What do you get when you combine live goblins, a robust throwing-arm, and the laws of gravity? A sternly-worded letter to Larian about goblin cruelty. But you also get a description of how best to use the new Improvised weapon mechanic coming to Baldur’s Gate 3.
Yes, we’re happy to announce the first major update of the year is right around the corner, and we’re going big on melee combat. Patch #7 brings with it an influx of new ways to play - from fresh melee combat mechanics, to new weapons, to a rowdy new melee class!
But that’s just a taste of what’s to come in Baldur’s Gate 3 this month. This update also brings a slew of upgrades and improvements, with our patch notes totalling 12-full pages - each page lovingly typed by tireless fingers for your viewing pleasure. We’ve improved stealth gameplay with better lighting detection, overhauled the HUD UI with a more streamlined design, polished nearly 700 cinematics, mocapped new spell-casting animations, and sorted out Shadowheart’s weird ponytail - just to name a few.
Today let’s take a closer look at what’s to come. So slip into your finest loincloth, crack those knuckles, and we’ll dig right in.
Unleash your fury: A new Barbarian class comes to Baldur’s Gate
Merciless in the heat of battle, fueled by nature’s fury, and boasting chaos energy louder than a thousand reality TV stars combined: Barbarians are the latest class to join Baldur's Gate 3.
Look on my eight-pack, ye mighty and despair.
These brutal warriors hail from the wilds of Faerûn, but they feel most at home at the center of combat where they can channel their inner Rage to unlock devastating actions. When a Barbarian is enraged, they gain extra buffs, bonuses, and attacks - boosting the damage they lay down and halving the physical damage they take. But in order to reach this state, they must first spend a Rage Charge.
Barbarians have three charges at their disposal by the time they reach Level 3. Once enraged, they need to do damage or receive damage in order to keep their Rage going for another turn. Lose this Rage, however, and the perks that it generates disappear. Mastery of Barbarian combat is therefore all about maintaining your Rage and sustaining it for as long as possible by hitting or being hit every turn.
So what does a Barbarian do when they want to feed their rage but their friends are hogging all the combat on the other side of the battlefield? They simply jumpstart that Barbarian temper. One way to do this is through your Tadpole power Endless Rage. This ability deals 1d4 Psychic Damage to the Barbarian for 10 consecutive turns, ensuring Rage stays activated for the duration. In turn, Barbarians will also inflict an additional 1d4 Damage to enemies when using their melee weapons - making them even more ferocious in combat.
And remember, Barbarians: When in need, you can always recruit a friendly companion for a strategic thwacking. It's as easy as ABC (Allies can Bash you Continuously).
Choose your destiny: Wildheart or Berserker
As you level your Barbarian, your combat actions will evolve to reflect one of two subclasses: Wildheart and Berserker.
Those who go the path of the Wildheart will appoint a Bestial Heart to inspire them, granting different combat actions depending on which Heart they select.
There are five Bestial Hearts to choose from: The Bear Heart provides players with a self-heal, the Eagle Heart introduces a dive-attack from above, the Elk Heart gifts you a Stampede rush-attack to flatten enemies, the Tiger Heart offers a coned Cleave attack that inflicts bleeding, and the Wolf Heart allows you to buff your allies using a Pack Howl to help them move further during their turn. Your choice of Bestial Heart also affects how you appear in-game with different facial piercings, similar to the Sorcerer's Draconic Bloodline scales - although you’re still free to pick a piercing type from another Heart or disable them altogether if face metal is not the look for you.
For those who choose the path of the Berserker, your Barbarian will pull from a reservoir of pure fury, turning their Rage into a Frenzy. While in a Frenzy, players can create further chaos with an Enraged Throw or a Frenzied Strike. Enraged Throw wreaks additional damage on enemies and inflicts prone. Frenzied Strike, on the other hand, is a new weapon attack that allows you to attack twice.
Badger-Bashing, Axe-Throwing, and Yeetable Goblins
If you’ve played D&D, you’ll already be well-acquainted with Improvised weapons. But if you haven’t, then in your mind’s eye simply picture a large badger. No, a bigger one. Now imagine using this badger as a melee weapon: picking it up like a wrestler with a steel folding chair and bashing it against the helpless forehead of a furious Githyanki. That’s an Improvised weapon.
Improvised Weapons do damage based on their weight. Objects between 0.5kg and 10kg will do 1d4, while anything over 10kg will do 2d4. Characters can wield an Improvised weapon that weighs up to three times their Strength ability score. In short, this means with a high enough Strength stat, you can use something as big as a Mindflayer as a tool for thwacking your foes - although we don’t think he’d like it.
In addition to Improvised weapons, Patch #7 improves upon the Throw ability. With Patch #7, almost anything has the potential to become a deadly projectile yeeted at your foes. Go long with someone’s severed leg. Launch a sheep into the air and watch as your enemies cower in fear of nature’s woolen bullet. Huck a lute at a Bard after they refuse to play Deep Purple then bellow your own name into the wind. Maybe not exactly like that.
Your Strength dictates the range of your throw, as calculated against the weight of the object. We’ll leave the experimentation to you, but know that the true hero of Baldur’s Gate is the first person to yeet a goblin off every cliffside in Faerûn.
Additionally, this update introduces a new class of throwable weapons. Thrown weapons like Daggers, Javelins, Handaxes, and Spears allow you to attack from a distance, making melee combat feel more dynamic.
These are especially key to the Barbarian’s gameplay. Unlike their Improvised counterparts, Thrown Weapons do significant damage based on their Damage stats - not their weight. Barbarian’s begin the game with Handaxes, in addition to their primary Greataxe weapon, making them a formidable adversary in both close and ranged combat.
