Archive for the ‘Dragon Age’ Category

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Songs To Soothe

July 19, 2011

5 lovely game songs to soothe the mind, settle the stomach, fall asleep to when your  body’s on the mend.

Minecraft – Sweden

Back during my early days of playing Minecraft, I happened to chance upon a zombie pit while digging for coal in the side of a mountain. Because this was on Blue Kae’s multiplayer server back when all of us were still invincible, I was able to rid the place of the undead rather painlessly, plant my torches around the spawning pen and loot the treasure box at my leisure. Amidst its contents, I found a record.

Of course, it was another handful of days or so before I found the diamond block necessary for the (literal) centerpiece of my jukebox. I stuck it in, and the synthetic and upbeat “Cat” began to play. I think working on my in-game beachfront property to this tune is what made me fall in love with C418 and Minecraft music. When I bought the Volume Alpha soundtrack, this song “Sweden” was and remains one of my favorites.

It’s also my alarm because it’s such a beautiful song to wake up to.

Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer – Villages of Khitai

Thanks to composer Knut Avenstroup I think Age of Conan has the best soundtrack of any MMO. We had Helene Bøksle’s haunting vocals spicing up the soundtrack for Hyborian Adventures, but the Asian-themed expansion required something different. But the result is no less beautiful. I mean, my GOD, listen to this. If you’ve never listened to the whole thing, do yourself a favor or at least go to what in my opinion is the best part, which starts at approximately 1:39.

Oh, and a funny thing about the above video is, whoever made it actually grabbed one of the screenshots they used from this very blog. At 0:36, I was like, “Helloooooo, that’s familiar”. It’s my very own Khitan alt Xiaohuli.

Rift – Stillmoor

Inon Zur is another genius in the music composing business and he does a lot of games. Rift actually has a pretty good soundtrack all around, but the first time I set foot in Stillmoor and I heard this beautiful tune I was floored. Still patiently waiting for the day Trion decides to release the soundtrack separately, digital download would be nice.

But this might not actually be as soothing as I think it is, because really, only the intro is like that and even listening to that part actually gives me chills every single time.

Lord of the Rings Online – Red Stone and Golden Leaves

Same as I wrote last year, the song “Hills of the Shire” remains my favorite LOTRO track, even though the Tom Bombadil theme comes close (seriously, doesn’t that song just make you want to kick off your shoes, put on a floppy hat and prance around in a flowery field outside) but ever since I hit level 30-ish this “Red Stone and Golden Leaves” song has started growing on me. It’s probably not a coincidence that this is around the time you get to Rivendell, and that’s the song that plays when you enter the city.

Dragon Age: Origins – I Am The One

Another gem from Inon Zur. I think everything sounds infinitely more awesome when sung by a woman with a somber voice in an unintelligible language, in this case, the Dragon Age elven language. Heruamin lotirien. I don’t know what any of it means, but it doesn’t make me love it any less.

There is also a DJ Killa remix which if I remember correctly played during the end credits. I don’t know what it is, but when I heard it I just thought it was the perfect conclusion. Is a song still considered soothing if it makes you cry?

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A Champion Has Risen – Thoughts On Dragon Age II

March 24, 2011

Note: No spoilers, until the last few paragraphs, plenty of warning forthcoming.

Let me just start this post off by saying I was a huge, huge, huge, HUGE, HUGE fan of Dragon Age: Origins, so to say I was excited about Dragon Age II is the understatement of the year.

Of course, there were several things I was mindful of before playing. On top of some major changes to gameplay, I knew that DA2, while set in the same world and time period as its predecessor, will also take place in a different city and center around the life and adventures of a new protagonist, Hawke.

I won’t lie; there was just the teensiest twinge of disappointment when I first heard this news last year. Admittedly, so much of my enjoyment of the first game came out of my emotional investment into my human noble warrior, and the attachment I felt to her companions, the Grey Warden mythos, and Ferelden. Nevertheless, I was open to something new — change can be good, and BioWare has shown with Mass Effect that they are entirely capable of following up a game with a killer sequel.

So go ahead and bring it.

