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News Baldur’s Gate 3 is Split into Multiple Huge Regions, Custom Characters are Fully Developed.

IbizaPocholo

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Larian head honcho Swen Vincke, producer David Walgrave, BG3 lead writer Adam Smith, and more took to Reddit to participate in an AMA. They covered a wide range of topics, some of which will only be of interest to hardcore D&D nerds, but I collected up some of the more interesting revelations, below.

First up, Walgrave spoke briefly about the size and scope of the Baldur’s Gate 3 world, implying it won’t quite be an open world, but a series of large staging areas…

Swen Vincke provided some additional detail about the world’s layout.


The small portion of the adventure we’ve shown takes place many miles East of Baldur’s Gate, and the initial journey will take players along the banks of the river Chionthar, and surrounding wilderness and settlements, toward BG and the coast. You won’t be walking the whole way to BG in real-time, so there will be several large, open regions. Later, you’ll visit the city of Baldur’s Gate itself, of course. Other places I’m not going to spoil for you because discovery and exploration are part of the joy.

One subject that was clearly of concern to fans participating in the AMA was custom characters. Of course, D&D is all about rolling your own character, but the BG3 demo we saw focused on a pre-determined “Origin” character. So, the question is, will custom characters have the same depth as Origin characters? Or are you better off playing with Larian’s creations?


This is our campaign, but it's absolutely your adventure. The small amount of gameplay we've shown focused on one of our Origin characters, but whether you roll a custom or Origin character, the choices you make and the actions you take carry the same weight. In Baldur’s Gate 3, ‘Origin characters’ are basically fully-fledged companions, that you can optionally play. Even if you’re not playing as an Origin, you can explore their backstories and personal quests by having them in your party. Custom characters will see the world react to them based on their chosen race, class and background. Creating a character gives a sense of who you are, but the heart of the game’s reactivity is based on what you do after character creation

Writer Adam Smith provided some more detail on how Larian is handling custom characters.


This isn’t [Divinity: Original Sin II]. In BG3, custom characters have a much stronger connection to the world and the main arc of the story - whether they’re from Baldur’s Gate, further afield, or somewhere else entirely (hey, githyanki). The campaign is much more reactive to your actions - when we say there are serious consequences to your choices, we really mean it - and as you move through your adventure, you’ll discover quest-lines and stories that relate directly to the character you’re roleplaying, and the things that you’ve done. We’re confident that you won’t feel short-changed in terms of narrative breadth and depth if you choose to play as a custom character- we love our Origins, but this campaign is built for all of you.

Speaking of customs, it seems like BG3 will have quite a deep character creator.


After you select a race and a class, you could be all set and ready to go, but if you want to, you can dive in deeper, and change all the abilities, spells, skills, cantrips… and customize visuals. You will be able to select a face type, hairdo, facial hair, skin colour. I cannot give numbers or details, because it's still a work in progress, but there won't be sliders. We have more diversity in creation than in any other game we’ve done before. You'll be able to mix and match a wide variety of defaults, to create something unique.

Back to Origin characters, it sounds like there will be quite a few of them, and it doesn’t end there! You’ll also be able to recruit more generic mercenaries for your team.

We are trying to make all characters with backstory available as origin characters. Other than that, you will be able to recruit generic mercenaries and customize these. We’re also planning to allow you to build a custom party from the character creation screen though that most likely won’t be present in early access from the get go.

Those were the main things covered by the AMA, but here’s a few more quickie answers. Will all D&D classes be available at launch?


Yes, all classes from 5e Player’s Handbook will be included at launch. In Early Access you’ll be able to play as a Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock or Wizard.

Can you create an entire custom party?


We’re planning to allow you to build a custom party from the character creation screen though that most likely won’t be present in early access from the get go.

Will modding be available at launch?


We're focusing first on developing and finishing the main campaign, once we have some space, we can talk about that.

What’s the initial level cap going to be?


We’re planning to cover levels 1 through 10 in full release.

 

Lanrutcon

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We’re planning to cover levels 1 through 10 in full release.
Levels 1 through 10? That's a pity.

If you're not familiar with 5E, the ruleset the game is using, your character is essentially useless until level 3. It's only at level 5 where actually become competent, and level 6 gives most classes something iconic to use. Level 7 is a dead level for almost all martial classes, but full spellcasters get their level 4 spells. Level 8 is your second ASI, 9 is your level 3 spells for partial /5 for full casters, and level 10 is a pretty arbitrary place to stop.

