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

pyxistyx wrote:

1/4 main areas done. Cleared the Mage Tower of demons and navigated the Fade yesterday, I think I'll head to the forest next (after a brief detour back at Ostagar) just to change up the pace a bit.

This is pretty much what I’ve done/did. You can also get the best weapon in the game if you clear out Soldiers peak.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:
beanman101283 wrote:

The next book is better read between Origins and its Awakening expansion, anyway.

The biggest strength of the book is giving more insight into Loghain’s character. You can kind of see how he went from the person in the book to the villain in the game. The game would have benefitted from giving that context.

Oh, not having gotten far at all into the game I had no idea he shifted to a villain in the game, or is even in the game. I actually got somewhat skeptical of the character arcs for Loghain, Rowan, and Maric in the back third of the book. It seemed like they shifted on cue from being "good" to being significantly heartless, calculating, and driven. Maybe the author was trying to portray them as molded by the times and duty, but I felt like the book lost something as they shifted, that the shift wasn't entirely believable, and that they lost much of their appeal as main characters.

Whoops, figured you had made it past Ostagar by now. Sorry for assuming!

As far as the character arcs went, it seemed like the story was focused on showing how these various characters were hardened as individuals. Perhaps it was going for a George Martin-style subversion of fantasy adventure novel tropes? I felt the same as you with regards to the seeming abruptness of the ending, but re-reading it now, it was clear the arc of the story was about the characters. The resolution of the rebellion was a foregone conclusion by the end, and, you could argue, not that interesting overall.

Origins has several moments where interactions with your companions can "harden" them, emotionally. This affects how they react to your choices and who's left standing at the end of the game.

End game spoiler for the post-Landsmeet portion of the game:

Spoiler:

My first playthrough, I recruited Loghain, and Alistair became a sad drunk. He then had a pathetic cameo in my first Dragon Age II playthrough. My second and third playthroughs, Loghain was killed. I'm thinking about recruiting Loghain again this time around, since I don't remember it very well, and it has some fun implications in Dragon Age: Inquisition.

pyxistyx wrote:

1/4 main areas done. Cleared the Mage Tower of demons and navigated the Fade yesterday, I think I'll head to the forest next (after a brief detour back at Ostagar) just to change up the pace a bit.

Same here. Have to decide where to go next. I'm thinking of Denerim to pick up a few side quests, then off to the Brecilian Forest. My elf, who joked with her cousin about running away to join the Dalish, would be curious to learn more about them.

Well, the Arl is cured and I’ve reached Orzammar, where I am not welcome but though my return would be having a lot more impact than it has so far, being the supposedly dead exiled Prince. Still I wo my really just got in the gate, so it could just be I need to speak more to the right people.

Weekend update: I couldn’t face the Deep roads, so I went off and started Liliana’s Song instead. It’s....... fine. Just an extended adventure really, nothing earth shattering. I have to say it makes Liliana’s position in Dragon Age Inquisition somewhat, well, it’s a jarring character arch. That’s all I say.

I on the other hand have faced the deep roads, and vanquished them. Orzammar now has a new king. (I went for Harrowmont, since my Dalish warden tries to be upstanding and honest, and Harrowmont is that - or at least presents as that, and too naive about Orzammar politics to try and make a more calculated move.)

They pretty damn long, those deep roads. Which feels thematically appropriate, but it could have used some kind of involved setpiece to break up the pace.

I finished. Enjoyed the game. Last fight was long. Total time invested was 38 hours.

tundra wrote:

I finished. Enjoyed the game. Last fight was long. Total time invested was 38 hours.

Was that a speed run?!

Just about done with the forest, from what I remember (at the end of the underground ruin)...seems a lot shorter than I remember it being.

tundra wrote:

I finished. Enjoyed the game. Last fight was long. Total time invested was 38 hours.

Woot! Nice work! Wow, that's probably a third of the time it'll take me.

Sorbicol wrote:
tundra wrote:

I finished. Enjoyed the game. Last fight was long. Total time invested was 38 hours.

Was that a speed run?!

Didn't have any of the DLC in play. Toward the end, I didn't pick up every single piece of loot because I was killing everything so quickly with what I had, that it didn't seem necessary. Limited involvement with the companion quests as well.

tundra wrote:

I finished. Enjoyed the game. Last fight was long. Total time invested was 38 hours.

I think I have put in close to this time between separate saves. Getting no further than the Tower of Ishal, or Lothering.

Still trying to hammer and tong an enjoyable and engaging path through. Running out of ideas. Also eliminating unsuitable ones.

I'm back on console at present. Trying to piece together a trio of automated companions who are not a hindrance. With a view to play as a two-handed or a dual-wield warrior protagonist. Pure. Simple. DPS. Select foe(s). Move to. Smash! (I tried as a DPS Mage. It's fun, but pausing to ensure targeting was too stop start, and too finicky.)

