Dragon Age: Origins Catch-All

Thanks for the tips.

Sadly, beanman10128, I'll be playing on PS3 so mods aren't an option.

I'll definitely be playing on Easy, onewild. That's one of my firm rules for playing old games. I'm there to experience them, not to be challenged by them. I generally stick with Normal for new games (though I made an exception for Horizon Call of the Mountain, and it's stupidly long boss fights).

On the combat, are the tutorials for this comprehensive? Or does the game teach the player on the basics, leaving out important nuances? I don't feel, for example, that the aforementioned Call of the Mountain properly explained the proper use of the different types of ammunition, which turned out to be pretty important.

Math/UpToIsomorphism - Is there a huge benefit to trying all the Character and Class combinations? That's a lot of time to spend repeating the opening section of the game.

Is there not an optimum Character and Class for a first playthrough? In Demons Souls, for example, the Royal was generally agreed to be the best option for a first time player.

There's six different origins (One for mages, one for non-mage humans, two for non-mage elves, two for dwarves) that are unique, so you won't be repeating content. The human non-mage has story hooks that can play into the ending outcomes the most, but the suggestion is mostly about finding which you appeals to you the most.

There's not really an optimum character - you have a party to compensate for any weaknesses.

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

strangederby wrote:

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

Oh. Then I probably shouldn't mention that I also found a new, old copy of Dragon Age II and bought that at the same time as DA: O?

Sadly, when I see that an new, old game that I'm interested in is both 'sold by' and 'dispatched from' Amazon itself, I tend to buy it immediately. I assume that it's a guarantee that I'm not being sold an used-and-resealed game by one of the many fly-by-night vendors on the platform.

I know how absurd this insistence of buying only new games is... particularly as the games that I buy get further and further from their original release date. But it's a bit of a thing for me.

strangederby wrote:

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

I think DA:O and DA:A are probably the best games in the series. I love and hate DAII (it has one of the best stories in games but has some frustrating issues that could have been solved with more development time and resources). DA:I is a modern game built in the mode of, "Hey Skyrim made a bunch of money" mode that didn't help it.

While I agree with the statement, I think all three games are great (if for different reasons) and this is one of my favorite series. Go with the Maker (you'll get that later) and hope the Keep is up by the time you get to Inquisition.

By the way, I would turn off helmets and blood on cutscenes. It is funny to see them drenched in blood and nonchalantly talking once or twice, but it gets old after 60+ hours.

strangederby wrote:

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

I think the opposite - DAO was a cookie-cutter RPG that pretty soon got old (I did finish it, but never went back to it), DA2 was far more interesting, with novel mechanics and better characters - but was obviously rushed and the third act seemed to have been written overnight. DAI was a mix of the two, but the pacing and structure were a bit odd - by the time I got out of the Hinterlands (which is the second) area, I'd been playing for about 30 hours.

YMMV, of course.

detroit20 wrote:

Math/UpToIsomorphism - Is there a huge benefit to trying all the Character and Class combinations? That's a lot of time to spend repeating the opening section of the game.

No benefit at all, besides experiencing the different stories. And cheevos maybe?

detroit20 wrote:

Is there not an optimum Character and Class for a first playthrough? In Demons Souls, for example, the Royal was generally agreed to be the best option for a first time player.

If you play as a mage then there's a specialization you can unlock later that essentially makes you unkillable. So that's probably good for a newbie.

Math wrote:
detroit20 wrote:

Math/UpToIsomorphism - Is there a huge benefit to trying all the Character and Class combinations? That's a lot of time to spend repeating the opening section of the game.

No benefit at all, besides experiencing the different stories. And cheevos maybe?

Also, each origin takes place in a different area of the world, so it isn't replaying the same area 6 times. So, for example, the mage origin takes place at a mage tower, the city elf origin takes place in the city slums, the dwarven noble takes place as high court drama in a dwarven underground city, etc. It is getting some story and lore before becoming the chosen one.

detroit20 wrote:

Thanks for the tips.

Sadly, beanman10128, I'll be playing on PS3 so mods aren't an option.

I'll definitely be playing on Easy, onewild. That's one of my firm rules for playing old games. I'm there to experience them, not to be challenged by them. I generally stick with Normal for new games (though I made an exception for Horizon Call of the Mountain, and it's stupidly long boss fights).

