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Blarghagh

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I was thinking of getting Hand of Fate, but I'll put it off now.  l don't have a lot of time anyway and so I try to be more choosy than I used to be in the past, when I would just buy whatever caught my eye straight away.

Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

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Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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After playing Dragon Age: Inquisition, I thought I'd sit down and play Dragon Age: Origins, a game I haven't touched since the debacle of DA2. I remember thinking that it was a "good" game, but playing it now, it's obvious that this is simply because DA2 was so awful that it made the first game seem brilliant by comparison. My thoughts are as follows:

 

- Mass Effect, at least the first game, wore its influences on its sleeves, but it was sufficiently well-crafted that it felt fresh and original in spite of this fact. Dragon Age, on the other, is so obviously cobbled together from various sources that you can almost see the seams where the different elements have been sewn together. The game is clearly based on the traditional Heroic Fantasy plot we're all familiar with, but then BioWare realised that "dark and gritty" fantasy like A Song of Ice and Fire was the fashionable thing, and so they slapped a superficial layer of grittiness atop it in the most blatant manner possible ("sir" is spelled "ser" as in ASOIAF, see...SEE!!!???). They nicked Warhammer 40,000's magic system, replacing "Warp" with "Fade," "Psykers" with "Mages," "Blanks" with "Tranquils," and "Daemons" with...well..."demons." The elves are even more like Eldar than usual, and the Qunari might as well be the Tau.

 

Now, keep in mind that my tastes in fantasy settings are extremely conservative. I'm not impressed with a work simply because it avoids cliches or deconstructs traditional fantasy tropes. I value quality and craftsmanship far more than I value originality. So when I feel your fantasy setting is too stale, you've got problems.

 

- As above, the attempts at making the game feel "adult" or "mature" are shallow and pathetic. Case in point: the Human Noble origin story has you start out slaying rats in the kitchen. Typical RPG fare, right? Except that in DA:O, attacking the rats results in my character getting drenched in blood from head to toe! Really, BioWare?

 

- An as aside, I have to wonder why BioWare didn't disable the graphics for characters' status effects (such as taking fire damage) when transitioning into cutscenes. The way the game works, if your party gets hit by a fireball and then immediately goes into a cutscene, you'll be treated the hilarious sight of your character and his party members holding a lengthy conversation while on fire! It's completely ridiculous and kills any drama the scene might have had. My character even had sex with Morrigan while transparent, glowing, and shedding flakes of stone!

 

- Speaking of graphics, this game is Ugly with a capital "U." And I don't mean the quality of the graphics themselves (which isn't that terribly great), but the style of the graphics. I can't recall the last game I played that was this overwhelmingly, unrelentingly brown. Everything has this washed-out, low-contrast look that repulses me every time I have to look it:

 

1266662-denerim.jpg

 

The entirety of Ferelden seems to consist of dirty, ramshackle huts and shanties, with the occasional stone fortress here and there. Like most modern fantasy settings, it's all so depressingly filthy and lacking in wonder. There's no point in the game where I felt compelled to stop and look around at the scenery. When I started a new campaign in NWN2, it was sweet relief to see a world that had actual colour in it!

 

- Who wrote the depth of field algorithm for the graphics engine? It doesn't blur the parts of the scene that are supposed to be out of focus, it pixelates them! It looks horrible!

 

- The dungeon design is hopelessly uninspired, continuing the NWN tradition of being obviously tileset-based. How odd is that the mage tower, the ruins in Brecilian Forest, the temple of the Sacred Ashes, and Fort Drakon all have the exact same architectural style? How many years was this game in development, again?

 

- The combat is...so-so. There is a tactical element to it, but too often encounters amount to little more than having the party get rushed by enemies from all directions. This made worse by the way the game automatically transitions to a dialogue cutscene with bosses and other powerful enemies when you get close to them, showing your party stupidly walking up to the boss and his henchmen (sometimes, your party is even shown rushing blindly forward getting surprised by the boss, even if you knew he was there ahead of time). This drops your rogues out of stealth, cancels any buffs you had cast, and wrecks any tactical positioning you had in place, forcing you to start the fight in a disadvantageous position. You can't even attack the boss from a distance with AoE spells, either, because he's invincible until you speak with him!

