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Monday, June 10, 2024

Baldur’s Gate 3 has barbarians now, but Larian expects it won’t leave Early Access till 2023

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The latest Baldur’s Gate 3 patch brings 30GB worth of additions to Larian’s RPG, including a new playable class—the barbarian—as well as expanded systems for improvised weapons, meaning that even NPCs can be turned into missiles and thrown at other NPCs. There are also overhauls for stealth and exploration, upgraded cinematics, UI tweaks, extra magic items, and more. Less excitingly, Larian has also announced the full game probably won’t be ready this year after all.

“Our internal goal post for release is a quality bar rather than a date”, Larian says. “A ton of progress has been made towards that quality bar over the past year in Early Access, but we know many players are waiting for an actual date. That date will come when we’re even closer to meeting our goal, but right now our expectation is that Baldur’s Gate 3 will be released out of Early Access in 2023.”

In the meantime, we can content ourselves with restarting act one as barbarians and wrecking the joint. The new class has two subclass options, with berserker barbarians getting frenzy powers, and seeming like the choice to go for if you’d like to throw people you don’t care for at other people you really don’t care for. The other choice, wildheart barbarians, gets abilities from their animal guide, which can be an eagle, elk, tiger, bear, or wolf. Sounds like they’ve renamed tabletop D&D’s “totem warrior” subclass, and fair enough. Wildhearts also get facial piercings based on the animal they choose.

Changes to light and darkness detection should make it more obvious when you’re hidden, and darkvision is now visualized as a cone extending from your selected elf, dwarf, or whatever, rather than lighting up the whole world. Rooms you can’t get to are now fully hidden by fog of war as well, so you can’t just swing the camera around to get an idea of what’s up ahead.

On the magic loot side, 24 more magic items have been scattered throughout act one. One’s a maul called the Hamarhraft that deals thunder damage around the wielder after they jump, while the Linebreaker Boots give bonus melee damage the turn after dashing.

The UI overhaul sounds like good stuff, with new character sheets and a party panel combining the previously separate inventory, equipment, and stats panels. They can be moved wherever you want them, and you can keep playing while they’re open. There’s also a new hotbar and the minimap’s a circle, which the patch notes call “the most noble shape”.

Larian’s full patch notes, which include plenty of bugfixes and other tweaks, are usually an entertaining read. Here are a few highlights from patch seven:

  • You can no longer pass through a wall on the Nautiloid by squeezing through a fleshy wall texture. Use a door like the rest of us. This is a society.
  • Some NPCs are now Barbarians and will act accordingly.
  • The default action for Poisonous Slime Bombs is now Throw instead of Coat Weapon. Still pretty gross though.
  • Gave pikes longer shafts and wider tips. Please be careful where you stick those things.
  • Torgga’s pants no longer float in the air if she is dead. But she still wakes up at night thinking about that one time it did happen.
  • Shadowheart’s ponytail now abides by the laws of physics.
  • The addled frog is no longer submerged underwater in the Putrid Bog. Things are looking up for that guy!
  • Gale no longer stands right behind Astarion while he’s trying to have a conversation with you at camp, like a weirdo.
  • Tweaked the camera angle in the cinematic where the goblin children are kicking a dead body in the Goblin Camp.
  • Your legs no longer swing back and forth like a weird pendulum during the owlbear cinematic.
  • Fixed issue causing Welso’s neck to twist into nightmarish pretzel during dialogue.
  • Krolla now shoves the chicken accurately the first time during the chicken chase. The chicken signed a waiver so it’s fine.
  • And the update we’ve all been waiting for: we’ve improved the chicken wing flap SFX and enhanced the VO for nervous squawking to bring you a truly authentic depiction of chicken anxiety.
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