Baldur’s Gate 3 is an immersive and intricately designed RPG brimming with possibilities. Like any vast open-world game, it’s easy to make crucial mistakes, especially when you’re just starting out.
After extensively playing Baldur’s Gate 3, I’ve collected some of the major pitfalls that new and experienced players often fall victim to.
Avoid these common mistakes to optimize your party, maximize your rewards, and fully experience everything this superb game has to offer.
1. Understand Armor Proficiencies
One of the first mistakes players make is equipping heavy armor on every character that can wear it. This seems logical, as heavier armor provides higher AC.
However, not all armor proficiencies are created equal.
Just because a class is proficient in medium or heavy armor does not mean they should wear the best available armor.
You need to consider the other benefits provided by lighter armor.
The main reason to wear armor is the AC bonus it provides.
Heavier armor has a higher base AC, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into the highest AC for every character. With light armor, your full Dexterity modifier applies to AC. So for nimble, dexterous characters like Rogues and Rangers, light armor results in the highest AC.
Dex also improves initiative, Stealth, and several key skills, so it’s an important ability score for many classes.
Medium armor caps the Dexterity bonus to AC at +2. So even with proficiency, medium armor ends up being worse than light armor for high Dexterity characters like Rogues. A set of studded leather provides the same AC as scale mail, while also improving Stealth. Going from light to medium armor means losing out on a higher Dex bonus.
As another example, Barbarians get the most benefit when unarmored thanks to their Unarmored Defense feature. Wearing any armor negates this entirely.
Similarly, Monks need to be unarmored to utilize their Unarmored Movement and Defense. Also consider Lizardfolk and Tortles, who have natural armor that outweighs wearing actual armor.
When choosing armor, you need to factor in all potential bonuses, not just the base AC rating. Evaluate your full character build before just equipping the heaviest armor available.
2. Fully Respect Your Allies
Another common yet major mistake is neglecting to respect your companion characters. After recruiting companions like Shadowheart and Astarion, visit Withers at your camp. Withers allows you to completely rebuild your allies. This includes changing their class, racial bonuses, skills, and even ability scores.
Respecting companions is crucial to fix any suboptimal ability score distributions. For example, roguish Astarion starts with several points invested in Intelligence for his innate magical abilities. But unless you plan to multiclass him as an Arcane Trickster, those points are probably better spent on Dexterity, Constitution or even Charisma rather than languishing in a rarely used ability score.
The same goes for shady Gale the Wizard, who starts with minimal Constitution. Moving points from Intelligence into Constitution can dramatically improve his survival.
You can also fix overlapping skill proficiencies when respecting allies. Your main character likely focuses heavily on certain skills like Persuasion or Stealth. If a companion also has those proficiencies, consider swapping them for something your party currently lacks, like Arcana or Medicine. This avoids wasting skill overlaps while rounding out your team.
Properly respeccing companions allows you to fix poorly optimized starting builds and craft a well-rounded adventuring party. Don’t neglect this incredibly useful camp feature. It’s free to respect allies, so take advantage.
3. Master Reactions
Combat in Baldur’s Gate 3 offers a wide range of potential actions, including two that are often overlooked by new players – bonus actions and reactions. While most classes don’t start with reliable bonus actions, every character has access to reactions. Mastering reactions is critical to succeeding in combat.
Here are some tips on effectively utilizing reactions:
- Enable “Ask” for reactions in the menu. This provides a prompt confirming you want to use a reaction before it triggers. Without this, reactions often occur without you realizing, potentially wasting them.
- Opportunity attacks when enemies move away trigger reactions. With “Ask” enabled, you get to decide whether that reaction is worthwhile depending on the enemy and battlefield situation.
- Some reactions like a Barbarian’s Reckless Attack recharge every round. “Ask” gives control over when these limited use reactions occur.
- Gear, spells, and special abilities grant additional reaction options. The “Ask” prompt makes you aware of these situational new choices.
- Carefully consider your action economy each turn. Saving reaction options extends your influence into the enemy turn.
Reactions expand your tactical options and control over combat. Take full advantage of them by carefully considering when to use your reaction. The “Ask” prompt is instrumental here.
4. Leverage Backgrounds
When creating your Baldur’s Gate 3 characters, it’s tempting to choose backgrounds solely for roleplaying flavor and personality. However, backgrounds also provide tangible benefits that can dramatically impact your experience gain. Two characters of the same class and level can be several thousand XP apart based solely on background choice.
Here’s how backgrounds influence experience gain:
- Backgrounds provide inspiration when you roleplay them. Earning inspiration points grants raw XP.
- Maxing out at 4 inspiration points turns additional points into XP.
- Using inspiration for skill checks converts them into XP.
- Backgrounds give proficiency in skills that offer more inspiration when used.
Because background directly correlates to experience gain, choose backgrounds that match your character’s personality and goals. This generates more inspiration and acceleration.
For example, the Acolyte background provides Religion and Insight skill proficiencies. If your character routinely utilizes those skills, you’ll gain more inspiration. Similarly, the Criminal and Urchin backgrounds make excellent choices for sneaky characters thanks to Stealth proficiency.
Consider all potential experience gain sources when choosing backgrounds, not just roleplaying flavor. Your character’s story matters, but so does their progression.
5. Acquire Free Loot
No matter how noble your adventuring party, you’ll likely want to acquire the best gear possible to face the perils ahead. Baldur’s Gate 3 offers clever players ample opportunities to obtain free gold and equipment. Here are some morally questionable yet highly effective techniques:
- Steal sold items back and resell them. Fence goods to a merchant, then stealthily pilfer them from inventory and flip them again. Just don’t get caught!
- Knocked out vendors have more lootable items than dead ones. Non-lethal attacks let you safely rob shopkeepers.
- Pickpocket vendors while unseen to steal their entire inventory. This access exceeds their available shop stock.
- Grab any unattended gear like weapons lying around, even if labeled as owned. If no one sees, there’s no consequence.
With these tips, you can amass piles of free loot to equip your party with elite gear. Just beware of potential alignment shifts if caught. Lightening the coffers of shady merchants in the pursuit of a greater good? Your call.
Those are 5 critical mistakes even seasoned players make in Baldur’s Gate 3. Proper ability score planning, party synergies, tactical combat, and maximizing rewards can enhance your adventure through the Forgotten Realms. Share any other helpful tips and tricks in the comments!