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Hello Larian Team,

I hope this post finds the team well and I want to offer my congratulations on the efforts of your game designers and the dreams realised with the launch of Baldur's Gate 3 early access. I eagerly look forward to testing future editions of the title and seeing the studio's completed work in a year's time.

To this end, after viewing forum posts and opinions from the game's community, I wanted to more directly convey these player's and my own concerns regarding BG3's portrayal of Elves. Many testers have found the Elf faces off-putting and unrepresentative of the Elven race long time D&D players know and appreciate (And, in many cases, love to hate!). The technical quality of the faces Larian Studios has designed are superb even at this early stage, but their lack of authenticity specifically regarding the Elves has been a disappointment.

Narrower chins and jaws, shifted, widened and slanted eyes, high and prominent cheekbones, an unsettling, inhumanly haunting beauty about them; these qualities aren't being reflected as well as they could be. Tieflings have been brought to life like never before in the artistic medium of game design and I know many of the players and fans would approve of that same life and vivid creative design breathed into Elves.

Current head models don't and shouldn't need to be done away with entirely, but it's my feeling that a not insignificant number of the community would be more enticed to try a race like Elves if they had head model choices that were closer in authenticity to the original material. I hope this has given the team ideas to consider going forward and I would be pleased to correspond further about the matter.

The first piece of feedback that I would like to offer is that, interestingly enough, all of the half elf heads look more delicate and elven than the actual elven heads.

[Linked Image]

Many of us who have always have a soft spot for elves would be very happy if we could get at least a couple of heads that look more 'traditional', that is, less human and a little more like they belong to a different race. Elves are beautiful, yes, but key words in their description are often overlooked and not given much tought. They are not described as breath-taking, or captivating, although they might be. They are described with words such as unsettling, unnerving, haunting, when it comes to their beauty. This is no casual choice of wording, it clearly states elves are simply not meant to be or feel relatable.

This sketch perfectly examples the physiology of elves; the slanted eyes, triangular/heartshaped features, sharp noses and chins, and a general 'otherly' feel that is not relatable to any of the human heritages of our world.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]



One of the stances that I have encountered every so often when discussing this around the forums, is people claiming that '5E elves look just like humans in the official artwork', with none of the features that are known to older editions. I disagree with that not as an opinion but simply as a matter of fact, I've done the research around and gathered plenty of official artwork that still depicts these features, if not as prominent as it used to be:

[Linked Image]

THIS IS ALL 5E OFFICIAL ARTWORK I gathered from the manuals. Many people act like they don't exist. You can still see the high cheekbones, the slanted eyes, the triangular shaped face, all of it is there, if not as extremely displayed as it used to in older editions. Yet none of the current heads look like this. I think we would be happy with a few heads that have this sort of traditional features, the slanted eyes per instance are entirely missing, not a single head has this key feature.

In case you do not genuinelly see the features, here you go:

[Linked Image]

Likewise, this kind of art is represented in the original Baldur's Gate games, as can be seen in Aerie's and Jaheira's portraits:

[Linked Image]

I would like for this topic to be open to discuss not just aesthetics and appeareance but also all things elven related. I have not delved into the game deeply enough to give feedback with full confidence yet, but I have had zero meaningful interactions as an elf in the world. The few 'elven' dialog choices that have popped up have been shallow and meaningless, whereas after a quick and short lived gameplay as a drow I was presented with a lot more options (which I was surprised of, very well done there, Larian.)

Elves are also described to be tight-knit as a race, something that manifests not just psychologically or emotionally but, literally, physically, through something known as communion. In short, it is an inborn ability to share experiences, feelings, emotions and dreams with other willing elves. While I do not expect such a mechanic to be adapted in the game -cool as it might be-, it does give a hint to just how important it is for elves to be around, and acknowledged by other elves. I expected to see some special interactions with Astarion and Shadowheart as an elf player, yet there were none. Astarion, vampire or not, simply did not have a single elven trait about him other than the mechanic stats and cantrips.














Last edited by Goldberry; 23/11/20 09:10 PM.
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Nothing to say about elves, as I've no interest in playing one.
While I'm happy enough with the current choice in dwarf beard, I'd definitely be delighted to see more options there...and how come I can't get the stereotypical Scots accent while I'm at it, eh?

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Totally agree about the half-elves looking more elven. It's so striking that I'd think it was a programming error if it wasn't for the fact that Larian would've mentioned or fixed it by now.

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I wanted to start a thread about appearance variety too. I feel you guys, but my "ask" is about hairstyle. I think right now variety is deeply mainstream, I don't like goblins looking like punk modern girls. I'd like more variety that really looks like medieval hair.

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Originally Posted by Kingslayer
Totally agree about the half-elves looking more elven. It's so striking that I'd think it was a programming error if it wasn't for the fact that Larian would've mentioned or fixed it by now.


Right? I've also seen zero conflict with drow NPCs, though granted I've only crossed paths with 2. Have you seen any interesting elf-drow interaction?


Originally Posted by Zaemon
I wanted to start a thread about appearance variety too. I feel you guys, but my "ask" is about hairstyle. I think right now variety is deeply mainstream, I don't like goblins looking like punk modern girls. I'd like more variety that really looks like medieval hair.


