I was finally able to give BG3 EA a go, and as I stopped taking notes couple sessions ago, I think I am ready to express my thoughts.
Overall: I am glad I gave it a go, as while I had mixed
feeling regarding D:OS2 (as a side note, I am currently having a COOP playthrough with a friend of mine, and as expected I have been enjoying it much more), but I have enjoyed my time with BG3 thoroughly. Companions are far stronger, story more cohesive, I feel attachment to my PC and I feel I have a pretty good selection of roleplaying choices. Overall, I have been looking to playing more of BG3 every time I got a chance, and am going to play some more. I will probably leave EA after completing current run, and wait for 1.0... unless, one of the updates will peak my curiosity again.
I know the game is in Early Access
, and I won’t bother to try to guess what issues are the result of the game not being finished, and what are as intended. With that in mind lets focus mostly on all that is BAD.
• “Chaining” and “un-chaining” characters together
– the system is transferred from D:OSs and is just as awful. Now, I won’t request to completely redesign the system and follow the traditional RTS style grouping and selection (though IMO that’s far more efficient and superior way of doing things). What I want to ask is for the system of “chaining” and “unchaining” to not be as unreliable. It takes serious effort and multiple tries, to re-order, detach or reattach characters. I don’t know what the problem is, but similar problem existed in D:OS2. Just please, make it snappy. Even clicking on a portrait is a very unreliable way of selecting said character. Shortcuts F1-F4 work well, but is mouse selection so wanky?
On a positive note, I do appreciate making multiple characters control more smooth. Giving someone order and switching to another character doesn’t cancel the order anymore. Skill and abilities are nice and snappy.
• Stealthing and unsteathing one after another
– that’s another negative side effect of the odd party control system. Having to manually switch between characters and switch them from stealth to not stealth is tedious. A possible solution would be to have all chained characters go to stealth, but that only would work, if “un-chaining” wasn’t as tedious as well.
• Automatic jump
– so I know it was added as a solution to having to manage each party member separately while jumping, but the system is very dodgy. Sometimes characters follow, sometimes don’t. Especially, if we doing while sneaking, it is anyone’s guess if they jump after me, or run all the way around in plain sight of the enemy. Also when it works, this system essencially turns all your party members into superjumpers covering distances they are not technically allowed to cover. I had one particularly frustrating situation when companions would refuse to jump down. Had to jump down manually (which due to distance woud get them prone), but when I switched to another companion to jump him down, the rest of the companions, those that were on the ground would magically jump up (way beyond their range). Had do decouple all companions and jump down manually. Tedious.
• Combat log
– I know Larian will hate me for it, considering how hard they work to hide actual combat information – but I like my combat log, and I want it to be good. An option to turn it on in combat automatically would be welcome, also if it could scroll down by deafoult.
• Option for actual combat information
– I appreciate, how Larian tries to explain combat via percentaged and descriptions but it really doesn’t work for me. It also feels slightly odd with the rest of the game where dices are embraced to the fault. I would appreciate a UI, that would allow me to see what is happening in more detail. Kingmaker’s turn based mode has a UI element which I think would nicely replace current percentage indicator:
It works very much like BG3 own skill check – adding modifiers and showing what we need to roll (or in Kingmakers case what we had to roll) in order to success. The left panel with buffs/debuffs could show actual modifiers (enemy AC, and our modifiers +3 from dexterity etc.) That I think would be far more helpful, engaging and informative.
• Movement preview
– it would be nice if movement bar would should us expected depletion and we plan our next move. Also I would appreciate if the game could take into account difficult terrain and calculate accurately our available range.
• Movement very fiddly
– can’t walk around smoothly (weird grid?) pathfinding is awkward – doesn’t take into account surfaces – characters walk around only certain surfaces and bathe in others. When charting a path to a backstab in one move, it’s common for the game to eat a reaction unnecessarly. Also it is common for the character to stop moving after a set of two – I have no clue what’s the problem there.
• Joined turns
– I find myself not taking a proper advantage of that feature – generally making a move with a character automatically given me under control, before realising I could have make my turn more efficient with other character currently at my disposal. Perhaps some popup banner highlighting whose turn it is would be beneficial?
• Being able to drag items directly to hotbar
– that’s nice! I see a new option or scroll I want – I can drag it directly to the hotbar or container within the hotbar and character will automatically pick it up and it will be there, ready for some quick use.
• Have multiple containers open beside each other, not on top
– when opening container and wanting to put an arrow to my arrow back I need to open both, and then move on aside. It’s fine, but I think it would be nicer if they would automatically open beside each other.
