DAI Inquisitor’s Log: Slaying Dragons, Shard Collecting Nightmares, & Missed Side Missions?

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.

What's Dragon Age without a bunch of dragons to hunt and kill in the game?
What’s Dragon Age without a bunch of dragons to hunt and kill in the game?

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.

Nothing excites Iron Bull more than slaying a dragon.
Nothing excites Iron Bull more than slaying a dragon.

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.

This is Lord Woolsley and I'm betting it's probably best I missed out on this quest. I still have a grudge against one lost druffalo.
This is Lord Woolsley and I’m betting it’s probably best I missed out on this quest. I still have a grudge against one lost druffalo.

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.

Somewhere out there is a shard that needs to be collected and I'll be crying and cursing every last one I have to gather. Damn you to hell, shards!
Somewhere out there is a shard that needs to be collected and I’ll be crying and cursing every last one I have to gather. Damn you to hell, shards!

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!

10 thoughts on “DAI Inquisitor’s Log: Slaying Dragons, Shard Collecting Nightmares, & Missed Side Missions?

  1. Those shards…I hate those shards. It’s not that there’s a hundred or so of them that need to be collected, its that just about every last one of them is stuck in a place that’s hard to reach. I got tired of trying to make my Inquisitor jump like Mario, and gave up eventually, having only gotten through 3 doors in the fire room, and 2 doors in the ice room. Curse those stinkin’ shards!

    On the topic of dragons, they definitely make for the most intense encounters in the game. I had taken down 6 before completing the story. I think it was the Hinterlands dragon, the one on the Storm Coast, one in the Western Approach, one in the Emerald Graves, one in the Hissing Wastes and one in Emprise Du Leon. I think the one in the Hinterlands gave me the most trouble, as that was before a friend of mine showed me how to properly spec my Assassin/Dual Dagger rogue (basically, he hurts things). I love that there’s dragons for every element, it makes each fight a surprise!

    1. Because I’m a bit stubborn and determined, I still push on through with the shard collecting, as much as I hate them with a burning passion. I do eventually get ALL of the shards, but it’s a pain to do them. I never thought of our Inquisitors trying to be like Mario and jumping to get to the high points for the shards. It’s definitely true and a funny way of amusing yourself when you want to bang your head against the wall when you can’t get those shards!

      I’m impressed with all your dragon slaying! I’m not sure if I’ll kill every high dragon in the game, but we’ll just see how far I get!

      1. Happy shard hunting then. I admire your determination! Can’t really claim credit for the Dragon slaying though. A friend of mine (who is insanely good at this game) showed me a really effective way to spec and compose my party. It’s amazing what you can do in this game if you know how the perks work.

        It was a bit too effective though. I’ve been playing the game on normal and was enjoying a fair bit of challenge, but the party re-spec wound up turning every encounter except for the dragons into a cakewalk. Really fun, but not as rewarding.

      2. Thank you! Once I’ve got my mind set on something, video games or dealing with life stuff in general, it’s hard for me to quit. I want to see things all the way through! 🙂

        I haven’t had any problems with the game feeling like it’s a cakewalk. At least not yet. I think the challenges are balanced for me, but I haven’t re-speced my party or anything. Maybe that could change if I did? But to be honest, I don’t want my games to be too challenging. If it’s extremely hard and it ends up hindering my progress, then I really don’t like playing it anymore. DAI is just right for me!

  2. “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…”

    S%&@ &$#* !@^! Curses! I’, 90+ hours, killed 4 dragons, and every elemental battle is a nightmare. Thanks for covering this. Time to go get shards.

    1. No problem! Buying the strategy guide for this game actually helps. You find out things you wouldn’t have known otherwise. Good luck on your shard hunting! You’re going to need it.

  3. You’ve made incredible progress with the game! I’m at a mere level 8, so I’ve not yet done much shard hunting (and reading about them here doesn’t make me want to start!), and I’ve only encountered a couple dragons from afar. I’ve been concentrating most on the main story, but what you said about missing side missions…well…makes me think that maybe I should get to some of those quests, just in case they do disappear. But with a game like Inquisition, I know I’m going to do at least two playthroughs, with the first one being something of a speed run, while I’ll take my time with the second one. The sheer number of side quests in this game is amazing — there’s plenty to keep us all busy for a long time!

    1. It does keep a person busy, doesn’t it? I’m tempted to do a speed run with the game, but I’m being good and not rushing it. I’m also not sure if I’ll have time to be able to do a second playthrough right away. More games to play and all. 😉 That’s why I’m making the most of my first playthrough and trying to be as thorough as possible. However, the glitches and missing side missions on accident certainly doesn’t help. *sighs*

  4. Due to the shards in high places, I got frustrated with the shard hunting and decided to leave it for my nightmare run with this character. I neither hunted any dragons with my first Inquisitor because of the way I was role playing her it didn’t fit her at all.

    I’m in my second run now and I’ve already started hunting dragons with my second character. I found that taking Iron Bull once was fun but he dies a lot and drinks most of my potions. I’ve found Cassandra much more useful for my team.

    1. Interesting. I haven’t had that problem with Iron Bull. In my run, all my party can possibly die in equal measure if I’m not monitoring their health or whatnot. I do love Cassandra, but I found she died really easily when I went to fight one of the dragons. I had to switch her out with Blackwall. Maybe the way I leveled her skill tree, I made her the weakest warrior compared to Blackwall and Iron Bull. Whoops?

      One thing is certain, no one dragon is exactly the same as the last one you fight in this game. It offers a really good challenge and variety.

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