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Dragon Age: Origins

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So I'm a huge fan of the first Dragon Age game (and a huge not-fan of its sequel, so let's set that aside for a minute).

 

At the time, DA:O represented a really significant and explicit attempt to pay homage to Baldur's Gate and the like, sidelining Bioware's ongoing trend of focusing the protagonist over their party and producing ever more cinematic gameplay. If we're talking about a return to the values and tactical play of the Infinity Engine classics, then it might be worth pondering DA:O's solutions to essentially the same problems, and figuring out what it got right and what it got wrong. Especially since DA:O's successes are often eclipsed by the failings of its sequel, which did a pretty good job of tarnishing the entire franchise in most people's eyes.

 

Maybe I'm alone in this, but the combat and tactical play in DA:O felt really good to me; it still does. Playing as a thief and lining up those satisfying backstabs, with the big numbers showing just how many hitpoints you were chunking away from a bad guy... that was special. So was positioning your mage for a precise cone of cold, freezing every enemy and not one of your own party.

 

And there's some really deep and rewarding characterisation and NPC interaction in this game as well. I mean, I really think it set a standard for making a friend out of a videogame character. This is all stuff I'd love to see in Eternity.

 

What about Dragon Age's failings? No where near enough character/class creation options, for one thing, and ultimately a very limited set of abilities to choose when levelling-up. Overall not enough content, I'd say. Though I liked the large-scale, in-depth quests, the game fell signifcantly short of the (I think perfect) balance of questing achieved by BG2.

 

What do you guys think? Are there lessons to be learnt from DA:O, or should Eternity pretend it never happened?

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DA:O was very good for a modern RPG, but it fell short of the classics. The longer you played, the worse the game became. A weak plot, generic enemies (and waaaay too few of them), very underwhelming inventory, too few abilities and ittle customization. Too few interesting quests (most are generic and boring), limited interactions with non-party members (probably due to voice acting). The game is not all bad and is probably the best modern RPG to date, despite it's flaws. I'd just rather the devs seek inspiration elsewhere.

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DA:O was very good for a modern RPG, but it fell short of the classics. The longer you played, the worse the game became. A weak plot, generic enemies (and waaaay too few of them), very underwhelming inventory, too few abilities and ittle customization. Too few interesting quests (most are generic and boring), limited interactions with non-party members (probably due to voice acting). The game is not all bad and is probably the best modern RPG to date, despite it's flaws. I'd just rather the devs seek inspiration elsewhere.

Don't forget not enough numbers.
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A weak plot, generic enemies (and waaaay too few of them), very underwhelming inventory, too few abilities and ittle customization. Too few interesting quests (most are generic and boring),

 

Completely agree with all these. The bads were too obviously "definitely not orcs"; and every quest that wasn't an engrossing hours-long epic was basically a fetch-quest.

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What about the goods? The positive?

 

Recalling what I felt at release/first time playing:

* Nerdgasm

* Captivating Story

* Great Origin's Concept

* Deep Roads

* Quests

* Controls

* Banters at Camp as well as mid-game (out on the field)

* Circle of Magi

* Tactical controls

* Character creation

 

Now I did it the other way around, I played Dragon Age: Origins before I played Baldur's Gate. This being said..

 

What I do not like, looking back today after playing Baldur's Gate and several other factors (Dragon Age 2 included, although I did enjoy it as far as I played. I only finished Act 1, I've heard that all hell breaks loose after that). As well as influence from friends, forums, reviews etc. etc. the power of hindsight:

* Flashy magic

* Taken into consideration, it was a bit chunky

* Few enemies (only one set)

* Smaller world and shorter story than I expected

* Restricted and limited

* Hack n' Slash

* Lord of the Dragon Age?

* I can buy my companions with gift?

* Like we say in League of Legends: "Easy.."

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It was better than its contemporaries, but there were quite a few serious flaws that kept it from being truly great either in gameplay or in story. Here are the gameplay ones I found most annoying:

 

1) The documentation was absolutely atrocious. The manual provided only vague descriptions of what spells and abilities did (most of which could be guessed from the name) without any quantitative info. Of course, much better descriptions were eventually provided by fans online, but it should not have to be this way.

 

2) The pre-spell/per-ability cooldowns were a disaster. It's a very lazy solution to balancing that takes much of the tactics out of combat. I am so glad Obsidian is not using this.

 

3) The positioning was better than in games where it doesn't matter at all, but nowhere near good enough. For example, a fighter could not protect a mage even if there was a choke point between them and the enemy. They replaced this with aggro management which felt unnatural.

