Baldur's Gate 3 Catch-All

Spoiling myself a bit on alternative playthroughs, and realizing that I will never, ever do an Evil playthrough in this game, because that would mean No Karlach and I absolutely cannot have that.

Prederick wrote:

Spoiling myself a bit on alternative playthroughs, and realizing that I will never, ever do an Evil playthrough in this game, because that would mean No Karlach and I absolutely cannot have that.

You can just close your eyes and kill her on first sight before you interact with her at all.

Call yourself a role player?

Spoiler:

Not sure I could do that either!

Yeah, I think it's very unlikely I'll play it a second time (and it'll be another goody two shoes run with a different race / class) so I've been optimising and cheesing it mercilessly. I'm still waiting for what I deem to be a happy ending for my beloved to continue though.

I'm curious, DudleySmith and Prederick, why you too are unlikely to play the game a second time.

I've already said here that I won't attempt another playthrough on account of the game's length, together with the fact that most of that length is taken up with combat. An 'evil' playthrough as a fight-y character appeals somewhat, but I'm not sure that either the journey or the destination would justify the time.

I could be tempted by some DLC though. Perhaps a 10-hour campaign involving a smaller sized party, and a less world-spanning, world-changing story. Rather like in The Witcher 3, I've encountered characters with interesting stories and that I wouldn't mind playing as. Something a bit 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern'...

I am struggling to get into Act 3. I don't think it's the game's fault, other than

Spoiler:

the ugly black stain on my beautiful Tav's face because I couldn't roll high enough.

It just feels like I have so much there and by all I read, it doesn't sound fun. (Many hard fights that require dying, checking a guide to figure out how the game needs me to beat it, and repeating).

Plus, I am sad my cool fire sword that I have been milking through all of Act 2 is officially no longer viable, as I stumbled into a fight where some asshole dropped a better two-handed weapon for my Tav.

I struggled early on with getting into Act 3 as well (and there is a lot to it), but I found once I got momentum into the lower city, it picked up a lot for me. Two thoughts on difficulty:

1. You may be surprised how much mileage you get out of using a decent build guide (like Fextralife) to respec your preferred party characters. First run, I did everything vanilla. On my second (late in Act 1 now), for example, I've specced Astarion into an assassin/gloomstalker, and good lord. Fights I really struggled with the first time around, I'm walking through now because I can get such massive early damage out of the gate with him. (Granted, some of it also reflects getting better at the game, but a lot of it is just my character builds seem better or at least better suited to how I'm playing.)

2. This was a hard one for me to accept, years ago, but if it's the difference between finishing the game versus walking away with the game two-thirds done, bump the difficulty down and just tear through it. There isn't a game I've played where I've regretted doing this (and there have been a few).

detroit20 wrote:

I'm curious, DudleySmith and Prederick, why you too are unlikely to play the game a second time.

I've already said here that I won't attempt another playthrough on account of the game's length, together with the fact that most of that length is taken up with combat. An 'evil' playthrough as a fight-y character appeals somewhat, but I'm not sure that either the journey or the destination would justify the time.

I could be tempted by some DLC though. Perhaps a 10-hour campaign involving a smaller sized party, and a less world-spanning, world-changing story. Rather like in The Witcher 3, I've encountered characters with interesting stories and that I wouldn't mind playing as. Something a bit 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern'...

I find it hard and upsetting to be horrible to nice NPCs in RPGs, so I'm not doing a durge type run, and I haven't found the game that fun when the fights are really hard (like the red guy in the goblin fort), so I'm not expecting to play it again unless my Tav is so different that it'll be a different kind of run due to class mechanics. (A bard instead of my honourable paladin, perhaps). The most likely scenario is I find in Act 3 that I screwed something I in Act 1 and have to play it again to get an ending I really want.

detroit20 wrote:

I'm curious, DudleySmith and Prederick, why you too are unlikely to play the game a second time.

Speaking for myself, i'm not unlikely to play the game a second time, I was simply making the point that I will never do a totally evil playthrough, in part because, like Dudley, I literally am incapable of being mean to nice NPCs in video games.

Like, Minthara will forever remain a mystery to me in this game, because adding her would mean being mean to Karlach, and that is Just. Not. Happening.

I will do a replay of this, but I think it'll give it some time to breathe before I pick it up again. Partially because, while I still think this is one of the games of the year, I'm in Act 3 now and I can see where some of the criticisms are coming from.

I would probably agree that it feels a bit like Larian let their eyes get bigger than their stomachs in a few ways, even though, again, I am totally enjoying myself. So I plan to finish this run, and then come back and try and experience the DUrge playthrough for myself, probably in February/March.

