Companion-related discussion of DAI, minimal spoilers
Ok, so yesterday did a bunch of companion bits. “rescued” Solas’ friend, let him kill the mages, he’s my friend now, but he still has to shut up about Sera. Finished up Josephine’s bit. Did a bunch of war table bits with Zevran. I miss Zevran. And finally met up with the Dalish elves in the Exalted plains, who are interesting.
Lots of family themes, no? Been a while since we talked on themes. Moreso than just “family,” these are people who are really reaching out. Everyone is simultaneously connected to something “big” (saving the world), and yet have a loneliness that’s leaving part of them empty.
We’ve talked a bunch on how this game questions (not criticizes, but questions) the ability of religion, in a vacuum, to be the answer to everything, but I also think it’s questioning the idea that having a high purpose is enough as well. We’re all pushed to do something “important” (get a raise, have a big house, have a job where you’re the boss), and yet that leaves a lot of people empty. Here, we have a collection of people who are all exceptional (indeed, the ‘recruit every companion’ trophy is called “The brightest of their age”). Inquisitor, right hand of the divine, grey warden, famous author, rich tevinter, spy qunari who’s the idol of an elite troop, mage who knows more of the fade than anyone, even Cole has things he can do that no other can (note, here, that the exception is Sera, and her counterpoint is another reason she’s the best character in the game, not just the cutest). Yet NONE of them are happy. ALL of them need something, someone more.
I’ll start with that.
You let Solas kill the mages? Wow, you’re hard. I rescued the friend (i.e. didn’t kill it myself–obviously couldn’t actually save it), but didn’t let him kill them, because…I mean, they were in the wrong, but they acted out of ignorance, and killing them doesn’t bring his friend back. He disapproved, but forgave me and thanked me for caring enough to try to save his friend, etc., so it didn’t permanently damage our relationship.
So along those lines, waaaaaaaay back a long time ago in Haven: did you let Leliana order that person killed when you came on her conversation in the tent, or did you intervene and ask her to give them another chance? I just let her order the death, figuring I’m new here, I hardly know her and definitely don’t know her business, but then later I was like, “yeah, but when it’s something like this and it’s in some way in my name, it SHOULD be my business regardless.”
I kind of wonder if letting her do that then contributed to how scary she later became for me: maybe I enabled her ruthlessness and “any means necessary” thinking. Although Mr. O’ stopped her at that point and I think she was still pretty ruthless later on. I’ll have to check with him.
Re: themage…yes. Interesting. Everyone is looking for something MORE, but the usual things we’re advised to turn to for MORE, for a sense of purpose and meaning (i.e. religion, a noble cause), aren’t necessarily completely doing it for them. It’s like the game is saying these things are important, or can be important, in life, but they aren’t enough on their own. Which is kind of a big statement.
Knowing that you’re carrying out the will of god and saving the entire world isn’t enough? I mean, damn.
But kind of, yeah. It could be argued that they’re kind of saying even if you have all these things: power, meaning, even if you’re marked by a high calling and pursuing a noble cause, even with a great and profound PURPOSE, you’re still going to be incomplete without connections to other people.
Even if you have everything, it’s not enough if you’re alone. I think this could really be part of the overall focus on how critical teamwork is. People HAVE TO work together. Not only because we can’t accomplish what we have to accomplish on our own, but also because even if we could, it wouldn’t make us happy on our own.
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he’s all by himself in it?”
We have to do things for other people, we have to care about other people, or it’s just…trophy hunting. Oh, hey, I saved the world! Gimme a medal, Andraste!
Which is kind of interesting coming from a solitary medium like a single-player video game…
I AM a mage. You don’t DO that sort of thing if you’re a mage. Plus, it was kind of his business. Yup, I got out of the way.
I think I stopped Leliana, though. I was less hard then. Hell, I’ve EXECUTED two people. I’m playing this (or my character is playing herself, it seems) as an innocent who’s learning about the world the hard way. It was sort of interesting that Solas asks you if you’ve changed. I picked the “I don’t THINK so….” one and he tells you you have. Told me. Told her. Whatever.
How much later on? But spoil not.
On themeage: It is a big statement. Especially when the things in question aren’t important, really, AT ALL. None of them seem to WANT to be doing this, Cassandra and Leliana BOTH are hardly “Huzzah! I get to be Divine!” They don’t WANT the promotion, or whatever it is. Indeed, I told them BOTH “But what about your own happiness?” and they seemed surprised that caring about that was an option (but they listened). Certainly, many of them have regrets. Cullen, especially, but also Josephine (who regrets her stint as a bard), Leliana, Bull (of course), etc. And it’s more nuanced than the usual “Hero with a thing in his past” trope.
