Today at its second Panel From Hell livestream, Larian Studios unveiled Baldur’s Gate 3’s fourth major update: Nature’s Power. This huge update will include the first new playable class for Baldur’s Gate 3, which launched into early access in October 2020. The changes coming to the game when Patch 4 arrives will be greater than all three prior patches combined!
The Druid class comes with over 30 spells and abilities, including Wild Shape. New dialogue and voice-over have also been recorded so that playing a Druid delivers the same deeply narrative experience 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 as a Druid may enjoy a game of spot-the-difference. And of course, as a game that reacts to who you are, there will be new rewards, options, story moments, and interactions scattered throughout Act 1.
With the power of the wilderness at their fingertips, Druids can transform their shape 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, discovering a new, mysterious Aberrant Shape.
There will be eight Shapes available: Deep Rothé, Cat, Raven, Dire Wolf, Badger, Spider, Polar Bear, and Aberrant. NPCs will react to your animal form in procedural ways. Bear blocking your path? Assume Bear Shape and speak his own language!
D&D fans will know that 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, 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 center 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 its 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, as covered in the Panel From Hell 2, specific examples of how Larian was able to quickly address and work with player feedback to create tangible quality-of-life improvements to the game.
Big Changes in BG3’s Patch 4
Along with Druids, Patch 4: Nature’s Power will bring a number of changes to the game, many of which have been requested by the community or influenced by community feedback, including (naturally) fixes, but also major overall improvements like:
- Optional Loaded Dice: This optional change will help 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.
- Improved Cinematics: Narrative cinematics will be given a new lease on life thanks to major improvements in lighting and animation, resulting in some truly spectacular story sequences.
- Speak With Dead Cinematic Functionality: Cinematics in special cases like Speak with Dead will get huge improvements, along with the ability to join conversations as an animal. The patch will also add improved animations with the Druids in the Grove as they cast spells and use their abilities.
- Multiplayer: Those embarking on their adventure together with friends will be able to 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. As a result, your friends could, for example, steal your items. But don’t worry. They’re your friends. They wouldn’t do that to you, would they?
- Quality of Life: A series of much-requested features will be implemented. Players will be able to target friends and enemies with spells and equipment by clicking on their portraits. As an alternative to clicking on a character in the world, players will also be able to easily select and attack whoever they want from the UI. We’ll also be adding a flee button for the errr… tacticians among us. And using torches will be easier thanks to the long-awaited addition of the torch button!
Now, this PR is getting insufferably long, so be sure 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).