Dragon Age: Inquisition – Guide To Completing A Nightmare Difficulty Playthrough

Dragon Age: Inquisition has a Nightmare difficulty mode available for players that want a big challenge. What the difficulty does to the game stats is basically buff up the enemies. However, players can add other difficulties as well if they bought the Trespasser DLC, as that unlocks trials (such as giving enemies access to more abilities and/or buffing up only bear enemies).

For those doing a Nightmare playthrough, there is a lot to consider. The first levels are going to be rough. Luckily though, Inquisition has a pretty open world. If the player hits a wall in one place, they can easily move to another quest. Every bit of experience helps.

Class Builds For Nightmare Mode

Ranged classes such as archer and mage are typically what is recommended for players getting into a Nightmare playthrough. Since the high difficulty specifically buffs enemy stats, it can feel easily to not get close to them and instead send characters like Cassandra and Blackwall to the front-lines.

However, with the right build, any class can do a Nightmare playthrough. Many players actually have beaten Nightmare with a Champion Warrior build. Other favorite specializations of Nightmare players include Tempest, Knight Enchanter, and Assassin.

What is most difficult will be the first 10 levels. Once the player can choose specializations though, the sailing will go a little smoother.

Use The Golden Nug

The Golden Nug makes a huge difference to a nightmare playthrough. It is important to know that the Golden Nug was introduced in a patch of the game, so PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Inquisition do not have it at their disposal.

The Golden Nug also only becomes available to a player after they beat their first playthrough (not matter its difficulty) and then interact with the statue. With that interaction, the statue will synchronize all your collectables across other playthroughs. This includes your mounts, potion recipes, schematics, nursery seeds, and Skyhold customization items.

Getting the schematics and potion recipes early on in a nightmare playthrough is a edge a lot of players are grateful for. Gear can make a huge difference, so be sure to immediately start crafting the best gear with the schematics the Golden Nug brings from previous games.

Also, do not ignore War Table Missions. Those can get you schematics and resources to help craft at zero cost.

Best Companions For Nightmare

In normal or easy difficulty, players do not often have to think too hard about party set-up and can more easily just choose their favorite characters outside of skill concerns.

However, that is not the case for Nightmare mode. Party set-up can decide between victory and constant death. Nightmare parties should generally consist of a tank to draw aggro, two DPS for damage, and a support character to heal and make barriers. Of course this is not set in stone, but you at least want a tank and a support character.

Like with the inquisitor build, a lot of players prefer to have DPS and support companions that are ranged so that they take less damage.

Setting Tactics And Behaviors

Dragon Age games have always given the player options for the tactics and behaviors of their companions on the battlefield. There are definitely certain settings Nightmare playthroughs should utilize.

Mana/Stamina Reserve: This setting determines how much mana or stamina a character’s AI will keep in reserve while fighting. So when you switch control to that character, they can always have a certain mount of mana or stamina ready for you yourself to pop abilities. In Inquisition, you can set the mana and stamina reserve up higher so that you can pop more abilities that require a lot of mana and stamina.

Targeting Behavior: A popular trick is to set all of the DPS characters, such as rogues and mages, to follow the tank character. This means that in fights, all of your fighters will stay close to the tank. This will make it easier for the tank to draw aggro and prevent the DPS from taking damage.

Set certain abilities to preferred: Set important abilities to preferred. These are abilities that you want your companions to use whenever they can. A good example of this is to have all the tank’s taunt abilities, such as Challenge or War Cry, set to preferred so that they are casting it often enough to keep damage off of other party members.

Set certain abilities to disabled: Like setting some abilities to preferred, there will also be abilities you will want to disable. This will make is so your companions do not automatically set off huge abilities with slow cool-down times. Instead, they will not use them and you can decide manually when they are used in battle when you take control of that character. Also, you will want to disable abilities that just are not useful

Outside of these settings, the player should be prepared to sometimes micromanage during combat. While the AI’s are pretty smart, you will still want to sometimes move the mages out of melee range.


Outside tactics and behaviors, there are a couple things to keep in mind.

First of all, potions are a big deal. In Nightmare mode, you want to use a ton of potions. The very first perk you want to get is More Healing Potions which can be found under the Forces tab. That way, you will have 12 healing potions at your disposal instead of just eight.

Before battles, go to Inquisition camps to constantly restock potions. This is not just for healing potions. The Jar of Bees potion is a great asset to combat.

Secondly, Nightmare mode players will want to read up on possible combos that their abilities can do. Combos result in extra damage. It is just a two step process, first with a disabling spell like Sleep or Freeze and then a detonator ability like Shield Bash or Long Shot.

Last but not least, the player will want to maintain crowd control. This is what makes mages a popular class, as they are the masters of crowd control with spells like Pull of the Abyss and Ice Wall. With crowd control, you can make sure enemies are where you want them to be.

NEXT: Dragon Age Inquisition: Guide to Warrior Specializations

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Writer, author of The Awei Series, and cat foster parent. Her favorite games include Dragon Age, Pokémon, Final Fantasy XIV, Team Ico games, Ōkami, and RPG maker horror games. She also loves pasta and probably would be a Fairy/Ghost type Pokémon Trainer.

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