• BUT WHY DO I HAVE TO DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE
– I don’t know what we are role-playing, but having to manually sort and manage my inventory is not what I look for in DnD. Please, just give us a working “item folder” like in the “sorting bags” mod for D:OS2 – just one that doesn’t break the “wares” feature. Let me just assign “arrows”, “scrolls” or “potions” button on the hot bar, and that when hovered over or clicked will show my all potions in my inventory. While the doing it by hand is possible, it is really tedious to do for all companions. I can quickly add arrows and potions to my main’s hotbar, but to add scroll to Gale’s bag, I have to either switch to Gale and go through the same process, or send item to Gale, then enter Gales inventory, try to locate the item and then put it in the bag manually.
• Allow for the bags to be opened when trading
– as of now I can’t open a bag and sell individual items from it – I can only sell the entire bag. Not happy
• Spell sorting
– hotbar is not any good here. It wasn’t any good in Divinity2, but here it’s on another level. Skills are main action or bonus action, some are cantrips, some consume different resources. Pillars of Eterniry has exemplary UI, allowing for quick access to all spells, and automaticall sorting them into - per-encounter, per-rest categorries.
I think BG3 could benefit from something similar - seperating main and bonus action abilities, creating "folders" based on resource they consume. I think the upper half of the hotbar could be easly used for such purpose, leaving bottom one as "quickslots" for favourate items and spells.
• Attack while dualwielding attacks with both?
– as it is attacking when dualwielding will perform both main and bonus action. I didn’t find a way to do just main attack, with bonus action available for use. It’s a minor issue, but still. I would prefer to have a finer control over what attacks I perform
• Sneak attack
– is there a reason for it being a separate action? I am used to sneak attack just being a passive which triggers when appropriate. I think I didn’t use sneak attack about 50% times, simple because I need to use it manually.
• No more item vomid!
– thank goodness, ALT only highlights important items. Makes things more manageable, while still leaving all the interactive and situational junk objects.
• Manually rolling every skill check
– I don’t know how I feel about it. I like it, but it does get slow and tedious after a while. I really creates a hole in pacing of conversations. I think something more snappy, and requiring less clicks on player part would be preferable.
• Too easy to click on re-roll by accident
– after failed skill check, a reroll button appears where normally “continue” would be. I used multiple rerolls unintentionally in my playthrough because of that.
• Minimap spoils surprises
– thats a minor but a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Minimap spoils surprises or ambushes – like the bugbear assassin.
• Double perception required
– one by the character, and one by the player to figure out what was it that our character noticed. PoE2 has a nice feature, where we can click on the “perception successful” note in the logbook, and the game will centre on the found object.
• What's up with trading?
- I assume charisma manipulates prices, but items seems to cost about 3x more
• Manual turn based system
– love it! Makes so many things so much easier. It is kinda easy to abuse. Perhaps, once entered enemy should be able to take his turn as well, before we can switch back to real time exploration?
• Sneaking in real time while party is in combat
– that’s just weird. It gives stealth companions infinite movement and easy sneaking paths with stationary enemies, when other companions engage in combat. Why not put everyone in vicinity into turn-based mode? That would make so much more sense.
• Summoned companions not joining the fight
– I have summoned hand time out before I remembered to use it, as it doesn’t automatically join the fight. I assume it’s a bug, as summons should be immediately put into action cue as it was in D:OS2.
• Inventory weight
– what’s up with that? It exists, but triggers when the characters carries twice as much as he or she is supposed to be able to carry
• Wrong person engaged in the conversation
– naturally, I want my avatar to do the talking whenever possible. When NPCs engage in conversation they seem to speak to whomever is the closest. Give us an ability to set “party leader” who will lead the conversation if nearby, or even better allow to switch and join in with every present party member
• 4 tries at any skill check
– as NPCs don’t seem to register us as group in most cases – you can go through the same conversation up to 4 times and try the same roll over and over again. Silly
• Jump & disengage
– I feel it makes reactions irrelevant. Bonus action for bypassing the engagement is simply too low of a price to pay. It also makes game tedious – enemy archers who are impossible to lock down as they can disengage, run to a high ground and still take a shot with an advantage. This is bad from both enemy and player perspective.
- very much like above. While sending enemies flying (often to their death!) is undeniably fun, I am not sure if always available, bonus action is the right price for such gain. I would implore considering shortening distance A LOT, so pushing enemies would be only possible if they were to stand literally on edge, and save up the pleasure of blowing enemies away to spells, and other more valuable actions. I would also consider making JUMP/PUSH main actions.
