There’s a lot going on and a lot to process in Baldur’s Gate 3 to the point where even the basics can be confusing. That’s why we have guides for fundamentals like how to rest, for example. Up next is leveling up, which seems like an obvious thing, but there are lots of small details that could be useful for new players – especially those of you who don’t have prior experience with Dungeons & Dragons, which Baldur’s Gate recreates more accurately than not. Plus, we’ll go over the controls on how to level up, which could be handy as well.
How to level up
If you’re using a controller instead of a mouse and keyboard, there are two ways to access the leveling menu in Baldur’s Gate 3. First, to tell when your characters are ready to level up, there will be little gold arrows on the party portraits on the HUD’s left. First, you can press the LT (or equivalent) button to bring up the quick party member swap gimmick, then press RB on each person in your group. You can also press RT to bring up the whole menu, where leveling up will have its own spot in the radial UI.
Unlocking feats and skills
When you go to the level up screen, you’ll see a few different things depending on your class, and level. You’ll always get a little HP bump, but you may also see new actions, or an opportunity to choose one or more spells, feats, and skills. Feats can be a huge deal for your characters, and the other stuff is just as important for making your characters both stronger and reflective of you as a player. By the way, these screenshots were taken while I was playing on an AYANEO 2 with resolution upscaling on, so please don't make fun of my blurry guy! He's doing his best out there.
Essentially, Feats are passive abilities. Sometimes they’re paired with ability score increases, sometimes they change the equipment you can use, and sometimes they help your character specialize in things beyond simple stats. There are few opportunities for new feats, making each choice pretty monumental.
While feats involve new abilities and your characters’ stats, skills are all about the dice rolls. Each skill is based on a stat, but if you specialize in one you apply your proficiency bonus on top. And when you get “Skill Expertise,” you can double that proficiency bonus. So if you want to diversify the kinds of checks your character can make, or simply make certain rolls nearly impossible to fail, this is where skills come into play.
That’s pretty much it for how to level up in Baldur’s Gate 3. Spells are pretty self-explanatory and are more intuitive than the other stuff. Also, to check your exp and see how close you are to the next level, there’s a yellow bar on the right of the screen when you open up the character/inventory menu. You’ll also be able to browse all your different choices, split across Characteristics, Proficiencies, and Statistics in the same menu.
With leveling up covered, check out our Baldur’s Gate 3 strategy guide page for more hints and help on this sprawling adventure.