The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 5: Dragon Age: Origins (In Progress)

Denerim has some tricky encounters, for sure. Lots of mages, and encounters where you're surrounded by ranged attackers. I usually save it for after the Mage's Tower so I can get the stat boosts from that quest first.

beanman101283 wrote:

Denerim has some tricky encounters, for sure. Lots of mages, and encounters where you're surrounded by ranged attackers. I usually save it for after the Mage's Tower so I can get the stat boosts from that quest first.

Ah, good to know, thanks! Maybe I'll go somewhere else then...

After Lothering, is there a generally recommended place I could go instead of Denerim?

Note: It was Redcliffe I was trying to avoid.

I also burned out on combats. I took February off, hoping to generate more motivation.

Spoiler:

...it didn't work - I fear I'm too old short of attention span / busy for looooong, combat heavy RPGs... :/

I will dive back into it; it needs to be done - and I have fun when not in combats I'm not prepared for.

In my gampelay-adjusted headcannon the order is something like

1. One of the areas which are not Mage tower/Denerim/Redcliffe
2. Mage tower
3. All the other areas which are not Denerim/Redcliffe
4. Denerim
5. Redcliffe

Mage tower can be a bit challenging if you go there first, depending on class, but once you can handle it, it gives a nice boost for everything else.
Since you have already been to Denerim, mage tower is likely a perfectly fine choice now.

tormodh wrote:

I will dive back into it; it needs to be done - and I have fun when not in combats I'm not prepared for.

That's the old fightin' spirit! We can do this.

And yeah, I've been mowed down by some of these battles. I keep telling myself, "Why do we fall down, Bruce?"

Shadout wrote:

In my gampelay-adjusted headcannon the order is something like

1. One of the areas which are not Mage tower/Denerim/Redcliffe
2. Mage tower
3. All the other areas which are not Denerim/Redcliffe
4. Denerim
5. Redcliffe

Mage tower can be a bit challenging if you go there first, depending on class, but once you can handle it, it gives a nice boost for everything else.
Since you have already been to Denerim, mage tower is likely a perfectly fine choice now.

This is super helpful, thanks.

I'm not really doing that well in Denerim, to be honest, and I have quite a bit left to do I think. I mean, I'm making progress, but I'm having more than a couple of party wipes, and every recent battle has had one or two party members bite the dust.

I might check out that forest to the east of Lothering for a bit.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Ah, good to know, thanks! Maybe I'll go somewhere else then...

After Lothering, is there a generally recommended place I could go instead of Denerim?

Note: It was Redcliffe I was trying to avoid.

Denerim is more late game to be honest. When I leave Lothering my usual course of action is:

Mages Tower to get the stats boosts
Soldiers peak to get the storage chest, and also access to the best sword in the game (Seriously, you can pick this up early game and never use another weapon again for your tank)
The village where Shale is (I forget the name) to pick her up
Bresillain Forest because it's relatively straight forward and short(ish).
Redcliffe
Take a break before the Urn, and then I head to Denerim.
Once you've done as much of Denerim as you can, i head off to do the Urn
Then Orzammar
Then the end of the game.

To be sure it doesn't really matter that much though.

I'm going to switch this plan right away. I'm ON IT, thanks!

Does content scale to your level in some way?

And I was wondering about Soldier's Peak. I just got that quest a little while ago, but it was INTIMIDATING. Now that I know I shouldn't fear it, I'll go have a look see.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I'm going to switch this plan right away. I'm ON IT, thanks!

Does content scale to your level in some way?

And I was wondering about Soldier's Peak. I just got that quest a little while ago, but it was INTIMIDATING. Now that I know I shouldn't fear it, I'll go have a look see.

I think content scales yes, although honestly I don’t know for sure. Soldiers peak is hard early on, but it is doable.

Sorbicol wrote:
Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I'm going to switch this plan right away. I'm ON IT, thanks!

Does content scale to your level in some way?

