Baldur’s Gate 3 is finally available for PC after spending nearly three years in early access. It’s a massive experience, with a lot to remember when trying to survive the various threats Faerûn has to offer. Here are 15 things you should know which will make your journey somewhat easier.
Attack Rolls, Saving Throws and More
If you crossed over from any other role-playing game – you’ll notice terms like Attack Rolls, Critical Hits and Misses, Saving Throws, and whatnot. What do they mean? A “roll” is when the 20-sided die is played for various actions. In combat, depending on the result, your attack may be successful. Ability Score Modifiers, Proficiency Bonuses, the enemy’s armor class and more influence it, and if an Attack Roll fails, the target either takes no damage, dodges the attack, etc. A Critical Miss is when the game rolls a 1, so your attack fails no matter what, and a Critical Hit is a perfect 20, which succeeds in all circumstances.
Weapons and some spells require an Attack Roll. Certain spells like Magic Missile don’t, and will always hit the enemy. In the latter’s case, a Saving Throw comes into play where the enemy can avoid the attack or reduce its damage. You also have Advantages and Disadvantages, which essentially roll twice. If you have the Advantage, the higher roll is used, which is good. Disadvantage means using the lower roll, which is not ideal. This only scratches the surface of combat, mind you.
But wait, there’s more. You also have Ability Checks, which rely on the Ability Score Modifier. It’s commonly used, in addition to Proficiency, when it comes to a Skill Check. A Skill Check includes investigating a point of interest (which ties into Intelligence), sensing nearby hidden objects (related to Wisdom) and so on.
A die is then rolled – if you have enough Wisdom, then its Ability Score Modifier is used, but if you have Proficiency to that specific action – like Perception – then it’s added as a bonus to the roll, further increasing the chances of success. You have different types of Proficiency based on the class, Feat and race, so there’s plenty of room to play around.
The “Best” Class
This one will undoubtedly pop up for anyone baffled by the different classes and subclasses (don’t even get us started on the races and subraces). The answer will always depend on one’s preferred playstyle – if you’re going melee, then Barbarian or Fighter, perhaps even the Monk though it’s still somewhat untested. If you prefer range, then Ranger – for stealth and stabbing, the Rogue. However, there are also options like Druid with shapeshifting and magic; Cleric with multiple support, healing and other utilities; and much more. Experiment with what you like best, especially since multiclassing and respeccing are available. Worse comes worse, use a Sorcerer since Metamagic is ridiculous, Haste allows casting two spells every turn, and much more.
Regardless of your build, stealth is very good. It can provide an Advantage before a fight, and with enough preparation beforehand, you can resolve battles quickly. Of course, having a Rogue on hand to steal from enemies and Sneak Attack to quickly slay targets is also pretty great.
Don’t skip out on rest. Short rests are good for recovering health, Spell Slots and Weapon Actions, and are usable between intense battles. Long Rests require 40 Camp Supplies (which are plentiful as you scour the world), but they restore all your HP, Spell Slots, Short Rests, and more. They also provide interactions with companions at the Campsite. If you lack Camp Supplies, go for a Partial Long Rest instead to restore half HP and Spell Slots.
Trade With NPCs
Trade is a big deal, with vendors serving as a great means to sell unwanted loot and acquire better gear. However, you should also pay attention to regular NPCs, since you can trade with them. They may not have much Gold to buy your wares or possess Epic loot, but they can provide Potions and other resources when needed.
Illithid Powers become available as the party picks up more Illithid tadpoles. Each provides a Skill Point to unlock the powers in question, which range from attacks like Psionic Overload and Concentrated Blast to passives. Eventually, you unlock passives like Charm, Luck of the Far Realms (which changes a successful Attack Roll into a Critical Hit) and more. Not all of your companions will approve of using the Illithid tadpoles, and some – like Jaheira – don’t have access to the Powers since they’re not under their influence, so keep that in mind.
Interact With Everything
Get comfortable with the Left Alt key – hold it down often to see what can be interacted with. Scrounge through barrels and corpses for items and materials, or check for books and notes. You can even interact with candles for light (more on that in a bit). On the flip side, explore as much as possible. Some things are hidden and aren’t visible until you perform a Perception Check. If an area looks like it’s traversal, go there and see what crops up. Even if you fail a Perception Check, you can still dig around for rewards.
Pick up Everything
Pick up everything – don’t worry about weight limits, since you can send them to the Traveller’s Chest in Camp. Because this is a Larian Studios game, you can pick up chests and barrels and take them. If you left your lockpicks at Camp, take a locked chest back and open it there. Alternatively, smash it open with physical attacks.
The Importance of Light
There are some dark areas to explore in Baldur’s Gate 3, and your accuracy will suffer. Regardless if you have DarkVision (which has a range and shouldn’t be too heavily leaned on), keep some torches or spells that provide illumination (like Light which turns your weapon into a glowstick). Alternatively, set a few fires to brighten your surroundings.
Incompatible Gear and Penalties
Be careful when equipping certain items on characters that don’t have any Proficiency for the same. If your Sorcerer has heavier armor, their Armor Class may go up, but they suffer penalties (like being unable to cast spells). It’s also dangerous for characters like Astarion since he can’t perform any Sneak Attacks. Keep a close eye on the gear and its effect before slapping it on a party member.
Help and Dash
Among the many bonus actions that you have, Help is vital. It’s used to raise downed allies and can cure statuses like Sleep and Webbed. Another useful bonus action is Dash since it doubles the movement distance and can help speed up certain situations.
Jump uses movement points, but it can often be preferable to simply pointing and clicking on a location for your characters to move to. Environmental hazards can ensnare a character or cause damage, like fiery areas or acid pools. Just jump over them, no problem. Even better is the fact that it’s a bonus action, and characters with high Strength can jump even further than regular movement allows.
Do you lack any means to heal your allies? Didn’t recruit Shadowheart into your party, choose a Cleric, etc.? The good news is that you can still use Potions. While it may seem impossible – since your character usually drinks the Potion – there is an option to throw them. If an ally falls, throw a Potion to get them back up. If two party members are close together, one Potion can heal them both, which is nice. Just be
Let Things Happen
Sometimes, you fail a roll, a spell goes awry, and your clever set-ups aren’t nearly as flawless as you thought. Don’t be sad or, more importantly, immediately reload. The failures make combat more fun, encouraging experimentation as you work out different adjustments. Throw a body at your enemies. Collapse a part of the environment. Shove them. Of course, this also applies to the story – take things as they come and enjoy the ride.