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stkaye

Dragon Age: Origins

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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...

Well, unless you were a dwarf Noble, then just about every single NPC in Orzammar, including the main plot givers, changed their dialogues to reflect the fact that this is a homecoming. Oh, and unless you were a Human Noble, in which case, the entire Storming of the Royal Palace changed to reflect the fact that you were getting revenge. Or unless you were a Circle mage, then all the dialogue with Irving, Uldred, Gregoir, Cullen, Wynne etc. drastically changed to refect that homecoming, as well.

 

Nope, you can't, in the spirit of honest debate, short-change this. DA:O has a billion flaws, but this isn't one of them.

Edited by Stun
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Lessons should always be learnt. From the good we learn what factors contribute to a success and work on improvements. From the bad we learn of what to avoid, to ensure the final product sells like hot cakes :)

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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.

 

I must have been really unlucky, I picked the human noble origin and it was short, lots of hand-holding, that didn't add much to the game for me. I think the concept is great, but the execution wasn't.

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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...

Well, unless you were a dwarf Noble, then just about every single NPC in Orzammar, including the main plot givers, changed their dialogues to reflect the fact that this is a homecoming. Oh, and unless you were a Human Noble, in which case, the entire Storming of the Royal Palace changed to reflect the fact that you were getting revenge. Or unless you were a Circle mage, then all the dialogue with Irving, Uldred, Gregoir, Cullen, Wynne etc. drastically changed to refect that homecoming, as well.

 

Nope, you can't, in the spirit of honest debate, short-change this. DA:O has a billion flaws, but this isn't one of them.

 

Yes I can actually, don't try and claim that I am being dishonest because that is bollocks: I played a human noble and you do NOT get the game portraying it as revenge. You get the odd line and that's it, even Tim Curry's death doesn't have any changes whatsoever between you playing a human noble or anything else, he says the exact same thing and dies the exact same way. And I played a mage too and aside from some dialogue line changes it means absolutely nothing, again everything plays out the exact same way. You are free to argue differently, that the dialogue changes mean something to you and changed the experience of the game in a meaningful way for you, but don't try to claim that I am not arguing honestly as I am talking from my own experience with the game, and my experience was that the Origins were sold as something game changing that were not.

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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).

 

Fair enough. People like what they like. But...

 

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.

 

I didn't play DA2, so I can't comment on that. But I hate DA:O precisely because it failed in paying homage... Fail so miserably because it was so different. Honestly, Bioware should never have mentioned Baldur's Gate in the marketing. They were hardly the same in so many respects and the franchise thus earned enemies that way. (I'm sure others have commented on that already.)

 

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.

 

It's satisfying to me in the MMO way (I do like LoS because it's realistic), but there's nothing special about the particular points you mention--big numbers? Crit hits and "chunking" an entire enemy into giblets in BG. Positioning? BG already had that, etc.

 

DA:O combat was crap in the overall sense: Boring as hell darkspawn enemies, all the same, only three combat types, appearing for no good reason like a monster under the bed--quantity instead of quality. Not enough skills/spells, which improved by tier (not bad in itself), but still not much variety for full-on BG-style tactical play. etc.

 

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.

 

Okay, WTF, did you not play Planescape: Torment? Standard my arse.... *cough* :getlost: What DA:O excelled in was the cinematic talking head full-VO department, which certainly gives the illusion of more "life" to the party NPC and is enough to trick most players--but it was very one-sided. How? Because you as the PC had fairly bland and superficial dialogues while the party NPC had personality and the "show." Seriously, DA:O had nothing on PS:T in this department, and it annoyed me so very much that DA:O marketing included some blurb claiming it had a higher word count (totally misleading because half of DA:O's textual content was stuck in the codex, not dialogic).

 

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?

 

DA:O was a different genre. It was a linear action RPG, and did not even come close to BG's greatness in terms of massive exploration and storyline--the BG antagonists were way more interesting and believable. I still to this day do not understand DA:O's main antagonist's motivations; it's unbelievable.

