Baldur's Gate 3 gets a graphical overhaul, DLSS support, and the Sorcerer class

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
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.

Permalink to story.

 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
I'm afraid my reaction is much more different than the very positive one I had with Death Loop simply because Death Loop is a game that well, it's *out* now. All of the planned content and scope for the game is available and the DLSS being added later on is just a nice bonus.

Here however, it's still a damn early access title that's being sold at a full price. Is FSR and DLSS nice? It is, but it should have been done waaaaay later in the game after at the very least you would have *all* of the core classes available and most if not all of the core campaign and sidequest already in the game.

The way they're developing this game it could still be 1 or 2 more full years before its even close to be ready for release, if it ever gets released at all: Again what incentive does Larian has to release an officially finished game if they're already not only getting full 60 bucks for it on sales but already patching in the extra graphical crap for it before the much more important but much longer to develop stuff like core classes and quests? This is supposed to be an RPG and a very long and ambitious one: Don't care about DLSS if the game is NOT DONE YET.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 145   +166
I'm afraid my reaction is much more different than the very positive one I had with Death Loop simply because Death Loop is a game that well, it's *out* now. All of the planned content and scope for the game is available and the DLSS being added later on is just a nice bonus.

Here however, it's still a damn early access title that's being sold at a full price. Is FSR and DLSS nice? It is, but it should have been done waaaaay later in the game after at the very least you would have *all* of the core classes available and most if not all of the core campaign and sidequest already in the game.

The way they're developing this game it could still be 1 or 2 more full years before its even close to be ready for release, if it ever gets released at all: Again what incentive does Larian has to release an officially finished game if they're already not only getting full 60 bucks for it on sales but already patching in the extra graphical crap for it before the much more important but much longer to develop stuff like core classes and quests? This is supposed to be an RPG and a very long and ambitious one: Don't care about DLSS if the game is NOT DONE YET.

You make it sound like there is 1 programmer who has to divide their time between 1 thing or another.

it is far more likely that all these things are being worked on simultaneously and these graphics features just happen to have been completed now.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
You make it sound like there is 1 programmer who has to divide their time between 1 thing or another.

it is far more likely that all these things are being worked on simultaneously and these graphics features just happen to have been completed now.
And you seem to think Larian themselves decided they wanted to get DLSS as soon as possible with the highest priority just because and it wasn't basically because Nvidia is pressuring all games to include so they can pump up their DLSS game library numbers. Pretty sure Nvidia would probably contribute most of the code and the required ML processing and give Larian a monetary bonus if they can talk about DLSS support as soon as next patch.

Sorry but if it was something so simple to implement even amateur modders are doing it like FSR I could believe the resources are negligible and could have been spared. DLSS is something very much not that at all.
 

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
And you seem to think Larian themselves decided they wanted to get DLSS as soon as possible with the highest priority just because and it wasn't basically because Nvidia is pressuring all games to include so they can pump up their DLSS game library numbers. Pretty sure Nvidia would probably contribute most of the code and the required ML processing and give Larian a monetary bonus if they can talk about DLSS support as soon as next patch.

Sorry but if it was something so simple to implement even amateur modders are doing it like FSR I could believe the resources are negligible and could have been spared. DLSS is something very much not that at all.

I can't comment on resource allocation since I know very little about development budgets, but I'd like to remind you that this update did also add a new class (so did the one before last), so I don't think -- currently -- they're choosing between graphics tech and new content/features.

 

DukeJukem

Posts: 259   +276
I'm afraid my reaction is much more different than the very positive one I had with Death Loop simply because Death Loop is a game that well, it's *out* now. All of the planned content and scope for the game is available and the DLSS being added later on is just a nice bonus.

Here however, it's still a damn early access title that's being sold at a full price. Is FSR and DLSS nice? It is, but it should have been done waaaaay later in the game after at the very least you would have *all* of the core classes available and most if not all of the core campaign and sidequest already in the game.

