Baldur's Gate III News

Antimatter

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With the 5th Panel from Hell happening today, it's a good moment to start a thread for what might become one of the best RPGs ever - Baldur's Gate III, currently in Early Access on Steam, GOG & Stadia.

--2022-feb-15-002.jpg


What has been announced today:
  • Major UI rework, including the ability to control party inventory, spellbook, stats etc. for all party members on one screen
  • Filtering now works, e.g. search through your inventory with "st" for a "strength potion"
  • Cutscene cinematic rework (over 700 of them are now improved)
  • A new class - Barbarian
  • New items (including for the Barbarian)
  • Combat options enhanced (throw and smash items, weapons, or even goblins!)
  • Fog of War (can't see inside unexplored rooms with the door shut)
  • Darkvision indicators
Full Patch notes can be found here.



They are "finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel". Baldur's Gate 3 might not make it in 2022 (for the full release), they have nearly "a year of development" left.
 

BelgarathMTH

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I'm not sure they did the right thing marketing wise to release early access so soon. My guess is that most of their target market already bought the game, has played Act One, and maybe replays from time to time when there's a new class or feature that interests them added in an update. When the full version of the game *finally* releases at this ever receding hypothetical date in the future, I think there's a good chance the release will be met with a big yawn and not much more revenue for them. Their buzz has already peaked and died down.

I imagine the people who already bought it will be excited to play the rest of the game they bought, but that's going to be no more purchases for Larian, since those people have already paid.

I was on the fence about what I've seen so far of BG3, as most of you already know from the other forum, but this long early access, longer than I've ever seen before, is having the effect of increasing my cynicism. I now roll my eyes every time there's an announcement from them. I was likely to buy at full release, but I am increasingly less likely to do so.

Oh well, knowing myself, I'll probably still buy it and play it eventually, but I doubt I will buy it at release or at full price.

On the other hand, if their sales are already high enough to have been profitable before they even are anywhere near releasing a full game, maybe they're actually marketing geniuses. :)
 

Urdnot_Wrex

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Hmmm, I think I have a different opinion on that.

I don't know if the long Early Access is actually only a marketing strategy for making more money.

Divinity: Original Sin was still crowdfunded via Kickstarter.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 first launched on Kickstarter too, supposedly because Larian wanted the player feedback, and the goals and stretch goals were met in very little time. The game became a huge success, and it still spent a year in early access. They included a lot of feedback and improved much on the first game.

Now Baldur's Gate 3 is another huge step up. It's a big pair of shoes to step into, with lots of expectations to be met and exceeded, and very different player communities to include.
There are people who like the DOS 1 and 2 games, there are people who like D&D, people who like the old Baldur's Gate series, and there's the potential to make RPGs more accessible to a broader audience, too.

Now as some of us know very well from discussions in other places, the above mentioned groups don't always overlap very much.

So I think it's actually a good idea to spend much time in early access and collect as much feedback as possible and make adjustments, to see what works and what doesn't for a majority of players. Much better than a rushed full release with lots of disappointments and many patch cycles, in my opinion.

As for the long periods of silence between new announcements in early access, I don't know if I consider that a bad sign either. To me it looks like they're working instead of talking, and besides I think people might tire and yawn more easily at full release if, say, during a two years period there were new updates every month. The way it is now, those who don't have the early access aren't overloaded with information.

If I see the step from DOS 1 to DOS 2, it's a huge one, and I'm expecting them to make a great Baldur's Gate 3. I'd rather have them take their time with that than rush it, release it with too many problems or burn out their developers.

I didn't have a PC that met the minimum specs when the early access was released, therefore I didn't buy it. Now that I have one, I have a couple of cool games to catch up on in limited free time, so I won't buy an unfinished game now to play that instead, but I'll definitely get it at full release, or perhaps after a little bit of time to wait for the inevitable first fixes.
 

Antimatter

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My take:

Baldur's Gate 3 launched in Early Access on Oct, 6, 2020. It was first streamed by Larian as early as Feb, 27, 2020, during PAX East. So the general audience has been knowing about the game for at least 2 years now.

They needed Early Access to set expectations. The original BG games are 20+years old now. Any player could imagine all sorts of stuff regarding a potential next game in the series (and as the practice shows, oh boy people surely did). So they needed to showcase the game as early as possible, so that players didn't expect Pillars of Eternity or Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but in Faerun.