 

It's not what Project Eternity intends to be. Let Obsidian ignore it entirely.

 

Edit: The world quest-related postscripts at the end of DA:O were nice (e.g. that Dwarf girl quest) and probably the only thing I really liked overall, but it ended up being so buggy for me that it didn't even matter. :( Also, about the origins themselves... they didn't affect middle play as much as I hoped, so really most of the "innovative" content in DA:O happened in the first half hour of the game and last ten minutes.

Edited by Ieo
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The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Yes I can actually, don't try and claim that I am being dishonest because that is bollocks: I played a human noble and you do NOT get the game portraying it as revenge. You get the odd line and that's it, even Tim Curry's death doesn't have any changes whatsoever between you playing a human noble or anything else, he says the exact same thing and dies the exact same way. And I played a mage too and aside from some dialogue line changes it means absolutely nothing, again everything plays out the exact same way. You are free to argue differently, that the dialogue changes mean something to you and changed the experience of the game in a meaningful way for you, but don't try to claim that I am not arguing honestly as I am talking from my own experience with the game, and my experience was that the Origins were sold as something game changing that were not.

So are you arguing that PE would be better off without similar origin stories....or what is the point ?

To me it seems like you just want to argue whether DA was a good game or not, and that surely is not what this topic is about. I believe we were meant to discuss whether some aspects of the game were worthy to incorporate into PE, to which I'd say the origin stories should definitely be included, just make them a bit better.

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The less Eternity takes from Dragon Age the better. It was the first example of how far Bioware have fallen in recent times.

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I think that DA: O, with its unfortunate flaws, is the best game Bioware has put out together with BG2.

 

If lazily comparing them, I think BG2 has it beat in terms of good encounter design (though both games have trash encounters) and world exploration (Athkatla).

DA have a much more interactive world in terms of different ways of solving quests and while the overarching story (boring darkspawn attacks the world) is really boring, the details are in my opinion far more interesting than the D&D of BG2.

 

I think the BGs are some of the most overrated games you can find (though BG2 is still a damn good game on its own).

 

Also, I never understood what people expected of the origins. It was pretty clear to me that they would not provide a unique path for each of them throughout the game (the game is definitely large as is already), and it was always made clear that the premise of the game is that you become a Grey Warden, and that is what drives the game and character.

The origins change the game because, yes... They give you completely different playable intros to the game. I don't understand why people somehow think this doesn't count for anything. Some of them give interesting options in the game such as Human nobles being able to marry Queen Anora, aside from the other options already available in the game. But again, they are unique intros to the game. This is definitely noteworthy thing in my book.

 

I would've liked more actual consequences myself but in terms of choices to make within the quests of the game, it easily has the BGs beat.

 

EDIT: That said, I don't think that there's much that PE could really take from the game anyways. I always viewed DA as a game inspired a bit by the BG games but in the guise of a AAA game with voiceacting and all that comes with the territory. PE is not aiming for that.

Edited by Starwars
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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.

 

This says it all really.

 

The item and loot system was pretty weak too. I disliked the tiered item system and I really disliked the way simple guards and thugs were dropping supposedly superrare, superexpensive dragonbone items near the end game, which is a definitive point against random loot drops. The expansion (which I never ended up finishing now that I think about it) made this worse by adding extra tiers on top making your items of legend and ultimate power from the original game completely obsolete. Stuff like that works in a hack&slash grindfest like Diablo, but not in the sort of game DA:O was supposed to be and PE, hopefully, will be.

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Also, I never understood what people expected of the origins. It was pretty clear to me that they would not provide a unique path for each of them throughout the game (the game is definitely large as is already), and it was always made clear that the premise of the game is that you become a Grey Warden, and that is what drives the game and character.

 

Because naming the game Dragon Age: Origins doesn't imply the overarching importance of that first half hour in any way....

