Baldur’s Gate 3 Guide: Tips and Early Game Advice for Beginners

Take your first steps into the world of Baldur's Gate 3 with confidence.
baldur's gate 3 custom character

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a dense RPG with plenty of fun, wild, and difficult choices awaiting players. Your adventure will be your own, and the best way to make your way in the world is just to get moving – but if you’re looking to start your journey on the right foot, there’s plenty you should know before the road gets winding.

Like Divinity: Original Sin before it, Baldur’s Gate 3 shines with Larian Studios flair. If you’re aware of the developer’s past games, you’ll likely find BG3 very familiar in many ways. But if you’re a newcomer, there are plenty of tips that’ll definitely help illuminate your path along the way.

If you’re looking to get stuck in, here’s the best advice we have to offer to new adventurers about Baldur’s Gate 3, and how to make the best choices for you and your companions.

Read: Baldur’s Gate 3 reportedly has 17,000 possible endings

Choose companions that appeal to you

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Screenshot: GamesHub

You’ll meet a total number of ten companions in your journey through Baldur’s Gate 3, and you can journey with them for as long as you like. Everyone you recruit will end up joining you in your camp, and you can freely take these characters with you.

While some are more powerful than others, the best option is to gather companions you personally like. Each has a unique backstory and quirks, and these colour your adventure greatly. For example, if you make a choice your companion agrees with, you’ll get special ‘inspiration’ points that allow you to re-roll dice checks. Their disapproval may change their stance on you, and sour your relationship.

Keep companions around you that share your values and preferences, and you’re in for a much more interesting and less combative time in the field.

You can knock enemies off cliffs

The single best advice for new Baldur’s Gate 3 players is this: don’t be afraid to punt your enemy off a cliff. If you don’t mind forgoing a mystery loot drop, you can usually get around extremely powerful enemies by throwing them over a ravine using a weapon or spell.

If you can find a hammer, they have pushback abilities that send your foes flying across distances. The Thunderwave spell can also produce similar results. A shove will send enemies backwards, and will also be handy if you lack a greater force.

Read: Baldur’s Gate 3 Review Roundup

While throwing an enemy off a cliff may be seen as the ‘cowardly’ way out, it’s also very satisfying, very quick, and can save your party in a pinch. Don’t be afraid. Just kick.

When you’re stuck, zoom in

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Screenshot: GamesHub

You’ll often encounter dead ends while travelling in Baldur’s Gate 3, with solutions usually found in the form of a lever, switch, or environmental puzzle. Depending on your screen size, these can be hard to see. While the advice seems basic, it’s a good idea to make use of zoomed-in camera angles to analyse your surroundings. Close up, you’ll often see details you’ve missed – as puzzle objects can be incredibly small.

Failing that, you can also highlight interactables on the screen by pressing [ALT] on PC.

Other routes to getting unstuck include: jumping up terrain using the action button, searching nearby crates and chests, using Thieves Tools on closed doors, blowing something up with fire or arrows, or checking out the dark edges of the map for places you haven’t explored.

Collect (almost) everything you see

You’ll find a lot of loot in Baldur’s Gate 3, and while the temptation will be to nitpick and gather only the most powerful items, we’d recommend picking up everything – except maybe plain clothes and kitchenware. Most food-based items will contribute to your Camp Supplies, which can be used for Full Rest healing. Most weapons, scrolls, and jewellery will fetch a great price at traders.

Items that don’t fit into these categories can make potent potions, or serve as good tools for bartering down the line. You do have a pack limit, and you’ll become over-encumbered if you pick up too much – but each major location has a trader somewhere, so you’ll be able to pass off your goodies at regular intervals without worrying too much about pack capacity.

Sneaking is an effective battle strategy

If you’re facing a tough battle with multiple opponents, it’s best to sneak onto the battlefield to ensure you have an advantage on your first turn. On PC, this involves pressing [SHIFT+C] while in free roam. From there, you’ll get a red halo indicating your enemy’s vision scope, and how they’re moving.

By avoiding this red halo and sneaking around them, you’ll be able to navigate to better terrain, and then queue up a strong attack that’ll catch them by surprise. For the best results, you should also activate turn-based mode (from the bottom toolbar) to ensure you can easily avoid being spotted.

