A Few Tips for Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition came out last week and I’ve been playing it. A lot. Pretty much every waking moment, except when I feel bad and temporarily relinquish the TV to my boyfriend so he can play NES. To be honest, the game didn’t quite capture me like Dragon Age Origins did at first, and a lot of that had to do with pacing. The thing is, the game is gigantic and very open world so the player dictates the pace. You could zoom through the story relatively quickly, or you could spend 15 hours exploring every inch of the starting area and wondering if perhaps there are more important things for an Inquisitor to do than pick every Elfroot in Ferelden. Dragon Age is full of pet peeves for me, and it did take some work to get past them and let the huge, detailed world and wonderfully written characters suck me in.

Dragon Age Inquisition box art

Here are some things I wish I had known before playing the game that would have made my starting experience much better. For more tips, see my second post.

Character Creation

  • Choose your class wisely, especially if you want to be able to experience all of the interactions between your companions. I’m playing as a rogue, which was a bad choice for this. In combat, you pretty much will always need a warrior to draw threat (even if they aren’t a shield tank) and a mage who can cast barriers (basically Power Word: Shield) in your party. There’s no healing in this game, besides limited use potions, so barriers are very important. A rogue you can honestly take or leave, and I’m finding being one myself really limits the possible party comps. I’d love to see the interactions between Sera, who’s quite daft, and Cole, the friendly ghost, but they’re both rogues as well, and having a party where 3 of 4 characters are rogues is very hard to work with.
  • That said, rogues have some super fun abilities like Smoke Bombs and Leaping Shot which lets you backflip out of danger, firing a hail of arrows in your wake.
  • When you play as a rogue or warrior you get 2 sub-class options (archer vs. stabby stab, sword & board vs. 2H), but these don’t lock you into anything, it just decides what weapon you start with.
  • I don’t particularly like the look of the character I created. She looked okay on the creation screen, but in-game I’m less impressed. Play through the intro and don’t be afraid to restart if you want to change appearance. Better to do it 15 minutes in than be like me and wish you had done things differently 40 hours in.

Story and characters

  • Leave the Hinterlands. Really. Do it. I wish I had read this article earlier. I probably spent a good 10 hours exploring, closing rifts, and picking up every herb/ore/item I could find. It got boring. It made me think DA:I was a bad game. Hinterlands has been one of the least engaging areas, as it has so much collection to do and pretty much every quest you get comes from a note on a dead body. If you’re like me, uncompleted objectives on your map are an anathema to you, but The Hinterlands isn’t going anywhere. Complete a few objectives, do the quests that will get you access to mounts, but as soon as the game is starting to feel like a slog, go progress the story forward. It’ll make the game much more enjoyable. Also, you’ll get some side quests that send you back to Hinterlands later.
  • Do the first quest in Val Royeaux before you start exploring The Hinterlands too thoroughly. In my game I found Redcliffe in the Northern Hinterlands before I went to Val Royeaux and it resulted in some very immersion-breaking story gaps. Someone in VR is supposed to send you to Redcliffe, and the game doesn’t recognize or adapt to you doing things in the wrong order.
  • Gather all possible companions early so you can get to know and love them, and have a variety of party comps to choose from. You can miss some of them if you wait too long. Here’s how to find each of the extra companions:
    • Sera – Friend of Red Jenny quest triggered when you go to Val Royeaux.
    • Vivienne – The Imperial Enchanter quest given by a mage in Val Royeaux.
    • Iron Bull – The Captain of the Chargers quest is given to you by a messenger outside the Haven chantry, and sends you to The Storm Coast.
    • Blackwall – The Lone Warden quest, given by Leliana which sends you to the Hinterlands.
    • Dorian – Will be found in Redcliffe when you meet with Fiona if you side with the Mages, or will appear automatically at another time if you side with the Templars.
    • Cole – Will be found in The Fade if you side with the Templars, or will appear automatically at another time if you side with the Mages.
  • These are the main quests, so you can pace out how the story will progress. Story quests will have a recommended level range listed when you see them in the War Room:
    • The Wrath of Heaven
    • The Threat Remains
    • Champions of the Just or In Hushed Whispers
    • In Your Heart Shall Burn
    • From the Ashes
    • Here Lies the Abyss
    • Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts
    • What Pride Had Wrought
    • The Final Piece
  • (Minor story spoiler) You can only do one of Champions of the Just or In Hushed Whispers. Do Champions if you want the Templars to join your cause, or Whispers if you want the mages. You can’t have both.
  • I suggest moving the story forward to From the Ashes fairly soon. It was at this point that the story really became interesting, and I began to care about my character and her cause. If you find yourself feeling unengaged while exploring and doing side-quests, doing the story quests up to this point should fix that.

