Dragon Age: Inquisition (Discussion)

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Dragon Age: Inquisition (Discussion)

Postby Tawmis » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:58 am

Might as well start the thread...

"The next Dragon Age will not reuse level and have decisions that matter."

Apparently they've taken a lot of heat for DA2 and ME3.

http://www.gametrailers.com/side-missio ... at-matter/

BioWare said at PAX East today that it's taking fan feedback on the future of its Dragon Age series — and harsh criticisms of Dragon Age II — to heart. At the developer's first panel today, Dragon Age creative director Mike Laidlaw walked fans through some of the most frequently vocalized criticisms and suggestions, hinting at three key changes coming to the next entry: equipment for your followers, decisions that matter and no more reuse of levels.

Laidlaw couched his statements about the future of Dragon Age by saying that the topics under discussion were not official announcements.

"We're not making promises here, we're talking about ideas," he warned.

On the subject of equipment for followers in future Dragon Age games, Laidlaw illustrated how armor sets might look different on different classes of followers.

"Suppose, in your party, you have a Gray Warden. And suppose you had a Seeker," he said, showing a male Gray Warden and female Seeker. "And you had this thing: a suit of armor, a chest piece, and it had stats and stuff."

Laidlaw showed that armor set applied to the Warden, then to the Seeker, in concept art form. The armor looked slightly different on each, with "thematic" aesthetic differences applied so "they don't lose their identity in the process." Laidlaw then showed a slew of concept art, with various armor pieces from helmets to shoulder guards to bracers, then full sets, each applied to the two different classes.

He also teased the possibility that players might be able to fully customize armor pieces, applying color and types of material (cloth, leather, mail) to armor sets.

On the topic of "decisions that matter," Laidlaw said BioWare is looking to add more character agency ("My character has an active effect on his or her world, determined by my choices") and player agency ("I have control over my gameplay experience") to future Dragon Age games.

And player decisions that carry over from game to game could be given more attention, he said.

As for the oft-heard critique of Dragon Age II, that BioWare recycled dungeons and environments to an annoying degree, Laidlaw said it will stop reusing levels again and again and again.

"We're looking for variety, space and scope," Laidlaw said, showing concept art of huge open spaces (and at least one dark dungeon). He hinted that players will likely "go somewhere new, somewhere a little more… French" in the future.

All that said, all of it to a warm response from the hundreds of gathered Dragon Age fans, Laidlaw reiterated all of this would be "kind of cool, in theory" and that the developer wasn't ready to announce anything it wasn't comfortable showing.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Datadog » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:10 pm

Still haven't played DA2, but as far as re-using levels in games, I can be pretty on and off with it.

In ME3, I actually liked that they kept more-or-less the same Normandy from ME2. It felt like I'd just came home and everything was where I'd already left it. And by re-using various maps back in ME1, it was easier for me to gauge how much time I'd be spending on the side-missions. Even in Telltale Games, I love returning to old locations just because it adds to the "TV show" feel of their series. When used right, re-using levels can be very comforting and make you feel more involved in the experience.

On the other hand, with the laziness factor thrown aside, re-visiting maps is akin to just hanging around the same neighborhood and never really getting out and exploring. Part of the DA1 experience for me was the excitement in finding out what would happen when I finally got to the dwarf level. What their world would look like, what I'd be doing there, who'd I'd meet, etc. And if re-visiting the dwarves in DA2 is anything like DA1, I'm just going to scream and throw my keyboard across the room right now. It also reminds me of "Final Fantasy X-2" where all you do is re-visit the same towns just to say hi to people from the first game and learn how much more obnoxious they've become. So when re-using levels wrong, the experience is like a family reunion from hell.

On that note, I should really get around to playing DA2 already.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Maxor127 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:35 pm

Reusing levels in DA2 was made even worse and more lazy by the fact that all they did was block off doorways, but you could still see the blocked paths on the maps. Add in that the game took place in one city, and you were constantly replaying those same areas, it just made it even worse. I didn't really mind not being able to outfit companions though, because it meant less crap for me to deal with. One negative for Dragon Age Origins was how many items you found, and most of it was worthless. And without DLC or maybe a mod, you had nowhere to store it. But then again, at least most of it had a purpose. In DA2, they literally gave you junk.

