Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

I remember when I first booted up Dragon Age: Inquisition on my (not exactly wimpy) PC. The framerate was unexpectedly low, and there were stutters and crashes. Moreover, the controls were awkward as all get-out. Months later, some problems have been solved, but many still linger. PC players are getting fed up.

Over the course of the past few weeks, Kotaku's gotten numerous emails about what PC players find to be the sorry state of Dragon Age: Inquisition on their platform of choice. Moreover, there's a PC community concerns thread on BioWare's forums that spans nearly 500 pages. As you might expect from something that hundreds of people have dedicated thousands upon thousands of words to, the outrage stems from, let us say, a few factors.

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

Back before Dragon Age: Inquisition came out, BioWare somewhat notoriously promised the massive RPG had been "made for PC gamers by PC gamers." That set the bar pretty high — perhaps too high given EA and BioWare's goal to spread their artisinally aged dragons across all platforms.

Then came the grievances. Most PC gamers' problems with Dragon Age fall into two broad categories: 1) "it's a console port, you [incoherent string of curse words]!" and 2) "it's a glitchy console port, you [incoherent string of different curse words]!"

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

After three big patches, BioWare's managed to banish a slew of bugs — ranging from AI problems, to quest scripting errors, to broken party banter, to abilities that didn't work right — but in the process they have accidentally created a lot of new ones.

Most notoriously, there was the time that patch two wiped characters' faces clean of scars while also causing some other smaller issues. More recently, patch three broke crafted shields and armours made before the patch, something BioWare told me they're planning to issue a hotfix to correct.

Other issues — like a widespread glitch that made custom saves imported from previous Dragon Age games go haywire — have crept in due to things like server errors. BioWare has since squashed that one, but reports of things like graphical glitches, gameplay bugs, and intolerable performance on certain hardware configurations remain.

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players
Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

Meanwhile, PC players (myself included) find the controls and interface in Dragon Age's PC version to be bafflingly bad. Major complaints stem from the mandatory (and relatively small) number of hotkeys and, most upsettingly, a tactical view option clearly intended for controllers — not mouse and keyboard.

The camera's movements are awkward, and it gets stuck on things like trees and small inclines. You can't queue up multiple commands for party members, either — which means micromanagement, micromanagement, and more micromanagement. I want to feel like a wily battle commander, damn it — not an out-of-shape hiker who is also the world's most incompetent ghost.

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

Players have also wailed and mashed keys over limited click-to-move and auto-attack functionality. Basically, they were hoping for something more along the lines of Dragon Age: Origins' PC control scheme, which Inquisition's seemed to be heavily based on — at least, from a tactical point of view. Obviously, that's not what they got. BioWare has acknowledged that the PC controls need work, and they said they'd get on that in earnest after patch two.

Patch three, which came out a couple days ago, brought us... a walk/run toggle. That's it, at least on the controls side of the equation. It's a nice little touch, yes, but modders had previously made one themselves that included walk, run, and jog. Meanwhile, much bigger issues remained unresolved. Given that, again, patch three also brought its own handful of glitches, players spoke out with renewed ire.

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players
Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players
Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

I got in touch with BioWare about its plans for Dragon Age: Inqusition's PC version in the future, especially in light of the fact that each step forward seems to be accompanied by one or one-and-a-half steps back. On the topic of new glitches repeatedly creeping into the game, they said that sometimes it's simply unavoidable.

"Dragon Age: Inquisition is an enormous game," a BioWare rep told me via email. "We test to the best of our ability. Some things, like the crafted shield bug, [are very hard to isolate and reproduce]. This makes testing those specific issues very difficult."

As for the improved controls, UI, and other elements fans have repeatedly asked for, BioWare was worrisomely hesitant to go into specifics. I asked if a better UI, an overhauled tactical view, click-to-move functionality, and better auto-attack were in the works, and all the developer offered was, "We're continuing to work on further improvements to the PC experience for our players." Huh. They also wouldn't detail how long they plan to keep plugging away at the PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition, instead merely saying that they're "always listening to fans and are committed to giving them a great experience with our games."

Months Later, Dragon Age's PC Version Is Still Frustrating Players

If nothing else, on their forums BioWare said better mouse-and-keyboard controls and other "key" issues are "still a priority" for them. Patch three got developed over the holidays, they added, so it was tough to make any big additions or changes.

That, at least, is encouraging, even if people are getting justifiably impatient after months of waiting. Here's hoping BioWare sees fit to open up more about their plans soon. PC gamers are notoriously hard to please, but even a little focus on the platform goes a long way.


    EA : "Blah blah blah the more games we make the worse we get at it blah blah blah."

      Dragon Age: Inquisition the Steven Bradbury of Games of the Year

    I thought the frame rate seemed a bit poor. I'm glad its not just me.