 

Compare this with Baldur's Gate. There were NPCs who'd initiate dialogue with you the moment you entered visual range, but there was nothing stopping you from having your thief enter stealth and backstab him for massive damage, or have your mage fireball him from a distance. Sure, you missed out on the dialogue, but there was nothing stopping you from doing this.

 

- Cooldowns...how I loathe you. This game already has a means of limiting magic use - the mana system - so it's a bit baffling why they decided to include this odious "feature." Why is it that my mage can cast powerful spells A, B, and C one after the other, but he cannot cast one spell three times in quick succession? It's totally arbitrary, and reduces combat to a series of QTEs...press the buttons as they light up to win!

 

- The auto-reviving party members destroy a great deal of tension in the fights. In BG, you had to be a reasonably powerful cleric to raise dead, or pay a temple a large chunk of gold to raise your party member for you. If you were playing on Core Rules or higher, it was possible for party members to get killed off permanently, with no way to get them back. In DA:O, fallen party members just get right up after the battle ends. I know this is standard operating procedure for modern RPGs...but is it too much to ask to have at least some consequence for losing people in a fight? In DA:O, they just get slapped with an "injury" which is completely trivial because injury kits are so plentiful. And their HPs are immediately restored after combat, making HP loss even more trivial.

 

- As as positive point, the individual origin stories is the game's best feature, and greatly influenced the way I played each character. A casteless dwarf, for instance, is probably going to have a different view of things than a human noble. In fact, the origin stories are such a good idea that BioWare eliminated them completely in subsequent titles.

 

- DA:O stands as the last BioWare game with a silent protagonist, which means I actually get to choose what my characters says instead of picking some vague paraphrased response on the dialogue wheel and hoping my character doesn't say something I didn't want them to. Despite the game's heavy use of cutscenes, it still felt like an RPG, not some semi-interactive movie.

 

- Purchasing DLC. Because EA hates all life in general, buying DLC is never as simple as just shelling out however much money EA/BioWare is asking, oh no. No, you have to purchase BioWare "Points" which are sold in bundles that oh-so-conveniently don't correlate with the cost of the DLC, meaning you almost always have to purchase more points than what the DLC costs. This is an incredibly cynical means of nickel-and-diming the consumer...but what else would you expect from a company that considered charging players to reload their magazines in Battlefield?

 

- This game actually has a toolkit. Judging from the marketing push, the developers wanted the game to become a "platform" for user-created content much like NWN had:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndrC34v83V8&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DndrC34v83V8&has_verified=1

 

All this potential blew away like dandelion spores when BioWare ceased supporting the toolset and stopped short of the "two years" of DLC that they'd promised, meaning the game would receive no new official assets for modding in the way that the expansions had done for NWN.

 

- Despite DA:O's flaws, at the very least there's a sense that BioWare was committed to the craft of making an RPG. It's a far cry from the games they've made post-EA acquisition, which feel like mass-produced, focus group-tested, metrics-based products.

Edited by 500MetricTonnes
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"There is no greatness where simplicity, goodness and truth are absent." - Leo Tolstoy

 

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I'm currently playing Life is Strange by SquareEnix. Its interesting. Kind of a story-type game where you can rewind time to try different options to change the outcome. Its a clever design, cause many gamers like to reload to try different things anyway. Been a while since I played a game with no combat, but I'm enjoying it. Though I find it hard to sympathize with the characters for... cultural / age / personality reasons. You play an American teenage female photography student. Being a 27 year old non-american guy with zero interest in photography or anything arty, I find myself rolling my eyes at a lot of the dialogue. Also, she can rewind time but she doesn't think of abusing this power or using it for personal gain. Normally, this kind of thing wouldn't be an issue, but since the game is so story-based, I think how one relates to the characters is important.

