Is Baldur’s Gate 3 too hard for you? You’re not alone
The early game of Baldur’s Gate 3, when you’re still getting used to the actions your characters can undertake and the abilities they can draw on, is easily the toughest part. To start with, it’s so easy to accidentally use your full action on something useless and waste your turn. Then you’ll get into the annoying habit of running out of movement and stranding yourself in no man’s land at the mercy of every goblin, ogre or bandit mage going. Then you’ll keep forgetting to disengage from an enemy and get whacked by an “attack of opportunity” more times that you can count.
With the amount of unfamiliar systems that are constantly at play in Baldur’s Gate 3, the game can feel punishing, like it’s teasing you for being so complacent as to think you could come out on top.
But soon enough you’ll learn to never underestimate the deadly potential of a greasy floor, or the raw unbridled power of hiding behind your own hands in the middle of an empty room like a three year old.
So – where at the beginning of Baldur’s Gate 3 a 70% chance to hit will never cease to feel like 20%, and like every enemy is always left on 1HP – as you get the hang of combat you’ll start to set up advantages to increase your hit chance and damage output. You’ll direct the flow of enemy aggression to your tankier party members while your damage-dealers dish out big hits from the back. And you’ll learn to isolate specific enemies and wipe them out of the queue before they can act themselves.
It’s not all your fault though. Because if the game feels like it’s cheating, that’s because it is. In the settings of Baldur’s Gate 3 there’s something called Karmic Dice. This is a backend system that affects rolls in both combat and dialogue, and is designed to stop you from going on mega-runs feeling both the blessings and wrath of “RNJesus”, the patron saint of video game luck.
But while Karmic Dice might stop you from failing the same level 5 persuasion check over and over and over and over again, it could also see the rosy time of combat you’re having and toss in a few god-rolls for the enemy. We’ve all seen it; intensely bad luck is commonplace in Baldur’s Gate 3 and really ratchets up the tension of any given battle.
So, therefore, your only option is to cheat right back.
If you click on your weapons or abilities outside of combat, you can target pretty much anything with them and suckerpunch enemies with impunity. One time I was fighting a giant spider who kept spawning babies that seemed to have about 20 actions each.
After reloading and sneaking around a bit, I used Wyll’s Eldritch Blast, a Warlock spell which pushes enemies backwards as well as dealing damage, on the unsuspecting arachnid and sent it sailing into a bottomless pit.
And that was it. It was dead. No spider babies and the fight was done.
Baldur’s Gate 3 not only gives you incredible role-playing options in dialogue, effectively allowing you to lie in conversations by not railroading you into the quest paths you say you’re going to pick, but in combat as well.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is based on Dungeons and Dragons rules, after all. So bending whatever rules you can to get one over on what feels like a particularly malicious Dungeon Master – the person in DnD who sets up and narrates the campaign for your party to play – is essential to your continued success.
It’s also worth saying that a lot of the difficulty in Baldur’s Gate 3 is also alleviated by gaining access to more powerful abilities and fighting on a fairer footing. The power boost you get from levelling up is huge. For example, at Level 5 Fighter class characters gain the ability to swing or shoot an extra attack action during their turn. Combined with their Action Surge Ability (which essentially lets them take another turn within a turn), this creates a grand total of 4 attacks in a single go.
A few lucky rolls and you’re putting out enough damage to kill most basic characters in that flurry. The only issue is that it works both ways, however. So if you’re unlucky, it’s very easy to get melted by a team of fighters.
In many early game quests you’re fighting higher level characters before you gain access to the same abilities so you’re getting battered by. Evil mercenaries will rock you with multiple hits, then when you finally get a chance to retaliate, you whiff your one swing on a 75% chance and have to sit there smiling for another revolution of the painful merry-go-round.
Perseverance is key, and soon enough you’ll be cooking them with lightning bolts and sneak attacks before they can even roll their “Karmic” dice.