On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access

Developer Larian Studios offers reflections on the recent release of Baldur's Gate 3 into Early Access. There's a new Community Update #9 on Steam discussing what went right and wrong with the launch, their celebration of the occasion, and the three hotfixes they've issued to address issues. Looking forward, they share some of the feedback they've collected, both through player comments as well as via analytics, including heatmaps, some of which they share. Finally, they provide patch notes for the game's first major patch, saying the TLDR is: "fewer glitches, better stability, and more polish." Here are those notes:
Improvements:

  • Added polish and bug fixes to several in-game cinematics, such as Shadow Heart recruitment, Astarion recruitment and Volo's Poem. (These will be ongoing throughout EA).
  • Added minor text tweaks to various bits and bobs.
  • Altered certain dialogue choices for different NPCs.
  • Added extra combat tutorial messages to better explain the basics (let us know how you get on).
  • Astarion no longer thinks Lae'zel inspected you at camp when she is not in your party. Quite rightly.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a crash related to having the level up screen open while in a dialog.
  • Fixed a crash related to dropping items from inventory.
  • Fixed a rare crash that could happen at the start of combat.
  • Fixed a possible blocking issue when using the transponder at the end of the tutorial twice.
  • Fixed black screen issue when ending tutorial if the transponder was used by any character that is not the main player avatar.
  • Fixed a possible blocking issue when reassigning characters to others players while in combat.
  • Fixed an issue with lip sync not working correctly.
  • Fixed several localization issues.
  • Fixed combat UI not updating correctly when someone joined during combat.
  • Fixed party shared gold and items not always working in dialog checks.
  • Fixed summons from NPC’s getting stuck in combat.
  • Fixed levelled up characters having duplicated racial and class features.
  • Fixed not being able to level up to level 4 on a Zariel Tiefling Cleric of Light due to cantrip selection.
  • Fixed text cut-off issues in several interfaces.
  • Fixed party members getting stuck trying to open doors they run past.
  • Fixed listening in to dialogs getting stuck in multiplayer, also causing players not being able to save.
  • Fixed camp button being broken after closing the camp window with escape key.
  • Fixed "end the day" multiplayer message being broken if a player closed it with an escape key.
  • Fixed certain quests not having map markers.
  • Fixed certain secret entrances incorrectly showing up on the map.
  • Fixed incorrect player portraits in the lobby screen as more people joined.
  • Fixed Cambion wings and Tiefling tail animations.
  • Fixed map not centering correctly on player characters in smaller subregions.
  • Fixed health values not being synced correctly to the Baldur's Gate 3 twitch extension.
  • Fixed superiority die not showing actual values when using abilities such as Menacing attack.
  • Fixed minor issues with hair, skinning and textures on several models.
  • Fixed lighting issue in owlbear cave.
  • Fixed not being able to walk over corpses.
  • Tweaked ragdolls to reduce the possibility of models exploding (or glitching. Idk how to explain it, but it’s spooky).

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29.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 15, 2020, 02:28
29.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 15, 2020, 02:28
Oct 15, 2020, 02:28
 
Quinn wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 04:59:
MeanJim wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 02:12:
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?

Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it.

So you only watch movies and play games once?

No, but you can only experience a first experience once. What he meant was clearly portrayed by his anecdote about the Wolverine movie. How did you misinterpret that?

RPGs are are nothing like movies (at least the good ones). Each play through is a different experience. I've always enjoyed my subsequent play throughs of RPGs as much, sometimes more, than my first.
"The only way anyone can live in peace is if they're prepared to forgive." - The Doctor
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28.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 14:47
Shock
 
28.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 14:47
Oct 14, 2020, 14:47
 Shock
 
Acleacius wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 22:28:
9 patches, damn that's some serious work going on. They must be in crunch mode and just didn't announce it like cd projekt red.

Edit: Holy shit, that's just for Steam, apparently GOG is still on original release. Flamethrower

If they're in crunch mode now, what mode will they be in a year from now when they actually get close to release?
27.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 11:32
27.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 11:32
Oct 14, 2020, 11:32
 
According to the threads at GOG in the last 15 hours, looks like they started to Patch Update GOG for the first time. Then held it because Steam has been reporting broken savegames.
The worst criminal in human history, undeniably. There has never been a figure in political history, so dedicated to destroying the prospects of organized human life on the planet, in the near future.

