RPGs

Dragon Age Awakenings Launch

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So I ended up stopping off at my local Best Buy today to pick up DA:A as there wasn’t a real reason to pre-order or anything like that.  I’ve got about 5 hours or so in on my archer rogue and my dual-wielding warrior combined so I thought I’d give a few thoughts.

First off, if you haven’t read up on it the folks over at GreyWardens.com have a great page dedicated to all things Awakening.  I’m going to try very hard to avoid any spoilers, so here are my initial thoughts.

The carry over from DA:O was pretty smooth although I had my Warrior come over with no weapons :(  I realized that all DLC wasn’t going to transfer but I thought at least the meteorite sword wasn’t DLC but oh well, I can already tell we’re going to get much better stuff soon enough so I”m not terribly worried.  There is a thread on the forums about a way to “fix” this which does appear to work, but I’m not claiming it is the correct way to do it.  If you’re interested here’s the link. However, I am a little concerned that it appears the Warden’s Keep Blood skills don’t seem to be working quite right but maybe I’m just not paying enough attention.

I’m enjoying the story so far as you pretty much jump right into things with a couple of subtle hints about what has transpired in DA:O but nothing terribly game changing.  It does move pretty quick, but I think I’d rather have that then a slow start, but that’s just me.  And for those of you who complained that your decisions didn’t matter in DA:O, already I’ve seen quite a few that could have totally changed the course of my adventures and some are pretty tough calls!  I’m real curious to see how this builds and where the story goes as so far I’m much more hooked then I was at this point within DA:0.

And lastly, I’ll comment on the new skills and such – many of them sound VERY cool, can’t wait to check them out as I level up.  As for the new Specializations many are obtainable right off the bat either as drops or vendor purchased so that’s not a huge deal.  And probably my favorite item is the re-spec scroll that is at one of the local vendors :)

More later – assuming I can pry myself away, but I will admit most of my upcoming news will be more DA focused and less LOTRO…

 

More Awakening

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And the news from Bioware keeps on coming :)  Some of it is good, and some is not so exciting (for me at least)

They’ve released on their wiki site information about some of  the new Mage spells which do sounds pretty darn cool!  This is coupled with the announcement that one of the new specialization lines for mages is the Battlemage.  But one of my concerns from my previous post was confirmed in that many of the Battlemage spells (which were showed in the videos) can in fact create friendly fire incidents and as such careful positioning will be required.  Basically this line allows the mage to create a pulsating ring of various kinds of damage depending on the spell used.  Certainly some cool stuff, but will be a bit tricky.

The Friday update also released info on Sigrun, and there’s a blog from one of the lead writer’s going into more detail on her story. Not a whole lot of new information but nice to fill out the back-story of this character.  Also, I might have missed this somewhere else, but they talk about runes that can be added to weapons (I’m guessing a similar concept to how LOTRO does it for legendary items), which will be a nice way to further customize things.

And finally, the Awakening FAQ has been updated with information from Bioware’s new Community Facilitator.  This is the “bad news” I was referring to at the top of this post.  DLC items will not carry over into Awakenings, which means that content from an item perspective (one of the selling points) is a total waste.  I still appreciated the storylines but it does strike me as a bit odd they resorted to this decision.  However, at least the Warden’s Keep abilities will import, so that’s a good thing as I do like those :)  Oghren is confirmed to be the character joining us which does sadden me a bit but at least they do confirm there are cameos from the other characters that will follow the choices we made in Origins.  They also imply (or it might be a straight admission depending how you read it) that we’ll only hear from Alistair and Wynne, which is also disappointing, although I can understand the decision as those are potentially the only ones who stick around.

Some other information throughout the FAQ, but those were the main items I saw.

For the most part, some good things coming but I am a bit bummed about the character choice and follow through of the storylines with the rest of the companions.  We shall see as we get closer but things overall are looking good!