So with that level cap, you know that: level 5 spells at maximum (Animate Objects!), and that caster multiclassing is probably a bad idea. Martials will still have a field day (Pal 6/Hexblade X cheese ahoy).

Yes, all classes from 5e Player’s Handbook will be included at launch. In Early Access you’ll be able to play as a Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock or Wizard.

But all the classes aren't in the 5e Player's Handbook, and archetypes are just as important and spread across several different books. What about UA? Class Variants? Xanathar's is huge...is that going to be in? I feel like whoever asked the class question asked the wrong thing.
 

Ivory Blood

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Level 10 max? Wow. That's REALLY low - like BG 1 low.

They been hyping this as an epic adventure that will change the face of the setting and all, but I call bullshit on those claims.

Also build variety will suffer a lot - what can you do with 10 levels of wizard or warrior?
 

Metnut

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Only 9 level ups sounds pretty bad for an RPG. Not a D&D guy so maybe there’s some reason why this is good that I’m missing.
 

Lanrutcon

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Level 10 max? Wow. That's REALLY low - like BG 1 low.

They been hyping this as an epic adventure that will change the face of the setting and all, but I call bullshit on those claims.

Also build variety will suffer a lot - what can you do with 10 levels of wizard or warrior?

Wizard...you have a single level extra to play with. Can't multiclass beyond that or you lose access to the most powerful spells in the game (level 9 gets you 5th level slots). So pure Diviner or Evoker, really. There is no single class dip that rewards a Wizard.

Fighter can play around a bit. Since you can't get to level 11, you never get 3 attacks a round...so you might as well just head to 5 and then pick up some Ranger or something. People don't play Fighters and then multiclass into something else...you generally play something else and dip Fighter for Battle Manauver dice, expanded crit or Action Surge.
 

DunDunDunpachi

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Level 10 max? Wow. That's REALLY low - like BG 1 low.

They been hyping this as an epic adventure that will change the face of the setting and all, but I call bullshit on those claims.

Also build variety will suffer a lot - what can you do with 10 levels of wizard or warrior?
Nothing inherently wrong with de-emphasizing level gains in favor of equipment or knowledge or whatever.

Plus it's truer to an AD&D experience:

Simplifying things, levels 1-4 you gain a level every 4 hours of play and levels 5+ you gain a level every 8 hours of play. This is of course unless you are doing slow leveling. If you are leveling slowly double how long it would take you to reach the next level.
Some groups have longer sessions that are less productive and are less experienced than the veterans out there.
There are many reasons why there isn’t a universal answer to how long should it take to level in D&D.
With this in mind, there are some things to consider.

There are 4 leveling tiers to keep in mind. Each tier should get harder to level, but it doesn’t have to.
  • Tier 1- Levels 1-4
  • Tier 2- Levels 5-10
  • Tier 3- Levels 11-16
  • Tier 4- Levels 17-20
Tier 1 is where you are just local heroes or bumpkins. Tier 2 is where you start to really make a name for yourselves and become heroes of a big city or have made a small name for yourselves in the nation you are in. Tier 3 is where you are 1 of the best groups or individuals in a kingdom. And Tier 4 is where you are 1 of the best groups or individuals in the whole freakin world!
Some people even take years in order to gain a level in tier 4. This carries over from 2nd edition where you had a difficult time getting past level 10.
Based on these rough guidelines, playing from lvl 1 to 10 would take an AD&D player approximately 64 hours.
 
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Ivory Blood

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Well, I guess mind flayers are CR7 monsters...

But still, I think that this level cap is too low, not just from a perspective of D&D mechanics, but also the story - that just like in BG1 it will all end on a big cliffhanger and a promise of a sequel/expansion that will finally allow you to deal with the real shit.

Of course I'll buy it anyway but these news, combined with their refusal to get rid of the worst style of dialogue I've ever seen in a CRPG deflated my hype significantly.
 

Lanrutcon

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Nothing inherently wrong with de-emphasizing level gains in favor of equipment or knowledge or whatever.

Plus it's truer to an AD&D experience:

Simplifying things, levels 1-4 you gain a level every 4 hours of play and levels 5+ you gain a level every 8 hours of play. This is of course unless you are doing slow leveling. If you are leveling slowly double how long it would take you to reach the next level.
Some groups have longer sessions that are less productive and are less experienced than the veterans out there.
There are many reasons why there isn’t a universal answer to how long should it take to level in D&D.
With this in mind, there are some things to consider.