On the combat, are the tutorials for this comprehensive? Or does the game teach the player on the basics, leaving out important nuances? I don't feel, for example, that the aforementioned Call of the Mountain properly explained the proper use of the different types of ammunition, which turned out to be pretty important.

Math/UpToIsomorphism - Is there a huge benefit to trying all the Character and Class combinations? That's a lot of time to spend repeating the opening section of the game.

Is there not an optimum Character and Class for a first playthrough? In Demons Souls, for example, the Royal was generally agreed to be the best option for a first time player.

If you're playing on Easy, I don't think your character/class even matters, nor do any nuances that the tutorial may or may not include. On normal and higher difficulties, you NEED a healer in your party, and having a warrior to tank enemies so rogues can get behind and do backstabs is pretty critical. Mages are glass cannons that can do obscene amounts of damage if you build them out right, but you have to protect them. I think I recall hearing that the console versions turn off friendly fire as well? Don't quote me on that. On PC you have to worry about your big spells damaging your teammates. However, on easy, none of that really matters. Bring your favorite characters and slaughter your enemies with impunity.

Since you can't install mods, I would say try to have a rogue in your party at all times so you can open as many locks as possible.

You may even want to consider playing as a Rogue. Especially if you are on easy, party composition won't matter as much (except for cross-conversations), and there are only two rogues you can recruit in the game.

And playing as Rogue unlocks a unique side quest chain in one of the main cities as well!

FWIW, I played through twice. Human mage and human rogue.

I found I really wanted to have two mages in my party- one for healing and one for damage/crowd control. For this reason, I'd lean toward the mage. This might be irrelevant on easy difficulty though.

Plot wise it's a bit of a wash. Human noble was more satisfying toward the end, but mage introduced some very foundational world-building concepts more effectively.

Not sure I'd play through all six origins before tackling the main game. It's long enough as it is!

I'm pretty sure the first companion you get in game is a warrior too.
So while you can run a warrior warrior combo, it doesn't highlight the companion interplay as well as mage warrior or rogue warrior.
I could be conflating mechanics from later games. So take the above with a grain of salt.

I will also note that I quickly got bored with the main campaign so I got most of my fun out of playing all the background intros. That is at least 15 hours of content right there.

I guess I'll elaborate on my support for mage PC's, not just in DA:O but in a lot of similar RPG's. Obviously this is a matter of personal preference.

I once gravitated toward fighters. But it seems to me like the thing that most often makes or breaks you in combat is the effective use of spells. So you're constantly micromanaging the casters more than anyone else. If I'm going to be spending most of the time controlling one character, it makes sense that it'd be my character.

I thought Inquisition was the best in the series. However I’m not a completionist and all the prevailing advice at the time was to leave the hinterlands as soon as possible. That zone was ridiculously large and quest laden.

Inquisition was the technically superior game of the trilogy, but my preference is still Origins > Inquisition > 2.

It’s real hard for me to choose between Origins and 2, so I won’t. They’re both wonderful in different ways, and now I wanna play 2 again IMAGE(https://em-content.zobj.net/thumbs/240/apple/354/smiling-face_263a-fe0f.png)

strangederby wrote:

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

Yes and no, IMO. On the one hand, I agree Origins is the best of the series and does everything overall the best. However, the other games (and even Origins' expansion) are not as good...but they're still really good. I also appreciate the fact that Bioware was willing to try some new gameplay and storytelling approaches.

DA2 decided to tell the story of a character who placed his roots in a single location and watched his story evolve over time. That's bold. I didn't like the repetitive combat and sites. But that was a game controller decision, and it wasn't awful, just not as good.

Inquisitor was very good and allowed you to approach the game from a simplistic or complicated level, and the storytelling was excellent and tied a bunch of prior stories together very well. My challenge with this was again some repetitive combat, and the final battle/villain was underwhelming for me. But still a great game.

But yes, Origins is my favorite too.

From what I remember of DA2 it was generally a fine game, with some frustrations in the endgame, a recurring issue that combat rooms were extensively overused, and it was really annoying to have enemy reinforcements suddenly appear out of nowhere as a fight was nearing completion. On the plus side I had a threesome with two party members.

Yeah, but Zevran...

