Dragon Age: Inquisition – Patch 2 Notes

For patch notes in other languages, click here

From Pat LaBine, producer for Dragon Age: Inquisition

We have a patch for PC, Ps3, Ps4, and Xbox 360 coming out today to address some of the issues players have been having. Here’s a list of the upcoming changes:

Release date: December 9, 2014

Singleplayer

  • Fixed case where game would incorrectly think the player has more than one race/class/gender
  • Fixed case where users who changed their voice off of default, would have their voice set back to default when interacting with Hawke’s chargen settings.
  • Increased duration that search highlights things, and added highlighted items to radar while they are highlighted.
  • Fixed several conversation lines which would take a very long time to advance to the next line unless they were manually skipped.
  • Fixed case where followers could float above the ground after extended periods of play
  • [PC] Fixed some hitching in conversations.
  • [PC] Pressing the interact key (default “F”) will take everything from containers.
  • [PC] Hair should be less shiny on lower quality settings.
  • [PC] Added ability to rotate character models with the mouse in UI’s that show character models
  • [PC] Added an option to enable / disable tactical camera on mouse wheel scroll out.
  • [PC] Hiding the HUD on the PC will now hide all UI elements
  • [PC] Fixed being able to drag abilities from a tree that was not selected onto the quickbar
  • [PC] Fixed being able to toggle UI state for the tactical camera on the quickbar when the tactical camera is unusable
  • [PC] Fixed case where clicking quickbar elements in Eyefinity would trigger attacks
  • [PC] fixed case where extra mouse-up events were triggering in UIs
  • [PC] Fixed issue where mouse-up events were missed when dragging off of UI elements and then releasing the mouse button
  • [PC] Fixed loading Icon not animating while Mantle creates shaders during load screens.
  • [PC] Fixed mouse cursor flashing while targeting AOEs
  • [PC] Fixed situation that could result in a hang on the start menu.
  • [PC] Fixed situation where war table could become non-interactive until users right clicked on it.
  • [PC] Fixed situation which could cause mouse-look to snap to a facing rather than turning smoothly
  • [PC] Holding right click and pressing the camera turn buttons in tactical camera will cause the cursor to strafe in the same manner the camera behaves outside tactical camera
  • [PC] Made some changes that should improve Mantle performance
  • [PC] quickbar indicator for pause state should no longer remain highlighted when game is not paused
  • [PS3] Increased number of save slots to 30
  • [PS4] Improved conversation performance during fast install
  • [PS4] Increased number of save slots to 50
  • [360] Fixed case where movies sometimes decoded incorrectly
  • [360] Fixed Crash when selecting storage device when select storage device warning is present
  • [360] Fixed the online connection error being displayed twice when attempting to login to Origin with no Xbox live connection.
  • Assorted stability improvements
  • Fixed crash that could occur after some conversations
  • Certain boss creatures are now immune to Disruption Field
  • Creatures in rag doll will now pause when the game is paused
  • Fix to Spirit Blade so it no longer triggers combos
  • Fixed a couple focus abilities to be weapon agnostic
  • Fixed a few DA Keep world state import reactivity checks.
  • Fixed a few situations that could result in there being no conversation selection indicator during conversations
  • Fixed an issue caused by changing characters at the same as targeting an AOE ability
  • Fixed Audio cutting out when using AOE abilities while radial menu is open.
  • Fixed being unable to finish quest “Safe Keeping” if the user places key fragments in the forger, then leaves the zone without getting the finished key.
  • Fixed camera shaking when making small camera adjustments during character creation
  • Fixed case where blizzard would pause the game when it turns off
  • Fixed case where controller rumble would get permanently disabled
  • Fixed case where Imshael could end up in a location where players could not fight him.
  • Fixed case where interaction text would not update in tactical camera
  • Fixed case where mana or stamina was incorrectly displayed on mounted character’s portraits
  • Fixed case where users could get stuck loading a save in a certain dragon combat area
  • Fixed case where users could get stuck on an infinite “Connecting to Dragon Age Servers”
  • Fixed Crippling Blows to have a 15% damage bonus instead of .15%
  • Fixed Cullen’s hair having some strange shadows during cinematics
  • Fixed exploit that would allow bypassing ability cool-downs in certain circumstances
  • Fixed exploit that would allow users to take no damage.
  • Fixed issue where orders to interact with trebuchets made in tactical mode were un-interruptable.
  • Fixed issue where user loses control of the party if he enters tactical camera at the same time as a cinematic triggers
  • Fixed issue which could cause potion counts to be reset due to party member changes.
  • Fixed issue which could result in an infinite “Connecting to Dragon Age Servers” on the main menu.
  • Fixed issue which could result in the Radial menu not staying open
  • Fixed issue which could result in the screen re-sizing UI to stop working until exiting and re-entering the screen re-sizing UI.
  • Fixed scripted autosave in the western approach which was made which if loaded could result in certain NPCs to not show up until after leaving the area and coming back.
  • Fixed situation where followers could get stuck while pathfinding to the player.
  • Fixed some of the collectible books being non-interactive in Skyhold
  • Fixed slot types on several crafted items
  • Fixed some item names getting cut off in stores
  • Fixed weapon type on several crafted weapon parts.
  • Ground rings scale on Dragons in Tactical Camera
  • Radar will be shown during radar tutorial, even if the UI is set to be hidden
  • Radar will show way points immediately after coming out of UIs, no longer requires player to move first.
  • Target lock is cleared when entering tactical mode.
  • Unified sort order for stat listings during item modification

