The Next Dragon Age Game

Balthezor wrote:

Worse part of Guardians of the Galaxy for me was the annoying combat. It was such a grind. Just mashing buttons. So annoying that I couldn't finish the game. Story and graphics were great.

I felt the same pain, and quickly made use of the large number of accessibility options to dial the combat difficulty down a long way. But even doing that couldn't fully compensate for the increasing size and number of waves of standard enemies, and the increasing frequency of mini-bosses and bosses, as the game went on. (It didn't help that the GotG's party members seemed to inflict barely any actual damage on enemies. One of the nice things about Dragon's Dogma was the fact that companions were pretty deadly themselves.)

Sadly, my experience of these kinds of games is that - having boxed themselves into a combat system devoid of meaningful tactical options - developers invariably reach for more enemies in individual waves, more individual waves of enemies, and - finally - more phases of combat in individual battles.

We will see whether DA: TV falls into that trap...

Thinking about Dragon Age as an ARPG (which it has been since DA2) I think the enemies felt less spongy in what I saw yesterday compared to DAI. As an ARPG, it looked more dynamic than previous installments, which I'm here for. Even just having some functional parries and dodges is a huge step up.

I love CRPGs, but Dragon Age has never been a turn-based tactics game. Origins was RTwP, building off of Baldur's Gate 2. One of the weird things I catch myself doing is having part of me that wishes Dragon Age games were turn-based even though they never have been. A majority of them have, in fact, been ARPGs that have fallen into the tanky waves of enemies trap. What I saw yesterday made me think we'll get something a bit more elegant. BioWare actually has some experience with ARPGs now, and say what you will about Anthem it felt great to play.

I'm going to try and approach The Veilguard on its own terms. And on that front, it looked good.

DA2 was RTwP as well, with the same programmable Tactics system as DA:O and hotbar-based abilities.

Or at least it was on PC. Did it have action controls on console? I see a lot of folks say DA2 was an action game and i'm really confused why they think that.

I remember it as an action game, because I was initially disappointed they were leaning away from the classic CRPG elements.

Also, casually looking up Dragon Age 2 on a search engine will reveal that it is billed as an Action Role-Playing Game.

Dragon Age as a series is wild here because Origins is very much between two worlds in terms of design as a CRPG (consoles and PCs) and then DA2 leaned into ARPG. But it has never really settled on what it is, which I think is one of the reasons why it is interesting as a series (even if game play is not always satisfying/crisp). There's a compelling tension between its inspirations and its goals mechanically.

Nothing about this gameplay screams action game to me. It looks identical to DA:O, with some flashier animations and the lack of a top-down camera. I think that, despite what wikipedia says, i'll die on the hill that DA2 is not an action game.

Regardless, I was fine with FF16's action combat and I'll be fine with Veilguard's as long as it's well done and fun.

DA2 could be played that way. But that is far from the way most played it.

This is exactly what I mean when I say it was between two worlds. They pivoted the combat to be more action-y but also tried to keep the pause and issue orders thing (which still persists in Veilguard!) From the lead dev:

FFXVI had some fun stuff in the combat (though it didn't age well by end of game for me) but there's some terrific ARPGs out there that are really mechanically fun/interesting. I would love a new Dragon Age game to be among them, so fingers crossed!

Funny to think how ground breaking Sudeki on the original Xbox was.

I don't see DA2 as an A-RPGish game either. And have played it again in recent years.
Especially on highest difficulty with friendly fire on, placing those attacks with precision becomes important. But even without that, it has a decent amount of tactical combat.
Lots and lots of pausing, just the way I like it.

DA:I took a big step toward action sadly. And Veilguard seems to be another big step.

It is possible to make very action-focused games with a good pause system. FF7 Remake/Rebirth is amazing in that regard.
If that is where Veilguard goes, it might work great. But I also see more FF16 in there unfortunately.

Not being able to switch between the team members is something I will never like.

Yeah, maybe because so much time has passed people are remembering the way that they played a particular DA game and forgetting some of the options that were there. I recall DA2 and DA:I as being more action oriented so I must have played them more that way.

So I agree in thinking of them more as a hybrid approach. They haven’t been strict ARPGs in a traditional sense. But the video of a player taking everything really slowly doesn’t, according to my recollection, represent what most battles required of the player on a normal difficulty anyway. Hybrid, but I think they have emphasized action since DA2.

I've always thought the combat in the DA games has been a mediocre placeholder that one has to suffer through to get to the characters and world building, so.. no great loss.

The launch version of DA2 didn't have your character auto-attack your current target, iirc. It was subsequently patched, but that along with the encounter design and removal of the free camera certainly contributed to it feeling more arpg-y than Origins. Inquisition then went way more into that direction, and this certainly seems to continue the trajectory.

Which isn't an issue for me. I'll gladly play a well-designed action rpg.

