Baldur’s Gate 3 colossal new patch adds a playable epilogue set six months after the game ends with 3,589 new lines of dialogue, 2 new difficulty modes, and I’m running out of headline space

Baldur’s Gate 3‘s latest patch has punished me specifically. For context, literally not more than (checks watch) three hours ago, I wrote and published this sentence in a news story about Patch 5: “I’ve learned to stop being surprised at how massive these patch notes are, or how elaborate new cutscenes can be”.

Like a lightning bolt thrown by a divine being to strike me down for my hubris, Patch 5 just dropped, and I’ll tell you what: I am surprised by both how massive the patch notes and how elaborate its new cutscenes are. I have never so quickly stepped on a rake. First things first, the new epilogue:

“Players will now find themselves in camp, 6 months after the events of Baldur’s Gate 3’s story, where they’ll meet new friends and old, taking all the time they need to say their final goodbyes to the party.”

Oh, sweet. A few new scenes to play through, right? Wrong. 3,589 new lines of dialogue. Is anyone at Larian even sleeping? “For the writers of Larian, this ‘final goodbye’ has been some of the most complex writing in the game so far, as it takes advantage of Baldur’s Gate 3’s reactivity across the entire adventure. A gigantic tree of permutations defines the content, with new [cinematics], and even characters joining the get-together at camp, organised by Withers.”

I’ve yet to even finish downloading the thing, but this is already more than anybody was expecting. Karlach’s cool, heavy metal ending was big news back when it came out, and that was ‘just’ a few new dialogue options and a bespoke scene. This thing is… I’m genuinely kind of staggered. Baldur’s Gate 3 finally has a send-off to justify the hundred or so hours you spent in the Sword Coast.

And yet somehow—bafflingly, absurdly—I’m only just halfway done talking about the new features. Alongside your usual slew of bug fixes and tweaks, Patch 5 has two entirely new ways to play the game.

The new game modes

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

First up, there’s the Honour mode. Listen, a lot of us ‘save-scum’ in RPGs, though I’ve recently had a very good time just rolling with the consequences of lady luck. Still, when I get an outcome I don’t like, a quicksave is hard to resist. I need a game to stop me dead, or I’ll always be tempted. Fortunately that’s just what Honour mode does.

“Loading previous games—or ‘save scumming’—is disabled” in the new mode. But that’s not all (because of course it isn’t). “Honour Mode not only makes the game more difficult in and out of combat, but also introduces 30+ new tweaks to all of Baldur’s Gate 3’s boss-fights, with a new Legendary Action system designed to catch players off-guard and increase the challenge.”

For the uninitiated, in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition (the game Baldur’s Gate 3 bases its ruleset on) most big bads have “Legendary Actions”. These are moves the boss gets to make outside of their turn, helping to balance the “action economy” which is a term DMs use to describe how, no matter how strong a guy is, if your party’s taking four turns and they’re taking one, they’re gonna get turned to mulch.

(Image credit: Larian Studios)

It also has difficulty-specific exploit squashing, which I imagine includes stuff like the Owlbear orbital strike. However, things “have been kept open for players to exploit in other difficulty settings”. If that wasn’t enough challenge to whet your appetite, Honour Mode has a soft permadeath function too with a shiny reward at the end of it.

“Should players choose, they can continue their adventure, which will then disable Honour Mode. Players who do manage to complete the entire game with Honour Mode enabled (without dying) will be awarded the coveted Golden D20.”

There’s also custom mode, which lets you delve deeper into the realms of rules-based sadism—or make things easy, if you’d like. There’s a bunch of options which you can see in the full patch notes, but Larian’s gone ahead and named a few right off the bat. 

“Favourites include the option to hide the required roll to succeed dice checks, which gives a more realistic D&D experience, as well as the ability to hide enemy HP in battle, again more closely simulating the tabletop style … Other options in Custom Mode include Short Rests fully healing the party, as well as disabling Death Saving Throws, or even the ability to hide failed Perception Checks, which means you’ll never know there was even a roll to begin with!”

Yes, there really is still more

(Image credit: Larian)

I’ve already spent close to a thousand words talking about the Patch at this point, and you can bet I’ll be getting my grubby little hands on the game itself soon, but there’s one massive quality-of-life feature I’d like to highlight, and that’s improved inventory management.

Players can “manage the inventory of all companions from one single UI, regardless of whether they’re currently in the active party.” Which is massive for those of us who like to swap out party members a lot—previously, it was a genuine faff and a real mark against the game, but no longer.

I’m pretty much at a loss for words here. This feels like a definitive-edition style update we’re getting basically for free. It’s 30 gigs of goodness, so game-changing in fact that you need 130GB of space just to let it shuffle everything around, and Larian’s straight up recommended just doing a clean reinstall if you’re having trouble. Baldur’s Gate 3 fans haven’t just been eating good, we’ve been feasting.

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