The Inquisitor standing in Val Royeaux in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Dragon Age: Inquisition – The Best Order to Explore

Get the best possible experience by following our roadmap.

Written by:
Avatar photo
Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

Here’s what level you should approximately be when you explore each area.

Some areas have sub-areas that unlock after you make progress in the main quest. These later-unlocked sub-areas often have stronger enemies. The second and third level ranges for the areas shown below apply to such later-unlocked sub-areas.

  • The Hinterlands – Recommended Level Range: 4-7, 8-12
  • Val Royeaux – Recommended Level Range: 4-6
  • The Storm Coast – Recommended Level Range: 7-11, 13-15
  • The Fallow Mire – Recommended Level Range: 8-10, 12-15
  • Forbidden Oasis – Recommended Level Range: 8-12, 5-15, 18-20
  • Crestwood – Recommended Level Range: 10-13
  • The Western Approach – Recommended Level Range: 10-14
  • The Exalted Plains – Recommended Level Range: 10-16
  • The Emerald Graves – Recommended Level Range: 14-20
  • Emprise du Lion – Recommended Level Range: 16-22
  • The Hissing Wastes – Recommended Level Range: 19-23
  • DLC Content – Enemies in these DLCs scale to the average level of your party, so there’s no recommended level requirement.

Open-world adventures can give you access to many explorable areas at once. As such, it can be difficult to know where to visit first. You’ll want to check the enemy levels and story repercussions to determine the best area order to explore in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Table Of Contents

    About Exploring in Dragon Age: Inquisition

    As you explore the war-torn world of Thedas, you’ll level up as you complete quests and defeat enemies. Reaching certain levels and completing story quests will allow you to unlock new zones by visiting the War Table and spending Power. This is earned by completing side quests, closing Fade Rifts, setting up campsites, filling requisitions, and recruiting agents.

    You’ll want to make sure that you’re at the appropriate level before visiting each location. This is to avoid facing any higher-level enemies too soon. The story in Dragon Age: Inquisition is also incredibly dense. Visiting certain areas at the right time will help you avoid story spoilers, help you unlock new dialogue options, and find more side quests by interacting with the right NPCs.

    We’ve listed the level requirement for each area next to each location named below, followed by the recommended level range for your character to explore the area.

    The level requirements for certain areas can change depending on how far you’ve progressed in the main story. If a zone lists multiple level ranges, this means that certain sections of the map are meant for higher levels or that more difficult sections will be unlocked at a later point in the game.

    Each zone is comprised of unique regions, and you’ll be alerted when you’ve discovered a new one on your journey. Visiting all regions in a zone rewards you with Influence, which can be used to purchase new Inquisition Perks.

    The Hinterlands (Level 2+)

    Recommended Level Range: 4-7, 8-12

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Scout the Hinterlands’ war table operation in Haven

    Power Required: 1

    The Inquisitor exploring the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Located between the fortress of Ostagar and Redcliffe in Ferelden, citizens of the Hinterlands continue to suffer as the war between Mages and Templars continues. Many of the game’s first important side quests take place here, though you won’t need to explore every area in one go.

    Once you’ve leveled up a few times and completed a certain amount of fetch quests and early challenges, you’ll want to continue with the main quest to unlock new areas to move the story along.

    You’ll be called back to the Hinterlands plenty of times during the first half of the game, so take your time exploring. Pacing yourself and seeking out every corner of the area eventually pays off, as exploring all 29 regions here will reward you with 200 Influence.

    Val Royeaux (Level 4+)

    Recommended Level Range: 4-6

    How to Unlock: Complete the war table operation ‘Address the Chantry in Val Royeaux’ anytime after speaking with Mother Giselle in the Hinterlands during the main quest ‘The Threat Remains’

    Power Required: 4

    The Inquisitor exploring Val Royeaux in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    You’ll visit Val Royeaux as part of Dragon Age: Inquisition‘s main story. As the capital city of Orlais, the locale is rich and brimming with culture, offering a glimpse at how those in the Empire live. Visiting Val Royeaux will also trigger two important events leading to two new party members—Vivienne and Sera.

    Though your business in the city concludes soon after your arrival, you can visit the city any time you like throughout the game. Members of your inner circle will occasionally ask to visit for their personal quests, and Val Royeaux is home to merchants selling many high-quality goods.

