Baldur’s Gate 3 trade vs barter: what’s the difference?

During your gameplay in Baldur’s Gate 3, you will encounter numerous vendors. However, as a novice player, their barter system, which is the default trading mode, could cause some confusion.

Unknown to some players, there are two possible ways to go about trading. One option is to barter, which involves arranging your gold or items on one side of the trade window, and the vendor’s goods on the other side, to negotiate a fair deal. Alternatively, you can simply trade your items directly for gold. As a player, you might question the benefits of bartering versus regular trading in BG3. I’m here to demystify this system and provide guidance on the most efficient choice generally.

Should you choose to trade or barter in Baldur’s Gate 3?

When you access the trading window at any shop, you can switch between the bartering and trading systems by toggling a button at the top of the interface. By changing the button to “Trade”, you can sell from your inventory or buy from the vendor’s by double-clicking any item.

A visual demonstration of the barter trading interface in BG3. | Image captured by Dot Esports

By default, every time you visit a merchant, the dial will be set to “Barter”. To be frank, I see minimal advantage of using the barter system in BG3. Dragging items around to arrange a trade is a considerable time sink.

Related: Baldur’s Gate 3 – How to achieve access to and utilize the Adamantine Forge

Additionally, the barter system often requires mental calculations to assess if the trade-off is fair. If you fail to offer enough gold or items equivalent to a sufficient amount of gold, the vending NPC will not accept the transaction.

Hence, I gravitate towards the simpler trade option. This method only requires a double-click to sell or buy an item, which makes dealings at the merchant’s shop faster, and doesn’t necessitate any mental arithmetic to balance the trade offer.

About the author

Joey Carr

Joey Carr is an established writer for various esports and gaming platforms. He boasts 6+ years of experience, reporting on esports and traditional sports events, including DreamHack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.

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