Baldur's Gate 3 patch 9 is upon us, introducing a new level cap, a new playable class, and the long-awaited proper reaction system - and it's likely the last big update we'll see before the game's August 2023 launch.
You probably could've guessed it from the name of the latest Panel from Hell stream - Holy Knight - but the new playable class for patch 9 is the Paladin. As in proper fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, Paladins are holy warriors that blend fighting strength with healing and support magic. Paladins have to take an oath to some sort of higher ideal, and for Baldur's Gate 3 that means you'll be choosing between two subclasses: Oath of Devotion, which is a sort of generic 'be good' calling, and Oath of the Ancients, which has you dedicating your sword to the defense of nature.
Larian boss Swen Vincke walked press through the Paladin class in a presentation last week, and demonstrated what happens if you break your oath. Just as an example – I'm sure this is something Swen would never do – you might murder an owlbear mother, let its child eat her corpse, and then kill the baby, too.
Doing something like that would get you a visit from a mysterious dark knight, who'll give you an option to become an Oathbreaker Paladin, giving you abilities that can, say, deal necrotic damage or let you control undead. You don't have to be evil as an Oathbreaker, but it does give you options beyond what you'd typically expect from the class.
Patch 9 also revamps the reaction system to work basically as it does in 5E. Certain abilities will give you the option to use them in reaction to enemy moves or other specific circumstances, spicing up the turn order a fair bit.
This update also breaks the level cap, allowing you to raise your characters to level 5 - meaning that you're going to get access to another level of spells. That includes D&D's iconic fireball, which Vincke was quite eager to demonstrate. Those fireballs sure do set things on fire, alright.
Level 5 will be the max for the game's stay in early access, and you shouldn't expect much new content in general after patch 9. "We plan on one technical patch, but content-wise this is probably going to be the one that we want to finish with, because we would like to now focus on finishing the game completely," Vincke told us in a group Q&A session. "So we have a lot of work in that direction."
That means that we sadly won't be seeing much of the content from The Game Awards trailer in the game until Baldur's Gate 3 fully launches in August 2023.
Our guide to the best D&D class for beginners should help you in equal parts at the tabletop and the computer screen.