Dragon Age is not perfect!

So I’m about 16 hours into my current game, with enough in other characters that I can probably safely say I’ve put 20 hours into Dragon Age: Origins so far. I’m growing ever more sure that this is my personal Game of The Year, which frankly surprises me given how much I enjoyed Infamous and Uncharted 2.

But no game can stand up to 20 hours scrutiny without revealing some imperfections and Dragon Age is no exception. Of course, no game is perfect. The title of this post is intended to provoke.

Anyway, here’re two things I’d like to see changed/added to Dragon Age: Origins.

First up, inventory. We’ve got a fairly limited amount of inventory space, and I’m not 100% sure why that is. Plus, there’s no way to put something down (unless I’m missing something); if your pack is full and you want to pick something up, you need to destroy something you’re carrying. When I’m in a large area with no vendors and no way out and my inventory fills up, it can be a little annoying. Granted there have to be some limits. But I hate that I’ll have to throw away, for example, a kite shield in order to make room for a silver ring.

Why not let us pile up extra gear somewhere in the corner of an area, so we can come back for it later (there could even be a chance that by the time we get back, someone or something will have rummaged through our loot).

As a sort of corollary to this issue, here’s a more controversial issue. I’d like to have a different inventory system. The way things are now, you get X inventory slots and every item (or stack of items) takes one 1 slot.

I get why they did this: to keep things simple. But Dragon Age isn’t a simple game. Now don’t be alarmed, I’m not calling for a “Tetris” inventory system. Rather, I’d assign a number of “burden points” to every carryable item, and then I’d give the party a set capacity for burden.

An example might make this more clear. Currently you start the game with 70 inventory slots. Instead of 70 slots, give the party the capacity to handle 700 encumbrance points worth of stuff. A ring would have an encumbrance value of 1. A shield would have an encumbrance value of 10. A plate chestpiece might have an encumbrance value of 20.

So now when you’re at capacity and want to pick up a ring, you can throw away a shield and get the ring and have some extra room to spare. Or you could throw away a salve and swap in the ring and still be capped. On the other hand if you find some plate armor you want to lug around, you’re going to have to make a number of sacrifices to fit that in.

Honestly that’s a “thinking out loud” idea. But I do think it’d be nice if we could drop items. This isn’t an MMO where we have to worry about lag from items being dropped by hundreds of parties, after all.

Until we get changes to the inventory system, you can head to Spinksville where Spinks talks about a mod that gives you some storage space in camp. That’ll at least help you squirrel away all those rings, statuettes, bottles of wine and other giftable finery you’ll pick up in your travels (but that each take up the same space as a piece of platemail).

Second, I have a feature request. I want a combat review camera. I love the combat system and I love the spectacle of combat. But I feel like I miss a lot of cool stuff because my back is turned, so to speak. This is particularly true while playing as a rogue, since you’re in the middle of battle and constantly moving to get in some back stabs. It may not be as bad for mages or other ‘back line’ characters.

Too frequently something will happen in a battle when I’m not looking. Suddenly two of my party will fall and I’m not sure what caused it. Or a Tactic condition will be met causing a mage to cast a spell that levels half our enemies and I’m not really positive which spell it was.

Enter the review camera. This gizmo lets you rewind time to the start of a battle and then gives you a free floating camera that lets you observe (passively…I’m not talking about a retry) the combat from whatever angle you feel is best. You can watch from the position of that enemy mage who lurked in the shadows until we sent our hound after him, for instance. Or you could just fly around the battle, watching it from all angles; maybe even add a feature so you could save “films” of epic battles in this way? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to edit ‘combat films’ and then save them in an online album to show off to friends?

Anyway, that’s enough for today. Can’t wait for the weekend to arrive so I can put in more serious Dragon Age hours. Sneaking in 30-45 minutes on a week night is almost worse than not playing at all!

7 thoughts on “Dragon Age is not perfect!

  1. There’s a mod (or a Bioware patch, not sure) that sort of alleviates that inventory issue somewhat. Found it on Bio Break (http://biobreak.wordpress.com/2009/11/09/mondays-good-bad-and-ugly/), but linking to it directly here.


