While picking a class is a vital part of most role-playing games, Baldur’s Gate 3 takes that classic genre concept to a new level. Well, to be more accurate, it really just taps into the tabletop depth of the class concept, but by doing so, it makes picking a class as difficult as it has ever been. As such, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that many fans are debating over (or simply wondering about) which Baldur’s Gate 3 class is the best.
As you probably already guessed, the best class in Baldur’s Gate 3 is the one you think you will enjoy playing the most. BG 3 is a remarkably well-balanced game that is designed to incorporate a wide variety of playstyles. That said, I do think it is possible to offer not just an opinion on which class is best (obviously) but a fairly reasonable take on that topic so long as you base your thoughts on certain criteria. For these rankings, this was the criteria I largely focused on:
– Combat Abilities: Though we previously explored this topic in greater depth, a class’ combat viability was a major influencing factor in these rankings.
– Role-Playing Abilities: Often separate, though always equal, to combat abilities, every class’ role-playing abilities were a major deciding factor in these rankings. While you can personally “role-play” however you see fit, this category focuses on the unique interactions/abilities that each class can access outside of combat.
– Strength Within Their Class Category: While each class in Baldur’s Gate 3 brings something unique to the table, they are often united by various categories (ranged, melee, casters, support, etc.). As such, any class that is at least arguably the best in their respective major categories are ranked higher on this list.
– Class Leveling Value: Though a slightly less important factor given the impact of Baldur Gate 3‘s multiclassing functionality, classes that scale well and continuously offer new things throughout the game tend to be ranked higher on this list
– Main Character Value: If it’s generally more important or interesting to pick a particular class as your main character rather than as a companion (for whatever reason), that class got a slight “bump” for the purposes of these rankings.
– Personal Preferences and Experiences: Though it’s hopefully obvious (though take nothing for granted on the internet), ultimately, these rankings came down to my experience with Baldur’s Gate 3 across dozens and dozens of hours of Early Access and retail play.
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive in:
You can do some crazy things with the Monk class in Baldur’s Gate 3. Recently, a player found a combination of skills and items that allow Monks to regularly deal an amount of damage that frankly seems like it shouldn’t be possible. Monks are largely intended to be unarmed, unarmored mystical storms of furious fists, and they offer just that for anyone who desires to roll one in BG 3.
The big problem with the Monk class at the moment is that their most unique, and even enjoyable, attributes aren’t quite enough to elevate them over your other options. As melee fighters, Monks can’t quite take the punishment that Fighters and Barbarians are regularly asked to endure (at least not at first). That means that they are not only incapable of filling that valuable “tank” role in the early parts of the game but that they regularly need to put themselves in the middle of the kind of danger that they can’t easily endure. While you always have to build a party around your main character to some degree, playing as a Monk often means having to ensure the other spots in your party are there to support the Monk until they can stand tall on their own.
Physical weaknesses aside, I think the Monk’s biggest problem may be their relative lack of identity. They can use magic (often via melee), but they can’t quite compete with actual casters in that department. They’re mobile, but the functionality of their mobility is limited compared to Rogues and Rangers. They offer so many ways to play the game, but they’re often limited by certain restrictions that prevent Monks from easily excelling in any particular area without having to sacrifice some of the diversity that should make them more interesting.
There are no bad classes in BG 3, but at the moment, Monks offer the fewest obvious incentives from both a gameplay and roleplaying perspective. Don’t underestimate them or their multiclass functionality, but rolling a Monk means needing to know what you’re getting into.
This is where these rankings really start to sting.
I love Baldur Gate 3’s Ranger class. They not only allow you to live out some classic role-playing fantasies (everything from creating your own version of Legolas to playing as a woodland warrior who communes with nature) but they actually serve a fairly unique role throughout the game. While many classes have access to ranged attack options, Rangers are the most capable ranged DPS class that doesn’t regularly rely on magic. That being said, they do have access to some useful magical abilities.
As BG 3’s massive campaign plays out, though, Rangers start to struggle in some notable ways. That pure damage that they offer in the early parts of the game starts to be matched (or surpassed) by other ranged and melee options before long. While this happens to some other classes that we’ll soon be discussing, those other classes tend to offer a variety of utility benefits that Rangers do not necessarily have access to. Unless you are really leaning into the Ranger’s companions and Speak to Animals playstyle (which is certainly an option), you may find that some of their more notable early combat abilities are better utilized by other multiclass builds that can exploit their potential in unique ways.
