'Baldur's Gate 3's Difficulty Modes Are Totally Different Experiences (2024)

We’ve all been playing Baldur’s Gate 3 a lot around here—I certainly have. I think it’s pretty safe to say that it is one of the greatest RPG games ever made. Larian Studios, the same team behind Divinity: Original Sin 1 & 2, have done it again with their latest masterpiece.

Baldur’s Gate 3 (BG3) takes after the Dungeons & Dragons campaign of the same name. The game plays with the fifth edition rules of D&D and is one of the most faithful adaptations of tabletop in video game history. As we’ve said before, the game’s storytelling is incredibly poignant.

Problem is … Baldur’s Gate 3 can also be extraordinarily overwhelming. There are so many options and mechanics to learn that choice paralysis is real. One question that many new players might have is about the differences between difficulty modes.

Baldur’s Gate 3 features three difficulty options: explorer, normal, and tactician. These modes mainly decide how difficult combat encounters will be. You can change the difficulty in-game at any time by opening the main menu and selecting “difficulty” from the drop-down list. We broke down each difficulty mode for your reading—and gaming—pleasure.

Explorer mode

This mode is ideal for people who just want to sit back and enjoy the story at a leisurely pace. If you normally have a difficult time in RPGs and don’t like getting frustrated, explorer mode will fit you like a glove. Enemy damage and health will be scaled down significantly, making most combat a breeze. Your companions will also have more HP. However, there are still challenges present.

From what I’ve gathered, enemies on explorer mode also tend not to take advantage of environmental mechanics. In Baldur’s Gate 3, you can use the environment to your advantage, such as lighting an oil barrel on fire or pushing enemies off cliffs. In higher modes, enemies will utilize these mechanics often, but it seems like they aren’t as keen to do so in explorer.

In addition, you get +2 proficiency points to your abilities. Every proficiency point increase is a pretty big deal in this game, as it makes your character much more powerful and your rolls more successful. Merchant prices are also cheaper and you’ll get paid more for selling items. One thing that might be a drawback for folks is that you cannot multiclass in explorer mode. So if that appeals to you, definitely go for balanced instead.

Balanced mode

This is probably the intended experience and, as the name suggests, is meant to offer a balanced option between both worlds. Select this option if you have plenty of familiarity with RPGs. Balanced is harder than explorer, as enemies will have the regular amount of health and their attacks will hit much harder. You don’t get the extra +2 proficiency points at the beginning to help you out, either. Merchant prices will also be higher and your items will sell for less.

Unlike explorer mode, you’ll be able to multiclass to your heart’s content. Multiclass in BG3 means being able to spec into multiple classes to take advantage of their respective abilities and traits. There are trade-offs, however, as you won’t reach either class’s full potential nor have access to their entire skill tree. If you want something as close to the intent of the developers as possible, this will be the mode for you

Tactician mode

This is the mode that will make you tear your hair out. Tactician mode is Baldur’s Gate 3’s hard mode, and it does not mess around. For starters, most of the benefits given to you in explorer mode are given to the enemies instead. They have higher HP (30% increase), hit harder, and are overall much smarter. They’ll focus on weak party members and will take full advantage of environmental cues.

Enemies in the mode will use shove more often, take advantage of barrels frequently, and exploit your every misstep. If you’re going to roll this mode, be prepared for hell.

Customization options

Baldur’s Gate 3 allows further customization of your experience in the game settings. You have the ability to toggle the “Karmic Dice” option on and off. When it’s on, the game will balance out its RNG (random number generators), meaning you’re not going to get long streaks of good and bad dice rolls. This option is best left on for beginners.

For those who want true RNG in their game, you can turn it off. Be warned though that this means you might get a bad streak with dice rolls—though it also means that you can get lucky streaks as well.

Hopefully, this article has helped prepare you to tackle the difficult and exciting world of Baldur’s Gate 3. It can be overwhelming at first, but with a bit of patience, you’ll get the hang of it eventually.

(featured image: Larian Studios)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission.Learn more about our Affiliate Policy

'Baldur's Gate 3's Difficulty Modes Are Totally Different Experiences (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Frankie Dare

Last Updated:

Views: 5824

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Frankie Dare

Birthday: 2000-01-27

Address: Suite 313 45115 Caridad Freeway, Port Barabaraville, MS 66713

Phone: +3769542039359

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Baton twirling, Stand-up comedy, Leather crafting, Rugby, tabletop games, Jigsaw puzzles, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Frankie Dare, I am a funny, beautiful, proud, fair, pleasant, cheerful, enthusiastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.