Revisionist History: Dragon Age Keep Launched

Sure. Probably. That sounds about right.

Filling in the history of Thedas in the Dragon Age Keep, I realise I really don’t remember much about Dragon Age. I needed to consult Google just then to discover that the world it’s set in is named Thedas, for example. Did I give an amulet to a beggar in Origins? Maybe. What’s it to you? Who’s Gascard and why did I kill him? Was Cullen the nice Templar or that mean one? Maybe I killed both.

Keep is the tool that BioWare are using to set up the state of the world in Dragon Age: Inquisition, building up a history of decisions your characters made in earlier games. And it’s now in open beta.

Keep can’t import saves, so you’ll need to get your hands dirty to recreate or alter the world setup you fancy for Inquisition. Beyond basics like the Warden and Hawke’s personal details, it has almost 140 events you can change, by my nasopharyngitis-addled count. These go from small things like how you treated a poorly deer and whether you killed… Danzig? (Bratmobile’s Where Eagles Dare cover is amazing, by the way) to big ones like who saved the world and who you ‘did it’ with. I highly recommend having the Dragon Age Wiki open in a tab so you can check who these folks with dull names (Danzig aside, obvs) are, and what you did during their unmemorable quests.

And then you can watch a pretty cinematic with Varric narrating your personal history of the world.

“Not every choice will impact your playthrough of Dragon Age: Inquisition, however this means we can accommodate importing for future Dragon Age titles,” BioWare say in the Keep FAQ. They note that they may add more options and choices to Keep over time.

Inquisition is due on November 21st. If you’ve ignored everything I’ve said and refuse to read words, here’s a fluffy video which doesn’t say much about Keep:

47 Comments

  1. amateurviking says:

    Holby jeebus I need to get my finger out and finish DA:O, then DA:A and DA2 before this comes out (I actually classify myself as a series fan too, but always get bogged down after 3 of the ‘collect the 4 things’ bits and restart/reroll.

    This may be an impossible task.

    Whai geams so long?

    • Hex says:

      No, you really don’t. You should probably play DA:O to completion, sure, and maybe DA:A. Save yourself the hassle regarding the rest, and wait for the reviews once DA:I comes out.

    • Keymonk says:

      I differ with the person above me. I liked DA2, so I’d suggest that too. It’s -not- the same DAO, though, and it has its problems (just like DA:O did).

      • malkav11 says:

        It has much bigger problems than DA:O did, and I can’t imagine it having as much impact on any continuing narrative, although it still has its moments.

      • Orillion says:

        I’m one of those rare people who liked it more than DAO, just because it’s different, and focuses on the characters. Gameplaywise, just set it to Novice difficulty and let it play itself, but the story must be experienced.

        • JRay says:

          Agreed. I think that the questline/plot involving the Quanari and the Arishok was better than anything in Origins by a mile. It was very Witcher-esque in its moral ambiguity.

          • jezcentral says:

            Also: Varric. Even better than Garrus (in my opinion*).

            * I.e. this is me not being Objective. Bad me, Bad!

        • Klatu says:

          That’s how I played DA:2, and my 2nd playthrough of the ME trilogy too. I never actually finished DA:O so I bought all the DLC I was missing and am now about a third of the way through. After adding a few mods from Nexus for quality of life I’m having a blast.

  2. silentdan says:

    Since they made all their titles Origin-exclusive, I’ve bought a grand total of 2 EA games. One was The Old Republic, and I can’t remember what the other one was. Without playing any EA games, I still have a huge backlog on Steam. And GoG, now that I think about it. Maybe I might change my mind at some point, but probably not. EA’s pretty much dead to me until I can get their stuff Origin-free, and even then I’m not so sure.

    Am I taking this too far? Are there some can’t-miss gems that I’ve overlooked because of the Origin loathing? Or am I less alone on this one than I think?

    • Mirqy says:

      I haven’t bothered with anything from EA recently. I can’t be bothered with Origin, but it isn’t based on rage against the…ok, what exactly is Origin? I was going to say platform, but that basically means ‘thing on a system that you don’t have a better name for’, right? And that’s pretty much my problem with it.