On Aug, 18, 2020, they streamed Baldur's Gate 3 during the first Panel from Hell involving Geoff Keighley. He's one of the most well-known people in gaming, and his presence meant the game was visible now to millions of people.

So it's not a coincidence that even the Early Access version of BG3 was purchased by more than 1 mln of people on Steam alone in less than one month. That's a huge number of people, absolutely huge (especially comparing it to how PoE 2 and P:K got their first million years later after the full release).

However, each next Panel from Hell became more and more niche stream. It was wrong to expect the Geoff Keighley level every time, but even with that, I felt every time the stream became more and more indie. They added RP elements to it, trying to make it a show, and it looked fun, it looked funny, it looked very much Larian-like (what I usually like), but it happened because the progress on what they can showcase to people slowed down substantially. You can still have only 4 levels in Early Access, it's still only the first Act, it's still only the limited number of companions, etc.

This Panel from Hell (the 5th already), I think, was the best example. Even while CP2077 is a game already released and known to many players, its stream during the same day was watched by 80k people live. Larian's stream later that day was watched by 10k people live - and that's the game that still wasn't released, so in theory, it should be more interesting. The reactions to these streams also show how niche BG3 is currently (among general gamers): 2k comments and 7k upvotes for CP2077 vs 340 comments and 1.5k upvotes for BG3. Of course, it's still not that niche as, say, P:WotR, that, while being one of the best RPGs of 2021, is still largely unknown to gamers.

And what do people discuss about BG3 currently the most? Not the Barbarian class or other awesome features showcased, but that it won't release until 2023, and that's not a guarantee it will actually release in 2023. That's understandable. Yes, now everyone knows how BG3 looks and feels (that it's not isometric, doesn't have RtwP etc). But what is the difference between looking at it in 2020 and now, if the game will be released in 1, 1.5 or 2 years from now? People don't want to see spoilers for a story-based RPG.

Now, let's look at the niche audience (the hardcore BG3 audience). One of the most discussed comments regarding the stream is again about 2023. You see the wildest speculation that Larian might be running out of money there, even while Swen mentioned burning down on the list of features etc., not burning down on the money. And that's totally understandable.

Are 2 years of extra development (and when BG3 launched in EA on Oct, 6, 2020, they mentioned they wanted to stay in EA for 1 year) expensive? Would the money from even insane sales of BG3 during the EA be enough? Those are valid and reasonable questions. So @BelgarathMTH actually might have a great point there.

What can they realistically showcase not to spoil the game in upcoming months to keep the flow and at the same time not to give away extra?

Then we can also look at the Larian forum, the most niche place of all places regarding BG3. There, we can see that the biggest complaint players have is the lack of communication. They mean daily communication, you know, responses to players' questions, the roadmap, - something more than an occasional stream in 2-3 months and periods of silence in-between.

So it would be fair to say that Larian has a lot to decide now. It's evident the streams don't bring many more new people from the general audience, and it's also evident hardcore players run out of new approaches / things to try with the limited options of the EA.

There is also a risk that while Act 1 will be greatly tested because of the EA, subsequent Acts won't be as much tested, and thus the EA is not a guarantee from bugs and myriads of problems similar to P:WotR that is still being heavily patched 5 months after its release. How would higher-level spells work? What will the balance be when the party members are of 7-9 levels for example? Low-level combat has got a lot of rebalance during this Early Access, but it's impossible to test higher-level content with millions of people now just because it's not present in the EA build.

My hope, though, mirrors @Urdnot_Wrex 's thoughts: let them have all the time they need to create a great game. If they manage their finances, there shouldn't be any problem. After all, DOS 2 got criticized for balance problems and bugs in Acts 3 and 4, and they had to release an Enhanced Edition where they rebalanced content there and fixed those bugs. So Larian's record shows they are hard-working people, they love their creations and they try to implement players' feedback.
 

Urdnot_Wrex

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Thanks for sharing your much more detailed and well-informed view on this situation. I have to admit, I have usually only read the summaries of the Panel from Hell and articles about it, I haven't been following that closely how their approach has changed.

It seems their biggest problem is the lack of communication between (potential and old) players and developers. I wonder why that's the case, though.
Do they still identify as a bunch of nerds who just want to create a game without realizing that they have grown beyond that and need to adjust their strategies?
Do they think they're already so popular that it's not necessary?
Or is their team still so small that focusing on communication simply can't be a priority?
It seems a bit unusual compared to other game developers to keep their channels so closed.
 

