Getting Started with Baldur’s Gate 3: A Beginner’s Guide

Baldur’s Gate 3 has finally launched worldwide after a long development and early access period. The game is massive, with an impressive 174 hours of cutscenes and over 17,000 possible ending variations. As formal reviews take time to emerge, here are some tips, tricks, and thoughts from my limited experience with the game to help you navigate the first 20 hours or so of gameplay. Enjoy the adventure!

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Ensure Your System Meets the Recommended Specifications

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a large game, consuming about 120 GB of storage. My three-year-old computer, equipped with an Intel i5-10400, 16 GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660, falls between the minimum and recommended specifications. Although I haven’t experienced major performance issues, the game is undeniably resource-intensive, evident from the constant whirring of my desktop fans. To fully enjoy the game, ensure you have a capable rig or consider waiting for its console release. The PS5 launch is on September 6th, while the Xbox launch will be at a later date.

Ensure that your system exceeds the minimum requirements to run it smoothly.

During its three-year early access phase, Baldur’s Gate 3 allowed fans to experience parts of the game while providing Larian Studios with additional time and resources to complete this monumental project, as reported in a Bloomberg profile on the game’s development. Now that the game is officially live, Larian advises players to delete their in-game Early Access save files to prevent potential save corruption issues. They also suggest uninstalling any mods and reinstalling the game now that it’s in its final version. The compatibility of early access mods with the live game has not been confirmed yet. You may want to take these precautions to ensure a smooth transition into the official launch version of BG3.

Embrace Proactive Precautions: Saving Early, Securing Often, and Accepting Mortality

One major frustration I have with BG3 is its infrequent autosaves, combined with the relatively high risk of party members dying, leading to a challenging early game experience.

Unlike many other games that ease players in with consecutive easy encounters, Baldur’s Gate 3 demands a different approach. It closely emulates Dungeons and Dragons, where combat can be unpredictable and deadly. For instance, in one of my early adventures, I encountered three seemingly low-level goblins enjoying some drinks. I thought it would be an easy victory, considering our advantage, but that turned out to be far from the truth.

During the surprise round, my party missed most of their attacks, and one goblin’s unexpected actions resulted in a chain reaction, leading to an explosive barrel causing our untimely demise. It’s a reminder that BG3 is more akin to playing a true D&D campaign, where careful strategy and a cautious approach are essential for survival.

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Frequent saving is your friend

A single unfortunate dice roll turned my situation from fine to FUBAR in an instant. What’s more frustrating is that Baldur’s Gate doesn’t follow the “restart at the beginning of an encounter” approach (which it really should!), and my last autosave was a good 10 minutes back. Not only in combat but also during interactions with NPCs, it’s easy to make a wrong decision and find yourself facing unexpected consequences, like a bear attacking Astarion.

To maintain your sanity and keep your party members safe, save frequently— you can even do it mid-combat! Your diligent saving will be a lifesaver in challenging situations, allowing you to recover from potential disasters and enjoy a smoother gaming experience.

Letting Go: Embracing Life Without Sweating the Small or Big Stuff

For newcomers, Baldur’s Gate 3 can be overwhelmingly intimidating due to the multitude of races, classes, subclasses, domains, archetypes, and spells to choose from.

Tell the truth, even I can’t precisely depict half of what my party should do. I mainly rely on Gale, Wyll, and my sorcerer for ranged attacks, while Lae’zel and Astarion handle close combat, and Shadowheart takes care of healing. Despite my limited knowledge, the game does an excellent job of presenting my party’s abilities and the right conditions to make them effective when needed.

As a first-time rogue player, BG3 taught me how to maximize Astarion’s potential by attacking from stealth or when the enemies are distracted. Initially, I underestimated Shadowheart’s value, but the game highlighted her Guidance ability, making her indispensable for handling tricky situations with persuasion.

When faced with a deluge of class, subclass, feats, traits, and spell descriptions, don’t stress too much. Pick what sounds interesting, and the game will guide you through the rest. It’s a flexible game, allowing you to build a party for combat while still enjoying successful role-playing experiences.

There’s so much more to discuss about Baldur’s Gate 3, but this should serve as a helpful starting point for newcomers. Best of luck, have fun, and remember to save your game frequently!

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