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Swooping is Bad: What's next for Dragon Age?

Nobody expects ancient elven gods

I know I missed last week, sorry about that, but sometimes life gets in the way. I wanted to review Antman and the Wasp, and The First Purge this week, but I haven’t had a chance to see either yet. I’m hoping to see them this week, by things are kind of crazy right now for reasons I can’t get into at the moment. So no movie reviews today. Luckily for me, there was an interview with BioWare general manager Casey Hudson recently, again. In this interview, he confirmed that BioWare is currently “figuring out what the next Dragon Age will look like.” Which got me thinking, what do we want to see in the next Dragon Age game? While not in the same dire straits that Mass Effect currently is, Dragon Age has had a bumpy history. And while the last game was a big success, I think Mass Effect: Andromeda killed most of the goodwill generated by Dragon Age: Inquisition. So once again, here are my thoughts about what direction BioWare could take this series in for the fourth installment. However unlike my last post, this article isn’t really about how Dragon Age could be “fixed,” since it doesn’t need to be. Instead, we’re going to look at how they can make DA4 even better. I will be discussing major plot points from all three games, so here is your spoiler warning. If you don’t want to be made tranquil, turn back now. S

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If you’re still reading, I have no guilt regarding anything past this point. FYI, this article is written with the assumption that the reader has played all three games (or at least Inquisition) and is moderately familiar with Dragon Age lore. Because if I had to explain every bit of lore, this would be its own novel. And I’d probably owe David Gaider royalties.

The good news is that Dragon Age is in a pretty good place right now. Inquisition received critical acclaim and was a major win for BioWare after DAII and ME3. So before suggesting changes, let’s start with what Inquisition got right, because there was a lot of it. Just so anyone reading this understands the perspective that I’m writing from, 9 times out of 10 I play a Mage in RPGs. Dragon Age is no exception, and most of my experience with the Warrior and Rogue classes comes from the companions I bring along.

The combat. Dragon Age Origins played similar to the old Baldur’s Gate games, which was a major factor in it’s success with old-school RPG fans. Dragon Age II changed the combat significantly in an attempt to modernize it, essentially turning it into an action-rpg. The combat was faster paced and less tactical, this met with mixed reviews. Now I personally liked the combat change, probably because it was designed more for a console (which I play on) than a PC, and the changes to the Mage class made playing a Mage in DAII some of the most fun I’ve ever had in an RPG. You felt really powerful, able to wipe out entire groups single-handedly at higher levels. So while I loved it, I understand why a lot of people didn’t care for this change. Dragon Age Inquisition attempted to find a sweet spot in between the two, and I personally thought they nailed it. While combat was closer to DAII than Origins, BioWare brought back the tactical options for players who preferred that. I felt this was a good compromise, and while I usually played in real time, I would often use the tactical mode for major boss fights.