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BioWare wants players to beta test the next Dragon Age: Inquisition patch

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

BioWare is looking for players to help test the next patch for Dragon Age: Inquisition, both in an effort to get player feedback early and test what the studio calls "the biggest patch we've released to date."

"For Dragon Age: Inquisition, we've developed a faster and more compressed patch schedule than any prior BioWare game," the developer says on the game's blog. "However, due to the nature of the certification process, it can often still take weeks after developing a fix to release it on different platforms. Because of this, we continue to explore new ways to foster better communication between our players and developers."

Enter the Patch 5 beta program aimed at select players of the Windows PC version of Dragon Age: Inquisition. BioWare says it's opening up a "closed, developer-like environment" for Inquisition players to put the patch through its paces and give the developer an opportunity to communicate with fans.

The beta will give players access to a shop called the Black Emporium. From there, players can acquire "powerful artifacts and tools to aid their cause, purchase epic weapons, powerful accessories, new crafting materials and schematics, and even change their voice and facial appearance using the Mirror of Transformation," BioWare says.

Some of the other additions in the Patch 5 beta include an option to bind more mouse keys and an auto-attack button for single-player. Tweaks to dialogue subtitles, graphics shader options and a new armor tinting system are also included, among other additions.

BioWare says it will provide a full list of updates in Patch 5 to its beta community.

BioWare's decision to open up Dragon Age: Inquisition's next patch to beta testing comes shortly after developer 343 Industries attempted something similar with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, though the Halo studio recently canceled its plans. Developers like Blizzard and Valve offer similar early testing of game updates for titles like World of Warcraft, Dota 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 through Public Test Realms and stand-alone betas.