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

Well, this evening I made it part way up the Circle Tower. And I found that a level 7 party is IN NO WAY ready to tangle with a Revenant.

It’s also interesting to me how a game that provides so much depth of interaction with party members will let you casually kill them off before recruiting them.

Spoiler:

I ran into this with Wynne. After agreeing to take her on, Morrigan disagreed and essentially said that the Circle mages should be killed. I had an option to agree (and provoke a fight with Wynn), tell her off, tell her I’d made my decision, or ask her to elaborate about why she thinks as she does. After I pushed her a couple times to elaborate, the option to say “I’ve made my decision” went away; I could either tell Morrigan off, or admit she had a point — at which time Wynn attacked me.

I also ambled up the tower yesterday, and I'm glad I took Redcliffe first. The Revenant was very tough until I found out that

Spoiler:

fire

worked pretty well. Several of the other "hard fights" were pretty easy when I could do room clearing tactics using

Spoiler:

Glyph of Repulsion + Glyph of Paralysis and then copious amounts of fire

.

Also, I'm pretty happy that books and wood don't burn in this game.

Sorbicol wrote:
beanman101283 wrote:

It’s really handy to have a rogue around to pick locks, at least.

the "bash lock" mod is invaluable. I think there is also one for a spell that unlocks chests as well

That's a mod which I linked in one of my previous posts. Invaluable!

RnRClown wrote:

Ser Jory & The Joining:

Spoiler:

The Grey Wardens butter up a recruit so they either choose to join, or they force a recruit to join through conscription. There is only the illusion of choice.

Playing the dwarf commoner origin sees Duncan recite why your life minus the Grey Wardens is so lacklustre, and how joining them elevates you above so many. You can refuse if you like. You are then railroaded through conscription to join.

It is only upon the joining ritual taking place that Ser Jory and Daveth learn of the russian roulette surprise. No upfront honestly or transparency. Last minute trickery rules the day.

Protecting the secrecy of the ritual is a poor excuse. We learn, as the game progresses, that many people know of the finer details and talk of it willingly, and freely.

Daveth is all for the russian roulette because he is excitable at the whiff of battle and spilling blood. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He desires recognition and acceptance.

Ser Jory is a family man, a man of honour, a knight, who willingly steps forward and into dangerous situations so others do not have to. Ser Jory does not flee any battle even with a desire to keep breathing. He fights darkspawn to retrieve the blood. He is not afraid, not a coward, not looking to shirk his chosen responsibility to protect the weak and the innocent. He simply draws the line at the russian roulette with a bullet labelled death, and another labelled hocus pocus protection. Ser Jory would have continued to serve minus that. Dying whilst sipping from a goblet was his line in the sand. Facing darkspawn until he no longer could was already accepted.

Clocky, may ultimately be correct. (She often is after all!) A ridiculous attempt to highlight the bleak outlook, and how hardcore the Grey Wardens are.

Oh, most definitely, they quite often are, and it's not incompatible with what I'm saying. Ultimately, I think you're missing a key component of who the Grey Wardens are, how they operate, and what they're about. I've spent dozens of hours reading the Codex, as well as the wikipedia, and the books, mostly for research purposes for my (unfinished) Dragon Age fanfic. I'd say I have a fair handle on the matter. To respond to your spoiler:

Spoiler:

First off, you saying there is only the illusion of choice in joining the Wardens is wrong. Yes, there is the Rite of Conscription. Yes, for your player character, even if you make the choice, it's an illusion, because that's how the game is built, that's the story the game tells. In Thedas, however, that's not how Grey Wardens generally operate. How do you think they'd be received if they went around and conscripted everyone willy nilly? People would turn on them. So they'll travel and recruit what people they can. Many people actually idealize the Wardens, because they hear stories about Garahel and griffons, and it all seems noble and lofty when you're a peasant scraping by.