The way they're developing this game it could still be 1 or 2 more full years before its even close to be ready for release, if it ever gets released at all: Again what incentive does Larian has to release an officially finished game if they're already not only getting full 60 bucks for it on sales but already patching in the extra graphical crap for it before the much more important but much longer to develop stuff like core classes and quests? This is supposed to be an RPG and a very long and ambitious one: Don't care about DLSS if the game is NOT DONE YET.
You're complaining about an option being added that makes a BETA game perform better?
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
I can't comment on resource allocation since I know very little about development budgets, but I'd like to remind you that this update did also add a new class (so did the one before last), so I don't think -- currently -- they're choosing between graphics tech and new content/features.
Just one class seems like incredibly slow progress if they plan on making the quoted "2022" release date since they've got a year to finish 2/3rds of the actual campaign and most of the sidequests.

Realistically, a delay to 2023 or even 2024 is almost guaranteed just by simply looking at the scope of the game and what they have to show for so far. There's no magic, it just takes time to write and code quests, assets, etc. So either they'll do borderline or actually illegal "crunch" mode to get it done with only a slight delay of late 2022/early 2023 or their release date gets pushed.

Given all that do you really think players needed DLSS for testing right now, so early in the development process?

The fundamental problem is that this game has no business calling itself early access when it's very clearly, early development. It's a scam like most early access games are nowadays.
 

Xallisto

Posts: 145   +166
And you seem to think Larian themselves decided they wanted to get DLSS as soon as possible with the highest priority just because and it wasn't basically because Nvidia is pressuring all games to include so they can pump up their DLSS game library numbers. Pretty sure Nvidia would probably contribute most of the code and the required ML processing and give Larian a monetary bonus if they can talk about DLSS support as soon as next patch.

Sorry but if it was something so simple to implement even amateur modders are doing it like FSR I could believe the resources are negligible and could have been spared. DLSS is something very much not that at all.

I'm still struggling to understand what ur issue is, because it seems that ur issue is that u don't like basic business practices, god forbid.

Ur comments about this being done at the expense of other things is nothing more than speculation and supposition.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
I'm still struggling to understand what ur issue is
Last post was very clear so I don't believe that you are "struggling" at all, you just disagree with my view. Because it's always pro-consumer first and I couldn't care about "basic business practices" when they directly involve taking advantage of consumers by for example, selling an incomplete, broken game at full retail price with no guarantees and no standard protections like being allowed to refund the purchase under the pretense of helping it's development.

All kickstarters are basically scams unless the basic premise is actually true: last round of funding on products that are close to release. Right now this game is a perfect example of it just being an excuse to sell incomplete games at full price.
 

QuaZulu

Posts: 99   +34
TechSpot Elite
The fundamental problem is that this game has no business calling itself early access when it's very clearly, early development. It's a scam like most early access games are nowadays.

I suppose I do disagree with your viewpoint in one area, Dimitriid, and that is the use of inflammatory language to underscore your point. The term "early access" is open to wide interpretation and there are no stipulations or rules for what may be called early access. The point is, an early access game is simply a game that is partially playable but not yet finished. Access to a game before it is finished is "early," no matter how early in the process it is. Just because a game is available for purchase at an "early" point does not mean necessarily that it is a scam. A scam is a deliberately dishonest scheme designed to defraud, steal, or swindle. If Larian (a studio with a proven reputation and track record) suddenly folds and everyone associated with it disappears with the money that they had been given for participation in early access to Baldur's Gate III, that would be a scam. There are no indications at all of that happening.

All those who pay full price for early access to Baldur's Gate III do so with the full awareness that this is a game that is under continued development, and might be for the foreseeable future. They do so with the awareness that development of the game might stall or even collapse due to any number of factors. They know what they are putting their money down for and what they are getting in return. At worst, their investment might be called a "gamble." Whether that gamble is a good one or a bad one is up to debate and personal opinion.

You may not think that such a gamble is smart or warranted. This is your opinion. Others obviously feel different and have enjoyed the early access that they have been able to have with the hopes that one day they'll get to enjoy the full experience. Nothing in Larian's development of Baldur's Gate III, however, deserves the epithet "scam" at this point.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
I used "early access" mostly in the terms one of the biggest companies running those, kickstarter, uses them. I can see how people now use them for just funding from the ground up thanks to success stories that sold nothing but ideas like Star Citizen, but just because kickstarters have become normalized means that they're not opportunistic chances at exploiting loyal fanbases or pie-in-the-sky ideas and projects.

