dragonaging
misspiggy385:

DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION, COMBAT Q&A

Can we customise AI tactics as in the previous games (i.e. drink a health potion when below 25% health)? —@WordsToGold, Twitter
[DANIEL KADING]: Yes. The interface has changed, but it includes the ability to customize what skills your allies use, when they will (or won’t!) use potions based on their health and how many potions you have left, and set targeting rules such as guarding certain allies or attacking the leader’s target.
Do weapons and armor degrade over time? If so, can they be repaired in the field? —@Wild_Morrigan, Twitter
[DK]: No equipment decay! Thedosian merchants give their products lifetime guarantees, which was a pretty shrewd business move what with the apocalyptic sky-hole.
How will cooldown work with abilities? —@FreshRevenge, Twitter, United States
[MARK DARRAH]: Cooldowns are still there. You can have eight abilities mapped on the console, which gives you opportunities.
[DK]: Different abilities have different cooldowns, which can sometimes be reduced with upgrades or passives. Particularly powerful abilities may have relatively long cooldowns, making you carefully choose when to use them—or perhaps to combo them with abilities that reset your cooldowns.
Will there be any enemies with instant death moves? —Michael Lao, Facebook, United States.
[DK]: None of the enemies have sync-kill/instant death moves… though with the right combination of difficulty setting, a low-level party, and wandering-into-places-you-ain’t-‘sposed-ta-be, a 1-hit knockout isn’t out of the question.
Can I have two swords again? —Matthew Orsini, Facebook
[MD]: Warriors have the choice of two-handed weapons or sword and shield.
[DK]: Dual-wielding daggers is otherwise only available to a rogue.
I’m not very good at being a strategic player, but I really WANT to be. Will there be some sort of stepping stones to allow players like me to graduate from more simple, action-oriented combat to a more strategic way of thinking? —Haley Livermore, Facebook
[DK]: Many battles are in locations that allow you to “scout” your opponents before they notice you, giving you the time to analyze tactical opportunities the environment offers: chokepoints for warriors, blind approaches for rogues, enemies in vulnerable locations, etc. Sometimes your allies will spot opportunities in these fights and make suggestions on strategies of approach.  
Will weapons be as interchangeable as they were in [Dragon Age:] Origins, or class-restricted like DA-II? —Jacob Wasylenko, Facebook
[DK]: Class-restricted, though our animators provided some beautiful variant attack styles within each melee weapon set. For instance, rogues perform different attacks depending on whether they’re armed with single- or double-bladed daggers.
Are you going to bring back Arcane Warrior? —Robert Pennington, Facebook, United States
[MD]: Something similar will exist, but we’ll get to that a bit later on.
Will there be finishing moves as in Dragon Age: Origins (like the jumping final blow seen against ogres)? —Kai Chen, Facebook, Germany
[DK]: No finishing blows; however, many of our damaging abilities are built to have a “good” way to use them, and a “better” way to use them. Mighty Blow is a massive overhead strike available to two-handed warriors that deals damage and knocks a foe to the ground—but if you use it on a foe already on the ground, it deals triple damage.
Is there a completely new combat skill that you can describe/reveal? —@MarkDLentz, Twitter, United States
[DK]: There’s a fun one put together by our ability designers, Jon Fuller and Luke Barrett, called Fallback Plan. Only Varric, and possibly your Inquisitor, gain access to this ability, which lets you place a gadget on the ground; if you get into trouble later, you can instantly relocate to that position. If you upgrade it, you’ll also be set back to the level of health you had upon placing the gadget, and—if you are standing close to an enemy—you’ll kidnap the enemy back with you. By combining this with stealth, and placing traps or mage glyphs under the marker, many hijinks can ensue.
Is health and mana not regenerating between battles still a thing at this point? —@starcicles, Twitter, United States
[DK]: Mana and stamina regenerate. Health does not, requiring you to be careful about overextending yourself in your adventures. Potions are your primary method of healing in the field, though there are a few rare abilities that can be used tactically to regain health.
Will there still be cross-class combos, or any sort of similar system? —@blanketcocoon, Twitter
[DK]: There are cross-class combos, with unique effects caused by different combinations of rogue, mage, and warrior abilities.
Do all mage followers have good healing spells or will some be better at it than others? —Josh Rodrigues, Facebook, United States
[MD]: We are focusing more mage tactics on defensive abilities (like Barrier) than healing.
Are there any other benefits to the Inquisitor’s “Fade power” other than being able to close tears in the Fade? —Dominic Freckelton, Facebook
[DK]: Most of the rifts in the Fade are defended by powerful, newly emerged demons that still bear a connection to the Fade. These battles are difficult, but the Inquisitor can use their power to even the odds by getting close enough to “disrupt” the Fade rift during these fights, which will send a powerful shockwave out that heavily damages and stuns its defenders.
[MIKE LAIDLAW]: As the Inquisitor masters his or her control of the mark, it may unlock another use that’s a little more global as well.
How, exactly, does focus work in the game? —RJ May, Facebook, United States
[DK]: Focus is earned as a party, but spent as an individual. Focus is given to all party members when any of them damage a foe: this allows lower-damage characters like defensive warriors to fulfill their role while still accumulating focus. After enough is earned, a character can use an ability that costs focus. That character’s focus is then spent, but not the focus of their allies, who can still use it for their own abilities.  
[ML]: Focus requires you to think long-term. You may need it to get out of a sticky situation, or you may want to save it for a particularly tough battle you’re anticipating. Because focus abilities can’t be used every fight, the combat team has been able to “turn up” their effectiveness. They can be real game-changers if deployed strategically.
Are there any missions in game that might unlock new spells/abilities for our character, or will it solely be a level up system? —Kristen Coates, Facebook
[MD]: There is one…
[ML]: Mark’s being cryptic about one particular element of the game, so I won’t spoil that, but I will say that specializations are earned, not granted for free. You will be able to preview all the specialization abilities available to you before you make a choice of which path you want to follow. It’s worth noting that unlike in the previous DA games, we’ve decided to bulk out the specializations more, but you will have to choose one to follow with your character. They add a lot of depth to your tactical options, but we wanted them to be actually special.



