Baldur’s Gate III – Patch 8 Revealed at the Panel From Hell

The eighth early access patch for Baldur’s Gate III is here, featuring the Bard class, playable Gnomes, faster turn-based battles, the ability to dig for treasure, updated visuals and animations, and much more. You can find the complete patch notes over here.

And here’s a quick reveal trailer:

And the full Panel From Hell event that ushered in this patch:

Finally, here’s the latest Community Update that goes over the major new features:

The next time someone quotes to you from that famous old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” grab hold of their lapels and ask: “But what if those words were spoken by a Bard?”

Hello again, friends! I come to you today with a fresh Community Update to ring in the release of our latest patch, Patch #8: Of Valour and Lore. As you may have already gleaned from the title, today’s update introduces a playable class: Bards!

Whether they’re spitting pithy one-liners on the frontlines of combat, or inspiring your party with instrumental buffs from the sidelines, Bards are a powerful class to have in your party – a jack-of-all-trades who can cast powerful spells with just a melody, wield cutting insults as if they were weapons, and potentially kill a man with a pun about his scrotum.

But a new class isn’t all you have to look forward to in this update. Today’s patch notes are an eye-watering 19 pages-long, and features countless improvements and fixes alongside a new playable Gnome race, a major upgrade to the pace of combat, musical instruments, fresh hairstyles and colours, and much more.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights you can look forward to in Baldur’s Gate 3.

Trebel Makers: A new Bard class comes to Baldur’s Gate 3

Bards are a versatile class who inspire their party with words or music. Their signature move, Bardic Inspiration, positions them as a robust support class, allowing them to boost an ally’s effectiveness in combat and emboldens them to hit harder and faster. But whether your Bard’s other strengths lie more in spellcasting or in combat will depend on which of their two subclasses you choose once they reach Level 3.

Bards of the College of Valour are deadly with simple weapons, using the proficiencies and skills of their subclass to deal devastating attacks. Their signature ability – Combat Inspiration – makes them a powerful addition to any team, allowing them to inspire allies with their valour, boost weapon damage and Armour Class, or add a +1d6 bonus to the next Attack Roll, Ability Check, or Saving throw.

Bards of the College of Lore, on the other hand, are capable spellcasters who seek out knowledge anywhere it lives, and use deft wordplay and magical abilities to confuse and debuff foes. As a Bard of the College of Lore, you’ll be able to unleash a string of insults that sap the confidence of your enemies – dealing out a 1d6 penalty to Attack Rolls, Ability Checks, and damage dealt until their next turn.

Their signature ability – Cutting Words – allows them to unleash a string of insults to sap the confidence of their enemies, dealing out a 1d6 penalty to Attack Rolls, Ability Checks, and damage dealt until their next turn. Inspired by this power, Patch 8 features 97 bespoke insults, each meticulously crafted by our team of talented writers who have spent years honing their wordsmithing skills in the Rude Arts.

Here are a few highlights, ranging from Subtly Backhanded to Emotionally Devastating:

  • “Your eyes – pools of tepid piss.”
  • “Didst your idiot mother beclothe you?”
  • “Get thee gone, custardous discharge.”

Try one out for yourself next time someone cuts in front of you in a queue.

The Realms are alive with the sound of music

Musical instruments aren’t only for Bards in Baldur’s Gate 3. In this update we’ve added five playable instruments that can be used by any class with the Performer feat at Level 4: flutes, drums, lutes, lyres, violins, and even whistling.

Whether you’re a solitary busker looking to impress the local Druids with a rousing lute solo or you’re part of an all-whistling quintet in multiplayer, musicians gain gold by playing to crowds. And you can play together. Inspire an NPC enough with your musical prowess and they might join in – just perform in range of each other and you’ll automatically play the same song in sync.

But if a legitimate career in busking is not for you, group performances can also provide a perfect opportunity to earn gold in a more, say, creative way. Try distracting the crowds in the Goblin Camp with playing some sweet licks on the lyre, then send a friend to go steal from the unsuspecting audience.

Playable Gnomes come to Baldur’s Gate 3

In Patch 8, we are adding our first new playable race since launching in Early Access. They are curious. They are adventurous. They can make for an impressively compact projectile should you ever feel the urge to throw one.

They’re Gnomes!

Gnomes are one of Faerun’s brighter races, starting things out with +1 intelligence and Gnome Cunning – which grants them an advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma-based Saving Throws against magic.

Should you choose to play as the reclusive Forest Gnome, you’ll receive +1 Dexterity on top of that, as well as Darkvision to see better through the shadows. Deep Gnomes of the Underdark receive Superior Darkvision by comparison – allowing them to see even further in the dark – and can hide in rocky terrain using their subrace trait Stone Camouflage.

The third playable Gnome subrace is the Rock Gnome, not to be confused with my Angus Young tribute band of the same name. Rock Gnomes receive +1 Concentration, Darkvision and Artificer’s Lore, giving you a double Proficiency bonus on History checks.

Faster Turn-Based Combat

Fights in Baldur’s Gate 3 can get pretty big. It isn’t out of the ordinary that you might go head-to-head with a dozen enemies at any one time. But this experience can also get a little sluggish.

To tackle this, in this update we are introducing Swarm AI: a quality-of-life improvement that makes turn-based encounters faster. Now instead of waiting for each individual enemy to take their turn, minor enemies like animals and goblins will be grouped together during fights, and both move and attack simultaneously – making for a much smoother combat experience throughout bigger battles.

Have a play for yourself, and let us know what you think of combat now that Swarm AI has been implemented.

