Choices are hard, especially when you’re creating your ideal character in a massive RPG with hundreds of customization options based on long-running Dungeons and Dragons traditions. Even though you’ve finally settled on your race and appearance in Baldur’s Gate 3, giving your half-orc beefcake just the right amount of facepaint, you’ve still got to pick your class and eventually your subclass… and there are so many options!
The class system in Baldur’s Gate 3 is very deep and fun to explore, but initially it can be daunting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with traditional D&D elements–you can even create unique builds by going the multi-class route. To help you pick an ideal build when the game launches September 6 on PS5, we’ve assembled a list of the basic defining features that make each base class unique.
Ever dreamed of ferociously laying waste to foes in a crazed rampage? Then Barbarian is the class for you! Big weapons let you dish out the pain, and the Rage skill lets you deliver even more damage–and take less–in a frenzied state during combat. Subclasses add even more damage potential: Berserker lets you hit more and toss things, Wildheart gives you a splash of primal fury with animal-themed Rage effects, and Wild Magic grants random spell effects during Rage.
The most straightforward class–but just because it’s straightforward doesn’t mean it’s boring. There’s a lot of personal variety you can add to the Fighter’s playstyle, especially with the huge variety of weaponry and armor to choose from. Whether you want to hit hard or be the designated tank, the Fighter offers plenty of power and health to get the job done. Subclasses like Battle Master and Eldritch Knight add fancy footwork and magic to the mix, while Champion keeps it simple by giving you better odds to hit hard.
Sometimes you just want to punch everything, and Monk will let you do that with plenty of style. You won’t have access to much in the way of weapons or armor, but that’s okay–your expertly trained body will more than pick up the slack. Hit hard and dodge fast with your unique class Ki attacks. Take your pick from one of three subclasses: Way of the Four Elements, Way of the Open Hand, and Way of Shadow to add magic, versatility, and stealth to your blows.
Holier-than-thou fighters with access to a huge swath of weapons and armor, Paladins are shining beacons of heroism bound to sacred Oaths of conduct. Besides excellent combat skills, Paladins can also offer up healing and support options. Your further magical abilities will be determined by your choice of Oath: Oath of the Ancients, Oath of Devotion, and Oath of Vengeance. But if you’re sick of being a goody-two-shoes, you can always see what happens when you break your Oath and give in to the desire for power…
If your motto is the best defense is to not get hit, you’ll feel right at home in the Rogue class–with high dexterity and plenty of stealthy, evasive movement and combat skills. What better way to destroy your foes than to slay them before they even know you’re there? Subclasses all build on the Rogue’s natural strengths: Thief gets extra actions each turn, Arcane Tricksters use magic to befuddle with illusions and distractions, and Assassins are all about efficient, sneaky kills.
Like getting close to nature? Then you’ll want to look at the Ranger class. These speedy master hunters live to stalk prey, and have expertise in navigating some of the harshest environments–you can pick their favored quarry and stomping grounds during character creation for some fun bonus skills. The subclasses Beast Master, Hunter, and Gloom Stalker can make you a friend to all fauna–or a vicious hunter feared by all creatures that draw breath.
Get in touch with your artsy side and have everyone swoon for your support skills and offensive spells. Bards are natural charmers, so their high Charisma stat can not only inspire allies in traditional fights, but can also help win battles of words and wits. Bard subclasses are the Colleges of Lore, Valour, and Swords, and they will potentially grant more equipment and combat options as well as boost skills to help support your other party members.
Being the healing-focused class is anything but boring in Baldur’s Gate 3. Cleric is a diverse and highly customizable class, packing a surprising offensive punch among a bevy of healing and support skills. Both the Cleric Domain subclass and your patron deity, chosen at creation, have a profound effect on your build, transforming you from a back-row healer to a versatile melee medic wielding holy weapons of smiting.
Have you ever dreamed of becoming something more than merely human? Druids are so attuned to the natural world that these practitioners can assume the forms of animals. Healing, support, and the ability to turn yourself into a dinosaur–there’s plenty of things to love about being a Druid. Subclasses include the transformation-focused Circle of the Moon, the attack and support-spell focused Circle of the Land, and the fun-filled fungi-riffic Circle of the Spores.
The archetypical back-line spellcaster, Wizards have little going for them in terms of weapons or armor, but have the biggest and best magic abilities of any class in the game. Their high Intelligence allows Wizards to learn and utilize offensive attacks suited for just about any situation. Wizard subclasses focus on giving bonus attributes to the type of spells your character specializes in–though these choices won’t limit your magical arsenal’s potential in the slightest.
Drawing powerful magic abilities from otherworldly creatures by swearing loyalty–what could possibly go wrong? Plenty can go right in the Warlock class: Not only can you wield strong offensive, support, and debilitating magic, the wisdom and charisma your patron has granted you gives you the wit needed to worm your way out of sticky social situations. The exact workings of your spells will vary depending on which being you swear fealty to: The Fiend, The Great Old One, or the Archfey.
Some people are born talented. Sorcerers don’t need to study or draw power from others for their magic: they’re just that good. The Metamagic feature unique to this class allows you to enhance your spells in new and exciting ways, creating personalized spells that, combined with your smooth-talking Charisma, make a Sorcerer useful in and out of combat. By subclassing to Storm Sorcery, Wild Magic, or Draconic Bloodline, you can further infuse your spells with tempests, chaos, or even the power of dragons.
Don’t fret if you discover that a class isn’t working out for you. If you complete the Explore the Ruins quest available from very early on, you’ll meet a lich named Withers, who will hang around your camp and allow you to re-spec whenever you want… for a small fee. And if you’re, really stuck from the start with choice paralysis, there are pre-rolled characters for you to play as!
Hopefully you now have a better idea of the path you want to walk. Of course, this is far from the only choice you’ll need to make in Baldur’s Gate 3–every decision in dialogue, exploration, and battle carries its own weight. Look forward to forging your own path through this epic adventure. Baldur’s Gate 3 is available September 6 on PS5.