Thanks for the replies.

I share your condition of being unable to horrible to NPCs in games. (Playing Fallout 3, I couldn't bring myself to take Dogmeat out on Fallout 3 missions in case he got hurt. I used to walk him round Megaton before missions, then go out alone.) It seems to demand a level of spitefulness that I just can't muster.

And I agree to about Act 3 feeling overstuffed. I think it might have been better to have some companions' quests be completed in Act 2. And I think it would have been nice to be able to resolve more potential combat situations without fighting. I've certainly felt a sinking feeling a few times when I've entered a space, and realised that its the right size and shape for a fight. A bit like playing Mass Effect 2 and entering a space full of waist-high boxes.

I feel like I'm approaching the end now. There are significantly few outstanding quests available, and most of those seem to be converging with my Tav's personal quest. I reckon I'll be done by Sunday.

I thought that patch looked big!

“ While at camp, you can now access and manage the inventories of companions who aren't in your active party.”. An overdue but very welcome change.

I am unreasonably excited about that

Clumber wrote:

“ While at camp, you can now access and manage the inventories of companions who aren't in your active party.”. An overdue but very welcome change.

ABOUT F**KING TIME JESUS

They could add a 3-hour, fully voiced finale where I marry Karlach and get $1,000 cash in real life and it wouldn't make me as happy as this.

So I kinda just want to go to camp and clean up inventories now. And maybe respec. Does anyone know a good set of respecing guides? I want something that seems character relevant but generally makes everyone better than my stupid-ass can do it.

cRPG bro. I needed him for Pathfinder, and he's got a bunch of fun builds for BG3 (albeit, tailored to annihilating your enemies by optimizing the game's mechanics).

Thoughts on not playing a second time: I actually am in Act 3 on a second character, but some of the fights are tempting me to stop, because Act 3 really seems to ramp up some frustrating, annoying mechanics. I detest "Unstoppable," nothing will convince me its an interesting status and not just a dumb resource waster, I feel there are far too many enemies that can Invisible as a free action, the Baalists in particular, and the House of Grief is just kinda bullsh*t given how they made Darkness and Necrotic damage work. Some of these fights also just seem to drag, upwards of a dozen NPCs needing to move before I get to do anything. I am proceeding, but when these things pop up, I do feel my urge to say "Oh, f*ck this, I've already seen the end anyway" rising.

cRPG bro has great information, but I wish it was a website and not lots of 30 minute youtube videos.

I've used Deltias a lot but I'm not qualified to say whether their builds are better or worse than anyone else's.

DudleySmith wrote:

cRPG bro has great information, but I wish it was a website and not lots of 30 minute youtube videos.

I've used Deltias a lot but I'm not qualified to say whether their builds are better or worse than anyone else's.

The only nit I have with his builds is the gear overlap. Which, now that I think about it is just as much an indictment of the game’s lack of variety in unique gear.

The patch notes make it seem like they may be adding a way to get Minthara in the party without being evil or using polymorph. I guess I may have to do a bard run next year.

People have said that you still have to choose between Halsin and Minthara, which I think makes Act 2 sub optimal from a good run?

I read an article that mentioned how to get her without being full-on evil. Sounds like they made it so that the existing mechanics that would logically let you get her to Act 2 actually work now, and she'll put herself in the correct place to progress rather than forcing you to do it through various polymorph shenanigans.

Prederick wrote:

Like, Minthara will forever remain a mystery to me in this game, because adding her would mean being mean to Karlach, and that is Just. Not. Happening.

The patch apparently also allows you to recruit Minthara without doing a Big Murder.

I finally finished Baldur's Gate 3 yesterday. The clock on my save file says 81 hours and 32 minutes, but I know that - save-scumming added - I'm well over the hundred hour mark.

A really, really good game overall, but a little to narrrow for my tastes to be called 'great'. Also, I'm not sure that Larian quite stuck the landing. The way the ending was presented to me felt a little too impersonal and very flat. I've spent 81 hours fighting with these companions, learning their stories and trying to fix their lives... and it's all over in a few quick cutscenes. A bit disappointing and a bit at odds with the way the rest of the game told its stories

Also at odds with the rest of the game was the final battle, which - like the final fight in The Witcher 3 - felt like it was imported from another game entirely.

For 70-something hours, I've been taught the importance of tactics, of positioning for advantage, of prioritising opponents, or using offensive and defensive actions, of working in collaborative, complementary ways with my companions... I've also been taught that big fights basically don't end until every enemy is dead. And yet BG3's final fights seemed to throw much of that out of the window.