 

The origins change the game because, yes... They give you completely different playable intros to the game. I don't understand why people somehow think this doesn't count for anything. Some of them give interesting options in the game such as Human nobles being able to marry Queen Anora, aside from the other options already available in the game. But again, they are unique intros to the game. This is definitely noteworthy thing in my book.

 

It's not that they don't count for anything. They count for the first half hour, maybe fifteen minutes in between, and the last ten minutes. Because DA:O had no exploration whatsoever, it lacked BG's replay value on that alone--this means that DA:O's replay value lay only in the origins and in-game choices. The origins were rather minimal in the overall game bulk, though, being mostly just intros.

 

I would've liked more actual consequences myself but in terms of choices to make within the quests of the game, it easily has the BGs beat.

 

I'd say it's closer to a wash. BG had far more quests, many with different consequences, while DA:O had a lot fewer quests but some consequences noteworthy enough to show in postscript. It's hard to directly compare without actually going through and hammering out numbers and category. But I suspect DA:O would just inflate things using their "more word count than Planescape Torment!" lie. :p

 

EDIT: That said, I don't think that there's much that PE could really take from the game anyways. I always viewed DA as a game inspired a bit by the BG games but in the guise of a AAA game with voiceacting and all that comes with the territory. PE is not aiming for that.

 

I'll agree there.


The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I think one of the flaws of the main quest in DA:O is that the antagonist (the dragon) is pretty boring. No real depth to the character, obviously, since it just sits there and roars at you in your dreams.

 

It would take some re-working, but I think the main quest would have been a lot more interesting if the Logain conflict ended up being the actual main focus, with the eventual showdown with Logain being the "end boss" battle. He may not have been the best written villain ever, but unlike the dragon, at least he had a bit of depth to him and had what I thought was an interesting motive you could understand for doing what he did.

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"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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I think it would have been pretty much impossible to acknowledge the different origins all the way throughout a fully voiced game. The additional lines for the elf - human relationsship alone would probably have been enough to break their budget.

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DAO

 

Plot was to linear. Even though you could do the main quest in any order, if was all pretty much identical on every playthrough. That game seriously needed a dozen random areas to explore that were totally separate to the main plotline. Some areas were added as DLC but not nearly enough.

 

If I could change DAO right now I'd add in those dozen extra areas, reduce XP gain by 50% and remove all items above Tier 4. The game might have some challenge then and perhaps some replayability.

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I remember being excited, the claimed it a spiritual successor to the BG series . . . and it wasn't. It wasn't at all, in any way. It's not a completely failure, like DA2, mind you, but after the 'Origins' part of the game . . . it took a nose dive. There were still things to like after that point, but they seemed far and few between. Even on the harder settings that some claimed were more tactical and challenge all I could think was, "Really? Is this what we consider tactical and challenging now?" It wasn't either one.

 

Character customization, classes, abilities and general forms of progression were all very shallow, progression in general felt 'too fast' and a lot of 'something for nothing' that made progression often feel meaningless.

 

Sure, characters like Logan had redeeming value, but there were far too many that didn't. And, for all their claim of impact many decisions just didn't have long lasting impact. Not to mention that some decisions you made were completely dropped for the sequel, and they acted as if they never happened (even if you imported your game) like a certain beheaded redhead I could name. So many choices weren't choices at all within the game though that it's hard to pick out just one. It was horribly, horribly, linear as well with what little side tracking you could do seeming hollow, empty - devoid of effort.

 

The spell combos were neat, I guess, but I've played games with spell combos prior. It didn't wow me like some of you I guess. The camp site was a nice touch, but it made no sense if you picked up an add on that gave you an entire fort that . . . you could earn, clear out and make your own . . . and then have it completely and utterly ignored (side things that seemed hollow, empty - devoid of effort).

