Dragon Age Inquisition is pretty much the role-playing game to beat on new-gen and past-gen platforms like Xbox One, 360, and Windows PC. Well, until The Witcher 3 arrives on May 19. But Inquisition has one thing that Witcher 3 won't have, and that's online multiplayer. I love teaming up with friends and hunting for loot.
To keep Inquisition fresh on players' minds, Electronic Arts released two free DLC packs earlier this week: ' Dragonslayer' and 'The Black Emporium.' The latter brings new features to Inquisition's single-player campaign while 'Dragonslayer' adds dragons and a whole lot more to multiplayer. Neither costs a thing, making them must-downloads for RPG fans.
The Black Emporium
Although not a sizable expansion like the premium 'Jaws of Haakon,' The Black Emporium does add some cool new features to Dragon Age Inquisition's campaign:
- Four high-level stores that sell epic weapons, powerful accessories, new crafting materials, schematics, and more hard-to-find items
- Players can now change their Inquisitor's face with the Mirror of Transformation.
Accessible from the war table, The Black Emporium provides even more ways to customize your Inquisition.
- Get 'The Black Emporium' for Xbox One (free, 184 MB)
- Get 'The Black Emporium' for Xbox 360 (free, 49 MB)
Inquisition's multiplayer has been enjoyable but somewhat anemic since launch, with only three multiplayer maps (each with three selectable difficulty levels) available up until now. 'Dragonslayer,' along with a title update released at the same time, adds a fourth map, lots of new content, and a few tweaks to the multiplayer experience.
After manually downloading the 'Dragonslayer' DLC and entering Inquisition's Multiplayer mode, the first thing you'll want to do is head to the multiplayer Store. All players who download the update get a free Dragonslayer chest. Inside, you'll find several items including one of the three new playable characters:
- Skywatcher, an Avvar warrior from the Fallow Mire. Skywatcher appears in the Fallow Mire area in the main Inquisition campaign.
- Zither the Virtuoso. Originally teased as an April Fool's joke, Zither is a bard who plays a lute and plays songs that act like spells.
- Isabela the Raider Queen of the Eastern Seas. She first appeared in Dragon Age: Origins as an NPC, and later became a playable companion in Dragon Age II. Isabela is the first playable character from past Dragon Age games to appear in Inquisition multiplayer.
If you don't get the new character you wanted, don't fret. You can still get that character (eventually) by crafting. None of Inquisition's multiplayer characters can be purchased outright, so you will have to craft whichever heroes you're interested in but don't have yet.
The way Inquisition multiplayer's loot system works is: as you play levels, you'll occasionally find new items as loot, but they're uncommon. Mostly your party will just receive gold for their rewards. This gold can then be spent on chests in the store. I highly recommend the large chests as they pay out the best.
Chests contain a random assortment of equipment and items, some of which you'll want to keep and some that you won't. The items that you don't want can be salvaged, turning them into crafting materials. The more stuff you salvage, the more materials you'll have to spend towards unlocking new characters and crafting other stuff.
This week's update slightly revises the crafting system, probably for the better. Before, players had to salvage each item individually. Now you simply mark items for salvage and then salvage them all in one step. The process goes slightly faster. It also makes gaining salvaged materials more exciting because you get the spoils in a big batch in a similar manner to opening a chest.
New things to craft
In addition to the three new characters and their alternate costumes, the 'Dragonslayer' update adds several more items to craft.
Most importantly, the Dragon's Call is a craftable "weapon" that allows players to summon a dragon to fight in the Fereldan Castle map. It's more of a key than a weapon, as you don't equip or attack enemies with it. Dragon's Calls are consumable, so you'll have to create one every time you wish to take on the magical beasts.
The update also adds respecializations ("respecs") to the weapon crafting pool. The game already offered a form of respects before – players could choose to "Prestige" a high-level character and start fresh with boosted stats. Now you can respect a character without prestiging him or her, allowing that hero's level to be maintained.
Entering Fereldan Castle and battling dragons
More characters and respect options are great, but what Inquisition's multiplayer has really needed all this time is new maps to keep players busy. The Fereldan Castle is the fourth multiplayer map and includes three selectable difficulty levels, just like previous maps. It differs from past maps in significant ways, however…
First off, the Fereldan Castle layout is not randomized like the other three maps. That sounds like a bad thing, but it's not. The new level shows a lot more care than the rest with a more interesting layout and more verticality to its design. You can even climb ladders, visiting the same location from above and below.
The level does have a random element of sorts, though: dragons! Three different high dragons can appear at Fereldan Castle: Frost, Inferno, or Storm. The party leader can select a specific dragon or leave the option on random. Whether or not you choose to use the Dragon's Call item, the selected dragon will assault your team as you play the level. It will zoom around firing projectiles and shaking things up as you attempt to explore the castle and wipe out the enemies within. Plus the dragon affects the level's appearance. For example, the ice dragon coats the entire area in frost and snow.
Upon reaching the third area of the castle, the team will encounter an ancient gong. If anyone possesses a Dragon's Call, the team can ring it to summon the dragon. Should you not ring the gong, you'll fight a non-dragon boss in the fifth section of the castle. Ring the gong and the dragon replaces that boss at the castle summit.
Dragons are unquestionably the best bosses to appear in Inquisition multiplayer to date. They are huge and beautifully rendered. When the dragon lands on the ground, the party can hack away at its head, legs, and tail. The beast's head and tail pose the most threat though it also spits elemental projectiles when enraged.
The high dragon doesn't stay on the ground for the whole fight, however. At times, it takes off into the air to rain down fire and other elemental attacks on our heroes. It can also summon smaller dragons to attack on the ground while it eludes the party. But eventually it will return to the summit floor and become open to attacks once more.
More reason to slay foes together
'Dragonslayer' adds a lot to the Dragon Age Inquisition multiplayer experience. Three new characters, a standout new level, and massive dragon bosses will certainly provide at least a weekend or two of fun to socially minded gamers.
I wish the update added multiplayer Achievements though, a feature that Inquisition has long lacked. And, of course, multiplayer mode still needs more levels! Let's hope EA keeps them coming throughout the year.
See our original Dragon Age multiplayer story for more impressions and tips!
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