    The Storm Coast (Level 5+)

    Recommended Level Range: 7-11, 13-15

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Scout the Storm Coast’ war table operation in Haven or Skyhold

    Power Required: 4

    The Inquisitor exploring the Storm Coast in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Drenched in constant rain and dotted with ancient Dwarven ruins, the Storm Coast is located on the northwestern coast of Ferelden. Immediately after arriving, you can recruit Iron Bull as a companion. As you explore, you’ll also have the chance to recruit the Blades of Hessarian as agents of the Inquisition.

    The western part of the zone is blocked by a gate that can only be opened by completing the side quest ‘Red Water,’ requiring the Inquisitor to be level 16 or higher. You must also complete the war table operation ‘Red Templars on the Storm Coast.’

    Discovering all 10 regions in the Storm Coast will reward the Inquisitor with 200 Influence.

    The Fallow Mire (Level 8+)

    Recommended Level Range: 8-10, 12-15

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Rescue Soldiers Missing in Ferelden’ war table operation in Haven or Skyhold

    Power Required: 8

    The Inquisitor exploring the Fallow Mire in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Located in southern Ferelden, the Fallow Mire is a dark marsh filled with undead. The Avaar tribe also calls the area home. After its members capture a team of Inquisition soldiers to use as bargaining chips, the Inquisitor is called to bring them home safely.

    While most quests in the zone are safe for players level 8-10, you’ll want to reach the 12-15 range before starting the ‘Lost Souls’ quest. Having the ‘Deft Hands, Fine Tools’ Inquisition Perk also comes in handy on this quest, making it possible to grab some useful items.

    Although the marsh is filled with treasure and lootable bodies, stepping into the water in the Fallow Mire will cause undead enemies to appear.

    Discovering all 8 regions in the Fallow Mire will reward the Inquisitor with 200 Influence.

    Forbidden Oasis (Level 8+)

    Recommended Level Range: 8-12, 5-15, 18-20

    How to Unlock: After obtaining an ocularum shard, complete the ‘Investigate the Shards’ war table operation in Haven or Skyhold

    Power Required: 4

    The Inquisitor exploring the Forbidden Oasis in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    As you uncover more of Thedas, you’ll occasionally find an ocularum. These magical objects appear as a skull with a crystal in the right eye socket. Using the ocularum to look around the area reveals strange hidden shards, the purpose of which are initially unknown.

    Finding your first shard will trigger the ‘Investigate the Shards’ war table operation. Completing this leads you to the Forbidden Oasis for answers. The more shards you collect over the course of the game, the more rewards you’ll reap. Collecting shards also allows you to complete several side quests.

    If you don’t scout the area before reaching Skyhold, you’ll have to fight your way through Venetori, Fade Rifts, and a giant to reach the temple. It’s best to make your way to the Oasis as soon as you’re able to enter the temple—the surrounding enemies and quests can wait.

    Discovering all 16 regions in the Forbidden Oasis will reward the Inquisitor with 200 Influence.

    Crestwood (Level 10+)

    Recommended Level Range: 10-13

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Find the Warden’ war table operation in Haven or Skyhold

    Power Required: 8

    The Inquisitor exploring Crestwood in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Located north of Lake Calenhad in Ferelden, Crestwood is in a terrible state when you arrive. A Fade Rift has appeared beneath the lake, causing demons to overtake the area. The Inquisitor visits to restore order, as well as to meet a certain Grey Warden informant that proves invaluable in the fight against Corypheus.

    Scouting all 19 regions in Crestwood will reward you with 200 Influence.

    The Western Approach (Level 10+)

    Recommended Level Range: 10-14

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Investigate the Western Approach’ war table operation in Skyhold

    Power Required: 8

    The Inquisitor exploring the Western Approach in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    The Inquisitor arrives in the Western Approach in southwestern Orlais to discover an enormous desert as far as the eye can see. Following the events of the main story quest ‘Here Lies the Abyss,’ you’ll be tasked with finding the missing Grey Wardens. This eventually leads you to the arid landscape you see in the above image.

    Several areas of the Western Approach will only be accessible after completing specific war table operations, including areas drenched in poisonous mist. Additionally, the two large gates in the Approach—the Gate of Toth and the Gate of Andoral—can be opened from the north side only after completing the war table operation ‘Find the Source of the Darkspawn.’

