Note: Still playing DAI. Minor potential plot spoilers.
Ok, rift closed and some other stuff.
So I spent a while looking for that one shard over there when I snapped to my senses and said “Shit, Mrs. McP won’t be gone forever, get going.”
So I went back, loaded up, and prepared to MARCH UPON THE BREACH! and got a cutscene and watched the cutscene and was confused cuz, that’s it?
Except it wasn’t it and you know that, so I did the rest of the it, and then Mrs. McP got home EARLY and I had to rush through some stuff and I taunted the guy and launched myself out of a trebuchet and that’s it. I’m at “Find a way forward.”
1) Who’s this Cole dude? I kinda missed what he said when he came to my door except “Bad guys. Over there.” Or something.
2) Did the big baddie say HE was an “Old God?” Or he saw some in the fade when he was there? Or there are no Old Gods? I kinda missed that. Cuz that Old God stuff has happened before. You know, that used to be pillow talk.
3) Speaking of pillow talk…..where is she?
1) That was well done. Appropriately harrowing. Leaving optional quests to save people THAT YOU COULD FAIL was pretty well done. I didn’t get to the tavern keeper, and heard her scream when the roof caved in. That bothers me. Not going to replay it, but the whole “You may be chosen but you aren’t saving everyone” is a nice touch of ME-style grit that Bioware hasn’t chucked into DA until now. I was tense, scared, felt the sense of loss. Nice sequence.
2) Never take two rogues to defend a trebuchet. Especially if you know your wife is on the way home and you have limited time which leads me to
3) They really shouldn’t call the lesser difficulty setting “casual.” They should call it “Look, I COULD do this on normal but my wife came home early and I’ve already died twice and I really, really need to get past this sequence to get to a place to save it so my wife doesn’t get mad at me.” Casual seems so judgy.
4) Don’t judge me.
5) I liked that they sorta redeemed Roderick. Or, at the very least, revealed him as a guy with his heard in the right place. (Side note: Why do I equate helping ME with redemption? Another post) They did that in games past in the epilogue, a la Bhelin/Harrowmount not being the “right” choice, but it makes more narrative sense to do it in game.
6) Do NOT grab a supply cache just cuz it’s there. You may well a) be going back that way and b) need that damn crate.
1) I also wondered who the hell this Cole dude was. All shall be revealed.
2) Corypheus (which apparently is the evil Elder One’s name, and everyone knows this, even though I didn’t actually hear him say his name ever? And neither did you it seems?) was a little hazy on whether he used to be a god, or just plans to be a god later, but apparently the story is that he was one of the original Tevinter Magisters who ventured into the Maker’s golden city in the Fade, and for their presumption the city was ruined and the darkspawn were unleashed upon the world. And he says there were no gods there when they went, but ancient lore says that there were and that the golden city was a land of wonder and glory and harmony and what not. Anyway, now he wants to go back to the golden/black city, because…something something he’ll be a god again, or finally, or whatever. Like I said, a bit hazy so far.
3) I don’t know who you’re talking about. Ha.
1) Dude, I didn’t save ANYONE in Haven. I was all panicky running around trying to figure out where I had to go, taking wrong turns past burning buildings, and accidentally clicking on supply kits when I still HAD 7 potions, and I just…missed those missions.
Now everywhere I go I meet new people in the places where people already were in Haven (the forge, etc.) and the conversation is always “OK, so you’re replacing THE PERSON I ALLOWED TO DIE, right?” [bursts into guilty tears].
The guilty tears are in my imagination, but they sting all the more for that. Because every freaking person I knew (well, vaguely interacted with, I wasn’t exactly best pals with anyone) in Haven is dead. Way to go, me.
Except what’s-his-name, the horse guy, he made it. And my war council and companions, of course. Anyway, the guilt is profound. And the message of “you can’t save everyone” (or, apparently, anyone) is keenly felt.
2) I also had two rogues to defend the trebuchet, because I’m a rogue myself, and yeah, an extra fighter wouldn’t have been out of place. It took me a while to figure out that I didn’t actually have to KILL that giant bastard that showed up, I just had to live long enough to wind up the damn trebuchet (which took approximately forever). Did you stick it out until you killed him? I tip my hat to you if so. I just ran around like a frenetic hamster dodging blows and giving the wheel a couple of turns every now and then until eventually it was fully wound. At which point, like magic, all the bad guys vanished…which I was happy to accept at the time but which in retrospect was not exactly a believable narrative.
