In Baldur’s Gate 3, your origin or custom character will determine a lot about how you play. The system works very similar to how it did in Larian Studios’ last game, Divinity: Original Sin 2, in that you can create a custom avatar or use one created by the developers. And the story of Baldur’s Gate 3 can change pretty remarkably depending on your selection. Besides coloring dialogue choices, Original Sin 2 actually let the player unravel new story and endings depending on the choice you make at the start. So what should you choose: an origin or a custom character? Our guide is here to help make the decision easier!
One crucial thing to understand is that Baldur’s Gate 3, like Larian Studios’ past games, is launching in early access. That means quite a lot is subject to change — including the total number of characters, their classes, and how they play. But we can still get an early assessment of how things might look.
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Origin characters actually seem much more restrictive in Baldur’s Gate 3 at launch, compared to Original Sin 2. There are five to choose from this time, instead of six, and each is locked into a specific role. Here are the ones that Larian Studios has announced thus far:
- Astarion, a vampire spawn elf, begins as a rogue
- Gale is a human wizard (pretty standard stuff)
- Lae’zel is a Githyanki fighter (a sort of tank and melee DPS specialist in modern D&D rules)
- Shadowheart, a half-elf cleric, is your top choice for healer
- Wyll, as a human warlock, is a spellcaster that draws their power from a pact with otherworldly beings
Custom Character Options – Baldur’s Gate 3 Early Access
Then we have our custom character options. For the time being, only six classes have been announced, but one would expect the rest of the basic Dungeons & Dragons lineup to arrive eventually. Of the six currently confirmed for Baldur’s Gate 3, each has multiple archetypes to choose from. They are as follows:
- Cleric: Life Domain, Light Domain, and Trickery Domain
- Fighter: Battle Master and Eldritch Knight
- Ranger: Hunter and Beast Master
- Rogue: Arcane Trickster and Thief
- Warlock: The Fiend and The Great One
- Wizard: School of Evocation and School of Abjuration
Even without the full roster of classes (e.g. Paladin, Druid, etc.) that’s an awful lot of room to customize during early access. But Divinity: Original Sin 2 players will note the game didn’t really reward original characters. It locked you out of unique traits and dialogue — and didn’t really add anything new. You were better off playing an origin character and getting more of the unique backstory available to your various party members. Well, Larian is assuaging that issue in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Now making a custom character will provide you with unique story and dialogue based on your choices. And the world evolves in response to your decisions no matter how you start. Larian has gone so far as to say “It doesn’t matter if you’re playing as an origin or custom,” which should alleviate choice paralysis for most players.
Origin or Custom – Which Should You Choose in Baldur’s Gate 3?
That isn’t to say the experience isn’t different. Origin characters will still get dialogue unique to them if you select them at the start. It just sounds like playing a custom creation won’t feel shallow in comparison.
As such, we suspect it will be better to play a custom character if you only plan on playing once, to get the most “even” view of every party member available in Baldur’s Gate 3. This is also the most similar to previous Baldur’s Gate games, as well as later BioWare franchises like Dragon Age, in which footsteps the sequel follows. Whereas the sort of person who played Divinity: Original Sin 2 a dozen times can probably safely play as an origin character the first time — and cycle between the other four on subsequent runs. That way you see the full perspective of the story from every named character.
We’ll be sure to update this guide as we learn how the game shakes out in practice! Early access can change a lot of things. Depending what Larian says or changes in that time frame, we may be looking at a very different experience than the one announced at the Baldur’s Gate 3 coming out party. Stay tuned until then!