 

4) The encounter design was mostly lousy. There were a few fights where they clearly put in some effort, but a lot of it was just random garbage put in the player's way.

 

The story problem should probably go in a different part of the forum, but the core of it was that the central plotline was as standard as such things get. I was really surprised by this because the origin stories and major side quests were pretty good so I was expecting some kind of twist, but no, it's really that basic.

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...

What I do not like, looking back today after playing Baldur's Gate and several other factors (Dragon Age 2 included, although I did enjoy it as far as I played. I only finished Act 1, I've heard that all hell breaks loose after that).

...

 

For what it's worth, I thought Act 2 of Dragon Age 2 was the best part. Certainly plot-wise, and in terms of interesting things happening with NPCs and their relationships with the main quest. It's Act 3 that really, truly, horrendously lets the game down.

 

I think I agree with most of your lists, though I don't have a problem with flashy magic. If I had magic I would want it to be flashy like a flashy thing.

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The documentation was absolutely atrocious. The manual provided only vague descriptions of what spells and abilities did (most of which could be guessed from the name) without any quantitative info. Of course, much better descriptions were eventually provided by fans online, but it should not have to be this way.

 

 

This. A thousand times this.

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"ultimately a very limited set of abilities to choose when levelling-up."

 

A lot more than any IE game except *maybe* IWD2.

 

The quests and characetrs were better in DA than BG1. Do people even remember BG1? BG2 would be a more fair comparison because BG1 is nowhere near as deep as DA1.

 

 

P.S. I agre the manual/documentation wasnowhere enar as good/fun as BG series. That was some good crap.

 

P.S.S. DA2 is a good game.. with some really dissapointing parts to it. I'd take its characters over BG1's any day of the week. And, it also has the best dwarf ever in a BIO game.

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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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I approve of this topic. :devil:


JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

.
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"ultimately a very limited set of abilities to choose when levelling-up."

 

A lot more than any IE game except *maybe* IWD2.

 

The quests and characetrs were better in DA than BG1. Do people even remember BG1? BG2 would be a more fair comparison because BG1 is nowhere near as deep as DA1.

 

 

P.S. I agre the manual/documentation wasnowhere enar as good/fun as BG series. That was some good crap.

 

P.S.S. DA2 is a good game.. with some really dissapointing parts to it. I'd take its characters over BG1's any day of the week. And, it also has the best dwarf ever in a BIO game.

 

BG1 was better than DA:O, but they excelled in different things. DA:O certainly had better big, extensive plot-quests, but no game has ever given me a sense of freedom, exploration and richness like the original Baldur's Gate.

 

I get what you're saying re: DA2, but I'd invert the formula: DA2 was a fundamentally disappointing game, with some good parts to it. Including Varric.

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I think I agree with most of your lists, though I don't have a problem with flashy magic. If I had magic I would want it to be flashy like a flashy thing.

 

It's... hard to explain... I want magical magic, and ironic for some maybe: I find the IE magic simply magical.

Edited by Osvir

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The longer you played, the worse the game became.

 

Exactly. That's why I never finished it. DA2 looked promising, but the game was completely ruined by bad writing, boring combat and terrible level-design.

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True_Spike quite well summarised my thoughts on DAO

 

Not too bad but could have been a lot better


- Project Eternity, Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera; quality cRPGs are back !

 
 

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DA:O suffered from "MMOization" mostly. I'm talking about the cooldowns, flashy abilities and lack of info on abilities tooltips (until mods were released).

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Azarhal, Chanter and Keeper of Truth of the Obsidian Order of Eternity.


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The big problem I had with DA:O is the same problem I have with a lot of modern RPGs: It is shallow. It had a basic story, limited NPCs and even more limited possible party combinations, too few members allowed to be active at one time, mostly bland magical items and races werent that different from each other. Then there was this:

 

3) The positioning was better than in games where it doesn't matter at all, but nowhere near good enough. For example, a fighter could not protect a mage even if there was a choke point between them and the enemy. They replaced this with aggro management which felt unnatural.

 

It's not that I didn't appreciate all the different backstories, extensively voice acted NPCs or the cinematic experience of the game - it's that those things should be the secondary consideration to the issues mentioned above. They focused on the fluff instead of the substance.

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DA:O suffered from "MMOization" mostly. I'm talking about the cooldowns, flashy abilities and lack of info on abilities tooltips (until mods were released).