The reality is much different. The Grey Wardens have a single purpose, to battle darkspawn and put an end to Blights when an Archdemon appears. That's it. And they will do it by any means necessary, because they're trying to save Thedas. Save it despite itself sometimes (see political machinations). Everything else is secondary. It's like the general population thinks the Grey Wardens are Lawful Good when they are in fact Chaotic Good.

You say Jory doesn't flee a battle, but he does. The Joining is exactly that. It's a battle between the taint and the person. Which starts at the Joining and lasts through the entire Warden's Life. I'd even argue that it's a battle they only postpone and never actually win, since they go into the Deep Roads when the Calling starts. The Joining is no simple "Russian roulette". Far from it. If that Daveth failed, it's because he lacked the fortitude to wager that inner war with the taint. And Ser Jory was even weaker because he did not even attempt it. He was a coward, because when he joined, he was asked to leave everything behind, and he thought he would go back to the farm ad carry on as if nothing had happened. Ser Jory was a fool and deserved everything he got. He could even fathom what being a Grey Warden might mean, all he wanted was the gilded image. So no, I don't feel for him. In the end, he's one those guys who says "but I'm a good guy", and thinks only good things should happen to him, despite life never being fair, and him not necessarily deserving it.

It's right there in the Grey Warden motto: "In War, Victory. In Peace, Vigilance. In Death, Sacrifice." Perhaps you should spend more time reading the wiki. It seems your view is completely biasedbecause of game mechanics.

welp. I'm stuck I think. Denerim is completely unstable for me. Constantly crashes with graphical glitches every time I try to enter a door (or just randomly). I don't think it's the mods i've installed, because i remember this happening in the past.

The wiki has taken up as much, if not more, of my time as the game itself. It is amazing. I have no knowledge of the books, though.

The Grey Wardens are necessary. They truly understand the threat of the darkspawn, an archdemon, a blight, and what must be done to keep that threat at bay.

Duncan is neither good nor evil. He is necessity. He is preservation.

Recruits can be honorable knights, unlawful cut-purses, blood fuelled sociopaths, and everything in between. So long as you are of use to the Grey Wardens. Necessity. Preservation.

Spoiler:

Ser Jory talks of his concerns, his caution, if anything acting in opposition to toxic masculinity, but he never turns tail to flee from a battle. Not until the joining ritual which is a metaphorical battle more than an actual battle. Everywhere else he remains and steps into the fray once words are of no futher use. Coward for taking about feelings, though.

I propose that it is poor leadership on behalf of Duncan, and to a degree Alistair, that allowed Ser Jory's concerns to fester and his caution to grow. All based from not being given the full picture and acting against his intuition that something wasn't quite right. He desires to control his own destiny. Everyone has that right.

Prior to that in allowing Ser Jory to remain, to continue. Cut him loose if he is showing all the signs of not making the grade. Especially if there is to be next to no constructive support to help shape change. The Wardens don't care. They are an engine of preservation.

Ser Jory may have been able to be talked around. He could have participated in the joining before Daveth.

Why bother with special consideration? Because it is someone's life. Life is precious. And because necessity and preservation may also have benefited if Ser Jory came through the joining.

Put all the cards on the table and there will still be those who step up. Perhaps more. People react best to transparency and honesty. And the archdemon will still need dealt with by someone who can come through the joining. Necessity. Preservation. The secrecy and the license to kill recruits is nothing more than an effort to hoard power and exert control. The secrecy of the whole endeavor becomes more so common knowledge as the story progresses, anyway.

It's an awesome world with characters who stir responses. I may need to locate said books.

FFS. Remeber to save people. Frequently. Also can you respec the mages? Morrigan's default build is terrible.

Edit: Yes. Yes you can.

I forgot to clarify why I refer to the joining as russian roulette.

Dragon Age Wiki wrote:

It is a test of a recruit's physical constitution and spiritual fortitude.

Some believe that if an individual harbors doubts about the ritual, or even about their commitment, the Joining may fail as well, and the recruit will die in the attempt.

Undiagnosed physical ailments. Genetically susceptible to disease. Spiritually closed off. Spiritually naive. There's no way to know for certain. You spin the barrel and take a deep breath.

