Wednesday morning. A brown package turns up at the VGI headquarters. I approach the box with a certain amount of trepidation, worried that is could contain some sort of anti-gaming powder set to stop me moaning about certain AAA titles. To my utmost surprise a fan named “MarkyMouse” has sent me an Alpha build of BioWare's Dragon Age 3!
Admittedly it's only the first hour of the full game. But that didn't stop me from playing it to death and getting as much information out of it as humanly possible.
The usual suspects of Warrior, Rogue and Mage are still present. My biggest surprise was the inclusion of a fourth class named Alchemist.
Potion making and trap making is no longer a universal skill. Instead, players will need to play the Alchemist specialisation in order to craft items and it's the ability to make bombs that makes this skill so much fun to play!
During battles players equip a crossbow (very similar to Varric's) with specialisation points either being sunk into Crossbow or the ability to make bigger and stronger items. My favourite bomb is the standard fire bomb that combines an oil-like substance with a small fuse. When lit and thrown, the bomb breaks on enemies coating them in fire from head to toe as the roll around on the floor screaming in agony.
There will be a total of 23 companions, reuniting players with fan favourites from the first two games alongside a host of new, and more dynamic characters.
The first we spotted is a female human by the name of Lysstia, a former mage obsessed with accessing the fade in a bid to regain her lost powers.
The second companion we were lucky enough to play with is the returning Morrigan.
Enraged by the death of The Warden and the “loss” of the God-baby, Morrigan is back and hell-bent of revenge. Armed with Flemeth's grimoire, Morrigan's powers are at an all-time high. Gone are simple transformations and in place, is the ability to turn into a Flemeth-style dragon.
One of the new features of Dragon Age 3 is the ability to romance everyone. Players complained that the could not settle down with the likes of Varric, Shale and Dog. Now, everyone in the world can be your spouse, providing you have the suave to woo them correctly.
Have you passed a beautiful shopkeep? Buy her goods and let slip that you have a big house and she could be going home with you. Met a Dalish on your travels who you just can't be without? Make some racist comments about Humans their treehouse home could be home to a patter of little elf-feet. Seen a Dragon who scales make you giddy? They still can't be romanced...
Following fan feedback, combat in Dragon Age 3 will see the series return to that of Dragon Age: Origins. The frantic and stylised hack 'n' slash made a lot of gamer's cringe, some even went as far as to say “Why would you be able use daggers to stab?” and “I miss my pew-pew staff!”
“Every single player preferred shuffling up to an enemy and poking them with sharp implements until the fell down.” BioWare Chief-Of-Operations Brian Handwitz said.
“Every single player can't be wrong can they? So we listened. [DA:O] Combat is back and we've been very careful to make sure that weapons feel less weighted and much less like they could cause harm. I think the end product is going to please a lot of [Baulder's Gate] fans!”
Name: Wesley Copeland
Born in Cyrodiil but raised in Ferelden, more commonly know as England. Wesley Copeland is a passionate writer with more opinions than an ostrich