Spoiler:

The introduction of three new features - enemy artillery(!!), spawning enemies and a round timer - basically turned two sections into races, rather than fights. This really wasn't clear at first. Particularly when fighting up the castle steps in the second part of Fight 1. Had I realised that I only need one party member to complete this section, then I'd have saved myself literally hours.

And had I realised that my goal in Fight 2 was to get as many companions into the Portal as possible, I'd have saved an hour or two there too.

The other thing I hadn't appreciated that there is no 'end game', and therefore that there was no point in holding any items that weren't going to be of use in combat. (The 'Point of No Return' notice could have been a little clearer in this regard.) And in particular...

Spoiler:

Scrolls of 'Misty Step', 'Dimension Door' and 'Invisibility', which would enable the player to avoid combat entirely.

Indeed, I'd have saved myself a lot of time if I'd simply have rebuilt my part to equip the spells, actions, items and scrolls that conferred those abilities.

It left a slightly sour taste in my mouth. It also provides another reason not to attempt another playthrough.

But - as I said - still a very, very good game.

My feeling is that the USP of the game is the characters, and people are more invested in their blorbos than the actual game plot. I suppose for me I'm often somewhat irked that this tadpole stuff is getting in the way of my "chatting to my companions" game

DudleySmith wrote:

My feeling is that the USP of the game is the characters, and people are more invested in their blorbos than the actual game plot. I suppose for me I'm often somewhat irked that this tadpole stuff is getting in the way of my "chatting to my companions" game

Ok. So I had to look up 'blorbos'!

But yes, if this site is anything to go by, then players have become more invested in the NPCs than in the over-arching plot. That doesn't surprise me. I think there is too much plot (in addition to there being too much story as well). Certainly, I think having a couple fewer 'big bads' wouldn't have hurt. And I could have lived with slight less of the extended tadpole "should-you-use-evil-things-to-do-good-things' thing.

I think players' mileage with companions will have varied significantly, depending on how much time they spent in camp with them. By Act 3, my companions had largely exhausted my companions' dialogue options (disappointingly in the case of my Shadowheart... but that's another story), apart from new conversation openers after another companion's quest was resolved.

I've read about how much dialogue was recorded for Baldur's Gate 3, and I can't help wondering whether we've reached the limits of what can reasonably be achieved through conventional writing and recording... without the use of AI.

If what we - gamers - really value are our relationships with NPCs, and if what really 'sells' those relationships is more natural conversation with those NPCs, then I cannot see any other way for developers to deliver that.

Sorry, my 18yo daughter keeps using it and I had to look it up also. I think the key is the ME2 solution where you get a mission designed around their character, and giving them an arc. I think it's why I always felt closer to the ME2 companions than Kaiden and Ashley, even though they'd been around longer. You sort of get that with BG3 I think, but it's not quite as effective for me.

DudleySmith wrote:

Sorry, my 18yo daughter keeps using it and I had to look it up also. I think the key is the ME2 solution where you get a mission designed around their character, and giving them an arc. I think it's why I always felt closer to the ME2 companions than Kaiden and Ashley, even though they'd been around longer. You sort of get that with BG3 I think, but it's not quite as effective for me.

My issue here is that the character arcs are very different. Shadowheart’s and Astarion’s are deep, meaningful and have genuine difference depending on your choices. Gale’s makes him look like a bit of knob, Wyll’s and Karlach’s are lacking - especially Karlach’s at the end. You don’t get the same pay offs for the same levels of investment in each of the Party Companions.

I didn't mind the fact that the character arcs were different. I think having all their stories being as full of pathos as Shadowheart's, for example, would have been a bit depressing. But it was disappointing that Karlach's sort of petered out in Act 2.

I do wonder whether this might have been mitigated by a deeper dialogue tree for her. Her fate felt like it could and should have been explored more deeply by my Tav. I never felt that I offered enough comfort and support to her.

And yet, at least one very peripheral storyline developed and ended beautifully. I'm thinking of

Spoiler:

Mayrina and Connor.

Though whether or not players experienced this depended on choices they made in Act 1.

I think that's one thing I'd have liked a little more of. Deeper exploration of smaller stories. I was always struck by how well Red Dead Redemption 2 (take a drink) drew its minor stories together as Arthur's 'quest' came to an end. I'm thinking particularly of the story of Edith Downes, the widow.

I am trying to get back into it after a few months. I feel like I don't know where I need to go but after 41 hours I don't feel like I want to start over.

Right now I am entering the mountain pass and

Spoiler:

Ghouls and Death Shepherd enemies

are wiping me out. Maybe I shouldn't' be here yet.

just how "easy" is easy? I have been doing ok but if I am going to play a lot more I want to see the story, not get great at D&D rules.