Like BG 3‘s casters, Rangers are a slightly squisher ranged damage classes that typically need to operate at a safer distance. In a game where safe distances can be hard to come by, though, it’s tough to rank Rangers over other ranged options when those other ranged options grow to offer so much more to most parties and players.
Any conversation about Warlocks in Baldur’s Gate 3 should start with Eldritch Blast. Eldritch Blast isn’t just the best offensive Cantrip in BG 3; it’s one of the best damage abilities in the game regardless of class and type. Eldritch Blast is reason enough to play Warlock, and it’s also a big part of the reason why Warlocks are one of the most popular multiclass options in the game.
Beyond the undeniable power and appeal of Eldritch Blast, things get a little murkier when it comes to Warlocks. Their seemingly generous ability to refresh their spell slots with Short Rests is hindered by their relatively smaller selection of truly powerful spells that are unique to the class. Warlocks have access to some great abilities (every class does), but I find that few of their Level 3+ spells really tap into that Warlock fantasy quite as much as I’d like them to. Trying to play as a dark wizard who taps into unstable forms of magic to conjure powerful allies and deal chaotic spells is technically possible with a Warlock, but it’s perhaps not as viable or interesting as it could be (especially given the power of Eldritch Blast throughout the game).
Warlock is a powerful starting class that immediately benefits from incredible innate abilities and the high Charisma you’re often looking for with a party leader. Ultimately, I found myself wishing there were more ways to take them in more interesting and powerful directions as the game goes on.
From a combat standpoint, Druids suffer from the same major problems that ultimately forced Monks into the bottom spot on this list. While they are technically capable of tapping into so many playstyles and abilities, having access to so many abilities often causes them to suffer from that classic “jack of all trades, master of none” problem. You can do some crazy things with Druids in combat, but trying to get the most out of the diversity that makes the class so appealing often means needing to sacrifice the power you’d get by specializing in a particular area. For some, that basic playstyle is going to be a big ask.
However, Druids truly excel in one area that Monks generally do not: role-playing possibilities.
Simply put, playing as a Druid in Baldur’s Gate 3 can be a ton of fun. Their shapeshifting abilities allow you to regularly access a variety of interaction and navigation options that would otherwise be difficult to see in a single playthrough. As one of the few classes that can pick up Speak With Animals at Level 1, they also instantly gain access to the most entertaining role-playing ability in the game. At its best, BG 3 allows you to constantly discover new and surprising ways to overcome a variety of beautifully imagined obstacles. Well, few classes emphasize that aspect of the game quite as well as Druids do.
If it wasn’t for some of their combat weaknesses and the fact you can acquire two Druids in your party by the end of BG 3 (a somewhat strange decision), I could easily justify bumping Druids up a couple of spots on this list. As it is, though, they remain a fantastic outsider option.
Barbarian was the first class I rolled in Baldur’s Gate 3. Hulking warriors are a guilty pleasure of mine in most role-playing games, and Barbarians certainly fill that role in this game. Even then, I was a little surprised by how good Barbarians feel in BG 3.
At the start of Baldur’s Gate 3, Barbarians offer one of the highest base health pools, some of the most impressive melee damage numbers, and the natural defenses needed to serve on the frontline of any party. By the end of the game, Barbarians still offer most of those things. They’re designed to do a pretty specific thing, and there is rarely a point in the game where they don’t excel at being reckless melee masters regardless of how you choose to build them.
In the interest of making these obviously subjective rankings as fair as possible, though, it should be noted that Barbarians lack the build diversity and role-playing benefits that other classes are blessed with. It’s incredibly difficult to bless Barbarians with viable ranged attacks and magical abilities, and while it’s certainly entertaining to brute force and threaten your way past certain interactions, I rarely found myself surprised by what Barbarians offer from a role-playing perspective in quite the ways I found myself surprised by what other classes can do.
It’s hard to fault Barbarians for offering exactly what they were designed to do, but I would have a much easier time bumping them up a few spots on this list if the class offerred a few more viable subclass/skill options that at least enticed you to take them a bit further away from the beaten path.