And I was wondering about Soldier's Peak. I just got that quest a little while ago, but it was INTIMIDATING. Now that I know I shouldn't fear it, I'll go have a look see.

I think content scales yes, although honestly I don’t know for sure. Soldiers peak is hard early on, but it is doable.

I just looked this up and it's a yes/no kind of thing. Content scales but areas have lower and upper limits, so there are areas that can be too hard early on and too easy later on.

Based on this article, the lower/upper limits indicate this path through the early part of the game:

Ostagar / Korcari Wilds > Lothering > Circle Tower > Redcliffe Village and Redcliffe Castle > Brecilian Forest > Haven > and then after all this you can hit Denerim or Orzammar in either order you prefer > then The Landsmeet and the rest of the game

With that in mind, I'm off to the Circle Tower!

My playthrough has been relatively similar to Sorbicol's. I didn't really have any hiccups in Soldier's Peak- difficulty wise I don't think it should give you too much trouble. I think the Urn and the second stage of a particular fight in Redcliffe gave me the most trouble, but again that's on "Hard" difficulty.

I believe the content scales within a particular range- each area has a lower limit and an upper limit that scales accordingly to your character's level.

Edit- Looks like I was 2 minutes too late and you already pulled the Wiki article that I just found!

In my current game, I went from Lothering to Soldier's Peak, then to Redcliffe Village & Castle, and now I'm in the Brecilian Forest. Once I'm done in the forest I think I'll hit up the Circle Mages, then proceed the rest of the way along GB's posted path.

I just played for an hour. I switched to the Circle Tower from Denerim, added Wynne to my party, and am rolling through the enemies here. This is much smoother. I've yet to need any sort of consumable and no one has fallen in battle.

Having Wynne in the party is a huge help. For whatever reason a lot of battles tend to feature everyone flying around after getting hit by a fireball, and her group heal fixes that problem immediately. After the Tower is done I'm going to try that respec mod and respec Morrigan into a healer.

I think I have quite a bit left to do here, but once I'm done I'm going to head to Soldier's Peak for that sword.

Good times!

I made quite a bit of progress in the Circle Tower later last night. I actually thought I was done with it and then ... stuff happened.

So I'm still making my way through things. I'm hopeful I can finish up the area this evening.

And what is it with OP Golem forms in Bioware games?

All done with the Circle Tower. Everyone except Alistair is up to Level 10. That was fun. The solo parts were confidence builders. There is a lot of combat, for sure.

Now to respec Morrigan and head for Soldier's Peak!

EDIT: I respecced Morrigan as a healer, then headed off to Soldier's Peak. Things went really well there. With Alistair tanking, Morrigan healing, and my main character and Leliana dealing damage, it's a strong combination. We finished up everything there and almost got to Level 11.

Tomorrow I'm going to head to Redcliffe.

Really enjoying things. The characters and voice acting hold up very well over time, the combat is fun enough, and I'm enjoying the story and quests too.

I tried to stay enthusiastic but my momentum has petered out. This happened the first time around, and again with a brief return some time thereafter. Sooner this time. I may tend to think I gel with this one more than I actually do. I've exhausted my efforts, at least with the console version, I think.

RnRClown wrote:

I tried to stay enthusiastic but my momentum has petered out. This happened the first time around, and again with a brief return some time thereafter. Sooner this time. I may tend to think I gel with this one more than I actually do. I've exhausted my efforts, at least with the console version, I think.

No worries! These are long games. Perfectly normal to run out of steam.

I decided to keep going this evening and try the first part of Redcliffe. That was hard! And long! And I almost wiped a couple of times! And I thought it would never end! But we made it to the end (of the first part in the village at least)! Yippee!

And then the game crashed...

Yes, my last save was right at the very beginning of the start of the battle.

Sigh.

