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

RnRClown wrote:

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.

Wasting no time at all shifting from Divinity to this, nice! I've got to catch up to you.

And verily, did the Grey Warder face the Archdemon in final battle, and despite the number of friendly fireballs he received in the face from his erstwhile Mage allies (Man did I forget that mechanic) the Dragon lay dead at his feet

Spoiler:

having spared his life by knocking up Morrigan the night before

I'm done. Hurrah. I forgot how quickly it moves on once you get to the Landsmeet. I also went through Witch Hunt which had some very odd decisions in it (Like rendering my two hand weapon warrior completely ineffective for 4/5ths of the DLC thanks to removing my 2 handed weapon and not giving me another one until right at the end) but does provide some context for Inquisition, and makes you wonder if that was their end game all along.

I'll post my full thoughts on the game later tomorrow I think. I have such an odd relationship with it to be honest. I've also got a few DLCs still to look at but we'll think about those before I start. I'm not playing awakenings.

Nicely played, Sorbicol!

Hmm, well, I'm at the Landsmeet, and I don't think I can get the outcome I want. I had a specific goal in mind, but I "hardened" Alistair, and he will not, apparently, allow my chosen ending. So I'm kinda stuck... do I go way back and not harden him, and then replay for all those hours? Or do I just suck it up and continue on a path I've seen before? Sigh.

It's a good game, but it's interesting watching it again through the community's eyes, as well; its flaws are becoming steadily more pressing, particularly after The Witcher 3. TW3 is no real great shakes for gameplay, but the world building and plotline are so amazing that everything else kind of sucks in comparison. DA:O was great for the intricacy of its plotline and the number of outcomes you could have, but even with all that complexity, it's much less satisfying than Geralt's simpler story. (at least in terms of state and player choice.)

I do still enjoy the combat system, though. My particular solution for enemy mages is not the one that you all seem to be using:

Spoiler:

I like the anti-magic rune: it doesn't hurt the enemy caster, but there's no more magic coming out of them while they stand on it, and many of them will stay there and plink away.

That's not as useful for multiple mages, but between my solution, the paralysis rune, and a rogue that does crazy amounts of damage, I haven't had too much trouble. It's just a matter of locking them down until Mr. Stabby gets there.

Hmm, but what do I do about the ending? Hmmm.

Well, just what ending were you aiming for anyway? Put it in spoiler and we can tell you what you’ve missed.

Malor wrote:

Hmm, well, I'm at the Landsmeet, and I don't think I can get the outcome I want. I had a specific goal in mind, but I "hardened" Alistair, and he will not, apparently, allow my chosen ending. So I'm kinda stuck... do I go way back and not harden him, and then replay for all those hours? Or do I just suck it up and continue on a path I've seen before? Sigh.

It's a good game, but it's interesting watching it again through the community's eyes, as well; its flaws are becoming steadily more pressing, particularly after The Witcher 3. TW3 is no real great shakes for gameplay, but the world building and plotline are so amazing that everything else kind of sucks in comparison. DA:O was great for the intricacy of its plotline and the number of outcomes you could have, but even with all that complexity, it's much less satisfying than Geralt's simpler story. (at least in terms of state and player choice.)

I do still enjoy the combat system, though. My particular solution for enemy mages is not the one that you all seem to be using:

Spoiler:

I like the anti-magic rune: it doesn't hurt the enemy caster, but there's no more magic coming out of them while they stand on it, and many of them will stay there and plink away.

That's not as useful for multiple mages, but between my solution, the paralysis rune, and a rogue that does crazy amounts of damage, I haven't had too much trouble. It's just a matter of locking them down until Mr. Stabby gets there.

Hmm, but what do I do about the ending? Hmmm.

Dragon Age: Origins is probably the one game I've ever played where it just isn't as good as it feels it should be. I know I've said that before, but it's true in a way that I've never felt for any other game I've played.

In the end it's got far too many component pieces and some of them are more complete than others. I think the best origin I've played is the Human Noble, which folds in nicely to the overall plot, doesn't mean the game has to perform terrible shoehorning at various stages, and has a satisfying encounter towards the end of the game when you destroy the person who betrays your family and makes you a Grey Warden. In my Dwarven Noble playthrough I've just done it handles your return to Ozammar very badly - especially if you decide to support your brother who betrays you right at the start and murders your brother and your father - not to mention the fact it doesn't make any sense to leave all the questions in about Dwarven Culture and History that really should have been part of the opening origin story.