Beating and Gassing Americans for Jesus!
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26.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 11:11
26.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 11:11
Oct 14, 2020, 11:11
 
David wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 10:09:
A few points:

1) It's just the first part of the game. I did the EA for Divinity 2, loved it, and loved playing through it "for real" when the full game came out. There was SO much more to the full game that re-playing just the first part with a different party was still plenty of fun. BG3 is *much* larger than Divinity 2, so the EA is an even smaller chunk of the final game.

2) Regardless of positive/negative commentary, the advantage of this kind of EA is that the developers have thousands and thousands of play-testers instead of just a small group. They collect data on how the game is being played, where people are dying "too much", which encounters are too easy, and perhaps most importantly, bugs that might not show up with just a small group of testers. This improves quality of the final product and does it faster than with a wide release that has tons of bugs.

3) If you don't like Divinity 1/2 and you want a game like the old BG1/2 (both of which I loved), you're out of luck. I loved all four of those games, so I'm more than happy to buy it now and play *now* rather than wait even longer than I've already waited.

Pretty much what David said (and several others on this thread). This is not fanboying so don't put this opinion down out of hand.

1) From my perspective i preordered BG3 and as part of my preorder i get access to EA which i can choose to take advantage of or not. If you are against preordering then that is cool, this is what i did.

2) For those folks who say the game will be the same if the public EA's vs Larian doing a closed development process and driving towards completion i think that is a legitimate position to normally take but what i would recommend is look into the development blogs that Larian shared around the design and development process for DOS2 and how it was altered by the telemetry they collected during the DOS2 EA. So in Larian's case i think they showed that this position probably does not apply to them.

3) If you don't understand how folks can play EA for a story based CRPG with only 1 act and enjoy it and have it not ruin the full release of the game for them, well that is just that, an opinion. I can. I get wonder and amazement every time i start a new character in the BG 3 EA, plus for me if DOS 2 is a guide the actual act 1 will change a fair amount between now and release as well. I don't know how to convey it better but i am enjoying the heck out of the multiple play throughs i am doing now and know i will enjoy my multiple playthroughs on full release. It wont ruin it for me. Will knowing much of the story in act 1 modify the experience vs going in fresh. Absolutely, but i also know what type of gamer i am and it will, mostly for me, modify it for the better. For example i did not get access to the Wasteland 3 pre release, when i played it on release i redid the first area about 4-5 times because i did not know the mechanics well enough to know how to build and play to my play style. That is my play style. I now know what my first playthrough build will actually be for me on release and that is a real boon for the type of player i am i will now get to enjoy the whole game on release without fretting about my mechanics and can just enjoy the story itself. It will make for a BETTER experience for me and my play style on release for a story based CRPG. For those critical of doing BG3 as early access that may not be your play style. If that is the case then don't ruin it for yourself by buying into EA, but know that you are arguing that EA should not exist and the reality is it can be of benefit to some as well as the developers so those who it can be of benefit to let them have at it.
25.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 10:56
25.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 10:56
Oct 14, 2020, 10:56
 
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?
Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state?
I don't get it.

Pretty much every game released these days can be summed up by "unfinished state" on release. I wait months until after release to play games and it's soooo much better. I mean i'm playing Divinity Original Sin right now because it's the definitive edition... THEY FIXED ALL THE SHIT!
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24.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 10:09
David
 
24.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 10:09
Oct 14, 2020, 10:09
 David
 
A few points:

1) It's just the first part of the game. I did the EA for Divinity 2, loved it, and loved playing through it "for real" when the full game came out. There was SO much more to the full game that re-playing just the first part with a different party was still plenty of fun. BG3 is *much* larger than Divinity 2, so the EA is an even smaller chunk of the final game.

