Dragon Age 2 Round Up: Changes Keep RPG Alive, 'Final Verdict' On Combat/Controls, Morrigan/Flemeth, More

Been too long since we posted something on Dragon Age, hasn’t it? Not enough new information floating around, but I scoured the Dragon Age 2 forums and have come up with a trove of new info on Bioware’s upcoming RPG title. Enjoy, in bulletpoint form.


  • Press A to perform basic attack.
  • Open radial menu and press A to issue attack order, character will auto-attack.
  • Non-controlled characters will behave based on tactics.


  • Right click to issue attack order, character will auto-attack.
  • Non-controlled characters will behave based on tactics. “

While it’s a shame that the title will adopt a system akin to Fable’s, I’m glad that I have the option to not button mash to make something happen continuously. I’m sure I’m not the only one that finds button mashing tedious, and the ability to auto attack plus the pausing via the radial menu means the game will retain the necessity for tactics. And speaking of the radial menu and tactics, another tidbit: the radial menu will now has a couple of new tricks up its sleeve meant to increase complexity and strategizing, according to gameplay engineer Seb Hanlon.

“DA2 supports pause’n’play to allow you to carefully consider your positioning, basic attacks, and ability use for all your party members. On the PC, it plays much like Origins, though with faster, more expressive, less hesitant movement and animations, and better hit presentation. On the console, we’ve made it easier to play tactically by improving the radial menu (for example, it no longer automatically closes after issuing a command) and adding the ability to give move-to-point orders to your party members.”

  • There are some incoming changes, UI wise. Like Mass Effect 2, when you look at an equippable item, you will not see hard numbers. Instead, you will see a number of stars denoting its effectiveness relative to your level. Mike Laidlaw describes it as follows:

“The stars offer an at-a-glace indicator of the weapon, armor or item’s usefulness compared to your current level. An item that used to be five stars at level one will slowly drop off to none when you’re in your teens. The goal there is to make it easy to tell what’s above and below the curve for your current character.”

The purpose is to  have “at-a-glance information clear and easily digestible, while having another layer underneath that lets you dig deeper and get neck deep in the statistics,” a philosophy that will be followed by things such as character creation, skill trees, and so on. Fortunately, us stat junkies can still get our fix–you can ‘inspect’ items to see all the hard numbers…but the fact that we have to press an extra button to see the relevant information is a drag: can’t they find a way to relay the information easily without initially hiding it? The answer is simple: the changes that are occurring, aren’t really for me. We already know that the combat changes are meant to attract the Fable/Borderlands crowd (….???), but changes to the UI–such as these, but also the streamlining of companion’s gear (actual “armor” will update on its own, but we can equip other items to them) are meant to bring Dragon Age 2 to a wider target audience. Mike Laidlaw poses the UI changes as follows–though I believe you can probably assume this is the sentiment behind all the aforementioned changes.

“Have you considered that it might, just maybe, help someone who has never played an RPG before understand the concepts of equipment and stats at a high level, and then encourage them to go a little deeper into the stats themselves and maybe start to love a genre for which you apparently have so much passion? That, maybe, just maybe, they might become an RPG fan that helps keep the genre alive, and maybe, just maybe, even more robust than it is today because it’s got a larger fan base than it currently does?”

It’s all to keep the genre alive. It’s dying, don’t you know?

  • Moving on to the narrative side of things. First, let us revisit our my favorite duo, Morrigan and Flemeth. Bioware has said it time and time again, but just in case you weren’t convinced, have Mike Laidlaw state it once again: “The answer’s always the same: “We’re not done with Morrigan’s story.” Of course, what he means by this is still unclear: it may be less of “Morrigan’s story” than it is “Flemeth’s story,” since the two are quite…intertwined. Maybe even the same person, depending on your choices. And, don’t think Bioware has forgotten about your choice regarding the possession of Morrigan. We already know that Flemeth meets Hawke & co before the fall of Lothering, and that she tasks them with a mission–ie, after the warden has met Flemeth, but before Morrigan asks him to slay Flemeth. On the subject, David Gaider says the following: “As to how that ties into what the Warden might or might not have done in DAO regarding Flemeth– well, you’ll just have to see. But we certainly don’t ignore it.” The plot thickens!

And that’s it for today’s roundup.