As for the entire gamble aspect, there's no actual material gain for most crowd funding supporters: they never get offered anything beyond token discounts and limited editions or swag. If you truly believe in capitalist participation and risk taking, then you should open things for actual investment which implies legal oversight, contractual obligations and participation in the revenue resulting from the venture. As it stands, crowd funding offers none of the rewards and all of the risks of a 'proper' investment.

Moderate or "inflammatory" language I will never agree that crowd fundings aren't inherently exploitative of consumers.
 

BSim500

Posts: 869   +2,019
Honestly, BG3 didn't "click" with me at all. Felt more like a Divinity Original Sin 3 with a BG skin / lore stuck on the top. I love both of these series earlier games, but not glued together.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,818   +3,067
I am wondering why you didn't think it was worth mentioning that the game got both DLSS and FSR support in the headline. Both seem equally newsworthy, even more so in combination as I think this is a good approach by the devs as everyone benefits.

I'll refrain from including ideas I have in this comment as I can't think of a nice one.
 

BigBoomBoom

Posts: 98   +77
what incentive does Larian has to release an officially finished game if they're already not only getting full 60 bucks for it on sales

Well, based on the fact that both Divinity Original Sin games are successful, they have a lot of incentive to release an officially finished game. Both were Kickstarters and early access. Only BG3 wasn't on KS.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
Well, based on the fact that both Divinity Original Sin games are successful, they have a lot of incentive to release an officially finished game. Both were Kickstarters and early access. Only BG3 wasn't on KS.
Track record is different from an incentive. It goes more to show whenever they're likely to follow through. Now I can concede they're far more likely to follow through because of said track record for sure.

But BG3 seems to be of a much higher quality and their initial estimation of 2022 seems to be way too optimistic. It's still technically doable by that date but even if it is, well at this point we all know how the sausage is made: I'm not about to congratulate them for imposing "crunch time" on their devs and realistically that's exactly what they'll do: basically psychological and physical torture for months on end on their employees.
 
Just one class seems like incredibly slow progress if they plan on making the quoted "2022" release date since they've got a year to finish 2/3rds of the actual campaign and most of the sidequests.

Realistically, a delay to 2023 or even 2024 is almost guaranteed just by simply looking at the scope of the game and what they have to show for so far. There's no magic, it just takes time to write and code quests, assets, etc. So either they'll do borderline or actually illegal "crunch" mode to get it done with only a slight delay of late 2022/early 2023 or their release date gets pushed.

Given all that do you really think players needed DLSS for testing right now, so early in the development process?

The fundamental problem is that this game has no business calling itself early access when it's very clearly, early development. It's a scam like most early access games are nowadays.

Why do you care so much what and how they do? They may as well take 5 years if they wanted to, no one is forcing you to buy it or even play it. Makes no sense to get frustrated or "angery" about something as this, it will be ready when it's ready...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
Why do you care so much what and how they do? They may as well take 5 years if they wanted to, no one is forcing you to buy it or even play it. Makes no sense to get frustrated or "angery" about something as this, it will be ready when it's ready...
I explained that already on another post above: they're charging full price for an unfinished product. It's extremely anti consumer and it sets a bad precedent to make people pay them to promote the game and generate hype while getting none of the usual guarantees and assurances people would get under a normal retail purchase like being able to demand a refund and such.
 
I explained that already on another post above: they're charging full price for an unfinished product. It's extremely anti consumer and it sets a bad precedent to make people pay them to promote the game and generate hype while getting none of the usual guarantees and assurances people would get under a normal retail purchase like being able to demand a refund and such.

What exactly is anti-consumer there when you can just wait for full release and buy it? You make no sense, I can only guess you bought the game and now you are salty it's still not released even though everyone knows how it is with early access games.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,056   +877
I am wondering why you didn't think it was worth mentioning that the game got both DLSS and FSR support in the headline. Both seem equally newsworthy, even more so in combination as I think this is a good approach by the devs as everyone benefits.