They should also redo combat and not lock styles into classes. It was almost perfect how it was in Origins. DA2 was too cartoony. And no more magically spawning enemies dropping out of ceilings. I don't mind a reinforcement system, but it was poorly done in DA2. Blah... I could go on and on with the issues with DA2. DA2 and Battlefield 3... two huge disappointments for me last year, both EA games.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Rath Darkblade » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:44 pm

Hmm. Here are some things that I thought were wrong with DA2:

- A billion trillion gazillion enemies dropping off the ceiling (as Maxor127 already specified)
- The re-hashed dungeons being reused again and again and again... very annoying.
- No way to customise your followers - it's true that in DA1, you had lots and lots of spare equipment. However, it just made it easier to customise your followers with whatever outfit, weapons etc. you wanted, which I thought was terrific. In DA2, there was no way to do this - and if you missed out on any "upgrades" to your followers' outfit, you were screwed. That sucked. :(
- The origins backstories, and the ability to choose your race, was fantastic. I missed that in DA2.
- Yes, the combat graphics were cartoony - however, what I found annoying about DA2 combat was the fact that I just couldn't keep track of what everyone was doing (as I was able to do in DA1). I had to keep pausing and re-pausing, turning the camera this way and that, to ensure that I could see what people were doing. Quite annoying, that was.
- I might be in a minority here, but I hated the way that Anders' character ended up. In DA1, he was endearing; in DA2, he (slowly) turned into a jerk. :(
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby DeadPoolX » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:27 pm

I guess I'm one of the few who really enjoyed DA2. Sure, it had some technical problems (i.e. reusing levels, crippling companion bugs, etc), but overall, I felt the story and characters were much, much better.

I liked Kirkwall and that it took place in a large, bustling city. I can't tell you all how tired I am of running around the countryside. Yeah, it's neat for a little while, but I can only look at so many forests (and fight countless wolves and bears) before it gets boring. Granted, Kirkwall wasn't perfect, but it was a nice change of pace.

I also liked the fact the story wasn't epic. Every fantasy story is epic and it was really nice to have a story where I'm simply one person in a more local tale.

Unlike many people, I didn't mind the lack of origin stories. Most games, RPG or not, don't have those and the origins themselves didn't matter much in DA:O. The beginning was different and a few select pieces of dialogue here and there changed, but overall, your Warden was treated the same, regardless of their origin story.

I just felt the good outweighed the bad in DA2. I know a lot of people felt different, but I think DA2 definitely improved on DA:O.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby AndreaDraco » Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:50 pm

I partially agree with DPX. I really liked the tone and atmosphere of the story, not to mention the characters - especially Anders, Varric and Aveline -, and the urban setting was a nice change from the average fantasy RPG. However, the way the plot was handled was very ham-fisted and plot and game mechanics did not blend very well, as it was apparent when playing a Mage in a city where mages supposedly lived under the close scrutiny of the Templars. To make things worse, none of the player's choices had any real consequences in the end and that was a very frustrating designing choice. The cartoonish combat, with bad guys falling out of the sky, and the repetitive maps were also disappointing.

Overall, I'd say DA2 was an average game, one that can certainly be improved. I look forward to DA3.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Maiandra » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:48 pm

I enjoyed DA2 a great deal and in many ways more than DAO. I thought the main storyline and the political/ethical focus was more interesting and a refreshing change from the usual epic fantasy fare.

I liked how the characters behaved in a more contextual way, responding to events in the game when it was relevant, instead of just ignoring them. They behaved more like real people in how they commented and offered opinions even outside of dialogue with them (i.e. just when running around).

Although the re-using of areas was noticeable to me, it didn't really bother me.

I wish the armour would be like it is in Guild Wars, where there are several different styles of armour that look different for each class. Plus, it lets you mix and match the different pieces of armour for each set and purchase upgraded versions of the different armour styles, if you are really attached to a specific style. For example:

Assassin Armour appearances vs. Ritualist Armours of the same type.

I was going to post some more examples, but the board keeps telling me I can't post when I have the extra links in my post.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Tawmis » Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:29 pm

I side with DAO.

I don't know if...
- Essentially being stuck in Kirkwall 99% of the game, made it feel too "small" to me. (Yes, you can explore outside, but they were reused for the most part; and even the "areas" inside the city "quests" were reused). It all just felt so... small, to me.