    Discovering all 25 regions in the Western Approach will grant the Inquisitor 200 Influence.

    The Exalted Plains (Level 10+)

    Recommended Level Range: 10-16

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Investigate the Exalted Plains’ war table scouting operation in Skyhold

    Power Required: 8

    The Inquisitor exploring the Exalted Plains in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Called Dirthavaren, or “the promise,” in Elvish, the Exalted Plains is the location where the Dalish kingdom was destroyed centuries ago. Testaments to the elves’ last stand can be found dotted around the barren landscape. Its abandoned forts have been overrun with demons and undead.

    Hostilities remain high in the area due to the ongoing war between Empress Celene and Gaspard de Chalon, who both wish to claim the Orlesian throne as their own. The Inquisitor is tasked with bringing stability to the conflict-ridden area.

    If you return to the area after completing the main story quest ‘Wicked Eyes and Wicked Hearts,’ you’ll be able to hear additional dialogue from Commander Jehan and Marshall Proulx.

    Discovering all 21 regions in the Exalted Plains will reward you with 200 Influence.

    The Emerald Graves (Level 12+)

    Recommended Level Range: 14-20

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Make Contact in the Emerald Graves’ war table scouting operation in Skyhold

    Power Required: 8

    The Inquisitor exploring the Emerald Graves in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Draped in vivid greenery and covered in ancient elven ruins, the Emerald Graves have been taken over by Orlesian army deserters calling themselves the Freemen of the Dales. As they continue to harass the refugees in the area, the Inquisitor and their party arrive to restore peace to the holy region.

    Though many enemies in the region are predictable, beware of giants in Firewall Garden. These are powerful foes, and it’s recommended that you’re close to level 20 before taking them on.

    Uncovering all 26 regions in the Emerald Graves will reward you with 300 Influence.

    Emprise du Lion (Level 16+)

    Recommended Level Range: 16-22

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Liberate Emprise du Lion’ war table scouting operation in Skyhold

    Power Required: 20

    The Inquisitor exploring Emprise du Lion in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    Sitting dramatically in the Highlands of the Dales, Emprise du Lion is a snowy land covered with elven ruins. After Red Templars take control of Suledin Keep, they use the nearby quarry to mine Red Lyrium to supply their evil forces. The Inquisition, as you’d expect, has a major problem with this. You’ll need to take back control of the chilly region to free the local townspeople and stop Corypheus’s forces for good.

    Exploring all 16 regions in Emprise du Lion will reward you with 200 Influence.

    The Hissing Wastes (Level 16+)

    Recommended Level Range: 19-23

    How to Unlock: Complete the ‘Stop Venatori Activity in the West’ war table scouting operation in Skyhold

    Power Required: 20

    The Inquisitor exploring the Hissing Wastes in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

    This large stretch of desert in western Orlais is mostly empty, making a mount a necessity for quick exploration. As you defeat the Venatori that have taken up arms in the region, you’ll also uncover the secrets of ancient Dwarven ruins. Make sure to snatch the treasures from deep below the earth!

    Uncovering all 12 regions in the Hissing Wastes will reward you with an incredible 500 Influence.

    DLC Content

    Dragon Age: Inquisition received three DLC releases in 2015: The Descent, Jaws of Hakkon, and Trespasser.

    Jaws of Hakkon requires 8 Power while The Descent requires 16 Power, and you must reach Skyhold before unlocking them at the war table. Enemies in these DLCs scale to the average level of your party, so there’s no recommended level requirement. These two DLCs can be played in any order at any time; during or after the main game.

    To begin Trespasser, you must complete the main game.

    Starting Trespasser will initiate a point of no return. Even after it is completed, you won’t be able to do any quests from the main game or any other DLC. You won’t be able to travel to any other areas by using the world map, including Skyhold. Make sure to wrap up any loose ends before enjoying this showstopping finale.

    Complete the war table operation ‘Attend the Exalted Council’ to begin the final DLC, which requires 8 Power.

    The open-world nature of Dragon Age: Inquisition makes it easy to stumble into difficult areas a tad too early. Unlocking certain Inquisition Perks can help to beef up your party for what lies ahead. Regardless, follow our advice if you don’t want to meet a Dragon before you’re ready.