    It’s a storage chest that can be found at your party camp, near the tents. Just unload whatever stuff you don’t want to use before going on an adventure, and you should ideally have enough space for your needs. Also, I buy backpacks when I see them. 🙂

  2. I was starting to wonder if I should pick this up soon for my 360. Thanks for reminding me that this is really a PC game, for modders to improve and toolset users to expand with new adventures.

    Of course, that means I’ll have to wait til I buy my next PC (able to handle it). Oh well. Plenty of hold me over. 🙂

  3. The PC camera was actually pretty handy for me as you can zoom out to see the whole battlefield and spin around a great deal. The only time I couldn’t tell why someone died was when they were around a corner or off somewhere else and surrounded by enemies.

    As far as looting goes, one thing I got used to was the fact that you can leave a corpse on the ground for … practically forever, until you come back. The bodies don’t despawn (presumably until the area actually changes, but even then I’m not sure).

    For example: There was one spot in the Circle of Magi where I had tons of bodies left to loot, but because of the way the story handles itself after you kill the last boss, I didn’t get to loot them OR the last boss. I had to go back to the Mage tower and run all the way up (looting stuff I’d missed along the way as well) and finally got to loot him.

    Not sure if it works the same way on the Xbox360, but on the PC loot seems to stick around for a very long time, if not indefinitely.

    I like the review cam idea though. It’d be great for building strategies if something just isn’t working for you. I’ve had quite a few fights that required rethinking of strategy to beat the boss.

  4. Yeah, loot sticks around on the 360 for awhile as well. Not sure if it’s permanent or not though. I did pick up the Warden’s Keep DLC which gives the party storage chest at the end. Same code the BioWare mod uses, only the mod places the chest in the camp rather than at the keep.

    I think the key for inventory is prioritization. It doesn’t show prices in the inventory but I would tend to think a heavy kite shield would sell for more than a silver ring, so I try to keep items that I know (or highly suspect) will sell for the most, and cross my fingers that the cheap stuff I leave behind will be saved so I can come back later to get it.

    So far I’m happy I got the 360 version, but that’s been the case with everything other than MMO’s, which I haven’t been playing lately. Only *real* advantage is that I think PC’s can scroll the camera in and out and the consoles have a fixed camera distance. There are times I’d like to scroll in closer to check out new gear etc. up close like I would in an MMO. But no biggie, since I can’t I don’t obsess about it every playing moment. Quite frankly, as Aaron can attest to, I’ve been playing Dragon Age so much that I would definitely be in pain after resurrecting my RSI again if I were on the PC.

    I’m mainly happy that modern RPG’s like Dragon Age, Fallout 3, etc. are supporting mods and UGC since so many games are having the consoles as lead SKU and PC’s just get a console port with little or no attention to expectations on the PC. Personally, though, when it comes to RPG’s I just don’t think I’m as accepting of UGC anymore. It was one thing back in the days when I’d login to an FPS server using a custom map list and all the maps I didn’t have would auto-download. Some were fun, some were not. But 10+ years later, I seriously doubt I would in a million years touch some user-created mod for an RPG.

  5. I recommend that you purchase backpacks. Each one raises your inventory by 10. You can get two in Ostagar if you buy 1 before the Grey Warden quests and one after before you begin the siege quests. I picked up a 3rd somewhere else, so my inventory is at 100. I’ve never had a problem with storage.

    *Minor spoiler* There is also an in-game storage solution via the Warden’s Keep DLC – but it is somewhat inconvenient.

    Also, for those interested, I wrote a wall of text detailing some of the flaws in this mostly magnificent game here:

  6. What i think would be absolutely awesome, is have some sort of PvP battlegrounds. Where you can only run your main character through. Have some type of reward at the end of each one. Maybe gear or some type of point system to buy gear/rewards. give rank. i think it would deffinantly bring this game to #1 if its not already. Maybe have different types of matches. Death Match, Team Death Match, Capture the flag, ect. (settings like no respawns to make quick battles.) Anyone else think this would be alot of fun?

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