Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (2024)

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  • Explorer vs. Balanced vs. Tactician

  • Example Of Differences Between Explorer, Balanced, And Tactician

  • Switching Between Difficulty Modes

Baldur's Gate 3 is a narrative-drivenisometric role-playing game created with player choice as its main focus. Whether you're looking for a relaxing story, a challenging run, or a brutal beatdown, the Forgotten Realms provide.

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The developers have made sure to keep each difficulty setting distinct enough to be a completely different experience. Both casual and hardcore players will find their needs fulfilled and requirements met in BG3.

Updated by Hamza Haq on August 10, 2023: The article has been updated to explain the differences between the three difficulty modes of Baldur's Gate 3 better using a specific example. We've also added new links to bring the article up to date.

Explorer vs. Balanced vs. Tactician

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (1)

There are three difficulty modes in Baldur's Gate 3 that you can choose from. Each mode is distinct and has clear differences players will notice immediately by switching between them.

Explorer (Story Mode)

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (2)

If you're here for the story and little else, Explorer is the mode for you. With hundreds of hours of fully voiced dialogue and a lore-rich world, there is no shame in exploring what the narrative has to offer without being bogged down by combat encounters that aren't your cup of tea.

Balanced (Normal Mode)

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (3)

Balanced is the default difficulty setting Baldur's Gate 3 is meant to be played at. It's important to note that balanced doesn't mean easy by any stretch of the imagination. For players unfamiliar with the rulebook of and the rules within, Balanced mode will test their builds without making it frustrating. Of course, long-time D&D buffs will have an easier time, but not by that much.

Tactician (Hard Mode)

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (4)

For players familiar with Larian Studios' previous titles, Divinity Original Sin 1 & 2, Tactician difficulty is not a new term. It is not as simple as enemies dealing 2x more damage and having 3x more health. Oh no, that would be too easy.

The developers have gone through every single possible combat encounter in the game and increased the difficulty manually for each one. Beyond player characters receiving more damage, all enemies will have a 'spice' of their own to call upon that will not be present in Balanced or Explorer mode.

A previously nondescript dwarf skirmisher might have a firebomb he can throw, or a cleric could suddenly use mass heal to save his allies, or you could find some strategically placed oil barrels on a choke point, making fire spells entirely useless, making that encounter much trickier to deal with.

Tactician mode will test players' knowledge of the underlying rules of the game, making it necessary to employ every single trick in the book to come out on top.

Example Of Differences Between Explorer, Balanced, And Tactician

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (5)

As an example, let’s take the very first real fight the player character will face in Baldur’s Gate 3 and see how the difference in difficulty changes how the fight plays out.

When you first make your way toward the helm of the Nautiloid, you’ll be faced with Commander Zhalk, a Tiefling invader on the ship hellbent on destroying everything and everyone. He, along with his minions, is going to be the very first fight you face along with your party.

  • On Explorer difficulty, Commander Zhalk has 105 HP and will fall like a domino.
  • On Balanced difficulty, Commander Zhalk has 150 HP and will destroy the Mind Flayer in about 4-6 turns, depending on the luck of the rolls. If you try to hit him, you’re more likely to miss than to hit.
  • On Tactician difficulty, Commander Zhalk has 195 HP and will obliterate the opposition in 3-4 turns. It’s almost impossible to hit him with your characters at this difficulty.

Switching Between Difficulty Modes

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (6)

Players can switch between difficulty modes freely at any point during their playthrough in Baldur's Gate 3. You don't have to Save and Reload; the game is smart enough to adjust encounters on the go. Here is how you switch difficulty.

  1. Press 'Esc' to enter the menu screen.
  2. Click on 'Difficulty.'
  3. Select a difficulty mode.
  4. Click Confirm.

Next: Baldur's Gate 3: Best Party Compositions

Baldur's Gate 3: Difficulty Setting Differences, Explained (2024)

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