Baldur’s Gate 3‘s least popular class is the Cleric, and one veteran CRPG developer says that this has nothing to do with how Clerics operate under fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons rules – players have been dodging the class for years.
A week after the game’s launch, Baldur’s Gate 3 developer Larian Studios published a series of infographics detailing various player stats. Paladin was the most popular choice by some margin, followed by Sorcerer and Warlock, with every other class basically tied for fourth place. Except, of course, for Cleric, which was in last place by a surprisingly wide margin.
Those stats inspired a joke from Josh Sawyer, a veteran computer RPG developer who’s worked on everything from old-school D&D games like Icewind Dale to the beloved Fallout: New Vegas and the more recent throwback Pillars of Eternity. That joke quickly turned into some notable insight into how fantasy RPG players have picked their classes over the years.
“In my experience this has nothing to do with the specifics of BG3 or 5E, people generally don’t make cleric/priest main characters in fantasy RPGs. They’ve been the least played class in every fantasy RPG I’ve made,” Sawyer said, adding that “My favorite/most commonly played class in TTRPGs and CRPGs is cleric.”
If I were to hazard a guess on why cleric-style classes are so rarely chosen, it’s that nobody wants their created character – the hero of their story – to be seen as a ‘support’ class. Never mind, of course, that D&D doesn’t really have support classes, and Clerics in particular are just as capable of being magic-powered melee badasses as they are healers.
As Sawyer notes, “I think clerics are a lot of fun to play (and have been for a long time), but players simply don’t pick them as main characters very often.” Y’all are missing out.