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Baldur's Gate 3 reveals races and classes ahead of next week's early access launch

Choose from 150 "photorealistic" faces.

In the run-up to its early access launch next week, developer Larian has been on a Baldur's Gate 3 info-splurge, this time detailing the various races, sub-races, and classes available to those signing up to role-play their way through the first of three acts on 6th October.

Initially, players will be able to select from 16 races and sub-races when creating characters - variations of humans, githyanki, elves, drow, half-elves, dwarves, halflings, and tieflings - before assigning them one of six classes, further divided into sub-classes.

Humans, the most populace race in Faerûn, are said to be tenacious and creative "with an endless capacity for growth", making them particularly suited to adventuring, while the githyanki are described as "peerless warriors from the Astral Plane" seeking the total destruction of the mind flayers.

Races from this point on all have at least two subdivisions, with elves, for instance, taking the form of either high elf or wood elf. The former "value magic in all its forms" and can manipulate the Weave, while wood elves can take advantage of their extensive training in archery and camouflage, bolstered by "an otherworldly swiftness".

Drow, "the result of an ancient schism between the elven deities Corellon Larethian and Lolth", take the form of either Seldarine drow or Lolth-sworn drow. Seldarine variants aim to "settle their conflict with Lolth - and each other - by any means necessary", while Lolth-sworn drow "extol the virtues of their corrupt and merciless goddess".

Half-elves are next, with wood half-elves having "a quickened stride and eye for stealth", while drow half-elves have inherited "a few magical gifts". As for high half-elves, they still enjoy a touch of the Feywild, "and even those untrained in magic possess a hint of wild power."

Moving on, gold dwarves are "known for their confidence and keen intuition", and shield dwarves have a cynical mindset, yet "will endure anything to restore their ancestral homelands.". Then there are the halflings; lightfoot halflings are described as "stealthy but social, travelling all over Faeûn to make names for themselves", and strongheart halflings are hardy sorts - "resistant to poison and wellsprings of endurance" - easily able to hold their own.

That just leaves tieflings, split into three more sub-races. Asmodeus tieflings have inherited the ability "to wield fire and darkness"; Mephistopheles tieflings are "gifted with a particular affinity for arcane magic"; last are the Zariel tieflings, "empowered with martial strength, and [able to] channel searing flame to punish their enemies."

Larian notes that certain races, such as drow and githyanki, are an unusual sight in Baldur's Gate 3's Sword Coast setting; given the reactive nature of the world, those that pick these less common races will be presented with unique interactions reflecting their rarity - a choice said to have "huge ramifications" on a play-through.

All races are represented by "photorealistic" 3D scans of actors and models, and players will initially have access to 150 heads during character creation, although more will be added as development continues. Baldur's Gate 3 will also feature six classes during early access - Cleric, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, and Wizard - each with "at least two" subclasses, making for a wide range of possibilities in terms of character builds.

When Baldur's Gate 3 launches into Steam, GOG, and Stadia early access next Tuesday, 6th October, it will include the first of three planned acts, said to amount to around 25 hours of content, playable either solo or in a party of up to four friends via multiplayer. Larian says Baldur's Gate 3 will remain in early access for at least a year, but "it'll be ready when it's ready."

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Matt Wales

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Matt Wales is a writer and gambolling summer child who won't even pretend to live a busily impressive life of dynamic go-getting for the purposes of this bio. He is the sole and founding member of the Birdo for President of Everything Society.