Happy New Year, everyone! I decided to kick off my first post of the new year by doing another Dragon Age: Inquisition log. You may have noticed that I have not done an end of the year report in December, like I’d usually do with my video game challenges, but the holidays are a crazy time and I wanted to end 2014 with a reflection post. You’ll get the usual report at the end of January.
The holidays have been the perfect time to plug away at DAI and I have a lot to say about my now 100+ hours with the game. This time, there won’t be any spoilers after the cut, as I know some of you may be avoiding my other DAI logs I’ve written. Rest assured, this one is safe to read for those still playing the game, no matter how many hours you have currently logged in or where you are in the game.
There’s always a question I ask myself every time I load my save file––what to do? This isn’t exactly an easy question to answer when you play Inquisition. There’s a ton of regions to cover and many side quests to go through. There’s also uncovering the whole map of a specified region. If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably want to leave a region with a full and complete picture of the map itself. I take this completionist stuff seriously in games of this nature.
I’ve tackled the exploration side of this game by making the attempt to stick to one region and finishing any and all side quests I find. It is worth noting that some side quests are hard to finish in one shot and may require you to come back to it later. A good example is the Solasan temple in the Forbidden Oasis. There are three doors that need to be opened. The only way to open them is by using those crystal shards you see scattered all over Thedas. I have wondered if there was a point or use to these shards and the mystery was solved as soon as I reached this part of the area. Actually, it probably would have been better if I explored this area much sooner. These three doors actually give your character huge boosts in elemental resistance for cold, fire, and spirit (and I’ve heard there’s a fourth door to be opened for electrical resistance much later), which will help you in fighting the high dragons that have any of these strengths in their attacks. I’d also say these would be huge advantages in fighting the Fade Rift demons that have specific elemental advantages.
I’ve only managed to get all the boosts and loot in the fire room of the temple. When I went for the spirit room, I was only able to unlock all except the final door. The quest notification said I needed to collect more shards before I can open the door. More shards? Didn’t I collect a lot already? According to this quest, I did not and it looks like it uses up a good number of shards too. Luckily for me, there are still plenty of regions I haven’t explored yet and it makes me more determined to prioritize shard collecting in the new region I decide to explore next. I currently have full completed maps of the Hinterlands, the Western Approach, the Fallow Mire, the Emerald Graves, the Storm Coast, and the Forbidden Oasis. The only regions I don’t really have to revisit again, based on finishing all side quests and collectibles, are the Western Approach and Fallow Mire. The rest either have one or two side quests that remain unresolved or a high dragon that’s left over to be slayed.
Speaking of high dragons, I’ve made good progress in killing two dragons––one in the Hinterlands and the other in the Western Approach. One tip I’d recommend is to bring Iron Bull to one of your high dragon slayings. I randomly decided to take him with me to the Western Approach to face the high dragon there and I was pleasantly surprised by his reaction to seeing the dragon. I was grinning like an idiot after I heard his comment to my Inquisitor. After successfully killing a dragon with Iron Bull, it also unlocks a really nice and funny cutscene with him back at Skyhold. Simply go to the tavern at Skyhold and talk to him. It was worth bringing him on my dragon slaying outing.
While dragon slaying can be fun, it’s still a bitch to fight. If I had known about the Solasan temple earlier and the resistance boosts I could have gotten for the dragon fights, I would have gone there sooner. Even without the elemental resistance boosts or even having the proper gear equipped, I managed to take down the Hinterlands and Western Approach dragons on little. It took a ton of focus and monitoring of my party to ensure most didn’t die on me. It also helps to have really good warrior tanks in your party to take most of the damage. I attempted to take on the Storm Coast high dragon, but without much success. Even at level 18, the dragon wiped out my party with its electrical attacks. An electrical resistance boost sure would look pretty good right about now.
As much as I’m dedicated to having full completion of this game, I’m starting to think I may not get everything completed. Glitches aside, the game is big and you’re bound to miss something along the way on your first run. I recently bought the collector’s edition of Inquisition’s game guide and it has been a huge help. It has mainly helped me keep track of key locations and side quests I’ll want to do. Of course, I realized I have missed out on at least one side mission in the Hinterlands. For whatever reason, I missed triggering the mission for the Ballad of Lord Woolsley and it was supposed to be triggered right before you reach the area of Redcliffe where a Fade Rift needs to be closed. I tried going back to the area they said the quest giver should be to see if I can get it later. Turns out, the guy is nowhere to be found and I may have missed my window to get it resolved. It’s a minor quest, yes, but I would have liked to have done it at least once. Maybe I should have gotten the game guide sooner?
I’m also not a huge fan of side quests involving collecting things. I personally find these quests a little tiresome and boring. The worst of it is the shard collecting. One of the most frustrating things about this particular optional collectible mission is when the shards have to be found and collected at high places, as in on top of mountains or crumbling old structures. I’ve found scaling these high points can be very deceiving. There are points when the shard is just within reach and seems to be an easy spot to climb the rocks and grab it, only to realize within seconds that my Inquisitor is not allowed to climb it. I keep trying to scale the rocks, feeling stubborn and annoyed that I should be able to climb it but to no avail. Most of the time, I have to take a long way around until I can find a clear pathway that will lead me back to the shard I want. Knowing how important these shards are now, it may make it sort of worth it in the end but it doesn’t mean I won’t be grudgingly grumbling about it when I have to scale another high point of rocks to get to it.
There’s still plenty more to do and discover in this game, and in spite of the minor frustrations I have to go through, I’m excited to finish most side missions until I can finally start resuming the main story missions I have left. Got any tales of dragon slayings or shard collecting woes you want to trade with me? Please share them with me as always!