All Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty modes and how to change difficulty (2024)

All Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty modes and how to change difficulty (1)

There are five Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty settings to pick from - Explorer, Balanced, Tactician, Honour, and Custom - each offering their own level of challenge and a few unique features. Explorer is the easiest mode with forgiving combat for players just looking for a fun story, while Tactician offers a tough combat experience. You can kick things up a notch with Honour mode, which removes save scumming, or you can create your own difficulty with Custom Mode. Basically, there are now even more ways you can play Baldur's Gate 3 depending on your experience with RPGs and D&D as a whole. Here's a look at each difficulty level in Baldur's Gate 3 and how you can change it during your campaign.

All difficulty modes in Baldur's Gate 3

All Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty modes and how to change difficulty (2)

Baldur's Gate 3 has five difficulty options to choose from, each with their own set of modifiers and special rules to help or hinder different players during combat:

  • Explorer: The game's easiest difficulty meant for players who want a the simplest combat experience and a relatively low amount of danger. Player characters are more powerful with extra health and a bonus modifier. Death Saving Throws are also disabled and player characters are immediately stabilized when reduced to 0 HP instead. Enemies have reduced health and use simple tactics and basic spells, weapons, and items. Items are less expensive to buy from vendors. Multiclassing is disabled on this difficulty.
  • Balanced: The 'normal' difficulty for BG3. All other difficulties are compared to this one when it comes to things like reduced or increased enemy health, and so on. Multiclassing is available and Death Saving Throws are on.
  • Tactician: Baldur's Gate 3's answer to 'hard mode'. Tactician offers a substantially tougher combat experience. Enemies benefit from increased health, advanced tactics, better weapons, items, and spells, and new special attacks in some cases. Non-party characters get a +2 bonus to Attack Rolls and DC for spells and other abilities. Items are more expensive to buy from vendors, and less valuable when selling. A Long Rest now requires 80 camp supplies instead of 40.
  • Honour Mode: If you thought Tactician was tough, Baldur's Gate 3 Honour Mode is an ultra hardcore option with permadeath after a TPK, Legendary Actions for bosses, and no save scumming.
  • Custom Mode: To mix and match options from the four previous options, Baldur's Gate 3 Custom Mode is the difficulty for you. You can toggle certain features on and off or adjust multipliers and modifiers to make the game easier or harder.

How to change difficulty in Baldur's Gate 3

All Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty modes and how to change difficulty (3)

(Image: © Larian Studios)

To change difficulty in Baldur's Gate 3, press the Esc button on your keyboard and simply select Difficulty from the list. Here, you'll be able to choose between Explorer, Balanced, or Tactician. You can change difficulty at any point during the game.

However, you cannot switch to Honour Mode or Custom Mode during a campaign as these options are only available at the start of a new campaign. If you're playing a Custom Mode campaign, you can change around your difficulty settings if you find you've made things too easy or too hard.

Should you try Baldur's Gate 3 Tactician mode?

The difficulty levels in BG3 usually pertain to the combat difficulty only. Baldur's Gate 3 Tactician and Honour Mode are the game's toughest difficulties. They both make the game much harder by increasing enemy HP, making dice rolls more challenging, and making it harder to stealth around - obviously Honour Mode has some bespoke features to make it especially perilous that have been mentioned above.

These difficulties should only be attempted by those who have played their fair share of turn-based RPGs and have completed Baldur's Gate 3 at least once, since a greater level of planning and combat skill will be required. This will drag out the action parts of your game considerably, so if you've yet to play BG3, trying Tactician or even Honour should be ideas for a future playthrough instead.

Is Baldur's Gate 3 hard?

All Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty modes and how to change difficulty (4)

Baldur's Gate 3 can be a very difficult game even on Balanced and Explorer difficulties, especially for those who aren't used to D&D or similar systems. If you're having some trouble with Baldur's Gate 3 and think it's too hard, that's totally fair - and while our list of Baldur's Gate 3 tips will do a lot to help you out in general, here's some advice on making the game a little easier to play.

  • Pick your companions carefully. You can change your party composition and which Baldur's Gate 3 companions you want with you after a long rest at camp. When you do, think about what you want to achieve that day and pick accordingly - if you want to do a lot of sneaking, pick Astarion. If you want to incinerate a small army, go get Gale the wizard.
  • Save early, save often! On the standard key bindings, quicksave is F5 and quickload is F8, and we recommend giving it a prod every so often, either before major fights or decisions, or just after them, as the game resets you back to the last save every time you die.
  • Talking is always safer. A good smooth-talker doesn't have to deal with a lot of the game's deadlier threats, when they can placate or lie their way around them. Try picking any of the more charismatic Baldur's Gate 3 classes, such as Bards, Sorcerers or Warlocks, and sweet talk your way to victory.
  • You don't always have to do everything the moment you find it. If you come across a dungeon or enemy that seems pretty tough, you can always come back later to deal with it if it turns out you're underleveled.
  • Examine your foes! Selecting an enemy and examining them is a free action that tells you a lot of useful information, including armor, weaknesses, resistances and more besides. Use that info to plan a strategy in combat!

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Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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  • Will SawyerGuides Writer
  • Jasmine Gould-WilsonStaff Writer, GamesRadar+

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