3) YOU CASUAL GAMING LOSER YOU.
4) I don’t judge. (LOSER.) But seriously, that was a tough sequence because yeah, there was no good option to save until it was done, and you don’t want to have to restart the whole thing (although maybe I could have saved someone’s life…sniffle). I’ve gone to casual before myself, and I’ll do it again.
5) I also appreciated that humanizing of Roderick…he’s not a TOTAL irritating jerk after all! Also, he was helping people besides you, so I think redemption is OK to say…everyone in Haven benefited from his memory, not just you. (Well, not the people who were already dead because I DIDN’T SAVE THEM, but everyone else.)
6) Yes. The automatic “click X,” which I generally apply to everything at all times (“is there an X? Click it!”) was a bad habit there. I wasted at least one supply cache because I clicked it before I was out of potions, AND while people were still wounded. Damn you, self! Have everyone heal up, use all the potions you can, THEN replenish! Sigh.
But we both survived. That’s the important thing. (SO MANY OTHERS were not so lucky, because I FAILED THEM. But I survived.)
Seriously, it seems like all of Skyhold is about reminding me of the people I didn’t save. (You know: EVERYBODY.) I think I’ll spend most of my time out adventuring, not because I want to accomplish anything specific, but just because the memories back at the base are too painful.
Whatever motivates you, I suppose.
Ok, figures. I just missed what Cole said when he came in. Not what I expected. Part of me says “Play with the damn subtitles,” but that breaks immersion.
AH! That’s it. So Corypheus is all challenging basic religious tenets, was it Tevinter’s fault, was the Maker a big dirty liar, did they really kill Andraste, all that. What is a real savior? Does literal truth matter in the ways of faith? Themes! I found some themes!
I saved a couple of people, but I’m not sure cuz I was bad with names. Lysette! I saved Lysette! Who the fuck was Lysette? That’s going to add to the social issues.
“Hey where’s the tavern girl?”
“Dead, Evelyn, you didn’t save her.”
“But I saved Lysette!”
****sigh**** “Lysette is the researcher.” (I think)
“Then who’s Stennit?”
*****bigger sigh***** “The merchant guy.”
“What about Therrin?”
*****bangs table**** “One of the many that DIED FOR YOUR CAUSE!”
“Pfft! Maybe if I could have flirted with them they’d still be alive.”
(Companion runs off to join the templars)
I did kill the giant guy, because every time I tried to turn the wheel, I’d get hit, and I’d stop turning, and eventually said fuck it. Which was kinda anticlimactic, because I killed the guy, then had to spend about 45 seconds turning the thing.
“Ok, hang on, I got this. Something big’ll happen in a jiffy. Just one more….ok two more…there. No, there. Ok. Cutscene. Phew.”
Happily married casual gaming loser. Please.
I had to restart mid stream and, happily, it autosaved. I hit something I’ve never hit: the game crashed. I got to the first trebuchet, you know, fight from chantry to trebuchet, do that bit, and, right as it fired, it started to load the cutscene and hung up. Just kept loading. Had to quit out of the game and reboot. Luckily, it started me at the trebuchet fight, which wasn’t so bad. Worked fine after that. Weird. Only time I’ve ever had that happen to me on the PS4.
Re: Roderick, it’s nice they’ve addressed this. Look, I love Bioware, but they do have a history of having non-party NPCs be a bit one dimensional. Even BIG NPCs, like, say, the Illusive Man, are more clean cut than they should be. It’s odd, cuz they write the best in party NPCs in gaming, bar none, not even close. Good to see this game is closing the gap.
Oh God, I’ve done that too-early-click with every supply cache in the game. It’s cuz they’re such a relief! “Hooray! Whoo hoo! Click! I’ve been looking for this!” and you are so amped you forget to check who’s hurt first.
They do not replenish jars of bees, however, which would have been SOOOOO handy.
The flirting, though, is done at home. Reasons to stay around Skyhold even if riddled with guilt.
Well, Cole just shows up, muttering about a glimpse of movement in the dark or something. He sort of…rambles. I don’t think you missed anything important. I have the subtitles on, I’m not proud. They only show up if I wait, though, so in most conversations I never notice. It’s only if I miss something and wait for the subtitles (or if I just pause to think about my response) that they show up.
Yeah, lots of potential themes here with the Elder One and his challenge to Chantry lore, and are the gods/is the Maker real and so forth. There’s a whole religious are you/are you not the Chosen One thing, too, and they really let you play that the way you want.