2) Regardless of positive/negative commentary, the advantage of this kind of EA is that the developers have thousands and thousands of play-testers instead of just a small group. They collect data on how the game is being played, where people are dying "too much", which encounters are too easy, and perhaps most importantly, bugs that might not show up with just a small group of testers. This improves quality of the final product and does it faster than with a wide release that has tons of bugs.

3) If you don't like Divinity 1/2 and you want a game like the old BG1/2 (both of which I loved), you're out of luck. I loved all four of those games, so I'm more than happy to buy it now and play *now* rather than wait even longer than I've already waited.
23.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 09:47
23.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 09:47
Oct 14, 2020, 09:47
 
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22.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 07:52
22.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 07:52
Oct 14, 2020, 07:52
 
Quinn wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 04:59:
Neither me nor Slick nor MoreLuckThanSkill (the three people here with negative views toward EA if I count right) are attacking EA enthusiasts. So I'm not sure what's with the hostile defensiveness?

MeanJim wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 02:12:
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?

Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it.

So you only watch movies and play games once?

No, but you can only experience a first experience once. What he meant was clearly portrayed by his anecdote about the Wolverine movie. How did you misinterpret that?

yonder wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 04:19:
*snip*
I sincerely am floored by the fact that there are people HERE that don't understand such a basic, common gaming reality.
I'm exhausted

You evidently are. Get some rest to up that mood. Like WannaLogAlready said: "I understand perfectly that for many it's a labor of love and enjoyment in collaboration and whatnot. More power for them!" I'm genuinely happy for people who enjoy this type of EA process. I'm just not one of them and I am skeptical about the end-result, i.e. I think we'd get to an equally solid final version through the pre-EA old fashioned way and I think we'd get there faster. In other words, I believe your enjoyment means I have to wait longer. Again, that's what I believe. There's no real data out there that confirms my theory. So yeah, fuck EA, but I'm glad you enjoy it.

Don’t try to use reason with fanboys. Waste of time. They are true zealots and you will always be the heretic.
21.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 04:59
21.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 04:59
Oct 14, 2020, 04:59
 
Neither me nor Slick nor MoreLuckThanSkill (the three people here with negative views toward EA if I count right) are attacking EA enthusiasts. So I'm not sure what's with the hostile defensiveness?

MeanJim wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 02:12:
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?

Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it.

So you only watch movies and play games once?

No, but you can only experience a first experience once. What he meant was clearly portrayed by his anecdote about the Wolverine movie. How did you misinterpret that?

yonder wrote on Oct 14, 2020, 04:19:
*snip*
I sincerely am floored by the fact that there are people HERE that don't understand such a basic, common gaming reality.
I'm exhausted

You evidently are. Get some rest to up that mood. Like WannaLogAlready said: "I understand perfectly that for many it's a labor of love and enjoyment in collaboration and whatnot. More power for them!" I'm genuinely happy for people who enjoy this type of EA process. I'm just not one of them and I am skeptical about the end-result, i.e. I think we'd get to an equally solid final version through the pre-EA old fashioned way and I think we'd get there faster. In other words, I believe your enjoyment means I have to wait longer. Again, that's what I believe. There's no real data out there that confirms my theory. So yeah, fuck EA, but I'm glad you enjoy it.
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20.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 04:42
20.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 04:42
Oct 14, 2020, 04:42
 

Wouldn't ever participate in beta testing.
For me, personally, it would ruin the plot surprises, etc.
But, totally grateful for those that do it. It's obvious that it supports a better final game.
Also understand perfectly that for many it's a labor of love and enjoyment in collaboration and whatnot. More power for them !
What mystifies me, is the continuing blindness by supposedly mature persons, in accepting that other people have other preferences. How is that possible?
Instead they consider them crazy, with bad taste, sub-normal to their high *normal* standards.
Sigh, the USA is where it is because of that deficiency.
In gaming, I feel sad when I can not enjoy what others like and I don't, and hope eventually to try and change.
Otherwise, entirely my loss, not theirs.

19.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 04:19
yonder
 
19.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 04:19
Oct 14, 2020, 04:19
 yonder
 
As if I needed more reason to bed so cynical about humanity... there are Bluesnews viewers who, even at this stage, clearly understand neither the point or benefit of Early Access.

