The Multiple Threads of Dragon Age: Inquisition
So here’s something I didn’t really appreciate until fairly late into my play session last night. Dragon Age: Inquisition’s path through the story is even less linear than I thought. I had seen from my time back in the game that quests could be tackled in a pretty open order within the context of a particular zone. But I hadn’t quite realised that the zones themselves were pretty open season on the order you did them in.
Before revisiting just recently I hadn’t touched the game since 2014, when it came out. It looks like one of the last things I’d done was to unlock The Wastes area, so upon returning now I’d simply assumed the path through the game was Hinterlands -> Wastes -> ??? -> ???, etc, etc.
Zones are unlocked from the War Table it seems. And then you can jump around them all willy-nilly.
I had so far essentially been ignoring the War Table since returning, but before kicking off play last night I went through the process of installing the mod Belghast mentioned in a comment to remove the timers of the War Table. I will admit too- I didn’t quite recognise on my first glance at the War Table when I returned what those timers even meant.
I thought they were timers until the mission became active perhaps. But no- the time with the time indicated is actually also a button and would have triggered the mission in question.
You have three ‘paths’ for a table mission- Diplomacy, Subtlety/Spycraft, or Military Might. (They’re given other names in-game, but those are the concepts). Each path relates to one of your key advisors’ strengths, and if an advisor is occupied with a mission they can’t do another one.
That fact coupled with the time requirement is what is meant to force you to make decisions about where to distribute your people. But it’s a bit of an odd conceit because these advisors almost never personally attend to the missions in question, instead delegating to their people.
Worse than the nonsensical nature of it though, is the gameplay behaviour it would drive in order to play ‘optimally’. Every 50 minutes of play or so you’d be expected to travel back from whatever you were doing, head into the keep, go into the council chambers, collect whatever rewards you gained from the mission, set them on new ones — and then trot back to the game again for a while.
Heaven help you if your missions become desynced significantly with when your advisors are becoming available again.
So! The mod. What it does is removes timers from the missions that had them, allowing you to clear out the missions on the board essentially as they come up in a single visit.
For the most part this is a far superior experience. One thing that I did note though is there are some repeatable missions that reward resources. It’s very much not intended that you should be able to run these back to back with no delay and it feels very cheat-like to do so. At least at first blush it did. I still need to consider whether this is something I want to engage in or not.
If I end up using it here and there, the logic is that collecting the resources obtainable by these missions is never difficult. It’s just tedious. They’re fairly common and easy to spot in the appropriate zones, but you need to run around and run through the full collect animation for 1-3 of the item, when many of the things I’m looking at using them for now want 30 or so of each type.
So I might. I restricted myself last night though after making the initial discovery.
Time isn’t the only limiting factor to the war table missions though.
There is also a resource simply called ‘Power’. Unlocking major missions or areas requires an expenditure of power, quite often 8, but I’ve seen some major points of interest on the Orlais side that want 20 or so. After unlocking a few of the areas that required 8 points though, I didn’t have enough for any of the super big ones. I assume they move toward the major story missions of the game, but will see.
Right now though I have several significant missions running across four to five different areas. Heck, mousing over The Hinterlands tells me I’m still on 1/15 quests. I don’t even know how that’s possible! But I’ll be checking into it later.
For now, I’m going to continue with the Crestwood chain and help the poor folk there.
Despite the dark, dreary tone to the area, Crestwood has been pretty neat so far. Helped immensely by a cameo from an important past character from the DA series! It was a bit surreal in some respects encountering this person actually.
But I shan’t say more on that, just in case others are yet to go through… You know… 7 or so years late, like me… ;)