Baldur’s Gate 3 can be intimidating especially if you’re not familiar with the genre so we’ve put together some tips and tricks. Even if you’re a fan of Dungeons & Dragons, you may get thrown off by certain mechanics or not know tricks to take advantage of. Plus, Baldur’s Gate 3 is a long game with a lot going on.
Tip 1 – Solve Encounters in a Variety of Ways
Many situations can be dealt with in more than one way so take your time. A good way to know if a group up ahead is friendly or not is to look for their dots on the minimap. Each dot will have a color such as yellow meaning they won’t attack on sight. Whereas if the dots are red, they’ll attack you immediately.
Not to say you can’t save to make sure, but if you’re interested in handling the situation peacefully, this is a good trick. This can definitely lead to some fun dialogue choices for each class, background, and more. As well as a bunch of unique choices if you’re doing a Dark Urge run. The nice part about the peaceful route is you’ll still get experience as if you defeated each enemy.
Tip 2 – Interact With Companion Inventories During Combat
This is a neat trick about how you can transfer items between party members at any time. Which may not sound like much at first, but you’ll start to see why. Depending on the situation you’re in, you may need a health potion that a companion has. Or perhaps a spell scroll that’s perfect for a certain moment. By pressing Tab on PC to see all active party inventories, you easily transfer items.
A good reason to take advantage of this tip is when you have a strong party member carrying items to avoid encumbrance. My first Baldur’s Gate 3 playthrough was on a Warlock that couldn’t hold a lot. So it made a big difference when I could grab arrows, potions, and whatever else from companions. The only time this won’t work is if you’re playing with friends who have their inventory locked.
Tip 3 – Explore to Find Secrets, Quests, and More
As the first tip in this guide recommends, take your time exploring all that Baldur’s Gate 3 has to offer. Each area is loaded with secrets and quests to discover. And you never know when opening a certain book or scroll will reveal a recipe for a powerful weapon.
With that said, there is the occasional frustrating moment when your whole party rolls for a Perception check and fails. This means there’s something you’re not seeing which can be minor or significant. Such as a nearby trap, dirt mound with treasure, or a button to reveal a secret passage.
Tip 4 – Quick Save Often in Baldur’s Gate 3
Around Baldur’s Gate 3’s release, I noticed a lot of people aren’t familiar with the phrase save scumming. This is when someone loads a previous save to change how something went. Instead of dealing with something like a failed die roll or a mistake. While save scumming can sound negative, ignore the people that make it that way.
You should both quick save often and do normal saves as well so you can experiment with mechanics. As you get deeper into Baldur’s Gate 3, it’s easy to use a skill or cast a spell without fully understanding how it works. And sometimes it’s because a complex skill isn’t explained in-depth enough. Therefore, don’t be afraid to save scum, because it’s more fun to experiment and learn.
Tip 5 – Make Sure to Use Short and Long Rests
Short rests are a great way to recover health even though you can only do two before having to do a long rest. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to put off long rests since they will frequently progress your story. This is how you’ll learn more about your companions and frequently come across cutscenes. Especially if you’re doing a Dark Urge run.
I made the mistake of not doing long rests early on and it led to some bugs alongside silly situations. Plus, if you loot often enough, you’ll come across a ton of food for long rests. Otherwise, you can usually buy food from traders too. With that said, there are a couple of quests where too many long rests can lock you out. Despite there not being many, I still recommend saving frequently for this purpose.
Tip 6 – Useful Baldur’s Gate 3 Hotkeys to Know
Adding to the confusion and complexity of this massive CRPG, there are some useful hotkeys worth learning. Aside from preset ones visible on your skill bar, here are a few I regularly use:
- T to inspect literally anything. You may already know about using it for holding item description windows open, but you can also use it on your environment. So if you see a barrel, an enemy, a gas cloud, a trap, etc.
- Holding Alt to highlight items, containers, and more. This can help with finding secrets, containers with an asterisk that you haven’t looted yet, potion ingredients, etc.
- Tab to see the inventory of all party members simultaneously. You can use the tabs on this screen to check other windows as well like the Spellbook and Character Sheet.
- The tilde/grave symbol (`) to highlight all character silhouettes.
- Holding Left Shift to see where NPCs are looking.
- O for the Tactical Camera to switch to a camera angle from above.
Tip 7 – Learn How Grouping and Ungrouping Works
Once you have a full party of four members, you’ll want to understand how grouping works for a number of reasons. The purpose of this mechanic is to stop party members from following you. First, you’ll want to take advantage of this when disarming traps so other members don’t wander onto them. If you don’t split up the group you’ll likely end up with several traps activating.
The second reason for splitting up a group is usually when you’re sneaking around. Chances are only one of your party members has proficiency in Stealth so you’ll want to use them. Especially if they’re a Rogue that you want to engage in a fight from outside it.
Tip 8 – Take Advantage of Turn-Based Mode
By pressing Shift+Space or clicking the hourglass button near the bottom right, you can enter Turn-Based Mode. This is useful when you want to time something precisely without having to worry about your environment moving. You’ll be able to make each character’s turn before the world moves.
One of my favorite reasons to use Turn-Based Mode is when pickpocketing NPCs. Instead of having to panic about getting caught, you can take your time deciding which items to pickpocket. Otherwise, you’ll have to rush while checking how tough it is to grab an item. Aside from thievery, I sometimes use this mode to prepare for a fight.
Tip 9 – Bonus Actions Have All Sorts of Uses
Try to use bonus actions as often as you can so long as you have a reason to. I guarantee many people skip using their bonus action when there are creative uses for them. Such as shoving a teammate so they don’t have to move as far. This can greatly increase their movement range without hurting them. Or instead of a teammate, you can shove an enemy off a ledge.
Another fun trick is to jump somewhere instead of running there. This is because you can typically reach farther as long as you don’t take damage from a large drop. But that’s not all, as you get deeper into Baldur’s Gate 3 you’ll unlock all sorts of useful bonus actions. Such as offhand attacks for the Rogue, special attacks for dazing enemies, bonus action spells, and more.
Tip 10 – Hit Levers With Ranged Attacks
This tip adds to the first one about how encounters can be handled differently and often creatively. In certain situations, it’s easier to hit a lever with a ranged attack instead of running up to it. It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting it with an arrow or using a spell with a projectile. Either way, this can activate the device without needing to be near it.
The only disclaimer I have here is that it was a little buggy close to the 1.0 release of Baldur’s Gate 3. Sometimes a lever animation would trigger after being hit but not actually function. However, I expect this to be cleaned up over time so I wouldn’t worry too much about it not working.
Instead of making this Baldur’s Gate 3 guide longer than it is already, we’ll stop it there. It’s easy to write forever about the many different systems and tricks since it’s a complicated game. But, I don’t want to keep you here forever! I recommend coming back and sharing some tips of your own for others in the comments.
Jeff is a journalist with over 10 years of experience writing, streaming, and making content about video games. With an associate degree in journalism, he’s a sucker for RPGs, survival games, roguelikes, and more.