Introduction to the Inquisition - Dragon Age Main Panel Breakdown

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Dragon Age: Inquisition is now a very ridiculously beautiful, adventurous game. 

To put it simply, Dragon Age: Inquisition evolved into a ridiculously beautiful, adventurous game. Bioware not only disclosed incredible new details, but a live-played demo of the game. The following is a collection of Inquisition news as well as every detail I could type as fast as I could during the panel. Most of the words are from either Aaryn Flynn (BW General Manager), Mark Darrah (Executive Producer), or Mike Laidlaw (Creative Director).

Let’s get started.

COSPLAY
Never would I have thought to start with this topic, but Bioware’s initiative to improve cosplay is impressive. Jessican Merizan (clad in Morrigan’s Orlesian attire) and Holly Conrad announced that future assets of the design and concept art of outfits and armor worn in Bioware games will be available to cosplayers in the near future. In hopes of aiding devoted players, these assets will better those looking to accurately represent the original designs.

CORE OF A BIOWARE GAME
Characters. The people you love, the ones you build an emotional attachment to is Bioware’s prime focus.

The driving force in their games is dilemma - you make tough choices for your characters. You choose what paths you want to take, but everything is grey. You see people do bad things for good reasons; best example is Loghain, the devoted Ferelden soldier who almost destroyed his country in order to do what he thought was right. While you may not agree with his actions, you can understand. A single action can change everything and you must live with the repercussions to follow.

INQUISITION’S CORE
As mentioned before, Inquisition has a completely new story arc and massive storyline. Torn apart by war, nations are falling. Chaos is spreading all at the same time and those who need to stand are unwilling to change. You, the first Inquisitor in many years, rise up to defeat chaos and restore order. Bear the mantle and head the Inquisition. You answer to no one. You fight for order. Whether that comes with peace is up to you.

A NEW INQUISITOR APPROACHES
Who are you? A human, elf, dwarf…or qunari. Female and male Qunari are now a playable race. As a Qunari inquisitor, you will have a distinctively interesting time trying to restore order. (In matter of fact, in a later panel, the devs note that a certain quest leaves qunari players in a harder position to achieve a certain ending compared to human or elf players). 

YOUR ROLE
As leader of the Inquisition, it is your duty to make leadership decisions. Your actions will be the deciding factor in the Mage/Templar conflict and Thedas’ nations longevity. You must maintain morale amongst your troops and make decisions worthy of a leader or tyrant. You will strengthen your troops, capture and build strongholds, and grow the organization into an indomitable force. 

LOCATIONS
Desolate and lonely, the Western Approach is home to a number of abandoned Grey Warden outposts erected during the Second Blight, including the mighty fortress of Adamant. 

Four specific locations were revealed in the demo: Western Approach, Frostback Passes, Nahashin Marshes, and Southern Desolation. All locations within Thedas will be large, distinct areas. The map featured in the demo requires 15 minutes to cross alone. Caves are not separated to the map; you can enter it without loading.

The map compass at the top will indicate different icons for points of interest and quests (indicated by !).

The loading screen shows the affected areas of Orlais to Ferelden. Additionally, the following locations are still present in the screen: Nevarra, The Waking Sea, and the Free Marches.

Scattered across the land are Veil rifts: rips in the veil that demons can escape from. Rifts are side effects of the massive tear in the Veil. Some are on land and some under water; over time, you will learn how to effectively maneuver around difficulties to close these rifts.

Strongholds, keeps, artifacts, outposts and other landmarks are present across Thedas. Some of the locations mentioned: Griffon Wing Keep, Death Drink Springs (cave), the Waking Wood, the Shattered Colossus (huge statue, recoverable by agents), The West Gate (Tevinter construction, recoverable by agents), Dust Plains, and Crestwood (main area of the demo). 

EXPLORATION
"Veilfire" is magic-fueled light that can be found in caves and dark passage ways. Additionally, it works like a black light by revealing veilfire markings (that will later be transferred to the Inquisition experts for translation).

Specific environmental elements are destructible. We’ve heard about this in past, but the demo showed a new instance using Antivan fire. The Inquisitor was able to light enemy boats on fire, preventing an escape to the sea. The Inquisitor also destroyed a bridge by hitting it, forcing three archers to fall to their death. Only certain elements are destructible, in order to keep the locations alive and current (opposed to Mike Laidlaw’s description in a later panel about a leftover land of lava).