- The fact that you couldn't give your party members any weapons or armor, UNLESS, it was SPECIFIC to them, which was often difficult to come across.

- The fact that in the end, your decision doesn't matter for the "final chapter" (I know it's been beat by everyone, but I am sure everyone who has beat it knows what I mean). It felt like everything I fought for, was suddenly made pointless.

- Because of the lack of traveling, and seeing new areas, I didn't feel as engaged. It's not like I was unlocking a whole new area with all new potential ambushes. It all happened in Kirkwall. And usually all in the same places within the city.

- Exploding bodies. Fun for the first three times. Pointless after six zillion times.

- NPCs were nowhere near engaging (not party members, but the NPCs you encountered). Again, it's probably because it was all in Kirkwall, and it seemed like everyone pretty much had the SAME problem with a few small twists here and there.

- Too much focus between Templars and the Mages; there was really no other storyline that was big (well, other than the one with your mother). Everything seemed... more reaction, for lack of a better word.

I think because DAO happens outside; I felt like I was really exploring and getting to know the world. Because DAO was outside, I got to encounter all kinds of people - from religious fanatics, to stone statues, to dwarves, to elves, to werewolves, to humans. Because of that, the people in DAO had more unique problems to go out and solve. Because most of it was outside, DAO seemed to have less of the reused spaces (some of the outside ambush battles were reused, but sometimes it depended on which way you were coming from and it'd give it a different look). DA2 was a huge step back for me. But I felt the same way with my all time RPG. REALMS OF ARKANIA: STAR TRAIL, it was 70% outside, 30% exploring caves and dungeons. The third game (ST was the 2nd) was REALMS OF ARKANIA: SHADOWS OVER RIVA. Other than a brief pirate ship adventure, and being shrunk down to ant size to do a dungeon beneath the city; 95% of it happened within the city of Riva, and it drove me insane.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby DeadPoolX » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:13 am

Tawmis wrote:- Essentially being stuck in Kirkwall 99% of the game, made it feel too "small" to me. (Yes, you can explore outside, but they were reused for the most part; and even the "areas" inside the city "quests" were reused). It all just felt so... small, to me.

I think that's part of what I liked about it. My sense of direction is terrible in games and because of that, I absolutely hated some of the large outdoor areas in DA:O. They weren't bad in of themselves, but I got tired of running around in a circle (and if you think I'm joking, you can ask Maia about that).

Tawmis wrote:- The fact that you couldn't give your party members any weapons or armor, UNLESS, it was SPECIFIC to them, which was often difficult to come across.

That didn't bother me at all. I actually liked that my companions all had their own looks, as opposed to everyone looking similar. Sometimes in DA:O it'd be a choice between giving someone the best armor or making them look unique.

Tawmis wrote:- The fact that in the end, your decision doesn't matter for the "final chapter" (I know it's been beat by everyone, but I am sure everyone who has beat it knows what I mean). It felt like everything I fought for, was suddenly made pointless.

I think RPG players are too accustomed to the world shaping itself around them. I liked that events happened that I couldn't control or change. It made the game more interesting (to me) than simply being the "hero whose actions guide everyone."

BTW, if you felt that way about DA2, you're going to hate ME3. :P

Tawmis wrote:- Because of the lack of traveling, and seeing new areas, I didn't feel as engaged. It's not like I was unlocking a whole new area with all new potential ambushes. It all happened in Kirkwall. And usually all in the same places within the city.

Again, I liked Kirkwall and the urban feel it had. Could it have been done better? Probably, but I didn't miss traipsing around the forest fighting a million wolves and bears.

Tawmis wrote:- Exploding bodies. Fun for the first three times. Pointless after six zillion times.

I agree with this. The exploding bodies were neat at times, but it happened way too frequently. There wasn't even an option to turn it on or off, which really should've been included.

A lot of recent games seem to have fewer options. Fallout 3, for instance, didn't have a gore toggle, whereas Fallout 1 and Fallout 2 did. Sure, you could edit the game files (and I'm sure this could be done in DA2 as well), but we shouldn't have do that.

Tawmis wrote:- NPCs were nowhere near engaging (not party members, but the NPCs you encountered). Again, it's probably because it was all in Kirkwall, and it seemed like everyone pretty much had the SAME problem with a few small twists here and there.

