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Note: mild spoilers about DAI content

Butch:

Oh look, I got to play!–
for like, half a damn hour.

So I killed the mayor of Crestwood (do NOT kill kids, man), talked to some dudes. I played cards with Varric, flirted with Sera (and played pranks, that was fun), and watched Cole erase someone’s mind.

THAT’S IT!

In other words, I’m going to spend three or four playing sessions just doing stuff at Skyhold.

And here’s what’s weird: I don’t mind. Like, at all. And I think that’s another thing this game does well. Other games that have lots of different stuff (Say, Assassin’s Creed 4, with it’s sailing, chasing shanties, playing checkers, etc.) feel disjointed. Checkers, sailing, not the same. Could be lots of different games in one. This game, fighting, looting, talking, playing pranks, flirting, doing war table stuff, all so different, yet it never feels disjointed.

Man that’s hard to do.

I think this game is not dropping as many jaws as it should because it’s making very, very hard to do things look easy.

Feminina:

You could spend an entire week of game sessions just doing Skyhold stuff. Talking to the 300 people who work there, chatting with your 80 sworn companions…I finally got Dagna. You mentioned her earlier and I was like “there must be some other room I haven’t found in my damn castle,” but no, I just hadn’t sent anyone to “acquire the arcanist” yet.

It was good to see her. I helped her become what she is today! Well…some incarnation of me did.

I went to Orlais last night to follow up on the ‘save the empress’ mission, and it’s pretty interesting. Kind of different gameplay than we’ve had up to now. Nothing time-sensitive, so definitely deal with business in your fortress, but…you’ll have reason to be pleased.

Butch:

Yeah, it was pretty neat to have Dagna be all “The hero of Ferelden was SOOO awesome!” Have to agree.

I like how they are referencing the old yous. Neat.

Orlais? Ok, that’s it, you are officially a million miles ahead of me. I’m still not ready, as I JUST hit level 11, and the rest of my party is still ten for the most part. Nowhere near ready. Got some in last night. Did Sera’s companion quest (march through Verachielaigh something something, go meet a noble, kill him, that sort of thing, much flirting), judged the dude who killed everyone in the future (had him help mages in redcliffe, he was just trying to help kids, not kill them like Crestwood dude), met Bull’s chargers, got the “Qunari fleet” mission, the “find the seekers” mission…..in other words I spent a week making my to do list longer, not shorter.

I’m going to do the seekers, and the Bull, and then FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY going to the Western Approach. Still can’t go to Orlais. Says level 12-15. And she’s there, isn’t she? Morrigan? Yeah.

So two questions: Is that part even getting close to anything that looks like an end? and
Did you do that Ventinori thing that takes 20 power to unlock?

Oh, and “it’s a poultice. You’re not supposed to drink it” was wonderful.

Feminina:

“It’s a poultice, you’re not supposed to drink it” made my evening.

Morrigan? Who’s Morrigan? Ha.

Venatori…I know I unlocked that, because I have a habit of unlocking everything as soon as I see it, even if I have no intention of going there right away (I just have all this power stacked up, so I automatically spend it whenever I get a chance). I don’t think I finished it.

Was that in the Hissing Wastes? Mining operations? If so, then I went there and it was murderously hard, so I left. I should go back, though, because that was several levels ago and I can probably put up a better fight now.

I’m 16th level now, and it got to be kind of like “I’d better go deal with this 11-15 task, or I’m going to feel stupidly overpowered when I get there.” I do already feel kind of overpowered, but I’m compensating by not wearing armor. That’ll make the villains feel like losers. When they lose, especially.

The part where I am now feels more like a solid middle. Maybe more late-middle. Lots of plot complication, some decisions to make that will undoubtedly have repercussions later. No sign of an end in the near future.

Butch:

And only us old schoolers will get it. Hooray for in jokes!

Morrigan is this fly hottie apostate. Hold on, I will search the internet for pictures out of sheer dedication to the blog.

