Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty settings explained

Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot showing ancient arcane magic attack
(Image credit: Larian Studios)

There are three Baldur's Gate 3 difficulty settings to pick from - Explorer, Normal, or Tactician - and now you can change between them as you play. These can be further broken down as being essentially story mode, normal mode, or hardcore strategist mode, depending on how comfortable you are with Baldur's Gate 3's unique turn-based RPG gameplay, and even D&D as whole. Here's a look at each difficulty level in Baldur's Gate 3 and how you can change it on a whim if you're finding things tough or if you want to up the challenge.

How to change difficulty in Baldur's Gate 3

(Image: © Larian Studios)

To change difficulty in Baldur's Gate 3, press the Esc button on your keyboard and simply select Difficulty from the list. Here, you'll be able to choose between Explorer, Normal or Tactician. You can change difficulty at any point during the game.

Should you try Baldur's Gate 3 Tactician mode?

The difficulty levels in BG3 pertain to the combat difficulty. Baldur's Gate 3 Tactician is the name used to describe its toughest difficulty, with Explorer being the game's answer to Story Mode.

Tactician makes the game much harder by increasing enemy HP, making dice rolls more challenging, and making it harder to stealth around. It should only be attempted by those who have played their fair share of turn-based RPGs, since a greater level of planning and combat skill will be required. This will drag out the action parts of your game considerably, so if you've yet to play BG3, it might be an idea for a future playthrough instead.

Baldur's Gate 3 too hard?

A gnome confronts the Owlbear in Baldur's Gate 3

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

If you're having some trouble with Baldur's Gate 3 and think it's pretty hard, that's totally fair - BG3 is a very challenging game, and while our list of Baldur's Gate 3 tips will do a lot to help you out in general, here's some advice on making the game specifically a little easier to play.

  • Pick your companions carefully. You can change your party composition and which Baldur's Gate 3 companions you want with you after a long rest at camp. When you do, think about what you want to achieve that day and pick accordingly - if you want to do a lot of sneaking, pick Astarion. If you want to incinerate a small army, go get Gale the wizard.
  • Save early, save often! On the standard key bindings, quicksave is F5 and quickload is F8, and we recommend giving it a prod every so often, either before major fights or decisions, or just after them, as the game resets you back to the last save every time you die.
  • Talking is always safer. A good smooth-talker doesn't have to deal with a lot of the game's deadlier threats, when they can placate or lie their way around them. Try picking any of the more charismatic Baldur's Gate 3 classes, such as Bards, Sorcerers or Warlocks, and sweet talk your way to victory.
  • You don't always have to do everything the moment you find it. If you come across a dungeon or enemy, you can always come back later to deal with it if it turns out you're underleveled.

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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