Baldur’s Gate 3 Getting Started Guide: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Baldur’s Gate 3

There is nothing like Baldur’s Gate 3 in all of video games. Despite carrying on the legacy of the classic franchise into the modern age, it transforms the idea of a computer RPG into something magnificent and unique. There is no comparison when it comes to cinematics, conversations, choices, and strategic gameplay. So, you certainly should have a Baldur’s Gate 3 getting started guide like this one on your side.

I started playing Baldur’s Gate 3 at an awkward time just before the full release of the game, so I was playing through sections and storylines that no one had touched yet. I can tell you from experience that this led to some awkward choices and failed battles as I learned how to make the dice roll in my favor the hard way. I’m taking those lessons learned and giving them to you in this Baldur’s Gate 3 getting started guide.

Bottom Line Up Front

Baldur’s Gate 3 is the latest in the long-running series, this time from Larian Studios. You might know Larian from the brilliant Divinity Original Sin series, which is some of the finest computer RPGs you can find. Baldur’s Gate 3 takes it to a new level, though, as one of the best RPGs of all time.

There are so many stories, lore, and characters packed into this absolutely massive 3-Act game. You get to explore a nice chunk of the world of Dungeons & Dragons, before venturing into the massive city of Baldur’s Gate. There are countless paths, decisions, and even ending variations you can get in this game.

And that is all before taking into account the various classes you can choose, races you can play, and party members you can pick, all of which will radically change how your gameplay experience is. You can speak to the dead or chat with animals, become a beast, lie past entire fights, and so much more. It is so overwhelming that you should consult a guide like this one to get started.

Before You Even Begin Your Journey to Baldur’s Gate

Baldur’s Gate 3
Image by Cody Perez

There is so much to see and do in Baldur’s Gate 3 that you should do a lot of prep work before you even step into the game. It is almost like playing a tabletop RPG in real life where you want to prepare and know ahead of time what you’re getting yourself into with this unbelievable game.

Build Your Character Sheet

First off, you want to do my favorite part of the entire Baldur’s Gate 3 experience: building out your character a la D&D. You can even create your very own character sheet in real life and start putting together the various stats, race, traits, spells, classes, and the like that you want.

The reason for this is you want to somewhat speed up the character creation process the best you can in this game. It isn’t just your appearance that will be a struggle to figure out, but everything about your character’s background, who they are, and so on.

Outside of the appearance, you can pretty much assemble most of this outside of the game without even purchasing it. This will save you a bunch of time and help your friends be less frustrated if they are waiting on you to finish your character to begin.

First and foremost, decide if you want an Origin character or a custom one. Origin characters are pretty much the party members you meet throughout the experience. You can play as Astarion, the charming and handsome Rogue, Shadowheart, the devoted Cleric, and so on. The Dark Urge is unique, though, in that they are fully customizable but with a twisted backstory.

On the other hand, you have custom characters where you can pick to be and do whatever you want without any strings attached. If you go this route, here are the parts you should figure out before booting up the game or while you’re downloading it:

  • Name
  • Race
  • Subrace (if applicable)
  • Class
  • Subclass (keep in mind that some don’t get theirs until they level up more like Wizard and Druid)
  • If you want to multiclass (can’t do that until later, though)
  • Background
  • Stats (known as abilities in this game)
  • Spells
  • Cantrips
  • Feats

If you are able to figure these out ahead of time, you will save yourself a massive headache and possibly a few hours that could be better spent within the game itself.

Assemble Your Party

You can fully play through all of Baldur’s Gate 3 from start to finish in multiplayer. You can even begin in multiplayer and continue later by yourself solo or vice versa. This is like a tabletop game in the best digital form possible, so it is arguably experienced even better with friends and family.

I enjoy playing this game solo, so you can definitely do that, too, but if you prefer playing with others, gather your team up now. And have them fill out their character sheet ahead of time, too, so you don’t stare at the character creator screen for too long.

But don’t worry if you play this game solo, as you won’t lose out on any content and the like.

Scout Your Romance Partners

Your relationships with your party members and your possible romance opportunities are a massive part of this game. There are around 10 party members in the experience, and you can romance any of them that you recruit, no matter the gender, race, etc you pick.

I suggest looking up all of them if you don’t mind a bit of spoilering, and learning about each one. This will help you to know to wait for X person to appear at your party to start romancing. After all, you don’t want to start romancing an earlier party member and regret it later on, even though the game is pretty forgiving in this aspect.