      I haven’t seen anything from EA that’s grabbed me in a long while, and when I had a poke at dragon age earlier this year, I quit when I hit a subquest photocopied from mass effect. I’m guessing there won’t be an option for that decision in the keep.

      • silentdan says:

        It’s not rage, just distaste. When someone mentions Origin, I don’t launch into a screed or anything, I just make a face, and sometimes a little “blekh” noise.

        • nearly says:

          Have a good couple games on Origin, half of which are from when they had the snafu where games were free and a handful that I’ve actually bought. That created a lot of goodwill/guilt on my part. I was legitimately very excited about Titanfall but didn’t end up liking it very much (which I think is probably the general consensus). I was playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 just this morning.

          For what it’s worth, if you like playing games, play them. It’s one thing to not play a Sony/Microsoft exclusive because you don’t have the console, but when the barrier to entry is just downloading a different program (which it sounds like you already have), can you really say it’s about enjoying games and not some kind of petulant brand loyalty? They also offer free games for long periods of times, a la the Games for Gold program on Xbox.

          I can’t claim to understand “Steam or I’m not playing it” people. Do you actually even like playing video games or do you have stock in Valve that you want to see increase in value?

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      No Origin on my PC, either. Not a lot on offer that I actually want.

    • Keymonk says:

      Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer is a gem, in my opinion.

    • Jambe says:

      I installed it to snag some of their free promotions back when you couldn’t input Origin codes via the website.

      I never installed any of the free things I redeemed.

      Actually, it might still be the case that you can’t redeem Origin codes through the website. I really don’t know.

      Initially when Origin came out I was against it because 1) EA and 2) I thought I had enough digital logins and accounts and software and suchlike. Since then I’ve mellowed, and if any Origin-only game really calls to me, I’ll use it.

      I still haven’t used it.

      • jezcentral says:

        If nothing else, you can back up your EA Steam games on it.

  3. ubik says:

    Nice to see them admitting that no one should actually have to play DA2. This was a quite enjoyable alternative.

  4. MasodikTiasma says:

    So is this a clever way of not telling us that you won’t be able to import saves from the previous games in Inquisition?

    • RedViv says:

      Has been confirmed a while ago, yes. Would be quite hard to do that without error, and especially awkward now that the consoles have switched a generation.

      • Deano2099 says:

        They could have at least let PC users import into the Keep though. I get that there were issues with 2 or 3 things importing from 1 to 2, but 95% of the choices could be imported, and it could just prompt me for the others. Expecting me to remember what choice I made in a minor subquest five years ago is a bit ridiculous.

        • JRay says:

          That’s my single biggest criticism of the Keep in its current state. Like Alice’s post brings up, some of the choice tiles are for whether you killed or spared people like “Danzig” without giving you any real context as to who Danzig was in the game (spoiler: He was a jerk that you interacted with for a maximum of five minutes in Dragon Age 2). I was in the beta and submitted that feedback, but I think that only people who recently replayed the games, have great memories, or are willing to trudge through the Wiki are going to get anything out of it currently.

          Now, all of that said, I don’t think Danzig is going to be a pivotal character in future games, so it’s probably not important whether he’s alive or dead (the same could very well be true for a lot of those minor characters). The most you’d probably get is a brief side-quest or a Mass Effect 2-style “Hey Remember Me From the Last Game?” moment.

          • Deano2099 says:

            It does seem like I can get most of my big DA:O stuff just by re-watching the game epilogue and taking notes. It just seems a tad ridiculous the Keep can’t do that for me. Then again, will be handy to jog my memory I guess.

            I’d replay them (time permitting) but even then, that either means replaying with the same character and similar choices (and fewer mistakes as I’ve learned from them), or creating a new one, at which point it’s not the world state I want to take into Inquisition anymore.

        • Keymonk says:

          You can, actually. If you have allowed the game to connect to their servers while you’ve been playing Dragon Age 1 and/or 2, you can sync your game with it and it’ll fetch your characters and their world states. Just not the save files themselves. It is kinda wonky, though.