Ah, see, I only unlock if I’m going. That’s how I keep track of what it is I’ve actually done. Otherwise I end up like you.

When you get all the scoutable places, at the point where you can go to Orlais, you get the western approach, Crestwood, the hissing wastes, and….something else that costs 8 power. The Emerald something or other. You also get this weird “hunt Ventinori” thingy that costs 20 power. Like I said, I’m following the Warden/Hawke thing until I’m strong enough to do Orlais.

16th?!?!?! Fuck, are you not sleeping? Starving your child? How ever did you visit us for four hours without getting withdrawal pangs? Pace yourself. TW3 got delayed.

Man, what, 70 hours and solid middle. Shit, this is going to be 200 hours, isn’t it?

Feminina:

Ah, Morrigan. You know, though, she’s not actually a BEBHBB. Her eyes are…not blue. I’m surprised she meets your exacting standards.

I should probably do like you and unlock only when I’m ready to go somewhere, but I just kind of figure “this is probably a place I’ll want to get to sometime, so I might as well just make sure it’s open when I do.” Plus, what with closing fade rifts and fulfilling requisitions everywhere I go, I have so damn much Power…I just feel this need to exercise it in some way.

Hunt Venatori…given that I unlock everything, I definitely unlocked that, but I honestly don’t have any vivid memory of what happened. It might have been one of those things that leads into another quest that doesn’t have “venatori” written all over it or whatever, so you kind of lose track of what prompted it.

The Emerald Graves, though…I wandered around there for a while, a while ago. Should probably go back. But first, the Hissing Wastes.

I just did everything I could do in the Western Approach except slay a dragon. Yes, I finally got a mission that was “slay a dragon.” Since there are dragons everywhere, I knew that was coming. I fought it for a while, and then died, and decided to come back later. It wasn’t an INSTANT death, so that maybe if we could survive longer and pick away at it more we could have won, but these endless chipping away battles aren’t my favorite thing to do in a game. I decided to hunt darkspawn and collect shards instead.

71 hours, solid middle. So many places still to explore.

Butch:

Yes, it’s so. Morrigan’s eyes are like light dusky violet. But LDVEBHBB is just too many letters. It’s ridiculous! I can’t have a ridiculous acronym fucking up the blog, now can I? I figured, they were a variant of blue, as blue is in violet.

Yeah, I have 43 power or something in there somewhere. But I save. Marshall that power. Never know when you’ll need it.

“You kind of lose track of what prompted it”: This I believe. Seeing as doing anything unlocks about 97 other things to do. I think that, if you do the math, this game has more possible world states and quest lines than there are atoms in the solar system.

Like, say, today. I think: “I’ll go do that Cassandra thing, then flirt.” So the Cassandra thing took FAR longer than I thought it would, then flirting took FAR longer than I thought it would (Shit, in this game, a casual flirty bit leads to another, and another, and another….) and now I have a quest called “A woman that wants for nothing” which consists of asking people what Sera might want from me. Guess which people. I’ll spoil it. ALL OF THEM! So my Skyhold map now has more diamonds on it than Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Note: I’ve been in Skyhold for over a week. Maybe, five, six sessions. Maybe five hours of game time. In that time, I haven’t done anything except talk and stuff, save for Cassandra’s bit, and, as a reward, I now have, I counted, ten more diamonds on that map than I did when I started.

Just….. wow.

I’m never going to leave Skyhold again. Shit, I just now figured out where Vivienne hangs out.

Jesus. Thank you for delaying TW3.

So, as the last few things I’ve done have been a) chat up the chargers b) Help Cassandra with the whole missing seekers bit (have you done that?) and c) chat up Sera, get to know her, learn her backstory, I see another theme, or perhaps a variation of theme.

So, obviously, faith figures big in this game. Savior imagery, sure, but also who we believe in in mortal terms as well. What makes a leader as much as a savior. Both, really, but there ya go. Should you appear holy? Strong? Human? Involved? Aloof? Should you dress up like Vivienne wants? What does that all mean? Can you be all things to all people? Should you try? Etc.