Pick Where to Play

Your platform is also a vital part of your experience. As of right now, this game is only coming to PC and PS5, but it is highly likely that it will also come to Xbox in the future. And given that Divinity Original Sin 2 was miraculously brought to Switch in surprisingly good fashion, it is possible this could appear on a Switch 2 or a successor in the future.

As such, it is time to choose where you want to play this game carefully. And if you choose a PC, you need to pick between a keyboard & mouse and a controller. I honestly play with a controller and the experience is surprisingly excellently well made; way better than Divinity with a controller. But it is ultimately up to you.

I also have to give a shout-out to the Steam Deck, which is where I play this game. It looks pretty good and runs well, making it a cozy way to check out this wonderfully deep experience.

Your First Day in Baldur’s Gate 3

First Day in Baldur’s Gate 3
Image by Cody Perez

Baldur’s Gate 3 can be so overwhelming regarding how much content and gameplay there is. Fortunately, many of the habits and lessons you learn in the game happen within the first few hours and days you play it. Here is everything you need to know, with a short walkthrough of what you will encounter and do during a typical first day playing Baldur’s Gate 3.

Staring at the Character Creation Screen

Every adventure in this game begins with the character creation screen. You’ll pick whether you want to be a custom character, choose your class, and all that jazz. If you prepared as I recommended above, you should be good to go on this part.

But if you’re doing a multiplayer session, you might have to wait for your pals to get ready. In addition, there is also a Guardian character you can fully customize as well. This one is based mainly on appearance only, so feel free to quickly push that one out.

Exploring the Nautiloid

When you first start the game, you’ll wake up in the Nautiloid mind flayer ship after a bunch of cutscenes. You have the option to explore this place fully and have some optional interactions with a new brain, which can join your party as the character Us.

In addition, you’ll meet your first permanent party member in Lae’zel, who will help you through your first couple of fights in the game. There is even another party member who can join you, known as Shadowheart, but you’ll need some solid skill checks or to find the Eldritch Rune to get here.

I highly recommend players explore every nook and cranny of the ship. There aren’t honestly too many rooms here and not even that many enemies for you to face off against. As such, this is the prime place to learn the controls, get some XP, find some items, and get familiar with the game.

When you’re ready, your ultimate goal is to head to the bridge, which is the final segment of this tutorial area.

Escaping or Defeating Commander Zhalk

On the bridge of the ship, you’ll meet Commander Zhalk, a demon army member. He is fighting off against a mind flayer who probably abducted you. The mind flayer is on your side and keeps the powerful commander occupied while you have a final mission aboard the Nautiloid.

Your goal here is to reach the other side of the bridge where the transponder button is. All you need to do is fight your way through half-a-dozen enemies or so and then press the button with one of your party members. The only catch is the ship is crashing, and you have only 12 turns to do this.

In all honesty, you can probably reach the transponder button comfortably in a couple of turns (maybe four max). As such, you have plenty of time if you would like to focus on the optional and highly challenging goal of taking down Commander Zhalk. He has a mighty unique sword for the taking if you do so.

If you opt for this route, I recommend placing all melee warriors behind him and focusing on magical spells like Magic Missile since he is hard to hit.

Reaching the Druid Grove

After you finally touch the transponder and crash in the real world, you’ll finally get to level up for the first time. It is here that players can continue leveling up their base class or even choose to multiclass. If you opt for that route, though, make sure not to have your difficulty on the lowest one, or else you won’t be able to. Thankfully, you can switch anytime.

After leveling up, meet back up with Shadowheart nearby and it is time to explore this area. There are quite a few lingering enemies around from the mind flayer forces, so take them out, and your next goal is to make it to the Druid Grove, known as the Emerald Grove, to your north.

Here, you’ll find the first proper settlement in the game, complete with a battle at the front gates, some traders to barter with, and plenty of NPCs to chat with.

Recruiting Love Interests

Baldur’s Gate 3 beginners guide
Image by Cody Perez

Along the way to the Druid Grove, you can start building out your party. For one, Lae’zel isn’t with you anymore, so you’ll have to find her. She is near where you land, captured by some Tieflings that you can either fight or persuade to walk away.

There is also Astarion, the handsome elf Rogue, who you can recruit near Lae’zel after he tries to attack you jokingly. Gale is the Wizard character who you can recruit if you head to the nearest waypoint where he got stuck somehow.

Wyll is a Warlock who is hanging out at Druid Grove and is pretty easy to recruit there. Lastly, for this early in the game, there is Karlach. She takes a bit of time to reach, but what you can do is head west from the grove to the bridge, north from there past the dog, across some rocks to cross the river, and then down the road to the right to free her from some flames.