Health does not automatically recover. You can either use a potion (which you have a limited quantity), healing magic, or rest at a camp/stronghold. Bioware intends on the player preparing for the adventure, not the single encounter. This change in character preservation forces the player to consider who is worth engaging and attacking. The devs want the player to be ready for the world they have created.

STRONGHOLDS
Your group must infiltrate the strongholds by either the sewers, a back door, or smashing the front gate (like Cassandra does in the demo). Once you defeat all the enemies, you can claim the keep and hang your flag up.

After capturing a keep, you must defense it. Like the trebuchets now defending the keeps. You have three types of keeps available to you. The first is dedicated on espionage and secret-keeping. The second is focused on commerce, connections, and merchants. The third is pure military might. 

Your companions will be available to talk to within the strongholds. 

FACTIONS
The demo revealed two new factions: the Red Templars and the Venatori.

The best way to describe the Red Templars is Knight-Commander Meredith from Dragon Age 2: crazy, glowing red swords, and magically explosive fighting skills. These templars have the ability to send their red magic like bombs, shooting red magic in a parabolic curve over walls. Undoubtedly, these templars have been affected by the raw red lyrium of the Deep Roads found by Hawke in DA2.

The Venatori are a crazed cult that are present in various keeps. Little is known beyond their fighting skills, which are predominantly centered around physical contact and a few strong mages. In the demo, one Venatori mage screams “HE WILL REIGN”. (Speculative: The scream may be referencing the main antagonist, who was hinted in Sandal’s prophecy in DA2)

Enemy ranks listed: Drudges, Gladiators (enemies scrunched and hidden behind an iron/wooden shield).

CUSTOMIZATION
Players will forge their own weapons and armor. You can give them special names, while customizing them with runes. The best example of customization is the flaming sword of the demo. 

ALCHEMY
Players will be able to craft potions in Inquisition. You are able to pick up materials across the lands and keep a small, sizeable number of potions. Different parts of Thedas will offer alchemical opportunities; for example, you can send agents out to harvest gas from an area clouded in noxious gas. 

A better alchemy skill or more rare herbs you own, the more potion inventory slots you have.

Plants found in the demo: Elfroot, Royal Stroot, Spindleweed Herb, Blood Lotus

Potions: Rock Armor potion, Antivan Fire

COMBAT
Rest assured, dear Seeker. I’m never out of my element.
- Vivienne

Characters have their own choice of weapons and abilities. Mages, according to the AI, will properly keep their distance. Combat will still have a one-queued action, but the goal is real-time action or planned tactics across your group.

The tactical camera is back, for all five platforms (PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4). The free-floating camera can be used to effectively place glyph traps, setup ambushes, AOE attacks, and other tactics.

Warrior abilities: Armor break, a shield bash. 1080 degree spinning attack. Hook shot, an attack that forces enemies into melee range.

Mages: Firestorm. Channeled frost spells. Ice wall. Dispel. (In a later panel, devs still like Walking Bomb)

AGENTS
Agents will carry out special missions for you. Certain missions require more agents than others. The following are examples mentioned in the demo.

  • Send 10 agents to harvest noxious gas for alchemical uses. 
  • Capture the West Gate. A Tevinter construction that will reward you with artifacts and magics to improve your soldiers and companions.
  • Capture the Shattered Colossus, a massive statue. This will gain renown in the area.

CHOICE
Gravely, Captain Thamond adresses you. The Red Templars have attacked; your men have survived, but the second wave is imminent. It is your choice; you can choose to ready and defend Crestwood, stay with your wounded, or leave the wounded to return to the keep. Or, you can leave them to their fate and pull a Redcliffe.

…the Inquisition must be strong.
- Cassandra

Choice is visibly important to the game. In choosing your actions in the dialogue wheel, you now get a specific account of the actions to be taken for each decision. If you choose “Regroup and Return to the Keep”, the above header states the exact action to happen: “Soldiers leave their wounded. Bolster forces at the keep.” 

Your companions will respond to your decisions strongly. The demo showed Varric frustrated with the Inquisitor’s choice to leave the village to fend for itself. Bioware intends on making sure the characters remember. 

You will make decisions across Thedas. But once you have made them, you may close some doors forever.

(Literally, some places will be permanently closed off.)

DRAGONS

Dragons were overhauled for Inquisition. They are difficult to kill and are a larger scale than previous games. Each dragon is a specially built encounter, which will interact with the location they exist in. 

Disclaimer: Not all statements guaranteed to be correct. As in, I may have missed out on some things or left out specific parts. I am a very, very tired person right now. Thank you for those who are following me as I try and report on all the Bioware panels.