Baldur’s Gate 3 is proving to be a colossal hit for Larian, which undoubtedly means that many of you are completely new to the mysterious world of the Forgotten Realms. While our Baldur’s Gate 3 review can give you the lowdown on why it’s so special, there’s still a lot the RPG game doesn’t tell you that you need to be aware of. This goes for how you approach a game like Baldur’s Gate 3, and no, it isn’t quite the same as The Witcher or Skyrim – in no small part due to its D&D influences.
As someone who’s new to Baldur’s Gate and Dungeons and Dragons that has put around 30 hours into the Forgotten Realms, getting some tips when I was starting out would have been a huge help. While choosing your Baldur’s Gate 3 classes at the very start of the game makes it abundantly clear this is, in fact, a role-playing game, there are still some key differences that you’ll want to bear in mind (pun intended).
This is where Larian’s director of publishing Michael Douse comes in, as he’s done a Twitter thread on how BG3 fits in the CRPG genre, and how you should approach it differently. With the Baldur’s Gate 3 reactions feature being pretty well hidden, and a lot of the game not really explained to you, these tips from Larian are a great help.
“If you’re coming into BG3 completely new, and you’re not used to this genre I can give you one tip: worry less about closing out quests and winning fights, and instead focus on exploring, toying with the tools & systems, remembering to take it slow and trust the dice.”
Douse’s first piece of advice about “closing out quests” is a very important one. Baldur’s Gate 3 is not like Skyrim, where almost all of the quests happen in isolation and you follow markers to cross them off. Many Baldur’s Gate 3 quests are interlinked and not about completing them a specific way, as such, but instead exploring and finding solutions that don’t have waypoints.
If you have a quest like “help the goblins kill a grove of refugees,” for example, you don’t have to do that, and can instead complete the quest with a more creative, or antithetical, solution. You don’t really even need to know all the deep D&D and Baldur’s Gate 3 lore to get through scenarios like this either, although I’m sure that knowledge can help set up creative solutions.
“It’s not a game about heading to a waypoint and clearing the map for a reward,” Douse continues. “It’s a game about both narratively and systemically overcoming challenges using your wits & creativity. You’ll be rewarded in areas you least expect it, as you start to own the narrative. Agency!
“Talk to animals. Talk to the undead. If you can, find out how. Something locked? ‘Knock’ inaccessible? Stack crates. Turn into gas. Shrink. Grow! Everything you think you can’t do, you quite possibly can. Trust yourself, and trust the dice. It reacts to your success & failures.”
Let’s build on this with the example of a locked door. For most of them, you can either lockpick them and rely on a dice roll, use a key you’ve found, find a spell that helps you go through it, or use a weapon and do damage until you literally break it into little pieces.
I don’t want to spoil some of the incredible character moments I’ve had as a Dragonborn Druid (and I’m sure you’ll have completely different ones), but if you’re new to the genre you’ve got to rewire how you play RPGs a little, and instead just do whatever feels right and be creative with your ideas – exactly how D&D works.
If you’re just diving in and want some more guidance, we’ve got you covered with a breakdown of each Baldur’s Gate 3 companion, alongside the length of Baldur’s Gate 3 too, so you know how much time you’ll sink into this game.