My verdict: mostly good. Make that mostly very, very good. Despite some minor issues I had with the gameplay and story, I can truthfully say without disguise or exaggeration that Dragon Age II is probably one of the best fantasy RPGs I have ever played.

First of all, certain aspects from the first game such as the conversation system and user interface have been improved or modified to be much more functional and enjoyable, which should make even the most casual fans of fantasy RPGs feel at home. Some of the changes and their similarities to Mass Effect were not lost on me, like the addition of the dialogue wheel and the removal of multiple character origins so that the player only has the choice of playing Hawke, though we are still free to choose the gender and class of our character.

Some of these changes may make the game more appealing to a wider audience. I seem to remember reactions and opinions being quite polarized when I think back to Dragon Age: Origins, as in people either loved it or couldn’t stand it at all. As much as I enjoyed the game, even now I’d hesitate to recommend DA:O to just anybody. With DA2, however, I think I’d feel a little more confident about doing so, knowing there might be a better chance it will be well-received.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that the thing I liked most about the game is the story, and I think most of us will agree that that’s where the strength lies in any BioWare title. In fact, I think DA2 got the storytelling down so well, that it almost made the other RPG elements like combat feel trivial. I won’t deny that there were many moments of groaning and swearing at the computer screen — mostly times where I found myself being jumped by yet another gang of bandits, when all I could think was Arrgh! Get this stupid fight over with already so I can find out what happens next!

Uhhh...fine day for a bloodbath?

That’s not to say I felt combat was weak. Actually, I thought they’ve made it more fun and flexible than ever. Being tactical or not seems to be more of a choice. I did some micro-managing and issuing commands to my companions, but mostly I just played DA2 like any action game, hacking and slashing away with my warrior Hawke. Still, as much as I enjoyed splitting darkspawn skulls with my huge-ass sword and watching my foes explode before my unstoppable whirlwind ability, the novelty inevitably started to wear off and feel a little repetitive.

Hawke’s activities being restricted to the same city and its surrounding areas for the whole game probably didn’t help that very much. Dungeons all looked the same, and you also returned to some of them again and again. Kirkwall started to feel like a home, but it was still a bit of a downer to realize I wasn’t going to be adventuring anywhere else.

But like I alluded to before, the strength of this game and what makes up for its faults is its story, its elaborate twists and turns and the impact of the decisions you get to make. At first, I was a little skeptical. I was a couple hours in, and still there was no sign of any pressing danger, dire catastrophe, or malignant evil threatening to take over the world. Contrast that to Dragon Age: Origins, where almost immediately you are thrown into the midst of a blight and tasked to stop an archdemon. So, here was Hawke, running around doing quests in Kirkwall. What happened to my epic journey? Where’s the sense of urgency?

Dragon Age 2 turned out not to follow the basic formula, and I think I ended up liking the game better for it. Don’t panic — you still get to kill darkspawn and slay dragons, but for the most part, the story revolves around the politics and socio-cultural conflicts of Kirkwall. We only got a brief glimpse into the tensions between mages, the Templars, and the Chantry in the first game, so it was a pleasant surprise to be given the chance to delve further into these issues in the sequel. The set up made for more complex plotlines and having to make much more difficult decisions, which I can appreciate. I was not prepared for all the crazy surprises and shocking developments, but happy moments, sad moments, outrageous moments — I loved them all.

A fully-voiced and expressive Hawke.

One major change I loved about DA2 (and likely had a hand in improving the storytelling) was a fully-voiced and expressive Hawke. I can deal with silent, but I can’t tell you how frustrating it was in DA:O to see my Warden stare blankly into space like a storefront mannequin even during the most emotional situations. In DA2 I delighted in having my Hawke wrinkle her nose in disgust, narrow her eyes in annoyance, or raise her eyebrows in a questioning manner. It made my character feel like a more realistic and unique individual, and like in Mass Effect, being able to give responses that reflected different emotions (nice, sarcastic, aggressive, etc.) also allowed for some downright hilarious quest situations.