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misspiggy385:

DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION, COMBAT Q&A

Can we customise AI tactics as in the previous games (i.e. drink a health potion when below 25% health)? —@WordsToGold, Twitter

[DANIEL KADING]: Yes. The interface has changed, but it includes the ability to customize what skills your allies use, when they will (or won’t!) use potions based on their health and how many potions you have left, and set targeting rules such as guarding certain allies or attacking the leader’s target.

Do weapons and armor degrade over time? If so, can they be repaired in the field? —@Wild_Morrigan, Twitter

[DK]: No equipment decay! Thedosian merchants give their products lifetime guarantees, which was a pretty shrewd business move what with the apocalyptic sky-hole.

How will cooldown work with abilities? —@FreshRevenge, Twitter, United States

[MARK DARRAH]: Cooldowns are still there. You can have eight abilities mapped on the console, which gives you opportunities.

[DK]: Different abilities have different cooldowns, which can sometimes be reduced with upgrades or passives. Particularly powerful abilities may have relatively long cooldowns, making you carefully choose when to use them—or perhaps to combo them with abilities that reset your cooldowns.

Will there be any enemies with instant death moves? —Michael Lao, Facebook, United States.

[DK]: None of the enemies have sync-kill/instant death moves… though with the right combination of difficulty setting, a low-level party, and wandering-into-places-you-ain’t-‘sposed-ta-be, a 1-hit knockout isn’t out of the question.

Can I have two swords again? —Matthew Orsini, Facebook

[MD]: Warriors have the choice of two-handed weapons or sword and shield.

