Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Discover the intricacies of Baldur's Gate 3's Action Economy, determining players' combat capabilities in a single round Explore various action types such as regular, bonus, movement, and reactions, along with engaging examples of each Unveil the essence of action dynamics in this thrilling RPG

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What Is Baldur's Gate 3 Action Economy?

Regular Reactions, Explained (Green Circle)

Bonus Actions, Explained (Orange Triangle)

Movement Action, Explained

Reactions, Explained (Purple Star)

Free Actions, Explained

In Baldur's Gate 3, acquiring a comprehensive understanding of the game's fundamental mechanics is vital, considering the abundance of information to absorb. Drawing inspiration from Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition, BG3 adopts a parallel approach to turn-based combat. Essentially, the Action Economy in BG3 determines the available choices for players within each round.

Although various types of Actions in Baldur's Gate 3 hold less significance outside combat, save for those that consume non-replenishing resources like Spell Slots, comprehending the essence of standard Actions, Bonus Actions, Movement Actions, Reactions, and Free Actions is imperative for a thorough grasp of the game's combat dynamics.

What Is Baldur's Gate 3 Action Economy?

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Action Economy in Baldur's Gate 3 refers to the number and type of actions that a character can perform during a single round of combat. It also determines the balance between the actions available to the players' party and those of their enemies. In Baldur's Gate 3, most character builds have access to one Action, one Bonus Action, and a Movement Action. Additionally, there are Free Actions, Reactions, and other types of Actions in the game. To determine the required action for a Skill or Ability, hover over it on the hotbar or in the spellbook and check the bottom left of the tooltip where a green circle with the word "Action" will indicate a standard Action.

How Do Actions Work Out of Combat?

When moving, players are not required to use their standard Actions, Bonus Actions, or utilize their full Movement Speed. However, once these resources are exhausted and the maximum movement distance is reached, these Actions will not be replenished until the character's next turn in Combat or turn-based play.

Outside of combat and turn-based mode, most Actions can be freely performed without any restrictions. Simply click the desired ability on the hotbar and target the object. For example, a Warlock can continuously cast Eldritch Blast to break through a Cracked Wall without having to worry about the Action Economy. Characters can Hide, throw objects, and consume Potions without concern for their ability to use an Offhand Attack during that turn. In the open world, there are no turns, resulting in fewer limitations.

However, certain Actions require spell slots, which only refresh at the end of the day. For instance, a Wizard may need to use a Level 1 spell slot to extinguish a Fire Surface with Create Water, both in and out of combat. This usage can restrict their spellcasting potential for the remainder of the day. Another example is Enhance Ability, a Level 2 spell for Clerics, which can provide additional bonuses to specific skills during dialogue checks but also requires a spell slot. It is important to monitor and conserve spell slots, using slot-reliant spells only when absolutely necessary outside of combat.

Regular Reactions, Explained (Green Circle)

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Regular Actions, also known as standard Actions, comprise the majority of impactful Actions in Baldur's Gate 3. Engaging in physical combat, casting spells, and even executing common skills such as Throw, Dash, and Disengage all fall under the category of standard Actions during combat.

In Baldur's Gate 3, standard Actions are represented by a green circle. Although certain Classes may unlock a second attack after their initial one, this additional attack does not count as a separate Action, and each initial attack only requires one of these green circles. There are a few ways to increase the number of standard Actions available per turn, such as utilizing a Potion of Speed, but these enhancements are generally temporary.

Examples of Regular Actions in Baldur's Gate 3

All main weapon attacks & related skills

Almost all spells, from damaging to buffing to summoning and everything in between

Jump, Dash, Disengage, & Throw (for most Classes)

Practically every other "major" ability in the game

Bonus Actions, Explained (Orange Triangle)

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Bonus Actions are typically more intricate than regular Actions, yet they possess a comparable level of significance. These actions frequently possess a distinctiveness that is specific to each Class, and occasionally to different Subclasses as well. Additionally, certain rare Equipment and other sources can also bestow Bonus Actions.

Examples of Bonus Actions in Baldur's Gate 3

Bonus Actions in Baldur's Gate 3 are represented by an orange triangle on the ability hotbar. Contrary to their name, Bonus Actions are not limited to following a standard Action and can be executed at any point during a turn. Although these abilities can utilize Spell Slots like the Spiritual Weapon spell, which requires a Bonus Action to summon but still consumes a Level 2 spell slot.

