Magic Makeovers: Dragon Age Inq Adding Customisation

Mirror mirror, on the wall, give me blue hair and make me six feet tall.

Give me a long, sprawling RPG with appearance options and I will replay the first hour at least six times. I didn’t realise how ugly that haircut actually is. I didn’t know its lighting would make that skin tone so ugly. I’d forgotten to make them interesting from behind. On reflection, that hair colour is awful. What was I even thinking with that tattoo? And I should tower over puny NPCs more.

When I get around to Dragon Age: Inquisition [official site], I might be able to skip that for once, as the next patch is due to add ways to customise your chap mid-game.

This’ll happen in the Black Emporium, a mysterious mystical market returning from a Dragon Age II DLC pack. “There, Inquisitors can find powerful artifacts and tools to aid their cause, purchase epic weapons, powerful accessories, new crafting materials and schematics, and even change their voice and facial appearance using the Mirror of Transformation,” sez BioWare. The update will bring a way to dye armour too.

I mean, sure, Patch 5 will also bring an auto-attack option and add party storage and fix bugs and all that, but bugs are far less of a concern than a garbage haircut.

BioWare plan to run Patch 5 through closed beta testing with players. If you want to beta test a patch, for whatever reason, signups will be through the Keep “in the near future”.

Dear RPGs, especially ones full of fantasy or sci-fi hocus-pocus that can explain any physical transformation with hand-waving and silly words, please add ways to recreate characters. Saints Row’s cosmetic surgery is a wonderful, wonderful thing.


  1. Sakai says:

    I guess it’s cool and ll that they adding something like… But really why it wasn’t in the game in the first place? =/

    • Koinzellgaming says:

      Some were bad design choices.. And some were things they didn’t have time to add in.. At the very least EA is being reasonable by making this completely free, knowing that there’s some other publishing houses who’d ask you to pay for the additional character creation choices.

      • Norminator says:

        You know things have turned to shit when we use phrases like “at least EA is being reasonable”.

    • Silith321 says:

      They said on twitter that it had to be cut before release. That’s not really an answer to the why, but at least they wanted to have it in for release but couldn’t. I’m excited! :)

  2. Oridan says:

    I think it’s cool that they’re adding this in a free patch, and not being scumbags and putting it into a paid DLC.

  3. TheMopeSquad says:

    Welcome changes but unfortunately I’m quite done with playing that game.

    • mattlambertson says:

      I stopped after 3 hours because, partly, I somehow missed the character customization in the beginning and got stuck with a character I didn’t really relate to pretending to be. Also, lack of auto attack and shit controls compared to DAO which I had just finished playing and expected more of the same with better graphics and bigger areas. I still want to go back to it and that patch would be pretty motivating.

      • Molay says:

        Have there been other changes to the control scheme? Inventory, looting, etc? I would instantly repurchase it if the controls felt closely to DA:O. As it was on release, I had it refunded. I just couldn’t enjoy the controls sadly :(

  4. Fredward says:

    Oooooh, nice.

  5. Bull0 says:

    Particularly if you’re going to bungle the character creator so badly, where it’s nigh on impossible to tell what your character will actually look like once you leave the dimly lit cave you’re forced to create them in. And only include black hair colours that range from “gray” to “blueish gray”

  6. FuriKuri says:

    Good addition, if a little late… The whole issue was certainly exacerbated in DA:I by having the character designer set in the dark – except, of course, for some flashing green hellfire nonsense happening in the background to make the whole process even more confusing.

    Easily one of the worst implementations I’ve seen in that regard – my first character ended up looking like nothing I’d expected and I ended up restarting some 2 hours in just to ‘rectify’ it.

    • Muppetizer says:

      The first game had that problem too. What made it so infuriating is that in mod tools they released the head designer actually included the ability to toggle through five or six different lighting conditions, so the capability was presumably there in the engine they just didn’t want to give the end user that much control.