 

I don't like cutscenes. I don't want to watch something cool. I want to do the cool things. I especially hate the cutscenes that completely dismiss what you were doing. DA:O isn't even the only one that did stuff like this, take the Witcher 2 when you play the portion where you duel as the prince. That nonsense where you can completely whip your compeition, and then the cutscene comes in after you defeat him that makes it look like you were getting completely steam rolled by a much better fighter. DA:O did that sort of stuff all the time. It's annoying and I hate it.

 

Also . . . the main plot with the grey wardens and the dark spawn and all that nonse. I disliked it. I really disliked it. I have played that general plotline so . . . many . . . times I was sick of it prior to ever coming across DA:O. That in addition to the shallow character creation, far too limited classes, overly limited and simple/uninspired abilities and more just left me going . . . "Why?" And the answer, of course, is, "Money." There seemed to be hints of a soul, a heart within DA:O now and then . . . but for the most part . . . it felt like a hollow, dull game devoid of any heart or soul.

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Ultimately, I think the only thing Obsidian should get from this thread and those related to Dragon Age dissatisfaction is that a not-insignificant number of players felt the DA franchise simply did not fill the void it promised to.

 

No pressure, Obsidian. ;)

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The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Dragon Age: Origins presumed reliance on henchman AI rather than full party control. Sure, really twitchy use of pause allowed more micro-management, but there wasn't a lot of support for that approach. Whether or not it succeeded well at what it did, it wasn't really the same type of game as PE aspires to be.

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I actually enjoyed some elements of DA2, but then I'm mostly an optimist by nature. The two rogue characters were the best by far; very reminiscent of some Conan series characters. Several of the level boss fights were engrossing for their tactical difficulty. I also liked that the main protagonist actually had a (mostly) likeable family, which added to the plot. The look of the city and its associated areas was pretty good, although not quite up to the standard of excellence set by Vizima in The Witcher. The day/night system was a nice innovation and the split of armor and defense is something that is much lacking in D&D games.

 

There are elements to dislike, of course, but those have already been hashed over my multitudes.


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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...

 

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.

 

Okay, WTF, did you not play Planescape: Torment? Standard my arse.... *cough* :getlost: What DA:O excelled in was the cinematic talking head full-VO department, which certainly gives the illusion of more "life" to the party NPC and is enough to trick most players--but it was very one-sided. How? Because you as the PC had fairly bland and superficial dialogues while the party NPC had personality and the "show." Seriously, DA:O had nothing on PS:T in this department, and it annoyed me so very much that DA:O marketing included some blurb claiming it had a higher word count (totally misleading because half of DA:O's textual content was stuck in the codex, not dialogic).

 

...

 

Edit: The world quest-related postscripts at the end of DA:O were nice (e.g. that Dwarf girl quest) and probably the only thing I really liked overall, but it ended up being so buggy for me that it didn't even matter. :( Also, about the origins themselves... they didn't affect middle play as much as I hoped, so really most of the "innovative" content in DA:O happened in the first half hour of the game and last ten minutes.

 

 

Don't get me wrong, I adore PS:T. But I really felt like Alistair in DA:O was a realistically goofy idiot who I actually would go to great lengths to befriend in the real world. That counts for something. And the first glimpse of the Qun philosophy via Sten was very rewarding, and I'd argue quite well-written too.

 

ANYWAY. Lots of comments. It seems to me that there's a list of things that were good about Dragon Age emerging, and another (rather longer) list of things that people are hoping PE won't touch with a barge pole. So here are some initial ideas -

  • A playable or choice-based PC origin at the start of the game would probably be a welcome addition to PE if done very well - especially if those origins tie into significant quests later on.
  • The end-game written epilogues in DA were very effective (when they weren't buggy), responsive to player choices through the game, and offered a sense of completeness. Should we hope for something similar in PE?

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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...