 

Dragon Age Awakening updates

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So yesterday was a pretty big day for Awakening news with 2 gameplay videos and another character revealed.  Once again, we see more shots of Oghren (the dwarf from Origins) included in these videos so there are theories that he’s the character who rolls over from Origins.  I really hope it is not him and that they’re just teasing us, but we shall see.  Overall, I really don’t think there’s a bad choice (other then maybe Sten) for the returning character but my favorites would be Morrigan, Alistair, Leliana, or Zevran.  Heck, even having the dog return would be fun :)  Whatever they decide, I do hope there’s some tie in a codex (their version of a deed log) entry or some other in-game mechanism to learn about our previous companions.

First off, 2 new reviews are up as both Destructoid.com and Gamespot.com were given a chance to play through some of the game.  Both reviews are somewhat similar and mention that Awakenings really isn’t about any specific feature but more amping up what we all loved about Origins.  There’s some discussion on some of the new surprises from the various mobs as well as some new tricks up the sleeves of our characters.  But overall, there really isn’t all that much new information coming out of these reviews.

For me the real exciting new things were out of the gameplay footage.  You can find the videos over on GreyWardens.com and while there is some footage we’ve already seen there’s some really interesting new pieces.  Mixed in with the gameplay is some more shots of the new areas which do look very cool – not that I’d expect anything different as I quite enjoyed the look and feel of Origins.  So far, the two main classes we’ve seen announced have been mage-types so it was cool to see some of the new spells in all their glory.  There’s a number of AoE spells and I’m curious how that will impact your party as Dragon Age has the concept of friendly fire.  Many of the AoE spells I’m real careful with as my party members aren’t always out of range ;)  The is also a bit at the start of the 1st video with some melee action and a skill that reminds me of the warrior skill from drinking the blood that’s an AoE knockback.

And finally we get introduced to Sigrun who’s a member of the Legion of the Dead.  Some interesting back-story as well as some more cool footage in the videos.  We do get to see her in battle, but nothing new or exciting from a skill perspective other then she’s a dual-wielding warrior type.

So far, I’m pretty happy with the direction they’ve taken our new companions as it really has opened up the expanse of this world.  Instead of just bringing in new Grey Warden recruits from Ferelden we’re gathering people from a much broader area.  Also, the new skills and spells are looking pretty cool such that we will truly feel like we’re getting more powerful!  I am curious to see if they’ll balance things out a bit more such that magic isn’t as overpowered as it is in Origins.

I haven’t pre-ordered this, but certainly am planning on buying this expansion as it really is shaping up to be pretty impressive!  Now granted, if they toss out some deals or incentives to pre-order I might change my mind but there really is no driver to buy now as opposed to waiting till the release.  Especially since their previous update was delayed by over 3 months.

And yes, I’ll be back to more LOTRO news – but I was pretty excited about this news :)

 

More Single Player Focus recently

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So I’ve been quiet lately and that’s mainly due to real-life distractions and work getting quite a bit busier for me.  I really haven’t had much time to fully devote to a game so I’ve steered more towards single-player games that I can pause :)

I’ve got a backload of LOTRO items, and will be getting back into a better blogging routine as I”m really itching to get back to Middle-Earth.  Especially since there’s a new raiding group that I joined so I’ll have a chance to get back into some more of the end-game stuff that I so enjoy!  I’ll be working on my minstrel and as such you’ll probably see some more posts on his progress and how I handle skirmishes as well.

