One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (2024)

Summary

  • Baldur's Gate 3 offers a choice to consume illithid parasites for powers, but lacks rewards for resisting them.
  • The game's consequences for using illithid powers are mostly cosmetic and don't impact gameplay.
  • No reward for resisting powers may be a thematic choice, emphasizing the importance of moral choices in the game.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is a staggering achievement in terms of both story and gameplay, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t without some minor narrative flaws. One place these cracks can be seen is with a choice the player is offered throughout the game that will seemingly have long-term effects but only does in some cases. This is a bit of a surprise since player choice in Baldur’s Gate 3 is usually pretty impactful. Seeing that a seemingly major choice bears less weight than it should is a bit of a surprise.

While this by no means lessens a player’s ability to enjoy Baldur’s Gate 3, certain players may feel they were shortchanged due to how they chose to play. Players may be shocked to learn that they were essentially imposing a needless restriction on their character’s abilities, without getting any reward in return. Though abstaining from this choice will allow players to avoid some potential punishments, it would also have been nice to see some sort of positive benefits as well like a unique item or an advantage against Baldur’s Gate 3’s final boss.

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Baldur’s Gate 3 Doesn’t Reward Players For Avoiding Illithid Powers

Players Can Choose To Enhance Themselves With Mind Flayer Abilities

Throughout Baldur’s Gate 3, players are offered a choice: consume illithid parasites to enhance the powers of the one already in their brain or avoid giving into the power to preserve their natural state. Consuming the parasites will give players a variety of illithid powers to choose from, which can be handy both in and out of combat. While some players may avoid using them altogether, the game doesn’t offer any rewards, narrative or otherwise, for limiting oneself in this way.

Now, there can be some disadvantages from a narrative standpoint for players who decide to indulge fully in illithid powers, though they can be avoided by some good dice rolls. Still, Baldur’s Gate 3 does make a nice effort to show the drawbacks of using the powers granted by the Mind Flayer parasites, which is part of what makes the game so immersive. That said, players who avoided using them may be a bit let down to find out they weren’t going to be given a special ending or anything like that, which makes using illithid powers more tempting.

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Alongside new companions to get to know, Baldur's Gate 3 also sees some familiar characters returning from previous installments in the series.

The Punishments For Using Mind Flayer Parasites In BG3 Might Not Bother Some Players

The Drawbacks Of Using These Powers Is Largely Narrative

One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (3)

There are a few consequences for using Mind Flayer parasites to gain powers in Baldur’s Gate 3. First, players will need to pass a skill check after consuming too many parasites, or else they will begin to undergo ceremorphosis and become half-illithid. This will cause the player’s character to have dark lines spreading across their face. These can make certain conversations difficult, especially when players are trying to convince Jaheira that the parasites haven’t affected them. Players may also lose some approval from their companions when they consume parasites or undergo a partial transformation.

Players invested in the role-playing aspect of Baldur’s Gate 3 will likely also see their character turning into a half-illithid as punishment enough. It will change their character’s appearance to something unpleasant, and slowly turning into an illithid who might be mind-controlled by a giant brain isn’t a desirable outcome for a lot of people. However, these punishments are largely narrative ones, and they don’t impact the player in terms of combat.

This means that while some players will see some drawbacks to using illitihid powers, those who are less invested in the game’s narrative won’t. Players who simply want the most powerful character possible are free to consume every Mind Flayer parasite they come across without any major mechanical drawbacks. Not only does this make taking the parasites less scary than the narrative may have it seem, but it almost incentivizes players to do it if they are struggling to get through the game.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Illithid Powers Are Hard To Resist On Harder Playthroughs

Baldur’s Gate 3 Offers Several Punishing Difficulty Levels

One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (4)

Because players receive no benefits in combat from resisting illithid powers, it becomes a lot harder to resist using Mind Flayer parasites on higher difficulties. This is especially true in Baldur’s Gate 3’s Honour Mode, which will force players to restart their game if they fall in combat. If there was some major drawback to using illithid powers outside of some story elements, the choice to use them would become much more difficult and, therefore, more interesting.

This choice could be made even more interesting if players were offered some sort of reward later in the game for resisting the illithid powers. This would balance things out, making it a choice between the immediate reward of using Mind Flayer parasites early in the game, or holding out until the late game and being rewarded for taking a more difficult path. This would again make the choice more interesting, and the promise of a late-game reward would make getting through an Honour Mode playthrough a bit less frustrating without using illithid powers.

No Reward For Resisting Power May Actually Improve Baldur’s Gate 3’s Story

Though No Reward May Be Frustrating, It Sends A Strong Message

One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (5)

Though some have lamented the lack of a big reward for resisting illithid powers in Baldur’s Gate 3, that doesn’t mean this is an inherent flaw in the game. It’s very possible that Larian intentionally held off on rewarding players for resisting this power for thematic purposes. After all, making the right choice isn’t always rewarded, and Baldur’s Gate 3 may be trying to show players that resisting the temptation of power and following a more morally upstanding path should be its own reward.

Baldur’s Gate 3 isn’t exactly shy about framing characters who are mainly interested in power as morally wrong. The game shows how power has corrupted characters like Ketheric Thorm and Enver Gortash. Sure they are more powerful in combat thanks to their deals with the Dead Three, but the game clearly isn’t condoning their choices. Conversely, characters rejecting power, like Shadowheart turning away from Shar’s promise of making her a Dark Justicar, are typically framed as the right choice, depending on perspective.

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It is clear that Baldur’s Gate 3 has things to say about the nature of power and those who seek it at all costs. This is reflected in the way that players are physically scarred by consuming too many Mind Flayer parasites. Sure, this might not be a major concern to players who just want to make their character as strong as possible and might lead some to think this choice isn’t impactful. However, Baldur’s Gate 3 makes it clear that just because a choice doesn’t make one stronger or reward them, doesn’t mean it isn’t the right one.

One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (7)
Baldur's Gate 3
Franchise
Baldur's Gate
Platform(s)
PC , macOS , PS5 , Xbox Series X

Released
August 3, 2023

Developer(s)
Larian Studios

ESRB
M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence
One Of Baldur Gate 3's Main Plot Points Is A Massive Wasted Opportunity (2024)

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