The Cleric is one of the most important classes in Dungeons & Dragons, yet it’s seeing a startling lack of representation in Baldur’s Gate 3. There are a few reasons for this, which are tied to the role of the healer in RPGs and how Baldur’s Gate 3 is a single-player experience that downplays the need for the player to roll up a Cleric.
In D&D and Baldur’s Gate 3, the Cleric class derives its power from one of the gods. Through their worship of the divine, they gain access to powerful magical spells that act as small miracles: healing, curing diseases, and eradicating evil with holy (or unholy) light. Clerics can also channel the power of their deity, allowing them to perform unique magical abilities tied to their Divine Domain. And unlike the arcane casters, Clerics have no problem rushing into combat, thanks to their armor and weapon proficiencies.
The Cleric Was The Least Popular Class In Baldur’s Gate 3 At Launch
Following the release of Baldur’s Gate 3, Larian released data on Steam about player choices made during the launch period. The most shocking data confirms that the Cleric was the least popular class, with just over fifty thousand people rolling up a holy warrior. This is a significant dropoff from the second least popular class, the Druid, which had over 130k players, even though it’s also a healer class.
The lack of popularity for the Cleric is also surprising when you consider that the Paladin was the most popular class by far, with around 230k players rolling up a holy avenger. This is despite the fact that the Paladin and Cleric are two of the most similar classes in the game! For some reason, people just like the Paladin more, even though they share many of the same abilities and spells as the Cleric.
Baldur’s Gate 3 Gives You A Cleric Straight Away (So Why Play One?)
One reason why Clerics aren’t popular could be because Baldur’s Gate 3 gives you one straight off the bat: Shadowheart. This was likely done to ensure that the player character could survive the game’s opening hours, as healing spells are extremely useful in the early stages of Act 1 when the party is low on scrolls and potions.
Like Astarion, Shadowheart is incredibly useful to have around. Not only does she have the Guidance Cantrip (which will help you through nearly every Skill Check in the game), but she also has lots of buffing spells and healing magic that will keep the party alive. It also helps that Shadowheart has an intriguing mystery artifact introduced at the start of the game and is a romanceable companion, so players have an incentive to keep her around.
There Isn’t As Much Glory Playing A Healer In A Single-Player Game Compared To A Multiplayer Title
While you can play Baldur’s Gate 3 as a multiplayer game, it will almost certainly be best known as a single-player experience. This helps explain why the Cleric and the Druid aren’t as popular, as they are predominantly known for healing their allies.
In games in the MMO genre, the healer is necessary for groups to survive, which is why they are in high demand compared to DPS or Tank characters. The healer classes don’t get as much glory as the people fighting the enemy, but that doesn’t make them any less important to the group, as the party won’t survive a raid or a dungeon without those precious healing spells.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, you can grab Shadowheart at the start of the game (or Halsin later on) and delegate her as the group’s healer. This means you’re free to make a character who gets to do the cool stuff, like stabbing enemies with a sword or casting Fireball spells, while Shadowheart hangs back and pumps out Cure Wounds or Healing Word as needed. As the story goes on, you’ll get so many healing potions that even the healing spells won’t become as necessary.
The Cleric is one of the most useful classes in D&D, but the developers of Baldur’s Gate 3 went out of their way to ensure that you don’t need to play one. It’s understandable why this choice was made, but it has ensured that there is less desire to play the class, especially when the game offers you so many different options for a run-through.
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