But these last three things bring up something else: Family. Cassandra’s family is the seekers, Bull’s the chargers, Sera Red Jenney. These storylines are about what it means to believe in a group, to feel like the group you believe in believes in you back. I think it’s telling that this game’s subtitle is “Inquisition,” not “Inquisitor” or “Herald of Andrastae” or something. It’s about the group, the family. Shit, that’s why we PLAY Bioware games, because we like the group.

Feminina:

I saved Power for a while, but I’ve been unlocking everything in sight and still have 170 right now. I just can’t spend enough of it to make a difference. Maybe the final plot mission will require 300 Power to unlock or something.

I kind of love that you have to ask everyone what Sera might like. Obviously, everyone knows your business and has an opinion! I wonder if it will also hurt the feelings of those you’re not flirting with anymore now that you’ve got Sera?

Butch:

170?!?!!?!??! DUUUUUDE. I thought 43 (without unlocking ANYTHING) was a lot.

Put down the controller. Go eat something.

I wonder if when you get set to get set with someone, there’ll be something else. Cuz it seems it’s really the game making you tell everyone. (It starts with Sera saying “Ok, I got you a hat, but it was ugly, so I stuffed it with potatoes and wrote corrythypants on it and had Varric shoot it.” And she runs off, and you say “We’re getting each other gifts?” The sheer awesome of all that, and the hat joke, is awesome.

I only asked Varric (who said “That question never has a right answer,” typical Varric), Bull (“So you and Sera? Nice catch, boss.”) and Cole (Totally, totally awesome. “I want to get her a present that means something.” “A thing that means something that is not a thing….a thing that means something else, something it not is.” “Yes.” “I’ve never given someone something like that. Not in this world. Perhaps in the fade. But if you want to give her something that is not that thing, do not give it to her in the fade. That would be bad if you did. Bad.” “Thanks, Cole.”).

Josephine hasn’t commented, and asked me to get involved with her family shit. No heart options anymore, though. I was expecting garment rending heartbreak. Sigh.

Other awesome: When you decide to be girlfriends, she starts calling you “Inky.” “What, I’m not going to call you Inquisitor or Herald or your worship.” You roll your eyes, and she says “What, why don’t you whisper your bedroom name in my ear.” you lean forward, whisper something (no dialog choice), she bursts out laughing, and says “That’s awful. For that, I call you Buckles.” And she does, from then on, call you Buckles.

Feminina:

I just can’t stop closing rifts and filling requisitions! The Power! It accumulates! 215 when I signed out last night. It’s kind of ridiculous.

Josephine told me about her sad family stuff…I haven’t completely worked through that with her, although we started. I should get back to that, now that I’ve killed everything in the Hissing Wastes except that GIANT DRAGON that’s sitting on the last few items of interest.

Fought it for about 15 minutes and chipped it down maybe 25% before it killed us all. Yeah…I’m a badass, but dragons are still too badass for me. There’s no shame in being bested by a GIANT DRAGON, people. Let’s retreat and come back when we’re 50th level.

Butch:

Which, for you, should be Thursday.

I’m starting to worry about you, I really am. I didn’t play at all this weekend, what with, you know, family and stuff. But now they’re back to school and work and Mrs. McP’s staying late to go to the gym three nights a week. Look out Western Approach (that I still haven’t even fucking scouted.)

Feminina:

I don’t even play that much! Just, like, an hour a day, maybe. Hour and a half, tops. Not even every day.

Butch:

Um, I’m at 36 hours, you’re north of 70, maybe 80. You’re playing somewhere.

I’ll catch you. Sort of. Maybe.

Feminina:

Well, I did let my child go feral and my dust bunnies expand to the point that they’re developing a written language…plus, I don’t follow sports. Or have family come over. Those things will slow you down.

Butch:

Yeah. Though the Bruins did me a favor and have been sucking. Nice of them.

Going feral is a good lesson for the rest of his life. Prepares him, it does.

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