You can romance any of these characters if you play your cards right, but remember that you can only have four characters in your party at once. This includes your player character as well.

Picking a Side Between the Goblins and Druids

The final objective players should have during their first day in Baldur’s Gate 3 is to decide who they’ll side with in the central conflict of Act 1. There is a war between the Goblin Camp and the Druid Grove, which you partake in during the initial fight when you reach the Emerald Grove.

The Druids pretty much want nothing to do with the goblins or the refugees in the camp and kind of jerks. On the other hand, the refugees want the Druids to help or you to stop the goblins so they can safely reach the city of Baldur’s Gate. And then the goblins want to kill everyone.

You can side with any of these three, but you typically lose out on the others in the process. If you side with the goblins and their leader Minthara, who you can recruit this way, you’ll kill the poor refugees and the mean Druids. If you side with the Druids and kick out the refugees, you’ll have to kill these poor Tieflings.

And then, if you side with the Tieflings, which is the most peaceful option, you’ll only have to kill the goblin army and can still recruit the Druid, Halsin. But then you leave the nasty Druid leader Kagha alive, but if you’re like me, you can pick this route and then assassinate her anyways.

Baldur’s Gate 3 Core Mechanics Guide

There is so much to unpack when it comes to the gameplay and mechanics of Baldur’s Gate 3. From the actual turn-based battles to exploring the world through its movement system to even talking with characters, it can add up quite quickly. Here is my breakdown of the mechanics you should know about going into the game.

Classes

Baldur’s Gate 3 classes
Image by Cody Perez

There are 12 classes for players to pick in Baldur’s Gate 3. Here are the following classes you can pick in the game:

  • Bard
  • Barbarian
  • Cleric
  • Druid
  • Fighter
  • Monk
  • Paladin
  • Ranger
  • Rogue
  • Sorcerer
  • Wizard
  • Warlock

Each one works entirely differently from one another, and this gets even wilder once you include the subclasses. Some subclasses, like the Eldritch Knight, turn your melee Fighter into a magical hybrid user. Then there are ones like the Nature Cleric, which makes them like a Druid in a way. There are so many combinations, so explore everyone and figure out what kind of player you want to be.

Conversations and Skill Checks

Conversations are a massive part of this game. If you aren’t fighting, chances are you’re speaking to someone. Many times, there are skill checks involved with conversations, depending on if you want to lie to someone or persuade them.

These skill checks are dice rolls with a difficulty level. There are some bonuses you can gain to help with these checks, such as the spell Guidance or having proficiency in persuasion.

Choices

In addition to skill checks in conversations, you make many choices. These choices radically determine the fate of the characters and where they go in the story. You can sometimes pick which route to take to reach an objective or who to side with, like in the case of the goblins’ battle.

If you pick certain choices, you might even see entire settlements razed from the ground and everyone in it die. Or you might lose out on recruiting a valuable companion. It is worth carefully considering each choice you make in this game.

Campsite and Resting

The campsite is like your base for most of this game. It is where you can retreat and speak with your pals there. In addition, it is also the resting spot for the game. You can use up food supplies to do a long rest and gain back all of your spell slots and HP. It is worth checking back here often.

Movement

The movement in this game is quite unique. You can walk around in the third-person, like most games, or use your cursor to click where you want to go next. In addition, turn-based battles affect your movement as you have a limited movement range for each turn.

You have to be careful to ensure you can reach an opponent and attack them without falling into traps or the like, which are pretty common. In addition, there are ladders you need to worry about, a jump button that is useful for reaching difficult areas, a fly mechanic, and even teleportation spells.

Turn-Based Battles

The actual combat in this game is turn-based. Each player goes once per turn and can do an action plus maybe a bonus action or two and move up to a specific range. Your core action includes attacking an opponent, casting a spell or cantrip, and so on.

Your bonus action can be healing using Healing Word or using a potion. The goal is to make the most of each turn you get to deal the most damage and set yourself up for success. However, not all attacks are guaranteed to land, and even if they do, the dice determine how strong they generally are. So there is a lot of randomness to this game.

How Spells Work

Spells are the magical powers that many players will use in combat. There are so many different types of spells, such as damaging ones, healing ones, buffing ones, movement ones, and so on. You can even summon familiars to help fight or turn into a beast.

Regardless, spells come down to two categories: spells and cantrips. The latter can be used every single turn if you want. On the other hand, spells are limited by your existing spell slots. As you level up, you gain more slots, which allow you to cast more spells. You can regain these when you rest.