 

Multiplayer

  • [PC] Improved push-to-talk functionality when using keyboard and mouse
  • Fixed issue which could result in negative XP being granted in some multiplayer matches
  • Fixed crash that could occur while switching characters in some multiplayer menus
  • Cursed chests in multiplayer no longer look different from un-cursed ones
  • Fixed some missing information on end of match screens when servers are slow in Multiplayer.
  • Fixed Players losing their ability to target when dying while recovering object in multiplayer
  • Fixed situation where host migration after end of match would fail to show end of match details for the remaining players
  • Fixed issue with players being interrupted while interacting with objects in Multiplayer
  • Fixed issue where host can be returned to an empty lobby after quitting out of a match while in the operation failed state
  • Improved appearance of ledge drop-downs in multiplayer.
  • Fixed case which could cause keys to not drop in Multiplayer
  • Fixed case in Multiplayer where players could attempt to use abilities while dead.

Building a Character: Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi

Krem

(Note: This article contains spoilers for the Iron Bull’s character arc up to his personal plot, but not including it. If you’ve already had drinks with the Bull’s Chargers, nothing in here should be spoiled for you.)

The Idea
A couple years ago, BioWare did a BioWare Base panel on LGBTQ representation in our games at PAX. We heard concerns, praise, and a lot of heartfelt discussion about how we present characters from the LGBTQ community. One of the most repeated requests was for representation of transgender and/or genderqueer characters in a way that did not make them either a monster or a joke. When the panel was over, some of us kicked around ideas about what we could do.

Talking over drinks at the bar later, we hit two major challenges. First, any conversation about the subject had to come up naturally in-game. A minor character like a shopkeeper would have no reason to explain that she is trans, so either the conversation would never come up or it would come up because her voice was clearly masculine, at which point it would look like a joke to most players, no matter how we tried to write it. Second, the character had to serve a purpose beyond “being there to be a genderqueer person.” Every character in our game serves a purpose—reinforcing the theme of a plot, character, or area—and we do not have the budget for someone who is just there to tick off a box.

As we discussed ideas, the possibility came up of Iron Bull’s lieutenant being such a character. Bull needed a lieutenant. He’s a mercenary commander, and even if we didn’t have the memory budget to have his entire company around all the time, I needed to be able to remind players that Bull has a history of command. In addition, Bull’s loyalty is pulled between life under the Qun and a life of freedom, and I needed a character on each side who could represent that pull.

Cremisius “Krem” Aclassi met both challenges. His conversation could come up naturally, along with discussions of life as a mercenary, and he could serve a vital role in the story as a grounding force who would remind the player that Bull is more than just hired muscle. Krem’s status as a trans man, rather than being just tacked on, could emphasize Bull’s character by opening up discussions of Qunari gender roles.

The Execution
Once we had decided what we wanted to do, we tackled the concept of Krem with other departments to figure out how to do it correctly. In doing so, we saw how much of our game’s engine was based on set gender assignments, from voice to face to animation set to localization plan for foreign languages. Every single department stepped up enthusiastically to make sure that Krem was created with respect. Colleen Perman gave Krem his fantastic face using the character art team’s head-morph system, John Epler nailed his animation and body language, Caroline Livingstone and Jennifer Hale found a great voice for a trans man in a world without access to transitional procedures, and Melanie Fleming made absolutely certain that Krem was gendered appropriately in all languages.