Many will likely argue that Rogues should be a couple of spots lower or a couple of spots higher on this list. I’m ultimately splitting the difference a bit, and that’s largely because of the sometimes wild swings between the class’ strengths and weaknesses that ultimately make them so divisive.
Similar to Monks, Rogues demand a lot of love in Baldur’s Gate 3. It can take a while to acquire some of their more powerful abilities (which are often made better with multiclassing), and the nature of the class’ combat playstyle means that you sometimes have to put Rogues in the perfect position before you can get the most out of them. When Rogues aren’t in an ideal position, they can sometimes struggle to regain their footing in combat and significantly contribute to tougher fights (especially after their invaluable opening attacks).
However, Rogues are certainly one of the most valuable classes in the game outside of combat scenarios. Sneaking around, picking locks, disabling traps…it’s a good thing one of the earliest companions you get in Baldur’s Gate 3 is a Rogue because you would certainly miss having one in your party if you decided not to roll one. Furthermore, the Rouge offers three intriguing subclass possibilities (even if Assassin and Thief are the best all-around choices for many players) as well as a variety of compelling multiclass options.
Like Druids, Rogues really support the fantasy of playing to a class’ strengths while offering you the versatility needed to adapt to various situations.
Wizards have long been one of the most appealing class choices in role-playing games for as long as we’ve had role-playing games. Swinging a sword or firing a bow is always a good time, but few things embody “fantasy” quite like becoming a magic missile-slinging mystic who has been around for hundreds of years and regularly communes with higher powers.
In many ways, Baldur’s Gate 3 fully embraces the core tenants of the entire Wizard class concept. Wizards in BG 3 are not only blessed with access to the largest pool of spells in the game but they can easily learn even more spells via their ability to read and memorize scrolls. Furthermore, Wizards are allowed (or perhaps forced) to choose between multiple viable subclasses that allow them to effectively mix and match various styles of play or just lean into a more specialized approach. Toss in some wonderful role-playing abilities that allow them to see the world quite unlike others can, and you have the perfect class for anyone who wants to experience as many arcane arts as possible.
As we’ve seen with other classes, though, all of that access to so many options comes at a price. Wizards in Baldur’s Gate 3 are pure glass cannons that are often as powerful as they are fragile. You can compensate for their lack of natural defenses in many ways, but doing so often requires you to also find creative solutions to the Wizard’s innate need to be properly prepared for upcoming battles. While that preparation includes the mechanical practice of preparing the “right” spells before a fight, it also often means going into a fight with a battle plan and executing it to near perfection.
Wizards can be a challenging and demanding class, but they tend to offer the experience that most fans of the classic Wizard archetype are probably looking for.
Though they are sometimes written off as a “boring” class choice, I actually find Fighters to be one of the most viable and entertaining blank-slate classes in Baldur’s Gate 3.
Fighters are designed to effectively wield a variety of weapons, wear numerous pieces of armor, and attack from pretty much every angle. While they can do pretty much all of that at the start of the game, Fighters really become interesting at Level 2 when they gain access to Action Surge and the invaluable ability to perform an extra action once per Long Rest. That ability not only inspires a lot of classes (even Wizards) to eventually acquire a couple of Fighter levels, but it’s the building block for so many of the fascinating Fighter builds you can eventually pursue.
And that’s what makes Fighters special. No, they’re not especially gifted magic users, and they lack certain charms (and mechanical abilities) from a role-playing perspective, but Fighters add a little spice to every gear choice, every skill choice, and every combat turn. They allow you to get the most out of so many aspects of the game in ways that other classes do not.
At the very least, Clerics are the most “powerful” pure healers in Baldur’s Gate 3. If you’re pursuing a pure support Cleric build, you will not be disappointed in their ability to get your party out of some really tight spots and keep them in the fray no matter how tough things may get. If that’s how you want to view and play the class, you will not be disappointed.
However, Baldur’s Gate 3 players are quickly discovering that Clerics have so much more to offer than support. Summoning Clerics, nearly invincible tank Clerics, Clerics that do some Druid things better than Druids…every day brings new Cleric builds that are as viable as they are entertaining and creative. Unless you’re looking for the absolute hardest-hitting melee class in the game or the absolute best AoE attack class in the game, you can probably find a type of Cleric that you will absolutely fall in love with over the course of the adventure.
