After a fantastic first two weeks, Larian Studios has released information detailing choices made by players thus far. The information ranges from fun, trivial aspects such as the total amount of hours played in the world, to more meaningful statistics in the game—like the races people are playing the most.
Of course, selecting your class and race are probably the two most important decision you’ll make in Baldur’s Gate 3. Though character race doesn’t affect gameplay nearly as much as class does, it could be argued that deciding on a race is still more important, as players can re-spec into a different class at any time by paying Withers 100 gold. Race, on the other hand, is currently unchangeable mid playthrough—even with mods.
When creating your character, you are given the option of 11 races to choose from, eight of which have at least two subrace options that will further customize your experience.
Most played races in Baldur’s Gate 3
As of Aug. 11th, the most popular races in Baldur’s Gate 3 are:
- 1) Half-Elf
- 2) Human
- 3) Elf
- 4) Dragonborn
- 5) Tiefling
- 6) Drow
- 7) Half-Orc
- 8) Dwarf
- 9) Gnome
- 10) Halfling
- 11) Githyanki
Some of these rankings feel very fitting, while others surprised us quite a bit. One of the oddest things is the massive drop off between sixth and seventh place, with Drow being chosen almost twice as much as Half-Orc.
There is a bigger gap between sixth place and seventh place than there is between first place and sixth place. This discrepancy almost certainly isn’t to do with racial bonuses, as Half-Orcs, the race kicking off the bottom half of popularity, have one of the best racial bonuses in Baldur’s Gate 3, which allows them to deal triple instead of double damage on a critical hit.
This just goes to show that players really are selecting races in Baldur’s Gate 3 based off of which they find to be the coolest—not that there is anything wrong with that. Focusing solely on power levels can quickly make a game less fun.
The three most popular races in Baldur’s Gate 3
While we personally find it frustrating that Humans are involved in two out of the three most popular races, we can’t say we’re surprised. In fact, because the top three most popular races are Half-Elf, Human, and Elf in that order, you can technically say that the “top three” most popular are only two (Half-Elf subrace options only let you choose between High Elf, Wood Elf, and Drow. The other half is always Human).
Another oddity in the data is the fact that these Big Three are all seemingly within a couple thousand of one another—a tiny amount on this scale of things. The totals can barely be distinguished from one another in the graph released by Larian Studios.
The final surprising thing in the top three is the fact that Half-Elf is at the number one spot. Half-Elves essentially receive the exact same bonuses as whichever Elven subrace a player selects, with weapon proficiency identical to that of a Human.
Thus, there is no glaring reason to select Half-Elf over Human or Elf—we have to assume this is the most played race purely for aesthetic reasons. Once we accept that decisions are being made for preference rather than power, this isn’t too surprising, as Elves are the “hot race” in Baldur’s Gate 3 and Humans are, well, us. Also not surprising is the fact that Shadowheart, a Half-Elf Companion, is the most popular romance choice in Baldur’s Gate 3.
The three least popular Races in Baldur’s Gate 3
Let’s be real, Gnome and Halfling aren’t surprising. Just like in Dungeons & Dragons, almost every person we’ve played Baldur’s Gate 3 with has been more than happy to have a Gnome or Halfling in the party—they just won’t be the one to do it (which really is their loss, as both are awesome choices).
Aside from a general perception of being some of the least fearsome fantasy races, Gnomes and Halflings have some genuine downsides. Their Small size makes them have less movement speed than other races, less likely to succeed on Strength checks like Shove, and much easier for enemies to boss around physically.
They do, of course, benefit from their Small size as well, being harder to detect while sneaking and sometimes being able to access areas that other races cannot fit, but for many, this isn’t a worthy trade off. Typically, this means that Gnomes and Halflings are only going to be selected by serious fans of Dungeons & Dragons who have specific role playing goals in mind, and casual players will usually go for something more “traditionally tough.”
The really shocking aspect of the bottom three is Githyanki taking the 11th slot, making them the least popular race in Baldur’s Gate 3. In this game, Githyanki are Dragon Riders who hunt Mind Flayers and are known for being the most fearsome warriors in the realms. They’re also the least popular. What?
We have a theory. In Dungeons & Dragons, there are nine Races to choose from in the Player’s Handbook, as opposed to 11 in Baldur’s Gate. Drow is counted as an Elven Subrace, so they are still available in the Player’s Handbook. Can you guess which race is missing?
If you guessed Githyanki, congratulations. While they are available as a playable race in Dungeons & Dragons, it’s only via an expansion book. This means that many D&D players might not be familiar with the Githyanki race, making them less likely to play as one.
Even if you’ve never played D&D, you’ve almost certainly encountered Elves in some fantasy setting before. Githyanki? Not so much.
The most surprising race ranking in Baldur’s Gate 3
While we are happy to see Dragonborn so high on the list, we are certainly surprised.
Dragonborn is a “beast race,” meaning it doesn’t very closely resemble a Human. In fact, they are the furthest you can get from a Human in terms of physical appearance in Baldur’s Gate 3. Typically in fantasy games, races that look nothing like Humans can be expected to be among the least popular choices.
In Baldur’s Gate 3, Dragonborn has ranked above some true classics like Tiefling and Drow. Maybe there’s something appealing about being a big, colorful lizard—or maybe people just like being able to breath fire or spit acid. Either way, the Dragonborn is better represented than we would ever think they would be.