The most important thing to understand is that you will be able to become a badger. Yes, David Attenborough from the Dungeons & Dragons classes, the druid, is on his way to the early access release of Baldur’s Gate 3. When? “Very soon,” according to a press release. There is no specific date yet.
In addition to a badger, the druid will be able to become a polar bear, a spider (probably larger than a house spider), a raven, a cat, a spooky wolf and a curious “deviant form”. This is triggered by embracing the Mindflayer tadpole you apparently pushed into your eye at the beginning of the game.
These wild characters are obviously useful in combat, but they have uses outside of it as well. If a bear is blocking your path, as they usually do, the big clumsy oafes, why not try switching to a bear and talking to them?
This kind of thing is, of course, where Larian excels: being a little eccentric. So it will be no surprise to hear that playing early access build like a druid will be a different experience than playing like anyone else, especially around Druid Grove.
In addition to Wild Shape, the druid has a whole range of abilities and spells, including the clever ability to heat metal and fry warriors who think they have made themselves very safe. Fools!
The druid will come as part of Patch 4: Nature̵
Headline supplements are:
- Optional loaded dice, which ensures that you can not be “super-unlucky or super-lucky with multiple dice rolls in a row”, even if this only controls dialogue and choices, not match rolls, your big dirty cheater.
- Improved movie, thanks to a new lighting card, plus specific enhancements to specialty cinemas, such as Speak With the Dead and while I chat like an animal, something I have no doubt all druids will do.
- The ability to see friends’ equipment, spells, inventory and character sheets when you are in multiplayer. And the ability to take and place things in them, ho ho.
- Various quality of life features, such as the ability to target friends and enemies by clicking on their portraits; a fly button, for when things go south; and a torch button, because it’s easier that way.
Full updates and a specific release date for update 4 are still to come.
On top of all this, Larian announced that they had acquired a game development studio in the UK. The studio is Turbulenz, a Guildford-based developer already working on Baldur’s Gate 3. This takes Larian’s worldwide studio count to six. In terms of number of employees: there were about 200 people working on the game in the summer of 2019. I expect it to be comfortably higher now. In short: Baldur’s Gate 3 is a big project.
All of this news and more was discussed in Larian’s bumper panel from Hell 2 livestream today. The panel’s special guest was Dungeons & Dragons ruler Jeremy Crawford, who went into more druid details with BG3 management system designer Nick Pechenin.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is currently in early access on Steam, which includes the first of three actions included in the game. There is no full release date yet. We hope it will do this year. Only PC and Stadia are confirmed as platforms, but Larian is openly looking at a console release. I do not know if this will be simultaneous with desktop versions. It has not been with Divinity: Original Sin games before.