Edited by Heijoushin
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The Book of Unwritten Tales.  This has been a very pleasant surprise for me.  I haven't really touched an adventure game for a while, so at first there was a bit of a re-learning curve -- mostly just shaking off the conventions of RPG-dom -- but I'm having a blast with this game.  Still early yet (just gathering Wilbur's companions in Chapter 2), but... wow.  Such fun.  I haven't laughed out loud at the humour in a game for a long time, but this game's managed it twice already (wondering, wondering about that breathing puffball at the fortune-teller's wagon, only to have it explained in an LOL moment (haha), and capturing the rabbit.  Awesome).

 

Graphics are great, characters are interesting, setting is fun, the puzzles I've found are mostly intuitive but some of them have given me pause, and with a good dose of slapstick in there to set it all off.  Reminds me more than a little of the old Quest for Glory series with its tone and wit, which is still one of my favourites. 

 

Picked up the other two games in the series when I got this one -- on sale at GoG -- and haven't been disappointed in the least.

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The Book of Unwritten Tales.  This has been a very pleasant surprise for me.  I haven't really touched an adventure game for a while, so at first there was a bit of a re-learning curve -- mostly just shaking off the conventions of RPG-dom -- but I'm having a blast with this game.  Still early yet (just gathering Wilbur's companions in Chapter 2), but... wow.  Such fun.  I haven't laughed out loud at the humour in a game for a long time, but this game's managed it twice already (wondering, wondering about that breathing puffball at the fortune-teller's wagon, only to have it explained in an LOL moment (haha), and capturing the rabbit.  Awesome).

 

Graphics are great, characters are interesting, setting is fun, the puzzles I've found are mostly intuitive but some of them have given me pause, and with a good dose of slapstick in there to set it all off.  Reminds me more than a little of the old Quest for Glory series with its tone and wit, which is still one of my favourites. 

 

Picked up the other two games in the series when I got this one -- on sale at GoG -- and haven't been disappointed in the least.

 

I tried playing it once, the lack of subtitles in the intro is a pretty big bummer as I, for some reason, had trouble following the dialogue.

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The Book of Unwritten Tales.  This has been a very pleasant surprise for me.  I haven't really touched an adventure game for a while, so at first there was a bit of a re-learning curve -- mostly just shaking off the conventions of RPG-dom -- but I'm having a blast with this game.  Still early yet (just gathering Wilbur's companions in Chapter 2), but... wow.  Such fun.  I haven't laughed out loud at the humour in a game for a long time, but this game's managed it twice already (wondering, wondering about that breathing puffball at the fortune-teller's wagon, only to have it explained in an LOL moment (haha), and capturing the rabbit.  Awesome).

 

Graphics are great, characters are interesting, setting is fun, the puzzles I've found are mostly intuitive but some of them have given me pause, and with a good dose of slapstick in there to set it all off.  Reminds me more than a little of the old Quest for Glory series with its tone and wit, which is still one of my favourites. 

 

Picked up the other two games in the series when I got this one -- on sale at GoG -- and haven't been disappointed in the least.

It's a pretty good point & click.  I found the puzzles to be a bit meh, but the game is bursting at the seams with charm.

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breen_tuna.gif.f209371d450243737d37ca9251849aff.gif

 

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Decided to boot up NWN2 and play through Mysteries of Westgate since I have never played that campaign, but heard very good things about it. Apparently it has gloomy and mysterious feel about it, which is what I like in stories :)

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Read that Path of Exile now has something called "hideouts," which intrigued me. Clicked on my game shortcut and will now probably spend the next hour "checking resources", downloading and installing a zillion updates since the last time I looked at it. If that goes well, maybe I'll get that cat pet this time. Just because. :p

 

Is anyone still playing it, and if so, are hideouts something difficult to acquire? eg, tons of grinding, high level chrs, all that? I'm guessing it takes some commitment...not sure I have it, but maybe I'll try for a bit.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Since Far Cry 4 was down low price already, I decided to pick it up to satisfy some general pretty death-dealing urges.