This also helped me form quick attachments to my Champion and her companions. I liked how there were a lot more ways to involve them in my conversations and interactions with the game environment, and there’s definitely a more authentic edge to the way my party members would act or speak. It made me approach my companions in a different way than in other Bioware games, like caring more about those I liked and treating the ones I disliked more harshly. Involving emotions and other believable elements in the game seemed to have led me to react to them in a more realistic manner as well.

*smooch* *smooch*

My romantic prospects, however, were another matter. In this area, I felt the first game handled things better, and it’s not just my bias for Alistair talking here, I swear! Simply put, in DA:O, romancing a companion felt like an epic tale unto itself; there was courtship, a clash of emotions, the surprises and unpredictability of a relationship, and the whole nine yards. As opposed to the innuendos and the sometimes cringe-worthy one-liners you get to spout in DA2 like a drunken date. Awkwaaaaard. And why is it that we are always stuck with emo guys?

Despite my little nitpicks, Dragon Age 2 is still overall a great game. I really can’t decide if I like it better than Dragon Age: Origins. Probably better, even though they both have their strong and weak points. However, one thing I know that can never be substituted is the warm and fuzzy feeling I first got when I played DA:O, that ineffable sensation that washed over me the moment I discovered I had a very special fantasy RPG on my hands. Like a first love, it’s a feeling that’s difficult to explain, once in a lifetime and unlikely to happen with any other Dragon Age title again. Still, while the first game will always be special to me, Dragon Age 2 is definitely a clear improvement overall. Bioware does it again, delivering a sequel absolutely worthy of its original.

Warning: Spoiler-free zone ends here. Do not read past image if you don’t want spoilers.

Spoilers ahead! Avert thine eyes!

For those curious as to what I did, I played a female warrior Hawke, customizing her to make her look as much as possible like my character from DA:O for old times’ sake. As I said, I tended to treat my companions in a more realistic manner in DA2, and one of the things my character would not tolerate was whenever one of my companions would willfully lie to her or deceive her. For example, when Isabela revealed that she knew more about her lost relic than she let on, I turned my back on her, making her up and leave me, never to return again. Whatever, good riddance, pirate wench.

My sister Bethany the mage also played a huge part in how I approached the Mage-Templar conflict. I played the part of the doting sister, defended good mages everywhere, and defied Templar demands wherever I could. Even my mother’s death did not sway me in thinking that all mages were ultimately dangerous and needed to be locked up. I even romanced Anders (even though out-of-character, I really didn’t want to, ugh!) and as crotchety as he was to all my other companions, I put up with his crap because I figured he and Hawke meant something to each other.

It was probably my character’s romance with Anders that led me to side with the Templars in the end after he went all whackjob on everyone and blew up the Chantry. My poor, disillusioned Hawke just couldn’t continue fighting for the mages when the champion of the cause and the love of her life was responsible for something that heinous. Justice/Vengeance-possessed or not, Hawke couldn’t let Anders get away with it. I was pretty pissed off too, considering how I never really even wanted to be stuck with Anders in the first place. I gave him a chance and he blew it, so he had to die. Obviously.

Of course, right after sticking that dagger in him I realized I just killed off my one and only healer. Yes, it made the fight after that and the final battle with the First Enchanter such a pain in the ass, but damn it all, I wasn’t about to go and revert back to a previous save just to spare Anders, so I stuck it out. The First Enchanter, who had resorted to blood magic to become an abomination in the end (even though I offered him a way out for the sake of my sister and everyone in Kirkwall) pretty much just me think I made the right choice as well. Mages becoming dangerous when cornered was the major argument from Templar supporters, and the actions of the First Enchanter just proved them right, if you asked me.

Two great things happened after the fight — 1) I still got to kill Knight-Commander Meredith, who was much too batty to be allowed to live, really, and 2) Bethany rejoined my party so I got my healer back! So even though the final fight against Meredith was way more complex, I also had a much, much easier time.