I'm more worried about the tone and aesthetics. The writing is certainly better than that horrible first trailer, but it's not great. (Then again it's all very compressed, so that won't be doing it any favours.) Aesthetically though...it looks like Inquisition, but more visually busy and garish. And Inquisition was already pushing it for my tastes.

This might be the point where a sequel to a we-have-Bioware-at-home - Greedfall 2 - actually is more enticing to me than an actual Bioware rpg.

Anyone have any good plot or character theories, based on the gameplay demo we got?

Spoiler:

I'm in the camp of "Varric and/or Solas get stuck in the Fade and meet up with Hawke/Allistair/Loghain/Random Warden that you left in the Fade in Inquisition and don't come back until the second half of the game."

I see lots of folks thinking Varric is about to be killed at the end of the demo.

I'm also wondering where Morrigan's kid plays into it.

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

Anyone have any good plot or character theories, based on the gameplay demo we got?

Spoiler:

I'm in the camp of "Varric and/or Solas get stuck in the Fade and meet up with Hawke/Allistair/Loghain/Random Warden that you left in the Fade in Inquisition and don't come back until the second half of the game."

I see lots of folks thinking Varric is about to be killed at the end of the demo.

I'm also wondering where Morrigan's kid plays into it.

Spoiler:

Morrigan's kid might not exist, so I don't think they're hanging anything on that - also, Flemeth took the old god's soul from him in Inquisition, and then Solas iced Flemeth so I think that thread's tied off.

I don't have strong feelings about the combat, but I do think it was a strange reveal. If you're going to show 20 minutes of straight gameplay, which I'm all for, why would you show a level 1 character with a single ability? It made the combat look extremely repetitive and shallow. Just use a level 10 character there, even if it is the start of the game.

It didn't help that person playing was constantly dodging, even when enemies weren't attacking... probably because they only had a single ability to use.

Is there any footage of combat later in the game for comparison?

TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

Anyone have any good plot or character theories, based on the gameplay demo we got?

Spoiler:

I'm in the camp of "Varric and/or Solas get stuck in the Fade and meet up with Hawke/Allistair/Loghain/Random Warden that you left in the Fade in Inquisition and don't come back until the second half of the game."

I see lots of folks thinking Varric is about to be killed at the end of the demo.

I'm also wondering where Morrigan's kid plays into it.

Spoiler:

It feels like they're leaving open the possibility of redeeming Solas. Part of me suspects that Solas won't end up being the primary antagonist, and the name change plays into those suspicions. If the Veilguard are still to, well, guard the Veil, it's possible some other greater threat arises, likely due to Solas' interference. Perhaps something related to the Old Gods, given the focus on the Tevinter Imperium? Perhaps we'll learn the truth of the Darkspwan and the Archdemons?

I think that's accurate.

Spoiler:

I can absolutely see Solas living or dying off of a binary choice at some point. THOUGH I do like him as an antagonist so much more than Generic Baddie because he has such a history and presence in established DA lore now. It would sort of be unfortunate to swap him out for Corypheus 2.0. Of course, Meredith is always lurking in the background too and would be a great villain.

beanman101283 wrote:
TheHarpoMarxist wrote:

Anyone have any good plot or character theories, based on the gameplay demo we got?

Spoiler:

I'm in the camp of "Varric and/or Solas get stuck in the Fade and meet up with Hawke/Allistair/Loghain/Random Warden that you left in the Fade in Inquisition and don't come back until the second half of the game."

I see lots of folks thinking Varric is about to be killed at the end of the demo.

I'm also wondering where Morrigan's kid plays into it.

Spoiler:

It feels like they're leaving open the possibility of redeeming Solas. Part of me suspects that Solas won't end up being the primary antagonist, and the name change plays into those suspicions. If the Veilguard are still to, well, guard the Veil, it's possible some other greater threat arises, likely due to Solas' interference. Perhaps something related to the Old Gods, given the focus on the Tevinter Imperium? Perhaps we'll learn the truth of the Darkspwan and the Archdemons?

Budo wrote:

So in a fit of nostalgia I reinstalled DA: Origins, only to discover it is unplayable and doesn't even recognize my old saves, and crashes on startup, regardless if it's Steam or an EA install.

Whelp, it was good while it lasted.

Just reinstalled DA2. It had its warts but I enjoyed the game a lot.

Anyway back to Rogue Trader.

Update: I managed to get the game reinstalled. I missed a key step in the updating process from The Ghent.

My saves and characters are there, but all of the Collector's Edition stuff is gone, but at least the saves are viable. Somehow we'll work through this tragedy.

It's going to have crafting in it, isn't it?

Not every RPG needs crafting. Honestly, a game like this I'd rather do without collecting all that junk that might prove useful later.