I just really felt cramped by the singular (major) location in DA2. Everything else was fine by me.

DA2’s combat mechanics are superior. Arguably better even than DA:Is. The story and the cutscenes are also better nuanced and better used, though it’s not going to be obvious how good they are on one playthrough. Things can get radically different in terms of character development depending on what you do and say.

In both of these games, paying attention to tactics and skill interactions is at the core of your CC as well as your damage dealing ability. Many combats on less than the highest level of difficulty can just be over instantly, if you spec your party and tactics correctly. In DA2, it is possible to create complex algorithms that allow you to basically control the entire party as a unit, while only controlling the actions of one character, typically Hawke. You direct what other party members do by triggering if-then commands through specific combat actions with Hawke. It’s pretty cool.

If you’re struggling with damage and CC, then just bump the difficulty setting down. It’s not supposed to be a difficult game. Even at the highest settings, if you build and execute correctly (not perfectly, just in the ballpark), almost all the combats are surprisingly easy.

If you’re starting to find it annoying that your skill combos aren’t connecting or mattering because the enemies die before the combo finishes, that’s when you should bump it up.

strangederby wrote:

Enjoy the best game in the Dragon Age series. It's downhill from here.

Inquisition wasn’t that bad. It just got massively outdone by The Witcher 3.

There's a really good 35 hour game in Inquisition. Unfortunately, it's surrounded by another 90 hours of wasting your time. I'm guessing that if you only do what's necessary to move the plot forward, it's pretty great.

LarryC wrote:

DA2’s combat mechanics are superior. Arguably better even than DA:Is. The story and the cutscenes are also better nuanced and better used, though it’s not going to be obvious how good they are on one playthrough. Things can get radically different in terms of character development depending on what you do and say.

In both of these games, paying attention to tactics and skill interactions is at the core of your CC as well as your damage dealing ability. Many combats on less than the highest level of difficulty can just be over instantly, if you spec your party and tactics correctly. In DA2, it is possible to create complex algorithms that allow you to basically control the entire party as a unit, while only controlling the actions of one character, typically Hawke. You direct what other party members do by triggering if-then commands through specific combat actions with Hawke. It’s pretty cool.

If you’re struggling with damage and CC, then just bump the difficulty setting down. It’s not supposed to be a difficult game. Even at the highest settings, if you build and execute correctly (not perfectly, just in the ballpark), almost all the combats are surprisingly easy.

If you’re starting to find it annoying that your skill combos aren’t connecting or mattering because the enemies die before the combo finishes, that’s when you should bump it up.

I strongly disagree with this and maintain that DA2's combat is a big step back from DA:O's for several reasons.

  • No tactical camera. DA:O let you zoom out to a proper CRPG perspective. DA:2 locks you to a over-the-shoulder view. It's very difficult to properly manage your party without a good view.
  • Wave-spawning enemies. I'm sure DA:O did this too, but not in *every* *single* *fight* like DA2. Tactically positioning your mages/archers at the back (or blocking chokes with your frontliners) is rendered pointless when the next enemy wave teleports in right on top of them.
  • Lack of enemy/encounter variety. There's basically a handful of enemies that you fight again, and again, and again. You're also fighting on the exact same maps (infamously) and so the need for devising new tactics is infrequent, to say the least.

I will grant that the " cross class combo" system (or whatever its called) in DA2 is a nice addition, but honestly I've never intentionally used it.

I think it's generally agreed that DA2 had a rough development and that many of the changes between it and DA:O were the result of trying to be more "console friendly."

billt721 wrote:

There's a really good 35 hour game in Inquisition. Unfortunately, it's surrounded by another 90 hours of wasting your time. I'm guessing that if you only do what's necessary to move the plot forward, it's pretty great.

Thats pretty much the description if every major open world RPG that's been released in the last 20 years or so. Inquisition is no better or worse in that regard.

Math wrote:
LarryC wrote:

DA2’s combat mechanics are superior. Arguably better even than DA:Is. The story and the cutscenes are also better nuanced and better used, though it’s not going to be obvious how good they are on one playthrough. Things can get radically different in terms of character development depending on what you do and say.