Multiplayer

Multiplayer is a huge part of gameplay if you choose to go this route, which I recommend for those who like it. It makes gameplay and combat, especially, much easier since you don’t have to worry about four or more (if you summon) characters. You can focus on one or two and have your party members help out. This can speed up fights as well.

Best Tips We Wish We Knew on Day 1

Baldur’s Gate 3 beginners guide
Image by Cody Perez

Baldur’s Gate 3 taught me a lot of lessons when I first played the game that I then took and applied to some of the later playthroughs I’ve done with friends and family. Here are the tips I wish I had known before starting the game that will help you out quite a bit:

  • Don’t worry too much about your initial class. You can fix it through multiclassing or even changing your class with a particular NPC later on.
  • Recruit every party member as soon as you can. This way, you can build your relationship as early as possible.
  • Save scumming is saving before significant skill checks and reloading if you fail. I don’t mind using this and recommend it to solo players.
  • Balance your stats as best as possible. Try not to have a single stat with a minus one, or at least try not to have more than one.
  • Maximize your turns in battle. Always try to do an action, such as a spell or attack, and a bonus action, such as Healing Word.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

You can make many mistakes when it comes to creating a character, playing through battles, and figuring out the best abilities and spells to use. Here are some of the mistakes that I commonly found during my time playing this game that you should avoid at all costs:

  • Second-guessing yourself too much. If you pick a choice, own it. If you worry about making the wrong choice, look up the results online first.
  • Not resting often enough. If your party’s health reaches 50% or less, it’s time to do a short rest. If you’re out of short rests, time for a long rest at the camp.
  • Don’t forget to save! Do this often, as you never know what fight is around the corner.
  • Try not to move on without exploring every corner of the map. There are some neat secrets, interactions, and items you can find in random places.

Long-Term Goals to Consider

Baldur’s Gate 3 the hollow
Image by Cody Perez

Finally, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a massive game. You can spend a couple of dozen hours in the game’s starting area and Act 1 alone. And that isn’t even taking into account the overwhelming size of the city of Baldur’s Gate itself. For those players just getting started, here are some long-term goals you should consider for the future of your playthrough:

  • Think about who you’re going to romance so you can always bring them along.
  • Figure out if you’re going to multiclass and plan ahead for that since levels are minimal.
  • Complete all of the available content before moving to a new area or Act. The game will warn you about this, but if you miss out on certain content, you could miss out on entire storylines, relationships, or even party members.

FAQs

Question: What is the best class for beginners in Baldurs Gate 3?

Answer: I suggest you pick the class you are most interested in for playing Baldurs Gate 3. That said, if you have no preference, the best classes for beginners seem to be the ranged ones like Wizard, Druid, or Cleric. You can heal or cast magic from afar or transform into a beast as a Druid, which has simple but thrilling gameplay.

Question: Is Baldurs Gate 3 beginner-friendly for newcomers to the series?

Answer: I would say that Baldurs Gate 3 is quite friendly to beginners and newcomers. Though this is a challenging game, you don’t have to have any experience with the past two games to play it. I only played the Dark Alliance games a little bit as a kid, which I barely remember, and I was able to enjoy this game fully. Though there are recurring characters from past titles, so maybe look up a story summary for past games.

Question: Is Baldurs Gate 3 too hard?

Answer: Baldurs Gate 3 is a reasonably complex game, even on the lowest difficulty setting, but I wouldn’t say it’s too hard most of the time. If you are struggling with this challenging game, try to lower the difficulty or do other quests or content. Level up and then come back to whatever you were trying to complete. I also recommend multiplayer if it’s too hard for you, as other players can take the load off of you.

Become Part of the Growing Community

Baldur’s Gate 3 is everything I’ve ever wanted from a computer RPG in the modern day. Other games like Divinity Original Sin 2 and Pillars of Eternity 2 weren’t able to keep my attention for too long in the way that this game can, reminding me of my childhood days when I fell in love with games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Neverwinter Nights.

If you are like me and can’t wait to dive further into Baldur’s Gate 3, you are in the right place. Hopefully, my tips, lessons learned, and breakdowns were able to help you on your path to breaking free of the mind flayer curse and the parasite stuck in your character’s head.

If you want to join the vast community of Baldur’s Gate 3 players who are digging deep into this massive experience, you’re in the right place. There are hundreds of thousands of new players who jumped right into the game for the first time around its full release, some of which might even have an open lobby for you to join in multiplayer if you’d like.

Continue reading:

Baldur’s Gate 3 Classes Guide: Which is the Best Class for You?

Baldur’s Gate 3 Escape the Nautiloid Guide: How to Beat the Prologue

Maliketh Elden Ring Guide

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