I redid the Redcliffe village battle and things turned out fine, but I certainly burned through a ton of consumables. Now I'm in the castle, and things are slowing down a bit. I'm not taking things out very quickly. For whatever reason I'm just not doing a lot of damage. Alistair is tanking so he's not hitting that hard. Morrigan is healing. That leaves my main as a mage and Leliana as a rogue to put on the hurt. I've got Leliana specced as an archer, but she just doesn't seem to be doing much damage. And most of my main character's high damage spells are AOE spells that inflict friendly fire as well. So it just seems to be taking some time to kill stuff.

I think I'm going to try to respec Leliana as a dual-wielding rogue instead, and see if I can upgrade my mage's gear and spells. Also, I switched Alistair out to the sword I found in the Soldier's Peak, but he seems to have dropped attack power compared to an axe I had picked up somewhere. I might switch back.

Also, despite the taunt and threaten skills, stuff just seems to run right by Alistair and cause all sorts of havoc with my other three squishy characters.

Lastly, my characters seem to get hit with stupid sticks in the middle of battles now and then. Twice in the castle I've wiped because one or two of my characters suddenly think it's a bloody grand idea to run two rooms away and pull a roomful of different enemies into the fray. Lovely.

Anyway, for the short term, I'm going to keep tweaking things and see if I can up my party's damage dealing. I might look for some sort of guide for the combat tactics too. I'm certain mine are junk at the moment.

On the whole, I'm still really liking things. Fun challenges, and combat is providing some good puzzle solving for me. Thumbs up, driving on!

EDIT: This seems helpful: DA:O Tactics Guide

One thing I usually do is make sure each character AI is never set to ‘aggressive’. That’s usually why they run off unexpectedly and pull a load more grief.

It can be a good idea to sneak a bit with your rogue ahead of your main party to see what’s ahead. Then you can open up with AOE spell and what not, and not get sprung too much.

Sorbicol wrote:

One thing I usually do is make sure each character AI is never set to ‘aggressive’. That’s usually why they run off unexpectedly and pull a load more grief.

I'll have to take a look at that. I think I may have already changed those to something other than aggressive, but I'll take a look. Thanks!

I respecced Leliana as a duel-wielding rogue and it's night and day different. She deals DEATH now. Party is rolling again. I also set some of the combat tactics to trigger the states that I always want them to have at the beginning of a battle. That seems to be helping a bit as well. But the big difference is Leliana. She takes down enemies so fast. Stun, chop chop chop, move on to the next one. Fun stuff!

I left Redcliffe because I had just a couple of consumables, but had full inventory. I wandered about some, restocking, selling stuff, and advancing a few companion and miscellaneous plots. I'll head back to Redcliffe Castle tomorrow.

GB: Dual-wielding is totally great. It's what I've rolled for my main character, and there's one skill you can pick up that widens the "back-stab angle" and makes it so much easier to maneuver for that sweet, sweet dmanage.

I wrapped up Orzammar:

Spoiler:

I mostly remembered only the Brood Mother from the Deep Roads, and that fight wasn't too bad at all. At least it was nothing compared to the Branca fight at the Anvil of the Void. I had 2 or 3 party wipes since I was forced to pick up Oghren for the fight (booooo) and decided to drop Morrigan (since I felt I needed the healing from Wynne, and needed Alistair to be my tank commander). I destroyed the anvil, got the crown, headed back to Orzammar, and crowned Harrowmont. I sold a metric sh*tton of loot, dropped off the unique weapons at Soldiers Peak, and saved before lowering my graphics settings and heading back to Denerim.

I think I'm close to the Landsmeet but I can't 100% recall; I'm just happy to have wrapped up the Deep Roads. The game crashed to desktop a few times in the Deep Roads (mostly near the big "open" bridge areas) and the "setting graphics to low" trick worked there, too.

