Sunday, August 27, 2023
Everybody is cheating
If you follow Baldur's Gate 3 content on a social media platform like YouTube, other BG3 content will be suggested to you. And some of them promise to tell you tricks how to get more or even infinite gold or experience points. You can get infinite gold with pickpocketing, followed by a long rest to reset the vendor gold. You can get double or triple the xp from an encounter by first getting xp for a diplomatic solution, saving / reloading, then getting xp from knocking the enemies out with non-lethal damage, saving / reloading, and finally getting the xp a third time by killing the enemies.
What is surprising is not that these methods exist, but how different people's attitudes are towards various methods of cheating. To me it is rather obvious that save scumming is cheating too, but very few people see it that way. And a lot of people think that getting more gold or xp by an in-game exploit is okay, while getting the same amount of extra gold and xp with a tool like Cheat Engine or a mod is not acceptable. I've watched one streamer who happily save scummed, but wouldn't use the very official "send to camp" function in his inventory, because that felt like cheating to him. Meanwhile the internet is full of Baldur's Gate 3 content of the "should you do this decision" or "how to solve this puzzle" variety, and needless to say that all that is cheating too. I don't think anybody played Baldur's Gate 3 without *any* form of cheating, with reloading a save after things went wrong probably being the most prevalent form.
And I am totally okay with that. Sometimes I just want to see what happens when I do a different decision in a dialogue, without starting a complete new playthrough, so I save scum to try. At some point I got sick and tired of searching every vase and crate for rotten tomatoes, so I stopped doing so and got myself the gold I needed with the help of Cheat Engine. Divinity Original Sin 2 has 4,608 mods on the Steam Workshop, and I would expect that Baldur's Gate 3 Steam Workshop mod support is coming too. And while there are some purely cosmetic mods, most mods are a form of cheating too, changing gameplay. And that is great: For example for Jagged Alliance 3 I was able to use mods to fine-tune the game to be much more to my personal liking. And there is a bunch of things I would change about Baldur's Gate 3 if I could, especially regarding inventory management and items; e.g. for me the game would gain a lot of replayability if I could randomize loot instead of always finding the same stuff at the same location (not sure if that would be possible with a mod).
These are very complex games, and different people have different areas of the game they like more or like less, or that they find easier or harder. Whatever method we use, save scumming, in-game exploits, looking up solutions, cheat software, or mods, is fine as long as we use it to make the game more fun to us. We just need to realize that everybody is doing that, one way or another. The "holier than thou" attitude that often reigns on the internet regarding cheating is really not justified. Everybody is cheating.