The Dragon Age franchise has been quite successful; but being bluntly honest, the first game of the series, Dragon Age: Origins, is the only reason for its popularity. Its sequel, Dragon Age 2, tried to do stuff too differently, and eventually lost its path, so much that it became something totally different from the original game in the series.
What we do know now is this: Dragon Age 2 was, as most would agree, a bit of a mess, and we hope BioWare learns from their mistakes, making Dragon Age 3 much better than its prequel, and hopefully up to the high standards of Origins.
So, we’ve decided to make a wish-list for the not-yet announced but inevitable Dragon Age 3. Here it goes:
1. Frostbite 2.0 Engine
Rumors have risen that BioWare is planning a Dragon Age multiplayer, and that it’s going to be using DICE’s brilliant Frostbite 2.0 engine – the very engine that powers Battlefield 3 and NFS: The Run.
We don’t quite know if this Dragon Age multiplayer will be an independent launch or a part of DA3 (or if it exists at all, since it’s just a rumor), but we really do hope that DA3 uses the Frostbite 2.0.
I shudder (with pleasure) to think how the dragons and dwarves will look with this engine (yes, I have a thing for extreme sizes). If the rumors are true, then BioWare is on the right track.
2. Open-ended Gameplay; In Other Words, No Confinement!
One of the least positively popular things about Dragon Age 2 is how it greatly limited players to certain areas, and had exploration options dampened down to an almost unnoticeable level.
Any RPG fan knows that a good RPG game is one that allows players to roam about, and one that actually has plenty of places to roam in and explore. It was truly annoying to visit the same areas again and again – if it had to be done, at least they could’ve made the revisits a bit interesting. I really hope BioWare doesn’t make the same mistake again.
3. Genuine RPG Battle System
I have to admit that Origins didn’t really have an overly exciting battle system, and DA2’s was more like hack-and-slash instead of anything role-playing.
BioWare really needs to make a new battle system formula, one that allows flowing battles, yet provides the sense of tactical RPG gaming. In fact, if they can’t make anything innovative, it’s never too hard to make adaptations from other successful games in the same genre (Skyrim or Final Fantasy maybe?).
I’m sure fans wouldn’t mind something non-innovative, as long as it’s fun, encouraging, and has a genuine feel.
4. Bring Back The Sense of Epicness!
Perhaps the greatest thing about Dragon Age Origins was how epic it was, being almost in the same league as The Elder Scrolls games. The world was rich, had a fantastic complexity to it, and the history, culture and religion(s) was astonishing and captivating.
I loved the concept of the Fade and visits to it. That epic feeling was entirely eliminated in the sequel. There was no visiting to the Fade, no taking a pinch of some prophet’s ashes, no werewolf curses to cure or golems to forge – there was very little to do and very little to admire.
More importantly, as the Grey Warden you were saving the world, while as Hawke you were just trying to save a forgettable city called Kirkwall. That sense of epicness of Origins really needs to be brought back, as it was one of the most missed aspects.
5. Flexible Character Development
The character development really needs more flexibility, in the sense that they should not be as discrete as they are. The concept of having skill trees relative to your class is a great idea, but the general development should be such that it contains at least one hybrid.
One good example was the Arcane Mage in Origins, which allowed a mage to be both a mage and a warrior. As a result, you could be wearing heavy armor, wielding a super powerful sword, and yet still be casting AoE spells to do collateral damage.
BioWare really needs to make such options a part of the system, and they also need to stop trying to simplify character build system in sequels, as they did with Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 2.
6. Give Continuity Between Areas
One thing Dragon Age 2 really lacked was the continuity between the areas. Origins also suffered from this problem, but not as much as its predecessor.
We don’t want to travel to a distant area by just clicking a button and watching a loading scene with blood trails or some weird pictures; we want to manually go there, encounter bandits and strange beings in the way, and get a bit distracted from the environment.
Sure, this shouldn’t always be the case, but at least it should be such that the first time you need to visit an uncharted or unmapped area, you have to manually go there, and then once it is charted, it can be accessed quickly via a map, much like the way it works in Skyrim.
7. No Wave Battles Please
BioWare just doesn’t seem to understand that enemy waves are not an RPG thing – it’s an action-game thing, or a multiplayer thing, but definitely not an RPG thing.
In RPG games, you don’t fight against waves that appear one after another; instead, you fight enemies that occupy specific locations in the map, and they behave territorial in nature, instead of collectively coming at you while flailing their weapons above their heads.
There’s a fine line between the two methods of enemy encounters, but it needs to be understood, as the difference is very evident to a regular RPG gamer when he/she sees waves of enemies and when he/she sees a dungeon filled with enemies.
8. Bring Back The Camp-Styled Party Gathering
It’s quite silly to have a party that walks around with you, and when you visit one of their houses, he/she behaves as if you came after a long time. If there has to be gathering of any sort, it should be one similar to that in Origins, next to a campfire neighbored by a dwarf with an eccentric son, and some weirdo who demands you to download a DLC pack.
Okay, maybe not that similar, but at least the idea of having all the party members to your disposal at once and in one location is a very good idea. Mass Effect does it very well through the Normandy ship; it’s a small ship and every party member has a distinct place where they can be found and talked to.
We really want those sort of regrouping regions back, they feel safe (until they’re invaded by the Collectors or attacked by the Darkspawn), and are good ways for one to know their party members.
Don’t forget to post your Dragon Age 3 wish-list by commenting below!