Larian Studios has announced the fourth major update to Baldur’s Gate 3, called Nature’s Power. It introduces the first new playable class, the Druid, who among many other interesting abilities can turn into a burrowing death badger with glowing eyes.
For those unfamiliar with the game a new Baldur's Gate 3 class is A Big Deal, coming as it does with a whole new set of voiced dialogue for the game, as well as introducing new options and story moments throughout. Druids have more than 30 spells & abilities, but let's face it: This is all about the animal transformations. You can be a dire wolf, a polar bear, a spider, a raven, a cat, a rothe (big ox), some sort of tadpole beast, and of course the badger.
Just have a look at this. That little red dude is screwed.
Larian says NPCs will react to particular animal forms, giving the example of chatting to bears when you're a bear. As a D&D game the Druids also come from one of their two traditional 'circles', adding yet another customisation option.
Giant killer badgers aside, the patch itself will make a substantial number of changes to the game. One is the option to play with 'Loaded Dice' (every interaction in the game depends on a simulated dice roll). If chosen this does not affect damage rolls, but otherwise "helps smooth out the extremes of the bell curve [but] retains the core elements of RNG, ensuring a player can no longer be unlucky or super lucky with several dice rolls in a row."
There are a bunch of quality-of-life improvements, including the much-requested ability to target by clicking on portraits, a 'torch' button so that equipping torches isn't such a pain, the addition of a 'flee' option in battle, and the ability to more easily share / steal stuff in co-op multiplayer.
Finally, Larian Studios announced the opening of two new Larian... err, studios. There is now a Larian in Guildford, England, and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This news comes with an unusually poetic note on studio scheduling: "this expansion is not only about increasing the number of developers working on the game, but also allowing development to follow the sun, with each studio acting as a mirror-image of one another, insofar as it’s possible."
The Nature's Power patch is coming to Baldur's Gate 3 "very soon, when it’s ready." The question of whether to play it now or wait for the full release remains open, but those badgers may just tip the scales.