Knowing you’re saving the world is not enough…or it’s too much, and therefore not enough. I’ve said many times in game that I never ASKED for this, I don’t really WANT this. Yes, nice castle, nice bed, respect, money, etc., but I don’t WANT the responsibility that comes of it. I want to go home to the Circle.
Indeed, the only one who really seems to want all that glitz (and who thinks you should) is Vivienne, and she’s the least likable one.
Sera’s love quest is called “A woman who wants for nothing.” She makes fun of Vivienne in the ensuing cutscene. I have a feeling that was intentional.
I even told Solas “We’re part of a team. It’s not just me.” He didn’t buy it, though.
There is that solitary medium bit. Though do not feed stereotypes re gamers. We have lives. Granted, my wife’s been out the last few nights and I’ve been eating sandwiches, alone, after playing DAI……. shit.
Not to harp on my girl Morrigan, here, but a running character in these games is a) an outsider wherever she goes AND b) the one here with a family. She has a kid, and a mother (whoo hoo does she) where we don’t hear much about that from anyone else. She was someone who, in DAO, if you went that way, was stunned at her own a) need and b) ability to find a connection. As I romanced her in DAO, she even says in THIS game when talking about her past and my character in DAO “We became….close. Far closer than I ever thought I could be with anyone….”
Yeah, yeah, we’ll talk later.
Interesting–so I had basically the opposite progression, initially thinking “hey, this is Leliana’s business,” but later intervening when Solas wanted to kill someone, where you (maybe) intervened with Leliana but later figured “hey, this is Solas’ business.”
Apparently we both grew into our characters in different ways. As it should be, in an RPG!
After the Adamant fortress bit, Leliana has some story. This is where I started to say “she scares me.” So it’s a bit ahead of you, but you can see how that story reads to you then, given your own character’s progression.
No, I wasn’t trying to reference “lonely gamer” stereotypes by calling it a solitary medium, I just meant literally “a thing you do by yourself while you’re doing it.” Like, it’s interesting that a thing designed to have you do it by yourself is kind of telling you “hey, go do some things with other people!”
But I didn’t mean it as specific to video games, and in fact was going to tack on a whole comparison with reading novels on your own if the novel happened to have a message of “going out and doing things besides reading novels is good,” or whatever, only I got distracted. But you certainly could say the same thing about reading a book that has an underlying message of “go do some things with other people,” since books are similarly pretty much designed to be read by one person at a time.
I guess I don’t actually think there’s anything remotely out of place about a solitary medium conveying a message about the importance of interacting with other people, since as you say, people who play games have lives. It’s not as if we can’t play a game and then go interact with people. We kind of spend most of our time interacting with other people, in fact. We interact with other people all day and THEN we get to play a game that, perhaps, reminds us why it’s not a total waste of our time to have done that. While also giving us a break from doing that, but letting us play at doing it with imagined people and imagined consequences where the implications for our actual lives are minimal.
Escapism (nothing wrong with that!), but also thoughtful.
Ah, so Leliana has more after…stuff. Yes, it has been a spell since I did some main story. Still letting the ball sink in. Getting other themes. Meant to go unlock the hissing wastes yesterday, and didn’t. Yup, I still have a completely untouched region after 66 hours. Damn. Big game.
But I AM so solitary. So lonely. But going out with the wife Sunday. Huzzah! Wonder what she looks like….
But oh so often interacting with other people IS a waste of time. He said, waiting for a contractor who is a damn hour late. The house keeps breaking. Hooray for insurance.
I need a vacation. With very few other people.
If you come in close to my timeline, you’ve got about 50 hours to go! Of course, I spent way more time hunting shards than you’re going to, so you can probably clip 10 or 20 hours off that.
It’s true, sometimes we are actually lonely and solitary. Every stereotype has a grain of truth, blah blah. And sometimes we definitely prefer to be solitary rather than interact with annoying people who show up late to fix our house, or whatever.
Maybe DAI isn’t actually telling us, “go interact with other people,” it’s saying “play this game so you can interact with people who are actually INTERESTING, and with whom you can actually get important stuff done!”
Hell with real people…these ones are better.
Man, how the hell did you finish this game so quickly? I’m playing it almost every day! Really! This isn’t some Last of Us thing where there are days I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even forty more hours…that’s ALL the time I spent on ME2! Shit, I played two hours or so last night…. I guess it’s cuz I just can’t do the four hour binges. I get tired, my eyes start to glaze, my reflexes start to suck.
It’s true, I can’t be bothered with shards. But I can’t resist a logging stand, or a quarry. Though I haven’t done anything with them yet, except a mage towery thing that doesn’t seem to have much in it. Why? Cuz building needs elfroot, too. “Build me better ramparts, men! Use the tons of stone and wood I and my companions have shed sweat and blood to bring to the glory of the inquisition!” “well….we would ma’am….it sure is a lot of stone… surely enough to build a fifty foot tower, maybe a cathedral to the inquisition itself! But….see….um…..you’re one elfroot short…..”
