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Baldur’s Gate 3 Difficulty Differences: How Hard Is This Game?

It’s no secret that Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t hold your hand. The game offers more freedom to conquer puzzles and combat challenges than most other RPGs on the market (with the exception of Larian Studios’ previous game, Divinity: Original Sin 2). But that carte blanche comes at a cost: you sort of need to use every tool available to you since Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t pull its punches. However, you can tweak how much damage those punches deal.

When a player starts the campaign, Baldur’s Gate 3 provides three different difficulty options: Explorer, Balanced, and Tactician. These choices are described as “A narrative experience placing story before combat,” “A balanced adventure full of challenging choices,” and “A tough campaign emphasizing strategic combat,” respectively. What do these descriptors mean? Basically, the “difficulty” of Baldur’s Gate 3 stems from its combat. Gamers will have to make a ton of choices throughout their adventures, but the ability checks and save targets won’t be affected by difficulty. That is a huge relief since depending on the selected challenge, players will need to reserve all their luck for turn-based battles.

Since the “Balanced” option is in the middle of the difficulty tier list, it is the “default” and “normal” challenge of Baldur’s Gate 3. In this mode, fights test players’ skills but won’t overwhelm anyone with at least an iota of tactical knowledge. “Explorer,” meanwhile, is essentially Baldur’s Gate 3’s “easy” mode. Enemies have less health and deal less damage. Plus, dice results are more in players’ favor due to lower attack and saving checks, and item shops always provide a discount. However, using Explorer mode requires a sacrifice. While playing on this difficulty mode, characters cannot multiclass. If your custom character is a Warlock, they will have to stay a pure Warlock until you turn up the heat.

While the Balanced difficulty should be more than enough for most players, anyone who wants a true challenge (or is feeling masochistic) can try out Tactician. In this mode, enemies take more punishment and deal more damage, and they are also harder to hit and more likely to land their attacks. Moreover, enemies on Tactician are smarter and use more strategic maneuvers, including ganging up on the squishiest party member. And to twist the knife in even deeper, while in Tactician mode, long rests (i.e., the most reliable source of healing in Baldur’s Gate 3) cost 80 Supplies instead of the regular 40.

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