If you play a STORY based game in EA and get sick if the story once full release comes out... that's on you.

If you don't understand why, in SOME cases, having thousands of paying beta-testers is better than paying for dozens of beta testers... I don't know what to tell you, that's beyond me.

As for the whole "rambling blah blah" whatever... You've clearly not beta tested in your life. Any remotely competent developer will use trello and a well-moderated discord.

And plenty of people enjoy INTERACTING with the developers. I'm one of them.

And... by supporting the devs by paying for something early, I not only get to interact with the developers (I've legit made close friendships this way), I usually get the game for less than if I waited.

I sincerely am floored by the fact that there are people HERE that don't understand such a basic, common gaming reality.

I'm exhausted
18.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 03:09
18.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 03:09
Oct 14, 2020, 03:09
 
For any other studio, I'd be pretty wary of an Early Access game, but this is Larian Studios. I highly doubt that they're just going to cut and run with our money. Plus, I fully expect them to actually take player feedback to heart when it comes to BG3. They did the same thing with D:OS2 and the player feedback they got during EA/Kickstarter seemed to have helped them tremendously when it came to gameplay elements, UI issues and class balance.

As mentioned by another poster above, it's always a worry when developers become too narrowly-focused when it comes to their game (Anthem anyone?) and that they lose sight of what the average player thinks of X and Y features, UI elements or issues. I can see Larian Studios treating BG3's Early Access as they did with D:OS2's Early Access to take into account player feedback so that they can make adjustments and changes to things that urgently need to be changed asap.

Also, given the stuff that they're mentioning in their blog about the various elements the studio is keeping track of (the type of characters that players are making; where, which and how often party members are dying, etc.) it seems like the studio is taking advantage of the varied and wide EA player-base to keep track of what needs to be tweaked. Stuff that they wouldn't be able to know of if they relied on a small team of internal testers who probably know the game like the back of their hand at a certain point.
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17.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 02:57
17.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 02:57
Oct 14, 2020, 02:57
 
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it.
I think for a lot of people who do EA (me not being one of them, for the record), part of the fun comes from being "part of" the development process. I.e. discussing things on the forums at a point in time when the devs are very likely to at least read some of it, without necessarily answering... Or just being involved with the community in general. Probably not too dissimilar from being part of a modding community as a non-modder, where most of the releases are janky-ass unplayable messes But it's fun to check out updates, follow project progress etc and discuss with other people on the forums..
16.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 02:19
16.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 02:19
Oct 14, 2020, 02:19
 
I don't get the bitching about having multiple and frequent patches. This is an alpha, an ALPHA. Maybe people don't know what that is? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle

This comment was edited on Oct 14, 2020, 02:31.
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15.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 02:12
15.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 02:12
Oct 14, 2020, 02:12
 
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?

Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it.

So you only watch movies and play games once? Just about every RPG I've ever played, I will play the beginning several times trying out different character builds. I just started PoE2, and I think Steam clocked me at 20+ hours before I even "started" the game (I did the same thing with PoE1). I was importing my PoE1 save, so I was going to play the same character, but with the introduction of sub-classes and multi-classing, I tried a couple of the sub-classes and some multi-class builds. I also tried it in turn-based and real time combat modes.

I'm not buying the EA of BG3, unless it's still for sale when I finish PoE2. I think they said it contains about the first 25 hours of the game, and they've asked people to play through it with different character builds and play styles. That's basically what I do anyway for a "finished" RPG.
"The only way anyone can live in peace is if they're prepared to forgive." - The Doctor
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14.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 01:48
14.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 01:48
Oct 14, 2020, 01:48
 
The little bit I played @ 6-7 hours was fantastic. I also played DOS 1 & 2 EA the same way. The game will change drastically when it's finally released, but what is there is already pretty good. I don't think it ruins the experience, to play it and help test. I know I am going to pay $60 for this well crafted game, anyway. I know I am going to play this multiple times in single-player and multiplayer. I get the cynicism for EA, but for me as a full time artist of all sorts, it's nice to see the blemishes and then observe how they are fixed. When I go back to play the full release I will be ready to roll on that character I really want to play and it's not going to ruin the immersion, for me, at all. And like I've said, I've seen Larian do it twice now and I like how they do EA. Most other companies are bullshit when it comes to EA.
13.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 01:46
13.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 01:46
Oct 14, 2020, 01:46
 
Slick wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 21:50:
So what the fuck am I missing here?