There's a million threads about general appeareance requests. I don't mind if you post yours here though! I would like more medieval hairstyles too, specially lots of braids and woad warrior war paint.

[Linked Image]





Last edited by Goldberry; 11/10/20 02:27 AM.
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I definatly think elven faces should be sharp and angular, maybe not quite as bad as the faces in the diagram but elves should definatly have sharper finer features then humans. as for dwarven beards, to be honest I assumed they where limited due to graphics issues, specificly that longer beards may have had clipping issues

Last edited by BrianDavion; 11/10/20 03:23 AM.
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I absolutely agree with you. And I say more, they need to solve the clipping with dwarf characters, in every cutscene my character's face enters his chest. It completely spoils my immersion. I made a post talking about it, and I think they (Larian) can change their (dwarves) posture and add bigger, more "fixed" beards.

Last edited by Anung un Rama; 11/10/20 03:33 AM.
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The dwarf faces are good so far, they just need to add in a large variety of beards. At least 10. I'll never get over Neverwinter Nights giving dwarves two beards. The hell. I'm not complaining about the 2 we have in BG3, since we're still in EA. I do expect a lot of beards later though.

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Completely agree. I should be able to say "that's an elf!" even without seeing a characters ears. Their facial features should imo be a bit outside of the human spectrum. For half-elves, one should take a look and think "hmm... either a fine-featured human or a heavy-featured elf?". Same for (half-)drow, of course.

As it is currently, the male elf head makes me think of a particularly sturdy-looking human peasant. Really, the jaw is huge! The eyes slant the opposite way, so to speak, which makes the character look somewhat... spaced out rather than keenly intelligent/of alien beauty as would be expected of an elf. (I wanted to say I was reminded of Oblivion faces, but this would be going too far...)

I would also add that I wish halflings had better proportions. They are said to be more or less like scaled-down humans in their lore, but in BG3 they are more reminiscent of real-life humans with dwarfism.

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That illustration of human/half-elf/elf male and female examples is excellent! I'd love if that were followed.

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Agreed. The elven males at least look like they mixed with orcs judging their brow.

While the graph is a nice reference point, I doubt larian will shift their design so much to follow it, I do think that they should make the pure elves the most "delicate" looking though, and ramp it up to humans, with half-elves being inbetween.


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I agree, it's really ironic that male half-elfs look far more elfish than the proper elfs... Hopefully they will give us more appropriate choices in the future.

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I like some of the elf heads, male head 1 is rather good IMO, but yeah, not a huge fan of most of them.

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I already saw this thread and agreed with it, and was mostly repeating the same sentiment in my thread.

The issue could be entirely solved with fully customizable characters.

The main issue with most of the preset faces, elves particularly is that the cheeckbones / jaws are completely messed up, its like they just just used a random generator and picked the first bunch of passable faces.

Last edited by DumbleDorf; 11/10/20 02:13 PM.
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the illustrations perfectly exemplify how it should be. Larian may see this as insignificant, but in an RPG it is very important that races are represented correctly.

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+1

As I stated in another post: The elf male faces are to big and rough, and not fine and sophisticated as they should be!

I really hope they will change them more.


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Male Elf faces are joke. Most of them look like 80s fantasy-action movie hero with square jaw and hairy chest. LOL
I also don't understand Asian faces, it doesn't make sense for Elves, but makes a lot of sense for humans.

On the other hand elven design of Forgotten Realms changed through years and it's closer to human (the eyes are not that slanted anymore). Ofc closer to human doesn't mean big square jaw.
By the way, did you notice that all Elves in the game are as tall as human?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


Last edited by ZawiszaTheBlack; 11/10/20 08:06 PM.
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Why not make all the heads available to all the races. I mean, they are all scanned from real-life human heads. If humans can have such variety, why not elves?

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Originally Posted by Rhovaniel
Why not make all the heads available to all the races. I mean, they are all scanned from real-life human heads. If humans can have such variety, why not elves?


These are scanned faces that were later remodeled by graphic designers (you can find it in their character creation diary). There is variety (in Forgotten Realms lore), but within their racial characteristics. The same as with Chinese people who are different from each other but still share some common characteristics within their ethnic group.

Last edited by ZawiszaTheBlack; 11/10/20 08:27 PM.
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Originally Posted by ZawiszaTheBlack
On the other hand elven design of Forgotten Realms changed through years and it's closer to human (the eyes are not that slanted anymore). Ofc closer to human doesn't mean big square jaw.


Granted the features are not as pronounced as they used to be, but they can still be found in official artwork. All of this pictures are from the 5E player's handbook:

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by ZawiszaTheBlack
I also don't understand Asian faces, it doesn't make sense for Elves, but makes a lot of sense for humans.


I don't know whether that's Larian or WOTC's new direction, but I find it nonsensical as well. I've said this before, I'm mixed race myself yet I don't feel the need to see my features represented in a non-human folk from a fantasy land. Elves are not supposed to be human. Half elves though, you can give them a broad fan of diversity in all shapes and colours.

And yes, they're as tall and broad as humans are, same body-type. The wood elf druid is even bigger, If I recall correctly he's a giant hulk of a man.





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