A game like Baldur’s Gate 3 has a lot to take in, there are lots of D&D-style systems to learn and master that you won’t come across in your typical RPG. This means there can be a bit of a learning curve as you get used to the game, everything you do has consequences and decisions need to be thought over much more thoroughly than in many other RPGs. Something as simple as “yeah I’ll just open this chest and ignore the option to do an insight check” could see you placed in immediate danger if it turns out to be a trap. Combat is just as tricky, as positioning and use of actions are incredibly important. One poor choice can see a team mate go down very quickly and it’s often not easy to get them back up safely. With those factors in mind, here are all the difficulties in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3) explained, so you can select a difficulty to play the game on that’s appropriate for your skill level and appetite.
All Difficulties in Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3) Explained
This is the difficulty that is more focused on the story than on combat. As such, it’s a good difficulty to learn the games core mechanics, as combat will be much more forgiving. Enemies will have less HP and your characters will have an increased chance to land their attacks, which certainly makes it easier. Don’t get me wrong though, it will still have some challenge to it, you won’t be able to just steam roll everything like story difficulty in some other RPGs. But it will be quite a lot easier to deal with combat than other difficulties.
I would recommend most people to try the Balanced difficulty first and see how you go. If the combat is too difficult to learn at that difficulty, then you can always drop it down to Explorer difficulty whenever you like from the in-game menu. One massive drawback of the Explorer difficulty is that it does hold you back from multi-classing to keep things simpler. I personally find multi-classing to be a super cool aspect of Baldur’s Gate 3, so definitely take this restriction into consideration before going with Explorer difficulty. You can increase the difficulty at any time and unlock multi-classing once you’re more used to the combat. However you’ll need to keep it at the higher difficulty to retain your multi-class setup.
This is the ideal middle ground difficulty, and Baldur’s Gate 3’s recommended difficulty. It has a balance between combat challenge and story focus, and you really get the full experience of the game here. It is significantly more difficult than Explorer difficulty, and many new players who aren’t familiar with this style of game and D&D mechanics may struggle quite a bit at first, especially in combat. There is no shame in starting out in Explorer and upping the difficulty to Balanced once you’re more confident in your abilities.
This is where you can flip the script over to hard mode. Tactician really takes things up a notch in combat. Not only will enemies have much more HP than in Balanced, but all combat scenarios get a rather hefty overhaul. There will be more enemies than normal, additional hazards to navigate such as fires on the floor to limit your movement options, and enemies change up the way they fight tactically. Instead of downing a character and moving on, they will actually attempt to finish them off and leave your characters dead, which makes things much more difficult if you can’t just get characters back on their feet. They’ll also target higher damage, squishy characters like Mages as a priority, instead of just piling on a tank character like you’d want. This leap in difficulty is significant, and I’d only recommend it to the more hardcore players or D&D fanatics to take on if they really want that next level of challenge in combat. I’d say that most people shouldn’t attempt this difficulty until they’ve cleared the main story on at least Balanced difficulty first At that point, if you’re ready for more challenge you could try a new character on Tactician for a super tough second play through.
That covers off all the difficulties in Baldur’s Gate 3 and what you should take into consideration before choosing one to go ahead with. Let us know which difficulty you’re rocking with currently!
For more info on the game, check out our guide to getting BG3 up and running on Steam Deck, as well as a list of all of the voice actors and the characters they play.