While I do think that many will resist rolling as a Cleric for the simple fact that the first full-time companion you will likely gain in Baldur’s Gate 3 is herself a Cleric, it’s hard to find too many faults in the design of the overall class. Don’t let yourself get too locked into the “support class” narrative. Clerics are capable of giving as much as you put into them.
In many ways, I consider Sorcerers to be the most surprising class in Baldur’s Gate 3. While you can probably guess what Warlocks and Wizards will offer out of the gate, the Sorcerer class is a bit more of a mystery at the outset of the game. What do they have to offer that the other casters can’t?
As it turns out, Sorcerers specialize in the unexpected. While Sorcerers cannot access as many spells as Wizards, their ability to modify all of the spells available to them via their unique Metamagic abilities arguably makes them the most diverse casting class in the game. Turning single-target spells into AoE bombs, gaining extra casts per turn, finding ways to “break” spells by tapping into new possibilities, constantly weighing the benefits of how to invest your spell slots…Wizards may be expert magic casters, but there is certainly something to be said for the ways that Sorcerers’ abilities ask you to consider the core functionality of every single spell in the game.
Sorcerers are certainly capable of becoming the most powerful combat class in the game, but it’s the sheer joy of constantly discovering what they are capable of that makes them such an exciting option.
Larian recently revealed that Paladins are actually the most popular class in the early days of Baldur’s Gate 3. While that’s quite surprising given that Paladins have historically only been modestly popular in D&D, I was thrilled to learn that so many players quickly discovered BG 3’s utterly fascinating take on the Paladin’s classic class concepts.
From a combat perspective, Paladins can more than hold their own. The right kind of Paladin can pack a surprising punch, but nearly any kind of Paladin in Baldur’s Gate 3 will have access to a variety of defensive, tanking, buff, and healing abilities that allow them to effectively contribute something worthwhile to any kind of battle on every turn. You will never be bored playing as a Paladin in a fight.
However, it’s the role-playing elements of Baldur’s Gate 3 that give Paladins a considerable edge in these rankings. Paladins are one of the few classes in BG 3 that have to pick their subclass right away, and you often have to consider the role-playing implications of your subclass whenever you make a major narrative decision. Failing to do so may lead you down the dark Oathbreaker path, which itself is a viable and entertaining way to play the game. I love role-playing games that form an almost inseparable link between your character decisions and your mechanical/gameplay decisions, and BG 3’s use of the Paladin class is one of the best examples of that concept I’ve ever seen in a video game.
Every kind of Baldur’s Gate 3 player should try to play the game as a Paladin at some point. It’s an unforgettable experience.
Though I’m not entirely sure where the Baldur’s Gate 3 fanbase stands on this subject, my gut says that Bard is probably an unconventional choice for the top spot on this list. However, Bards stand out to me as not just the most unique class in BG 3 but arguably the best main character class in the game.
First off, Bards are not just Charisma machines but they regularly have access to some of the most creative, effective, and entertaining dialog/interaction options in the game. Charisma, Persuasion, and similar skills are a bit overpowered in Baldur’s Gate 3, and Bards are some of the absolute best conversationalists in the game. Even when you don’t care about “winning” conversations, you will still fall in love with the Bard’s arsenal of hilarious and original dialog options.
From a combat/character building perspective, I think that Bards may be the most underrated class in the game. Though Bards have minimal access to traditional combat techniques (melee strikes, standard spell casts, etc.), their ability to buff allies, debuff enemies, and instantly access some of the most unique utility spells in the game means that they can contribute something substantial to every form of combat in every fight. Having a Bard in your party allows you to explore a wide variety of strategies that you would simply never otherwise have access to. Mind you, you can access variations of those strategies regardless of which of the equally interesting and powerful Bard builds you choose to pursue.
And that’s the thing that ultimately gives the Bard class that crucial final advantage in these rankings. Remarkably, you do not naturally acquire a Bard companion in Baldur’s Gate 3 (unless you respec one of your other companions). That means that the best way to play one is to roll one, and rolling a Bard in BG 3 will open the door to a role-playing experience you’ll struggle to find in any other video game.