    I was also thinking of just plugging in my 360 controller to get around the crap controls.

      I started with a keyboard + mouse, went for an hour, couldn't stand it anymore and swapped to my 360 controller. Much, much better. Haven't looked back since.

      My average pc that should be able to play this on medium settings can't play this at all. Not only did it give me a bizarre glitch where it initially sent me to some random mountain I ran around on for half an hour until I realised something was wrong and had to restart, but the fps is 5-10 (putting settings at low makes no difference).
      I can't get a refund either, as eb doesn't refund pc games you activate online.

      I ended up giving up and plugging in an XB1 controller and it improved the overall experience a lot. Definitely not designed for a mouse & keyboard, which is a shame.

      There's some weird framerate stuff going on in the game I think. Feel like the conversations run at a different framerate to the rest. Makes some dialogue feel off. Like the movement is slightly out of sync.

      You can get a refund, worked at EB and it's possible. Consumer law in Australia says anything can be returned within 7 days if there is a major fault. Consumer law goes over EB rules.

        Actually, consumer law doesn't state a specific time limit, and is very deliberate about not specifying a time limit. EB specifies "7 days return", but if there are reasonable circumstances limiting your ability to identify the problem, then consumer law specifically states that your right to return supercedes the limitations imposed by the business - "Your rights under the consumer guarantees do not have a specific expiry date and can apply even after any warranties you’ve got from a business have expired."

        Last edited 26/01/15 4:21 pm

      I was getting a solid 60fps with everything max(no AA + low post AA) on a single 980. Just that little bit of post AA is all you need. I went from KB/mouse to controller, back to KB/mouse and played the entire game (100+) with mouse. It was fine for me. It's not as visceral as controller, but I prefer to zoom out that little bit more when running around. The combat in general seems stuck between tactical and action. I would have preferred more action based, but it seems as though Bioware wanted to please all players. To me, if the game went straight action with a good visceral controller feel, then I'd be happy.

      The game is far from perfect, but it's definitely a step forward for the series. It almost seems like they were creating an MMO, then changed their mind toward the end - a lot of the gathering/crafting/questing/zones all seem a little pointless, unless it was a MMO.

      Last edited 24/01/15 3:43 pm

        4 gig 980 ? or less? console UMA is killing pcs with less than 4 gig GPU ram. so people like me with SLI-680s with 2 gig ram are basically unable to play any new console ports due to UMA. this is how they are fucking over pcs. my pc should have lasted a long time with my gpus........... suddenly all new games are killing it. BUT star citizen runs FINE!!!!!!!!!! funny that how can my pc run the most graphically demanding game ever but cant run a console port like WATCH DONGS or FAR CRY 4..... completely unacceptable to is ubisofts response to PC games" due to the way consoles use UMA........ " basically saying sorry but we have made this games so they don't run well on pc and we cant fix that , meaning we WONT fix it cos that means more money.

    My first full playthrough was about 160 hours all up by the end. I encountered 3 crashes in that time, and yeah the framerate seemed a bit low frequently. On the other hand, I had a ball playing it and can't wait for further story content to be released (whether that be DLC, Expansion or DA:4 down the road).

    It'd be great if Bioware could fix the issues listed in the article, but it won't stop me from enjoying the heck out of the game in the meantime.

      The story was great, and it actually got better and better toward the end - and just when you think to yourself the end was a little lack -luster, you see the scene after the credits!

    So... by "PC is basically our lead platform because we all develop on the PC" they really meant a half-arsed port from console?

    Saves me buying a new rig to play it, I guess - thank, Bioware.

    I'm very glad I didn't buy this. Good try Denuvo.

    Probably somewhat (very) late to the party, but as others have noted I had issues with the stock key-bindings when I first began playing. I just thought I'd share my rebound keys as I've found in using this set up, KB/M is not only viable, but not terrible. I've used it for almost the entirety of my so far 90 hours with the game.

    move left and right - to A and D
    search ------------------ to Q
    summon mount ----- to V
    pause game ----------- to Spacebar
    Jump --------------------- to Alt
    Interact ------------------ to E

    Obviously this is just what I've found to be comfortable. That being said, this game is obviously meant to be played with a controller.

    They clearly didn't put any effort into the pc version and because it used a new engine there weren't any leftover keyboard/mouse optimisations.

    They might as well stop pretending and just turn it into an action game in the next installment.

    ...and players thought you were buying a finished game and not participating in early access....

    The thing to keep in mind is just because something is "designed for PC" does NOT mean it's designed for mouse/keyboard. Gamepads are available for PCs, after all. It's a piece of @#$% loophole, but it's one I've seen companies rely on in the past

    The badly camera with no zoom-in made my mind not to buy any more EA/Bioware Games...
    How bad can a Game be...

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