O_Bruce

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I am quite willing to share my take on Baldur's Gate 3, as not informed as I am (that's due to the fact I'd like to experience the game as blind as possible).

I have little doubt that Baldur's Gate 3 is going to be a great cRPG. I think it is in good hands. That being said, I have no doubt the game
will have little to nothing (with "nothing" being a keyword here) with Baldur's Gate games I already know and love. I have no doubt
this is going to be a game based on, to some extent, DnD campaign, which also means that the character of Abdel Adrian would be considered canon, something I am sure little to no one is happy about. Basically, I know the game can't be really considered as another sequel.

But as I said, I can still be a great cRPG on its own. I'm still going to try it one day.

What worries me is the early access. Cynic in me thinks that people are paying to be beta testers, with beta tests that would extend forever. Let's be honest: 2 years of early access and recently we learned that the full game will not launch this year. Another year of testing, with no finish line to be seen. I miss the simpler times when you either provided a good product at the release date, or your customers won't be interested. It was at the very least fair and simple.

As for managing expectations with the audience, I believe it was possible via interviews, marketing, developer's diaries etc.
 

mlnevese

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I played the BG 3 EA twice and never went much beyond the druids BECAUSE I don't want to burn my interest in the game before it's even released... mostly I run it a little after every patch to check the performance/look improvements.
 
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alice_ashpool

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250 hours in the beta checking in.

I played early beta to death and had a blast but that was all pre-druid release. I have had little interest since those early weeks after EA release. No doubt it is going to be great but over time of playing I grew to dislike 5e more and more and certain combat issues started to get more and more irritating. So I shelved it - will probably not play again until full release.

Edit: also I really dislike the aesthetic of the new toolbar... but I didn't like the old one either!
 

Urdnot_Wrex

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250 hours in the beta checking in.

I played early beta to death and had a blast but that was all pre-druid release. I have had little interest since those early weeks after EA release. No doubt it is going to be great but over time of playing I grew to dislike 5e more and more and certain combat issues started to get more and more irritating. So I shelved it - will probably not play again until full release.

Edit: also I really dislike the aesthetic of the new toolbar... but I didn't like the old one either!

Could you please explain what exactly it is about 5e that bothers you? I'm not familiar enough with the new ruleset to have an educated opinion about it and would like to hear a bit more what people like or dislike about it and why. Is it the rules themselves, or more the way they are adjusted for a computer game?
 

Antimatter

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250 hours in the beta checking in.
Don't want to imply anything, but don't 250 hours in the beta version of the first Act (with about 15 hours of content) prove the game offered some value for its price and at least was fun enough for you? I mean, I can't imagine spending that much there (I think my only playthrough of BG3 in Oct, 2020, lasted for 30 hours). It might be understandable you have little interest, with 250 hours spent in a 15-hour adventure, it's not that difficult to get burnout.
 

alice_ashpool

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@Antimatter It is great. I love it. Played it more than anything else until WotR came out. But I love it despite 5e rather than because of it. Likewise the combat system was pretty janky at the time and I enjoyed it despite that - this will be polished up in time but it is still stuck with 5e. To contrast to Solasta which came out at the same time I played 52h, which is still quite a lot, but no where near what I played in an unfinished beta for what is a completed game. I got a lot of enjoyment out of playing BG3 solo at level 1 - turns out you can beat every beta encounter as a single level 1 character which was silly fun so that was probably half that time!

@Urdnot_Wrex It's personal, but it is deffo the 5e ruleset rather than the adjustments for the computer. If 2e and Pathfinder are cRPG pyrotechnic powerhouses then 5e feels like playing with a cRPG sparkler set in your garden. I really dislike concentration and attunement mechanics since thinking about buffing and debuffing is one of the great appeals of SCS and Owlcat games... for me. See also: why I did not like Pillars of Eternity.
 

Cahir

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So, yesterday I finally found some time to watch the full Panel from Hell 5th Edition a generally I'm very happy to see how the game is developing. I'm not concerned EA takes so long, I'd rather play a fully fleshed and tested game than a rushed product. I didn't see any signs of stress on Swen's face, and the fact they are to experiment with new features and are able to dedicate a year(!) on new UI development tells me they are confident they have both resources and funds to keep EA so long.

