Dragon Age: Inquisition is a more open-world game than the previous installments, which may seem intimidating at first. This page serves as a general guideline of what to do and when so that you are more or less on-level with the ambient difficulty and can get a good lore/story experience. In order to keep spoilers low, information is presented not by quest but by zone. Nevertheless, it should be immediately noticeable on the world map when these zones become available. Also, this guide avoids some of the narrative incongruities which popup when completing zones in a certain order, by making sure to visit the Exalted Plains and Emerald Graves before the Winter Palace, where the underlying conflict within the formers' quest-line are resolved in the latter.
Suggested game progression covers only the main quest. However, you should be able to complete every major sub quest by adequately exploring every area in this order and then going to any new side quest areas before progressing onward. For example, while in Val Royeaux for the first time, checking out the various locations around the city should trigger A Friend of Red Jenny side quest, which unlocks Secluded Courtyard, and heading back towards the entrance leads to a conversation triggering The Imperial Enchanter, which unlocks Ghislain Estate. You should check those out BEFORE progressing to the Storm Coast.
Each zone labeled "major plot" are areas where important events and/or decisions will need to be made, and will alter the game world in some way. Each of these zones may only be visited once. Those wanting to complete every side quest should revisit each previous zone prior to heading to a "major plot" zone. Additionally, after completing these "major plots," some side quests terminate and can no longer be completed. New side quests also become available after certain events (including completing "major plots"), which is another good reason to head back to each previously visited zone before heading to a new "major plot" zone. Oh, don't forget to checkout the war table prior to revisiting already completed zones - standard operations and "special" scouting operations (which cost Power) may unlock new zones or allow access to new areas in zones you have already visited; both lead to interesting side quests. Other than that please note that the Before the Dawn (for mage supporters only) and Under Her Skin (for templar supporters only) quests have large tie-ins with the main quest line and should be completed before going to the Arbor Wilds where it will no longer be accessible. While these are technically side quests, they are so integral to the plot you don't want miss these.
The Level #+ refers to the minimum level you should be be before attempting on normal difficulty. Higher difficulties mean you should try to be a bit higher than than the recommended level. You will generally tend to be higher than the recommended level if you follow this guide, especially if you are completing side quests and/or unlocking new areas before progressing onward. The values in the brackets reflect level ranges of the various monster groups you may encounter throughout the zone. Monsters will scale to your level but will not exceed the minimum and maximum allowable level ranges shown here. So if you are Level 11 in Crestwood, the monster levels should be 11; while if you were level 15 in the Western Approach or Emprise du Lion, the monster levels should be 14 or 16, respectively.
Game Progress Route
Level 1+ Haven (1-4)
Level 2+ Hinterlands (4-7,8-12)
- Agents: Ritts, Horsemaster Dennet, Enchanter Ellandra, Speaker Anais, Corporal Vale, Lord Berand, Tanner
Level 2+ Val Royeaux (4-6)
- Agents: Barter by Belle
Level 3+ The Storm Coast (7-10,13-15)
- Agents: Blades of Hessarian
Level 3+ Forbidden Oasis (5-15,18-20)
- Agents: Sky Watcher
Level 4+ Redcliff Castle (4-7) (major plot, mage quest) or Therinfal Redoubt (4-7) (major plot, templar quest)
- Agents: Clemence and either Ser Barris or Alexius
Level 6+ Crestwood (10-14)
- Agents: Jana
Level 8+ Western Approach (10-14)
- Agents: Servis, Frederick
Level 10+ Adamant Keep (?) (major plot)
Level 8+ Exalted Plains (11-16)
- Agents: Loranil
Level 10+ Emerald Graves (14-20)
- Agents: Fairbanks
Level 12+ Winter Palace (12-15) (major plot)
- Agents: Florianne
Level 12+ Emprise du Lion (16-22)
- Agents: Michel de Chevin