After six lengthy years in development and three years of early access, the globally anticipated Baldur’s Gate 3 is officially live. Boasting a colossal 174 hours worth of cutscenes and a staggering 17,000 ending variations, patience is indeed a virtue for those looking to uncover everything the game has to offer.
We’ll be sharing our review of a preliminary playthrough of the game in the coming days. However, if you, like many, already decided to join the hundreds of thousands of players starting their D&D campaign in Baldur’s Gate 3 with zero idea of what to do or expect, then you’re in luck.
Below, we’ve rounded up a handful of insights, hacks, and musings about the first dozen or so hours of gameplay of Baldur’s Gate 3 to help you get started.
1. Make Sure Your PC Setup Is Up to Par
Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t just extensive in terms of storyline; it’s quite the “digital hulk,” consuming a whopping 120 GB of your hard drive. Most mid-tier computers, although just several years into their lifespan, will struggle to run it well without making adjustments.
The good news is that the Steam Deck can technically play Baldur’s Gate 3. So, if your PC has stronger specs than the Steam Deck, you can run the game to some degree. Of course, we can’t guarantee that it will make for an optimal experience.
In any case, if you’re thinking of diving headfirst into the Forgotten Realms, make sure you’re geared up for it in real life.
If you don’t mind waiting, the PlayStation 5 release of Baldur’s Gate 3 is right around the corner. Tough luck if you own an Xbox Series S/X though, as the game isn’t expected to hit Xbox platforms until 2024.
2. Get Ready To Wipe the Slate Clean
Three years of early access might have been an ingenious tactic, giving Baldur’s Gate and CRPG enthusiasts a teaser while bolstering Larian Studios with the resources they needed to finish development. Early reviews seem to reflect this fact, as BG3 currently has a 96 on Metacritic.
But, it’s worth noting that the shift from early access to the live version comes with a caveat: Your early access saves won’t carry over. Yes, it’s a bummer! But so much has changed since early access that the saves are “incompatible,” per Larian.
If you’ve already experienced Baldur’s Gate 3 before, use this opportunity to truly start anew. Consider creating a completely new character and making different decisions than you did in early access. This is a massive game with branching choices, so take advantage of that fact.
3. Take the D&D Approach
One might argue that the sparse autosaves are BG3′s Achilles’ heel, especially given how your party can meet its demise quite easily.
Don’t treat this as your regular run-of-the-mill RPG. It’s essentially Dungeons & Dragons in a digital format. Be cautious, but also be immersed. Reloading incessantly? Not your best friend here. Embrace the roles, think like the characters, and dive deep into the essence of D&D.
Just make sure to save often, if only to avoid having to deal with yet another party wipeout.
4. Don’t Be Intimidated
Dungeons & Dragons is a complicated tabletop game. You can’t understand it after just a few hours. Even the best Dungeon Masters will struggle to “teach you the ways,” so to speak. The good news is that, while Baldur’s Gate 3 is very much a Dungeons & Dragons game, it does condense the experience and make it more beginner-friendly.
Don’t be mistaken: With its wide array of races, classes, and subclasses, Baldur’s Gate 3 can—and likely will—make your head spin. And that’s okay.
If you’re feeling swamped, a simple remedy is to follow your instincts. Choose what resonates with you and run with it. The name of the game is immersion and role-playing—don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
5. Keep Things Simple
Let the game be your guide. From character sheets to dice rolls, Baldur’s Gate 3 does the heavy lifting for you. But remember, this isn’t just point-and-click; it’s a rich tapestry woven with established gaming norms.
While you’re firmly in the driver’s seat of Baldur’s Gate 3, don’t be afraid to let it take control every now and then. Larian Studios did an excellent job making the game cater to both casual and hardcore audiences. If you’re a Baldur’s Gate or D&D vet, great—if not, the game will help you get up to speed.
6. Have Fun With Conversations
Baldur’s Gate 3 thrives on conversations. They form the crux of the gameplay, with choices often leading to tangible consequences. While our official review will delve into some of the pros and cons of Larian’s conversation system, there’s plenty of fun to be had here.
Dialogue choices in brackets (e.g., “[INTIMIDATION]”) refer to your characters’ stats and help you gauge whether a certain conversation thread will succeed or fail. Leverage your strengths—even if it means revisiting a prior save—and roll the dice!
7. Embrace the Charm of Failure
Baldur’s Gate 3, staying true to its roots, allows you to make grievous errors. But that’s where its charm lies. Missed a critical artifact or eliminated a vital character? Worry not; there are always alternative routes to explore.
The best D&D campaigns aren’t the ones that go as smoothly as possible. Just like in real life, your playthrough in Baldur’s Gate 3 is defined by what you do when your plans fall apart.
8. Acknowledge the Absent Dungeon Master
Although Baldur’s Gate 3 pays homage to D&D, the absence of a Dungeon Master is palpable. Remember, there isn’t a guiding force to ward you off impending doom. In such scenarios, the gaming spirit takes over. Made an error? Simply return to a previous save.
But, again, circle back to our previous tip: Your mistakes will define you, for better or for worse. Unless it’s literally game-breaking, try to go with whatever happens once you’ve dropped the ball. You’d be surprised at how much better the journey is when you roll with it.
9. It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination
Baldur’s Gate 3, in all its intricate glory, is about exploration. Missed out on some content? That’s what subsequent playthroughs are for. Multiple replays open up a myriad of pathways, offering a unique experience every time.
BG3 isn’t just a game; it’s an odyssey, a journey into a world brimming with choices and consequences. Dive in, explore, fail, and thrive. At the end of the day, if you like Baldur’s Gate 3, this likely won’t be your only playthrough.
Want the ultimate Baldur’s Gate 3 experience? Go with the flow. Subsequent playthroughs will take you on different paths, so don’t worry about needing to check every box or win every encounter. There will always be more to discover.
Still looking to pick up the game on PC? Be sure to grab a Steam Wallet Code from OffGamers!