Dungeons & Dragons fans can rejoice: Baldur’s Gate 3 is on the way, and after what we saw at Summer Game Fest 2023, August can’t come soon enough. With detailed character creation and robust, turn-based combat systems, we’re confident it’ll make our list of the best RPGs of the year. Among the litany of new games of 2023, this is one we’ve had our eye on for awhile, since the game has been in early access for quite some time now. That means we already have plenty of confirmed details to share with you in terms of classes, romance systems, companions, and more.
It’s taken a long time for Baldur’s Gate 3 to come to fruition. The ill-fated first attempt made by Black Isle Studios, one of the co-creators of the first two games, ended up being shelved after the developer shut down in 2003. It was only when IP holder and publisher Wizards of the Coast finally passed the mantle to Larian Studios that Baldur’s Gate 3 made its coup de grâce. It’s already in top shape from what we’ve seen and played of the beta so far, but here’s everything we know about the fantastical world of Baldur’s Gate 3.
Baldur’s Gate 3 news
- Baldur’s Gate 3 preview: the closest we’ve ever come to a full simulation of D&D
- Baldur’s Gate 3 dev isn’t sweating Starfield comparisons: “There aren’t enough RPGs”
- The true best class in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the Monk, according to its lead writer
- Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t mind if you sleep with a Druid while he’s turned into a grizzly bear
Baldur’s Gate 3 release date
If you’ve been enjoying it in early access, we have great news: Baldur’s Gate 3 will launch on August 3 for PC with the Baldur’s Gate PS5 launch still set for September 6, 2023. It is also set to release for Mac, though that does not yet have a release date.
The developer announced that it would be moving up BG3’s PC launch date by a few weeks, effectively moving it out of the way in part due to its coinciding with Xbox-exclusive Starfield‘s release just days later.
Larian revealed the Baldur’s Gate 3 release date during the latest Sony State of Play livestream, where a new trailer was screened to make the announcement. In a follow-up blog post, the developer breaks down the contents of the trailer, including sharing behind the scenes footage of American actor JK Simmons’ role in voicing antagonist General Ketherick Thorm.
Baldur’s Gate 3 platforms
Baldur’s Gate 3 is set to launch on PS5, Mac, and PC, but there’s discussion of other platforms coming up, while others have been pretty firmly rules out. If you’re wondering is Baldur’s Gate 3 on PS5, Xbox and Switch?, we can explain what consoles and platforms you’ll need in the attached guide.
Baldur’s Gate 3 classes
If you’re hoping to suss out the best Baldur’s Gate 3 class before the game’s full release, you’ll have quite the list to narrow down. Right now, these are all the character Classes confirmed for Baldur’s Gate 3, as seen in early access copies:
- Monk (not in early access, but expected in final version)
The Bard class is a newer addition to the ranks, allowing your character to “hurl pithy one-liners at your enemies or play songs with your companions by the campfire.” It was added to the game in Patch 8: Of Valour and Love, along with the Gnomes race and cosmetic hair upgrades.
Baldur’s Gate 3 companions
The Baldur’s Gate 3 companions are NPCs that can accompany your character on their adventure once they are recruited to your party. As you recruit them, you will learn that each companion has their own abilities, stats, and equipment all influenced by unique character backstories.
Although the feature is not enabled in early access, we will have an option during Character Creation to select an Origin. Origins are modeled after the five companions, so this means that we would essentially play the game through the perspective of your chosen Origin, using the companion’s character sheet information, stats, and Background features.
Here’s every companion we know of so far in Baldur’s Gate 3:
- Astarion the High Elf Rogue
- Shadowheart the High Half-Elf Trickster
- Gale the Human Wizard
- Lae’zel the Githyanki Fighter
- Wyll the Human Warlock
Baldur’s Gate 3 romance
There’s no shortage of Baldur’s Gate 3 romances, with six already in the game and potentially more to follow. Larian describes this potential for love in the game as “reactive systems all throughout the journey of a relationship,” along with “hundreds of permutations that define where a relationship heads.”
