The Dragon Age series is one of the preeminent role playing series of recent times and one of its hallmarks is BioWare’s commitment to giving players the ability to create a totally unique experience. In past games, character creation has been robust but other areas of customization have been missing to one degree or another. Enter Dragon Age: Inquisition and BioWare’s evolution into a highly customizable experience that begins with character creation and continues through the final moments of the game.
We had the opportunity to participate in a round table discussion with DA:I’s Producer Cameron Lee to talk about crafting and customization, two features that give players an amazing amount of flexibility both in terms of looks and in game play style.
We began the day with a discussion of the crafting and customization overview video BioWare released yesterday. Cameron spoke about the major themes seen in the video before opening up the floor to questions from the assembled panel.
“Weapons are created from schematics that include upgrade slots to weapons and armor. By using a system like this, it lets players make what they want to make. Schematics define the shape of what you’re going to build. You can fill the primary slot with X amount of metal. Other slots are defensive, masterwork etc., each with the ability for players to insert a crafting component to add stats to the item or armor.”
“In crafting materials, you choose what you want to put into each slot. Each material adds different stats depending on what it is and where it is slotted. Players can create whatever equipment for looks and/or customize stats for their particular style of play. Metals will change colors and textures, unique from others. After equipment is made or found, you can then insert upgrades (found or upgraded) and can swap out, for instance, a blade, shaft, hilt, etc. All are crafted and bring their own stats to the weapon. Masterwork slot components are very rare and difficult to attain. Inserting one gives a chance to make it above and beyond what it could have ever been. Armor is a suit of armor, not individual pieces but slots for arms, legs, etc. to upgrade (similar to a blade or hilt on a weapon). Both weapons and armor can be runed to add stats and visual effects as well.”
“In terms of character customization, scars, tattoos are included in a whole range of different variables that can be altered by the multipoint cursor that can change the definition of the facial structure and skull, or the color palette for eyes (inner-outer irises).”
“It is important for us to give players the ability to fulfill their own fantasy for who they are in this game – gender, class, race, etc. and to enable them to play the way they want to play.”
Lastly, Cameron touched on potions, tonics, and grenades: “You’ll need to find recipes and have an alchemist unlock it and replenish with herbs. All potions, tonics can be improved to make them more effective in combat. All characters have their own individualized potion load outs other than healing which is shared.”
Wrapping up the video, we moved on to the open question and answer part of the call.
CRAFTING: The Ability to Look & Fight as You Wish
Question: Can players craft or choose not to if they wish? Are there ways to get normally non-crafting types into it?
Cameron Lee: Both play styles are valid and clear in the game. There is so much loot that’s dropping anyway that they don’t have to craft if they don’t want to. They will not be hindered in any way. If you want to min/max, you’ll want to explore it more carefully.
MMORPG.com: Will there be transmogs or some type of a wardrobe system available? Can properties of one thing be put on the appearance of another?
Cameron Lee: Yes there is in a sense. Schematics define shape and you can reuse them as often as you wish. Once you’ve created a look, you can modify it. If you find a really cool armor and then you equip it to be all constitution based but later want a damage one that looks the same, you can use the schematic again to do that. Metals will change the way each set looks slightly but each will retain the form and shape to keep that identity. They will be 2 separate pieces of armor that you can switch out which is cool to be able to do to prepare for combat. Based on the situation, you can switch out the equipment that best suits the battle.
Question: How do we get schematics and materials?
Cameron Lee: You’ll get them from quest rewards, chests, off monsters, from the operations table with mission rewards and they can be purchased. Materials will be in logical places – some metals in certain locations, etc.
Question: Will you be able to keep your same weapon and armor and augment it in different ways throughout the game?
Cameron Lee: Either or. Keep refining equipment and making it better and better throughout the game such as maybe keeping an axe you love and keep refining it to improve it. Or you can make lots of axes with different stats.
MMORPG.com: If you find a great armor you love at the beginning of the game, will it have enough upgrade options and slots to make it viable in late game on high difficulty and while min/max-ing?
Cameron Lee: It’s unlikely the exact same armor will be used if it’s very low level, however there are often advanced armors or schematics which will allow a player to create armor that looks exceedingly similar that can then be min/maxed at high level
MMORPG.com: Do schematics have base armor stats on them or are the completely blank stats wise? For instance, if I find a level 5 armor with 3 slots, does it have base level 5 stats and how will it keep up with, for instance, a base level 17 stat armor with 3 slots?
Cameron Lee: No, they are blank slates. The strength of equipment is dictated by the number of slots and how many materials can be inserted into each slot.
Question: Do all weapons have slots?
Cameron Lee: A few have no slots but schematics can be found even in the prologue. It may only be slightly better but loot items will also have upgrade slots available to modify it.
Question: Can a player mix/match skills into slots? Can a rogue stat and put it onto a warrior?
Cameron Lee: Not exactly but there are enough specializations to give a good feel for different bases within each class. For instance, making a warrior more –like- a rogue, but not use rogue slot items or abilities. You don’t always have to be a tank, if you know what I mean. If you’re a mage and you’re using the night enchanter specialization there are ways to be more physical in combat if you wish. It doesn’t mean you’ll run with a sword, but your skills are closer to your enemy.
Read more on Page 2 of our Q&A with Cameron Lee