The act of Save Scumming is using the save game function before any big fight or decision in a game so that you can return to a point if anything goes wrong. Some games are good for this, such as the Uncharted games. Save scumming in these can save you massive walks back to the arenas. However, in a game like Baldur’s Gate 3, the use of a save scum will basically allow you never to make a foul dice roll, conversation choice, or battle mishap. Should players be able to save scum in Baldur’s Gate 3, or is it totally against the idea of the game?
The Consequences of a Save Scum in Baldur’s Gate 3
In my personal opinion, no, save scumming in a game like Baldur’s Gate 3 totally subverts the entire purpose of the writing and intention. Baldur’s Gate games are supposed to be representative of a Dungeons & Dragons tabletop. Asking a dungeon master for a reroll or to take back a speech choice would have you laughed out of the room, silly wizard hat and all.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that is designed to make you live with your decisions. You are not supposed to get every choice right, just like in real life. Companions are supposed to die, and you’re meant to slip up and say the wrong thing here and there. The joy of a role-playing game is that you need to think on your feet, and your decisions need to have consequences. Save scumming takes this away.
Saving before a dice roll completely takes the point of having bonuses, extra die, and the joy of RNG from the game. Being able to reroll until you finally get the die you want basically nullifies all the complexity of the speech and story system it took Larian Studios so long to perfect. People complain so much about how games with ‘choice’ always kettle them to the same two endings, and yet, when a game gives real choice, variety, and risk, they save scum in order to get the same outcome as everyone else.
Reliance on random
Technically, in a game that relies on random outcomes and dice rolls, you could make your way through the entire game without giving your characters any extras. You wouldn’t have to think about their builds or traits, simply rely on a save scum to repeatedly try again. This isn’t how Baldur’s Gate 3 was intended to be played, and although getting a roll or choice wrong is difficult, it’s all part of the fun. The fact that every game of Baldur’s Gate 3 is different is one of the reasons so many people love the franchise.
Does save scumming ruin the game?
In a sense, yes. If you just want to speed run through the game with the perfect outcomes every time, then it makes sense. If you are using it to ensure everything goes your way every time, you are missing the point of Baldur’s Gate 3. I think it would have been beneficial to the game if there was some kind of penalty system implemented for a reload or non-autosave to discourage people from being cowards with their choices.
Baldur’s Gate 3 is a game that is designed to be played more than once and certainly not rushed. If you messed up your choice the first time through, learn from your mistakes, enjoy the wonderful writing and consequences of that action, and think twice about your next playthrough. Save Scum in Baldur’s Gate 3, and risk enjoying half a game.