You feel that when they first started developing the game, they had the idea of making the Elves disenfranchised first, sort of got on with the Game of Throne style political intrigue for the Human and Dwarven nations, added the dwarven caste system and then....... ran out of ideas or time, made Thedas Middle Earth and remembered they'd forgotten the Orcs so added the Darkspawn.

None of that makes Dragon Age a bad game for sure - and it really isn't. But I think in the end I feel like they let it get away from them, tried to do far too much and so it just all falls a little flat. I think having replayed it now, and having played through Dragon Age: Inquistion twice that game much better matches their original vision and allowed them to get rid of the Darkspawn (more or less) and focus in on what was more interesting.

Unfortunately, I haven't even touched the game in the last three weeks. I made the mistake of checking out my son's copy of Spider-Man, and what gaming time I've had has gone to that (and a little At the Gates this past week). Almost finished with it, and I'm still hoping to dig back in to DA:O, but with the Civ expansion in a couple weeks, this may end up an abandoned run.

Come to think of it, much as I did love my first playthrough of it, I've yet to start and finish a subsequent run.

still chipping away at it, but i've slowed to a crawl because i've got my homework head on again now.

Just finished the battle at redcliffe...to my utter surprise, i didn't lose whatshisface-moustachio out in front of the chantry for once. In fact, nobody died! (I put this down to leaving Redcliffe until later and being significantly over-powered for the encounter :D)

I may have settled into a groove with Neena (City Elf - DW Warrior) after running simultaneously alongside Tyr (Dwarf Noble - 2H Warrior).

I prefer the speed and athleticism of her dual-weapon style, and her improved dexterity also helps when a ranged weapon is swapped in.

I so too find her to have a more interesting headspace going forward, which helps with the role-playing aspect. It's too dull without it.

Spoiler:

I visualize Neena having her share of pent up aggression, which the darkspawn provide an outlet for, amongst other loathsome types. Teetering on the edge of ruthless hate towards humans. Finding hope in Alistair, Morrigan, Lellina. Holding to the thought that her path to helping her people lays directly through the darkspawn, alongside the Wardens, or what is left of them.

She regarded Duncan with both disgust and respect. Standing on the sidelines, because politics, whilst she fought for her and her comrades lives, and rights. Pulsed by what he could get from her if she should succeed. Then, the actual words "...for the greater good..." passing his lips with regard to murder in the name of his cause. So. Serve or else. The truth of misleading and withheld intentions to be swallowed once consent is given. Ugh! His prowess as a warrior and dedication to his cause do command respect. If not his methods. He gets the job done to preserve the future. And he looks out for his own.

Duncan got what he wanted. A lethal warrior. Neena got what she needed. An escape from the alienage that promised hope to return with immunity and power to seek change.

It is interesting how the separate Origins and different role-play ideals can colour Duncan more positively, or a whole lot less so. As a Dwarf Noble with a strict (yet also lacking in common sense) code for honour and loyalty, I saw Duncan in quite an admirable light. Cool!

Worth noting if you want to play some of the DLCs that register as separate campaigns - Witch Hunt and the one about the Golems:

The game regards DLC weapons as add-ons, and will remove them from your character if you play Witch Hunt or Golems and import them. That might not sound bad, but either DLC give you options to buy weapons. Yes, you read that right. So if you were, say, equipped with the 2H greatsword Starfang from the Soldiers peak DLC and had been for pretty much the entire game (because you can get it really early and it's the strongest weapon by some distance) it's make you start Witch Hunt and Golems without it - and as far as I could tell, none of the enemies killed randomly dropped any more, all they dropped were consumables.

Remember that. Golems is so hard I can't get past the opening fight without a weapon. I've now gone on to play something else and uninstall DA:O before I make the bizarre decision to play it again for some unknown reason. What the hell is it about this game?

So, I've gathered my four allied armies and called a landsmeet. My merry band is no longer roughing it in the wilds. My warden is now an arcane warrior decked out in the legion of dead armor. My typical group is the warden Neria - dps & crowd control, Alistair - tank, Ohgren - dps, off tank, and Wynne healer. I pass up all the chests the first time through and then go back to grab most of what I missed with Lelianna providing the lock picking skills. Seems to be working so far.

Only downside is Denerim is kinda crashy.

Up and running with a Dalish Elf character. Fortunately I survived the joining ritual, I suppose it would have been a short game otherwise. Now I have to fight an ogre and light a beacon.

ok...made some more progress today. I'm going to clear up the rest of the DLC, deal with the Ashes of Andraste stuff and then I should be ready for the Deep Roads, finally.