    • Melloj says:

      Seems that way – I had the same question so went to look at the FAQs and it seems there is some way of having a profile on Origin that stored your game state from the original Origins and DLC, but I played those via Steam and when I log into my Origin account all I see is Fifa 14….hmmm.

      I’ve got my end state saved games saved somewhere, but seems unless you somehow please the Origin Gods and had your character state saved there, you are hooped….

      • RedViv says:

        Fromt what I remember, the keep uses what kind of big decision points you made in your last played game that was connected to the Bioware-Social-now-Origin-Account. But even then it appears to be wonky. That’s why we have a beta of a free tool, I guess.

        • JRay says:

          For Dragon Age Origins (not sure for DA2), you only need to be connected to the Bioware Social Network. I’ve been replaying it on Steam and my stuff is getting uploaded to the Keep, so you don’t technically need the game on Origin. The BSN doesn’t really properly exist anymore but your information (characters, achievements, and DLC) will just get uploaded straight to the Keep instead. You just need to use the same log-in info for the Keep/EA/Origin that you used with Bioware before.

          As far as what gets imported, no story information carries over. If any of your decisions are the same after importing new characters, it’s just a happy coincidence. The only information that actually gets uploaded is the Achievements and DLC info and your character’s Name, Profile Picture, Class, Race, Level, and Oigin/Personality Type. This brings up the question of “Why have importing to begin with if nothing major gets imported and you can change it all anyway?” and I don’t have a good answer to that question. Especially in light of the information that you’ll be able to customize the appearance of returning Main Characters (Hawke from DA2, for example) from within Inquisition itself.

        • MasodikTiasma says:

          Ok, thanks for the info. It still have a profile on the Bioware Social Network, and I should be able remeber most major decisions, as I finished DA2 not long ago (no really! I finished it! can’t say it’s the best game ever but the story and characters are ok, sometimes even good).

      • Wulfram says:

        All you can import is Race, Gender and Class, and then only if it works, which it frequently doesn’t.. Also name and portrait, but they’re only for the purpose of the Keep itself and thus pretty irrelevant.

        Everything else you have to set by hand.

    • ubik says:

      Honestly this keep thing seems pretty well done and a nice way to set up for the next game. You get to review all the major (and minor) choices from past games without the need to actually replay them. The voiced story was neat and did a good enough job recalling the gist of the events. The only thing missed by not importing an actual save file is missing the likeness of your warden from DA:O who wouldn’t be appearing in any future game anyway.

      Unlike Mass Effect which was three parts of the same story with the same hero, I don’t expect all this to have as much impact on the new game anyway. It would be really tiresome if the game made effort to reference every single little facet of some other warden’s life in some other country.

  5. fish99 says:

    If I didn’t play Dragon Age will all the humans be dead in Inquisition due to me failing to save the world?

    • Wulfram says:

      If you didn’t play the previous games, you can still use the keep to set the world state however suits your fancy.

      Or you can just take the default state, which is likely to have a lot of dead people because that’s generally the option with fewest loose ends. And what do you care if some dude you never met is dead? It’s not even like Mass Effect, where it could be a bit odd that the apparently bloodthirsty Renegade from previous (unplayed games) suddenly turns into a Victory Through Hugs Paragon, since DA has different protagonists for each games.

      Honestly, if you didn’t play the previous games it probably makes sense to not bother with the Keep the first time you play. If you like the game, you can then experiment with other world states in subsequent playthroughs.

    • ubik says:

      Hah, that would be special – if the keep sees that you don’t own any of the previous games, it assumes the heroes from them never existed. That said, does the keep allow access to either or both games regardless of which you own?

      • JRay says:

        Yep. You don’t need to have owned or played any of the previous games or DLC to access that content in the Keep.

    • Turkey says:

      What if I made a wizard named grampa and only played through the tutorial?

  6. Hex says:

    I hate that video.

    I hate what they did with DA 2.