Prederick wrote:
kazooka wrote:

...Veilwolf or whatever

Also a better name than "The Veilguard"

The fun thing is that almost any combination of the words "Dread", "Wolf", "Veil", and "Guard" produces a better title than "Veilguard"

Combat is iffy, trailer was iffy. Title change was iffy. Who approved all this? Same people that approved that forgotten game called Anthem? That was terrible.

The fact that this game actually exists and is coming out later this year is kinda a shock. And I'm honestly pretty excited for it. I came to DA late -- I played them all a bit after DA:I came out, and combat has always been the least interesting part of the Dragon Age games for me. I'm there for the setting, story, and characters. As long as they don't f*ck that up (a tall task, given that it's still EA), I'll be happy.

Whether DAO or DAI is better is the healthiest discourse Dread Wolf The Valeyard had had in years.

Spoiler:

The correct answer is DA2

I'm not optimistic, but I'm also less invested now that BG3 was as successful as I hoped. And I still have Pathfinder, Jedi Survivor, Cyberpunk, Fallout 76, Rogue Trader....and yes replays of the first 3 Dragon Age games. I'll manage if the game stinks.

I may have substantially preferred the gameplay of the first Dragon Age over the following two entries, but I still enjoyed all three games. Inquisition really toed the line between party-based-tactics RPG and party-based-action RPG without fully stepping over. Dreadveilwolfguard looks to have leapt past that line into straight-up action RPG with "Cooldown Companions". Sure, I enjoyed that in Mass Effect because that's what that franchise was built upon from its inception. And I suspect I may very well still be able to enjoy it if I can mentally frame it as an action-offshoot of the Dragon Age RPG's. But as a titular Dragon Age 4, it's quite a disappointment.

I actually don't mind the mission-based structure taking the place of the open-world structure, so long as they're true to their word that the mission areas are reasonably fleshed out for some exploration and adventure, rather than merely linear shooting galleries. Dragon Age 2 was IMO a decent model for this, with the only real drawback of this approach in that game being the over-reuse of limited mission locations due to time and budget constraints.

Basically, it's sounding an awful lot like Guardveildreadwolf is going to be some sort of DA2/ME2 hodge-podge; and while that's not what I wanted, it may still stand on its own as a good game once I reframe my expectations.

kazooka wrote:
Prederick wrote:
kazooka wrote:

...Veilwolf or whatever

Also a better name than "The Veilguard"

The fun thing is that almost any combination of the words "Dread", "Wolf", "Veil", and "Guard" produces a better title than "Veilguard"

Dragon Age: Guard the Dread Veil's Wolf

Farscry wrote:

Basically, it's sounding an awful lot like Guardveildreadwolf is going to be some sort of DA2/ME2 hodge-podge; and while that's not what I wanted, it may still stand on its own as a good game once I reframe my expectations.

Yeah, this is where I am. It's absolutely not being made for me and my tastes, which is fine, almost nothing is made for me (outside of prescription medications) because I am no longer 18-34.

But it'll likely be fine-to-good, and anyway, none of my memories of DA:I or Mass Effect are of the combat. The things I loved about those games were the characters and story, so as long as the combat is not actively repellent, it'll be fine.

I'm in the DA:O camp, sure. Interesting point about how Veilguard is more like a sequel to DA:I. For you Diablo players, there was a parallel sentiment of Diablo IV being a direct sequel to Diablo 3 and not meant as a continuation of the franchise intended to "recapture the magic" of the original games.

I had said that Veilguard's not for me. If I'm being honest with myself, neither is a crunchy CRPG in the vein of DA:O. You should see all the ignored CRPGs on my Steam wish list, with the likes of Rogue Trader and BG3 among them. Tell you what, all this reminiscing of DA:O makes me want to load up the Game Pass version (so I can get the chonky fonts and controller support) and start another playthrough!

As long as there are long cutscenes with in-depth conversations while I'm covered in blood I'm on board.

Dragon Age: The Veilguard can be played entirely offline and won't have microtransactions: 'Our focus is on making this the most complete singleplayer game we possibly can'

..........huh!

I am genuinely shocked. I didn't think there was any way on earth EA was going to let a game of this magnitude come out without the usual hallmarks of modern gaming attached to it.

"It is very much important to us that [the system] is built into the client," Busche said. "You can play this game entirely offline. No connection, you don't have to link to your EA accounts. That's been a really big request."

Busche went back to that point later in the interview, saying BioWare is "100% focused on this being the most complete game we can make it."

"I just want to underscore this, I want to emphasize it. There's not going to be any microtransactions, there's not going to be any battle passes. You don't have to connect online. Our focus is on making this the most complete singleplayer game we possibly can."

...................................huh!

This is genuinely the most shocking bit of news about this game I've heard. I was going into this thinking that the DLC and microtransactions weren't even likely, but a given, and my hope was that they wouldn't be too oppressive or frustrating.