I'm hurting for some consumables, but other than that I'm ready to head into the weekend and wrap this game up. Outside of some Ghost Recon Wildlands and Deep Rock Galactic with some friends, this game has pretty much been my singular focus for the last few weeks. I'm pretty ready to move on, but that's less due to the quality of the game (it is great) and more due to my own impatience. I'm excited to see how horribly I can screw up the Landsmeet!

funkasaurus_rex wrote:

GB: Dual-wielding is totally great. It's what I've rolled for my main character, and there's one skill you can pick up that widens the "back-stab angle" and makes it so much easier to maneuver for that sweet, sweet dmanage.

Good to know I'm on the right track with that, and I'll check out that skill. I just figured out how to unlock the duelist specialization, so Leliana still has three more skills to add there.

And great work grinding it out! Sounds like the end is near for you! I'm hoping I can get through Redcliffe Castle this evening, so still a long way to go. I think my party is still only Level 11/12.

I started cutting through Denerim because I couldn't remember what I had to do before the Landsmeet.

Whewwwww boy! I forgot how you have to kill half the city just to take a scenic walk and see the sights!

I’ve been making some pretty good progress lately. Sorry I have not been updating.

I started with the Mage Tower, finished that and then went to Redcliffe.

Spoiler:

I saved the boy and his mother so that was great! I think you can only do that if you complete the mages tower first in the right way

Most of my people are level 12 now. I’m playing an arcane warrior, and always have Allistair with me, as well as Leliana. Morrigan or Wynne tag along as well. I also used the mod to allow my dog to be the 5th party member. I’m enjoying being a mage in massive armour and shield, and am currently better equipped than Allistair.

I tried the big dragon in Haven and it seems I’m not ready for that, maybe I’ll try Morrigans questline instead....

Ha! Hardek, I'm in the same spot, at the same level, and did the same thing at Redcliffe Castle. I finished Redcliffe Castle this evening. Well, at least as far as you can get there for the moment.

Does it work for a mage to wear heavy armor? I have Alistair in heavy armor, Leliana in leather armor, and me and Morrigan in mage robes.

I've just started Brecillian Forest, lots of talking and walking about for the moment.

The arcane warrior specialization allows a you to use magic as the str/dex requirements on weapons and armor and spellpower for combat damage. I start all battles with like half mana because of self/party buffs, but its nice to be frontline in a battle knocking almost every enemy down with a fireball (because all my allies are behind me.

I still use Allistair to draw aggro, but Im starting to wonder if I should bring a two handed warrior instead since I can tank better.

Jumping back in tonIght after a few weeks of XCOM. Turns out I’m still in the mage tower. Not looking forward to the “harrowing chamber”...

Hardek wrote:

The arcane warrior specialization allows a you to use magic as the str/dex requirements on weapons and armor and spellpower for combat damage. I start all battles with like half mana because of self/party buffs, but its nice to be frontline in a battle knocking almost every enemy down with a fireball (because all my allies are behind me.

That almost sounds OP. Very tempting! I've found that the big fire spells my main character has (fireball, tempest) are super powerful but also tend to mess up everyone. It's hard to target them effectively while standing at the back, and a lot of the battles occur in tight spaces.

Redherring wrote:

Jumping back in tonIght after a few weeks of XCOM. Turns out I’m still in the mage tower. Not looking forward to the “harrowing chamber”...

Excellent! I didn't find the harrowing chamber that harrowing. The big boss battles in general feel a bit easier to me because they're easier for my team to work as planned. The tank grabs aggro, the healer heals, and the rogue and other mage put on the hurt. The battles with lots of enemies are where I sometimes get in those "Oh, crap" situations.

D'oh. Apparently the only way to become a blood mage is during part of the Redcliffe Castle quest? #missedopportunity

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

D'oh. Apparently the only way to become a blood mage is during part of the Redcliffe Castle quest? #missedopportunity

Well, no. I also found out that saving the boy blocked that, but it can be acquired...

Spoiler:

It can be unlocked by purchasing the manual from the bartender at The Crown and Lion tavern in Amaranthine.

Tearing up the fade right now .. apart from everything looking fuzzy I’m not sure what all the fuss is about?