Baldur’s Gate 3 Beginner Tips
Baldur’s Gate 3 went live into the gaming scene in 2020 as an Early Access title. Fast forward to 2023, and it still doesn’t have a full release window. The Baldur’s Gate games have always been based on Dungeons & Dragons, so it’s no surprise that the third game would adhere to the most recent edition of the popular tabletop role-playing game.
If you’re familiar with the 5th edition of D&D, you’ll feel right at home as you head to Faerun to start your adventure. But if you’re not, Baldur’s Gate 3 can be intimidating. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the Early Access title’s perils, the quirks of combat, and a crash course on how Dungeons & Dragons work in a video game.
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You don’t need to worry about mechanics because Baldur’s Gate 3 does all the heavy lifting for you since it’s a video game. When diving into character creation, you don’t need to look for your dice or print actual character sheets. However, you’re more than welcome to do so if that makes you feel more immersed.
Baldur’s Gate 3 and its engine have everything you’d need in a D&D game, including a dice roller, character sheets, and a Dungeon Master (DM). All you have to do is to click on stuff to activate all these things. Your character in the game will interact with the world based on their stats, known as Abilities and Skills, and dice rolls.
Your Abilities and Skills are categorized as follows:
Abilities can then be distributed using a 20-point scale. 1 being the lowest, 10 being average, and 20 as the highest. These inform your Skills; for example, if your character has high Charisma, you’ll excel at Performance. But if you have high Strength, you’re automatically excellent at Athletics.
One of the more interesting things about Baldur Gate’s combat system is that it has an integrated system wherein you can partake in many standard actions in and out of combat. One of these is the ability to shove. The action sounds precisely what it does, but did you know you can apply it in different scenarios that could benefit you?
For starters, you can use it as a defense mechanism. You can disengage by shoving away melee enemies without letting the foes trigger an opportunity attack. Plus, you can use it to reposition your character. Another way to use the shove ability is by waking up incapacitated or sleeping NPCs. This’ll wake them up instantly; you can use it to reposition your allies even if it’s not their turn. You’ll often see enemies often do this if you try to put them to sleep.
Shoving can also be used to exploit Baldur Gate 3’s verticality. Fall damage is enabled in the game, and it’s a prescient threat should you find an enemy on a tall ledge. You can use shove on an enemy to deal massive damage. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to gain higher ground against ranged combatants.
Grease is one of the most useful spells in the entire game. You might scoff at it, considering it’s only a spell that makes enemies fall over, but once they’re tripped, characters must spend time and resources just to get back up. This ruins their action economy, giving you ample time and opportunity to do what needs to be done.
Despite being around for three years, Grease is a powerful spell that the Wizards can learn. For those that aren’t Wizards—fear not—for there are Grease Bottles you can throw to anyone to stimulate the effects. Should an enemy walk over it, they’ll have to roll a Dexterity-saving throw or become knock-prone, thus wasting their turn.
If you think the usefulness of Grease stops there, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s another benefit. Grease creates a flammable surface, and you can use it to connect sources of fire, set up fire traps together with spells like Fire Bolt, and create explosions.
In (sort of) the same vein as how you can use Grease, the environment in Baldur’s Gate 3 can be manipulated in and out of combat. You can move heavy objects such as barrels and crates if your character has high Strength.
Furthermore, there’s the option of combining areas that affect environments and spells to do big damage numbers. Grease isn’t the only spell you can use to take advantage of your surroundings; this tactic also applies to water, lightning, and many others.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has an autosave function, but that doesn’t mean you should rely too much on it. Remember—the game is still in Early Access, making it possible for your save to get corrupted by sudden crashes or bugs. That said, it’s best if you make it a point to save manually often.