PAX Prime 2014 | Dragon Age: Inquisition Multiplayer Still Has a Long Way to Go

Dragon Age: Inquisition is, for me, one of the more exciting titles coming out this year. I was, therefore, pretty understandably excited to get my hands on this one.

As luck would have it, I got to play the multiplayer demo on the first day of PAX Prime.

Dragon Age: Inquisition provides a cooperative multiplayer experience where players can form teams of four people and travel through dungeons defeating groups of enemies. The beginning of the experience is geared to be pretty mellow, while the end will truly test the synergy and skill of the party.

So how did my experience with Dragon Age: Inquisition go? Well, it had its ups and downs to be honest.

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The flow and dynamics of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s multiplayer sets up to be really good. You progress through a linear dungeon clearing rooms of enemies, very similar to the multiplayer in Mass Effect 3, only you fight every wave in a new room. In addition to this, there are optional side rooms that demand players fight additional enemies, but can yield special items. These rooms are often locked unless the team has specific party members (Mages dispel magic barriers, Rogues pick locked doors, and Warriors knock down crumbling walls). This means that well balanced teams have an inherent advantage when it comes to collecting rewards.

I played an Elementalist, a class that I believe is merely a specific subset of the Mage class. I wasn’t able to heal (which is a pretty staple Dragon Age Mage ability), but I could throw Lightning, Fire, Ice and Stone at my enemies. I also had a pretty sick dash ability, one that was easily the most viscerally rewarding in the game. As a mage I was pretty fragile, so I found myself having to play pretty carefully, which is to be expected given the Mage archetype.

At the end of each segment (which usually consisted of a few rooms), players got a bit of reprieve in the form of a fountain that would restore all of their health. This was a welcome bonus after early stages and a godsend after later ones. As the rooms wore on, I found myself chugging through the given healing items, as just a few arrows were enough to take me pretty low on health. This is where Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s multiplayer actually faltered a bit: The numbers.

Now, I get that demos aren’t always release ready, but the numbers seemed off on this build. Let me give you an example: Freezing and enemy, and then shattering them did about 130 damage (85 base, then 45 bonus from that shattering). My basic lightning bolt, which served as my standard attack casting about twice a second and costing no mana, hit for about ~8 damage. To put this in perspective, it would take upwards of 20-25 bolts of lightning to kill an enemy.

And archers kill me in 3 hits?

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I get the concept of the “glass canon”, but you can’t have the “glass” bit without the “canon” bit. There were also issues with the player feedback. When I dropped fireballs on people (which did fine damage I guess, they could hit multiple enemies at a time), I would merely see the words “burning” pop up, and some mild fire graphics. No staggering. No flailing. It just wasn’t very… gritty. There was no crunch to the spell. I didn’t feel like I’d done anything.

I heard similar complaints about the rogue. A few high potency abilities, but then a mildly bland core experience.

This isn’t the greatest sign for a game I am hoping will really prove itself to be one I can sink a lot of time into.

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