And it is an unsubstantiated belief that harbouring doubts or concerns may affect the ritual. It is unkown if this is true or untrue.

For the sake of others, you could use spoilers, RnR. It’s the least you could do, ffs.

If I can interrupt the lore arguing (NERDS!), I've actually made some progress in the game now.

Since I've committed to do an entirely vanilla playthrough, and I couldn't bear leaving any locked doors or chest behind, I went with a rogue after all.

A rogue, since I decided a human noble is too bland after all. So I rolled a dalish archer, and I've now gone past Ostagar, picked up Shale, done some sidequests in Denerim, and completed the mage's circle.

(The Revenant fight was entirely doable at level 8 on hard - you just have to find the sweet spot for your ranged attackers - go to far out, and he'll go that horrible move that pulls everyone to the center and knocks them down, and then you're in trouble.)

The Fade really is such a chore after you've done it once and figured out the puzzles. Rampaging in golem form is worth a couple of chuckles, but it's all so proscribed. I'm pretty sure this'll be the last time I play this game without the skip the fade mod.

I think I might do a bunch of sidequests and head to Orzammar next, just so I can get the full crew as quickly as possible.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

(The Revenant fight was entirely doable at level 8 on hard - you just have to find the sweet spot for your ranged attackers - go to far out, and he'll go that horrible move that pulls everyone to the center and knocks them down, and then you're in trouble.)

I’m only at 7 and I can see the next level making a big difference, especially as I’ll get the talent that will let me use Cunning for Strength in calculating damage. Maybe it will be doable then.

Well, used the respec mod last night to sort out Morrigan and now we have a decent crowd control apostate who actually can do a job. My 2 handed Warrior is finally starting to dish out some hurt, although he’s not the most accurate of chaps at times. Hmm. Heading on up the mages tower at the moment, with both Wynne and Morrigan in my part it feels a bit too heavy with mages. On the other hand it’s made some of the fights a lot easier. There are some good spells for removing low level mob enemies, allowing everyone to focus on the ‘boss’ level enemy sooner rather than later. This tactic has been very benifical to my play through now I have those spells and CCs available.

I also get moments where the enemy AI gets a complete hard on for Morrigan and targets her to the exclusion of all else (including when they are being hit by heavily armoured, taunting Alastair with shield and sword) That actually makes life easier as I can lead them a merry dance with Morrigan while everyone else hits without having to worry about getting hit back. I don’t remember the AI doing that quite so much if I’m honest. It’s a bit cheesy but sometimes you don’t seem to get much else of an option.

Well, I've gotten partway through Orzammar (my third major area), but now I have to go into the Deep Roads, and man, I'm not eager to do that again. That's my least favorite part of the game. They just go on too long, with too many fights that are way too similar. I may give it a break for awhile before picking it up again.

Even on Hard, I've really not struggled too much. I was expecting to be brutalized, and that just hasn't happened. I think I twigged on why.... it's because of the amazing gear you get in a modern playthrough. You've got all the DLC ever done, lots of which is in your starting inventory. Your characters are a lot stronger than they should be, in the early game. My rogue has a T7 main weapon and T7 chest armor, and had that from like level 3 or something... it didn't take that long to reach the stat prereqs on those two items. In the main game, I'm mostly seeing T5 drops, although I did get a special set of T7 plate from figuring out the puzzles in one area. Even that, though, is just about comparable with the Blood Dragon Plate, where you start with the chestpiece and can buy the rest from Bodahn for like 8 gold total, easy to do by the time you can field a warrior with 38 strength to wear it.

So, overall, it's been pretty smooth sailing, not at all the wipe-fest I was expecting. I wouldn't call it precisely easy, but it really hasn't felt like a Hard playthrough at all. I'm having less trouble than I did on my first Normal run. All I have to do is get my backstabs lined up and things die very quickly. And that's with stock starting builds (no respec mod this time), and Tactics that aren't complex at all. Alistair's got like five rules, and Morrigan's got maybe four. Wynne has seven or eight, but she's just autoattacking when she's not healing. Oh, and stone-fisting enemies that grab. Yet, everything melts, and I think a lot of this comes from that Tier 7 dagger.

