Starting a new Bioware game, or indeed any RPG, is never an easy affair. There are so many new questions that need to be addressed and new secrets that need to be discovered. Bioware’s newest RPG, Dragon Age: Inquisition is no different. In fact, in the widest Dragon Age playable world to date, there are so many new things that it can be overwhelming. Those who want to get their first (or latest) playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition off in the best possible way will want to pay heed to these tips and tricks that make Thedas a little bit easier to save.
Do The Dragon Age Keep
Bioware did something very special with this latest game. Since Dragon Age: Inquisition has come out on the latest generation of consoles while the previous games came out on the previous generation, there is no way to import those precious saved games that decided the state of your Dragon Age world. Instead, the developers created the Dragon Age Keep website that allows you to make pretty much every important (and unimportant) decision that would have happened in Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2 and all the DLC in between.
Of course, you can start the game with the default world state, but creating your own unique world state based on your choices provides some informative dialogue options and interesting situations. Essentially, it fills in a good portion of what happened to the Grey Warden and his party from Dragon Age: Origins as well as Hawke and his party from Dragon Age 2. If nothing else, it provides a fairly interesting replay value to the game to see what changes, and many situations in the game do change dramatically based on the decisions of the previous games.
Pick A Race That Seems Fun
You’re going to be stuck with the choices you make in the first few minutes of playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, so you mind as well put some thought into them. Don’t feel like you have to pick the human race because everyone will love you, this is the first Dragon Age game in which you can really choose from the whole gamut of races. The people of Thedas will love humans as they have noble blood. They also get an extra ability point as their perk. Elves are oppressed and looked down upon (save for by other elves) and host increased ranged defense as their perk. Dwarves are rarely seen above the surface and serve as a sort of oddity, but they can’t be mages, though they have increased magical defense. Qunari are another oddity to Thedas and occasionally feared for their brutality and religious beliefs. They host increased melee defense making them great fighters.
Certainly being human will make things easier, but each race presents the possibility of adding a new dimension to the game. There’s also the possibility of playing a Qunari aesthetic mage that is into the same sex. Make yourself into the most hated combination of beliefs in Thedas, then save their sorry butts.
Also it’s worth noting that gender affects who you can romance, not race (expect in the case of Solus who strictly prefers female elves). There have been a fair few romance guides out there that make it seem like if you’re not human, you will die unloved. It is not so at all.
Don't Write Off Mages
Dragon Age: Inquisition, for the most part, went back to its roots with Dragon Age: Origins-style gameplay. This is great for rogues and warriors, but mages in the days of old were somewhat clunky and left something to be desired. Fortunately, Bioware took the fun mage mechanics from Dragon Age 2 and brought them to Inquisition. Now mages are fast-paced, super powerful and actually really quite fun to play. Playing a mage also gets some interesting dialogue options as well, what with the mages and templars still being at war. All the classes are fun in their own right, but definitely don’t skip being a mage at least once.
You Can Re-Roll Stats for Free, Once
Down in the blacksmith of your Inquisition base of operations, there is a little merchant kiosk that only has two things for sale. One offers to re-roll your stats and only costs one coin. Since you can’t assign attribute points, this can be helpful if your character rolled rather badly. Do be sure to save before using so you can get the optimal stat points without spending too much.
You Can Re-Spec for Cheap
The other option in that blacksmith kiosk re-specs your character. It removes all your learned abilities so you can potentially save some points for other good stuff. This is helpful if you learned abilities that you never use and find yourself short on points later in the game. I would recommend saving it until after the Inquisitor has learned their specialization later in the game. Each re-spec costs 345 coins, so you can basically do it anytime and as much as you want, though.
It’s easy to run past loot or herbs and metals found in the wild, but save yourself some time later and just loot it all. There is no loot all button, sadly, so you will have to loot every corpse, but it is worth it. Aside from weapons and armor, enemies drop crafting materials and valuables to sell for extra cash.
Turn in Research, Sell Valuables
In the “Valuables” section of your inventory, most of the items that are in there are basically free money. They are useless and should be sold to vendors at every opportunity. The key word there is “most,” not all are just free money. The items with the yellow icons can be turned in to the creature researcher who will first be found standing in the corner of Josephine’s office. Turning in these items gives free XP and occasionally upgraded damage against that type of enemy. Visiting the researcher before going to the shops to empty those bags is always a good idea.
