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Players sacrifice their companions in Baldur's Gate 3 for a speedrun: “It's heartbreaking”

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Speedruns are also a competitive discipline in Baldur's Gate 3. But in order to take advantage of some of the glitches, you have to do bad things to your companions. The community is conflicted about how to find this.

What speedruns are we talking about? There are different types of Baldur's Gate 3 to play through. Either nice and comfortable, like MeinMMO editor-in-chief Leya Jankowski, or pretty fast, like the speedrun community likes.

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Even within this community there are different approaches to playing the game. In the case of Baldur's Gate 3, for example, you are faced with the decision of whether to play all three acts. For comparison: The current world record for the Any% (All Acts), i.e. playing all acts, is 18 minutes and 30 seconds without loading times (via speedrun.com). The record in the variant in which the game ends at the end of Act 2 is 3 minutes and 31 seconds.

So quite a noticeable difference. To create such an impressive time, some glitches are necessary. And they require players to behave in a way that is anything but kind to their own companions. On the contrary. You have to use methods that are really nasty.

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Speedruns in Baldur's Gate 3 can end badly

Warning: Mild spoilers for Act 2 of Baldur's Gate 3 follow.

How can the speedrun be successful? A popular method for beating the game in just a few minutes has been dubbed “shadowboxing” by the community. The term is made up of the companion Shadowheart, in German Schattenherz, and the English word for box, “box”.

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You meet Shadowheart very early in the game and is most players' first companion in the group. In order to complete the speedrun, you have to kill the thoughtful cleric, loot all of her items and put the body in a wooden box. The crate is set on fire and glided off the map.

This takes you straight to the end of Act 2 and the confrontation with Ketheric Thorm, Gortash, Orin and the Absolute. The important thing is to have Gale in the group. Instead of fighting, you can choose to detonate the high explosive bullet in your chest. This means that the Absolute is defeated – but all party members also die and the game ends immediately.

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It is a method that requires a certain level of ruthlessness from the players. On top of that, you get one of the worst possible endings. But that's probably not the main focus of a speedrun. Gale's old friend Elminster is also a victim of evil players – because he brings a lot of XP.

The community is willing to make sacrifices

What does the community think about this method? On Reddit, user Rogen80 posted the following meme:

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There are many players under the post who know exactly what Rogen80 means by that. They explain the method with the box to the ignorant and pity Shadowheart, who has to sacrifice herself for it. According to Rogen80, it was “heartbreaking” but necessary to complete the speedrun.

“You’re putting the best girl in the box,” Averander also regrets.

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But not all commentators can show their sympathy. CaitSith21 writes: “How can the heart break? Those who live by the sword die by the sword.”

The author of the post then replies: “Because Shadowheart is a treasure and my great love, that’s why I find it sad.”

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Speaking of love. A very separate category of speedruns in Baldur's Gate 3 are those where the aim is to have sex in the game as quickly as possible. The world record here is 1 minute and 58 seconds. Truly impressive. Less than 17% play with their least favorite companions in the game.

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