Everything has multiplayer these days. The chances of having a single-player game without some sort of multiplayer, online connection, or social media hook is slim. I'm not a huge multiplayer fan, with the exception of certain genres. I just prefer to play by myself, through a single cohesive story. The mere existence of multiplayer doesn't anger me or cause issues; most of the time I'm able to play my single-player experience without interruptions.
Today, EA and Bioware announced that Dragon Age Inquisition has a cooperative multiplayer mode. The mode features four-player co-op in quests separate from the game's single-player campaign. These are full dungeons, with loot and items to collect and new weapons and armor to craft. Co-op won't involve your Inquisitor either, you'll be able to unlock up to 12 multiplayer-specific characters across three classes: Legionnaire, Reaver and Mage. In fact, there's absolutely no connection between single-player and multiplayer at all.
According to a preview over at IGN, the three multiplayer scenarios available at launch can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes each. Each scenario takes places in randomly-generated areas - the Elven Ruins, Tevinter, and an Orlesian Palace - each built from a host of smaller level pieces and possible encounters. The idea is you pop in multiplayer quickly with friends and experience something new each time. Weekly Operations have the entire Inquisition player base working towards a shared goal for rewards, while Prestige covers your personal achievements.
And each of the characters is actually a character; they're all unique, with their own designs and voice acting. They also feature their own skill trees, so that you can customize them further to fit your playstyle. Bioware is hoping fans like the multiplayer mode, so they'll be able to make new heroes and levels as DLC. Currently, the plan is to keep any further addition completely free. There is an optional digital currency, Platinum, if you don't feel like unlocking characters or collecting items.
"Platinum is the name of the currency that you can buy with money," says Bioware in its multiplayer FAQ. "Our philosophy for MP-and we are adamant about it-is that you can buy anything with gold coins, which is the currency you get from dungeon-crawling. There will be no pay wall."
The weird thing is Dragon Age Inquisition multiplayer seems to be dropping the hard narrative of the single-player game for a dungeon-crawling action RPG experience. Dungeon dive with friends, kill things, get loot, equip loot, break-down useless items, craft new stuff, repeat. Together with the four-player co-op it feels like Bioware is creating a new version of the arcade classic Gauntlet within Dragon Age Inquisition. On the bright side, Warner Bros and Arrowhead's Gauntlet reboot will be out on September 23, a month and a half before Inquisition hits.
This is my litmus test for how I feel about multiplayer additions: Would I buy this game on its own? Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and Mass Effect 3 have well-done multiplayer for example, but I wouldn't pay for them on their own. The planned multiplayer for Dragon Age Inquisition? I'd be up for buying it. Maybe not at $60, but I'd throw $10-15 in someone's direction for what I'm seeing here. I still have yet to play it, but Bioware has at least outlined a solid co-op experience for me and my crew. (Note: I do not have a crew. I'm so alone.)
Dragon Age Inquisition comes out on November 18, 2014 on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. Hopefully, it's better than Dragon Age 2.