    I hate what they’re doing with DA 3.

    I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate I hate.

    • Orillion says:

      You seem like a very hateful person.

    • green frog says:

      Good! Use your aggressive feelings, boy. Let the hate flow through you.

    • lumenadducere says:

      How do you hate something that isn’t even out yet? If anything, DA: Inquisition looks to be far closer to Origins (the first game) than DA 2 was. I wouldn’t leap to any conclusions before things are actually out and people have their hands on the product.

      Or I guess you can just continue to hate without much rhyme or reason. Whatever suits yer fancy.

      • Hex says:

        I have my reasons. They may not be good reasons, but they’re there.

        Primarily, DAO got me pretty invested with the story of my Grey Warden, and I was married to the idea of furthering the story of his rebuilding the order.

        DA2 ended up being about something totally unrelated (as far as I got), and it wasn’t good enough in its own right to keep me playing.

        DA3 looks to be heading a in more stereotypically muscle-bound-warrior-hacks-shit-up direction, which I have no interest in subjecting myself to.

        Hate.

        I hate it because I really enjoyed the world of DAO mostly because I was introduced to that world through a character that I cared about, because he was the character I made to experience that world. I’m really only interested in re-entering that world if I can do it in pursuit of my character’s development.

        Obviously nobody really cares about all that, and I grant it’s silly to expect a lone voice in the storm to be catered to.

        On the other hand, I want the things I buy to cater to my desires, so no more Dragon Age games for me.

        Also: hate.

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Is there no room in your heart for a different story and character? If it was set in another world entirely, would you still hate it? On the plus side, all this hate will inevitably lead you to the dark side and you will end up with rad sweet powers to shoot lightning from your fingers and crush people’s windpipes by holding your thumb and forefinger close together.

          • Hex says:

            Really my hate has less to do with the failings of DA2 than it has to do with the game simply not being what I wanted it to be (and my wants were pretty outlandish, honestly).

            However, if DA2 had been strong enough to pull me in and make me forget what I wanted, by being just that good, it wouldn’t be an issue. Since the game was mediocre to decent, its failings are amplified in my mind by the damning fact that it’s not what I wanted.

            Does that make any kind of sense to anybody but me?

          • SanguineAngel says:

            No, I definitely understand what you mean. I’ve had several games (movies, books, albums etc etc) I have been looking forward to not conform to my ideal wishes for them or even my expectations. That can certainly be disappointing.

            But I believe there is something to be said for being able to separate that and appreciate something on its own merits. You can still be disappointed and simultaneously also enjoy something.

  7. ScoutAbout says:

    I’ve been tinkering around with it and quite enjoyed revisiting my decisions. It’s a nice refresher before Inquisition, but I have relied on the wiki quite a bit. The only snag I hit (which I expected) was that it won’t let me choose my modded play through with my female warden who romanced and had a demon baby with Morrigan.

    • jezcentral says:

      Ah, yes. I have that problem too. My female rogue is also a proud….father?

  8. Deviija says:

    The art for the Keep is so beautiful. Also, having Varric read your tale back to you, based around your choices, is pretty impressive for a free program BioWare is putting out there. Voice acting and the art assets and all ain’t cheap.

  9. Sentient Waffle says:

    I find this awesome and a nice initiative. So what if you can’t import your previous saves to the new game, if you can just completely remake what happened with this? You can even use your previous heroes.

    I played a lot of DA:O and DAII, but with many different characters and a long time ago, so I can’t really remember what I did with who.

    This lets me chose what happened in preparation for DA:I, without having to play the games through again (which takes a long time for a completionist like me, and honestly isn’t that fun the tenth time around), and it even lets me chose what happened in the smaller side quests! Awesome!

    Now I just hope DA:I is gonna turn out good, as I definitively won’t buy it until I hear about it from players.

  10. Jamesworkshop says:

    it has a ton of choices, it’s the best system for such a task, even within DA’O and its dlc and expansion if had plot flag bugs all over the place, i think the best was the post-coronation autosave file to use