Whenever it comes up you usually have dialogue options from “I AM the Chosen One!” to “Yeah, I don’t actually believe in that.” (I generally go with the “I’m not sure” one. Because…I’m not, man.) But it’s all kind of just something you either accept on faith, or don’t. I mean, there’s SOMETHING going on, on account of the whole Fade/demons/rifts thing, but is it related to the Maker’s City and Andraste, or something else?
The elves have a whole other explanation for the Fade, apparently.
It’s interesting that they leave this a matter for debate. Even knowing that magic is real, and the supernatural is all around us, we still don’t know if it comes from a god, or if it’s just there, or what.
Ok, good, as long as I’m not missing stuff. Well, every bioware game will show you the last thing someone said if you wait around long enough. I guess they figure the long pause and the wheel broke immersion already. Usually, though, I find this unhelpful.
“Wait, what? I’ll wait to see what he said.”
******”So as I just explained, that is the most crucial thing to know.”******
Yup, complexity. Which is cool. Contrast Shep, who WAS THE CHOSEN ONE! I wonder if you have a choice. After all, in the first big trailer, Morrigan (not that I watched it more than once) ended by saying “Will you stand against it? Or will you see this world to its bitter end?”
I’m pretty agnostic, too, and I keep taking the “hey, man, I didn’t ask for this shit” option, too.
And the dwarves have no connection to the fade at all. And a very iffy relationship to the Chantry. Hell, there was no Chantry in Orzamaar until I set one up (or helped) in DA2.
See? There are themes. You just have to stop flirting to find them.
Gotta say, so far so good, bioware.
Stop flirting?! Now they’re asking too much! You can’t place these completely unreasonable demands on your players!
I know. Fuck themes.
I do like the way they’ve adapted the standard D&D classes of the wizard and the cleric. You still kind of HAVE them, since Templars are sort of clerics, but unlike with D&D, you don’t have that strong a sense of the cleric’s patron god. I mean, obviously the Templars work for the Chantry and serve Andraste (or at least they did), but is that really where they get their supernatural power, or is that just their explanation for it? Kind of the latter, because the story seems to be that they get their power from lyrium (rather than, as in D&D, praying to the Maker each morning or whatever), and lyrium just exists in the world.
It’s always been a very interesting culture they’ve built, right from DAO, and I like that it’s only getting more complicated as we go. There’s not just Thor the Thunder God who physically exists somewhere and who grants his clerics spells every day (not that there’s anything wrong with that model, which works great in D&D)–there’s a whole vast system that no one really understands, but people try to explain, as people will.
Ah, wait, though. Seekers do NOT get their power from lyrium. Cassandra says that. It’s from meditating and doing like a vision quest and faith and shit. They’re more the straight up cleric types, and the templars are sort of fake pretending templars.
Also tie into the theme: Lyrium can mess you up. Sure, red lyrium is a mess, but you can OD on regular lyrium. We’ve seen that before. Faith=insanity? Or just fake faith.
They are great, great world builders, it’s true.
As for D&D, most, if not all, modern western RPGs all stem from D&D in some way. Bioware especially. Remember, they came to prominence with the Baldur’s Gate games, which explicitly used Version 2 rules, right down to THAC0. Spells, monsters all, right out of the hardback books.
But then, in D&D’s defense, the whole point of D&D is to let the DM (GM, whatever) craft a world with its own lore, politics, etc. They gave the framework, sure, but all the bits that bioware does so well D&D left to the DMs of the world. Or the Biowares, really, as Baldur’s gate 2 was basically a really good D&D game where they were the DM, they rolled the dice, and you didn’t have to put up with power-gamers/rules-lawyers.
True, there is the Seeker approach. And mages use lyrium to regenerate mana, but their magic doesn’t COME from lyrium. So there are several difference paths to the use of magic power — one being a quality that you’re just born with (which is sort of a defect, given that it can lead to demonic possession), one being a mental discipline, and one being, essentially, a drug trip — and each one results in a different kind of magic…but it’s all, essentially, magic in that in bends the rules of reality. (Of course, so does a rogue’s ‘sneak’ or a warrior’s ‘taunt,’ so we have to remember the sort of reality we’re working with).
And is magic enlightenment? Cuz the dwarves seem just fine. Though they kinda worshipped weirdos, too. How’d that paragon Branka thing turn out? Hmm?