I'll refrain from including ideas I have in this comment as I can't think of a nice one.
This is a news site. “DLSS” is going to be googled etc far far more than “FSR”. They are just trying to rise to the top of the searches and trending news pages. The fact is FSR isn’t as widespread as DLSS and many gamers don’t know what it is. This is probably due to the marketing campaign that Nvidia has driven for DLSS, decelopers add DLSS to their games just to take advantage of Nvidias free marketing. We haven’t seen the same sort of thing from AMD with FSR.

There is also the fact that DLSS is used differently to FSR. FSR is used to low older GPUs to play modern games with a lower visual penalty. But DLSS tends to be for modern GPUs to get higher frame rates at max quality. People are more interested in the enthusiast features than they are in low end stuff.
 
I'm afraid my reaction is much more different than the very positive one I had with Death Loop simply because Death Loop is a game that well, it's *out* now. All of the planned content and scope for the game is available and the DLSS being added later on is just a nice bonus.

Here however, it's still a damn early access title that's being sold at a full price. Is FSR and DLSS nice? It is, but it should have been done waaaaay later in the game after at the very least you would have *all* of the core classes available and most if not all of the core campaign and sidequest already in the game.

The way they're developing this game it could still be 1 or 2 more full years before its even close to be ready for release, if it ever gets released at all: Again what incentive does Larian has to release an officially finished game if they're already not only getting full 60 bucks for it on sales but already patching in the extra graphical crap for it before the much more important but much longer to develop stuff like core classes and quests? This is supposed to be an RPG and a very long and ambitious one: Don't care about DLSS if the game is NOT DONE YET.

You realize you can fully refund early access games no matter how much playtime you have, right? Also the way Lairan does early access is you will only ever have access to the first act of the game. That doesn't mean they only have that much done.

Would you rather they just not have any EA and rush out a buggy unfinished mess?
 

Irata

Posts: 1,818   +3,067
Out of curiosity: Did anyone here try both upsampling options ? I am curious how well each is implemented.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,358   +2,655
You realize you can fully refund early access games no matter how much playtime you have, right? Also the way Lairan does early access is you will only ever have access to the first act of the game. That doesn't mean they only have that much done.

Would you rather they just not have any EA and rush out a buggy unfinished mess?
I stand corrected on the refund part.

As for the second part, I'd be more ok to ease on Larian's "Only chapter 1" policy if the charge for early access wasn't full retail: almost all other companies do early access by releasing as much of the game as it's actually ready for testing because well, the point is that they want precisely that: testing.

It might not be set in stone anywhere that it should be the case but it doesn't means that the way Larian is doing it is fairly bad overall even among their other early access peers which tend to be projects far smaller in scope.
 

Polycount

Posts: 2,934   +588
Staff member
Out of curiosity: Did anyone here try both upsampling options ? I am curious how well each is implemented.

On the Nautiloid (starting ship), the performance difference is roughly identical at the Quality preset for both. However, FSR was blurrier, and also features an "Ultra Quality" (or a similarly-named one) setting that I did not try. I suspect it would reach similar crispness to DLSS Quality, but probably with slightly worse performance.

I will test both quickly and report back.

EDIT: Yeah, so, Quality and Ultra Quality (DLSS and FSR respectively) still have about the same performance boost. Very, very minor difference. Ultra Quality is still a bit blurrier than DLSS' Quality, but the difference is fairly small, so I don't think the Red Team will be dissatisfied there.
 
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Irata

Posts: 1,818   +3,067
On the Nautiloid (starting ship), the performance difference is roughly identical at the Quality preset for both. However, FSR was blurrier, and also features an "Ultra Quality" (or a similarly-named one) setting that I did not try. I suspect it would reach similar crispness to DLSS Quality, but probably with slightly worse performance.

I will test both quickly and report back.

EDIT: Yeah, so, Quality and Ultra Quality (DLSS and FSR respectively) still have about the same performance boost. Very, very minor difference. Ultra Quality is still a bit blurrier than DLSS' Quality, but the difference is fairly small, so I don't think the Red Team will be dissatisfied there.
Thanks a lot.
I think it‘s nice when games support both methods and do a good job for each. That way, everyone benefits.