PSA: If You’re Playing Dragon Age, Leave The Hinterlands

PSA: If You’re Playing Dragon Age, Leave The Hinterlands

The new Dragon Age is a great game, as we’ve already told you. We’ve already given you some useful tips too. But there’s one more thing worth noting: If you just started the game, don’t forget to leave the Hinterlands!

I know, I know. You’re a completionist — you just picked up Dragon Age: Inquisition, and you want to spend hours exploring the game’s first area and doing every sidequest you can find. It’s hard to look at the in-game map — full of all those pretty icons and exclamation points — and not want to complete everything. But you should know that Dragon Age: Inquisition gets way, way more interesting if you just spend an hour or two doing activities in the Hinterlands and then get on with the main story.

Yesterday I stumbled upon this hilarious Reddit thread by user jmarFTL that pretty much nails it:

OK, so I'm reading a lot of feedback about the game on different sites and I'm noticing a big trend. A lot of of the people complaining about the game are saying things like "boring sidequests," "really slow," "can't get into the story/characters." And that is almost always accompanied by "I'm trying to do everything in the Hinterlands before moving on."

Normally I wouldn't tell anybody else how to play the game. And I definitely recognise the OCD-ness, must complete everything, don't want to miss anything impulses.


The Hinterlands is meant as a starting area. Honestly, it has the most boring quests in the game and is probably the most boring area. You're a f**king Inquisitor, you shouldn't be too overly concerned with a farmer's missing druffalo.

Do some stuff, gain some power, then go to the war table and use that power to unlock the next stuff.

"But wait! I'm going to miss stuff if I advance the story." No, you won't. All of the areas remain unlocked and you can go back and do everything. Even after you finish the main story.

Actually, you are going to miss stuff if you STAY in the Hinterlands. In the sense that you are going to level up killing low-level bandits and then be overleveled for the story content and areas that are actually cool.

He's totally right! Trust me on this one: I've played some 55 hours of Inquisition and I can promise you that the Hinterlands is just a small, relatively boring fraction of what the newest (and best) Dragon Age has to offer. And you can come back any time you want.

Hell, even BioWare's staff agree:

So do it. Leave the Hinterlands. You'll thank me later.


  • I thought about that during my playthrough of AC4, but I found the game was easy even though I planned on skipping all sidequests and map icon clearing. So now in Rogue I’m clearing everything off the map before moving on to the main missions.

    …this has somehow taken me 10 hours.

    • I had so much fun pirating about in AC4 that after many hours I decided to polish off the story and then put the game down. I was extremely disheartened to discover that I was only about 30% of the way and had an awful lot more assassining to slog through.

    • You need over 30 hours if you want to complete all naval missions. 33 naval missions total and average time of each missions is around 40 minutes. I did until 18 and I gave up and finish the game

  • so let me get this right people are complaining the first major zone you go in game, on an epic and longwinded RPG game isnt interesting enough, so go somewhere more exciting?

    if their attention span and need for satisfaction is tiny that they cant enjoy the slow burn, I have to wonder why do they even play a game like. that same logic killed the amazingly fun yet simple starting zones in ESO. I read this on reddit before and that was I could think of

    some people have to have things prove their worth NOW! their have to capture their attention span NOW. Really sad have to wonder they would have coped playing real old school RPGs.

    This is like saying dont read the first five chapters of a book cos nothing exciting happens until chapter six… however it is those first chapters that make one appreciate the sixth chapter even.

    • The problem is that it’s so large you could spend days clearing it and then end up too highly leveled for the next zones. I cleared like half the zone and I’m one level above the recommended level for the next area. I wasn’t bored at all though this game is great.

    • Your book example is exactly why this reflects poor design. If people won’t be interested in your book until they have read a certain number of chapters then you have written it poorly. The same applies to game design. This is why people rag on Final Fantasy 13 so much. It took far too long to get anywhere interesting and let the player do the fun things.

      That’s not to say you need to have instant action and drama. A good designer or writer will build things up to the first mini-climax while still maintaining a sense of mystery and intrigue that keeps the player moving forward. If people aren’t motivated to keep moving on, you have failed in being interesting and fun.

    • That’s not even an issue to be honest. If they think they will be grinding and over levelling, just up the difficulty. I did and it is fun as hell

  • I think I spent around 6 hours there, or close to it. I don’t think I’ve done absolutely everything there, though.

  • The quests call to me…

    Though I knew something was up when a bunch of level 12 rift demons popped up as a hint as if it say “Yeah, come back and do us later. GET OUT OF THE HINTERLANDS”

  • Who cares? Play the way you like. With everyone being an uneducated critic who attempts to critique everything as if they magically learned years worth of theory instead of nothing, it’s inevitable people will feel a compulsion to do or not do something and then blame the game for making them feel it. People are unable – clearly – unable to grasp abstract elements of storytelling, only equating value to what they can use in pissing contests with other people, otherwise it’s not a game or something. People are complaining, not because it’s that boring – it isn’t – they’re just complaining.

  • Oh ok this is the same problem I had wayy back with final fantasy 12. My need to level up enough to beat the t-rex a the start sort of made the rest of the story missions a waste of time since I was over levelled.

    I’ve punched this game up to hard and it’s a lot of fun. I’m getting the same clawing back from defeat rush I would get with final fantasy tactics

  • If you are going to race through Hinterlands like you only have one day to live, then make sure you get your mount first.

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