The biggest in-game news for me is that my mule kinship (which was formed with the help of some of the blogging community) reached rank 7 and the kin-house right behind my house was still available.  So I’ve been slowly moving things around and filling that up, and working to re-build my bank account ;).  Here’s a shot of my minnie out front of my new and sparsely decorated house.  Too bad you can’t mail items across servers as I know Merric and Goldenstar have TONS of household items ;)

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I’m sure you can guess the main one single-player distraction, yes that would be Dragon Age: Origins.  I’ve been through the RtO content and then decided I would finish the game on my dual-wielding warrior.  I probably should have upped the difficulty to hard (or whatever’s above normal) as it was pretty easy for me, but then again I was really mainly playing to finish up the storylines and play with some different options.  I’m not real sure if I’m going to play another go-around, we’ll see how RL goes.  And if I do another game, I will up the difficulty and most likely NOT do Orzamar as by far that zone is the longest and least enjoyable for me.  I did find some new spells that I hadn’t used before (the mana-leech line is un-real) so I’ll probably try some other things out too.  I may also try out some more of side-quests as I think I’ve only completed something like 60% of the game (which seems weird).  But I am getting pretty excited for the expansion as they are slowly letting news out on it.  There’s been a video of a new boss, the first announced character Anders (also in the gallery link), and screen-shots of Vigil’s Keep. I’m still waiting to see the other characters, how the skills and such will change, and probably most importantly which character is continuing on with us on our journey.  But we still have 6 weeks before launch, and here’s hoping it is smoother then Ostagar ;)

The other game I’ve picked back up is Mount and Blade which is developed by Taleworlds  There are a number of things I really like about this game, even though it isn’t the best looking or most recent game out there:

  • I love the way they’ve done mounted combat – it does take a bit to get used to but I really enjoy it
  • I’m a medieval timeframe junky and enjoy building an army, reputation, and trying to acquire/hold land.  Plus who doesn’t have fun storming the castle!
  • Even with the as-shipped game there’s multiple factions, lots of armor/weapons, and troop variations that all make lots of differences
  • There’s still a pretty active community that’s not only helpful but is releasing custom built content and modifications too

The game isn’t perfect (especially since it likes to overheat my poor GPU for some reason) but it is a nice enjoyable distraction for me at the moment.  So if you like the period and are interested in a game that combines strategy with more dynamic combat you might want to check it out.  The demo allows you to reach level 7 and the full version costs $30.

 

Finally, Return to Ostagar

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So the PC and XBox versions of Bioware’s Dragon Age Origins first post launch downloadable content have been released and are available to play after quite a LONG delay.  No word on the PS3 version though.  I have no clue what happened, and really don’t care as it is behind all of us.  I downloaded it last night, and ended up playing through it on my dual-wielding warrior.  Granted, she is level 15 and working through the dwarf area before heading to the Landsmeet so my party is already pretty well decked out.

There’s lots of the information on the DLC already out there, but I’ll try not to spoil too much but you’ll notice the note before my last paragraph where the potential spoilers are.  The content itself isn’t all that long but it was enjoyable to wrap up all the loose ends.  Lots of good dialog and flashbacks mixed  in with the various battles.  I felt the duration and pacing felt about right – as it is about as long as Warden’s keep, possibly a bit shorter.  Some good teasers and hints for what’s coming up in the expansion, so that was a pleasant surprise.  A couple of potentially tricky fights, but I’m still on the medium difficulty on my 3rd play-through, so nothing terribly difficult.  For me, I enjoyed it and it was worth the$5.  Will I be getting more DLC for DA:O?  I’m not sure – but I will be definitely getting the expansion.

(spoilers follow)

Now for a bit of the down-side (and spoiler info) as there a couple of things I didn’t like.  First off, all the items obtained are Tier 5 (best is Tier 7) and the armor only helps from a stamina perspective and coolness factor.  I figured if Alister’s going to be king he should look the part, so I’m sacrificing a bit of his survivability for looks ;).  But I find it very weird that the king isn’t wearing better armor or that I have a number of weapons better then Duncaan’s swords.  It just struck me as weird that for content geared at level 13/14 ish (just going of the Strength requirement for the armor) that it is so much worse then Wade’s Dragon Plate and the Juggernaut set.  But I think the most disappointing part was they didn’t have anything in there regarding Duncaan as I we should’ve at least been able to bury him.

Anyway, I’m glad I played it and now I’ll finish off this play-through and get ready for Awakenings.

 
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