Battery, what followed contained a lot of new, and updated Pillars of Eternity that has been the result of player feedback.
There's two new characters to play as: the Monk and Rogue. Each are new additions, and don't double up on character classes that already exist. The monk uses elemental powers, and the rogue is a devilish construct. There's an option to do individual stealth - which is huge, as it allows the rogue character sneak around and do recon.
Another great addition, is that of party AI. Now, you no longer have to micromanage your other party members, as they can do actions on their own. Though, you can direct their actions to be more aggressive or supportive, this is done on a per class basis, and allows you to free up your mind for other tasks.
Next, Obsidian showed off their extended scripted interactions. You will be able to make decisions during these events that can affect their outcome. There's even times to be able to cast spells from your character pool to help in certain situations.
Locations of the base Pillars of Eternity were clearly inspired by Baldur's Gate, but now with The White March - Part 1, it is evident that these locations are inspired by Icewind Dale. Rather than Obsidian make a separate game that made that connection, it's just here as an expansion. As per another player request, was that they enabled cross-class talents. Now, when you level up, you can create new, crazy builds that you wouldn't be able to create elsewhere. Weapons have this cool ability to be soulbound, and imbue special benefits as you continue to use them.
Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 1 is "coming soon" I'm told, with no specific release date at this time. There will be a Part 2, and that will conclude The White March content.