I'm currently in the Mage Tower. Wynne is an awesome addition. She's likable and has great utility.

Some of the chatter between party members has been great. I particularly liked Morrigan...

Spoiler:

...sticking it to Alistair that as the senior warden he should be leading. It's true. He trembled at the responsibility and left it to Neena (my protagonist) who probably wouldn't have taken to following the whims of a human for too long anyway.

I like Alistair, but he can test ones patience with his childlike behaviour. He also appears so impressionable that I wonder what opinions are his own. He was first easily indoctrinated by the templars, and then by Duncan, on behalf of the wardens.

Morrigan is strong willed and independent. She answers honestly and does not suffer fools. Lelliana believes she is answering a calling and cares a great deal for those who are suffering. Alistair is the resident comedian who longs to be led.

It'll be interesting to see how everyone progresses and grows.

"We now have a dog and Alistair is still the dumbest one in the party"

I'm really hoping I can catch up to this and start by late February. I think I've got 20-30 hours left of Divinity first. I'm really enjoying that game, but am also really looking forward to starting this one, before there is no one left and we're on to the next game.

Don't worry, I'm moving at a glacial pace with this as well.

beanman101283 wrote:

Don't worry, I'm moving at a glacial pace with this as well. :P

Excellent! Glad to hear I'll have company!

Oof. Never mind The Deep Roads, I'd forgotten how much of a slog it was to get through the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest as well. I'm not sure I realised just how much of this game is long (albeit pretty) corridors and endless rounds of filler combat.

I'm a fan. I like my share of nuts and bolts so to sparse out theorizing and shooting the breeze.

Let us see if I still feel the same after corridor ad infinitum.

Taking my time too, although at least I have started. Just arrived in Redcliffe, decided to “start” there. Morrigan disapproves of how I greeted the locals. Actually she disapproves of a lot of things. Too bad, I’m supposed to be the hero - I’ll rescue orphans or clear out dangerous bear infestations if I feel like it.

I’m still in the Fade. In the Mage Origin.

Ok, Arl of Redcliffe is restored, the on-map DLC has been taken care of and Denerim appears to be behaving itself this time around. Guess that means it's on to the Deep Roads then...

And the arch demon has been defeated. Ended up changing my mind at the final minute as to the outcome. The battle wasn't as bad as I remember, however I had upgraded the Dalish to maximum and had crafted a couple hundred greater health potions so healing up wasn't a major issue.

Very happy to have played this one again. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Okay, now I can start the crawl tournament with a clean slate.

Grats on finishing, Clumber!

Making good progress now. Finished with the Deep Roads, just got a couple of quests to hand in and then it's off to Denerim one last time.

Actually didn't take as long as i remember going through the Deep Roads. Though that might be because i wasn't particularly caring about going down every single tunnel looking for things of interest, i just kinda mainlined the main route through. The ending to that area is still as icky and creepy as I remember it though

Couldn’t complete Redcliffe without being evil or visiting the Mage Circle. So it’s off to the Circle, where once again Morrigan disapproves. Yes we are going to save every orphan / mage / farmer / cat stuck up a tree if I decide to because A) we need everyone to fight the darkspawn and B) once we have saved the world we would like some orphans and farmers and cats left to live in it.

Redherring wrote:

Couldn’t complete Redcliffe without being evil or visiting the Mage Circle. So it’s off to the Circle, where once again Morrigan disapproves. Yes we are going to save every orphan / mage / farmer / cat stuck up a tree if I decide to because A) we need everyone to fight the darkspawn and B) once we have saved the world we would like some orphans and farmers and cats left to live in it.

Just give her Flemeth’s Grimorie. She goes all weak at the knees for it. Or that mirror.

I’ve got both (I think) but I’m tempted to just keep going along this path and see what happens

Almost there now! I just left it at the point where you pick your final team before confronting the Archdemon.

Fun fact: I'd installed a mod that removed the race/gender restrictions on romances in the game and had forgotten about Morrigan's little "escape clause" near the end of the game. Turns out that works for any gender now too! So...not only does my Warden avoid you-know-what, but this means I am calling her canonically Trans in my particular version of the Dragon Age universe.

Anyhoo...hopefully wrap up the main game tomorrow night. I'm not going to bother with the side-story DLC but I might go ahead with Awakenings and the Morrigan DLC , since I barely remember the former and I never played the latter at all.