These people ARE better! Certainly cuter. Ahem.
Well, don’t forget I was playing nearly every day during some periods when you weren’t, like the holidays. Critically, there was also a good period of time during which Mr. O’ was doing work stuff and couldn’t play, meaning I didn’t have to share the console. I would frequently be able to get in an hour and a half or two hours a day, which allowed me to seize a commanding early lead. Add in a few longer binges on weekends, and…there you are.
Really, 116 hours (my final number), divided by, say 60 days in two months, is only 1.9 hours a day. It’s all perfectly reasonable.
Don’t worry, you’ll get there in no time.
I don’t mind. I am savoring it.
Also, new favorite piece of bioware dialog: After Solas lost his spirit friend, three dialog choices: One was “I’m so sorry” or something, one was “It’s over, deal” or something, and I picked “I don’t know what to say,” the middle option. I was expecting something like “Solas, I can’t begin to understand what you’re going through” or something dramatic like that. I got:
“Well…………..shit.” In my proper British accent.
Sera’s wearing off on me.
Speaking of Sera, finally found that last tome and became an honest to God rift mage. Whoo hoo! Nice spells. But what’s cool is the NPCs reacted. Solas approved, Cole went nuts(er): “The fade! It SHINES off of you! So much more than the others!” and Sera was deeply concerned: “you’re not getting TOO serious about this magic stuff… I mean…us…magic…” I had to tell her we were more important than any magic. We’re good, but nice that it mattered. Unlike Skyrim where I SAVED THE DAMN WORLD and my WIFE DIDN’T NOTICE.
That’s awesome! Man, I wish I had ever managed to actually expand my skill tree. I never found the last damn tome. They really were not terribly clear on how that whole thing worked, were they? Well, if I ever play it again, I’ll work harder on training. I WILL find the tome!
I suppose I could probably still do it, but somehow once the main story is over it always seems a little weird to spend too much time going back. And what the hell good is it going to do me to get extra skills now, when all the important things have already been fought and killed? Sure, I could just wander around slaying random beasts and rogue mages and templars, but…the sense of urgency is so gone.
It was unclear. It said “if you can’t find it, it’s in the wares of the book merchant in Val Royeaux” and it NEVER WAS. And I was bummed cuz I finished the “Kill three Venitori with Dorian” bit, but there I was wandering around the exalted plains, trying to find a wisdom spirit, not even WITH Dorian, and I heard that weird Venitori chanting, killed ’em hoping they’d drop a tome and BOOM. In the loot. Take it.
See, this is a trend I don’t like: the ability to keep playing after the end. The end should be the end. If we’re telling stories here, stories end. I get the whole thing about people wanting trophies, people wanting to see what’s what without the wiki, but I don’t like it. It undermines the whole idea of narrative. If you want something that’s endless, go play an MMO. The game, after the credits, should go back to the main menu and leave it there. Unless there’s after credit stuff. Is there in this one?
YES! I went to that book vendor a couple of times, and I did the other part of the mission I was supposed to do, and then I went back later to see if I’d missed anything in that area but couldn’t find anything to fight…it was not easy to gain extra skills. I didn’t wind up actually NEEDING them, I suppose, considering that I finished the whole game OK without, but it would have been nice. I’m not sure why it was so difficult.
I went back after I finished because I had a dragon I wanted to kill and an outrageously expensive item I wanted to buy (once I knew I didn’t need the money for anything else). And I feel OK about having a few specific things you want to wrap up, but yeah, I don’t really want to keep playing forever. And honestly, I could have just wrapped up those few things before I entered the endgame, if I’d known that there was no more after that–the timing certainly wasn’t critical to my enjoyment.
There is one cutscene right after the credits that you’ll want to see. Other than that, no, nothing important, it just gives you the option to get back into the game as usual, only no more plot points. The ‘gather resources’ missions are still on the war table, and I suppose other non-time-sensitive ones might have remained if I hadn’t done them all before I finished.
And random! I mean, I finished the quest with a random loot drop. It wasn’t in a temple or anything. It was a random loot drop from some dude I stumbled across around a campfire. Kind of weird. I mean, it’s supposed to be a momentous thing that changes your path and makes companions comment, and it was a random loot drop.
But…..but…..see, what you went back to do, that’s wiki shit. Next time, stay in character! Dammit.
I WILL want to see! Does it have Morrigan? Does it? Does it?
I’m not sure I like after credit cutscenes, either. I’m still bitter about the AFTER CREDIT scene in LA Noire that established the motivations for many characters, motivations that had been but a mystery for the 24 hours BEFORE the credits. Cheap.
One COULD argue it’s kind of in character to want to save the world before trekking out to the middle of nowhere to kill a dragon just for the hell of it.