DAII stepped even further and suffered from "Final Fantasy-ization" (super flashy abilities, huge weapons, art style) and Alien-ization (They're coming down the roofs. They're coming down the goddamn roofs!)

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What about the goods? The positive?

 

Recalling what I felt at release/first time playing:

* Nerdgasm

* Captivating Story

* Great Origin's Concept

* Deep Roads

* Quests

* Controls

* Banters at Camp as well as mid-game (out on the field)

* Circle of Magi

* Tactical controls

* Character creation

 

Story - the same as every other Bioware game. Ancient Evil from somewhere awakens once again and because nobody is willing to believe it, you save them from the brink of destruction. Also followed the BioWare 4x formula to the T. Nothing captivating about it.

 

Origin Concept - It was interesting, yes.

 

Deep Roads - also known as Derp Roads among online RPG communities. Absolute worst part of the game.

 

Quests - With no moral conflicts. If you couldn't settle on the absolute best WIN-WIN situation, it was only because you didn't know of all the possibilities and/or didn't have the stats to have your way. Other times, it was mostly plain uninteresting and lazy reasons for throwing trash mobs at you.

 

Controls - They couldn't even decide whether they wanted you to use the overview camera or the other, closer one from behind or WASD or point and click. Neither ever worked good all the way on its own without making you need others every now and then.

 

Banters at Camp and mid-game- on about the same level of quality with that of the worst fanfiction out there. Most of it read like juvenile forum discussions.

 

Circle of Magi - Had ups and downs. You could tour the entire map without ever stopping by the circle and they and apparently, they could just keep waiting for you as long as you wanted. Very poor handling of quests and poor handling of the fake urgency of The Blight!!.

 

Tactical controls - Camera was terrible. How far you could pan the camera was restricted for no apparent reason. Oh wait, I remember now, it was because there is no Fog of War so if you could pan the camera all over, you could see the hostiles everywhere. And what a disappointing change that would be from the final product. LOL. Camera teleporting your characters to predefined spots and including your party NPCs without ever asking you. How tactical. It is particularly bad because sometimes you could see a combat situation from up ahead but you couldn't place characters tactically because they always got teleported. Not what I would call tactical at all. Automated actions that left your character blankly staring while being killed.

 

Character Creation - If you had said "Origin vignettes", I would agree. But Character Creation? One of the most basic and featureless I've seen in an RPG. In line with BioWare's other recent titles.

 

So I'd rather PE be as far away from DA as possible in any way possible.

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the good:

- The general setting looked pretty good to me, the world had a history spanning centuries and parts of it were actually used to justify things in the timeframe of the game. For example, the backstory gave Logain an actual reason for his actions at the beginning instead of just "omg I wanna be king".

- It was the first game with spell combos I played and I still like the general idea

- Having a campsite instead of pressing the infamous rest button anywhere was a nice touch

 

the bad:

- Horrific railroading or fake choices: As an example, there's a point in the game were thugs are busy with some wounded noble and you get the options "jump in" and "wait for them to leave". It's a purely cosmetic choice, you'll still wait until the guy is dead and then fight the thugs.

- This followed up by a minute long rant of the dying guy telling you what to do. When he's finally finished he'll die instantly. Healing him is not an option.

- Everyone is some sort of oracle. Random guys everywhere know you're a warden as if it were printed on your head... and the other way around, the player character knows every detail of what happened during the battle at the beginning.

- Those fancy spell combos are only used for damage. Every single one.

- Cutscenes of doom: You know using that tombstone will spawn some big bad undead. Your party has done this twice before. So you tell morrigan to shapreshift, get everyone in a good position, click that tombstone... and watch how your party undoes your preparation to cluster right in front of the stone. Morrigan will even switch back to human form (you still get the cooldown) to hasten her impending doom.

- The main plot felt rather silly, especially when not playing a noble. Why would anyone follow my random gutter elf into battle? Might have to do with everyone being an oracle though.

- Townsfolk in taverns won't even stop eating when you splatter the whole room with gore by using virulent bomb right next to them. It's not like they should be dead or anything.

- Spell descriptions are very vague ingame. It will tell you the spell deals frost damage, but not how much. Game mechanics in general are pretty much unexplained, now that I think of it.

 

the ugly:

- Those 30kg greatswords. They even had attack animations as if you were using some oversized sledge hammer.

- The list style inventory. Bonus points for it being a very long list towards the end.