In both of these games, paying attention to tactics and skill interactions is at the core of your CC as well as your damage dealing ability. Many combats on less than the highest level of difficulty can just be over instantly, if you spec your party and tactics correctly. In DA2, it is possible to create complex algorithms that allow you to basically control the entire party as a unit, while only controlling the actions of one character, typically Hawke. You direct what other party members do by triggering if-then commands through specific combat actions with Hawke. It’s pretty cool.

If you’re struggling with damage and CC, then just bump the difficulty setting down. It’s not supposed to be a difficult game. Even at the highest settings, if you build and execute correctly (not perfectly, just in the ballpark), almost all the combats are surprisingly easy.

If you’re starting to find it annoying that your skill combos aren’t connecting or mattering because the enemies die before the combo finishes, that’s when you should bump it up.

I strongly disagree with this and maintain that DA2's combat is a big step back from DA:O's for several reasons.

  • No tactical camera. DA:O let you zoom out to a proper CRPG perspective. DA:2 locks you to a over-the-shoulder view. It's very difficult to properly manage your party without a good view.
  • Wave-spawning enemies. I'm sure DA:O did this too, but not in *every* *single* *fight* like DA2. Tactically positioning your mages/archers at the back (or blocking chokes with your frontliners) is rendered pointless when the next enemy wave teleports in right on top of them.
  • Lack of enemy/encounter variety. There's basically a handful of enemies that you fight again, and again, and again. You're also fighting on the exact same maps (infamously) and so the need for devising new tactics is infrequent, to say the least.

I will grant that the " cross class combo" system (or whatever its called) in DA2 is a nice addition, but honestly I've never intentionally used it.

I think it's generally agreed that DA2 had a rough development and that many of the changes between it and DA:O were the result of trying to be more "console friendly."

The lack of top down camera hurt (i read they had to build the levels twice to accommodate that, which was likely impossible with the compressed timeframe they had), but the other two points are encounter design rather than mechanics. I still think DA2 had excellent combat. It included the stamina potion for warriors/rogues that Dragon Age Awakening introduced, and the cross class combo system was pretty powerful if you set things up correctly. The updated animations made it look flashier, but overall combat still worked pretty much identically to Origins. I wish I could remember how the Tactics system evolved from Origins to 2. I was really bummed that Inquisition almost completely removed any semblance of automated tactics.

I remember how the combat system changed from 1 to 2.

Origins does have a CRPG isometric view - it is barely changed from a Baldur’s Gate system (the very old one). It’s a very classic CRPG sort of thing, but there was limited environmental interactions, the class spells and skills were quite basic, and aggro was almost nonexistent.

DA2 didn’t have free-movement isometric views, but it is possible to get all the views you really need by just changing character view. You don’t really need more than that. DA2 isn’t really that sort of game.

DA2’s enemies spawned in waves because the AoE combo kills are incredibly powerful. If they didn’t spawn in like that, you could insta-kill every combat encounter in a few seconds. Enemy variety is fine - bit more nuanced than in DAO, IIRC. DAO had more “types” and graphical representations but it’s not like you dealt with them in a different way. Your response to any specific challenge was limited by your spell variety and skills selection.

The combo system in DA2 is at the heart of its combat system. If you didn’t engage with it, you didn’t really play the game. I mean, obviously you did, but NOT engaging with the combo system is exactly like not engaging with the powers system in Mass Effect 2 and 3 and then saying it’s just a Gears clone, which of course it is not.

This isn’t just a case of not engaging with combos. The combos link to each other and you have to build your entire party around a particular set of combos in order to really take advantage. On top of this, DA2 had a robust Tactics system that allows you not only to trigger specific PC spell and skill, but also to direct their aggro based on conditions, and their placement on the field as well. It’s very akin to building out a Rube Goldberg machine and then heading into combat and testing out how your party algorithm shakes out. Everything can be automated and then you can play the game in true real-time, using your own personally controlled Hawke actions to trigger particular party strategies that you yourself set up beforehand.

DA2’s combat system is radically different from DAO’s. It’s only very superficially similar, and engaging only with that little bit does give off the impression that it is worse. Overall, though, it is much better.

Must.....resist.....

Bioware's legacy:
Whenever Mass Effect is mentioned in any way, shape or form, a discussion on its ending ensues. Whenever Dragon Ages is mentioned in any way, shape or form, a discussion on which one is the best ensues.