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Biggest Decisions Players Have to Make in the Dragon Age Franchise

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  • Posted on 09th Apr, 2022 01:45 AM

The Dragon Age franchise is full of drama, numerous dangers, and some difficult decision-making, but some choices are bigger than others.

p>Expansive RPGs like BioWare's Dragon Age series have vast amounts of lore to help flesh out their gameplay experiences, and how players interact with this layered world has a real impact on the games. Who gamers choose to befriend, romance, support, betray — all of these choices help to shape the world of Thedas and the characters who call it home. The decisions can be so important in Dragon Age that BioWare even introduced a browser-based program called Dragon Age Keep so that players could ensure their choices from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 were carried over into Dragon Age: Inquisition despite the change in platform.

Even the most seemingly harmless actions can have lasting consequences across the series, but this level of responsibility on the player just adds to Dragon Age's authentic worldbuilding. Choices can feel weighty and important, deaths meaningful, and triumphs all the sweeter. That being said, it's not always enjoyable for players to have to make difficult decisions, especially when the route to get the "best" ending is not always clear. Across the Dragon Age series so far, there have been plenty of choices both inconsequential and important, but there are a few that stand out as some of the biggest and most impactful.

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Having A Hand In Politics

One of the ways in which players can help to shape the world of Thedas in a profound way is by influencing the choice of leaders of various regions and factions. From Dragon Age: Origins to Dragon Age: Inquisition, the player character rises through the ranks to become an important figure; whether it's the Hero of Ferelden, Champion of Kirkwall, or the Inquisitor.

In Dragon Age: Origins, the choices of the player throughout the game impacts the ruler of Ferelden, culminating in the main quest Landsmeet where they choose the ruler of Ferelden. Various factors will play a part — their race, their relationship with Alistair, whether Anora remains free. This decision not only has a big impact on the first game, but the repercussions are felt throughout the two sequels as well.

Players can also have a hand in deciding who becomes the ruler of Orzammar, and later in Dragon Age: Inquisition the fate of Orlais rests in their hands during a very memorable quest that centers around political intrigue rather than fighting demons. As the eventual head of a very politically-minded group in Dragon Age: Inquisition, players have a lot of difficult decisions on their hands.

Siding with either the Templars or the Mages affects not only the Inquisition's allies and enemies, but what missions and storylines are available as well. Although less of an explicit choice and more a culmination of certain actions, the choice of the next Divine could have huge ramifications for the player's own party as well.

All's Fair In Love And War

If BioWare is known for one thing besides building a good story-driven RPG, it is its romances. These can run the gamut between awkward and incredibly touching, but they are always a popular feature. Who players decide to romance throughout all three games can have a big influence on the type of story and character they want to craft, and is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Some romance options have massive impacts on the narrative of a game, and even on the later titles if players originally pursued characters like Morrigan and Leliana who return in the sequels.

The Witch of the Wilds also adds another layer to decision-making in Dragon Age: Origins with her out-of-the-blue proposal to conceive a child in order to remove the need for a grey warden to sacrifice themselves to defeat the Archdemon. Although this doesn't much affect the events of Dragon Age 2, it does come back in interesting ways in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Romancing the elf mage Solas in the third game could also have consequences in Dragon Age 4, considering his importance in the next installment.

Choosing Where Loyalties Lie

Another major aspect of shaping the playable characters as well as customizing the story of each playthrough is the race that is chosen. While Dragon Age 2 only gives players the option to complete the game as a human, Dragon Age: Origins and in particular Dragon Age: Inquisition present far more choices when it comes to race. The first game even has completely different origin stories based on a player's race and class, which have profound impacts on how they will experience the game as a whole.

Dragon Age: Inquisition seems to be packed with difficult decisions that have unexpected consequences, like whether or not to drink from the Well of Sorrows, which makes the Trespasser DLC easier if players could avoid conflict with the spirit guardians thanks to their newfound knowledge.

Another game choice that affected Trespasser was the option to sacrifice the Bull's Chargers during a seemingly unimportant side quest. The lovable band of mercenaries was a fun inclusion, but they didn't feature much in Dragon Age: Inquisition. However, if players chose to save the qunari dreadnought at their expense, Iron Bull would betray them in one of the most heartbreaking and unexpected twists in the entire game.

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The Trespasser DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition was impactful in many ways, not least because it was the franchise's only DLC to take place completely separately from the timeline of the base game and would mark a point of no return if players chose to play through it. Not only did it unveil Iron Bull's potential betrayal, but it also provided vital background to one of the villains of Dragon Age 4.

Considering how much integral lore is conveyed and how many key narrative points are expanded on in Trespasser, it seems strange that it wasn't part of the main game. But the DLC had another massive decision for players to make, which, considering how much of the expansion seems to set up the events for Dragon Age 4, could have lasting consequences in the sequel. The fate of the Inquisition, which is completely down to the player, is a weighty decision that doesn't seem to have a clear answer. But whatever they decide, BioWare will no doubt take the choices across the franchise into the next installment.

Dragon Age 4 is in development.

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