"If we do our job, you’ll tell us in 6 months. Probably on a forum somewhere."
- Andrew Farrell, Senior Artist
- Dean Roskell, Senior Level Designer
- Jason Barlow, Development Manager
- Leah Shinkewski, Associate Producer (DA Keep)
- Mike Laidlaw, Creative Director
- David Hulegaard, Community Manager (and panel’s Moderator)
"[Bioware] spent a long time in pre-production," as Frostbite originally was used for first-person shooters like Battlefield 4. Everything was hacked by the level designers to prepare for dialogue, communication, and other Dragon Age elements.
The Frostbite engine allows Dragon Age: Inquisition to implement and use big spaces. Players will travel through multiple regions, similarly to Origins of a fast-travel across the nation. The developers have kept three goals in mind:
- Area Variety. Keep the environments fresh and organic for the player to explore.
- Make the areas significant. “Why is the Inquisitor here?” Each place has purpose.
- Re-discover discovery. Allowing players to traverse the world in any direction they want to go.
The Inquisitor will experience and shape the world through directly influencing the world. With the antagonist hidden and an environment clouded in conspiracy, soldiers are uprooting evildoers at your command and the Inquisition is gaining prestige and power. Your party is the “vanguard” that heads change. By sending troops to fix towers and gain extra areas, your power rises. You, as the Inquisitor, have very unique abilities, involved with closing the rifts, that no other man or woman can do. It’s up to you how to handle the chaos in the world.
Because of multiple regions, every level offers its own challenge. Enemies are unique to the ecosystem, while environmental elements like desert ruins or the coastline with steep hills offer different conflict.
A snowy area where “something goes wrong” and may force conflict with the Red Templars (templars influenced by red, raw lyrium). The location is not simply a small camp - it’s a territory strongly owned and enforced by the Red Templars. The Inquisition’s job, if the player chooses to engage this area at all, is to keep the front moving into this entrenched area by slowly pushing up the mountain.
The main base of operations is protected in the back. War camps protect the front. Red crystals scatter across the snowy fields. It’s impossible to freely roam this area, as the soldiers litter across the war camps, until the Inquisitor and armies complete certain tasks to alleviate the Red Templar command.
Highlands is a Tier-2 encounter, scripted like a puzzle. They are not simple highwaymen walking down some path; it’s an army. The Red Templar faction is a full force, dabbling in powerful lyrium and gaining new powers. However, it’s hard to leave them alone, as their base is a big supply position and its continued presence will only help the Red Templars thrive.
Beyond the Red Templars, the Behemoth will be a challenging opponent. A great creature of raw, red power that influences the environment around it. As it will stand firm, with the help of other templars to distract, it’s up to the Inquisitor’s judgement how to handle such a strong opponent.
The quest line is a terrible risk, but the prize… “You may have gone somewhere else entirely. Like not going to this area at all, but still progressing in this part of the game.” You can drive the story without needing to stop to help at every turn, though it may help the Inquisition for better purposes. Gold is the most immediate treasure, but influence and a new location of a good supply position will help. Your choice.
(Small note: A character from The Masked Empire will appear in the Highlands. It apparently makes sense that they are present.)
Hunting and Gathering
If you want to go dragon hunting, you can. If you want to pick herbs, you can. If you want to hunt deer or nugs (HOW DARE YOU), you can.
Keep in mind that ecosystems deplete over time, if you hastily wipe out an area. Sometimes you will have to wait for certain areas to repopulate. The developers are not encouraging grinding/farming in these systems, but to make sure that the ecosystem is organic to how an area would naturally feel.
Kill a few wolves. Let them live. Come back a few times every now and then, and you get a new coat. Maybe down the line, you’ll make a pair of shoes.
But, kill them all at the same time and you might wait be out of luck the next time you need fancy armor.
- Elfroot is rare
- Specific kills against a creature faction will benefit combat against that faction in the future
- "Big *** creepy spiders" are in caves. And possibly in crates. Do not open. (You’ve been warned)
- Time to crate, a term to describe “how long does your game manage until you have to break a crate”
A Moment for Combat
Traps, stealth, and abilities were improved to help preemptively plan for battle. Walls of ice (edit: magically made ice walls) and blockades will force archers to move into line of sight.