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Tactical controls - Camera was terrible. How far you could pan the camera was restricted for no apparent reason. Oh wait, I remember now, it was because there is no Fog of War so if you could pan the camera all over, you could see the hostiles everywhere. And what a disappointing change that would be from the final product. LOL

 

Camera in DA:O wasn't perfect, but it was definitely better than in NWN2.

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Origin Concept - It was interesting, yes.

Kinda short changing things, don't you think? Those Origin stories weren't just concepts. They were a game changer. Authentic innovation that, to this day, has never been duplicated and never gets the full credit it deserves.

 

 

They were one thing that DA:O did so totally right. Something that none of the old school games even came close with. Origin stories depending on your character's race and class? Wow.

 

The old school games didn't even HAVE different prologues dependent on the type of character you made. At the very very Most, you got some games that slightly altered their beginnings to reflect either your class or your alignment, but it was so meaningless and cosmetic as to have no relevance whatsoever to the rest of the game. For example: Temple of Elemental Evil's opening vignettes.

 

So Lets compare DA:O's Origins, with TOEE's Origins. Oh wait. There is no comparison. TOEE's "vignettes", lasted approx 1 minute and contained about 3 lines of content. (literally. The Chaotic Good Opener for TOEE starts you off in a small tunnel that leads to a chest. You open the chest and a Note says: Go to hommlet to find treasure. Then boom, you're teleported to the beginning of the game's adventure lol) By huge contrast, DA:O's Origins were actually major background stories, with about a half hour's worth of content, combat, and introduction/ties to NPCs that influenced the rest of the game, etc.

 

DA:O completely hit it out of the park with that feature alone.

Edited by Stun
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Tactical controls - Camera was terrible. How far you could pan the camera was restricted for no apparent reason. Oh wait, I remember now, it was because there is no Fog of War so if you could pan the camera all over, you could see the hostiles everywhere. And what a disappointing change that would be from the final product. LOL. Camera teleporting your characters to predefined spots and including your party NPCs without ever asking you. How tactical. It is particularly bad because sometimes you could see a combat situation from up ahead but you couldn't place characters tactically because they always got teleported. Not what I would call tactical at all. Automated actions that left your character blankly staring while being killed.

- Cutscenes of doom: You know using that tombstone will spawn some big bad undead. Your party has done this twice before. So you tell morrigan to shapreshift, get everyone in a good position, click that tombstone... and watch how your party undoes your preparation to cluster right in front of the stone. Morrigan will even switch back to human form (you still get the cooldown) to hasten her impending doom.

 

This was driven home especially for me the first time I encountered whatshisface, twithead, Zevran that's it: the moment the woman came running up to me shouting for help the very first thing that crossed my mind was "IT'S A TRAP!" Hung back and watched her run off to the bunch of guys just stood there hanging around the caravan, obviously not in danger, then looked around and immediately saw a trap planted on the ground. Went to try and disarm it and the others before heading into the obvious trap and what happens? CUTSCENE!!!! Forced to watch as my character bimbles up to the assassins instead...


"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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Character Creation - If you had said "Origin vignettes", I would agree. But Character Creation? One of the most basic and featureless I've seen in an RPG. In line with BioWare's other recent titles.

 

I like putting things in comparison/perspective.

 

The old school games didn't even HAVE different prologues dependent on the type of character you made. At the very very Most, you got some games that slightly altered their beginnings to reflect either your class or your alignment, but it was so suble as to have no relevance whatsoever to the rest of the game. For example: Temple of Elementa Evil's opening vignettes.

 

So Lets compare DA:O's Origins, with TOEE's Origins. Oh wait. There is no comparison. TOEE's "vignettes", lasted approx 2 minutes and contained about 3 lines of content. DA:O's were actually background stories, with about a half hour's worth of content, combat, and introduction/ties to NPCs that influenced the rest of the game.

 

DA:O completely hit it out of the park with that feature alone.

And the moment Ostagar hits the Origins mean absolutely ****-all. They were entertaining and better than the main plotline, such a shame they had to end and the Warden crap had to barge in... Character creation, DAO has a very simple system, therefore the actual character creation and defining who your character was is very limited. Playing a human warrior? You get a choice of two-hander, dual wielding and shield skill trees and that's it...

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"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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Not a fan of either Dragon Age games. I played them, but it started feeling like a chore after a while. And there's this

 

 

 

Quite possibly the most ham-fisted moment in video games, ever. I'm old enough to think this reference is funny. You decide.

 

 

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Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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