Dragon Age: Inquisition Multiplayer Plays Like MMO Dungeon Crawl

Dragon Age: Inquisition Multiplayer Plays Like MMO Dungeon Crawl

dragon age inquisition

I didn't necessarily want cooperative multiplayer in Dragon Age, but the implementation in Inquisition is pretty fun.

My love of Dragon Age and of MMOs would pretty much mean I'm destined to enjoy a cooperative experience in the new Inquisition. BioWare has toyed with multiplayer before in its Mass Effect franchise, and colleagues seemed to enjoy it, so perhaps they wanted to make that same magic happen in Dragon Age. I got to test out a dungeon called the Elven Ruins with a merry band of 4 adventurers at PAX Prime 2014, and then spoke with Scylla Costa the producer of the multiplayer at BioWare about his goals for the project. I learned I may be spending a lot of time bashing skulls with friends once November 18th rolls around.

The first thing to note is that the progression in multiplayer is completely separate from the single player campaign in Dragon Age: Inquisition. There will be no transferring of items or gold or anything like that. At launch, there will be 4 classes available to play in multiplayer: Reaver, Legionnaire, Assassin and Keeper, which is a type of support mage. Any items you pick up in the dungeons will be yours to keep and equip, or you can "melt" it down to use for crafting. You'll unlock new characters to play by crafting the armor of that character. That's sort of the progression of the multiplayer, and eventually you could have a stable of 12 characters to choose from.

I played as a Keeper mage in the Elven ruins, and her abilities were designed to shield the group with a barrier, dispel negative enemy spells, and when there's time cast a devastating chain lightning attack. The Keeper was pretty squishy, so it was important to stay back and support from behind the frontlines. When in danger, I could get away quickly with a fade step ability. It was super challenging to keep a shield on my teammates without drawing the ire of enemies, but interestingly the Keeper dealt more damage the more she was injured, so there is a weird balancing act to play with. The warrior classes had taunting abilities, or armor to make them able to soak more damage, while the Assassin excelled in fading behind enemies to make a sneak attack from behind. Our team did pretty well, getting to the 5th area with most of our health potions at the ready, but we failed to kill the final swarm of enemies as they attack the Inquisition's flag in the final room. Multiplayer in Dragon Age: Inquisition is tough.

Every player shares gold and loot while going through the dungeon, so there's no danger of someone stealing that drop you wanted. Costa said that he wanted players to "play the game naturally" without needing to pay a dime. Of course, being EA, there is a way for you to purchase the multiplayer's currency of platinum and use that to buy chests of loot to aid in your progression, but Costa said it's only a "short cut for time."

Lore-hounds won't be too disappointed with the multiplayer. Each character has its background story and will have a specific voice actor in the signature banter delivered between characters. There won't be any restriction to double up characters in the party - you can run with two or more Reavers for example - and Costa said the A.I. will recognize this and add banter like, "My we're all looking handsome in this party." You'll also be able to kit out character's skills in a simplified tree, and with the tons of equipment available it is possible that even the same character can look and play quite differently.

A neat feature that will be available at launch is the Inquisition H.Q. website. You'll be able to log in when you're away from the game to tinker with skills, craft items, and buy platinum all through a web interface. "It's no fun to wait for your buddies when you just want to play," Costa said. "So the Inquisition HQ will allow you to interact with the game when you aren't playing."

Costa said there are many fans of Dungeons & Dragons-style tabletop games on the team, and that's the feeling they want to bring to the multiplayer of Dragon Age: Inquisition. As I said, the multiplayer is difficult, and it requires a deep coordination between teammates to stick together to succeed. If I've learned anything from D&D that seems to be true in DA:I multiplayer, it's "Don't split the party."

Inquisition is out on November 18th on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and on PC. Sadly, the multiplayer will be platform specific so you won't be able to play with friends from different formats.

