When Larian Studios introduced the Druid class to their early access Baldur’s Gate 3 in February, they also added an optional “loaded dice” feature. It was meant to smooth out the experince for exceptionally lucky and unlucky players. Their latest hotfix makes loaded dice extra loaded by only bending the rules in your favor now. It’s an interesting feature for Larian to continue tweaking, and one that could make Baldur’s Gate 3 feel just a little more like there’s a forgiving human dungeon master behind the screen making sure you’re having fun.
Over in their hotfix 10 patch notes, Larian explain how initial reactions to the loaded dice indicate that they actually weren’t scummy enough. “Even with this change, we noticed in your feedback that the RNG wasn’t feeling fun for you. We’ve seen the dice described as being harsh, cursed, rigged and someone said the RNG was downright evil.”
Initially, the loaded dice could work for or against you, paying you back for both natural good and bad luck by serving up some of the opposite.
“From now on, loaded dice will only bend RNG in the rolling character’s favour,” they say. “That means you will not be made to miss to make up for a lucky streak of hits. This change also applies to NPC’s and enemies, so the effects on the relative challenge of combat should be minimal.”
Over in Larian’s prior RPG Divinity: Original Sin 2, I’ve always been fond of saying it feels like there’s a dungeon master inside. Part of that is down to the sandbox-y quality of DOS2’s abilities and how they interact with the world. You want to use those teleportation gloves to scam your way around the world? “Do it,” I can hear this imaginary DM say. You want to fill a barrel full of heavy objects and drop it on a difficult enemy’s head to kill them? “I dare you to try it.”
That permissiveness doesn’t replicate super well in random dice rolls though, which Baldur’s Gate 3 displays on screen so you can see the evidence of your crap luck.
Last year, Brad Lang wrote “Baldur’s Gate 3 gave me new respect for my real life Dungeon Master“. Lang describes losing a fight to a group of Intellect Devourers several times and getting frutrated—a plenty familiar digital RPG experience. “If Baldur’s Gate III was an authentic D&D experience, there would be a DM that could have fudged the damage rolls of those Intellect Devourers,” Lang says. “They could have let me hit just enough to win and dodge just enough that I almost didn’t win.”
A set of digital cheat dice may not entirely alleviate those feelings, but it could certainly help. Baldur’s Gate 3’s nonexistant DM still can’t truly collaborate with you like a human. It won’t be able to factor in social cues to these decisions. But a computer can certainly work out that several bad rolls in a row deserves tipping the scale the other way to keep things fun. With this newest change, the game will only fudge rolls in your favor, instead of taking you down a peg after your good luck too.
Sometimes you just want to win, you know?