Return to Dragon Age

Dragon Age: Inquisition is out this week, and I have absolutely no idea what is going on anymore.

Sure, I played Dragon Age: Origins when it came out back in 2009 (!), but I never finished the game. Seeing as it’s been almost five years since the last time I played, I don’t remember much from it. From what I do remember, I made it though about 75% of the game before calling it quits. I think the game just got boring after a while, and my interest waned. I’ve basically ignored everything Dragon Age from that point, including Dragon Age II.

I went to BioWare’s panel at last year’s PAX (after queueing for easily over an hour), but I was pretty much only there for Mass Effect stuff. A large percentage of the audience seemed way more interested in what they had to say about Dragon Age, which I didn’t really understand at the time.

But it’s 2014. Rick Astley was just interviewed on the radio, Taylor Swift is no longer on Spotify, and this week, Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out. All the reviews I’ve read have been overwhelmingly positive, which means it must be time for a new foray into the Dragon Age universe. After all, BioWare are renowned for their storytelling (see: Mass Effect) and characters — two things which are right up my alley in terms of gaming, even though most of my gaming is spent losing at Dota 2 these days.

Unlike Dota 2 or even something like Shadows of Mordor, the biggest problem with lore-driven games like the Dragon Age series is that it’s hard to get into, once you’ve been out. Dota 2 has problems of its own in that it’s not really a game but more a life commitment, but that’s for another time. The Fallout games are pretty similar, I find — because you’re coming back to a playthrough you’ve spent upwards of 50 hours in, you’re not really sure what you’re doing or what’s going on. What do all these buttons do? What weapons am I using? Why do I need to find this weed on the other side of the map?

It’s like that with Dragon Age: Origins, too. I had backups of my character files and wanted to finish the game before it Inquisition was released later this week, but after loading it up and getting it all setup again, I realised I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going, or what the status of the story was. I walked into a room, ran into some rabid dogs, and died almost immediately as I had no idea what any of my skills did. I must have had some idea, about five years ago, but yeah, no idea today.

I quickly gave up on that idea, and checked out other places on the internet. Thankfully, Kotaku published a semi-coherent read of the races and factions within the Dragon Age universe. There’s references to Lord of the Rings which is handy for some, but I managed to glean an OK amount of information from it — enough to get started, anyway.

In preparation for Inquisition I also checked out the Dragon Age Keep, which let you shape your world status using a number of questions in the game. It was alright, but I felt as though there wasn’t enough backstory to back up the choices — mostly it was just “did you let this character live or die”, “did you side with the Templars or the Mages”, without giving you any context why you might have made a decision either way. Maybe I was expecting too much from it, and that kind of stuff was reserved for people who actually played the games.

Anyway, between the Dragon Age Keep and the Dragon Age wiki, I managed to cross-reference enough stuff to make informed decisions about what choices I “made”. All that’s left now is to create a character and dive right into the Dragon Age universe once more.

These words part of Blogvember, a thing I just made up right then about getting back into blogging. You can read more words about Blogvember right over here, but the gist is that I'll be attempting to post something up on the blog every day in November 2014. Read other Blogvember posts.

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