After years of waiting, finally there’s less than a week left until the release of Dragon Age: Inquisition—less than a week! No amount of exclamation points could properly convey my excitement, but rest assured I am very, very excited for this. When initially pre-ordering the game, though, I ran into the issue of which system to order the game for. While I have a lot of saves on the Xbox 360, did I really want to run this beautiful game on a system that wouldn’t be able to handle the graphics at their full potential? Did I want the full graphical experience as provided by the PS4, but with no save files to import or speak of? In the end, I ended up ordering DA:I for the PC, not only for the ability to import my save files and the lack of graphical deterioration, but for the user-generated growth of the game as well. And by, “user-generated growth”, I refer to the abundance of user-created mods that will no doubt spring forth after the game’s release.
Mods are an aspect that drove me from console gaming to PC gaming in the first place; not that I was unhappy with my console experience, but these mods ended up adding things to the game—and adding back to the game in some cases—that I could have never dreamed of. Sure, you have your console command modding (infinite experience, killing all the enemies on screen, and so forth), but what I’m here for is how the players interact with the universe via add-ons. Weapons, hairstyles, eye colors, user-made companions: all of these things show a desire to interact with the universe in a way that extends beyond canon, and that’s something I can get behind. So, to get some of those creative juices flowing, I’m listing off the top five types of mods I’d like to see for Inquisition. Additionally, for you fellow PC gamers out there, I’m reccing my favorite mods from the past two games as examples of each type. Hopefully they’ll brighten your gaming experience as much as they have mine!
5. Small Character Tweaks
No matter how long a game is worked on, the shipped product is almost never “perfect”. There are always going to be aspects like small graphical mishaps, things that were cut for one reason or another, and dialogue errors that will remain despite hours and hours of play-testing. There’s just no way to find everything. Luckily, that’s where the modding community comes in. From creating different/better/more lore-friendly meshes for characters to re-adding important dialogue, and even letting the dog from Dragon Age: Origins be a permanent party member, these mods emphasize that the little things sometimes make the biggest difference.
My favorite mods that capture this kind of thing are, for Dragon Age: Origins, Yonline’s “No Helmet Hack” (allowing the characters to get the defensive bonuses of wearing headgear without the oft-ridiculous looks of said headgear) and ejoslin’s “ZDF Dialogue Fix” which fixes errors in one of the character’s dialogue. As for Dragon Age 2, it has to be lastofthecouslands’s “DA2 NPC Hands” which simply fixes the hands of the NPCs from looking like gnarled tree roots to something more… human.
4. Graphical Overhauls
I’m sure many of you have seen articles online about those Skyrim mods that make the game look uncannily realistic. This is what I want for Dragon Age. Yes, the graphics have improved by leaps and bounds simply due to general advances in gaming technology, but I want trees swaying in the breeze, I want realistic hair textures, I want to see every individual hair on my valiant steed as I ride through the valley… Okay, maybe that’s a little too intense. However, with how talented the modding community is, I wouldn’t be surprised if this, too, became possible. Given Inquisition’s already beautiful graphics, I don’t think it would be too much of a stretch to see mods in the future greatly improve on the canvas that has already been given to them. While these types of mods don’t necessarily add anything groundbreaking to the game, they do make things prettier. I am so here for that.
I’d be ashamed if I didn’t recommend Dracomies’s “Dragon Age Redesigned” for DAO. This absolutely incredible mod redesigns the entire game into three different graphical preferences—“recommended” for small fixes, “lore” for a dirtier more realistic look, and “aesthetics” for beauty. This mod also gives the user the choice of changing what the companions look like with many options for each characters. Don’t worry, DA2 gets its graphical upgrade in Aegrus’s “Dragon Age 2 Ultimate HD” mod. Although this mod didn’t completely work for me—some of the textures refused to load—what did load looked incredible.
Let’s face it Dragon Age fans, even with a touted 150–200 hours of gameplay, Inquisition is not going to take us everywhere we want to go in Thedas. However, with the releases of both Volumes 1 and 2 of The World of Thedas and putting our heads together, these lands don’t necessarily have to remain a mystery. Again, let’s look at the Elder Scrolls modding community for inspiration.
Although in each Elder Scrolls game there are tons of places to explore, you’re typically constrained to one land: Skyrim, Hammerfel, Morrowind, and so forth. The modders behind the ambitious “Tamriel Rebuilt” mod are saying bollocks to that and rebuilding the entirety of the Elder Scrolls’s universe within one game. I’m not saying Dragon Age modders should take on such a monumental task. I am saying, though, that if we’re kept from going to certain lands, why shouldn’t we take the opportunity to make the option to go there? Inquisition is the last game in the trilogy and may very well be the last chance we get to interact with this universe in the video game medium—why not make the game as expansive as possible? I’m not sure how easy such a thing would be to accomplish with the tool kit for the game, but it’s certainly something to think on.
2. Vanity Mods
I am vain as hell when it comes to video games. I want my character to be the prettiest she can be, but unfortunately DA doesn’t typically give the right kind of options for this. I’m not the kind of person who wants to be held down by ten preset hair colors and seven preset eye colors, all of which happen to be dull and unappealing. Luckily, Inquisition seems to have gotten behind the idea of giving the user a full RGB color palette to pick from. However, having not watched any of the spoilercasts for the game, I’m uncertain of the quality of the hairstyles. From the scant screenshots I’ve seen, I’m not impressed. So, instead I’m holding out that the mod community will fix these travesties so my inquisitor will be able to step on people’s faces in a style worthy of her.
While I tend to go for the more lore-friendly styles and colors, I will defend your right to have a pink-haired cat girl warden/Hawke to the grave. And if I’m giving a recommendation for fixing the lack of colors in DAO and DA2, I’d simply have to link you to Pineappletree’s profile page. All of their mods for eye color, hair color, and make-up are gorgeous in-game and really add what should have already been there. There are way too many good hairstyle mods for me to even begin making a recommendation for DAO, but for DA2 I’d take a look at LapisLazzuli’s “SG Beauty Shop” mod, which adds a lot of interesting hairstyles for both men and women.
1. Literally Anything That Isn’t Whitewashing a Character
“Wow, I really love this character. Their motivations are interesting, their dialogue is great, and I really love their style. The only thing that would make them better is if I gave them blonde hair and made their skin a little lighter—”
This goes for the mods that make characters “pretty” by giving changing their meshes to look thinner and so forth as well. I’m all for experiencing the game as you want to experience, even more so when adding mods that allow changes in terms of representation in terms of sexuality and race. But seriously, when’s the last time pretty white people were in need of representation? Answer: never. If you’re making or downloading a mod that changes a character’s skin color (and hair in some cases) to a whitewashed standard of beauty—especially when you call it the “prettier” version of the character—you need to re-evaluate why you think this character is “prettier” and examine your racism. Because that’s what this is.
This is my list, but what kind of mods do you like to play with? Have you downloaded a Zanpakutou for your character to wield in battle? Do you like a little something extra on the side with the help of romance mods? (I’m right there with you.) Or do you like the game vanilla? Let me know in the comments!