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Note: We make slow progress in Dragon Age: Inquisition, and talk about it. No real spoilers as we haven’t gotten far enough to know anything spoily.

Butch:

So there’s no doubt you’re about 28 hours ahead of me. Know what I did? Talked to Josephine and Leliana and Cullen and got background on two games I already played. I haven’t even talked to Cassandra, I’m never going to leave Haven, I need more time in my life.

Feminina:

I’m technically not that far ahead, although I got a few hours in–I was wandering around the Hinterlands all weekend. You go there on your first story quest out of Haven, and it’s freakin’ huge. I assume this is going to be the pattern for the game.

If so, it’s not really open world, not like Skyrim: the map is still divided into regions like in previous DA games, with the ‘gates’ at various points where you can go back to the world map, and within the region you wander around and talk to people and do various sidequests the same as we’re used to…but this time the regions are just enormous. So LOTS of sidequests, lots of animus fragments to find (not literally), lots of wandering enemies, lots to do (or decide not to do if you want to just head for the main mission). I’m kind of following the “do everything there is to do in one place before moving on” model, but it seems like this is probably not critical, and that I could have moved on and pursued the main storyline.

But sticking around to do sidequests lets you accumulate treasure to sell and equip people with, and gain “power” and “influence” to help with your Inquisition-ing, which I have really not done anything with yet. I’m just at the “retrieve so-and-so’s missing sword” level of quests, and the getting used to how combat feels and remembering to loot and so forth.

And there IS actually the “locate self” info I wanted when I couldn’t find my own fallen body on the beautifully detailed ground–unconscious companions (or you) show up on the corner map as a red skull, if you remember to look at the corner map. Ahem. Some of us need to remember to look at this map.

Butch:

I have heard that each region is almost overwhelmingly big. It’s like BioWare said “Hey, you didn’t like recycled maps? Well HERE! Take THAT! and THAT! and THAT!” I also read that trying to do everything will make you buggy. Pick and choose.

Mini maps, dude.

Feminina:

Yeah, I doubt I’ll wind up actually doing everything. I feel like the Hinterlands is kind of my practice ground at the moment…I’ll do everything that I can achieve readily right now, and get a sense for what types of things there are to do and how much of it is valuable/critical and so forth…maybe the next region I go to I’ll be much less completist about.

Butch:

Well, I went and got notes in Haven (handy, as now I can make Lyrium potions and I’m a mage) and got requisition weapons and flirted with Cassandra (she approved) and just got to the hinterlands and I’m already lost. Ha. Not really. I found an empty house with a note, and I was about to charge pell mell into clearing the crossroads, but I noticed that maybe I should stop and take Kid 2 to school instead.

I take it that’s not a point of no return, yes? Or is it? (There’s one good thing about having you scout ahead)

Feminina:

No, clearing the crossroads doesn’t mean you have to move on. I did it, learned about the next step, and promptly ignored said next step and went back to poke around some more. There’s so much to see and do! The region is so damn big!

I’m sure the next one is also so damn big, and the next one, so I’m afraid once I leave, I’ll never make it back. Although there may be later quests that send us back, so that we’ll have a reason to return to previously explored regions.

That CAN be an argument for not exploring too thoroughly to begin with, since you’ll just be retreading old ground later, but on the other hand it can be an argument for exploring thoroughly since it’s always fun to have someone say “you must seek out xyz location in the mysterious wilds” and you say “oh, that place next to zyx other¬†location? And should I maybe collect this thing right here? Enjoy!”

Butch:

Kotaku feels our pain:

http://kotaku.com/psa-if-youre-playing-dragon-age-leave-the-hinterlands-1661855879

Makes sense.

Feminina:

Hahahaha! Makes sense. I’m not bored yet, and am totally planning to leave before I get bored, but I totally get the NEED to stay and finish, and the value of the advice to just move on.

[The next day]

Butch:

Couldn’t do it. Played over an hour and I was just “ok, I’ll just close this one rift…..ok, maybe I’ll check out this dungeon (did get Solas to approve)…..and this other rift…..and those were the bastards I ran from, they have to die…..as do these bandits….”

Long story short, I’m still in the hinterlands.

This isn’t Skyrim. This isn’t Skyrim. This isn’t Skyrim.

Feminina:

I know! I had to drag myself out of the Hinterlands by the scruff of the neck last night, because even though I knew I wanted to move on…I also wanted to check out that thing on the map over there…close one more rift…fight a few more wandering Templars…

I did eventually get away, and went back to Haven to craft some tents for the troops (good thing I picked up all that silk and wool!–those are going to be classy tents) and improve my potions and chat with people and visit the War Room. By then, I didn’t have time to actually do anything involving action or story, but whatever. There will be other game sessions.

Butch:

My party isn’t helping. I was getting to a convenient leave the hinterlands bit, and Solas saw something, and said “We should investigate that” or something and I wanted to say “Really? Really, dude? You DO know that a holiday’s coming up and if we don’t get the fuck out of the hinterlands NOW it won’t be until, like, Monday, right? I mean, my brother’s coming…..what, elves don’t do Thanksgiving? ****Sigh**** Ok, let’s go look at the cave.”

Did get power and a cool amulet. So not a total loss.

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