Well, unless you were a dwarf Noble, then just about every single NPC in Orzammar, including the main plot givers, changed their dialogues to reflect the fact that this is a homecoming. Oh, and unless you were a Human Noble, in which case, the entire Storming of the Royal Palace changed to reflect the fact that you were getting revenge. Or unless you were a Circle mage, then all the dialogue with Irving, Uldred, Gregoir, Cullen, Wynne etc. drastically changed to refect that homecoming, as well.

 

Nope, you can't, in the spirit of honest debate, short-change this. DA:O has a billion flaws, but this isn't one of them.

 

At least they should have more far reaching consequences and differing quests, etc. based on your origins.

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I disagree with many of the people dismissing DA:O's story so readily. Was it clichéd? Yes, but not anymore than any other CRPG game out there excluding PS:T. I also think that people throw out terms like "fan fiction dialogue" way too liberally when referring to the game. Alistair, Morrigan and others had very interesting stories, which felt like a nice fit into the scenario and had a decent amount of personality. The blandness of the Warden has a lot more to do with the fact that the nameless generic protagonist demands that sort of "personality neutrality", and is a problem common to most if not all games which didn't direct their protagonists towards a certain direction(like PS:T).

 

BUT it had a way too underrated feature which isn't mentioned nearly enough: DA:O inserts you in the midst of the most genuine medieval nobility intrigue I've ever seen in a CRPG. The characters motives and actions as well as the choices you had to make all were neatly tied to the political landscape of Ferelden, and it felt a lot more real because of that (my wife played a mage whom, in the end, was unable to marry Alistair, and for him to be king had to settle for a role as mistress, even though she was the Hero of Ferelden. Honestly, rarely does a game makes you play through that sort of thing).

 

Also, the origins, as little effect as they had in the end, were actually a first implementation of a very nice feature.

 

In the end, I think P:E would only be enriched if it could improve upon these features/traits. DA:O has a lot more merits than most purists admit, imo.

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Personally I think the origins concept was a great idea and worth emulating and improving upon, but mostly PE and DA:O are two very different games and I think Obsidian would be better served if they do their own thing.

 

P.S Obsidian writes far more compelling stories than Bioware imo.

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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. "

 

Oh, please. The vast majority of 'old skool' games are way more shallow, have no story, non character characters, and races were nothing special.

 

 

"P.S Obsidian writes far more compelling stories than Bioware imo."

 

Knowing NWN2 OC, SOZ, AP, and DS3 I make a different conclusion.


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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The Origins feature was very well done. I don't really hold it against them that the backstories didn't matter an absolute ton after the initial period of the game as it's just simply not realistic to have that much differing content if it's all going to be fully voiced and acted out.

 

Anyway, DAO got off to a terrific start but lost momentum somewhere in the midgame and never really got it back. Personally, I felt like Ostagar happened way too fast. There should have been a bit more content before the big battle and Duncan should have been fleshed out more to make the subsequent events a bit more meaningful.

 

But my big gripe with DAO was that the second half of the game just becomes a massive, massive grind. Every 10 steps there's a fight with multiple enemies that takes a couple of minutes to take care of. Another 10 steps up the road and you fight a very similar fight against the same set of enemies. It gradually fatigued me to the extent that I stopped enjoying the game. I did manage to get through to the end and finish the game but that was purely for completion purposes. I have never felt like firing the game up again since.

 

I do feel that there's a rule for rpg's now that they have to be "epic". And apparently, the definition of epic includes being at least 50 hours long. So to flesh the game out, they add in a zillion fights to get the hours up. But that only works if the combat is fun! DAO's combat was not much fun and since you restored health and spells after the fights (this may not be 100% true as I don't remember it that well) it meant that there was very little riding on the fights, once you could beat the set of enemies in a given area, there was no reason to fight them another 100 times but the game made you do it anyway until you became mentally tired of the whole experience.

 

If Obsidian can learn one thing from DAO it's to not obsess about how long the game is. Concentrate on making the content good (and replayable if possible) and the combat enjoyable and they'll be 90% of the way there imo.

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