26 August 2023

Class / Race choices in Baldurs Gate 3 vs tabletop 5e

Larian Studios, makers of Baldurs Gate 3, released stats from the first weekend of the game being live including class and race choices of the players. Given that it is a pretty faithful implementation of the 5e ruleset I thought it would be interesting to compare against what data we have for peoples choices at tabletop. I was surprised to see a big, big difference in classes and near enough same old, same old for races.

The big difference is the preference for paladin as the top class choice - typically not even top 3 for tabletop players. I am surprised at the big seperation between wizard and sorcerer also - how is one full caster perceived as so different from another?

I would have thought there would be a tendency towards being a hands-on melee type except that sorcerer is coming in so high. In brief, I have no idea what is going on, but fascinating that it looks so different to the 'fighter/rogue' preference we see in the apps or spell-caster preference we see from forum responses.

Response on Race is also interesting - a little shuffle around but more or less the same preference - human/elf/half-elf as the top 3 among all three groups - BG3 players, app-users and forum users. Behind that it gets interesting - dragonborn much more popular in BG3, dwarves and halflings way less.

Generally we see a solid showing for all the options available in BG3 - especially Githyanki and Drow in BG3 who are otherwise very rare / not available as options in the base 5e rules, boosted here I guess by being included in the relatively limited options. Tieflings, half-orcs and gnomes about the same between the three sets.

I am intrigued by the very different class choices and the relatively similar race choices. The first suggests play-type driven decision making - a computer game is different to a TTRPG and that will drive different choices, even if the rules are the same. The second suggests that either the racial benefits are of similar use in both computer game and TTRPG or that people just like being elves and humans.

Take any reading into this with a massive pinch of salt, different medium, almost certainly different target audience, etc. etc. but I thought it interesting that we got such a clear preference for classes that is very different to what we have seen elsewhere. See Class/Race archetypes in 1.2 million D&DBeyond characters and Player Class Stability from 1M D&D Beyond Sheets for more detail on the tabletop sets and sources.


  1. Pure speculation, but I notice that the charisma-heavy classes are very strongly represented in the videogame data, which perhaps makes sense if social interaction is more dice-mediated there than at the table.

    1. That is a solid idea. This is opening weekend data so did people have time enough to come to that realisation? It has been in open access beta for a while so maybe?

  2. Yes, for many games of this type it becomes critical to have a "face" character in the party; even if you can get one in the party later on, using your PC as the charisma-heavy character means you get it from the very beginning, have complete control of the character's development, and never get the character taken away from you during the game.

    For example, in one of the Pathfinder CRPGs you will almost certainly lose one of the first two or three NPCs who joins your party, and it's pretty frustrating if you've "built" your party around their presence. Or in games of this type it's also common for NPCs to leave temporarily until you accomplish some quest that matters to their backstory.