There are 4 leveling tiers to keep in mind. Each tier should get harder to level, but it doesn’t have to.
  • Tier 1- Levels 1-4
  • Tier 2- Levels 5-10
  • Tier 3- Levels 11-16
  • Tier 4- Levels 17-20
Tier 1 is where you are just local heroes or bumpkins. Tier 2 is where you start to really make a name for yourselves and become heroes of a big city or have made a small name for yourselves in the nation you are in. Tier 3 is where you are 1 of the best groups or individuals in a kingdom. And Tier 4 is where you are 1 of the best groups or individuals in the whole freakin world!
Some people even take years in order to gain a level in tier 4. This carries over from 2nd edition where you had a difficult time getting past level 10.
Based on these rough guidelines, playing from lvl 1 to 10 would take an AD&D player approximately 64 hours.

No, that's nativity right there. Let me tell you about the actual tabletop experience:

  • Levels 1 - 3: everyone races through these in a single session or two because these are the most played levels. You're essentially useless, you don't even have the trademark abilities your class should have (your Fighter can attack as often with his weapon as the Wizard can, your Ranger doesn't have an animal companion, your Paladin can't cast magic, etc). Nobody likes these. They're the tutorial. Everyone, including the GM, wants to get through this stuff so he can stop throwing giant rats and Goblins at the party.

  • Levels 4 - 6: still part of the most played levels, and you're still limited to the basics. It's only when you hit level 5 that your character is actually a character. You've picked your archetype (again: just as important as your class) and you've received your first bump in power: multiple attacks per round, or level 3 spells. Now you're actually that guy you imagined you would be playing.

  • Levels 7 - 11: most published material ends here because beyond this, there are essentially a hundred variables to consider when attempting to balance every encounter. Your party has tools for everything. You stop being adventurers, you start being heroes. This is where everyone wants to be. You're lucky if your group gets here before splitting up over girlfriend drama. Sure, Dave, she can play with. What? Why does she have a +5 sword? Fuck you, Dave.

If the majority of the game is levels 1 to 6, then whoa boy. What the fuck.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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No, that's nativity right there. Let me tell you about the actual tabletop experience:

  • Levels 1 - 3: everyone races through these in a single session or two because these are the most played levels. You're essentially useless, you don't even have the trademark abilities your class should have (your Fighter can attack as often with his weapon as the Wizard can, your Ranger doesn't have an animal companion, your Paladin can't cast magic, etc). Nobody likes these. They're the tutorial. Everyone, including the GM, wants to get through this stuff so he can stop throwing giant rats and Goblins at the party.

  • Levels 4 - 6: still part of the most played levels, and you're still limited to the basics. It's only when you hit level 5 that your character is actually a character. You've picked your archetype (again: just as important as your class) and you've received your first bump in power: multiple attacks per round, or level 3 spells. Now you're actually that guy you imagined you would be playing.

  • Levels 7 - 11: most published material ends here because beyond this, there are essentially a hundred variables to consider when attempting to balance every encounter. Your party has tools for everything. You stop being adventurers, you start being heroes. This is where everyone wants to be. You're lucky if your group gets here before splitting up over girlfriend drama. Sure, Dave, she can play with. What? Why does she have a +5 sword? Fuck you, Dave.

If the majority of the game is levels 1 to 6, then whoa boy. What the fuck.
Sure, my comparison isn't perfect, I was just showing that the timeline doesn't have to center around level gains. It's an RPG, not a Diablo clone. They could scale "Level 1" to be on par with level 5 (because as you pointed out, 1 - 4 is pretty much the tutorial in tabletop AD&D).
 

nikolino840

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Hope there's something like pillars with ropes,i've liked those mechanical that you need ropes or try to climb etc..
 

ClanOfNone

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iirc, og Baldur's Gate didn't have a level cap, it was an experience cap. Most people seem to beat the first game around level 6-7, depending on character class. I think this is expanded slightly for the dlc.
Generating a new character for a BG2 run usually starts them at level 7 as well.
 

Handel

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They'll likely create content for the higher levels, it's just that in practice the vast majority of campaigns don't go past lv10.

No, that's nativity right there. Let me tell you about the actual tabletop experience:

  • Levels 1 - 3: everyone races through these in a single session or two because these are the most played levels. You're essentially useless, you don't even have the trademark abilities your class should have (your Fighter can attack as often with his weapon as the Wizard can, your Ranger doesn't have an animal companion, your Paladin can't cast magic, etc). Nobody likes these. They're the tutorial. Everyone, including the GM, wants to get through this stuff so he can stop throwing giant rats and Goblins at the party.