There are no wrong choices in Baldur’s Gate 3

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Screenshot: GamesHub

You’ll be presented with a boatload of choices in Baldur’s Gate 3 – many of them with real consequences for your party, your relationships, your skills, and your eventual ending. While there’s a lot of pressure behind these choices, there’s never really a ‘wrong’ answer you can make. In essence, the best way to deal with these choices is to go with your gut – or the very least, stay in character.

When that fails, use the time-testing technique of ‘save scumming’ to ensure the outcome you get is the outcome you want. Here’s the thing: games are supposed to be fun. If you make a choice, and the consequences feel bad, don’t feel any shame in backtracking.

Before you walk into every battlefield, and before you undertake any major dialogue, do a quick save – [F5] on PC. That way, you can preserve your place in the game, and ensure you’re not completely ruining your fun in the case of a less desirable outcome or dice roll.

While you can also just go with the flow and watch your game evolve around you, it’s really up to you how you play. Go forth and save scum if you like – and feel no shame.

Make sure each hero has at least one powerful damage spell

Pretty much every companion in Baldur’s Gate 3 can make use of powerful spells, regardless of their specialty class. While some will have access to more powerful spells, it’s important to ensure each of your companions has access to at least one (or two) high-damage spells as soon as possible.

They can be the big difference maker in battles since they have massive reach, and don’t solely rely on movement and action points like physical weapons. For similar reasons, you should also give every one of your companions a bow. When an enemy is far away and they don’t have enough movement points, even a low-damage arrow or spell can contribute to the battle.

You’ll want every member of your party to have a specialty (a powerful weapon, a strong magic attack, a great bow) but also have access to melee and ranged attacks for balance.

Stay patient with overarching questlines

This is a simple tip earned only with experience – but it’s best to stay patient with the storylines of Baldur’s Gate 3. While the temptation is to leap ahead, destroying everything in your path and pursuing a linear goal, most plots unfold at a slow pace and require you to fulfil the objectives of many, smaller sidequests before you can make real progress.

There isn’t a huge amount of urgency in fulfilling the requirements for these quests. You can spend your time how you choose – and while little things will change around you, and some questlines will advance if you wait too long, you can essentially spend your time wandering and exploring without any real consequences.

You may actually end up needing to take this approach if you find yourself facing tougher enemies. Take your time, build up strength, and then follow the major questlines. Eventually, your path will become much clearer.

Persuasion is a powerful skill

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Image: Larian Studios

How you build your character is freely up to your whims – but if you’re just starting out, the best place to begin is by strengthening your character’s persuasion. You’ll speak to a lot of characters in Baldur’s Gate 3, all with their own desires and goals. Many can be convinced to help you if you’ve got high enough Persuasion, so you’ll want to build out that skill and any adjacent social graces that’ll help you pass checks and advance through the plot.

Intimidation can also help this goal – although it’s a much meaner way of convincing NPCs to cooperate, and can backfire into full-scale battles if you fail Intimidation checks. Your best bet is to go the nicer route, and build out persuasion, sleight of hand, illusion, and other more reasonable social approaches. This can help you avoid full-scale battles, and survive another day.

Visit Camp often – and listen to your companions

baldur's gate 3 larian studios
Image: Larian Studios

As you travel, your companions will often express weariness, and a need to return to Camp via Full Rest. Listen to them, and when you can, make sure to enter your Campsite and relax as much as possible. You’ll usually have enough Camp Supplies for a Full Rest, and any is preferrable to none.

Many companions have abilities that will reset after a Full Rest, and these can be used for an advantage on the battlefield. The same companions will also reveal new quest lines and desires while camping, allowing you to progress the story and/or your romantic interests.

With locales in Baldur’s Gate 3 littered with items that can be used as Camping Supplies, you’ll rarely have moments where you can’t properly camp – so make sure you’re indulging your companion’s urges, and taking breaks between major battles. They help with healing, attacking, and ensuring you and your pals are ready for the storm ahead.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is out now for PC. A version for PlayStation 5 launches on 3 August 2023, and an Xbox Series X/S version is currently undated.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.