[DK]: Dual-wielding daggers is otherwise only available to a rogue.

I’m not very good at being a strategic player, but I really WANT to be. Will there be some sort of stepping stones to allow players like me to graduate from more simple, action-oriented combat to a more strategic way of thinking? —Haley Livermore, Facebook

[DK]: Many battles are in locations that allow you to “scout” your opponents before they notice you, giving you the time to analyze tactical opportunities the environment offers: chokepoints for warriors, blind approaches for rogues, enemies in vulnerable locations, etc. Sometimes your allies will spot opportunities in these fights and make suggestions on strategies of approach.  

Will weapons be as interchangeable as they were in [Dragon Age:] Origins, or class-restricted like DA-II? —Jacob Wasylenko, Facebook

[DK]: Class-restricted, though our animators provided some beautiful variant attack styles within each melee weapon set. For instance, rogues perform different attacks depending on whether they’re armed with single- or double-bladed daggers.

Are you going to bring back Arcane Warrior? —Robert Pennington, Facebook, United States

[MD]: Something similar will exist, but we’ll get to that a bit later on.

Will there be finishing moves as in Dragon Age: Origins (like the jumping final blow seen against ogres)? —Kai Chen, Facebook, Germany

[DK]: No finishing blows; however, many of our damaging abilities are built to have a “good” way to use them, and a “better” way to use them. Mighty Blow is a massive overhead strike available to two-handed warriors that deals damage and knocks a foe to the ground—but if you use it on a foe already on the ground, it deals triple damage.

Is there a completely new combat skill that you can describe/reveal? —@MarkDLentz, Twitter, United States

[DK]: There’s a fun one put together by our ability designers, Jon Fuller and Luke Barrett, called Fallback Plan. Only Varric, and possibly your Inquisitor, gain access to this ability, which lets you place a gadget on the ground; if you get into trouble later, you can instantly relocate to that position. If you upgrade it, you’ll also be set back to the level of health you had upon placing the gadget, and—if you are standing close to an enemy—you’ll kidnap the enemy back with you. By combining this with stealth, and placing traps or mage glyphs under the marker, many hijinks can ensue.

Is health and mana not regenerating between battles still a thing at this point? —@starcicles, Twitter, United States

[DK]: Mana and stamina regenerate. Health does not, requiring you to be careful about overextending yourself in your adventures. Potions are your primary method of healing in the field, though there are a few rare abilities that can be used tactically to regain health.

Will there still be cross-class combos, or any sort of similar system? —@blanketcocoon, Twitter

[DK]: There are cross-class combos, with unique effects caused by different combinations of rogue, mage, and warrior abilities.

Do all mage followers have good healing spells or will some be better at it than others? —Josh Rodrigues, Facebook, United States

[MD]: We are focusing more mage tactics on defensive abilities (like Barrier) than healing.

Are there any other benefits to the Inquisitor’s “Fade power” other than being able to close tears in the Fade? —Dominic Freckelton, Facebook

[DK]: Most of the rifts in the Fade are defended by powerful, newly emerged demons that still bear a connection to the Fade. These battles are difficult, but the Inquisitor can use their power to even the odds by getting close enough to “disrupt” the Fade rift during these fights, which will send a powerful shockwave out that heavily damages and stuns its defenders.

[MIKE LAIDLAW]: As the Inquisitor masters his or her control of the mark, it may unlock another use that’s a little more global as well.

How, exactly, does focus work in the game? —RJ May, Facebook, United States

[DK]: Focus is earned as a party, but spent as an individual. Focus is given to all party members when any of them damage a foe: this allows lower-damage characters like defensive warriors to fulfill their role while still accumulating focus. After enough is earned, a character can use an ability that costs focus. That character’s focus is then spent, but not the focus of their allies, who can still use it for their own abilities.  

