You are a Grey Warden, one of the last of a legendary order of guardians. With the return of an ancient foe and the kingdom engulfed in civil war, you have been chosen by fate to unite the shattered lands and slay an archdemon once and for all. Start your adventure by picking your race as a Human, Elf, or Dwarf, then your class as a Warrior, Mage, or Rogue. Then after that, it is all up to you. The choices you make guide the path you take through the Ninth Age: The Dragon Age.
The player character—"the Warden"—is a new Grey Warden recruit
within the realm of Ferelden, and begins his or her journey to halt
the inevitable Fifth Blight as one of the six origin stories. The
origin chosen determines who the Warden is prior to the main events
of the game's story. By the same measure, it also affects how NPCs
(party and non-party) will react to the Warden. Elves, for example,
are often viewed as second-class citizens.
Facing unexpected betrayal at the hands of those who were supposed to be Ferelden's greatest defenders, the Warden must now utilize the old Grey Warden treaties to gather unlikely allies and build an army to face the Archdemon, an Old God manifested in the form of a powerful and terrifying dragon, now tainted by the darkspawn and risen from its prison beneath the surface to unleash the Blight in the turbulent history of Thedas.
The Warden will also gather companions along the way who will support them on this onerous task. As one of the last Grey Wardens remaining within Ferelden, their actions over the course of one year—both indirectly and directly—will decide which factions align with the warden to halt the advance of the Archdemon and its darkspawn hordes, the fate of the world, as well as the fate of those met on your journey.
The designers incorporated origin stories for each race
and some classes in the game. For example, a dwarf who is a
member of the noble caste will begin the game as part of the
royal family in one of the dwarven cities, while a dwarf commoner
will begin on the streets of the city. Origin stories provide
an introduction to the game world and hours of gameplay. People
that the Warden meets during the origin story may reappear throughout
the game, some of whom may be adversaries.
There is no tracking of alignment as in previous BioWare games, but the moral choices of the main character throughout the game will still affect the story. You may save the world whether you are good or evil, but the decisions that you make in the process will change the world around you, deciding who will become king, for example, and affecting nations and races and their places in the world. These decisions will also influence your companions, and could ultimately lead to a companion deciding to leave your party if they do not agree with your approach.
As with the Baldur's Gate series, players will be able to issue orders to NPCs in real time or while the game is paused, and queue up actions such as spells and special attacks.
There are six origin stories, which differ by race and class.