A cinematic experience with realistic emotional responses

As we work toward launch, you’ll continue seeing improvements made to our cinematics.

And in today’s update, our focus is on the emotional response and expressiveness of NPCs in these scenes.

Patch 8 introduces Sustained Emotion Acting to ensure that a character’s visual behaviour during dialogue cinematics stays within the right range of emotions To do this, we’ve created a library of facial animations that accurately reflect the tone of each conversation. Now, instead of reverting back to a neutral stance while you choose your response in dialogues, your partner in conversation will stay in the moment.

In addition to this, We’ve also added more support for companions characters who appear in the background of these cinematics – tweaking their reactions so that they react appropriately to the drama unfolding before them.

But dialogue scenes aren’t all that have been cinematically-tweaked in Patch 8. In this update we’ve added kill cams to the game. Ranged critical hits will now be accompanied by combat cameras, adding a cinematic zoom to your killer projectiles so you can get a better look at the unfortunate soul you so ruthlessly impaled. That Redcap had a family, you monster.

New ways to Detect Thoughts and avoid prison time

What’s more, you can now cast Detect Thoughts from within dialogue!

While we continue to work on the SFX and VFX for these scenes, you are no longer required to cast Detect Thoughts ahead of entering a dialogue. Instead, you now have the option of reading minds mid-conversation, making using this spell much more convenient than before.

But while a successful roll will allow you to manipulate those whose thoughts you’ve waded through, you run the risk of revealing your telepathic insolence if unsuccessful. If an NPC discovers you are trying to read their mind, they will trigger combat. And remember, the Absolute really hates it when you telepathically read their Internet search history.

In addition, Patch 8 introduces new dialogue options to help you talk your way out of jail. Has an NPC accused you of unlawful looting? Now you’ll have a chance at persuading them otherwise and avoid spending time in a cell altogether. But is a stolen sausage still considered stolen if no NPC is there to witness the stealing? This is the philosophical quandary we put to you, dear reader.

Extreme Makeover: Faerun Edition – Tweaked companions and hair options galore

Maybe he’s born with it; Maybe it’s the creative ingenuity of artists well-versed in the aesthetic of zaddies. Gale and Wyll are getting makeovers in this patch, with minor tweaks and improvements made to their faces and hair.

While the changes are subtle, we’d love to know what you think of their new looks. And in the meantime we invite you to inundate our social media manager with fan art of Gale and the Blade of the Frontier in a variety of scenes from the film Face/Off.

Are you looking to unlock the true potential of great hair for yourself? Now you too can have the Samson-like locks of a hair model in a 90s shampoo commercial. In the game, we mean. Larian Studios cannot currently solve your real-world hair issues.

In this update we’ve given all our hairstyles an upgrade. Now in the character creator you’ll see new styles, colours, and the option of adding a secondary highlight colour to your hair, as well as graying options – for those of you eager to roleplay as a sophisticated silver fox or an aging Community Update writer.

We’ve also made all of our 66 hairstyles available to every single race and body type. And to top things off, we’ve even added new skin colours to the character creator in neutral, cool, warm, pallid, and blush tones.

Elves, re-animated

They have style, they have grace, they are our newest uniquely animated race. Elves are the latest race to receive bespoke animations in Baldur’s Gate 3, and we think what we’ve created is finally befitting of their Elven kind. While previously they shared the same animations as our Human characters – each using the same poses, walking motions, and fighting techniques – we’ve now transformed how they move in the world with newly refined poses and an exotic new fighting style.

Spade: The Final Frontier – Dig up loot and treasures hidden throughout the game

If the gods of Perception roll true, you may start running into suspicious-looking dirt piles next time you’re exploring in the game.

In Patch 8, we have introduced a new feature: Digging. Now if you find a dirt mound on your journey, simply equip a shovel and dive in. For in those mounds be treasure.

Gold, potions, and other rewards can be found hidden in treasure chests all across Baldur’s Gate 3. The trick, however, is finding them. With 30 digging spots in Act 1 alone, you have your work cut out for you. But, dear treasure hunters, we believe in your unearthing potential. Explore the Forgotten Realms and dig for loot. But please don’t hit a gas line.

Improvements to Lighting and Sound

You may notice that sunshine now has a greater effect on shadows and lighting in Baldur’s Gate 3. With Patch 8, we’ve relit many areas throughout Act 1 to improve the visuals and readability in places that were previously too dark. We’ve also ensured that sunlight through clouds has a bigger visual impact on the environment – resulting in gameplay that is more closely aligned with the light and dark areas that you see on-screen.

Environmental improvements like this help to breathe life into the game, which is why getting sound right is an important aspect of this update. In this patch we have added Auditory Attenuation, creating a series of dynamic audio-mixing features that enhance immersion by focusing on your actions and dynamically selecting the most important elements of the soundscape. And with new features like Sound Occlusion, you’ll notice that sounds coming from other rooms are now simulated more accurately, and will no longer travel through walls or closed doors.

Better, smoother multiplayer

For players with slower and less reliable internet connections, you will now start to see a noticeable improvement in stability and reduction of lag when playing multiplayer with friends following this update. That’s right, the first phase of networking improvements has begun! Unsheathe your official Larian vuvuzela horn and blow triumphantly.

And over the coming months, expect to see even more improvements made to better serve our multiplayer fans.

Localized in Brazilian Portuguese

And finally, to all our friends in Brazil we are thrilled to announce all text in the game has now been localised into Brazilian Portuguese – vamo nessa!

As always, these highlights make up just a fraction of all that’s coming in today’s patch.

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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