One week into the early access launch of Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian has revealed what they’ve learned, including just how deadly their encounters get.
Baldur’s Gate 3 has been out for a week now, with thousands of hours (literal years) of gameplay under our collective belts now, it has been quite a week. It started with a launch so big that it broke steam, broke the launcher sign up tool, and then broke Larian’s support pipeline. But it also broke the game of D&D open in a good way. With players diving deep into the game, Larian has collected tons of data points, including the reveal of just how deadly some of the NPCs are.
Above you find a cut down version of what Larian calls a heatmap–this is a “map of death” which showcases all the places that players have died–which helps show them where combat is producing rougher than average results. They balance this with player feedback (you are giving them feedback while you play, right?), to figure out where people are dying and why they’re dying while they’re there, and more importantly, is that what’s intended?
Which led them to discover that one point of interest is when you encounter the game’s deadliest NPC:
That’s right Gale, everyone’s wizard husband, sweet perfect Gale who has a library, a cat, and a head full of secrets, is a party killing nightmare. According to their data: Gale has a party-member kill-rate four times higher than any other NPC in the game. Which might be one reason that the erstwhile wizard has died more than three-hundred thousand times over the course of the first week of the game–333,757 to be exact.
Is it saying something that the deadliest encounter seems to be a wizard? Does that highlight the fact that spellatsers have exponential growth in D&D while martial characters grow at a more linear rate? Almost certainly!
But even that doesn’t compare with Shadowheart, the only companion who has died more than the player character.
All of this is just a taste of what is happening in people’s games of Baldur’s Gate 3. As Larian says:
Play however you want, in whatever way you want. There’s no one way to play the game. We’ve created systems that try to react to whoever you are, and whatever you do. The results of this make the game better.
So get back out there. And maybe try *not* fighting Gale when you meet him. Happy Adventuring!