Maybe Ubisoft will learn a lessHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm sorry I couldn't finish that sentence with a straight face.

There was an Q&A session on the EA discord server yesterday, reddit user u\DragonEffected had this summary:

Spoiler:

Throughout the interview, they've reinforced the concept of wanting this game to be a more intimate, hand-crafted and fleshed out experience.

This is part of the reason why they settled on only having two companions out in the field at a time. The other part is that they found that gameplay-wise, three was the perfect number.

Banter is, of course, still in the game. It's one of the things writers enjoy the most.

We won't be able to romance Manfred, but maybe other skeletons...

Crafting is in the game, but it may work a bit differently from Inquisition. Without getting too into spoiler territory, there is a "mysterious entity" that will help you with it.

Rook has four races (henceforth referred to as "lineage") and six backstories to choose from. The more unique combinations, like a Rook who's both a Dwarf and part of the Mourn Watch, will get special aknowledgments. There will be opportunities within the game itself to explore Rook's backstory, motivation and relationship with their faction through dialogue with NPCs.

The Inquisitor does return, and can be customized with the new and improved character creator. It would have been strange to leave them out of this one.

The game will be completely offline. No need to link EA Accounts. There a "Previously, on Dragon Age..." section at the beginning of the game that will let you pick some past games' decisions with the familiar tarot card aesthetic.

Companions will have unique skill trees, but still fall into the three classes archetype. Neve, for instance, will have ice spells that are unique to her, but she will also have the Time Stop and healing abilities that are accessible to all mages.

Combat can be tactical, especially on higher difficulties (No overhead camera though). The tactics rely on Weaknesses/resistances, the combat wheel that lets you pause the action, and especially companion synergies. For instance, Bellara (who's a mage using a bow btw) has a gravity well ability that pairs well in combination with another mage's Time Stop and a rogue Rook's AoE damage ability.

Ability wheel capacity is 3 abilities for Rook and each of their companions + ultimates + runes.

Pronoun and gender can be chosen, and you can be non-binary.

While the elven Rook we've seen so far did not have face markings, vallaslin are in the game (Dalish Rook confirmed?). They want them to be more unique, though.

We'll see more about the character creator as we get closer to release.

Solas is still bald in the new game. That said, that wasn't always the case: he used to have hair in the past...

Photo mode is something they're actively looking into. They know it's a highly requested feature.

Choices and consequences are a core part of the game. Even when it comes to Rook's lineage, they wanted it to feel like it truly mattered. So Rook's conversations with the elves in the party, for instance, may be considerably different if Rook is an elf themself.

Dialogue wheels are referred to as three types: tone, emotion and choice wheels. They want players to understand what they're choosing without giving too much away.

All seven companions are romanceable by all genders, but they're not playersexual. They're pansexual. They have their own past dalliances and can get into relationships of their own if Rook doesn't pursue them. Lace Harding and Taash, for instance, can end up together. (ship name: Laash).

While none of the companions are ace, Corinne Bushe is ace herself and would love to have more ace representation in the future.

Varric's hair is dark because he's been adventuring for a few years now, and also because he's only been shown in relatively dark environments for the time being.

No microtransactions, no battle passes, fully single-player experience.

Transmog is in the game!

Rook cannot be a blood mage. They have very good reasons to avoid blood magic, which will be made clear soon into the game.

The mage specializations are: necromancer, elemental mage, and a combat mage.

The player hub is called "The Lighthouse". Some parts of it change over time. They want it to feel like home.

You can't name the griffon because it already has a name: Assan. And yes, you can pet it. You can even hug it.

VA cast, PC specs and Collector's Editions will be announced at a later date.

Tavern songs make a return. There's a tavern in Minrathour called "The Swan" that has some pretty good ones.

Companions can get pissed off at you and take some time away from you if you ignore their wishes. That said, they all will be there for Thedas. Unless...

Locations can fundementally change depending on your decisions.

Warriors can't dual-wield (reserved to Rogues), they focus on two-handed weapons and sword&shield instead.

Mounts served a specific purpose in Inquisition and will not return.

The Fade decision from Here Lies the Abyss won't matter in Veilguard, but it might in the future.

One of the core themes of this game, ever since its original inception, has been "regret".

Harding was one of the first companions they decided on, given her popularity in DAI. They also liked that she was a character who has history with Varric and Solas and who has been active in the last ten years. She also serves a purpose of telling new players what Solas used to be like (during Inquisition).

Fireball and Cone of Cold aren't back, but their revamped successors "Meteor" and "Frostnova" are.

If Rook is KO'd, you'll have to reload a save unless you've spec'd out a companion to be able to revive you.

No mabaris, as we're in northern Thedas, a long way from Ferelden.

Rook's last name depends on the faction you chose for them. There's also a name generator during CC.