Another thought occurs: the whole idea of tiers for armor and weapons is another WoW-ism. Dragon Age was not subtle about its idea yoinking, was it?

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

If I can interrupt the lore arguing (NERDS!)

***proudly waves her nerd flag***
I’m just jealous because I haven’t had the time to get into the game yet!

I'm debating whether to turn off the extra bonus items or use them to plow through the combat. After D:OS I might be ok with just turning off my brain for a bit and rolling the bads.

imbiginjapan wrote:

I'm debating whether to turn off the extra bonus items or use them to plow through the combat. After D:OS I might be ok with just turning off my brain for a bit and rolling the bads.

Me too. I'm likely to return to PC* with the GoG Ultimate Edition which is coming down with DLC. I was thinking of toggling it all off other than Stone Prisoner.

So, which 4GB patch do I need, and where?

*My wife prefers I play the console version as she enjoys tuning in. Comfy sofa. Big TV. Larger text. I've been nudging her to start her own save. We'd both play the version we prefer. We'd have nerd lore to discuss. Pure awesome.

RnRClown wrote:

So, which 4GB patch do I need, and where?
.

You are basically downloading a new launcher for the game - it's dead easy to install though. The instructions in this video

are actually pretty good and straightforward. and appear to work. (Shout out to Godzilla for posting it first though!)

As for all the DLC I didn't realise that much of it is accessed outside of the main campaign - Liliana's Song and Witch Hunt specifically. Can you play these out of sequence (i.e. first) and then go through the main campaign? I know that timeline wise that's out of sync for Witch Hunt, but to be honest I'm not that worried and if it unlocks ridiculous equipment I can handle that. Part of the reason I'm going through it all again is to experience the DLC I never played first time out.

You can play those out-of-game DLC's in any order, at any time. If you specifically want that reward equipment for the main game, then you may as well do that.

I don't think Witch Hunt rewards any items. And it really should be played as the very last DLC - also after Awakening expansion, if you play that.
Lelianas Song can be played at any time - though thematically it might make most sense when you get to Denerim (I think that is around the time where Lelianas companion quest triggers - and the DLC relates to it). But it rewards probably the best DLC item of them all (a rogue chest piece), so that makes it worth playing it earlier I guess.

If you ever want to take your full savegame to Dragon Age 2, the game must be played in the order of Origins -> Awakening -> Witch Hunt. None of the other DLC really matters there, except Witch Hunt has to be the last one.

I shudder at the thought of following along with those mod guidelines. (My likely failure more than any criticism of the walkthrough.)

Memories of trying and failing to get a working Baldur's Gate Trilogy/Tutu/Widescreen that I was also happy with return to taunt me. I was literally going to dig out an old CRT monitor and a retired PC to play vanilla Baldur's Gate at its finest. Then the Enhanced Editions came along and all was well! Install > Play > Happy

Enough blabbering. Let's see how I do considering I only need the 4GB fix with the GoG version.

RnRClown wrote:

I shudder at the thought of following along with those mod guidelines. (My likely failure more than any criticism).........

It was actually quite straight forward, the hardest parts by far were the 4GB update and getting the console enabled. After you download the mod manager that does all the heaving lifting for you so it was all relatively easy. I certainly didn’t download every Mod in that list either.

Sorbicol wrote:
RnRClown wrote:

So, which 4GB patch do I need, and where?
.

You are basically downloading a new launcher for the game - it's dead easy to install though. The instructions in the video are actually pretty good and straightforward, and appear to work. (Shout out to Godzilla for posting it first though!)

Awesome. Respect to Just Call Me Frosty, our YouTuber, for piecing together such a cracking tutorial!

I believe I was able to follow along.

