Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Never Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Ever Fight a Dragon

I've been spending a lot of time playing Dragon Age: Inquisition when I'm not working. On weekends I can get sucked in completely, as I did yesterday. So, I'm going to talk about it a bit, specifically about fighting dragons.

I spent almost the entire day exploring a place called the Green Graves, and I didn't finish until maybe 1AM, trying as I was to pretty much do everything I could on that map, exhausting every task, quest, and mission. Although, come to think of it, I think I forgot about a couple of hand-drawn treasure maps. Those are trickier, since they don't appear as waypoints on the map. I have to be familiar with the landmarks to find them, which isn't too difficult, but mostly I just need to actually remember to do them.

I'm currently level 18 in the game, and today I fought (and lost against) a dragon on a place called Dragon Isle. I believe it's called that because a dragon lives on it. Unfortunately, I was ill-prepared for the fight, with most of my health potions gone when the battle began as well as being a little under-leveled. I mostly just wanted to get a feel for how it fought, though.

The dragons in the game are very interesting. They are all unique in their fighting styles, and though I have a strategy that seems to work most of the time, I always need to adjust slightly for each dragon's eccentricities.

This one in particular has an annoying tendency to summon a Guard life bar, which is basically just an HP barrier that prevents me from doing permanent damage until I do enough damage to eliminate it. This isn't the first dragon I've faced with this ability, but it seems to do it more frequently. I can usually only get one Full Draw in between Guards.

That's part of my basic strategy, though: my main character is a tank, and it seems like for the most part the AI is better at tanking than I am. So, instead I take control of Varric and pelt the dragon from a distance while waiting for Full Draw to finish its cooldown. Then I pop into stealth before activating it, which sometimes increases the damage significantly. Each shot generally does 1-1.5k in damage, allowing me to slowly whittle down the dragon's health while my other characters do their best to pitch in.

Meanwhile, I'm also keeping an eye on my teammates to keep them fighting. Dragons have an ability that allows them to draw characters toward them, which is particularly dangerous for ranged characters, especially since the AI doesn't seem to bother keeping its distance. Still, it's always better to have as many people on their feet as possible just in case my tank or Varric get into trouble.

This Dragon Isle dragon has an ability that pretty much makes additional warriors useless. It's an electrical dragon that can summon static fields around my characters. The fields don't harm the character themselves, but any character that enters another character's static field takes damage. So, my characters have to keep their distance from each other, which is difficult for my warriors since they have to be in melee range of the dragon to be effective, meaning they would constantly shocking each other with static.

Anyway, I managed to knock the dragon down by about 1/3 of its health this time, which isn't bad for being under-leveled and just generally unprepared. If I come back with a couple of mages to assist my main character and Varric, maybe spec them all for dragon-slaying, and actually have a full stock of potions going into the fight, I might be able to manage a win.

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