Dragons are designed to rip your head off. Good luck getting in direct contact enough to swing a blade, as they are terrifyingly difficult encounters. In most cases, you will target the limbs enough to attack the head. Dragons have dynamic flight patterns, where it adjusts to certain details: your health, your in-combat/out-of-combat status, and your location. However, dragons are not simply generating out of the sky; each dragon is an individually scripted encounter. It exists for its environment.
Preparing to kill a dragon is your first step. Gearing and preparing your party is second. Dragon hunting alone is giving yourself quests, as many prerequisites exist to not get utterly torched by one.
Quick tip: THE FLOOR IS LAVA.
Ah, well. Not really. Just a tip that dragons can scorch the earth and its fire can damage an Inquisitor’s pretty feet.
The free, web-based experience Keep will “allow you to shape and share your experiences”. The best part of Keep is its ability to help discover and illustrate new areas that the player may have not seen before. Developers are happy with using Keep, as it builds confidence in making sure it’s not detrimental whether the player has or has not played Origins or 2. Going into the future, the Keep will be an effective tool in helping players import worlds and share stories with others.
Happenings outside the DA games franchise (i.e books, movies) will relate in the timeline of all events. - Mike Laidlaw, said right before The Masked Empire being referenced in Inquisition
Day and Night cycles? No, as it is driven by story. Not on a dynamic system, as a stylistic choice. This way, different environments can have very strong atmosphere and mood in sync with the crafted music and script. On a long term basis, however, it is something the developers may look into.
Weather changes? Yes, as demonstrated by the rain in the Dragon Age: World of Thedas environmental trailer.
Overworld travel map is currently instant-fast travel between nations. Random encounters experienced in between fast-travel, like Origin’s system, is still being investigated and nailed down by the developers. The issue is that entering an area involves scripted encounters for your base. The context of the game has changed so much that it feels unnecessary, but is still being evaluated for Inquisition.
Elements from the novel Asunder will, at the very least, be explored. At least one character from Asunder will appear.
No MMO planned, as of now. While they do have gameplay fundamentals mirroring MMO-mechanics, they want to concentrate on building story. Experience is for “one player coordinating actions of the party”.
Scouts are sent out to show possible places to overtake, like old keeps or outposts. They will tell you the initial storyline and purpose/advantage for the Inquisitor to venture out. These bases captured will be safe harbors for that regional area, once claimed.
anon asked: dragon age origins or dragon age 2
The PanelThe first panel of PAX weekend was “Discover the Dragon Age”, starting with a humble introduction to the devs of Inquisition and a playing of the trailer “Discover the Dragon Age” that released in March. Touching on the story and whole of Thedas, the developers noted on their efforts to make Inquisition a memorable exploration where it keeps “the content fresh for the player” and rewarding those who decide to wander beyond the beaten path. Drawing from examples like the Dalish plains and other Elven areas untouched for ages, they illustrated how these populating areas served purpose, established reason, and built storyline.Players will experience the levels, but hopefully they will be able to draw from the random systems that are involved. Events like factions clashing in your vicinity may unfold before your eyes. Beyond gaining allies and expanding reach, your camp (the place where you conquer and place your standard) will be your bases of power. Take pictures of the start of an area and the end of it and you will definitely find out how you impacted the world.The developers placed emphasis in allowing the players to explore with rewarding experiences. While playing the game, you might get the idea of venturing that obelisk no one is talking about, but doing so may get you great loot (and a load of trouble from an arcane horror). Not every player will experience the same things, venturing out to explore Thedas’s lost treasures, so the developers are excited to see more stories of player experiences shared when Inquisition drops.The combat team is working hard on making sure the engagements are…well, “spicy” enough. Focusing on multiple disciplines: environmental effects, environmental hazards, and more. The creatures and enemies you experience fit within that ecosystem; conversely, certain enemies are not to be found anywhere else.Q&ANow, it’s going to get a bit hazy. The Q&A was all over the place, as expected because not everyone had a question centered on one topic. Bear with me, friends."What does it mean to be an Inquisitor?" will be a great question for you to answer in the upcoming game. In