- I did not require an alternate .exe as I am running the GoG version.
- I installed the memory patch.
- I enabled console commands and upon testing could view text without the angel font.
- I skipped the DLC to Awakening patch?
- Mod Manager & Chargen Compiler were both installed.
- I installed the Qwin Fix Pack (Dialogue Tweaks/ZDF Dialogue Fix/Unobtainable Item Fix).
- Lock Bash installed.
- FTG UI installed.

Stone Prisoner, Warden's Keep, and Return to Ostagar, are the only DLC I toggled on.

It seems a good foundation to stay close to the vanilla experience as it were intended, but with a few tweaks for stability and usability.

Hopefully I didn't make a hash of it and everything continues to interlock.

More Progress, completed the Mage's Tower

Spoiler:

Not quite sure why people get so hissy about the fade section. It drags a little sure, but what with the shapeshifting it's one of the few times in the game that Bioware attempt to do something a little more out of the norm

Off back to Ostagar now to see what's what in the DLC.

Right. Not going to be defeated. Reinstalled, re-modded a few minimal things and restarting from scratch. So one more go before I give up completely.

The Archmodemon shall not defeat thee, Pyxi!

I should jump back on this, perhaps over the weekend. I had similar issues to pyxistyx and others. I can create a character, do the early intro bits, but once my city elf lands in the first 'combat area' (to avoid spoilers for any first time DA:Oers) the game tilts into the ground -- crashes every few minutes and not at the exact spots each time.

Combat itself appears to be the primary trigger in my case; odd considering I didn't mod combat as far as I can tell(?) I haven't been supremely motivated to tear it apart and rebuild given I've sunk dozens of hours into modding Fallout4 and Skyrim SE over the last month already...

I played this through a couple of years ago without any mods. I think I will try the same again when I get started this time.

Well that's the return to Ostagar ticked off, and very underwhelming it was too. Now to sort out the Dalish. My Dwarven Commander has ended up being tolerant and impatient, but willing to lend a hand. Keeping Morrigan onside with gift though. I don't think she likes me very much.

It's impossible to be horrible to Alistair. It's too much like kicking a puppy.

Sorbicol wrote:

It's impossible to be horrible to Alistair. It's too much like kicking a puppy.

IMAGE(http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/38800000/Alistair-Quotes-Dragon-Age-alistair-theirin-38842050-160-180.gif)

ok, restart in progress. Chose the human / cousland origin this time for the first time since probably the very first playthrough on release.

I'd forgotten how much that opening chapter really, REALLY wanted to be Game of Thrones.

Hmmmm. So I’m slowly plodding through the Dalish recruitment area and man, the game is dragging for me a bit now. When I originally played DA:O always said it was a game that didn’t live up to the sum of its parts and that still very much feels the case now. To some extent having replayed it now I’m surprised they went the direction they did for DA:I by the end of tresspassers, but on the other hand the Mage/Templar conflict - while probably easier to develop from a narrative viewpoint - had run its course by the end of DA2 and it was an incredibly dull direction to go in. However before they embellished that lore for DA:I, I have to say I’m finding the Dalish to be insufferably smug and condescending Tolkien woodelves

Spoiler:

I think I might just let the werewolves eat them all instead

I’ve been trying to stick with one mage this play through but given the total lack of crowd control for any other class, I might ditch Liliana and respec Morrigan into a pure destruction build mage instead. Wynne will have to be my healing mage. Not sure where that leaves me with my front row though. My dwarven grey warden can dish out the hurt for sure but he’s not really a tank, and bringing in a duel wielding rogue would be fun but need too much micro-management. I can’t really leave my hero to his own devices too much, and then it just becomes too much micro-management all round. I’d forgotten that about is game and it’s another of it major problems - the classes are just too unbalanced for a real time combat system.

I’m struggling a little I admit. The though of still having to get through Redcliffe, the urn, Denerhim and then Ozammar (plus the finale) hmmmm. I only really committed to this to play the DLC, I’m beginning to wonder if I should just do that and then see.