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Baldur’s Gate 3’s Quest Log Is the Best Quest Log I’ve Ever Seen

If you can recognize the best chef by how they cook an egg, you might just recognize the best game developer by how they present the quest log. It may seem quite simple, but an excellent quest log can make a significant difference in how players experience a game. Baldur’s Gate 3’s quest log is an approach I’d love to see more often.

In recent years, there have been increasing complaints that game developers hold players’ hands too much. After all, many quest logs literally spell out how players should proceed. Often, with a click of a button, you can display the exact quest location on the map. Person A points you to location B, and everything is pretty much self-explanatory.

When the highly acclaimed Elden Ring was released in early 2022, it was hailed as the Game of the Year for various reasons. Its challenging, responsive gameplay, the rewarding exploration of the beautifully designed world, and the approach to quests were aspects that positively impressed players and critics. The FromSoftware action RPG, which also had Game of Thrones writer George R.R. Martin involved, encouraged players to go their own way and seemed to say, “Go ahead and do your thing, go with the flow.” That flow often led me to one gruesome death after the other, rather than the conclusion of quests, but that’s beside the point.

It was a refreshing approach to the traditional quest log. Personally, it didn’t entirely resonate with me. I play games primarily for compelling stories and interactions with intriguing personalities. In Elden Ring, I struggled to locate (and remember) the right NPCs and points of interest, and I undoubtedly missed or didn’t fully complete many quests. This sometimes led to a certain fear of missing out.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s Quest Log Almost Nails it

Baldur's Gate 3's quest log

Baldur’s Gate 3‘s quest log manages to strike the perfect balance, in my view. Unlike traditional quest logs, many quests come with descriptions that leave a bit to the imagination. A summary in the quest log compiles the information that players have discovered up to that point. When applicable, players are directed to the exact quest location, such as when other NPCs provide a precise location or when in-game books or scrolls describe a particular place.

But not everything is spoon-fed in this manner. Many quests cannot be completed in one go. You gather more details and information about your quests throughout the entire adventure. Consequently, your quest might remain dormant for hours as you await to discover further information related to it. You may start a quest in Act 1 and then find yourself at a dead end until an NPC in Act 2 or 3 suddenly points you in the right direction.

Baldur’s Gate 3’s quest log made me think more about the many quests. I frequently delved into the quest log to search for information I might have missed or forgotten. What had I overlooked? Should I explore the Goblin village a bit further, perhaps? Could some nearby animals or corpses hide that last piece of the puzzle?

Baldur’s Gate 3 doesn’t throw you into the deep end, but it also doesn’t treat you like a toddler. Developer Larian Studios‘ approach strikes just the right chord, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

But…There’s Always Room for Improvement

As is often the case with vast RPGs featuring a multitude of quests, there is a point of no return. In Baldur’s Gate 3, there are several of these, given that the game is divided into three large Acts. Each time you’re about to move on to the next act, the game advises you to wrap up your unfinished business. However, there was no way, aside from resorting to Google, to find out which quests could no longer be undertaken or completed in the following act.

In my case, this led to Googling quest names and whether the quest would still be available in the next act. It’s a risky business because such searches have treated me to massive spoilers over the years.

If Larian Studios would indicate in-game which quests expire after a certain time or act, the quest log would be perfect.

Do you prefer quest logs that tell you exactly where to go, or is Elden Ring’s approach more your style? Or would you like to see Baldur’s Gate 3’s approach more frequently? Let me know in the comments!

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