Highly anticipated: Larian Studios held its latest "Panel From Hell" event today. During the live stream, studio head Swen Vincke donned his staple plate armor and partied up with a fellow developer to show off some of Baldur's Gate 3's latest content, features, and improvements -- all of which arrived today alongside the game's sixth major patch.
The full list of patch notes is far too long to include or describe here, but we'll hit on some of the major points. The first significant part of the patch, and likely the most interesting to our readers, is the inclusion of AI upscaling tech in the game. Both Nvidia's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) tech have been added to Baldur's Gate 3, and they can be toggled on by players looking to squeeze some extra performance out of their gameplay.
I tested the "Quality" preset for both FSR and DLSS and found that both options offered me a boost of around 20 FPS. That's up from 60 at 1440p (tested on a 2080 Ti and an 8700K). FSR's boost was just a little bit higher than DLSS, but it was also slightly blurrier, so I'll likely stick to Nvidia's tech for the time being.
On top of these technologies, Baldur's Gate 3 has received a full graphical overhaul. Lighting, textures, animations, color grading, and particle effects have all been drastically improved. Other visual features, such as volumetric fog, real-time clouds, and atmospheric scattering are entirely new additions. Furthermore, your characters can now get bruised, scratched, and bloodied during combat -- these effects will remain visible even after combat ends (their intensity scales off of your current HP).
In terms of gameplay, Baldur's Gate 3 now features a wider variety of "Weapon Actions": special weapon-specific skills that are intended to spice up the life of martial-based characters like Fighters, Rangers, and Rogues. Since those classes don't have access to spells, Larian wanted to give them more tactical options in the midst of combat. Mobile Shot lets you fire off a crossbow bolt even after Dashing, whereas Backbreaker can knock your enemies prone, making it easier for melee characters to strike them.
Then, of course, there are the two highlights of today's patch: the Sorcerer class and an entirely new area known as the "Grymforge." We'll let you discover the latter yourself, but it takes place at the end of the currently-available Early Access storyline, essentially extending your playtime by a few precious hours and letting you meet some fascinating new characters.
The Sorcerer, on the other hand, is a new caster class whose power comes not from book learning or a deity, as is the case with Wizards and Clerics, but from within. You can pick either the Draconic Bloodline or Wild Magic subclasses, each with unique passive and active effects. Wild Magic Sorcerers, for example, will occasionally trigger a "Wild Magic Surge," a random effect pulled from a list of 10. You might get a free teleport, or you might summon a hostile fire demon; you never really know.
Draconic Bloodline casters will instead get an extra spell that varies based on which dragon ancestor they choose. A Green Dragon ancestor grants you the Ray of Sickness spell, whereas a Gold Dragon ancestor gives you Disguise Self.
We'll let our readers (at least, those that play Baldur's Gate 3) discover the rest of Patch 6's content for themselves. All in all, it's a meaty update, and it makes me all the more excited to play the final game, whenever it comes out.