On the writing side, I wrote Krem as best I could, and the editing team looked at every line and cleaned up dialogue and paraphrases that could give the wrong impression. I then passed him to two friends in the GQ community… at which point they showed me where I was absolutely messing things up and gave me constructive feedback on how to improve. In the first draft, Bull was the one who brought up Krem’s binding as a friendly joke. My friends pointed out how incredibly hurtful such a callout was for many trans people in real life (“Hey, by the way, you’re actually a woman, just wanted to remind you!”) and that it made Bull into an incredibly offensive jerk. This was not at all what I wanted—people playing now will note that Bull and Krem give each other grief about little things all the time, but never attack truly sore spots—and I rewrote the scene so that Krem is the one who brings it up first. This makes it clear that Krem is comfortable discussing being trans, and the player will not be offending Krem by asking questions about it.

In the investigate hub where you can ask Krem about his past in Tevinter, the first draft had him deserting after fighting off someone who discovered his secret and tried to assault him. My friends noted that this played directly into the sad “attacked trans person” cliché, and while it was plausible, it was an ugly event that could well trigger trans people who have experienced harassment in real life. The goal was for Krem to be a positive character who was living his life happily now, and I revised his departure from Tevinter accordingly.

(Very few writers enjoy talking about things they messed up in their first drafts, and I am no exception. That said, I am hugely grateful to my friends for helping me avoid some obvious-in-retrospect mistakes. Their help was amazing, and any stuff that still bothers people is on me and me alone.)

The Reception
We are all proud to have brought Krem to life in the game, and seeing people in the genderqueer community respond positively to him has been wonderful. We are also listening to feedback on how we can improve with characters in the future. (For example, some trans folks feel I wrote the player choices to be too clueless or uninformed, and wished for options to speak from more personal experience. I’ve heard the feedback, and I intend to do better next time.) It would be a lie to say that this was as easy as creating any other human character—it was uncharted territory for all of us on both the technical and the artistic side—but it was worth the extra effort. The world of Dragon Age has room for people of all backgrounds and identities, and it was a pleasure to show that in one more way.

Inside the Temple of Dragons with Composer Trevor Morris

Enter the iconic Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, where award-winning composer, Trevor Morris, works with strings, brass, and choir to bring the music of Dragon Age: Inquisition to life. Trevor shares his process, inspiration, and what it’s like to create a brand new voice for an established franchise.
Listen to the main theme for Dragon Age: Inquisition here.

This video was first shown to subscribers of the Dragon Age Newsletter. If you’d like to be the first to see tips, tricks, and behind the scenes material from Dragon Age: Inquisition, you can sign up here.

Understanding Video Games

Over the last several months, BioWare has been working with the University of Alberta to help create a massive open online course. Covering topics ranging from mechanics and story to sex and culture, Understanding Video Games explores the impact of games on society.

The 11-lesson course is available online and is free to anyone (there is an associated fee if you want to write exams and receive credit from your institution). The course features interviews and discussions with several BioWare developers, including Senior Creative Director Preston Watamaniuk, Editor Karin Weekes, and Artist Matt Rhodes.

Each lesson is broken up into a series of short interactive video modules, accompanied by readings and quiz components. No background is required; the course teaches the terminology and theoretical framework necessary for discussing and interpreting games.
Understanding Video Games launches September 3, 2014.

We’re proud to have been a part of this course, and to continue working with UAlberta to foster learning and understanding around video games.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Update

From Mark Darrah, Executive Producer of Dragon Age: Inquisition

As you may have heard, we’re holding back the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition until November 18, 2014. We appreciate the enormous support we’ve received from all of you to get to this point, and while this extra few weeks may not seem like a lot, I know the game you’ll play will be all the better for it.

Since we began working on Dragon Age: Inquisition almost four years ago, our goal was to create the best Dragon Age experience ever. It was that goal that motivated many of our decisions: moving to Frostbite, bringing race choice and customization back, improving tactical camera, building a team of characters whose relationships evolve based on your actions, and most importantly, crafting an epic, nation-spanning story that both draws upon past games and takes you to many new places in the realm of Thedas.

I’m privileged to be a part of a team that has been working very hard to surpass every measure they’ve set for themselves. That has meant completing huge amounts of game content, fixing bugs both big and small, and improving the overall experience. This last bit of time is about polishing the experience we want you to see. Ensuring that our open spaces are as engaging as possible. Strengthening the emotional impact of the Hero’s choices. And ensuring the experience you get is the best it can be in the platform you choose to play on.

Thank you again for your patience and support!

Mark