Patches within patches continue for the PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition, with today bringing a hotfix for Patch 2’s graphical woes. Welcome … to Patchception.

The announcement was made (among other places) on the EA Answers forum, which actually contains a reasonable amount of detail about what went wrong with the mesh and shader qualities in the game. Origin should automatically download the hotfix patch.

Everyone should now remove the Dragon Age: Inquisition command line workaround (if used,) as this will conflict with the hotfix.

What the EA Answers post has to say is quite detailed and explains a lot of the bugs people were seeing in Patch 2, so I’ll recreate it in full:

Before Patch 2, released December 9, shader quality for all PC users was being forced to run at Ultra. This impacted the performance of low-end machines and caused some unintended visual artifacts for users whose mesh quality was set lower than Ultra. As a result, users with Low or Medium mesh settings saw hair that was shinier than expected.

We attempted to address this in Patch 2 by binding the two settings so that mesh and shader quality were always the same. However, this fix wasn’t properly implemented, and it forced shader quality to Low. We provided a command-line workaround Tuesday, but that still required players to ensure that the new shader quality matched their mesh settings.

This hotfix will correctly bind the mesh and shader settings and eliminate this issue. However, now that shader quality is being set correctly for everyone, players using lower settings will notice a decrease in the quality of visuals. This includes the removal of some features such as scars and freckles.

Most notably, the lower settings do not support blending of the age layer, so some users may notice that their Inquisitor (or custom Hawke) has aged considerably. And while this change is how it was originally intended to work, it could be understandably frustrating for people who created their characters before Patch 2.

Setting the mesh quality to High or Ultra will bring back the visuals which should always have been disabled at lower settings (but, prior to Patch 2, were not) but will also impact performance.

Reports about the hotfix seem a little mixed at present, I’ve seen players reporting significant improvements, but others who say this hotfix has introduced stuttering and other performance problems. If you do run into problems, there’s a decent checklist to work through at the Dragon Age: Inquisition forums which may help. It’s the usual kind of thing, removing and reinstalling graphics drivers and the like, but could provide a solution.

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