Saturday, 10 January 2015

Guest Post: Murphy's Perfect Dragon Age - Part Five

 Sorry this wasn't up yesterday, we had a synchronised brainfart.

 So, we’ve talked a lot about plot, setting, characters, but this is a hypothetical game, so let’s ramble about gameplay a bit.

 This will probably be a short post, because I thought Dragon Age: Inquisition’s gameplay was pretty great, and it would fit a story about becoming the Archon of a kingdom perfectly.

 So I do envision some kind of war table mechanic, somewhere where you can dispatch your advisors to do missions, open up new areas, and locate sidequests; this would go along with your regular RPG gameplay, in which you and three party members go traipsing around righting wrongs and suchlike.

 As in Inquisition, your origin could cause slight changes in what war table missions you receive. The judgement mechanic should make a return too, because everyone loves judgement.

 But I think there’s much to be learned from another set of Bioware games here - I’m thinking of Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Specifically, I’m thinking of having your final mission and ending be affected by the sidequests you complete, the peoples you recruit to your side, and the resources you gather.

 (But not the weird time limit thing that both games had.)

 So, you can dash through the main storyline and come out the other end with the bad ending, where you win a Pyrrhic victory over Nightmare; or you can devote time to sidequests; having your advisors improve your connections, resources and army; and forging alliances, and as a result head into the final battle with that much more on your side, and get a better ending.

 Another thing I’d institute is some slightly more involved battles between armies. So if, during a sidequest or main quest, you’re called upon to take a fortress, you can prepare beforehand by giving orders to direct different parts of your army to a choice of a few different objectives before you head in with your party, with the result being some changes in how that particular siege plays out (ie; ‘We’ll send our army to sabotage their giant demonic war machine instead of to open up a passage beneath the walls’ meaning that you have to lay siege to the gate rather than sneaking in, but your boss battle near the end is that much easier).

 Possibly these pitched battles could also involve an Origins-oid mechanic where you have two or three armies you can briefly call upon in combat.

 (Also, healing spells. We didn’t have those in Inquisition, and they need to make a reappearance.)

 But the Dragon Age gameplay has always been pretty good, and there aren’t many adjustments that can be made to it.

 Join us next week for the last in the series!

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