Pushing and shoving
Of course, there is combat, and Vincke says the team is working on that aspect as well. He says they think it's a little bit too random still, in cases where they'd like it to be more tactical. They're also tooling with the RNG in some areas, and are looking for ways of streamlining it to have a "more modern experience."
Martial classes are a particular area he highlights, as having a party full of just fighters can be tricky, which I found pretty interesting. In my own experience, I've been loving the ability to push, shove, and throw things to manipulate the world with my Githyanki Warrior, and those mechanics are something he says he's happy people are grappling with. He tells me in a recent meeting, some of the studio members were discussing ways in which they had defeated an encounter using their own ingenuity and exploiting systems in unexpected ways, something Vincke says is one of the core pillars of what Larian is trying to do.
"I mean, that's why we put those mechanics in there," Vincke says. "So the creative use of the mechanics for the players is the thing that we try to maximize. D&D is about your agency, your creativity. We're trying to give you the same tool set still, in a fairly accessible way."
Looks like the developers are doubling down on their cheesy tactics instead of allowing players to use class abilities and spells in creative ways.
Reminds me of what we have in Divinity: Original Sin 2. Warfare with a small dip into other schools is the optimal way to go, because spells have to deal with magic armor and elemental resistance, while physical damage only has to worry about armor. One knight who can teleport and nether swap, accompanied by a knight who can cast restoration, etc.
I don't mind buffs to fighter, but when shove overshadows whole other classes (because the game doesn't have reactions or readied actions, and spellcasters have to risk taking shots at disadvantage because of verticality). It's aggravating to think about every time I boot up the game. A lot of fun in D&D is seeing what each class brings to the table. It's designed for each class to be powerful and fun (ranger does have some issues, so as I said before I expected buffs for ranger). It's less bothersome in D:OS2 because the game was about the world and the characters, so it was okay to make a team of super fighters between Ifan, Sebille, etc.
That being said, if we do get more tools from the 5e ruleset, Larian's cheese isn't going to bother me at all. For example a lot of oil barrels should just be oil flasks you have to buy from a merchant. Creativity is native to D&D, it's currently an issue because spells are relatively weaker at the moment and we just don't have an appropriate implementation of 5e's rules as of patch 4.
Now let's take these thoughts into a vacuum:-Start Vacuum-
For example if an IRL DM was buffing minotaurs by giving them multi-attack, I'd consider that lazy with a high chance to TPK.
If the DM said you have to declare all reactions within your turn...
Wizard, "Okay now the DM is just trying to kill us."
DM..."Oh but shove can launch a minotaur 5 feet! it's not just prone."
Wizard, "Wait, but Thunderwave does the same thing and requires a spell slot."
DM..."I want you to think creatively in this fight."
Wizard, "How is that creative? I would have to move my wizard in melee range of a minotaur."
"I cast scorching ray on the minotaur"
DM..."hmmm you're about 5 feet lower in elevation, roll at disadvantage."
DM..."because I'm the DM."
DM..."On the minotaur's turn it leaps over the party directly at your wizard."
Wizard, "Don't my party members get opportunity attacks?"
DM..."Oh, I've been meaning to tell you all that jump is an bonus action that also acts as disengage"
"the minotaur moves next to your wizard."
DM..."The minotaur shoves your wizard and you fall off the cliff"
Wizard, "I cast feather fall on myself"
DM..."Remember? I said you have to declare all reactions within your turn."
Wizard, "Why are we not using a lean towards rules-as-written?"
DM..."Because I'm the DM."
DM..."Your wizard is dead, you're now a Dwarf Battlemaster."
Former Wizard, "I shove the minotaur with the Battlemaster."
DM..."The minotaur didn't see or hear your Battlemaster walking up in full plate armor."
"The minotaur falls down the cliff next to the wizard."
DM..."See? I told you I wanted you to think creatively!"
Former Wizard, "I'm going to find a new D&D group".-End Vacuum-
In Baldur's Gate 3 you get to reload with the foreknowledge that the minotaurs have been buffed, you can't react with spells at all, and would have been familiar with disadvantage from lower ground. It's anti-fun that you can't be proactive and use the spells that you would expect to normally use. I'll say it again I'm happy fighter and ranger got some buffs, but please stop punishing casters.
Reviews have been positive, and problems that are being flagged by players are things already being charted on the roadmap. So what does the road ahead look like, then?
I hope this means readied actions, reactions, better rule implementation, etc. are on the roadmap.
"So we still have quite some work ahead of us," Vincke says. "But we do know what we're making and when we're going to be… we'll know when we're at the end, so it is visible. It's just still a lot of work."