Eurovision is always held in May, so it’s a bit random that Baldur's Gate 3 developers Larian decided to theme today’s Panel From Hell stream after the popular-yet-cringeworthy song contest. From another angle, it makes total sense when you consider that the outcome of it all was info about BG3’s musically-tinged eighth patch, arriving later today. We’re finally getting those gnome bards, fam. You can check out the stream for yourselves below.
It’s always awesome playing as a bard, so I’m very excited for this update. There’s two subclasses, or colleges, to pick from: College Of Valour and College Of Lore. Valour concentrates on combat while Lore favours spellcasting, basically, but both have the suite of buffs and debuffs to draw on that you’d expect from bards. Oh, and Larian say they’ve recorded 97 “bespoke insults fit for any occasion” to really make your bards sing.
Each college of bard has their own signature feature too. Valour bards can use combat inspiration, which inspires an ally of choice with your courageousness. It also adds a +1d6 bonus to your bard’s next attack roll, ability check or saving throw. Lore bards have the cutting words signature feature, which employs their wit to distract an opponent and cause it to become less confident. Aww. That leaves it with a 1d6 penalty to attack rolls, ability checks and damage dealt until the start of your bard’s next turn.
Any class can use the new ‘performer’ feat available at Level 4, not just bards. Performing lets you get your instrument out wherever you like. NPCs can join in, or maybe just tell you to shut it. Larian say you might even be rewarded if an NPC really vibes to your pithy ditties. Along with adding impromptu jam sessions to Baldur’s Gate 3, this latest update brings the curious gnomes to the game. They’re the first new playable race introduced since early access began.
Baldur’s Gate 3’s eighth patch also brings a swish update to characters’ hairstyles thanks to a new hair-shading model. You can now go bananas with highlights and greying in character creation, the best part of any RPG. There’s the new Swarm AI to contend with, which groups minor enemies together for faster combat in larger battles, and killcams for ranged critical hits with projectile weapons and spells. Larian say the update stabilises multiplayer through network compression too.
A fairly steady stream of new classes have been bundled in with Baldur’s Gate 3’s patches since October 2020. Druids planted themselves in the game in February last year, followed by sorcerors and the Grymforge region in October. The last patch released before today hurled barbarians into the game all the way back in February. Larian confirmed this April that Baldur’s Gate 3 will launch out of early access in 2023.
We still don’t know exactly when Baldur’s Gate 3 will actually arrive next year yet though. If you fancy strutting your funky stuff as a gnome bard while you wait, then you can nab the game on Steam or GOG for £50/$60/€60.
Disclosure: Adam Smith (RPS in Peace) is now a senior writer at Larian and has worked on Baldur’s Gate 3.