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I wasn't especially fond of DA1 or 2 (for separate reasons) but damn, this multiplayer, in principle, sounds like so much fun. There's far too much coming out in October/November for me to slot it in, but I suppose that means by the time I get enough time for it I'll have had the chance to watch it over my girlfriend's shoulder anyway and make a proper decision.

Greg Tito:
buy platinum all through a web interface

So... game over then.

On a serious note I've yet to play a BioWare game that wasn't enjoyable so I look forward to single player but with the way that the MP and the system around seems integrated I can't see the old modding community being able to do as much to address the armour art design desert that plagued DA1 and DA2.

Does it require 4 people or is it like Borderlands or Diablo where you can run with 2 and the monsters will scale. Also Any word on couch co-op? This sounds like it could almost be worth buying for the multiplayer since I am one of those people who stopped caring about the series once the Grey Wardens were no longer important and that Alistair and Leliana lived, no matter what you did.

Okay, so it's as hard as an MMO Dungeon Crawl. So what kind of matchmaking system does it use to help you get into groups with people who are competent enough to play the tank, healer roles?

I was pleasantly surprised by the ME3 multiplayer, so the least I can do here is give it the benefit of the doubt.

As long as they are keeping the multiplayer micro transactions optional like they did in Mass Effect 3 I am fine with them being there. I am curious to know about the difficulty for by the end of the support for Mass Effect 3 most of my friends had stopped playing aside from the weekend challenges so I wound up soloing most of the time even if I was in a group.

Shamanic Rhythm:
Okay, so it's as hard as an MMO Dungeon Crawl. So what kind of matchmaking system does it use to help you get into groups with people who are competent enough to play the tank, healer roles?

The thing about Dragon Age: Inquisition is that healing is going to be a much more limited compared to past games so I am not completely sure if the "holy trinity" will be needed. I am wondering what the game conditions were for the PAX demo, for with Mass Effect 3's multiplayer the easiest difficulty could be solo'd once you got enough gear, but the hardest difficulty was something you either wanted a broken class for or a group of people you know.

Does someone want to answer that phone? Because I frickin' called it!

From the announcement that this multiplayer was going to be a thing, I said that the only way to make it work would be to drastically overhall the combat system for the game entirely or, if they keep it the same, it'll pretty much play like a mini-MMO...and that kind of combat is just depressingly boring if you ask me. I got enough of it during my 5 years of WoW.

Not as annoyed or angry about the whole idea as when I had first heard about it due to the fact that it's been confirmed that - unlike ME3 - this will be entirely optional since there won't be an equivalent to the Galactic Readiness Score. Still, I doubt I'll be interested in playing it at all.

RJ 17:
Does someone want to answer that phone? Because I frickin' called it!

From the announcement that this multiplayer was going to be a thing, I said that the only way to make it work would be to drastically overhall the combat system for the game entirely or, if they keep it the same, it'll pretty much play like a mini-MMO...and that kind of combat just depressingly boring if you ask me. I got enough of it during my 5 years of WoW.

Not as annoyed or angry about the whole idea as when I had first heard about it due to the fact that it's been confirmed that - unlike ME3 - this will be entirely optional since there won't be an equivalent to the Galactic Readiness Score. Still, I doubt I'll be interested in playing it at all.

Quote for acknowledgement.

Also this seems weird. I guess that gameplay video was super cherry picked to make sure they didnt show any of the slow MMO stuff, because it looked like ARPG style.