As you interact with your companions, they will form opinions of you based on your actions, dialogue choices, and who you choose to form alliances with in-game. Romancing some companions might have a negative impact on your relationships with others, so be aware of that when you settle down to make camp each night.
According to the early access version, there are 6 romance options in Baldur’s Gate 3:
- Minthara (romanceable NPC, not a companion)
After your character is created, you’ll also get to select “who do you dream of?” and “who attracts you?”. These won’t limit or restrict who you can romance later in the game, but the tadpole in your brain will take this form in order to talk to you in your dreams.
Baldur’s Gate 3 races
Being a Dungeons & Dragons spin-off, it makes sense that Baldur’s Gate 3 features the same character Race system. Your Race dictates your innate strengths, weaknesses, and abilities, allowing you to further tailor your builds according to your preferred playstyle.
Here is every Race and subrace you can choose to play as in Baldur’s Gate 3:
- Asmodeus Tiefling
- Deep Gnome
- Drow Half-Elf
- Forest Gnome
- Gold Dwarf
- High Elf
- High Half-Elf
- Lightfoot Halfling
- Lolth-Sworn Drow
- Mephistopheles Tiefling
- Rock Gnome
- Seldarine Drow
- Shield Dwarf
- Strongheart Halfling
- Wood Elf
- Zariel Tiefling
There’s no such thing as one single best race in Baldur’s Gate 3, simply because each Race lends itself well to a particular style. It’s all down to preference, and we’ll get into more of that next.
Baldur’s Gate 3 builds
The foundation of combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 is your build, and creating a strong build is a fine balancing act. You’ll be investing six total points into six Ability areas, namely Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma. Then you’ll be fleshing out your starting Skills, which are largely influenced by your race.
Your character sheet lets you map out who you are in the game, which skills you have, and how you can use them to suit your chosen gameplay style. Whether you love melee or ranged combat, you need to make sure you know your Class and Race matchups for optimal efficiency since you can’t gain too many Ability Points after creating your character.
Start with selecting your Class first and then choose a complementary Race or subrace. For example, Wood Elves and Half-Elves are a good matchup with the Rogue class, since they add Dexterity, Wisdom, and Stealth proficiencies to your stats that will help your sneaky Rogue flourish. If you’re playing a Cleric Class on the other hand, you’ll want to select a Race that gives you extra Wisdom points.
Baldur’s Gate 3 character creation
Before you even get started in exploring the Forgotten Realms, you’ll get to arguably the most important and enjoyable part of any RPG: creating your character. Your playable character is fully customizable, allowing you to select gender, race, and physical attributes, including over 150 heads to choose from. Once you’ve customized your appearance you can then move on to selecting your Class and Race, as described earlier in this guide.
You will also get to select some Background traits, and each Background will give you two features apiece. Like with Races, certain Backgrounds lend themselves well to certain Classes. You’d want your Bard to be an Entertainer, for an example. Here are the Backgrounds you can choose, and the features they will give you:
- Acolyte (Insight and Religion Proficiency)
- Charlatan (Deception and Sleight of Hand Proficiency)
- Criminal (Deception and Stealth Proficiency)
- Entertainer (Acrobatics and Performance Proficiency)
- Folk Hero (Animal Handling and Survival Proficiency)
- Guild Artisan (Insight and Persuasion Proficiency)
- Noble (History and Persuasion Proficiency)
- Hermit (Medicine and Religion Proficiency)
- Outlander (Athletic and Survival Proficiency)
- Sage (Arcana and History Proficiency)
- Sailor (Athletics and Perception Proficiency)
- Soldier (Athletics and Intimidation Proficiency)
- Urchin (Sleight of Hand and Stealth Proficiency)
Remember, if you choose an Origin for your character during Character Customization, your Abilities, Class, Race, and Backgrounds will all mirror the character sheet of the selected companion.
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