[ML]: Focus requires you to think long-term. You may need it to get out of a sticky situation, or you may want to save it for a particularly tough battle you’re anticipating. Because focus abilities can’t be used every fight, the combat team has been able to “turn up” their effectiveness. They can be real game-changers if deployed strategically.

Are there any missions in game that might unlock new spells/abilities for our character, or will it solely be a level up system? —Kristen Coates, Facebook

[MD]: There is one…

[ML]: Mark’s being cryptic about one particular element of the game, so I won’t spoil that, but I will say that specializations are earned, not granted for free. You will be able to preview all the specialization abilities available to you before you make a choice of which path you want to follow. It’s worth noting that unlike in the previous DA games, we’ve decided to bulk out the specializations more, but you will have to choose one to follow with your character. They add a lot of depth to your tactical options, but we wanted them to be actually special.

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SEX, ROMANCE, AND DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION’S IMPROVED RELATIONSHIPS - Mitch Dyer (IGN)

Sex and relationships typically suck in video games. Relationships are about sustainability, commitment, and building something meaningful, but when it comes to romantic relationships in interactive stories, getting laid is typically the endgame.

Not always, though, and that’s something BioWare is learning from when it comes to improving relationships — romantic and platonic — in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

“I think there are some really, really solid counter examples when you look at where relationships fall down and where they’re flat,” Inquisition’s Creative Director Mike Laidlaw told IGN. “There are some that are really, really effective.”

He points to Persona 4 as a particularly strong example. “I finally got a date with Chie, but that’s not where it stops,” he said. “Later, we’re going to do a slumber party, and we’re going to go to the beach.” He also notes that The Darkness, of all games, accomplishes more with romance than most games.

“The most romantic moment in a video game that I’ve ever seen is when Jackie visits his girlfriend’s apartment in The Darkness…. She baked me a cake, she’s moving in, and you watch possibly the entirety of To Kill a Mockingbird as she passes out on your lap because she’s tired and snuggly. That is amazing.”

This scene, Laidlaw said, “is close as video games came to that first 10 minutes of Up.” Both scenes share the same purpose of making the audience think, “‘I really care about this character — aw, f**k,’” and their motivations change.

“That’s the thing I think the Last of Us goes right to elemental heartstring moments,” Laidlaw said. It isn’t exploring romance, but “It says these are real people and it’s okay to care about them. I think to some degree there’s a joy to escapism when it’s okay to care. That is something that I think is kind of a single-player phenomenon.”

The success of Jackie’s romantic relationship in The Darkness, and Joel and Ellie’s paternal one in The Last of Us, is that they aren’t systemic. Neither relies on players exploiting someone they’re supposed to care about for the sake of an Achievement, loot, or an approval rating. They’re just people.

That systemic problem is something BioWare is trying to address in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Inquisition’s characters respond to situations involving your character in a more organic way than previous games. Characters present during the slaying of a dragon, for example, may demand celebratorial drinking. Others may not. “And suddenly it’s a friendship moment, or maybe more. Maybe there’s flirting, who knows? It all depends on that state. It’s reacting to what happens in the game,” rather than reaching a certain beat in the arc of your romantic conquest.

Part of the solution here, Laidlaw explained, is, “Let’s not have gifts that buy affection. Let’s not have sex be the end goal. Let’s instead try and reach for something that’s like genuine affections and let you go up and say, ‘Hey you, we’re going to kiss now.’ And let players enjoy that, and feel like, yeah, that’s a real thing.”

Certain characters are romantically off-limits for your Inquisitor. Some may be just-friends. Others may not share your sexual orientation. “What the writing team has done is they’ve laid out certain beats which could cause reactivity,” said Laidlaw. Each writer has individually analyzed a beat and assessed how specific characters should respond to you and the situation around them. Some characters may care about something, another may not. How that goes down could affect your long-term relationships — romantic or otherwise.

“That’s something I think the writing team’s done a really good job of,” Laidlaw said. “Playing with your expectations to some degree, and none of them feel the same.”