Dragon Age 2, Hawke’s companions were thematically outcasts (Merrill left her clan, Anders left the Grey Wardens, Fenris left and didn’t know his origins). In Inquisition, you are in charge. Your nine companions, classes evenly distributed across mage/warrior/rogue, will be the best of the best. All powerful in their own right: Cassandra is the most highly regarded Seeker in Thedas, Vivienne was First Enchanter and served the Divine and Empress Celene, and more. Expanding, investigating the bad guys, and building earnest respect will be only part of answering your purpose in Dragon Age: Inquisition.Romances in Inquisition are not one in the same: some for affection, humor (like Varric buddying with you), or hate-fueled forbidden love (i.e rivalry love). Don’t worry, guys: you don’t need to romance in Inquisition. Just consider it an option. That being said… Cassandra Pentaghast and Cullen are two confirmed romances for Inquisition. More to be announced in the future.No clear given answer on whether a certain class can use specific weapons, i.e mage using a sword.Certain areas will exhibit its personality in the area. Further, groups will be somewhat clustered together, like the mages being in one general area.The Iron Bull #TwoHander"We are aware that there are a number of loose threads where player characters are involved". As far as the Warden and Hawke are concerned in Inquisition, there is a "solid possibility," Mike Laidlaw says ever so mysteriously.On Flemeth, “you can never be a dragon, but she’ll probably show up”.The Fade will be a sparingly used place. It’s a dangerous place, and while the Inquisitor is the only person who can handle the Fade tears, you will not be consistently and constantly exposed to the Fade.As far as characters returning from Dragon Age: Origins and 2, this is what the devs had to say: If X is coming back, we want to use X in a significant, meaningful way. As we know Alistair is returning in Inquisition, he will have an impact in gameplay (if he is alive in your playthrough). Same goes for any character that is brought up. They will avoid having insignificant, small cameos where the past character barely is involved with the player. Naming any character right now to return, beyond the announced Alistair, is too much of a spoiler.As mentioned before, the choice of race and class determines the Inquisitor’s origin. As mentioned before, Elven Inquisitors will be Dalish. Qunari will be Tal-Vashoth. In having the backgrounds for these Inquisitors set by race and class, the interactions with world NPCs will be more impactive. Dalish elves will recognize Elven Inquisitors, Qunari will recognize Qunari Inquisitors, and so forth.Fun fact: the internal wiki for Dragon Age’s lore is restricted to only the writing team and Mike Laidlaw. In regards to Dragon Age’s lore, the main thing to take away is that everything is based off “what he said, what she said”. Mike Laidlaw says it best that there is prospective, there is history, and it was written by the victors. What the Chantry, the Qunari, the magisters say…is not always the whole truth.As far as the Chant, we will hear more verses in the future. Admittedly, not only will we most likely never see the full Chant, but sometimes the Chant is written and expanded “by need”. At the very least, (thank you to the fan who suggested this), Bioware is now considering offering the sheet music for sounds of the game. But no word on if this will be a thing or not.Long, flowing locks for females, you ask? “Maybe, likely, probably” but they are apparently a technical nightmare because of the variating height for armor. It’s currently being investigated.Qunari (Tal-Vashoth) mages will have magic similar to what we see Ferelden/Orlesian-trained mages. The history behind Saarebas magic will be explored, and its culture down the line will be illustrated, but the player’s Inquisitor will not show in this game.(Disclaimer: As mentioned the last time I did these PAX posts, sometimes I get it wrong. I’m not Mordin. However, most of this is what I heard straight from the panel. I’m reiterating what they say to the best of my notes and memory.But yea, Cullen and Cassandra are confirmed. Cross my heart hope to die, sacrifice me to the demons and what say you)
-Cassandra confirmed as Romance-
Cullen confirmed as companion AND romance.
-Open World environments will have small bits of RNG and will change as you play.
-Confirmed that there is a base, and you can repeat conversations as in Origins
-Combat is going to be a balance between DA:O and DA2- Ice walls were also mentioned.
-The Fade isn’t going to be as much of an open world environment and will only appear during certain story beats.
-When asked about the Black City “If you can find a way to get there you can explore it” said somewhat sarcastically- take that as you will.
-Flemeth hinted as returning
-Qunari Inquisitor confirmed as Tal’Vashoth (might be Vashoth- wasn’t clarified- Not one of the Win is the big part)
They also put on a huge show and changed the lights when they talked about romances… more news soon!