  • Levels 4 - 6: still part of the most played levels, and you're still limited to the basics. It's only when you hit level 5 that your character is actually a character. You've picked your archetype (again: just as important as your class) and you've received your first bump in power: multiple attacks per round, or level 3 spells. Now you're actually that guy you imagined you would be playing.

  • Levels 7 - 11: most published material ends here because beyond this, there are essentially a hundred variables to consider when attempting to balance every encounter. Your party has tools for everything. You stop being adventurers, you start being heroes. This is where everyone wants to be. You're lucky if your group gets here before splitting up over girlfriend drama. Sure, Dave, she can play with. What? Why does she have a +5 sword? Fuck you, Dave.

If the majority of the game is levels 1 to 6, then whoa boy. What the fuck.

You just provided all the evidence against your point. Most published adventures end around lv10, the main story of BG3 will have you getting to lv10. This properly reflects how an actual campaign goes, in terms of level. BG3 also seems to have more options at a low level than 5e, so will be more satisfying then playing the lv1 classes in 5e using theater of the mind.
 
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Lanrutcon

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BG3 also seems to have more options at a low level than 5e, so will be more satisfying then playing the lv1 classes in 5e using theater of the mind.

Naw, that'll never be true. Can't have more options in a digitally simulated environment than an actual tabletop. The low level play will have less options, since you can't creatively interpret rules, ask the GM for exceptions or just do whatever your imagination tells you to.

It sounds like I'm being negative, but I'm just warning folks: 5E is already a very -very- streamlined system. You need quite a few levels under your belt before you actually have options in combat. People coming in to 5E expecting stuff they're used to are going to be in for a shock. There's no "distributing skill points every level or two" or "oh hey, I get to pick from the list of class feats". That stuff is gone, and what you do get is drip fed to you. 5E is a slow burn because it's aimed at the masses. A level 1 character who's really, really good at something rolls D20 and adds 6. A level 20 character that's really, really good at something rolls D20 and adds 10. Giant rat, CR 1/8: armor class 12. Orcus, CR 26 encounter, big bad demon and lord of undeath? ...armor class 17.

So all I'm saying is: ya'll think you want low level play. Wait until you sit down and realise you that xXLegolasXx only gets to be Ranger after 9 hours of game time. It might be worth taking liberties with the rules.
 
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Handel

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Naw, that'll never be true. Can't have more options in a digitally simulated environment than an actual tabletop. The low level play will have less options, since you can't creatively interpret rules, ask the GM for exceptions or just do whatever your imagination tells you to.

It sounds like I'm being negative, but I'm just warning folks: 5E is already a very -very- streamlined system. You need quite a few levels under your belt before you actually have options in combat. People coming in to 5E expecting stuff they're used to are going to be in for a shock. There's no "distributing skill points every level or two" or "oh hey, I get to pick from the list of class feats". That stuff is gone, and what you do get is drip fed to you. 5E is a slow burn because it's aimed at the masses. A level 1 character who's really, really good at something rolls D20 and adds 6. A level 20 character that's really, really good at something rolls D20 and adds 10. Giant rat, CR 1/8: armor class 12. Orcus, CR 26 encounter, big bad demon and lord of undeath? ...armor class 17.

So all I'm saying is: ya'll think you want low level play. Wait until you sit down and realise you that xXLegolasXx only gets to be Ranger after 9 hours of game time. It might be worth taking liberties with the rules.
I've played both 5e and Pathfinder extensively, and the biggest drag of the lower levels is not just that you don't have some core class stuff, but that you're only going to get a few turns over a long period waiting for others in initiative, and on those few times you have a chance to do anything your options suck most of the time.

In a faster paced, can be single player experience, I can guarantee people things will feel different especially controlling multiple characters with different classes. It's also an exaggeration to say the classes aren't the classes till high level. Fighters feel like Fighters at 2nd level when they get Action Surge, Rogues at 2 with Cunning Action, really most classes feel like them at level 2, some even at lv1 like Warlock.

While a DM can mess with rules, and players have less potential limits, the flow of the game will feel better in an input game like this with visuals over theater of the mind. What I meant by more options is stuff like the boot throwing, the mage hand getting a shove(doesn't have that normally), and whatever else they might throw in.