  7. manio22 says:

    Is there any chance for modding tools? or its too early?

    • bleeters says:

      From Bioware? Not a chance. Community modders have been working on one however, but it’s still pretty rudimentary.

      • Nasarius says:

        Dragon Age: Origins seems like a very long time ago, doesn’t it. You can still download the toolset for that, though I don’t think they’re hosting player-made mods anymore.

    • joa says:

      These days I think modding tools are quite a big ask – the toolchains for working on a videogame are very large and there’s probably all kinds of proprietary software in the mix and patented work that the developers would essentially have to recreate from scratch, and the amount of work to make it simple enough for people on the internet to use would probably be even bigger.

    • WiggumEsquilax says:

      Bioware have already said that because third party software integral to the game was used in DA:I’s creation, they won’t be able to create modding tools. Too expensive to license that code en masse, for mass release.

      link to

      Excerpt follows:

      “It wasn’t as much the case with Origins, we had a couple of things like speech-read stuff which we could include or easily extract, and some of the utilities we’re using now are becoming a bit more integral to the toolset, we can’t just release the toolset without also releasing that, and this is proprietary software that belongs to these third parties, right, we can’t just hand it out.”

      In conclusion: No, and never.

  8. Jimbo says:

    I’ll certainly give this game another shot when they finish making it.

    • montorsi says:

      Indeed, only a couple hundred hours worth of content to see on a single playthrough. Slacking bastards, finish your game!

      • Jimbo says:

        Yeah, and only like 198 of them are padding. And none of them are much fun with the half-assed control scheme, console UI, unfit for purpose tactical cam and barebones tactics options.

        • ssh83 says:

          If that’s how you feel, you shouldn’t bother playing the game. Spend your limited time in life on things that you are more likely to enjoy. Trying so hard to hate is not going to do you any good.

        • Bull0 says:

          You’re probably a little bit more extreme on this than I am but I can definitely agree there is a TON of padding in DA:I

  9. BadManiac says:

    Heh… Customize your chap…

  10. montorsi says:

    Cool, happy they keep adding things. Friends keep linking me images of things that I didn’t even know were a thing in that game so still plenty of unexplored things to see, even with 300 hours already sunk into the game. So it’s welcome. Have to see what all we can buy in the emporium, too, that should be exciting.

  11. ukpanik says:

    Mid-game change to appear suicidal after completing your 100th fetch quest.
    Bored appearance for the combat void of tactics.
    The realization your choices mean very little apart from who you want to fuck, a dejected look for character interaction.
    Anger/disdain all other times for thinking about the reviewers that gave this “RPG” abomination, game of the year.

    • Rabbii says:

      Lets Talk, the game has poor fetch quest but the game is certainly a lot more than that, and I don’t think you are being fair calling this game an RPG abomination, the game was quite good and have a lot of playability, You maybe one of those people who think Shovel Knight is the game of the year and yes you can call this game whatever you want but the truth is the game stands out as a great game in a year of bad AAA games, and the game certainly is sign of hope for many Bioware fans who were heartbroken after Mass Effect 3.
      I also like how all of a sudden in Bioware forum people are complaining how DAI is not like DA2, after years of calling DA2 RPG abomination.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Those are some good points, but I still think Bioware should fire whoever had the bright idea to write that tedious “Orlesian Ball” mission in the middle of the game. It”s the DA:I version of the original DA’s Deep Roads quest.

        • ssh83 says:

          The real problem is that Bioware’s playerbase is so diverse they have people on the opposite spectrum. Many players felt the Ball was the highlight of the game, the thing that made Dragon Age different from your typical fantasy rpg, similar to the origin stories of the first game. Some people love the fluff, and some people hate it.

        • amateurviking says:

          I *loved* the ballroom mission. Could have done with a bit more courtly intrigue and a bit less ‘I’m just going to pop out back and smack a few fools down’ but I thought it was really wonderful.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            plus one, it’s the kind of mission we need more of, longer and less binary than most bioware mid-mission interruptions

        • mavrik says:

          Orlesian ball is one of few decent quests this watered down SP MMO had.

