GWJ Conference Call Episode 231

Conference Call

Dragon Age 2, Torchlight (XBLA), Hot Springs Story, Mount & Blade - With Fire and Sword, A Classic Arcade Interview From PAX, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Rob, Elysium and Karla talk Dragon Age 2 while Cory chimes in from PAX East!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

Sponsor

CastMedium
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

MeYou Health
Dragon Age 2
Mount & Blade with Fire and Sword
Torchlight (XBLA)
Hot Springs Story
"Is Google Making us Stupid?"
"Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction"

"Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Dragon Age 2 - Battle Theme #2 - http://dragonage.bioware.com/ - 0:34:55
Dragon Age 2 - Qunari On The Rise - http://dragonage.bioware.com/ - 0:53:53

Comments

Tanglebones wrote:

Sean and Shawn give me a little bit of trouble, though.

It's easy, Shawn has the sing-song Canadian voice and says 'Aboot.'

Dear Dragon Age II,

Me love you long time. You party?

Love,
Rob

Question about Dragon Age 2 combat:

In DA:O, I started a game on the default difficulty and found it insanely, ridiculously, stupidly hard. I don't know if I was speccing my characters wrong or not doing enough side quests to level or if I just don't have the brains for that kind of tactical combat or what, but I was dying over and over no matter what I did and not having fun.

So I started a new game and dropped the difficulty level down a peg, and now the game was stupidly, boringly easy. I murdered everything without trying, but the game was still not fun. Combat was do-able, but it still seemed to take forever. I liked the story stuff okay, but since 90% of my play time was taken up by this tedious combat stuff, I eventually wound up giving up on the game entirely.

By contrast, in the Mass Effect games, I also dropped the difficulty down because I didn't care about the combat and just wanted the story, but there, it was FUN to curb stomp dudes in every battle. It felt natural and right; my character is a badass special ops secret agent, so of COURSE I can totally own anything the enemy throws at me. There was no challenge, but I didn't care. I was still enjoying myself.

I keep hearing about how DA2 is more Mass-Effect-y than DA:O. My question is, is the combat engaging enough to still be fun (or at least bearable) if you're a wuss like me and drop down the difficulty? Or is it more like DA:O, where the easy combat is just boring?

hbi2k:

It depends on what you're looking for in a combat game. In ME2, you still have the "move the cursor and press the button" gameplay, which can be challenging enough on a twin stick setup. DA2 is not a tactical RPG. It's an action game, a little like Diablo with 4 characters. It's not like Mass Effect at all.

On Normal, I played a Fireball Mage and I didn't need to control any other character but Hawke outside of tweaking the Tactics setup so that my mates stopped doing stupid crap. I was owning enemies left and right by placing explosions where I wanted on the map. The explosion graphics are nice enough. If that interests you, you may find DA2 fun. There's a decent amount of AoE graphics to try out, so it should last you the game.

wordsmythe wrote:
EternalGamer wrote:

We hardly think of the larger possible implications these things can have on us both individually and as a culture once they become ubiquitous. One of my favorite quotes is a paraphrase of Cicero which says, "The purpose of education is to free the individual from the tyranny of the present." Every time period has its own cultural values and its own habits that tend to limit the way people act and think. So my argument is not really about some mythic pastoral epoch of the "good old days" when things were better. But I do think that, in our current era, these sorts of networks are having a cultural impact on the way we behave and the way we think in ways that should not be underestimated.

Yep, technology changes the way we think, communicate and live. Maybe even the way we learn. But if your whole class speaks Latin, you may have an easier time going with that than with trying to teach in Greek.

True, but I don't think we are yet at the point where we have totally lost contact the pre-electronic media culture when traditional print was the dominant form of cultural discourse.

I also sometimes wonder if people won't become more conscious of this type of behavior in a similar way to the way we are now becoming more conscious of eating right and excercise. We try to put limits on things that may impact our bodies, but don't yet put much thought on keeping our minds healthy.

In short, in fifty years will people look back and say "Oh my god, they were on their cellphones and the internet all the time?!" in a voice that indicates horror similar to the way we may now think about sending little kids off to work in the factory or lead paint?

hbi2k wrote:

I keep hearing about how DA2 is more Mass-Effect-y than DA:O. My question is, is the combat engaging enough to still be fun (or at least bearable) if you're a wuss like me and drop down the difficulty? Or is it more like DA:O, where the easy combat is just boring?

I got incredibly frustrated with DA 1 playing as a Rogue and I eventually lowered the game to easy, which is something I never do.

However, I'm playing DA2 on normal and it seems perfectly balanced for me. Average fights don't require hardly any micromanaging. I might go in and tweak equipment and the tactics once every hour or so, but mostly I just control my own dude.

On the boss fights however, I occasionally have to break down a bit more and get tactical. The first big dragon fight had me dying about 7 times before I beat him but it felt like a very rewarding victory because it was changing my strategy that helped me win (often in DA one I just felt like I got lucky that my character just getting get stunned or froze or something).

And that is how the game play rhythm in a game should be, I think. Just like in FPS games there are the quick "one hit" kill enemies to keep the pace going and then occasionally tougher enemies. Having more easy "auto-pilot" type fights peppered with boss fights with difficult spikes where you have to really be more strategic is my idea of great pacing.

While I finished DA1, I really never enjoyed it that much but DA2 is easily one of my favorite RPGs this generation.

EternalGamer wrote:

I also sometimes wonder if people won't become more conscious of this type of behavior in a similar way to the way we are now becoming more conscious of eating right and excercise. We try to put limits on things that may impact our bodies, but don't yet put much thought on keeping our minds healthy.

In short, in fifty years will people look back and say "Oh my god, they were on their cellphones and the internet all the time?!" in a voice that indicates horror similar to the way we may now think about sending little kids off to work in the factory or lead paint?

We certainly are, culturally, going through a learning process in terms of what's "good" internet and how much is too much. But I also understand if a student in a nutrition class questions the wisdom or necessity of an assignment to fast for 24 hours.

Chump wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I'm general with Certis in terms of gaming tastes and broad assessment of gaming, but I was surprised during this podcast to hear Katerin and Elysium being closer to how I view DA2.

Psst. Dude. That wasn't Katerin. That was Karla, Shawn's wife. Katerin is Lara Crigger, she of the deep Final Fantasy knowledge and thirst for quality scotch.

I can see how you'd make the mistake, as both women are exceptionally rad.

Lol,
I've been listening to you guys for four years and I still can't identify your voices with your names.

Though I recognize Rabbit. He's cool.

While I consider it the highest compliment to be confused with Karla, I'm less enthused to be mixed up with Sean or Cory. Perhaps I should be shriller. And swear more.

That would just make you sound even more like Cory.

LarryC wrote:

That would just make you sound even more like Cory.

o/\o

DAMN.

MrDeVil909 wrote:
LarryC wrote:

That would just make you sound even more like Cory.

o/o

Business Time indeed!

LarryC wrote:

That would just make you sound even more like Cory.

/applause

KaterinLHC wrote:

While I consider it the highest compliment to be confused with Karla, I'm less enthused to be mixed up with Sean or Cory. Perhaps I should be surly. And drink more.

.

Fixed!!

..Just kiddin', you ain't surly.