I have to say that it certainly has some nice backgrounds , and its a very pretty game.

 

I will also say I am swiftly coming to have a hatred for tigers. I can be in the middle of a great stealth clear of an Outpost..and just as I'm about to take out the last few guys, I suddenly have a random tiger pounce on me. Once or twice I'd think "cool, the random animal thing is neat..."   However, when it happens about 7 times in a row at different outposts, I'm thinking the tigers have a personal hate-on for me.

 

(and no, there were no Hunters controlling said tigers.)

"Cuius testiculos habeas, habeas cardia et cerebellum."

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Still battling my way through Homeworld remastered. Battling the bad mission triggers, the fights are easy enough. This is the third time I've had to sift through walkthroughs to complete a mission a certain way guaranteed to work. HW2 works flawlessly, unfortunately it's not the better of the two. It was a bit wonky when it came out, but isn't that what a 'remastering' is supposed to fix ?

 

Did have a few wow moments along the way, like playing through the garden of Kadesh with modern graphics. 

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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The Book of Unwritten Tales.  This has been a very pleasant surprise for me.  I haven't really touched an adventure game for a while, so at first there was a bit of a re-learning curve -- mostly just shaking off the conventions of RPG-dom -- but I'm having a blast with this game.  Still early yet (just gathering Wilbur's companions in Chapter 2), but... wow.  Such fun.  I haven't laughed out loud at the humour in a game for a long time, but this game's managed it twice already (wondering, wondering about that breathing puffball at the fortune-teller's wagon, only to have it explained in an LOL moment (haha), and capturing the rabbit.  Awesome).

 

Graphics are great, characters are interesting, setting is fun, the puzzles I've found are mostly intuitive but some of them have given me pause, and with a good dose of slapstick in there to set it all off.  Reminds me more than a little of the old Quest for Glory series with its tone and wit, which is still one of my favourites. 

 

Picked up the other two games in the series when I got this one -- on sale at GoG -- and haven't been disappointed in the least.

 

I tried playing it once, the lack of subtitles in the intro is a pretty big bummer as I, for some reason, had trouble following the dialogue.

 

Yeah, I found that a little off-putting as well.  Particularly since the very first thing I did after installing the game, even before starting play, was explicitly turn on the subtitles.

 

Luckily, it was only the actual introduction that was missing them, and that was over quickly enough that I'd forgotten their lack until you mentioned it, and I'm (now) in Chapter 3 (14 hrs in, according to the save log).

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Finished Danganronpa 2, now I'm getting those game withdrawals.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Weird.  I was able to complete two sidequests in Dying Light during the day that sounded like they had to be done at night.  One said I had to plant explosives in the dark -- apparently it just meant in a dark tunnel, not dark as in night.  The other one was ridiculously easy because I could climb the bridge during the day to retrieve light bulbs, even though the quest-giver said it's best to do at night to know which bulbs to take (easy enough -- I took some electrical damage for picking the "bad" bulbs, but I had a tonne of medkits so I just healed up after every two bad picks).

"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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Path of Exile - it's always nice to have an online game where even if you log in only once a year, all your stuff is still there. I guess I'm still "scarred" from those Diablo2 days of having to sign in every few months or whatever it was or lose all your mules. :lol:

 

My biggest beef with the game still exists - I've never liked its click-to-hit interface. I don't know why. It's no different on paper than Diablo's click to attack, but yet I constantly feel like I click and end up running forward instead of hitting anything, forcing use of the stand-still key 100% of the time. No sense of feedback, or they stack too much when in large groups, or they move faster than I can move cursor and click, no clue. Very aggravating after a while.

 

At any rate...outside of that the game always looks and performs better each time I try. But still an ARPG where I admire it in concept a lot more than I do in execution. But! I'd still like my own hideout, soon as I figure out that system (something about Masters...). Because I'm like that. Then I'll probably logoff for another year. :p

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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HW2 works flawlessly, unfortunately it's not the better of the two. It was a bit wonky when it came out, but isn't that what a 'remastering' is supposed to fix ?

