What we want from a new Dragon Age game

What we want from a new Dragon Age game

Something new is being made in the Dragon Age universe. We don’t know if it’s going to be another huge hundred-hour RPG or something a little different. We do know that Sunless Sea’s Alexis Kennedy is involved in some capacity—here’s hoping for a little Sunless Sea oddness in the new game.  Naturally, when news slips out of a new entry in a big series we start to comb over our experiences with the games we’ve played so far. Then, wishlists start to form. What should go? What would we like to see more of? Why is Dragon Age 2 definitely the best one? Here’s what we want from a new entry in the series.

Better combat

I don’t expect BioWare to reprise Origins’ combat—that just isn’t how big publishers make RPGs now, for better or worse. It would be nice to see a little more fine tuning when it comes to customising your party’s tactics, though, which was streamlined in Inquisition with a system that wasn’t quite as intuitive or useful as Origins’ was. Origins let you program very specific conditions for when your characters use abilities. I’d like to see the next game offer that mastery. Players who want an easier time of it can just carry on playing Dragon Age like an action game, which is honestly how I’ve played it since the first game came out.

I don’t mind that too much—Inquisition is more than serviceable as an action game and I can only see BioWare getting better at that in the years since its release—but offering more optional ways to strategise would please some parts of the series’ fanbase.—Samuel Roberts  

Less extraneous sidequests

We thought Mass Effect Andromeda would learn this lesson from Inquisition, but it sadly didn’t. Low quality fetch or grind quests may pad out an open world, but they also slow down the structure of the game’s story, and some players may obliged to complete all of them before moving onto the best parts of the game. Inquisition had that in particular—hence Phil’s cry to leave the Hinterlands in Inquisition.

I love the open world environments of Inquisition, and the party banter is so good that you enjoy the sense of journey, and the tension that comes when you know a dragon fight is approaching. But you can have that sense of journey without tasking the player to do a bunch of extra stuff.—Samuel Roberts

Open world areas that don’t feel like MMO zones

They are pretty, but the zones aren’t terribly interesting to explore. There’s a nice variety to the game’s biomes when you consider the world map as a whole, but the areas themselves have little internal variety. The desert zone is endless sand and some rocky caves. The swamp is dark and endless. The Storm Coast is one of the few zones that has a believable flow—from rugged grey beach to towering strongholds—but it still suffers from DA:I’s other problems. Enemies roam in predictable patterns waiting to be cleaned up. Your characters’ clumsy traversal abilities fight with the uneven rocky geometry of the ground, sending you sliding awkwardly over rocks in a mid-leap manakin pose. Open worlds are getting better every year. Dragon Age will have to keep step.—Tom Senior 

Complicated villains

Inscrutable and numerous, the Darkspawn are good fantasy villains, but I’ve always preferred grey-area antagonists who work against you for their own understandable reasons. Dragon Age has plenty (Loghain, Flemeth, the Qunari Arishok) but I’ll take more. The backlash against Dragon Age 2 showed that fans expect epic scope from the series, so a new Dragon Age will probably need another angry demigod to destabilise Thedas and bring the races into conflict. That’s all good as long as we get to meet some interesting rogues on the road to the final boss fight.—Tom Senior