15 Oct 2021 2:59 PM +00:00 UTC

Baldur's Gate 3: Patch 6 Preview - Building Upon a Fine Foundation

Last weekend saw London’s biggest gaming convention, EGX, return to the capital. Disappearing for two years thanks to COVID-19, it presented a smaller convention than usual, but I found plenty to do. Showcasing various indies and AAA games like Fall Guys, Lost Ember and Deathloop, Larian Studios were also present, proudly showcasing Baldur’s Gate 3.

Released last year in Early Access, the game’s seen numerous and Patch 6 is up next. Implementing the Sorcerer class and equippable salami weapons (yes, really), I was offered a sneak peak at their wider plans, sitting down with the team for a 90-minute demonstration before going hands-on at home.

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Welcome to the Grymforge

At EGX, my session began with travelling towards Duergar Camp. Upon arrival, our party discovers that a fellow True-Soul, Nere, lies trapped behind rubble after a cave-in. As the Duergar’s slaves try to clear this rubble, the Sergeant informs us we’ll need to figure out how to free him, communicating psychically with Nere to understand his situation.

In keeping with Dungeons & Dragons’ open approach, there’s multiple ways we can tackle this cave-in, not all of them moral. Chiefly, I spent my time searching for an explosive barrel to blast through after overhearing an NPC’s conversation, though one Duergar NPC propositioned a deal to kill Nere and take his gold.

Chiefly, Patch 6 includes a brand-new area, the Grymforge Region. Described as an ancient Sharran Fortress within the Underdark, that provides new content, quests, and combat opportunities for players. Considering this is Patch 6’s biggest new addition, I won’t elaborate further to avoid spoilers.

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A Wild Surge

Baldur's Gate 3 - Grymforge
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Throughout my EGX session, I played as a pre-built sorcerer based around the Wild Magic subclass, which Dungeons & Dragons fans will instantly recognise. Alongside advantages to ability checks, saving throws and attack rolls, Wild Magic can trigger a random effect, which isn’t always in your best interest. Draconic Bloodline subclass is here too, letting you channel fire/lightning/acid/cold/poison damage by offering a new spell, matching your ancestral background.

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Naturally, Sorcerer Class implements several new spells, which should familiar to D&D players. That includes Chromatic Orb, Cloud of Daggers, Crown of Madness, Enlarge/Reduce and Horrific Visage. Should you wish to adjust spells during combat, Metamagic – a key element for Sorcerers – is also present, letting you increase spell range, hit multiple enemies and more.

I didn’t have time to explore these finer aspects during EGX, but the preview version at home proved more enlightening. Having tried several different builds, Larian’s done an excellent job implementing this latest class and playing a Sorcerer felt highly intuitive. Personally, I’m more accustomed to fighters and clerics in tabletop D&D, but I still had a great time trying out this new class.

A Visual Delight

Baldur's Gate 3 - Underdark location, custom player character
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Patch 6’s changes don’t stop there, either. Outside of some balancing and general bug fixes/improvements, combat adds new weapon actions for tactical manoeuvres. Between options “Weakening Strike” which gives enemies disadvantage on attacks and “Prepare” - allowing you to spend movement speed for increased damage - non-magic users have a more versatile moveset to fallback on.

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Finally, Baldur’s Gate 3 has also received some visual improvements. As outlined by Larian here, that includes directional and volumetric lighting, applying fresh colour grading, new particle effect techniques, real-time clouds and plenty more. Playing on Ultra settings, I switched between different release builds to compare and immediately noticed a difference. For existing fans of Baldur’s Gate 3, I think most of you will be pleased.

Preview copy provided by publishers.

Previewed at home on PC using these specs, played with mouse and keyboard.