Inventory and other stuff

  • In your inventory, Valuables are the equivalent to junk in the previous DA games. Not sure why they changed this. Put everything you want to sell in here so they can be sold all at once.
  • Another annoying thing about valuables is that the category is applied not just to actual junk, but also to research items that you should be turning in. So drop by the research table before you start selling en-masse. (Thank to @ArielleEJ for this tip)
  • The inventory system is not great, and you will get a ton of crappy gear drops. If you’re playing on normal (or easy) you don’t have to worry too much about gear, I definitely don’t recommend letting it consume too much of your time if it’s something you don’t enjoy. Junk (or ‘valuable’) all the white/common gear, and just focus on the better stuff. Every couple of hours I go back to my home base, see if anything new is an upgrade for anyone and sell everything else. I generally avoid crafting unless someone has weapons that are vastly inferior to the rest of the party.
  • Upgrades are generally worthwhile, but don’t spend too much time on them. Just slap on whatever will fit on your character’s gear. You can also remove upgrades (but not runes) from gear you will be selling.
  • The one piece of gear that does warrant more attention is Varric’s crossbow, Bianca. He’ll have this weapon all game, so you should buy or craft upgrades for it as you can.
  • Though I’m not into scrutinizing the stats on gear, the appearance of the gear is well worth paying attention to. Bioware did some killer work on armor this time around. Leliana’s armor is perfection, and most of the other character’s armor is also both beautiful and functional looking. It’s truly exciting to be a female rogue who does not have bare legs.
  • Inventory is limited, so I highly recommend taking the 2 Tailoring Inquisition perks when you can, which will give you an extra 30 slots. Especially if you’re like me and pick up everything in sight.
  • I think I’ve given myself a repetitive strain injury by constantly pushing L3 to search for hidden items. Unless you’re desperate to find every herb/ore, give your hand a break. Your companions will say something when there is an important hidden item around.
  • The addition of jumping in the game is nice for those who can’t keep still, but it also brings up a lot of Mako-reminiscent, cliff scaling frustrations. I don’t really have tips to avoid this, just a warning. Though mounts are a bit better at climbing things than you are on foot.

Good luck and happy Inquisiting!

Have any tips for me?

9 responses to “A Few Tips for Dragon Age: Inquisition

  1. Holy wall of advice! You certainly are thorough.

    Yes, there maaay be things more important for an Inquisitor to be doing, but what if you get near the end and really neeeeeded that 287th Elfroot?!!

    I tried to skim most of this because spoilers, but ugh, I am really sick of writers giving you open worlds and then not accounting for the possibility of you skipping some stuff. Don’t make story elements depend on earlier stuff to make sense, if that stuff can be skipped!

    I aim to get to Dragon Age: Origins (that’s the first one, right? It’s the only one I have in Steam) sometime next year, hopefully earlier rather than later, so I am interested in seeing what all the fuss is about.
    Dahakha recently posted..Mindsets

    • Also, this may be terribly naive, since I haven’y played the series, but I think I would view having 3 rogues in my party as a “Challenge Accepted” kind of deal if I liked the characters that much.

      Ah well, at least you’ll get to choose those characters on your next playthrough!
      Dahakha recently posted..Mindsets

    • I was really surprised when my playing things out of order (and really, how would I know I was doing things out of order) broke the narrative like that. I don’t think I did anything way out of left field. A giant, explorable zone was put in front of me, so I explored it a lot before doing any other quests. Since then I’ve also run into a few quests that would not complete and remove themselves from my quest log because I guess I did things in the wrong order again. It’s quite annoying. I highly recommend DA:O.

  2. grumpymushroom

    I’m playing a rogue and having fun with it. I deliberately picked daggers because I knew I’d make Sera and Varric ranged so there was a reason to bring along one of them (I haven’t met Cole yet). You are correct about needing a tank, but I had intended from the start to bring Cassandra on most missions (love her to much to leave behind). I’m playing on PC so have the ‘fun’ of the utter crapness of the PC user interface. A bit of keyboard remapping has sorted out most of the problems though. I don’t get on with controllers, so that wasn’t an option. The UI is clunky, but if you think more MMO rather than Diablo style, then its workable.

    Otherwise am loving this game to bits!

    • I’m an archer and I was a bit disappointed to have Varric, who’s with me from the start, and Sera who was one of the first companions I picked up be archers as well. I really enjoy the class though.

      I’m glad you’re loving the game! I’m loving it much more now that I’ve moved the story forward a bit.

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  4. Played a DW rogue and I can see your point about the party, but had so much fun playing an assassin I didn’t care.

    Also- I don’t know how you got into Redcliffe before picking in hushed whispers/champions of the just? I found Redcliffe on my playthrough but the guard wouldn’t let me in until I did one of those quests.

    Finally- the only part I would disagree with you on is crafting. It is not as helpful while in Haven, but once you start to pick up high level schematics it’s worth it to take some time to craft.

    You can customize for aesthetic reasons or just to get better gear. The gear you create with tier 3/tier 4 materials is far superior to anything you will find in a chest or from a drop.

    Also (from what I heard)- some materials (silverite is supposed to be one) make gear classless, so you can be a Mage or rogue wearing heavy armor.

    • Now that you mention it, I think getting into Redcliffe was a bug. The gate was locked, but I ran up to it on my mount, then dismounted and went right through it. So I guess that wasnt supposed to happen.

      The crafting was definitely more worth it near the end once I got some better schematics. I think most of my characters ended up using crafted weapons, though I only used a couple armor pieces. I fidnt realise there could be classless gear, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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