        • Jimbo says:

          The Ball is a great idea woefully executed. The ‘Grand Game’ we’ve heard so much about was reduced to hunting for some arbitrarily placed deer statues on a timer. Wtf was that supposed to be? It’s also needlessly padded/tarnished with at least two other forms of scavenger hunt. Much like the rest of the game, it would have benefited from some ruthless editing.

          This mission was a fantastic opportunity to have you acting as the figurehead of the Inquisition ‘out front’ while QBing the rest of your team to do the behind-the-scenes stuff (in a similar fashion to the climax of ME2).

          • Zenicetus says:

            Exactly! It was a good idea spoiled by the unnecessarily overt and “gamey” mechanics they chose for the presentation.

  12. gorgonaut says:

    I’m kind of taken aback at the negative comments about DA:I.
    It was well received, people were enjoying themselves, all was good. I’ve certainly been enjoying it a lot.

    But now, it seems, it’s all bad, dreary and foul. “Abomination”, “bungled”- what?

    • Monggerel says:

      Yeah, people change their minds. I’m aghast too.

      • gorgonaut says:

        Changing opinions is fine.
        Acting like the new opinion is universal truth is, to me, confusing. Or, rather, iffy.
        Like there’s no room for dissent.

        I, for one, got distracted by other games after a while, but I remember it as a pretty fun romp.

    • Jimbo says:

      It was always poor. Some people were just wrong to start with.

      • Rabbii says:

        Huh nice opinion about how everybody who thought and still think the game to be good is wrong. Good God sir you must make a blog and I would read it.

      • Nasarius says:

        This happens every time a majorly hyped game is released (and isn’t completely terrible/broken). Everyone’s crazy about it for two weeks, and then opinions get revised to “well, it’s pretty good”. Yet another reason not to buy games at release.

    • Creeping Death says:

      It seems to be an increasingly popular trend these days to hate the big popular games that everyone loved a few months ago.

      Like how, a few months after it’s release, everyone suddenly turned against Bioshock Infinite. Some people just dont like other people enjoying things :/

    • ssh83 says:

      Some people love both Dragon Age and Witcher, even though they are so different in style. Similarly, some people only like one of the two styles and hate the other. It’s difficult for people in the later groups to reconcile because what is good for one group is an abomination or tasteless to the other group. The two groups also behave very differently. One of them is more likely to go around declaring things they don’t like as abomination and horrible. It helps validate themselves in their minds.

      • mavrik says:

        It also helps if a studio doesn’t totally change the playstyle and keep the same name – Dragon Age went from being a “classic” RPG with character / story-focus to a Skyrim wanna-be with openworld focus and very little story line quests and character development. It kept the name. I personally do not like such bait-and-switch in my games.

        • Hallgrim says:

          Yeah, that was super annoying when it happened 4 years ago.

    • Hauskamies says:

      You just can’t make everyone happy. Sure some of the initial magic wears down after like 30h of playing the game(at which point I have gotten my money’s worth anyway) but calling it bad is just mind boggling. I’ll take DA:I over DAO any day of the week.

    • Silith321 says:

      I remember a lot of haters a few months back too. (I remember because back then I thought it was a good idea to actually try and discuss the supposedly “broken”, “horrible”, “full of boring fetch quests” game with them. Now I know better.)
      Maybe it just seems like they are more of them now because the people who actually liked the game played it, liked it and moved on to something else, whereas the haters still hate for whatever reason?
      I for my part love the game, and I’m happy that it got so much recognition even though it’s kind of cool to hate it apparently.
      It was a big financial success for EA, too, so no worries there.