So, coming back to the stream itself:
- Barbarian - I was never a fan of this class, so I was not particularly excited they chose to show it (I was hoping to see bard), but even then what I saw was impressing. The class definitely has this barbaric feel, and I think I might even like it after all.
- UI - this is something that was the biggest thing for me in this patch. I was never a fan of original UI, I always felt it looks more like a placeholder than a final design. And it seems I was correct. The new UI they showed is really great, there are so many quality of life improvements that makes me happy. For me the biggest improvement, since I don't know much about 5e, is the fact that I can filter for example only bonus actions, or only 1st level spells and so on. I don't need to read the description every time to see if I can use this or that action. Fantastic. Also, the search by name function is great, I was soo missing this feature in WoTR.
- Improvised weapons - I like the concept in general - being able to use a chair or other objects and smash them on the head of the enemy is great, but I think they went a bit too far by allowing to throw creatures. It looks a bit silly in my opinion.
- Room portal system - also I like the idea, you should not be able to know what is inside the room before entering it, but I think implementation could be improved a little. Instead of a pitch black entrance, you should be able to see something inside the room, at least within your eyesight. Of course, you won't be able to see what's around the corner or on the other side of the room, but you should be able to see what's behind the entrance.
- Improved cinematics - I probably would not be able to appreciate it so much if they didn't show a comparison. Man, they improved it a lot. This game already looks fantastic, and they still manage to improve the looks. Bravo!
- New handcrafted items - I love finding new cool shiny magical items, the more, the better. I wish they add the lore descriptions similar to the ones in original BG trilogy. This is something that I think was never that better in any crpg I have play since original BG trilogy. It's almost magical. I wish the descriptions were longer, not just a couple of sentences. Maybe they will improve it later, at least I hope they will.

Also, I'll be honest, I wasn't surprised to see a WolfheartFPS as a guest star of the last Panel from Hell. I've watched his BG3 streams a couple of times and I noticed that many of his observations and complaints were fixed in the consecutive patches, which means Larian devs are watching those streams closely and take these observations very seriously.


He was stressed, which was noticeable, but honestly who wouldn't?. It was clear, that Larian's invitation was a big thing for him. He definitely didn't want to steal the show from Swen and tried to play a support role rather than try to be a star.
 

Antimatter

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Urdnot_Wrex

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PAX East 2022 is just around the corner (April 21 - 25). Larian Studios will be providing updates on Baldur’s Gate III there. The press release states that attendees will “witness the next step on the road to the launch of Baldur’s Gate III.”


Yay! Is it realistic to hope they'll finally give us the release date?

Okay okay, I wasn't going to say only that. I'm excited for more informaton, just went for the obvious question, and not "will they show us another UI?" ;)
 
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Antimatter

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"The growth for Baldur's Gate 3 means Larian is nearly 10 times the size it was in 2014 making Original Sin, now spread across 7 studios around the world."

"I would literally have a revolution inside of my company if I forced them to lower their aspirations, the things they want to do. They're really proud of Baldur's Gate 3. They really want to reach the ambition that they have, because they all played Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 in their youth. This is a very important project for them."

"There were really lots of easy cuts that we could've done. But then it wouldn't have been the game that it needs to be. We're not going to release it if it's not ready. It's going to be quite the thing, you know. When you go to the character creation and you can select all those classes, all those sub classes, and then you start that journey—knowing everything you can do on that journey, it's going to be quite the thing."
 

Antimatter

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I never thought we wouldn't get a gnome race, it seemed clear enough that a 5E game should have gnomes. However, in the past, the responses about gnomes were odd.



It's all clear now.

 

mlnevese

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I never thought we wouldn't get a gnome race, it seemed clear enough that a 5E game should have gnomes. However, in the past, the responses about gnomes were odd.



It's all clear now.


I never thought we wouldn't get a gnome race, it seemed clear enough that a 5E game should have gnomes. However, in the past, the responses about gnomes were odd.



It's all clear now.


Send them some turnips...
 

Urdnot_Wrex

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No turnips please. Playable gnome sounds good, they should get their chance at overcoming the cliche of the slightly or more obviously mad NPC, thinking of Tiax, Quayle and Jan Jansen here...

Glint Gardnersonson is the first gnome NPC I actually liked, his eccentric cheerfulness made me smile.
So, playable gnome is good.
I didn't have an opinion about goblins except "they attack us", until M'Khiin gave them personality.
Heh, come to think of it, my mental image of both gnomes and goblins in RPGs was completely changed by these two great NPCs from Siege of Dragonspear. Glint was fun, M'Khiin cool and badass.
So yeah, give us more short non-humans!
 
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