Dragon Age: Inquisition is a big game. Even after we reviewed it, I ended up spending another 35 hours with the title. I’m a wiser man now, and I give to you the knowledge I couldn’t have – ways to make your experience with Dragon Age that much more enjoyable. Some of these will be PC-focused, as that’s where I spent my time.
Dive into the Menus
Turn off Helmets
You and your companions have beautiful, carefully modeled faces. Let them get some sunlight. Unless you really can’t stand Sera’s homestyle haircut, I guess.
Set Your HUD to Contextual
There’s lots of stuff going on in Dragon Age: Inquisition, and there can be a ton of information in front of you at once. If you set your HUD to contextual, the stuff you’re not using slides off the screen and out of the way so you can enjoy the gorgeous environments BioWare designed for you to roam around in.
Take Some Screenshots
If you’re playing on PlayStation 4 or PC, you can snap some memories of your time in Thedas. On PlayStation 4, it’s pretty obvious – hit the Share button in whatever configuration you’ve setup to take a screenshot. On PC, it’s equally simple but way less apparent. Hit the Print Screen key on your keyboard, and then head to your Documents folder, the BioWare sub folder, and the Screenshots folder in there, where you’ll see all your carefully framed pictures.
Romancing the Inquisition
Don’t Focus on Romance
For all the time people spend talking about the romance subplots of Dragon Age, it’ll take up maybe an hour of your playthrough. If you’re not too keen on getting intimate with any of the characters, don’t worry about it – there’s plenty of stuff to do.
With that said, there are some truly hilarious scenes to be found, so even if one of the characters isn’t necessarily your dreamboat, consider pursuing one of them.
Stop trying to Romance Vivienne
She’s out of your league. Get over her. Bask in her glory.
Developing your Character
Make Yourself, Like Yourself
You’re going to spend a lot of time with this character. Don’t be too eager to jump into the game. Spend some quality time making your character. Take some referential screenshots if you get things just right. If something looks wrong once you get into natural light, back out and re-do it. It might feel like it takes a long time at first, but it’s worth the time.
Have a Little Re-Spec
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your character’s skills. Whether you’re a mage, warrior, or rogue, there are a variety of skill trees you can go down, and you get another one later. Don’t be afraid to buy one of the re-spec amulets from the kiosk next to the smith. The 300-some coin it costs might seem like a lot at the beginning, but it’s pocket change later on.
On the Battlefield
Get Thee Out of the Hinterlands
You might have heard this before, but it bears repeating. Especially if you’re like me and get a bad case of Skyrim-itis. Get out of the Hinterlands! There’s so much to do in Thedas, and tons of places to see. You can always go back later to do fetch quests and the like if you want. It’s hard to leave all those little markers on the map, I know, but there are lots of cool markers on the other dozen-plus environments, too, and they’re equally worth checking out.
Push Through to Skyhold
If you’re early in the game’s story, you won’t know what I mean, yet. Push the story missions ahead until you get to Skyhold.
If you’ve played Fallout 3, you’ll know what I mean. One of the biggest mistakes you could make in that game was avoiding the main story without first getting to the Brotherhood of Steel so that you could wear sweet power armor.
Getting to Skyhold opens up a new combat element, Focus attacks, and gives you a massive hub area to explore. All the quests you had available before it will still be available.
Keep a Rolling Save
Save manually, save often, and don’t save over your last save. Have at least 3 saves back, and keep saves from important decision moments. Just in case.
Don’t Worry about Baubles
There are all kinds of shiny objects in Thedas. Shards, bottles, songs, mosaic pieces. If you run across one, definitely grab it. Especially those bottles, they’re tough to find. But don’t worry too much about the shards that litter each area. Save them for when you’re looking for an excuse to keep playing the game and you don’t want to do the final story quest. It’s better than getting collectible burnout before you even figure out who expected the inquisition.
Stop and Smell the Roses
There are also lots of plants and rocks to collect in Thedas. These are most definitely worth your time. Not all your time, but don’t totally overlook them. Building equipment and upgrading your equipment take up these resources, and they’re worth collecting. They don’t take up any space in your inventory, so while you might not be able to pick up that ring, you can definitely pick up five more chunks of iron.
There’s an inquisition perk you can pick up that nets you more supplies per harvest/mining that will make this process a bit more satisfying, as well.
Play How You Like
There are lots of ways to play Dragon Age. You might want to play on PC and use your mouse and keyboard to micro-manage your characters. You might want to switch from one character to another depending on the situation.
Personally, I played with a controller on PC – I found the camera much more manageable – and stuck to basic commands, like “attack the same thing as me,” “stay over there, I’m trying to walk around this thing three times,” and “stop attacking that thing, we have super important inquisition stuff to do.”
These are all valid ways to play, so experiment with what works for you, and don’t feel like you shouldn’t micro manage because you have a controller, or that you have to use a keyboard just because you’re on a PC.
Don’t Out-Level Stuff
This goes for dragons and story quests, especially. Each dragon has a level on its lifebar, and each story quest has a recommended level range. If you get too far above these levels, you’ll start to feel overpowered, and the game starts to feel too easy. Do stuff appropriate to your level to keep the game challenging enough. Unless you like feeling like a golden god, in which case you should go nuts. Grind away.
Back at Home
Talk to Your Friends
Your companions and advisors both have tons to say. Worries, secrets, and obligations the other characters have will send you on some of the game’s more interesting story quests. They won’t move you toward saving the world, but they make for some genuinely interesting dialogue in an already well-written game.
You collected all those rocks and plants and animal hides I talked about before, right? Well, don’t hesitate to use them. You can always gather more. Or reload a save. Craft armor for yourself and your companions. Using the minerals you pick up, you can customize the item’s stats and color, making for some very slick looking armor. If you want to pretend the Inquisition has a uniform, you can make it happen.
Ignore (Most) of the Requisitions
Every new area you open up adds some requisitions. Collect X of minerals Y and Z, typically. A few of these, which are clearly labeled, will net you the opportunity to upgrade your base of operations. The other ones just get you “power” points, which you’ll use to unlock new missions. The thing is, you get so many power points just from doing quests and closing rifts that you’ll wonder what you’re supposed to do with all those points. Save your precious minerals for crafting.
Pay Attention in the War Room
One element that threads throughout the game is your War Room, where you’ll make decisions about what the Inquisition should do next. Pay attention while you do this. One quest often leads into the next, and information about the previous one might be useful in this new one. Quests meant to gather resources can net you items to spruce up your throne room.
Pay attention to what you do here and it can actually be a pretty enthralling part of the game instead of just a maintenance thing.
I picked up all of this on my way through Thedas, but I wish I could’ve known a lot of it earlier. I would’ve enjoyed my time in the world even more without having to give up any of the time I spent.
What did you find during the game that made your experience better?