    • mavrik says:

      At least for me, the game started out very promising and I loved it at the beginning… and then after several hours it starts creeping up to you that it ISN’T getting any better – quests aren’t going to get more interesting, there’s NOTHING awesome or special around the corner, that companions won’t have their own quest lines beyond a single 15-20 min one (at best).

      This is what you’re probably seeing – my opinion went to “this is awesome” to “what is this shit?! This isn’t why I’m playing BioWare games!”

      • mavrik says:

        (Also note that I’m not saying the game is bad – it’s a perfectly decent Skyrim/MMO clone with some very fun mechanics. It just lacks pretty much everything that some of us look for in BioWare’s RPGs).

    • Laurentius says:

      Because when you are already invested with your character for 30 hours, you really justfy that fact and I really thought that I was enjoying this game and actually I was and defnietly I was having my money worth and I beat the game with all this padding still thinking that I was very satified with DA:I. Here is the thing that will diminish this game in my eyes with each passing week since I’ve beaten this game. The plot is very weak to begin with, when out of blue game that was supposed to be centred around mage/templar conflict, turns things around this pantomime villan and ending to thsi already subpar story feels rushed and anticlimatic. SPOILER When in the middle of the game we are told we will have to move mounties to save the world, in the end though you are just having a couple conversations and cutscens. Game ends with: “where might be this bad guy, look outside he’s right there, let’s kick his butt, the end”. /ENDSPOILER It will be ok end ofra real MMO game since up to this point you will have all this hours of playing and probably having fun with other people. Since it is single player. all this padding to reach this flat end will be affecting people perception of this game.( among other things ).

  13. Monggerel says:

    In RPGs I like to make characters that remind me of myself.
    …so anyways I played Inquisition as a heavily scarred and be-pink-mohawk’d Qunari mercenary that also happened to be a lady.

    In fairness, I only ever finished the first Dragon Age with a Dwarf gopnik, so, y’know. Authenticity.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I like to make characters that look like myself too, so the fact that I can now go back and make my character start to go bald adds a lot to the immersion for me!


    • Zenicetus says:

      I like making characters that remind me of myself too, but games don’t have much appreciation for my old-gamer age demographic. Dragon Age Inquisition did a worse job of that than their previous games in the series, because you can’t make and old, grizzled Gandalf stereotype. The engine just doesn’t do that.

      It’s like they forgot an entire subset of traditional D&D characters. Or maybe they think only people under 30 play these games, and they only want self-referential character models. I was able to get a lot closer in Skyrim’s character generator.

  14. Premium User Badge

    It's not me it's you says:

    Jesus the internet hivemind is a nasty place. I enjoyed DA:I a lot. Haven’t quite finished it yet as some work stuff got in the way but I intend to have a go at the last few hours I’ve got left on it soon.

    I’m glad Bioware is putting in some post release support and adding some options to the game, seems to me like they are trying to make up for the reception of DA2.

    • ssh83 says:

      The hivemind takes offense to that. Internet speech contains too much self-contradictory self-destructive chaos to be comparable to a successful collective consciousness.

  15. Fredward says:

    Someone should do a study on why AAA games get such hate. Active hate, not apathy which is what you would expect if someone generally just did not like something and wishes to spend no more time on it or discussing it but anger and bitterness from a seemingly endless well. It’s also very nuanceless hate, as if, because they dislike something they have to dislike EVERYTHING about it. There are no positive points, or if there are they are mentioned in passing as if they’re almost there by accident. Is it the visibility and mainstreamness that causes such a polarized reaction? Nostalgia? Breaking something down so it serves as a kind of justification of their like for something else?

    All of the above? None?