Oh well.

ya know what....no

im done, screw sitting on the fence, screw "hasn't come out yet but looks good" malarkey and "lets give it the benifit of the doubt" crap. this blows

i know i'm probably inviting the "haters of the haters" here but im sick of this "mandatory" co-op/multi-player crap infesting everything (and yeah i know ya don't "have" to use it and they "said" that they put focus on the single player game, but let's not kid ourselves here, they WANT you to use multi-player endlessly and empty your pockets on worthless numbers till the end of time, and will use every incentive/endless request to make sure you do)

and i know that there's a difference on what the dev wants and what the publisher wants, but screw that too, if they felt that bad about it putting micro-transactions in they woulda jumped ship and made something new with a new team or something, but nah its all a paycheck to them so they can cop the blame as well

....sigh...

well that's the end of that tirade. and i know there's most likely holes in that argument but seriously ive gotten so god damn sick of the spin and the smug mocking of any dissonance or dislike that it just became hard not to mindlessly rant about this.

and hey if I only do this once and get it out of my system, then that's one less angry gamer right?.

and ill solve my own issues by not getting the game, not caring about the people who do, and go and play the stuff i like.

sorry for the inconvenience people

PuckFuppet:

Greg Tito:
buy platinum all through a web interface

So... game over then.

On a serious note I've yet to play a BioWare game that wasn't enjoyable so I look forward to single player but with the way that the MP and the system around seems integrated I can't see the old modding community being able to do as much to address the armour art design desert that plagued DA1 and DA2.

It will probably be harder, but even if they didn't have multiplayer I don't believe the Frostbite engine would be very mod-friendly.

Some people will still find a way, ME3 also has a modding community. They even added new armors (you have to replace one of the existing armors with the editors they designed to get it).

Also, Dragon Age has always played more or less like a (traditional) mini-MMO, Origins even more so than DA2. Healer, tank, DPS was the best (and sometimes only) way to make it through the higher difficulties.

I'm happy that they're making the multiplayer pretty tough. The only thing I'm worried about is the balance between the multiplayer and the pause system in the singleplayer.

Fdzzaigl:

I'm happy that they're making the multiplayer pretty tough. The only thing I'm worried about is the balance between the multiplayer and the pause system in the singleplayer.

With Mass Effect 3, they removed the pause function to access your abilities and didn't include any ability that "slowed" time and it still seemed fairly balanced.

Elijin:

RJ 17:
Does someone want to answer that phone? Because I frickin' called it!

From the announcement that this multiplayer was going to be a thing, I said that the only way to make it work would be to drastically overhall the combat system for the game entirely or, if they keep it the same, it'll pretty much play like a mini-MMO...and that kind of combat just depressingly boring if you ask me. I got enough of it during my 5 years of WoW.

Not as annoyed or angry about the whole idea as when I had first heard about it due to the fact that it's been confirmed that - unlike ME3 - this will be entirely optional since there won't be an equivalent to the Galactic Readiness Score. Still, I doubt I'll be interested in playing it at all.

Quote for acknowledgement.

Also this seems weird. I guess that gameplay video was super cherry picked to make sure they didnt show any of the slow MMO stuff, because it looked like ARPG style.

Oh well.

I appreciate the acknowledgement, and no hard feelings I hope. There's really one thing that would have pushed this more into the realm of ARPG than MMO: channeling times. Like I said in the topic I made, for rogue-like and warrior-like classes it'll play pretty much the same since you have to run in and just start chopping'n'stabbing at the enemies, but where it really comes out is for the ranged characters who will essentially just become turrets since they need to stay still to use their abilities. Even archer characters couldn't move and shoot at the same time (which is partially why I've never bothered with archer characters in DA1 and 2). If their abilities were quick-fire like the abilities in ME3 then it would have been more actiony, but since that's not the case I'm literally having flashbacks to doing 5 man dungeons in WoW where I - as someone who prefers mage classes - would just stand in the back tossing spells at enemies while the tank soaks up the aggro.

Fdzzaigl:
Also, Dragon Age has always played more or less like a (traditional) mini-MMO, Origins even more so than DA2. Healer, tank, DPS was the best (and sometimes only) way to make it through the higher difficulties.

I'm happy that they're making the multiplayer pretty tough. The only thing I'm worried about is the balance between the multiplayer and the pause system in the singleplayer.