These dudes created DOS2, which felt great throughout even early, and you're out here fearmongering as if this will be some level 1 5e horror show.
 
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Lanrutcon

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In a faster paced, can be single player experience, I can guarantee people things will feel different especially controlling multiple characters with different classes. It's also an exaggeration to say the classes aren't the classes till high level. Fighters feel like Fighters at 2nd level when they get Action Surge, Rogues at 2 with Cunning Action, really most classes feel like them at level 2, some even at lv1 like Warlock.

Completely disagree. Fighters feel like Fighters at level 2...a level before they get most of their kit? Because they have an extra standard action a day? And swing the same amount of times as a Wizard? We have fundamentally different ideas of what is required for a class to feel like it should. Apparently all you need is to attack one extra time a day and you're happy.

While a DM can mess with rules, and players have less potential limits, the flow of the game will feel better in an input game like this with visuals over theater of the mind. What I meant by more options is stuff like the boot throwing, the mage hand getting a shove(doesn't have that normally), and whatever else they might throw in.

Whatever the game can have Mage Hand do, a player can do in the tabletop and then some. It throwing a boot impresses you, then I question how much D&D you've played. I have no doubt Larian are going to do their best to give us shit to do (akin to the elemental environmental combo hijinx from D:OS2), but the theatre of the mind will always have more options, which was my original point.

These dudes created DOS2, which felt great throughout even early, and you're out here fearmongering as if this will be some level 1 5e horror show.

DOS2 was great and I never said otherwise, If you're not willing to have this discussion, just say so, but branding an opposing opinion as "fearmongering" just makes you look like a douche without a counterargument. This is a discussion forum. Either discuss, or kindly fuck off.
 

Ornlu

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D&D gets more and more broken and stupid the higher up in levels you go; keeping it lower is a good thing to keep things from turning into DBZ. Baldur's Gate 2 started to get a bit absurd halfway thru the game as is; it was a great game, but getting too absurdly powerful usually destroys any sense of a story. Some people might prefer a higher-level focused game, but I'm definitely not one who would.
 
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Labadal

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I'm cautiously optimistic. They can make characters feel powerful even if the level cap is 10.
 
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ClanOfNone

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D&D gets more and more broken and stupid the higher up in levels you go; keeping it lower is a good thing to keep things from turning into DBZ. Baldur's Gate 2 started to get a bit absurd halfway thru the game as is; it was a great game, but getting too absurdly powerful usually destroys any sense of a story. Some people might prefer a higher-level focused game, but I'm definitely not one who would.


I'd say BG2 stayed pretty on the rails, ToB is where shit gets really absurd. When I do runs through the games every few years or so, I usually skip out on ToB.
 
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Darkmakaimura

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I'm an old school 2nd edition player and haven't played anything after that. I hear 3.5 and 5ed are best. I looked at 4ed and it looked terrible. But man I long for 2ed again with it's wild campaign settings (Planescape and Spelljammer). Fuck I loved those two.
 

anthraticus

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Only 9 level ups sounds pretty bad for an RPG. Not a D&D guy so maybe there’s some reason why this is good that I’m missing.
That's a good thing about D&D. Gives it a lot more impact as opposed to leveling up every 20 minutes in these other RPG systems.
 
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thief183

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I totally trust Larian more than any other developer, if they think it is the right thing to do I'm on board.
 

anthraticus

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I'm an old school 2nd edition player and haven't played anything after that. I hear 3.5 and 5ed are best. I looked at 4ed and it looked terrible. But man I long for 2ed again with it's wild campaign settings (Planescape and Spelljammer). Fuck I loved those two.
Different editions have different strengths. 2E was the golden age of TSR settings like Planescape, Dark Sun, ect... so it has a lot to offer - but it also lost some of the classic vibe of 1E - Once the church started really putting a lot of heat on them, controversial stuff like demons, devils and nudity was removed to make it more acceptable to the mainstream, Also the tone of the adventure material changed from gritty pulp fantasy dungeon crawling to a more heroic and epic narrative vibe.

So Idk about 3.5 or any ed being 'the best', but they did add a lot more options for fighter types which made those characters more diverse mechanically.
 

V4skunk

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Level 1-10?
Gonna suck like BG1. If you played BG1+2 you'll clearly understand what I mean and agree with me.
 
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Yes, only being able to get to level 10 sounds very limited. Baldurs Gate 1 was great though and I dont think it was even possible to hit level 10 there.
Still, Im looking forward to rolling high THAC0's (its been a while).