Date: October 11, 2023
By Hanna Rose
Wizards of the Coast Unveils Dungeons & Dragons Class Changes with an Unexpected Twist in Baldur’s Gate 3
Wizards of the Coast has been revealing a series of proposed alterations to its Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) classes in anticipation of transitioning from the 5th edition next year. This includes intriguing concepts like the spiritual Viking barbarian and the Aquaman druid.
However, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for all the class changes, especially in the case of bards, where every modification was quickly withdrawn. In an effort to make these changes more accessible and less stat-heavy, I’ve been closely monitoring and breaking down these alterations.
However, the monks have thrown me a curveball, and it’s thanks to Baldur’s Gate 3 that I’ve been compelled to take a closer look. Historically, monks never piqued my interest. They seemed like an intermediary between rogues and fighters without excelling at either role.
The proposed changes seemed to make them more robust but stripped away the diversity that made them unique, which initially deterred me from trying one. As I mentioned earlier, my enthusiasm for playing a monk had never been lower.
Nonetheless, during my second playthrough of Baldur’s Gate 3, I inexplicably found myself embracing the monk class. This apparent contradiction can be justified on several fronts. Firstly, Baldur’s Gate 3 features the current version of monks, predating the proposed changes, allowing players to experience the class in its existing form.
Secondly, the game streamlines the D&D experience, making it easier to manage your abilities and remove some of the hassles associated with monks. This reduction in cognitive load is akin to my frustration over the absence of the Echo Fighter class, which requires meticulous timing and decisions.
The third reason for this newfound interest was rooted in uncertainty regarding the longevity of our playthrough. I was engaged in a co-op adventure with my wife, who isn’t an avid gamer. Given her limited gaming experience, I had doubts about whether we’d even progress beyond the Nautiloid ship. So, selecting a monk was a non-committal experiment, with the option to switch to her character (a ranger, one of my preferred choices) if she lost interest.
As it turns out, she continued to play, and I even handed over control to her, although that decision had nothing to do with my monk character. Strangely, relinquishing my monk only fueled my desire to genuinely explore the class further.
Yet, this experience isn’t solely about the monk class. I haven’t delved deep enough into Baldur’s Gate 3 to discuss how the game accommodates monks fully, although I’m certain I’ll explore this aspect in due course. What the experience of playing as a new class has illuminated is the diverse approaches each class offers in tackling the game. If you ever decide to revisit Baldur’s Gate 3 (and many of you will), try it with a class you’d never envision playing. You might be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve grown accustomed to thinking of classes as distinct characters. My main party isn’t just a warlock, barbarian, fighter, and cleric – they’re me, Karlach, Lae’zel, and Shadowheart. I’ve even found myself dismissing Wyll, not because of his actions, but because we’re both warlocks, and two of us are excessive. This led us to choose a monk and a ranger for our new game to offer a diverse range of character options. However, there’s more to it than just party balance.
In numerous games, I’ve played as different classes multiple times to savor a different gameplay experience. For instance, Dragon Age feels dramatically distinct whether you’re a two-handed warrior, dual blade rogue, or mage.
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Playing as a monk, engaging in close combat with unarmed strikes (particularly as a dragonborn with frost breath), differs significantly from a warlock who prefers ranged attacks like Eldritch Blast and Black Tentacles to control the battlefield.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, the whole experience feels refreshing. My drow warlock character was met with fear and occasional worship wherever she went, while our human ranger is more inconspicuous. This dynamic leads to more neutral conversations and the potential to gather different information, unlike my drow character, who often evoked stronger emotions and vulnerabilities to exploit.
When you combine these nuances with class-specific dialogue options, playing as a different class opens up new possibilities and outcomes that weren’t apparent during the first playthrough.
With so many choices concerning the order in which you approach tasks and the unfolding of scenarios influenced by hidden decisions made hours earlier, each playthrough feels like a brand-new adventure. This has piqued my curiosity about revisiting the monk class at some point, and that, in itself, is a testament to the success of Baldur’s Gate 3.
People will continue to explore Baldur’s Gate 3 for years to come, finding fresh ways to relive forgotten moments. My third playthrough might be on the horizon next year. The real beauty lies in discovering new aspects to love within the game, which may have been concealed in your initial experience. Choosing a new class acts as a set of keys unlocking previously uncharted content, making each playthrough a unique journey.
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