Not necessarily. In the previous games the mages have been so ridiculously overpowered that you could get away with pretty much any setup you wanted for your party as long as you had a sufficiently powerful mage in the group. The amount of control that mages have over the battlefield with their AoE's is just obscene. Blood Mages in particular. Hello spell that's an AoE DoT (for half the enemies' life) and a 6 second stun! Hello Force Mage spell that pulls all enemies to a single point making them even more susceptible to your other AoE's! You could run a party of straight DPS and pretty much the only thing you'd ever have to worry about - assuming you specced your mages properly - would be those fights where you just open a door and an enemy mage greets your party with a fireball to the face, knocking everyone down while the enemy melee guys chop you all to bits. Seriously, if there was one thing that remained consistent with the combat between DA1 and 2 it's "Target The Mages First". Once you kill off the enemy mages, everything else is pretty much just clean-up. Really the only fights where you need a tank would be the fights against actual dragons since those take a lot longer because you can't burn them to the ground in 5 seconds.

Seriously, the only reason I've never run a full party of mages in a DA game is because quite simply there aren't enough mage characters to pick from. You could only ever have 3, but if there had been another mage character available other than my character, Morrigan and Wynne or Anders and Merrill, you can bet I'd have run a mage posse. :P

But in this DA multiplayer I can't help but doubt that they'll make mage classes as OP as they are in single player, otherwise the game is just going to be absolutely overrun with mages. :P

As for the pause menu, I agree that that's one of the things I love about the DA combat system as it allows you to take a much tactical approach to the combat. But that's just used for issuing orders to your party. In the case of multiplayer, your party are the others players so there's no need to issue orders to them. The tactical aspect will be done with voice chat instead of the pause menu.

RJ 17:
Snip

S'all good. The attitudes I ended up getting heated over werent yours. You were guardedly wary about the changes, I was cautiously optimistic, and honestly this revelation of MMO style combat actually brings me to your side of the coin.

I would have liked to see some flowing Mass Effect style combat, but I guess not. Will still look for some letsplay footage of it after release to see if it tickles my fancy after all though.

Sanunes:

With Mass Effect 3, they removed the pause function to access your abilities and didn't include any ability that "slowed" time and it still seemed fairly balanced.

Yeah, it will probably be pretty well balanced, though the pause function is a lot more pronounced in Dragon Age (especially because you can use the isometric view).

I guess I'm mostly concerned about updates to multiplayer vs updates to singleplayer.

RJ 17:
[snip]

Ok, but bar exploiting the overpowered classes, I'd say the traditional "trinity" was sort of the way it was meant to be played. Even if you took 3 mages, the likely 4th wheel on the wagon would have been a tanky warrior amirite? So you'd still get tank / healer / dps.

Personally I didn't like stacking mages too much as I often ended up blowing myself to hell. Though I still often used 2 for haste stacking in the previous games (which they fixed now, haste is some sort of ultimate ability).

I'm hoping they do a little bit of a better job balancing everything. Though I can't complain too much either, because you could in fact make warriors / rogues insanely strong despite what people said. It just wasn't as easy as picking up the maximum amount of mages.

Fdzzaigl:
Ok, but bar exploiting the overpowered classes, I'd say the traditional "trinity" was sort of the way it was meant to be played. Even if you took 3 mages, the likely 4th wheel on the wagon would have been a tanky warrior amirite? So you'd still get tank / healer / dps.

Personally I didn't like stacking mages too much as I often ended up blowing myself to hell. Though I still often used 2 for haste stacking in the previous games (which they fixed now, haste is some sort of ultimate ability).

I'm hoping they do a little bit of a better job balancing everything. Though I can't complain too much either, because you could in fact make warriors / rogues insanely strong despite what people said. It just wasn't as easy as picking up the maximum amount of mages.

Oh I rarely ever actually rolled out with 3 mages, I'm just saying you could get away with it if you wanted to. For the record though, whenever I did do 3 mages the 4th slot would be a rogue for lock-picking. =3

Yeah true, you could usually get away with ignoring the traditional setup too. I believe it won't be different in the new game.

 

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