In the shadows: Making stealth and exploration better
In this update we've also improved how light and dark areas are detected in Baldur’s Gate 3. Now the Advantage that you gain when fighting in a lit area, and the Disadvantage you receive when fighting in shadows, is much more accurate than before. This means you’re less likely to miss when in daylight, and hiding from NPCs is now more precisely affected by the darkness around you - making stealth a lot more fun.
You’ll also see that we’ve improved how Darkvision is visualised in the game. Now when controlling a character with Darkvision, the area won’t be brightly lit as before. Instead, they’ll see in the dark via a cone of vision effect, resulting in a more immersive feeling of exploration.
Improving exploration in BG3 is one of the cornerstones of this patch. We wanted to ensure that as you explore, the surprises that are waiting around the corner stay just that: A surprise.
So one of the big changes you’ll notice is our new Room Portal System. Prior to Patch 7, it was possible for players to see within closed-off or unexplored rooms simply by moving their camera. This meant there was little surprise when it came to enemies lurking behind doors, and ambushes could often be predicted before they happened.
In our new update, we have now introduced Room Portals - blackened barriers that cover the doors of unexplored rooms and conceal the characters and objects within them. We hope that by keeping the contents of these rooms hidden, you’ll feel more tension and surprise every time you step foot somewhere new.
New Magical Loot to boost your powers in combat
So what can you expect to find in your travels? In short: More loot.
In Patch #7, we’ve placed 24 new pieces of Magic Loot throughout the world for you to discover. These hand-crafted items range from helmets and gloves to lightning-charged tridents, each of which grant its owner an impressive stat boost, buff, or additional perk.
The Hamarhraft maul, for instance, causes the wearer to deal 1d4 Thunder damage in a 10ft radius upon landing after a Jump. Fleetfingers gloves let the player Jump after a Dash without using a bonus action. While other items, like Reason's Grasp, are ideal for Barbarians - giving the wearer temporary hit points when they end their Rage. We won’t list all the items here, but they’re all there for you to find.
A Huge HUD UI Upgrade
In this update you’ll also notice that we’ve completely overhauled our HUD UI, making it slicker and easier to use, without sacrificing any of its depth.
Taking a look at the new hotbar, you'll see that it's now built up of several "decks" that are moveable as well as hideable to help reduce the clutter on screen. Each Deck is a subset of available actions: Spells, Items, Weapon Actions, and so on. And within the hotbar, you can also filter for a particular action - from Bonus Actions or actions that use Spell Slots to class-specific actions like Sorcerer Points and Rage abilities. The aim here is to streamline what is on your screen at any given time, while still ensuring that all the info you need is on hand and easily accessible.
You'll also notice that your Character Sheet is now a floating panel which can be kept open while playing and moved around the screen as needed. We wanted to make things as convenient as possible. So from here you can check your stats, proficiencies, and Spellbook, as well as other important information, all of which can be filtered to find just what you need. Specific items, equipment, or spells can similarly be filtered through or sought out using our keyword search. And if you ever find yourself overwhelmed by too much loot, you can search through your stuff by category: Simply click on your Chain Mail slot, for example, and it will display everything that can be equipped there, including items that other party members are using.
You can expect to find a number of other changes on your screen: A round minimap, a vertically-aligned Party line, along with newly refined tooltips for your viewing pleasure. And, to top things off, an update to Combat Order. Now it’s scroll-able and will appear at the top centre of your screen, making it much clearer whose turn it is and who’s up next.
Class-based Spell Animations inspired by the real-world
Now when Gale begins casting a spell, things should look a little different than before. In this patch, each spell-casting class now receives their own tailor-made casting animation that better reflects the spirit of their class within D&D lore: A spell-casting Wizard will appear more mathematical and thoughtful when conjuring up a fireball, for instance, whereas a Warlock's animation has been choreographed to look creepier and twisted in their movements.
To achieve this, we brought choreographers into our mo-cap studio in Kuala Lumpur and looked to the real-world for inspiration.
For our Rangers, we were inspired by the physically emotive nature of sign-language and used a sign language-speaker at our Malaysian studio to mo-cap their movements during spell-casting. Those of you who speak sign language might recognise some of their gestures, which aim to capture the essence of these spells - not just their names. When casting a Buff, for instance, a Ranger will sign the word "Shield".
For our Wizards, on the other hand, we brought in a choreographer to help design new casting animation based on Finger-Tutting, a form of '90s street dance that focuses on intricate finger-work.
Does this mean that Gale is in fact a fan of 90s-era Earthly hip-hop? According to my personal fan-fiction: Yes, specifically Wu-Tang.
And improvements to nearly 700 cinematics
Finally, Patch #7 brings with it some substantial changes and upgrades to hundreds of cinematics and interactive dialogues.
Our cinematics team has been hard at work upgrading visuals, tweaking characters, and repositioning cameras throughout nearly 700 cutscenes for this update. They've added over 400 new animations, enhanced creature animations in 200 interactive dialogues, and improved the pacing of cinematics to boot.
Some cutscenes have been edited to better fit the momentum of gameplay, which also meant re-recording some of the narrator's dialogue to ensure it's delivered at a snappier pace. This narration has also been re-recorded using a new microphone and remastered to give the lines a warmer, closer-to-your-ears tone - Like an ASMR dream.
And the results speak for themselves.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is looking darn good and we can’t wait for you to experience the new update for yourself.
Of course, this post represents just a fraction of the improvements heading to the game this month. Check out our patch notes in full for a look at all the new content, improvements, and fixes - with asterisks noting changes and fixes that were the direct result of feedback from the Baldur’s Gate 3 community.
Early Access continues to be a key part of Larian’s development process, allowing us to iterate and improve with feedback from our players to make the best game possible.
Our internal goal post for release is a quality bar rather than a date. 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 release out of Early Access in 2023.