I'm thinking to be complimented by tank Alistair, ranger Lelliana, and support healer Wynne.

No squishy melee rogue needing repositioned. No having to micromanage a damage dealing mage or suffer the AI dishing out friendly fire. No. Rather. Alistair holding threat and hanging tough, poultices at the ready. (I will craft as many as possible via herbalism between battles. Topping up flasks and ingredients at every merchant.) Lelliana with her group buff and rapid aim auto-attacking the target of the main character. (She'll also handle locks and traps.) Wynne topping up the health of the main character whilst debilitating hostiles attacking either the main character, or Alistair, depending on how well he is hanging tough in relation to how well Lelliana and I are dispatching foes.

The odd micromanagement for Lelliana and Wynne with regard to shattering shot or slaying arrow, or dispel magic or crushing prison, sounds just about right.

I'm not finding the time to play on PC. Not in relation to where the desktop is located and when my wife sleeps. We have opposing working and sleeping patterns at this time.

This roll of the dice is it. I know it.

Finished Redcliffe. It's probably my favourite segment of the game, simply because there's so many degrees of failure and success in the goals you have.

I'm (sorta) in.

Started on this last night then needed an extended pause to get Nexus working in order to get the "Large font/UI" mod installed.

Decided to go Dwarf Commoner this time which ruled out being a mage. This is fine since I'm also playing DA:I on console and decided to compare warrior 2H swingy playstyle between the two games.

Tone & completeness of the writing in Origins stands in such contrast to the newer game.

I still haven't finished the origin segment yet. Errr... we'll see how long this lasts.

Had to replay Leliana’s Song thanks to some misunderstanding of what it actually is. Annoying. Back to the deep roads tomorrow probably

Okay, so my journey has begun, Neria, a dalish mage - made it to camp after Lothering.

Update. I have started the Deep Roads having gained a new companion. I should really go back and respec then as now I have two 2-handed weapon dudes, and one golem in my party. With the benefit of hindsight, this would have been sensible.

Fairly sure I’ll see the game through to the end but not sure how much I’m ‘enjoying’ it right now. It scratches an itch for sure, but that’s about all. It does feel like it’s aged fairly well though, but people still thinking it’s some kind of Masterpiece really need to go and play Pillars and Divinity:Original Sin. It can’t hold a candle to either.

I certainly prefer it over Original Sin 1, but OS 2 is in another league. Then I have a special love for Pillars, making me able to ignore any flaws that one might have.

DA:Os strength really is handling the net of choices and outcomes imo, in particular at the “meeting” and the ending. As well as BioWares trademark companion characters. It is also an interesting world, but DA:O imo isn’t particularly good at presenting the world, often going for some easy dark grim storytelling instead. That is one (probably the only) thing DA3 does better I think.

Shadout wrote:

I certainly prefer it over Original Sin 1, but OS 2 is in another league. Then I have a special love for Pillars, making me able to ignore any flaws that one might have.

DA:Os strength really is handling the net of choices and outcomes imo, in particular at the “meeting” and the ending. As well as BioWares trademark companion characters. It is also an interesting world, but DA:O imo isn’t particularly good at presenting the world, often going for some easy dark grim storytelling instead. That is one (probably the only) thing DA3 does better I think.

The thing I most liked about Inquisition was their willingness to tear down massive amounts of the lore they build throughout Origins (and DA2 to a lesser extent) and say ‘nope, actually what was happening was something completely different’. They also do this using the main antagonist almost as a decoy to the real threat. Trespassers is probably one of the best DLCs I’ve ever played I think - not so much because of what is was doing mechanically, but how much it changes the world of Thedas and how much it realigns so much of the Lore.

DA:O is probably the last great attempt by any major studio to build something completely new from scratch. While I admire that, and they really did produce a great game I still feel like they took on too much and so it’s not a game that as good as it should have been. Probably makes me a little too harsh on it to be honest.

Finished with the Bracilian Forest. Not sure exactly what to tackle next but i'll probably pick up Shale (even though I never use Shale), deal with the Watchers Keep DLC and then probably get redcliffe done and out of the way.

Sorbicol wrote:
Shadout wrote:

I certainly prefer it over Original Sin 1, but OS 2 is in another league. Then I have a special love for Pillars, making me able to ignore any flaws that one might have.

DA:Os strength really is handling the net of choices and outcomes imo, in particular at the “meeting” and the ending. As well as BioWares trademark companion characters. It is also an interesting world, but DA:O imo isn’t particularly good at presenting the world, often going for some easy dark grim storytelling instead. That is one (probably the only) thing DA3 does better I think.

The thing I most liked about Inquisition was their willingness to tear down massive amounts of the lore they build throughout Origins (and DA2 to a lesser extent) and say ‘nope, actually what was happening was something completely different’. They also do this using the main antagonist almost as a decoy to the real threat. Trespassers is probably one of the best DLCs I’ve ever played I think - not so much because of what is was doing mechanically, but how much it changes the world of Thedas and how much it realigns so much of the Lore.