Some of the NPCs were interesting and others weren't. Honestly, it didn't seem that different from DA:O in that respect.

Tawmis wrote:- Too much focus between Templars and the Mages; there was really no other storyline that was big (well, other than the one with your mother). Everything seemed... more reaction, for lack of a better word.

I think you wanted an epic adventure, which DA2 was not at all. I enjoyed the more local and personal feel to the game, but I know there are a lot of gamers who never seem to get tired of being the "epic hero."

Tawmis wrote:Because DAO was outside, I got to encounter all kinds of people - from religious fanatics, to stone statues, to dwarves, to elves, to werewolves, to humans. Because of that, the people in DAO had more unique problems to go out and solve.

DA:O definitely had a greater variety of issues to tackle, that much is true. However, I felt like the game tried to do too much and spread itself too thin.

Maybe DA2 didn't try to do enough, but I felt like I got to know the city and people -- Hawke's family, companions, etc -- a lot better this way. I'd prefer knowing a few people very well over getting to briefly meet a ton of people.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Tawmis » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:32 pm

DeadPoolX wrote:BTW, if you felt that way about DA2, you're going to hate ME3. :P


Not the least bit surprised, after DA2. I figured ME3 would suffer the same thing.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Maxor127 » Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:09 pm

I pretty much agree with Tawmis said. It wasn't the gore of exploding bodies that was the problem. It was just how cartoony and ridiculous it was. Like you were fighting balloons filled with tomato juice. The combat was so much better and more satisfying in Origins. I thought politics was handled a lot better too. Origins was basically everything I expect from a roleplaying game. DA2 is what I'd expect if I was playing a console arcade game. I'm going to be very skeptical about DA3. It would be interesting to see what people's opinions of DA:O and DA2 would be if DA2 came out first and DA:O was the sequel. I don't think it would change people's overall opinions about each game. DA2 probably would've been better received though simply because people didn't know what they were missing. It just seems like a step back in every way. Setting the game completely in Kirkwall may have been more interesting if the city itself were more interesting. There was nothing special about any of the areas. They were all pretty generic, and there were very few areas to explore. And you redid those same areas over and over and over--at least 6 times. One thing DA2 did was make me miss games like Baldur's Gate more because those areas felt alive. Even Origin's areas felt alive. Everyone just stands in place in DA2. The areas are empty for what's supposed to be a bustling city filled with refugees. I don't think there are even any children. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more people in Lothering than in all of Kirkwall.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Maiandra » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:56 pm

I didn't like the gore of the exploding bodies at all, because I don't like gratuitous gore. Thankfully, someone had created a no gibbing mod and I applied it right away, so I didn't have to sit through it.

Once that was gone, I actually liked the combat better than DAO. I thought it felt more fluid and less clunky than the previous game, mainly due to improved animations and better timing. Since I was playing a female rogue it was probably a more marked difference for me, since both the female model movement and rogue attacks in DAO were rather lackluster. I didn't really find it much less tactical, since you could still pause and issue commands. I wouldn't have minded a little more flexibility with the camera, though.

The reused areas didn't bother me very much, mainly because I thought the areas that did exist were quite attractive and vibrant. It seemed like the entire game was a little pressed for time, so if they have a greater development period for DA3, then I don't anticipate they would choose to repeat the areas to the extent they did in DA2. I saw it more as a time limit issue than something they deliberately planned into the game.

I think that every game BioWare has made has been a step forward in terms of settings and party member interaction. Although I do think they made some mistakes in DA2, they were sufficiently absent in ME3 that I'm not concerned about DA3, if it isn't rushed. I think they really will take the best of both worlds and make a great game.
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby misslilo » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:25 am

A long as Bioware is part of EA, you can be damn sure things will be rushed in the end... no way around it :)
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Tawmis » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:00 am

misslilo wrote:A long as Bioware is part of EA, you can be damn sure things will be rushed in the end... no way around it :)


+1
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Re: Dragon Age III

Postby Maiandra » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:19 pm

Although I'm not a fan of BioWare being owned by EA, I don't think that DA3 being rushed is a given. ME3 had way fewer issues than DA2 and did not feel rushed to me and it came after DA2.
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