Always Assign Operations
The war room isn’t just for initiating the next story quest. You can send each of your three advisors on different operations. These operations give gold, resources, weapons, influence and approval ratings of party members. They can influence the story and open up new stuff to do. It’s worth keeping all three advisors out as much as you can as the operations can pile up quickly. The game also alerts you when one of your advisors returns so you can zap back real quick and send them out again.
Do Long Operations Overnight
Sure, most operations take under an hour, but there are several that can take a 24 hours or more. These operations run in real time so sending advisors on a long operation before going to bed or work has its merits.
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Don’t miss out on this big part of the game. In the first few hours, crafting gear don’t seem to have much merit but only for a lack of good materials. As you progress through Dragon Age: Inquisition and pick up more new and interesting things in the wild, crafted gear becomes a powerhouse. Each material adds different things such as better stats (which is tier-dependant) and different aspects like 20% more heal, 60% more attack or elemental resistances which are handy for say, fighting high dragons.
You can find some great gear in the field, particularly weapons, but some of the crafted gear is well worth it. Especially if you need something with specific attributes to get past a hard fight, as you will on Hard and Nightmare difficulties.
Name Your Crafted Gear
You can name the gear you craft in Dragon Age: Inquisition. This makes it easier to find it quick in your inventory (it will also appear yellow in color, which helps too) but it is also just another level of fun in the game. You know you want to name your swords after Game of Thrones swords anyway, don’t lie.
Your Party Needs Gear Too
Don’t just equip your character with the best pieces and throw the rest out. Your party can equip weapons, armor and accessories as well. Make full use of that or else it will be a struggle to continue the game in later stages. By no means do they need to have the best gear if your Inquisitor stands to benefit more from it, but they should have something comparable. Crafting can come in handy here if you have suffered from bad drops.
Varric’s unique crossbow Bianca is the only weapon he will equip throughout the whole game. It can start to seem lackluster compared to the gear your other party members are using, but it comes with a unique mechanic. You can find, craft or buy Bianca Aiming, Grip and Arms. These will upgrade the stats and the weapon and make it a force to be reckoned with.
It’s worth noting that you need to unequip Bianca from Varric before you can use the Modify Weapons anvil to attach the upgrades.
Talk to Everyone
Talking to the various people around the world has its merits. It is a must for those interested about the lore of Dragon Age but it can also open new operations and side quests. Talking to your party members is particularly important. Explore every dialogue subject and be sure to follow things up after every story mission. As their approval level goes up, it’s worth checking in with them from time to time for new and often humorous conversations.
Use a Diverse Party
It may be tempting to just use favorite characters or three mages and a tank, but its well worth rolling around with a diverse party. Mostly it is because different classes can do different special things. Rogues can open locked doors, mages can break barriers or unobstruct pathways and warriors can bash through walls. This lets players enter different areas that usually either hold good loot or are essential for a particular quest.
Look and Listen for Hidden Items
In Dragon Age: Inquisition it can be easy to forget about the search button, but it can lead to a number of hidden items. When running around out in the wild, the circle around the map will begin to glow when a hidden item is near. However, for those that forget to keep one eye on the map, when a hidden item is near, party members will often announce it with dialogue such as, “let’s have a look around.”
Make Use of Tactical View for the Tough Fights
The tactical view can be the key between a victory and a loss in those tougher battles. Essentially, it allows you to pause and resume the game at your leisure while micro-managing everything that your party does. This is essential for getting the stupid AI to move out of the path of powerful moves and allows for some good boss kiting, providing they are tauntable.
When in Doubt, Run Away
Getting your butt kicked outside of a boss battle? Its okay, it happens. Especially if you get too big for your breeches and wander in a zone too high level for your party. If you are really getting dominated, the best thing to do is turn tail and run for it. Your living party members will not follow unless instructed, but eventually whatever is attacking you will not follow. Your dead party members will be teleported behind you as you run and eventually, after leaving combat, the whole party will be brought back to life. The only thing this doesn’t work for is wild animals. For some reason wild animals never stopped giving chase, the jerks.
Bring Mages to a Dragon Fight
While it will be awhile before your party is ready to tackle any of the ten high dragons present in the game, when the time does come, bring a mage. Solus or Vivienne are preferred as they host incredibly powerful magic in their Rift Mage or Knight-Enchanter specializations. Both kinds of mages rip through dragon’s barriers and do massive damage to these occasionally hard beasts.