Baldur's Gate 3's PAX East 2020 gameplay reveal gave us a first glimpse at Larian Studios' upcoming RPG, while also revealing the fact that it would use turn-based combat.
This departure from the predecessors' real-time with pause combat system has fans divided, some feeling that turn-based combat is synonymous with Divinity: Original Sin, rather than Baldur's Gate, while others praising it for being closer to Dungeons & Dragons. Here's everything we know about Baldur's Gate 3's turn-based combat.
Baldur's Gate 3 Turn-based Combat
Each battle in Baldur's Gate 3 begins with an initiative check done behind the scenes – like the majority of dice rolls that fuel its turn-based combat – the winners taking the first turn.
During your turn, you get to move all your characters, which is a departure from Divinity: Original 2's combat. All enemies then move on their own turn. This, potentially, allows both parties to more easily set up devastating combos.
Characters can perform actions and bonus actions instead of just moving and attacking. Bonus actions can include shoving characters, using spells to bolster your defenses, using cantrips – spells that don't take up a spell slot – to summon magic hand minions, or throwing a pair of plate pants at an enemy, potentially ending its life.
Reaching higher ground lets your character roll twice for attacks, however, the gameplay reveal showed that placing your confidence in a 90% hit chance doesn't always yield the desired results.
Depending on your class, you'll have access to different spells and weapons, the latter coming with a specific action of their own, like the bow which lets you fire a shot that pins an enemy down for a turn.
Similar to Divinity: Original Sin 2, different elements and substances interact with each other. Throw a fireball at a puddle of water and you'll vaporize it, the resulting cloud restricting vision. Launch a fire-coated arrow at a grease stain and you'll set it, and everything unfortunate enough to be on top of it, alight.
When characters reach 0 health points, they enter a downed state. During this state, the Death Saving throw mechanic kicks in. Each turn, the character will perform a roll. Three good rolls will bring it back into battle, while three negative rolls will kill it off for good. If enemies deal damage worth of its full HP while in a downed state, the character dies, overriding any rolls.
Turn-based combat in Baldur's Gate 3 can also be used to your advantage while exploring. You can manually activate it, which makes characters move in increments of 6 seconds while highlighting vision cones.
This lets you sneak around, pickpocket characters or set up a perfect ambush or quickly dispose of a single foe by moving one of your party members behind him and shoving the clueless enemy into the fiery pit below. It can also save your skin when navigating tricky trap-filled rooms.
Turn-based combat in Baldur's Gate 3 might not satisfy real-time with pause advocates but, at least judging from the gameplay reveal, it has plenty of variety and allows for enough experimentation.
We'll get to try it out for ourselves when Baldur's Gate 3 launches in Early Access later this year. For mor information on Larian's upcoming RPG, check out everything we know about Baldur's Gate 3.