I’ve been spending quite a bit of time playing the Dragon Age series again. Diving in and out of MMORPGs for reviews and opinions can become monotonous, believe it or not. I finished Dragon Age: Origins in under a week, and then skipped straight to Inquisition. The latter is not the best out of the three, but it certainly provides a satisfyingly deep RPG experience. It then hit me – is the reason I love coming back to Dragon Age: Inquisition due to the fact that it’s almost MMORPG in format? Thus, it’s pretty fun to flirt with the idea of playing a fully conceptualized MMORPG set in the Dragon Age universe. If one did exist, would you play it?
The Blueprint Exists
Recalling my recent experiences in Inquisition, it’s uncanny how MMO like some parts of the game is. For instance, very early on in the region of The Hinterlands, I noticed how much quests there really is. Besides following the main story through, you’ll get optional quests to save locals and hunt wildlife. Even better, these take the form of familiar fetch and kill quests that we’re accustomed to in our MMOs. In addition to the landscape questing and progression, Inquisition’s crafting system also makes you harvest materials out in the world. Herbs must be gathered from fertile ground in the wilderness, while ore must be harvested in rocky terrain. It’s not unusual for RPG’s to do this, it’s part and parcel of the fantasy experience. But all of it makes me wonder why doesn’t Bioware give a Dragon Age MMORPG a shot.
It Meets The Criteria
To make it in the MMO industry of today, games need to check off a list of things. The first is having a boatload of immersive, engaging and satisfying content in your MMO. The Dragon Age franchise already delivers this – it’s got one of the best fantasy stories of any video game. Its cast of characters are superbly written, the voice acting is top notch and the cinematic are worth watching.
Even the game’s engine – Frostbite – seems well suited to today’s modern graphic demands, although they might have to change the engine for an MMORPG. For example, look at what Zenimax uses for the Elder Scrolls Online as opposed to using the single player Elder Scrolls engine. Moreover, Bioware knows what to do to make money, should it ever be made a free to play MMO (yeah right). Inquisition has multiplayer, but you can spend money on packs. So yes, the DLC or lootbox formula will probably make an appearance. This is EA and Bioware we’re talking about after all.
Will Bioware Do It?
As much as I’d love to see a massive open world Dragon Age MMORPG full of lore, stories and interesting characters, I’m resigned to the fact that it will probably never happen. The first reason involves looking at Bioware’s other MMORPG, Star Wars the Old Republic. That game took $200 million to make over the span of 5 years or more, and still ended up free to play. The trend these days for MMO developers involves crowdfunding and early access – a route EA and Bioware will probably never go. Not many big studios and companies will take that risk in terms of money and time to compete in an already saturated MMO space.
And secondly, things aren’t all rosy at Bioware or Dragon Age for that matter. Mike Laidlaw, the brainchild behind the franchise has left. The future is still uncertain and we might not see a fourth single player Dragon Age. Thus, I think we can put this flirting to bed.