It’s a very short cutscene. And no Morrigan, but kind of LIKE Morrigan. You’ll want to see. It’s…not exactly like the LA Noire scenes you describe.
No one is LIKE Morrigan. Except my character. And Miranda. And Yennifer. And Elizabeth. And Lidia.
Morrigan better not die. I will not be happy.
Your character spent countless hours climbing on sheer cliff faces to get shards before saving the world, though, didn’t she?
All right, someone with limited degrees of separation from Morrigan.
Yeah, I was on my way out the door so I couldn’t fully develop that argument. MY character can’t say that, since my character was all about magpieing all over the map and only saving the world when there was nothing else to do.
But someone who played with a bit more sense of urgency could argue that this is a good reason to allow post-finish play. Maybe someone else’s character prefers not to have that whole rift in the sky thing hanging over their head, but still wants to do some sidequesting.
Meh…I don’t feel strongly about the matter, but as a rule, I find it hard to maintain interest for long after finishing the story. But with DAI, I put in about two hours to wrap up loose ends and such, and that doesn’t feel like too much of a stretch.
Morrigan BETTER NOT BE DEAD. Promise me, dammit.
Got to the wastes last night. You ain’t kidding, there’s stuff. Didn’t hit the venitori camp. I was tired. I had already scampered around finding the last of Blackwall’s stuff, expecting him to reveal this dark secret I’ve heard so much about and he didn’t do squat. Just greatly approved. Had a chance to start a love affair with Cullen, and stayed true to Sera. OH! Then back to the mire to FINALLY get rid of all that diseased tissue and close that one rift I couldn’t do all those levels ago! No more diseased tissue! Then the wastes and rifts and getting killed by wyverns JUST cuz I wanted a logging stand, and then getting lost and finding a weird dwarf tomb thing, and calling it a day.
But that was like two hours and really….didn’t really shorten the to do list. If anything, made it longer what with the wastes.
So what’s with Blackwall?
Morrigan is not dead. Breathe. It’s OK.
After you find the last of his items, you have to go talk to Blackwall in Skyhold and then…I don’t actually know how it plays out if you’re not in a relationship with him, but I suppose he reveals it somehow that isn’t “disappear after spending the night with me.” (This guy is SUCH a winner, isn’t he?)
Diseased tissue! Woo hoo! Sera must have a strong stomach, putting up with you all this time while you’ve been carrying that around.
Those wyverns got me when I was just looking for a logging stand, too. Jerks.
Well, I’ve taken a truly disturbing number of screenshots of Morrigan just in case. SOOO happy I learned that before DAI. Though it would have been nice during TR.
Dude, Blackwall took off on you? That’s cold. I no longer feel guilty. Though I gotta admit, I HAD the opportunity with Cullen, and, he’s so vulnerable…. Still, my thing with Sera is kind of public, so he should know I’m kinda….well….gay.
Maybe that quest was a “seal the deal love” quest, like the “talk to everyone about a gift for Sera” one was. Cuz I DID talk to him at Skyhold, and he was just like “Hey, thanks.” Maybe I blew it cuz I found one thing without him, after which he was all “I would have liked to have been there.” Why, dude? I GOT the thing, didn’t I?
I kept telling Sera it was Iron Bull that smelled like diseased tissue.
I also made the mistake of running from the wyverns. Do not run. A) they can catch you and B) you are likely to run right into another batch of them, which is what I did. Which didn’t help worth a damn.
Re: your screenshot from Transistor, I’ve decided that having a real hammock in which to mull ideas would be pretty nice. I could string one between two of my willow trees. Then I would mull. I rather like hammocks.
I wish we’d had/known about screencaps with the PS3. It would have made trying to recreate my Shepard in ME3 a lot easier if I could have grabbed an image from ME2 (if you recall, the ‘import saved game’ feature didn’t completely work for me, so I was left trying to approximate the face I had before…never did get it quite right).
I’m pretty sure Blackwall eventually reveals his secret even without romance. Mr. O’ learned about it, and he definitely didn’t romance Blackwall. Maybe he just needs to work up to it.
Finished Transistor last night. It was kind of cool. Kind of weirdly surreal and I never did quite figure out EXACTLY what was going on, but pretty. Kind of softly melancholy. Loss. Memory. How we respond to change.
It was pretty short, so if you happen to have to free time open before May…
Screencaps are altogether too much fun. Though add that to the “why does she jump three times?” bin of ways games don’t really get reality right: “Hey, boss? Um, there’s wyverns over there, and Venitori over there, and it’s kind of imperative that we get a move on….what are you doing?” “I’m trying to get the light right….and the framing….and…..snap! No, no, Varric was moving….try again….”
Maybe he’ll reveal after the abyss bit? I still haven’t done the abyss bit.
Themes! In a short indie game.
This is working out nicely. You’re catching up on the sort of little nuggets you missed not having a PC. Expanding your comfort zone.