Off-handed weapon attacks for dual-wielding builds

Jump, given enough Movement Speed

Enabling Barbarian Frenzy (& subsequent abilities)

Rogues' Cunning Actions

Circle of the Moon Druids' Wild Shape

Bards' Bardic Inspiration

Shadow Monks' Shadow Step

Clerics' Spiritual Weapon

Movement Action, Explained

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Characters in combat have the ability to perform a standard and Bonus Action, as well as move a specific distance. This distance is typically determined by their Race and creature size (excluding Gnomes, Halflings, and Dwarves), but can be increased with the help of equipment and spells such as Longstrider and Jump.

During combat, players can easily preview their movement action by hovering over a desired location, which will show the distance they will cover. The UI displays a blue circle in the bottom right, representing the remaining movement distance, which decreases as players approach their maximum limit. Areas highlighted in red along the preview line indicate rough terrain, which can hinder characters and result in negative effects like Burning and Ensnared. To navigate challenging terrain more safely, one can choose to move smaller distances or utilize a Gamepad, as movement can be performed gradually rather than all at once.

To cancel an Action and go back to Movement, just right-click a few times to fully deselect the currently-selected ability.

Reactions, Explained (Purple Star)

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Reactions in BG3 are Actions that occur outside of the regular Action Economy. Instead, they are triggered by specific events. One prevalent Reaction is the Opportunity Attack, available to all characters. It can be executed when an enemy moves out of melee range and is represented by a red arrow on the ground.

Reactions are represented by a purple star-like symbol, but they are not typically visible on the hotbar. While most Reactions do not require any resources to use, some are more expensive, which is why the game offers the option to "Ask" before triggering a Reaction. It is not necessary to Counterpell every spell cast by an enemy Sorcerer, particularly if it consumes a spell slot, and there is no purpose in using Hellish Rebuke against a Fire-Resistant opponent.

Even without resource costs, it is advisable to activate the "Ask" feature before using any Reactions in the game. When facing a boss that targets its most recent attacker, Opportunity Attacks can disrupt plans and put weaker allies in danger. To change this, navigate to each character's spellbook and ability list, then switch to the Reactions tab and select the "Ask" option for all available skills.

Examples of Reactions in Baldur's Gate 3

All Opportunity Attacks

Counterspell, which requires a spell slot

Cutting Words, which requires Bardic Inspiration

Entropic Ward, a Great Old One Warlock exclusive skill

Deflect Missiles, a Monk exclusive ability

Free Actions, Explained

Baldur's Gate 3: Mastering Action Economy for Dominating Gameplay

Free Actions are typically reserved for non-resource-consuming, less impactful actions that don't target an enemy in combat. They often serve more as aesthetic or flavorful choices rather than dealing damage. However, there are some notable exceptions.

Bards have the ability to Perform with their instrument at any time, even during combat, without using an Action. Additionally, outside of combat, this skill can even generate income if their Performance skill is high enough. Players also have the freedom to place and pick up objects on the ground at their discretion. Whether it's transferring a Candle from their inventory to the ground or setting down an explosive Barrel, as long as their Strength stat is sufficient to carry it, it can be done effortlessly.

Free Actions also include three distinct skills that allow the character to deal damage while moving: Melee Brace, Ranged Brace, and Prepare. Both the Melee and Ranged Brace skills require the character to expend 7.5 meters of Movement Speed and provide an Advantage on the next relevant roll. On the other hand, the Prepare skill only requires 6 meters of Movement Speed and simply enhances the damage dealt by melee attacks for the remainder of the round. These skills do not require an additional Action type, as long as the character has enough Movement Speed, but they cannot be used again until a Short Rest.

Examples of Free Actions in Baldur's Gate 3

Brace and Prepare, which require Movement Speed

Perform, which requires an equipped Instrument

Interacting with the inventory & trading items between companions

Interacting with, and manipulating, items in the world (like moving crates, placing potions on the ground, etc)

Baldur's Gate 3 is available for PC and will launch on PlayStation 5 on September 6, 2023.