Discover the Dragon Age: Bioware Base (PAX East 2014)

The Panel

The 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.


Now, 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 in Dragon Age* (see clarification post) 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)