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      One thing is, as far as I know DA:I hasn’t been on sale yet, so everyone who’s played it has paid close to full AAA price. I know I’m more forgiving of a game if I spend less on it.
      Of course a bigger part of it is that lots of people like to be that special snowflake who has a different opinion to everyone else, and there’s also people who like to be arseholes on the internet, and when those two circles overlap…

  16. Molay says:

    So here’s a question for you fine folks that have been playing the game:

    I preordered it but was quickly put off by the control scheme, the hassle of looting things, the lack of autoattack (which will be added! woohoo!) and also to some extend the horrid lack of any meaningful tooltips in the hotbar. Oh, and the inventory management. It felt worse than vanilla Skyrim to me :/
    So I asked for a refund (got to leave it to origin, the refund policy is awesome!)

    Have there been major adjustments to that control scheme yet, or does it still feel as it was designed for controllers first and foremost?

    I’d like to dig into the world, as I liked both previous game and found the story very compelling, but I can’t see myself enjoying it without adequate controls. Does M+KB input ressemble DA:O more closely now?


    • Fredward says:

      Have you played with a controller? Cuz I’ve played with both and I actually went BACK to KB/M, especially after they changed something with the tac cam. It works much better now. Anyway, both control schemes have their drawbacks. You can’t pause on controller without going into tac cam, can’t quicksave, you have to press down the thingy when you want to do the scan which feels clumsier than just pressing V and I find the toggle between the ability clusters clumsy. The autoattack seemed equally fucky to me regardless of which setup I was using. So… yeah.

      They haven’t changed the inventory management screen or changed the hotbar so if that’s still a dealbreaker you should stay away.

      • Molay says:

        Thanks for the reply! Still sounds like I wouldn’t like it, I’m afraid.

        I actually only played with M+KB, so all my impressions are based on this.
        It’s good to hear that the tac cam got some improvement (for M+KB), but judging from what you said I think that the whole package would still be a dealbreaker. Inventory management (and similarly flawed talent screens) would probably annoy me to the point where I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the base game anymore. Ah well, perhaps next patch, then?

        • Silith321 says:

          I’m not going to try and convince you because you’d know best if you’d like it or not, but I want to chime in anyway. ;)

          I’ve played with KB+M and controller and the game feels like it was developed for a controller first, that’s for sure. It plays markedly different from DA:O and DA2 and more similar to other action RPGs like Shadow or Mordor or Kingdoms of Amalur or the like (which I have never played with KB+M but I imagine it would be similar). I don’t think that this will ever change, it is inherent in the design.
          But after I got used to the controls, KB+M worked fine for me. I always play as a mage so the autoattack thing usually isn’t relevant for me, you’d never do autoattacks anyway unless everything is on cooldown I guess. The only real annoyance for me was looting, but they fixed that by adding a key to loot everything at once, so that has been fine since.
          I alternate between playing KB+M and a controller all the time, because as Fredward said, both have their drawbacks (they really shouldn’t disable KB+M when you use a controller). It’s not perfect and could be much better, but the game itself is great so I can forgive those quirks.

          I guess you have to give the game some time to grip you. If you liked previous Bioware games because of the story and the companions, you should give it another try. If you played them for the (tactical) gameplay (like Baldur’s Gate/DA:O), then I guess this is is not for you and I don’t think future patches can change that. :)

          It’s also 33% off on Origin right now, so… ;) Well, now I did try to convince you. Eh. Sorry about that. :D

          • Molay says:

            Well it doesn’t sound that bad really, but I was put off so hard when I first played it… I’m not sure that’s enough change yet. The 33% off is worth a consideration though. I’ll probably get it someday anyways, not sure I need to jump on it right now with 33% off actually. Perhaps someday I get a 50% discount along with more changes that I’m looking for?

            Still, nice try on the convincing – you almost had me :)

          • Silith321 says:

            Huh Molay, can’t reply to you properly…
            The game isn’t going to go away and it will only get better with more patches/DLC, so take your time ;) In the meantime, try to stay clear of story spoilers as much as you can, there are great twists and reveals to be had if you decide to jump into it later on. :)

            Btw, just because I wasn’t able to find the keybinding anymore and had started to worry that I had imagined things …You have to hit “F” to loot all.