Thought I'd throw out my thoughts on the game after doing a couple of playthroughs on early access. For some background, I'm primarily coming in as a Divinity fan and 5e player. I've played Baldur's Gate, but it has been a long time. I am mainly coming in as someone looking for a 5e experience. I'm sure a lot of my feedback has been said before, but I figured I'd pile one. I'm a big fan of the game so far, but I definitely think it could use some work.
The first thing I'd like to talk about are some of the changed made to the 5e ruleset. I think some changes to the base rules makes sense since it is a video game. I like some, but some are really throwing the game off. Balance is an issue, but 5e was never balanced on a knifes edge anyway. I'd say the biggest issue is that a lot of the things that were changed are taking away from class uniqueness and power, and to some extent the feats that let you customize your character.
The biggest issue, as mentioned by many, are the new bonus actions. I think adding some new ones is a fun idea. I like Dip and Jump (without disengage). Disengage, hide, and shove all need to be removed. Here's why:
- These make rogues feels worse by giving everyone cunning action. They don't feel as mobile now, and they didn't get anything to compensate.
- Lessening opportunity attacks make tanks/melee feel worse. If I give Lae'zel a glaive and put her next to a bunch of archers they just disengage and attack Gale. It is removing one of her base functions in 5e. It feels especially bad if I use dash as an action to run her in rage of them to protect other characters.
-Shove is overpowered, which I am actually okay with as long as it is an action. It's basically a one-shot ability now so at least make it an action. This also makes shield master a much worse and less flavorful ability. I'd also say let people make a dex save before they fall to their death.
Another big addition are all of the DOS2 mechanics in the game. Some of these I like, such as dropping objects on people for damage. Surfaces are my big gripe here. I love them in Divinity, but I hate them here. Again, they are taking away from spells in 5e that specifically make surfaces. It feels really frustrating to have a field covered in fire, poison, or stop your turn because you fall prone. My idea here is to actually leave surfaces in, but tone them down a lot. The reason I like this is because I love the acid surface. Using the acid splash cantrip with gale is fun since it lets me combo up with Gale. It doesn't punish you if you move through it, and it's easy to escape from. Making them last a shorter duration in combat is also nice so we don't have a field plastered in surfaces. I also think using them to dip weapons is fine.
Mass amounts of scrolls and potions are another issue. Truthfully, I didn't like this in Divinity either, but I really dislike it in BG3. The fact that everyone is running around with a bajillion spell slots worth of scrolls and 20 health pots feels bad. Again, it's not just that this is overpowered, but the fact that it takes away from the classes with those abilities.
Which leads to healing and helping downed characters. I think bonus action potion is the right choice, but you get a TON of healing pots. Healing is always weak in 5e, so it makes using a spell slot on it feel worse. Honestly, the best use of spell slot heal in 5e was getting up a downed character, but that feels not worthwhile since you can just get anyone up in combat. I understand why you might leave this in as it might feel to punishing for new players. That and the fact that mobs in BG3 love wailing on downed characters.
Next up are terrain and positioning requirements. I actually like them. I think this is a feature that a video game can take better advantage of over tabletop. I'd still like some changes to make it more fun. First off, remove backstab and replace it with flanking. It's too easy to get the backstab bonus. I'd say just straight up steal from 4e and a +2 to hit from flanking. It's requires a bit more set up and teamwork, but it works. I'm fine with high ground, but maybe tone it down a bit.
That said... casters need a bit of a bump with all these bonuses and the base higher hit chance. Saving throw spells feel really bad now and spells feel weaker due to the increased health pools. Burning a spell slot doesn't really feel awesome right now, but just feels like what I need to do to compete. Magic Missile now feels like the best caster spell. Thunderwave feels bad because everyone can shove. Utility spells are really hard to use if they are RP based. I just feel like they could use something to have more impact. Warlocks are okay since Eldritch Blast is always OP, but I just feel like the Wizard is missing some power now.
One last combat complaint is the penalty for a target being in shadows. It feels really punishing for characters without darkvision. I think this might get fixed later, but this was made worse since spells that should negate the penalty weren't working. The light spell didn't remove the penalty and targets with faery fire were still "obscured in shadow" despite glowing.
The last combat discussions are reactions and damage abilities like sneak attack, battlemaster dice, and smite. No way around it, Reactions feel really bad right now. I also don't think there is a good system around it. I think a prompt is fine abilities like Riposte or Hellish Rebuke. It feels terrible to have Riposte toggled on and accidentally use it on some goblin with 1 hp left. Not a 5e rule, but with this reaction system consider making opportunity attack separate from the reaction? I just don't think how reactions work will be clear to new players. The place where the prompt falls short is a bard ability like Cutting Words. Having a prompt every time a party member gets attacked would be a bit much. Can't say I have a great solution.
Lastly is Sneak Attack and Smite. I don't like how they're currently implemented. My idea is to have them activate on your bar when you hit a target with your attack. It might feel odd to have them separated from the attack, but I think some good animation would fix it. A rogue could literally sneak an extra attack in, or a paladin calling down some holy power. It gives you the choice to add them without a prompt. Obviously they would auto-crit if your attack was a crit and be a 100% hit chance.
Not combat, but one of the biggest thing affecting my enjoyment was the pathing in the game. Having to make every character jump is tedious. Characters will sometimes take a different path and run into enemies or jump off of a cliff. I'm hoping this is something that will improve with more updates.
This a bit long now, so I'll just throw out some things that I assume are getting added, but I'd like to see.
- Great Weapon Fighting isn't awarding a bonus attack on a kill or crit.
- Silence stops spell casting but doesn't actually silence things for stealth or sound.
- Need more feats! They are the reason to make a fighter and allow for some fun customization.
Thanks to anyone who bothered reading this!