I was ambivalent about the concluding narrative. Even though I sided with the Templars, my ending wasn’t so very different from those who I saw sided with the mages — mages everywhere still took a stand, finding hope in the events of Kirkwall. And all the companions dispersed, except for the Champion’s love interest, of course. In my case, that was Anders…and I still got the “stayed by my side” line even though I killed him. Well, I guess they meant it in a figurative, haunt-me-for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of way…

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Developer Appreciation Week (DAW): Saying My Thanks!

March 21, 2011

Last year, Scarybooster came up with a concept — one that I would love to see become a tradition — called Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) where for one week, gamers put aside all their criticism, gripes, and general negativity to show our devs some love.

I thought this was a wonderful idea. I mean, we all play the games we do for a reason, right? We play them because we like them, and because we find things we enjoy about them, and because they are fun. But too often when I look around the blogosphere, these reasons are overshadowed by even the smallest grievances and complaints. So how great would it be that for one week, we get to bury all that for a change, and just focus on the good things? To lavish praise where it is due? To be given leave to be as big a fanboy/fangirl as you please?

Last year I participated in DAW with a post that thanked entire teams and companies for making the MMOs I have enjoyed over the last twelve months, and I think I will continue with that format today. It’s too difficult for me to even pick one creative team to focus on, let alone an individual person! As Scary himself says, it is such a hard process to find a specific developer to praise because each of them deserves it. It takes a team to make a game, and they’ve all done such great work in my eyes.

To Funcom and the Age of Conan team – Thank you. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into improving AoC and for the Rise of the Godslayer expansion released last year. You brought to life the breathtaking world of Khitai and gave me the chance — even if it was only for a brief time — to experience the meaning of true beauty in an MMO. To this day, the time I spent in AoC remains one of my most immersive experiences. To Funcom, keep up the good work and I look forward to The Secret World.

To Cryptic and the Champions Online and Star Trek Online teams - Thank you. Thank you for being the company that works its butt off. Cryptic will always have a special place in my heart, for all the great memories their MMOs have given me and continues to give me every day. In making Champions free-to-play, I was able to jump right back into a game I never truly really wanted to leave in the first place (technical difficulties) and I never realized how much more fun it was in that game to play with other people. F2P makes that easy — I look forward to fighting villains with my friends Blue Kae, Talyn, Oakstout and others again soon.

To Daniel Stahl and the hardworking men and women developing STO, the good things I want to say can probably fill a book. I was so happy to be part of their one-year anniversary in-game celebrations. The game has had its ups and downs, that is true…but I have seen much passion and effort in the past year reflected in the updates and Q&As, and you listen to your fans, which I respect immensely. I still feel this game is one of the more underrated ones on the market; issues with ground combat and complaints about the awkwardness of ship maneuvering abound, but rarely have I seen real praise for what I truly believe is a unique and innovative crew system. And no appreciation post would be complete without a nod to their Feature Episodes — I am eagerly awaiting the next arc, as my weekends feel a little more empty now without them.

To ArenaNet and the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 teams - Thank you. Thank you for daring to be different, and for giving gamers the gift of more choice — from offering us subscription-free business models to other innovative approaches in online gaming. I was glad for my opportunity to delve into Guild Wars this last year, and I am eagerly awaiting to see what Guild Wars 2 will bring. It is hard not to get excited, when each piece of news or information that comes out is filled to the brim with creativity and interesting ideas.

To Turbine and the Lord of the Rings Online team – Thank you. Thank you for giving me a home in Middle Earth and for the months of joy LOTRO has given me this past year. I’ve always thought of the game as my “MMO spa”, a place to which I can escape for a relaxing game session — and going free-to-play did not change that. My compliments to the developers, who have worked so hard in ensuring that when I log into LOTRO, I feel as if I’m entering a different world. They’ve done so much in creating an immersive experience and fostering a fantastic community, I can’t help but repeat a thought I had last year — that if J.R.R. Tolkien was alive to play the game today, I think he would be damn proud.

To Blizzard and the World of Warcraft team – Thank you. Thank you for still being willing to take risks even after more than six years of success. Despite what others may say, I did think Cataclysm was a gutsy move. I know I’ve complained enough times about my disdain for WoW endgame, but have rarely ever talked what I did like about the expansion — questing and leveling. Yes, I know I say that about practically every MMO I play, but the new quests in Cataclysm were really something. Even if it was only five levels, I personally enjoyed them for what they were. Questing my way through each zone was like working my way through a storybook, and for the first time in years, I actually felt interested and excited about what WoW quest text had to say again.