Who is paying to play a SP RPG in an unfinished state? You only get one crack at it. Remember when that version of that old wolverine movie leaked online like 15 years ago before they had finished rendering all the CG for the fight scenes? It was like half the movie wasn't finished. I watched it, and was like: "wow, what an utter piece of shit". Years later I saw the finished version, and while it didn't make it a great movie, it became totally watchable, and even something that I would have had a lot of fun going to the theatre to see. I was always mad at myself for having ruined it so utterly horribly for myself.

So these are the "die hard" day-0 fans of the series who will be getting the worst possible experience (outside of closed testing) with the game they love so much.

I don't get it.

THIS. Plus, this must delay them greatly. I read "hotfixes" as impromptu fixes outside of any real schedule/roadmap. These things would probably have been fixed on their own time and wouldn't by a long shot have been prioritized if it wasn't for consumers who payed the full fucking price and are now entitled to a certain level of quality and -service.
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12.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 14, 2020, 00:09
MattyC
 
12.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 14, 2020, 00:09
Oct 14, 2020, 00:09
 MattyC
 
MoreLuckThanSkill wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 23:42:
...movies do screen tests all the time, and are mostly far better for it. Some things that seem hilarious(or cool, scary, intense, etc.) to a small audience of crew might just not work on a real audience, etc

Yep, inside jokes can be very funny and (in a circle of friends where the jokes remain relevant) can have real lasting power. However, to a random audience, they can fall painfully flat. There isn't exactly a direct corollary, but that as an abstract concept does apply to games.
"M'aiq tried to swim out to sea, but had to turn back. Slaughterfish. Always the slaughterfish."
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11.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 13, 2020, 23:42
11.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 13, 2020, 23:42
Oct 13, 2020, 23:42
 
EricFate wrote on Oct 13, 2020, 22:59:
It is basically the equivalent of doing screen tests for a movie. It will give the folks in marketing something to do, but it sure as shit never makes for a better product.

I understand being annoyed with Early Access games, but movies do screen tests all the time, and are mostly far better for it. Some things that seem hilarious(or cool, scary, intense, etc.) to a small audience of crew might just not work on a real audience, etc. Easiest example is Anchorman,( the first one) got quite a bit of screen testing, and vastly improved its comedy because of it.

As far as BG3, Larian has successfully (for them, not always for the player testers) done EA/Betas with DoS and DoS 2, and those games turned out great, in my opinion, and the opinion of many (most, even?) players. As Slick and Cutter say, EA/beta access is not for everybody, some people will degrade or even ruin the experience for themselves... I usually stay away, personally, but I've also played betas for RPGs before and still played the crap out of them on final release. I'm trying to avoid spoiling any story elements with BG3 at all(although I'm guessing Larian is going to disguise some bits like they did for DoS2 beta), and also just using the time to finish up some other games, or I'd consider buying BG3 now and just trying it out at least.
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10.
 
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access
Oct 13, 2020, 22:59
10.
Re: On Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access Oct 13, 2020, 22:59
Oct 13, 2020, 22:59
 
If you hire a beta tester, then you can reasonably expect them to go in with the intention of finding bugs, and then presenting them to you in a clear and concise format that will allow you to categorize, rank, and eventually fix said bugs. The quality of work is reflected by the cost of the contract.

If you sell a beta and make the buyer your tester, then you can reasonably expect to get a bunch of people who are there with the intention to sight-see, and who will then present you with a long, rambling, and unfocused list of all the things they liked and didn't like, whether or not they are bugs. You then have to waste your time sifting through this to try and figure out if anything is important and/or actionable.

It is basically the equivalent of doing screen tests for a movie. It will give the folks in marketing something to do, but it sure as shit never makes for a better product.
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