Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 06, 2021
It's an RPG, not a dating simulator!

I moved from Pathfinder: Kingmaker via Solasta: Crown of the Magister to Baldur's Gate 3 (Early Access v4). And while Baldur's Gate 3 is clearly the "prettiest" of the three, with the biggest budget, in some ways it is the weakest of the three in terms of tabletop style gameplay. That starts with very simple things like the game hiding dice rolls from you: Only a few skill checks have a very visible roll of a die; of the other rolls, some can be checked in the combat log, while others are completely invisible. If you mouse over a target, a percentage chance to hit appears, instead of a d20 roll needed to hit.

But far worse is that we are back to the concept of only having one main character to control. And, even worse than in Kingmaker, this time there is no way to customize your NPC companions beyond making a few choices when leveling them up. And at least up to now, there isn't much choice. And with the 5 companions figuring prominently on all sorts of loading screens etc., it doesn't look as if more than a few will still be added.

So, if you want for example to make a main character other than a cleric, and you want to have a cleric in your group (which is a very sensible choice, tactics wise), you will have to take Shadowheart. If you don't like the Trickster domain she has, or don't like her alignment or goddess, tough luck, there is no other choice. She, and the other 4 companions, have foregone tactical flexibility and traded it in for a long backstory, with long animated dialogue options, and options for romance, and even sex.

Crap, I wanted a CRPG, not a dating simulator! And no, I don't want romance and sex options in my Baldur's Gate 3 multiplayer game either. I mean, how creepy is that? I have played tabletop D&D using both male and female characters, and I have played with both male and female players, using characters of different gender. And the only way to make that work is to keep sex out of role-playing. Unless that is what you want, in which case I'd recommend a different system than D&D.

Baldur's Gate 3 is also rather linear and on rails with the story. You can't just run around and have maybe some random encounters and have a bit of fun with tactical combat. All combat encounters are fixed and scripted. So if you want to roll another character and play again, chances are that at least half of your group consists of the same NPCs as your first playthrough, and the combat encounters are somewhat similar. Unless your specific goal is to romance another NPC, the replayability isn't great. I have to say, I am somewhat disappointed. This is not really the D&D game I wanted. Solasta is a lot less polished, but a lot more fun.

"If you mouse over a target, a percentage chance to hit appears, instead of a d20 roll needed to hit."

The devs seem to be of the opinion that this is easier to digest for people familiar to DND than see the actual number.

One of the criticisms of BG3 is that the devs aren't strictly translating 5E to the game.

I personally dont mind not being able to see the rolls.

As far as the story and characters go you are right so far. The EA seems to be more linear then the start of DOS2. While you can do some funky stuff like visiting the under dark very early you'll get obliterated by the enemies there. You basically have to do things in a certain order even though the illusion of an open world is there. Hopefully the rest of the game opens up the range of options more.

I will note that eventually you'll be able to make custom characters so just like in DOS2 you'll probably use the companions once to see their stories then just play with customized characters in every other playthrough.

*The devs seem to be of the opinion that this is easier to digest for people familiar to DND than see the actual number.

Meant to say easier to digest for people NOT familiar to DND.
BG2 was my first dating simulator, so I am not surprised there's a good bit of it in the new game.
The first time I played tabletop D&D, we had completed a successful mission and acquired a ton of gold and the DM asked what we do next and I was like, um, I guess try to find a nice partner and get married, and everyone else at the table was like, "this is D&D, you can't do that!"
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