DA:O is probably the last great attempt by any major studio to build something completely new from scratch. While I admire that, and they really did produce a great game I still feel like they took on too much and so it’s not a game that as good as it should have been. Probably makes me a little too harsh on it to be honest.

To a degree, this reminds me of the ME1 vs ME2 debates. I, too, suspect it was a concerted effort to just lift DA:O off of the ground; it's not surprising that the later games would fly better(?) Passage of time and the rising tide of improvements. But yes, certain aspects of DA:O haven't aged entirely well. This is not expressly limited to the mechanics of 'this or that' piece either.

A given individuals ice cream preferences and happy hot button likes\dislikes aside, I think the in-general writing has gotten much more.. even(?) across D:OS 1 --> 2, Pillars 1--> 2 and certainly across Witcher 1 --> 3.

I haven't sunk near as much time into either DA:2 or Inquisition, but generally feel the upswing applies to Inquisition as well. The moment to moment stuff is, unsurprisingly, not always on par with the important bits in the newer games but, good gracious, so many of the little moments and world building in DA:O is just offensive to the brain.

Well I don't remember half the walking through old Dwarven fortresses when completing the Deep Roads this evening. Is this part of the fix mods I've installed? Or is my memory completely shot? It seems to make the roads both shorter (although they weren't I don't think) and more memorable as well. Maybe it's me, been a long time since I played it through to be honest.

I may be an outlier, but I enjoyed the Deep Roads and didn't really mind the Fade.

gewy wrote:

I may be an outlier, but I enjoyed the Deep Roads and didn't really mind the Fade.

Oh don't know if I never "minded" them as such, but the deep roads do drag on a bit.

I'm now in the final quarter of the game in Denerim. My memory of what happens appears to be quite rubbish as a few things have occurred I have no recollection of. I'm actually quite enjoying it to be honest.

However I do have one universal comment about RPGs in general..... For the love of god can someone - anyone! - come up with a proper decent inventory management system. Bioware clearly knew how important a universal storage box would be in the game because they locked it behind some DLC.

Sorbicol wrote:
gewy wrote:

I may be an outlier, but I enjoyed the Deep Roads and didn't really mind the Fade.

Oh don't know if I never "minded" them as such, but the deep roads do drag on a bit.

That's where I'm at as well. I don't hate them, but they're a bit too long. Or at least too monotonous.

In other news the arch demon lies dead, and

Spoiler:

Alistair is hitched to Anora, Morrigan has a bouncing baby on the way, and the game is slightly confused about whether I'm into Lelianna or Zevran. All I did was tell Zevran I didn't mind if he *looked* at me like that.

What? I'm sexy and I know it.

Meanwhile, Lelianna had maxed out approval, and there'd been smooching, but no sexy times - just as well, since it this is in the teething stages of Bioware's boning tech, and watching those cutscenes is mostly uncomfortable - and her personal quest never fired.

We'll see if I continue into Awakenings. My main takeaway is that I've mostly played this to the ground by now, and don't need to come back for at least five years. On the other hand, I've played Awakenings less, and as I recall my archer goes from seriously the most boring class to kind of ludicrous. I'm at the very least on a break for some time.

My other takaway is that this game highlights the problem with Bioware's modular design from the time. You can basically rip out any of them from without any impact on the plot. They're this self-contained little short stories that are there to tell you about the world. Which isn't a problem per se, but without any major hooks into the main plot, you're very much at the mercy of polish and pacing of each viginette to carry you through, and tackling the circle (the faaaaaaaaaaaade) and Orzammar/The Deep Roads (Dwarwen politics are actually fairly interesting, but the pacing drags, and it's basically hours of various shades of orange and brown) straight after Lothering was clearly a mistake.

A new thing I learned this playthrough: Mana Clash works on shades! As if you needed another reasone to beeline straight to it with your mages.

Seriously, if this is your first playthrough: Mana Clash. Mana Clash. Mana Clash. Enemy mages go from terror to curbstomped.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

Seriously, if this is your first playthrough: Mana Clash. Mana Clash. Mana Clash. Enemy mages go from terror to curbstomped.

This is my 3rd full play through. I had no idea either, it made some fights laughably easier.

i remember virtually nothing from either the deep roads or Denerim (aside from the conclusion of both parts) so it should be interesting to get back there again. First though, i need to slog my way through redcliffe...again...)

My Arcane warrior is coming along nicely. Level 8 now, sword and board.

I went Mage Tower as my first stop (before even Redcliffe) and am currently making my way through the fade.
Killed my first Revenant, was pretty difficult but doable.

Mana clash works on demons too. Talk about nearly being OP..........

I've two warriors rolled and waiting to go forth into the wilds. Neena, a City Elf. Dual-Wield! And, Tyr, a Dwarf Noble. Two-Handed!

Both origins held worth and stirred an intriguing headspace to move forward with.