To BioWare and BioWare Austin – Thank you. Thank you for advocating a bigger focus on lore and character, for pushing the boundaries of video game writing, and for putting story first. Thank you for making groundbreaking RPGs in recent years like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and delighting me with choices, consequences, and interactions with the game environment and NPCs in ways I’ve never imagined. Thank you for the desire to bring those elements to MMOs. To the Star Wars: The Old Republic team, I appreciate all the weekly updates on the game, even the Fan Fridays and the tiniest lore reveals. Not too many companies do that for their fans.

To Trion and the Rift team - Thank you. Thank you for releasing a complete and polished MMO. And the more I play Rift, the more I find to like about it — from rifting to artifact collecting, from the soul system to running dungeons with my guild. I’ve seen for months people saying Rift is a fun game, but that Trion hasn’t really made any huge breakthroughs or done anything that new — but I tend to disagree. For one, the devs have bent over backwards in some cases to listen to their players. Yet they’ve also stuck to their goals, to bring about their vision for the game. And finally, they made full use of the beta process and managed to pull off an incredibly smooth launch. I feel Trion has in fact managed to do something very few MMO companies have done before. I know it’s a different argument, but it counts for something.

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Dragon Age 2: Making Terrible Decisions And Loving It

March 19, 2011

I’m still currently in the middle of the second act of My Dragon Age 2 playthrough, and already the life and friendships I’ve so carefully cultivated for my Hawke are unraveling faster than a ball of cheap string. Everything is going straight to hell…but strangely, I am totally okay with this.

You know, it wasn’t so long ago that the impetuous little old me would fly into a fit of rage every time something didn’t go the way I wanted them to in an RPG, and I would revert to a previous save to desperately try and salvage the situation. Needless to say, fluky outcomes and mechanics like random rolls always had a way of sticking in my craw. I was, and in some ways still am, a pretty big control freak and a stickler for perfection, and it used to drive me completely bonkers not to have a good idea of where my character’s story might be going. Not surprisingly, whenever my character would come across an important decision, I’d always agonize, fighting the urge not to jump onto the internet and look up the results on some wiki or read the forums about what other gamers did.

More often than not, I’d loose that fight. Spoilers be damned, even as a child, I was never above flipping ahead to see what would happen in those old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, making sure I wasn’t going to get eaten by a dragon or fall into a pit of spikes or something before making my decision. Yeah, it was cheating, but I didn’t care, as long as I got to make the “right” choices and get the “right” conclusion.

I used to think that was what I wanted, until RPGs in recent years have made me change my whole way of thinking. Choices in games don’t just come down to multiple endings anymore; favorites like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, the Fable series, and BioWare titles have all allowed players to make game-altering decisions in both dialogue and events throughout the entirety of the game, some complete with impressionable NPCs and dialogue systems. Somewhere along the way, our RPGs became elaborate affairs encompassing moral conundrums, twisting plot lines and unpredictable variables. Difficult choices became even more difficult, and point A did not always lead to point B.

I can go on forever about the complexities of the games we play nowadays, but in the end it all relates back to one thing —  RPG stories getting a lot more personal. Admittedly, part of it has to do with recognizing the futility of trying to micro-manage every decision, but ultimately, it’s also the realization that it’s no longer so important for me to nail the “perfect” playthrough. Instead, what I really want to do is to play “my” playthrough.

Despite even my best intentions, not everything in my DA2 playthrough right now has turned out the way I wanted. I thought I’d be raging by now, but I’m not. Sure, the events of this game are turning out to be more unpredictable than I expected, but I’m actually enjoying that aspect quite a lot.

I think it’s unfortunate that bad things have come out of my good decisions, but even with my Hawke’s life in shambles right now — friends hating me, family all but gone, failures abounding —  I don’t regret them. I didn’t read any spoilers or look up any guides at all, so I know everything that happens will be a result of my choices, of the things I felt were right at the time. So my ending’s not going to be all sunshine and lollipops! But oh well, it’s mine.