 

I get the feeling. In the run-up to its release there was a lot of hoopla raised about the individual modules on capital ships, as well as the fact that the Mothership was upgradeable with new armament and such throughout the campaign (to say nothing of the hugely ambitious new direction Relic had initially planned for the sequel, which involved bases and defenses being built on the huge derelict space debris you saw in the skyboxes). The former was rather underwhelming and the latter seemed to have been cut.

 

Nonetheless, though I can't say it was the revelatory experience the first Homeworld was (it still boggles the mind how a rookie studio had so thoroughly knocked it out of the park), I immensely enjoyed it and I hope Gearbox takes the feedback to heart and really makes this remaster shine (as well as the Homeworld 2: Complex guys).

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"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

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Decided to boot up NWN2 and play through Mysteries of Westgate since I have never played that campaign, but heard very good things about it. Apparently it has gloomy and mysterious feel about it, which is what I like in stories original.gif

I really loved Mysteries of Westgate. Ossian are a terrific studio and it's obvioust that if they'd been able to make more modules they'd have done a great job. I especially like how every skill gets some use in one way or another.

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i got the new thief on a steam sale a few months back and i just installed it. since it is compatible with mantle i decided to give it a go to see if there is any substantial difference with Dx11. good thing it has a benchmark  and i dont have to rely on gameplay that may vary the results. 1080p all settings at max, overall the difference was about 3fps on average in mantle's favor, however it felt much more smooth with mantle because the range of fps with mantle was from 26 to 34, while with Dx11 it was jumping between 15 and 34

now that i now what api runst it smoother i ll start the game itself

The words freedom and liberty, are diminishing the true meaning of the abstract concept they try to explain. The true nature of freedom is such, that the human mind is unable to comprehend it, so we make a cage and name it freedom in order to give a tangible meaning to what we dont understand, just as our ancestors made gods like Thor or Zeus to explain thunder.

 

-Teknoman2-

What? You thought it was a quote from some well known wise guy from the past?

 

Stupidity leads to willful ignorance - willful ignorance leads to hope - hope leads to sex - and that is how a new generation of fools is born!


We are hardcore role players... When we go to bed with a girl, we roll a D20 to see if we hit the target and a D6 to see how much penetration damage we did.

 

Modern democracy is: the sheep voting for which dog will be the shepherd's right hand.

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Path of Exile is reminding me of how much I initially hated the "waypoint" systems back when Diablo2 game out. In D2 once you became familiar with the potential map layouts you could dash for the waypoints without too much trouble (especially as the teleporting sorc, haha), but yeah ... it's a really annoying system when you just want to find the bloody wp and logoff and then you can't find it...running around/fighting for an hour longer than you intended.

 

So far found a couple Masters/did their quests, but now I keep encountering this one master who tells me to "not kill a certain someone/leave them at low health for 10s" but then that someone is nowhere to be found. One time tried doing as requested with a random monster but didn't work. And if I leave the area he's in, the master quest disappears. **** that Master, then.

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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What the hell is up with everything being online multiplayer these days?  I've been playing F.E.A.R. Extraction Point and it made F.E.A.R. Online pop up in my suggested queue in Steam.  I keep feeling tempted to try an online game again, but I don't want to get sucked into something I have no time to play.  I looked into the Path of Exile you guys keep talking about, but same deal.  So I keep checking the Steam store and I keep not buying games.  Ho Hum.  Any suggestions for something worth a peek or two?

Fionavar's Holliday Wishes to all members of our online community:  Happy Holidays

 

Join the revelry at the Obsidian Plays channel:
Obsidian Plays


 
Remembering tarna, Phosphor, Metadigital, and Visceris.  Drink mead heartily in the halls of Valhalla, my friends!

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Using those exploding firecracker bombs in Dying Light is fun.  Climb to a high place, watch dozens of zombies shamble over to you, then drop one into their midst.  Easy XP.

"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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Dragon Age: Awakening.