END OF EDIT.1
• Giving out advantage & disadvantage like candy
– I think I get where Larian is coming from. They expressed dislike to regular misses in D&D already. But I think it really hurts the combat – advantage is too desirable, and too easy to get. You ALWAYS want to attack from high ground or from behind. And with easily available jump that allows to cover distance, bypass wall of enemy, disengage, and change the hight – all for a bonus action only – that’s pretty much the only thing one needs to worry about. Makes combat far more repetitive then it needs to be.
• Order of interactions seems to be a bit of a mess right now
– Wyll, told me a story about losing his Eye and Spike twice – once when facing Goblin by the windmill and once by camping. Then again when we faced the spike. He also told me about his situation with the cambion. And then, after all this, and after we killed Goblin leaders, back in the camp, he congratulated me for killing goblins by the Grove’s gate, and dodged his reasons for chasing goblins and capability as a fighter – clearly conversation intended for before I learn anything about him
• Story zone separation
- so once again, it feels a bit like people aren’t quite aware of what is happening. No one in the grove seems concerned about the alien ship that crashed 2 minute walk away from them. I get that they have other problems but some reaction would be welcome.
• Some convenient story beats
– none of the companions appeared where they are by chance – and yet they run into relevant characters – like Wyll who just happens to run into Spike, whom he wanted to kill since he was a child? Tadpoles everywhere.
• Loading screen spoilers
– do you really want to spoil companions through loading screens? Though then again, “Origins” will spoil them anyway.
• I was surprised that sneaking through Grove’s underground passage with the goblin prisoner didn’t feature a unique interaction with the goblin party waiting there. Maybe it’s just not in at the moment.
• Is it necessary to switch to close up conversations during short character barks – fade to black does break the pace, and doing so for just one or two short lines does more harm the good I think. I can’t stop myself from expecting a deeper conversation. There are moments in the game that don’t do that (speak with dead, speak with animal, some other minor conversations) and personally I find it to work fine. I don’t need to zoom in every time. I will take quality over quantity. Which brings me to:
• I am still not convined if close up dialogue is worth it. For now, it’s more distracting then evocative. I will let Larian polish it up before I make my mind. However, there is a tendency to use awkward extreme closeups
. Mass Effect does that too, but they had more custom face expressions, and characters where more steady – having someone lean out of frame just looks broken.
• Switching between vertical hights is really awkward. We kinda need to hope the camera will guess where we want to go.
• Common bug – transition between areas spawns me by the door I tried to enter though – not on the other side as expected.
• Game breaking bug – during the fight with the hag my avatar got pushed into the depth and she died – I could resurrect her as there was no body, and I couldn’t come to camp without her.
• Wrong tooltip – game predicts wrong AC
• Game breaking bug – during the fight with the hag my avatar got pushed into the depth and she died – I could resurrect her as there was no body, and I couldn’t come to camp without her. Her body appears in the camp
• Human tag triggered, even though I am a halfling during the conversation with the HAG
• Gloves of Power
seem to grant Bane to both attacker and attacked? Nothing in description says about that.
EDIT2: Ahhh something I forgot to mentione, which somewhat disappointed me considering the marketing so far - making our character building choices irrelevant. It is nothing new to BG series. BG2 have inner party conflicts, party members leaving if you stray far enough from their moral compas, time companion missions... or so I am told, becase all that can be bypassed through sheer Charisma, and very conviniently in the most likely first quest that players stumble across they are rewarded with supremely powerful and valuable ring that gives players 18 charisma.
I was expecting that with wide range of classes at our disposal, and skills to choose from spells like Speak with Animals, Speak with Dead, various mobility and elemental spells will allow for each playthrouigh to be somewhat different - opening new doors and closing others. Alas, no such thing. Quite quicly I was rewarded with medalion which granted me "Speak with Dead" and by the end of the run I was swimming in Speak with Animals potions, which lasts for the entire long rest! high strength jump ability also seems to for the most part replace mobility abilities from previous games, and automatic jump allows for the rest of the party to join in, no matter if they should be able to or not.
I don't think access to consumables that grant skills we don't normally have access to is bad per say, but those should be valuable - few and expensive items we can use everyoce in a while, while taking a specialist would allow us to explore this content to fuller extend. I hope that Speak to Dead will not be used as crutch to fulfill arbitrary "you can kill everyone!" rule, without contributing anything interesting on its own.