(And at least I still have Anders!)

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Dear March 2011, I Need More Free Time

January 4, 2011

In the last two days, I’ve made three game pre-orders, all releasing in March 2011.

March 1, 2011: Rift

“We’re  not in Azeroth anymore.” Ha! If there ever was a statement that made me laugh and groan at the same time, that was it.

I had a good time in beta, despite not being completely blown away, but the best part about MMOs is playing with others and quite a few people I know will be adventuring in Telara this Spring, which will likely make playing on the live servers a different and much more enjoyable experience.

March 8, 2011: Dragon Age 2

I’m a big fan of the Dragon Age series. Despite playing Dragon Age: Origins on the Xbox360, my DA2 preorder is for the PC version (I hope I won’t regret my decision) because 1) I prefer playing on a computer if I can, and 2) all new story and protagonist = no reason to port over my DA:O playthrough. I’m aware there will be links to the first game, but I’m thinking if there’s no sweet, sweet Alistair if I can’t continue my human noble’s story, then what the hell’s the point?

Hopefully I’ll get my fill of Rift in before DA2 comes out, but if my obsession with the first game is any indication, it won’t take me more than a few days to finish.

March 22, 2011: The Sims Medieval

One of the changes in The Sims Medieval is a shift in focus towards the “happiness” of your Kingdom versus simply the little lives of your individual Sims. I’m most intrigued by the Quest system.

Really, it’s quite sad how much I’m looking forward to this, but I love The Sims franchise. My husband already makes fun of me whenever I play Sims 3, and when Medieval comes out, something tells me I’ll have to put up with his infernal Monty Python jokes too.

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Dragon Age: Origins – A Run Of The Mill “Witch Hunt”

September 9, 2010

Note: Rest assured, no spoilers until the second half of the post, after the warning and the image.

It’s been a busy week, but somehow I managed to find the time to play the Dragon Age: Origins – Witch Hunt DLC. In preparation I had allotted myself ample time, but in hindsight, I need not have bothered. It was so…short. The whole thing couldn’t have taken me longer than 2 hours to complete, even with a few breaks in between. Granted, I have never before purchased any DLC for this game so I have nothing to compare it against, but for $7 I had expected a longer campaign.

Issue of length aside, I’m not disappointed, but I’m not impressed either. I’m frustrated by its mediocrity more than anything else, considering the fact Witch Hunt was proclaimed as the final DLC for Origins. The gameplay felt needlessly rushed and took us to many areas that were previously seen before, reused for this campaign. The story behind the adventure itself was intriguing and well put together, but was quickly overshadowed as soon as it became clear that it was only a means to end — that is, to find Morrigan. After that realization sunk in, it was hard to continue the game without feeling like I was trudging through a chore.

There were plenty of things to like, of course, such as the companions. Your trusty Mabari hound rejoins you for this adventure, as well as two new characters: Ariane the Dalish elven warrior and Finn the human mage. They both grew on me, tough-as-nails Ariane who is actually quite adorable and charming, and Finn with his over-the-top sense of humor. Between the two of them, you have enough funny banter to last a lifetime. Many other humorous gems are scattered throughout the content, if you care to look.

Regardless of how I feel, I’m not sorry I purchased Witch Hunt. Like it or not, it did bring closure — Bioware’s own brand of strange and messed up closure, maybe, but it’s still closure. I hate to be cryptic about it myself, but in the end, whether or not Witch Hunt delivered all that it promised really depends on who you ask. Only read on if you don’t mind spoilers.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

After aiding me on my quest to destroy the Blight in DA:O, Morrigan revealed she had been manipulating my human female noble PC all along to further her own gains. She slipped away and then — and I quote — “was never heard from again”. That is, until now. A paltry year later. Yeah, never say “never”.

