How Difficult Will Baldur’s Gate 3 Be?

How Difficult Will Baldur’s Gate 3 Be? With strategic fights and the option of multiple difficulties on full release, the answer isn’t entirely straight-forward.

Baldur's Gate 3 mid fight screenshot Larian Studios
Source: Larian Studios

The first act of Baldur’s Gate 3 has been available in Early Access for a few years now and many players have gotten a taste of the type of strategic combat encounters that developers Larian Studios has designed. Almost puzzle-like in nature, you have to think carefully before stepping into battle, preparing your team and making good use of your surrounding environment to be successful. Gameplay in Early Access had no options of difficulty settings, but according to Larian Studios that will be chaning for the full release of the game!

Baldur’s Gate 3 Difficulty Options

In Baldur’s Gate 3, the difficulty settings provide players with a dynamic and tailored gameplay experience to suit their preferences and skills. With several difficulty options to choose from, players can adjust the challenge level to match their desired playstyle.

When Baldur’s Gate 3 launches for PC/Macs on August 3, 2023 it will do so with three official difficulty settings.

Baldur’s Gate 3 difficulty settings are:

  • Explorer – Story Mode
  • Balanced – Standard Play
  • Tactician – Hard Mode

Larian has explained that what players experienced in Early Access was the Balanced setting. The addition of these new difficulty settings will ensure that both newcomers and veterans alike can enjoy a rich and immersive role-playing experience, adjusting the game’s challenge to create their ideal adventure within the perilous and enchanting world of Faerun.

Baldur's Gate 3 Party
Source: Larian Studios

How to Change the Difficulty in Baldur’s Gate 3

When you start a new game in Baldur’s Gate 3 the second choice you will be asked before jumping into character creation is what Difficulty Setting you wish to play at. If you’re brand new to the game and didn’t get a chance to experience the game in Early Access, or are unsure where you might rank in terms of skill level don’t worry too much about making a ‘wrong’ choice here.

Larian has clarified that the difficulty setting is not locked in for the entity of the game. Players may go into the Settings and change the difficulty at anytime during their play though. Whether you have run into a combat scenario you just want to get past, or if you are feeling confident enough and want to try a greater challenge. As always, video games of all kinds are meant to be fun – play the way you want!

Take these steps to change the difficulty settings:

  1. While in-game, press the Escape (Esc) key
  2. In the top-left corner click on the ‘Options’ tab

Explorer Difficulty in Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur's Gate 3 Religion Skill Checks
Religion Skill Check

This difficulty setting is intended to be BG3’s Story Mode, or what some might refer to as ‘Easy Mode’. This is for players who aren’t as interested or perhaps not as skilled in combat, allowing them to focus more on the narrative and exploration aspects of the game. Or for those who are new to Dungeons & Dragons’ turned-based dice roll combat and want to learn the system without having to worry about being punished right out of the gate.

Explorer mode will tone down the combat encounters, giving enemies less hit points while also making their AI less strategic. Additionally, you’ll find that trader prices are better and friendly NPCs are harder to kill.

The biggest boost to Explorer mode will be the extra +2 players will receive to their proficiency bonus. While two points might not seem like a lot to players coming from other types of games, D&D fans will know that this is a ‘level-up’ to abilities is usually not earned until level 9. This change will not only make combat easier, but can also improve dice rolls and help increase the chances of choosing successful dialogue options.

Balanced Difficulty in Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 Bard Class and Instruments You Can Play
Source: Larian Studios

As mentioned earlier, the Balanced Difficulty mode will provide the same level of game play challenge as players found in Early Access. If you were not able to experience the game in early access, you’ll find that the “Balanced” difficulty mode strikes the perfect equilibrium between accessibility and challenge, making it an ideal choice for most players. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or new to the world of Faerun, this mode offers a well-rounded gameplay experience.

In this difficulty mode, combat encounters are thoughtfully balanced, presenting a fair but substantial challenge to players. Enemies will put up a fight, requiring tactical thinking and strategic use of abilities, while still allowing room for creative approaches and experimentation and without overly punishing mistakes. Players can immerse themselves in the captivating storyline and relish the exploration aspects of the game without feeling overwhelmed by an insurmountable level of difficulty.

Tactician Difficulty in Balder’s Gate 3

In Baldur’s Gate 3, the “Tactician” difficulty mode beckons to the most seasoned and strategic of adventurers. Prepare for an intense and unforgiving journey through the treacherous lands of Faerûn. Every decision you make carries weight, and your survival demands cunning and skill.

Matt Holland, the senior combat designer for Baldur’s Gate 3, explained in the final Panel from Hell livestream exactly how playing in Tactician mode changes the game. First, he addressed adjusting the ‘base layer’ of the game. This mean changing basics such a higher HP for enemies and hits dealing more damage to you and your party.

Baldur's Gate 3 Paladin Smite
Baldur’s Gate 3: Paladin Smite

Secondly, he talked about a ‘local layer’ where they have gone through every single combat encounter in the game. The developers have individually added in “little bits of spice” to make the fights that much harder. This can mean giving enemies better gear and weapons, adding environmental obstacles, or placing dangerous explosives in unfortunate locations.

Brutal AI

If all of those changes weren’t already enough of a challenge, Holland also spoke about a system called Brutal AI. What this means is that in Tactician mode the enemies you face have actually been made strategically smarter. They will do things like target your weakest character first, or deliberately break the concentration of spellcasters.

With Brutal AI we wanted to make it feel like you were going up against a DM (Dungeon Master) who was trying to push you to your limits.

Matt Holland, Senior Combat Designer

Consequently, players are going to need to approach combat encounters with a lot of thought and preparation. How will you position your party members? How will you protect the physically weaker members? Which enemy do you target first? How can you use the environment to your advantage?

Tactician mode in Baldur’s Gate 3 will reward mastery of the game’s mechanics and requires a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of both your party and your adversaries. Victory in Tactician difficulty is hard-earned but immensely satisfying, making you feel like a true hero who overcame tremendous odds.

Looking for more Baldur’s Gate 3?

Thank you for reading our How Difficult Will Baldur’s Gate 3 Be? article. We provide the latest news and create guides for Baldur’s Gate 3. Additionally, check out our website, watch Deltia play games on Twitch, or visit his YouTube channel!