Today at the second Panel from Hell livestream, Larian Studios unveiled Baldur’s Gate 3’s fourth major update, Nature’s Power. This huge update includes the first new playable class for Baldur’s Gate 3, which was released into Early Access in October of 2020. The amount of changes coming to the game with Patch 4 is greater than all 3 prior patches combined.
The Druid class comes with over 30 spells & abilities, including Wild Shape. Since Baldur’s Gate 3 is such a deeply narrative experience, new dialogue and voice over has also been recorded so that playing a Druid has the same deep level of narrative interactivity as the other classes, Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, Halflings, Dwarves, Tieflings, Drow, etc.
We won’t spoil them, but those who visit Druid’s Grove playing as a Druid may enjoy a game of spot the difference. Of course, being a game that reacts to who you are, there are new rewards, options, story moments, and interactions scattered throughout the game’s Act 1 content.
With the power of the wilderness at their fingertips, Druids can transform their shape in order to adapt to different situations. Crunch bones and slam into enemies as a Dire Wolf or Polar Bear. Spin your silken thread over the environment as a Spider. Soar above Faerun as a Raven. Sneak into hostile spaces unnoticed as a Cat. Burrow under the earth and ambush opponents as a Badger. Or temporarily embrace the tadpole that the Mindflayers have implanted inside you, and discover a new and mysterious Aberrant Shape.
There are currently 8 Shapes available: Deep Rothé, Cat, Raven, Dire Wolf, Badger, Spider, Polar Bear, and Aberrant. NPC’s will react to your animal form in a procedural way. Bear blocking your path? Then assume bear Shape and speak his own language!
D&D fans will know that the Druids traditionally come from one of a number of Circles. Druids will be able to choose from one of two Circles to inform how they play.
Circle of the Land – Keepers of the Old Faith, these Druids are connected to arctic wastelands, sunny coasts, scorching deserts, fair forests, green grasslands, tall mountains, treacherous swamps and even the vast and otherworldly realm of the Underdark. Based on what type of geography they’re connected to, they gain additional power.
Circle of the Moon – Changeable as the moon, these stewards of nature haunt the deepest parts of the wilderness. Transformation is no problem for most Druids, but those who keep the ways of the moon gain the ability to morph into more powerful combative Wild Shapes – like the Polar Bear.
For further information on Druids in D&D, be sure to check out the VOD version of the Panel From Hell 2, where Lead Systems Designer Nick Pechenin and D&D Principal Rules Designer Jeremy Crawford explored the ways in which Larian has incorporated the versatile character class into the game. With the aforementioned Wild Shape ability taking centre stage, the panel talked through many more spells, abilities and character interactions that the Druid has enabled.
The Panel from Hell 2 also covered the ways in which Larian has, and continues to meet the challenges of such a gargantuan RPG. Already situated in Belgium, Ireland, Russia, and Canada, the studio today formally announced expansion into England and Malaysia, with the Guildford and Kuala Lumpur studios respectively. This expansion is not only about increasing the number of developers working on the game, but also allowing development to follow the sun, with each studio acting as a mirror-image of one another, insofar as it’s possible.
The result of this continued commitment is of course all the updates through to Patch 4, but also today as covered in the Panel From Hell 2, specific examples of how Larian were able to quickly address and work with player feedback to create tangible changes and quality of life improvements to the game.
Big changes in BG3’s Patch 4
Along with the Druid, Patch 4: Nature’s Power brings a number of improvements and changes to the game, including of course fixes, but also major quality of life improvements, and increasingly polished cinematics. Many of which have been requested by the community or influenced by community feedback:
- Optional Loaded Dice: This optional change helps smooth out the extremes of the bell curve. It retains the core elements of RNG, ensuring a player can no longer be unlucky or super lucky with several dice rolls in a row. The system also runs in two parts. Dice rolls in dialogue are different to those in combat, and this change only impacts the d20. Not damage rolls.
- Speak with dead and polished cinematics: Cinematics in special cases like Speak with Dead have made huge improvements along with the ability to join conversations as an animal. The patch also adds improved animations with the Druids in the Grove as they cast spells and use their abilities. Major improvements have been made both in animation and lighting, which… though not obvious in this paragraph of text, look really neat in the game. Channel your imagination.
- Multiplayer: Those embarking on their adventure together with friends can now see other players Equipment, Spells, Inventory and Character Sheets. As well as the ability to take and place items to and from. There is no lock function – that will come in a future patch. Your friends could for example steal your items, because there’s no lock function yet, but there’s no rush, because they’re your friends. They wouldn’t do that to you, would they?
- Quality of life: A series of much-requested features have been implemented. Players can now target friends and enemies with spells and equipment by clicking on their portraits. As an alternative to trying to click on a character in the world, players can now easily select and attack whoever they want from the UI. We also added a flee button for the errr… tacticians among us. And using torches has never been easier thanks to the long-awaited addition of the torch button!
- Improved Cinematics: Narrative cinematics have been given a new lease of life thanks to a fresh lighting pass, resulting in some truly spectacular sequences in which the story of BG3 is told.
Now, this PR is getting insufferably long, so be sure again to recap on the Panel From Hell 2 for all the latest news and updates, as well as the patch notes once they’re published ahead of Patch 4’s launch, which is coming very soon, when it’s ready.
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