People who play RPGs like to say that RPGs are more fun when you accept the consequences of your actions. Don’t load a save file just because you failed a persuasion test and got into a fight. Let your failures guide the story! Accept the consequences! Before starting Baldur’s Gate 3, I told myself that I was going to keep this the fairest path. No backupI declared.
Now look at my ass:
At first, I excused my habit out of caution. This is a Larian sandbox RPG. It has bugs, it has crashed multiple times, and click errors can lead to mass murder. Saving after each fight is actually a way to preserve a result in the event of a technical failure. It’s not about “save scumming”, which originally referred to saving roguelike saves to escape permadeath, and now generally refers to saving before taking risks so that, if you don’t like what happens, you can go back and change your choices or try to get better dice rolls. I didn’t do that. Except, wait a minute, how to say This cause This happen? I didn’t mean that at all! Maybe just once, so…
10 hours later, and yeah, I’m forever a Call of Duty player who only fired one bullet: ready to reload. I save before every risky move I make and abuse those saves. I’m still a bit conflicted about this, but how can I resist fixing things when it’s so easy?
I suspect that almost everyone who plays Baldur’s Gate 3 will experience this self-destitution to some degree, so I decided to use my authority (by writing on a website) to just go ahead and forgive us to all. Let know:
I hereby absolve all past, present and future crooks of Baldur’s Gate 3 for their RPG crimes. You can save your game without guilt.
To Recharge or Not to Recharge
As I got used to the quirks of Baldur’s Gate 3’s attempt to emulate a D&D tabletop campaign (which is a lot of fun, by the way), I started to relax and let my hapless human paladin face more consequences. I didn’t really want to kill the number of goblins I killed last night, but that’s how the story went, and I’m sticking to it.
However, I still snuck into a reload during this unexpected carnage. Once I had engaged in violence, I wanted to finish the last of the group without taking a long rest. It just didn’t seem logical for my group to rampage through a goblin outpost, take a break for dinner and eight hours of sleep, then reappear amidst the viscera in the morning to finish the job.
Unfortunately, my group’s irregularities, some really bad throws, and the discovery that a seemingly immaterial object was blocking movement ended up leading to disaster in the final boss fight. I could have run away from the fight and tried to continue, but of course I just reloaded and redid the fight. It was easy the second time around, which made me believe reloading was the right narrative choice. it didn’t do sense that my party would suffer multiple deaths in what was, ultimately, not such a heartbreaking fight.
Please don’t ask me to repeat this out loud: I don’t want to hear how ridiculous my justification sounds. Trying to find “meaning” in dice rolls…
There are times, though, where I really think you have to save a little scum to get the most out of a game like Baldur’s Gate 3.
There will always be misunderstandings and communication issues between you and the game. With a human DM you can talk about it, but I can’t ask Baldur’s Gate 3, “Hey, if I cast Silence on my party, it will it keep them from hearing a harpy’s siren song, or does it just not work that way?” I just have to try it and figure it out, then reload my save after I find out it’s definitely does not work like that. I could just accept the consequences of my experimentation and work them into my story as the cost of learning a lesson, but without the freedom to reload, I think I’d probably end up playing so safe I’d get bored.
Larian knows how we are. You can quickly save and reload anything you want in Baldur’s Gate 3, and the 100 gold to respec your character or a companion isn’t a high barrier, making it easy to experiment with classes and builds. What Larian saidhowever, is that “it’s important to remember that there really are no wrong answers, but many consequences”.
“In the long run, history will be defined by your choices and the consequences of your actions,” the studio wrote in a recent Steam post. “You will always have choices to make. Trust the dice, they will always give you a good time!”
So I think we’re all in agreement here: RPGs are more fun when you accept the consequences of your actions and trust the dice. Except when the dice are wrong.