Before she left, Morrigan made it clear she did not want to be found, warned me not to follow her. That would have been fine with me (the two of us were hardly BFFs) but of course that was before I knew she had her way with Alistair, who is now my king and husband, and conceived a demon baby. That’s not something you can ever let go, no matter who you are.

Witch Hunt promised to yield answers to the mysteries of Morrigan, but not surprisingly, for every question answered, two more took its place. In this way, Witch Hunt felt more like an intro to Dragon Age 2. “Change is coming” is the message to take away from the conversation you have with Morrigan at the very end. I am told her child is safe and “innocent”, and that Flemeth is my true enemy. It is hinted that both of them may play a big role in the future of Ferelden, if not my own.

I don’t know if the answers I personally got were adequate. To be fair though, by this point there are so many possible outcomes for the player character, the resolution I was expecting  may be wildly different from another player’s. My PC’s main motivation for hunting the witch was to find out what happened to her child and what her plans with him were (at the time, it appeared the baby was left on the other side of the Eluvian by himself. Way to parent, Morrigan). For others who may have played a male character and got to romance her, their goal might have been simply to reconcile with their lost love, which apparently, you get to do if you play your cards right. After reading what happens in that ending, even I have to admit it’s a good satisfying and heartwarming (again, in Bioware’s strange and messed up kind of way) conclusion.

For me, Morrigan and I exchanged a few words and parted ways. I believe I could have killed her, which would have been an awesome ending too, but I was not out for her blood when I started this campaign. After all the chaos we’ve been through, it’s enough that the two of us ended things on good terms.

After contemplating what I know, however, I’ve decided that Witch Hunt seems to have a strong bias for PCs that got to romance Morrigan and take part in her dark ritual. It’s a path I’ve always wanted to take myself, if my character hadn’t been a female. Perhaps that’s a goal for my next playthrough.

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Fine Day For A Witch Hunt

September 7, 2010

I was all prepared to write a positively happy post brimming with excitement over Witch Hunt, the new DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, and I still want to, but for the time being I’m distracted by a sudden and blinding hatred for Microsoft and Xbox Live. The kind of burning rage that can only really be alleviated by doing something like throwing a very large TV off a very tall building. Alas, ever since I’ve moved trekking up the CN Tower is no longer an option, and not that I have a TV to spare anyway, so I’m just going to resort to complaining on the internet.

Anyway, I own both the PC and Xbox 360 versions for DA:O, but since my favorite character and the playthrough where I managed to marry Alistair and shamelessly muscle my way up to the Ferelden throne is on the latter, that’s where I decided to make my DLC purchase. Waiting for it to be released for 360 wasn’t the problem, because I can be patient. What made me want to tear my hair out came afterward when I tried to buy Microsoft points and found my billing address stuck to Canada — except I’m in the US now with US bank accounts. From previous experience, I’ve known that the country associated with your Xbox Live account can’t be changed once it’s created, and with media distribution rights and laws differing so much internationally, I can even kind of understand why. I guess I should have foreseen this, and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier that buying points online with a credit card might present a problem, but it did. Come on, I’m trying to give you money!

So I guess I’m forever stuck buying point cards from retailers like Best Buy every time I want to make a DLC purchase, or just take the plunge and create a whole new Xbox Live account — thereby losing all the saved game content, my friends list, achievements etc. associated with that gamertag — an idea I don’t want to think about right now, and wasn’t going to help my predicament anyway. I ultimately resolved the problem without having to do either, but it’s not a permanent solution so it’s still an issue that’s going to be hanging over my head, but I figure I’ll deal with it when the time comes (most likely when account renewal time comes at the end of the year).

For now, I’m happy enough that the DLC is on its way, the green bar slowly chugging along thanks to my pathetic connection speeds (my husband just now goes, “What, complaining about our internet again? Does someone want instant gratification?” I’ll go bite his head off later). As far as Dragon Age DLC goes, I haven’t been too interested in most of them. But Witch Hunt is different because ever since I finished the main game, I’ve been plagued with the question of what happened to Morrigan. I’m hoping this campaign will finally shed some light on that, and I’m very, very excited to play it, so much that I’d cut through a thousand more miles of Microsoft red tape if I have to.

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