 

Man, the writing in the opening sequence is ham-handed.  Obvious set-ups for bad Anders/Oghren jokes; a jarring cut from talking with just-rescued Zaeed-guy to chatting with Anora way out at the castle gates; a lot of cheesy "we're counting on you, great hero!" stuff.  That last point probably would've been better had I killed off my DAO PC, but it seems that Awakenings can't import a world-state with a dead Warden, and DA2 can't take an import that incorporates both DAO and DAA decisions if they were played with different characters.

 

Anders is already starting to bother me.  He's like Alistair-- same terrible jokes, same accent-- but with the marginally endearing naievete replaced by caddish behavior.  Ugh.  Really, if I were given a little more room for role-playing, I'd probably try to find a way to lie to the Templars and just let him go.  My character would see no reason to trust him much, and would have a fair amount of sympathy for somebody being sent off to the Wardens to escape the Templars.  But, apparently, he plays a pretty large role in both this story and DA2, so I guess I'm keeping him around.  

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Tried out some old downloadable PSP games on my PS TV.

Valhalla Knights, Killzone: Liberation, and Little Big Planet

 

The only one that might be worthy playing past the intro is LBP, but I got bored of the original PS3 game rather quick, so I don't see why I'll spend time with this one to come to the same conclusion. None of them cost me anything, so that's an upside.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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Dragon Age: Awakening.

 

Man, the writing in the opening sequence is ham-handed.  Obvious set-ups for bad Anders/Oghren jokes; a jarring cut from talking with just-rescued Zaeed-guy to chatting with Anora way out at the castle gates; a lot of cheesy "we're counting on you, great hero!" stuff.  That last point probably would've been better had I killed off my DAO PC, but it seems that Awakenings can't import a world-state with a dead Warden, and DA2 can't take an import that incorporates both DAO and DAA decisions if they were played with different characters.

 

Anders is already starting to bother me.  He's like Alistair-- same terrible jokes, same accent-- but with the marginally endearing naievete replaced by caddish behavior.  Ugh.  Really, if I were given a little more room for role-playing, I'd probably try to find a way to lie to the Templars and just let him go.  My character would see no reason to trust him much, and would have a fair amount of sympathy for somebody being sent off to the Wardens to escape the Templars.  But, apparently, he plays a pretty large role in both this story and DA2, so I guess I'm keeping him around.  

No reason not to dump him, the Viconia clone is a better mage anyway.

 

Plus the fact your choices do not matter in the slightest. He will always be possessed in DA2.

Edited by HoonDing

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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Dragon Age: Awakening.

 

Man, the writing in the opening sequence is ham-handed.  Obvious set-ups for bad Anders/Oghren jokes; a jarring cut from talking with just-rescued Zaeed-guy to chatting with Anora way out at the castle gates; a lot of cheesy "we're counting on you, great hero!" stuff.  That last point probably would've been better had I killed off my DAO PC, but it seems that Awakenings can't import a world-state with a dead Warden, and DA2 can't take an import that incorporates both DAO and DAA decisions if they were played with different characters.

 

Anders is already starting to bother me.  He's like Alistair-- same terrible jokes, same accent-- but with the marginally endearing naievete replaced by caddish behavior.  Ugh.  Really, if I were given a little more room for role-playing, I'd probably try to find a way to lie to the Templars and just let him go.  My character would see no reason to trust him much, and would have a fair amount of sympathy for somebody being sent off to the Wardens to escape the Templars.  But, apparently, he plays a pretty large role in both this story and DA2, so I guess I'm keeping him around.  

No reason not to dump him, the Viconia clone is a better mage anyway.

 

Plus the fact your choices do not matter in the slightest. He will always be possessed in DA2.

 

I'm thinking more in terms of content tourism, rather than functional party structure or influencing the long-axis story of the series.  Part of the DAA experience is getting an understanding of this guy, so, as a first-time player, I'm willing to play along (for the time being). 

 

Anyhow, the game really didn't give me a "dump him" option.  (At least not yet.)  It gave me a "let the Templars take him" option, which didn't seem like a particularly nice or character-consistent thing for my Mage PC to do. 

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