Dragon Age Do-over

Well after a lot of consideration I decided to restart Dragon Age, replacing my Human/Noble/Warrior with a Human/Noble/Rogue. “Gillain” is a character I created over 20 years ago. He’s a fairly typical charming rogue. Not an outright thief but not above conning a rich man out of his coin. A bit Robin Hoodish, I guess. And he fights with dual weapons. Long ago it was dual axes but these days it’s dual anything. So I created him in Dragon Age tonight.

My first character was a Dual-Wielding Warrior, and I dunno… it just seemed silly to not go sword and board with a warrior, but I love the idea of a whirling dervish of twin bladed death /hyperbole.

I did learn the bonus/dlc rings and things appear for every character, so that was good news.

I thought I’d just whip through the opening moments of the game and catch up, but once again I got engrossed with talking to people and (re)reading the codex. The conversations were different enough to be interesting a second time through.

If you play a Noble, at least the Warrior or Rogue, your first quest is to go talk to your brother, who is saying goodbye to his wife and son (he’s headed out on campaign). Once you find him and do the ‘forced’ conversation, be sure to talk to his son before you leave the room. The kid is a hoot!

And here was a surprise. I was messing with Tactics and just seeing how my party would fight based on my limited understanding of the Tactics system and… my party wiped! Mind you I had a ton of poultices, I just wasn’t paying attention. But the Warrior waltzed through those early encounters on auto-pilot. So either the Rogue is a lot squishier, or my tactics were horribly broken. 🙂

I continue to be amused (and at times slightly disappointed) by the amount of gore in the game. Here is me and my trusty hound Milo after we killed a few rats. Lots of blood in rats, apparently!


Day 1 of Dragon Age: Origins

Last night was all about computer problems and then getting Dragon Age downloaded, unlocked, messing with DLC issues and so on. I barely played.

Tonight was different. Tonight I finally got a chance to really take a small bite out of Dragon Age: Origins. And I’m loving what I’ve seen so far.

Honestly at the low levels I’m at, combat is very simple. I’m sure it’ll get more interesting later on. But with no real Skills yet, I just pick who everyone is going to attack then sit back and watch.

And I turned off Persistent Gore because it was so silly. I’m playing the Noble origin and early on you have to kill some rats (what else?!) and in so doing you get totally covered in blood. Then moments later you have an encounter with some family members and visiting nobles, and there you stand, blood spatters across your face, chatting up some lady in waiting. It was just silly. Toggling off Persistent Gore means the battles are still bloody but afterwards your party takes a moment to clean up a bit. 🙂

What I’m *really* enjoying is the lore that I’m uncovering. I’m so glad I read the novels first because I keep meeting people that were in the books. In fact Duncan, leader of the Grey Wardens, is a newly annointed Grey Warden in The Calling. I’m playing slowly and reading all the codex entries and exploring everywhere I’m able to explore.

It’s been a long time since I played a single player RPG like this one, and I’m actually finding the solo aspect somewhat freeing. I’m not in any hurry to “level up” or anything. Just drinking it all in and having a blast.

Mind you, all told I probably have 2 hours into the game so far, so everything could change. But for right now I’m really enjoying myself. I can’t wait for the weekend when I can just sit down and play for hours straight!

Meeting the neighbors

Dragon Age digital download and DLC issues: Fix

Apologize in advance for any typos; want to pound this out before work.

I don’t think I’m alone in having some problems getting all the DLC coming to me with my digital download version of Dragon Age: Origins. It doesn’t help that there are so many sources of gee-gaws: pre-order bonuses, deluxe version bonuses, store-specific bonuses and stuff you earned playing Dragon Age: Journeys.

I finally got everything working and wanted to share my experience. I used Steam so some of these issues may be unique to that platforms.

First, in the Steam client, under “My Games” right click on Dragon Age Origins and pick View Game CD Key. You can have as many as 3 keys in here. The ones with hyphens (xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx) are redeemable DLC codes (1 for pre-order, 1 for the deluxe version). On the Bioware social site, log in and from the left nav panel (under your portrait) pick Profile and then Redeem Promo Codes. Paste these keys in that field and hit submit. The key with no hyphens xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is your game registration key. You put that in under Profile and then Register game.

I had to enter keys several times to get them to work, since the site is so overloaded.

The next problem I had was that 1 bit of DLC downloaded and installed, then 4 more downloaded but didn’t install and I couldn’t get them to install. And other stuff I had coming wasn’t showing up at all. From surfing forums this is happening to a good number of people.

To fix that problem, run the Dragon Age Launcher and pick Configure from there. Once the Configuration Utility pops up, pick Repair and then Clear Download cache. Now run the game and check your Downloaded Content. This cleared up the problem for me.

If everything is running right, you should see the Warden’s Keep either available for purchase or (if you got the Deluxe version) installed. Once I flushed my cache it was available for purchase, which told me I had to go back and re-submit my redemption code one more time. Then I hit the swirly refresh button at the bottom right of the in-game download screen and Warden’s Keep and Shale and some other items started downloading.

Hopefully the servers will be a bit less burdened tonight and these issues will go away, but without clearing the download cache ‘stuck’ DLC doesn’t seem to clear up.

I still haven’t figured out how to get screenshots to upload, or to access the characters I built ahead of time with the Character Creator.

I’m looking forward to *playing* Dragon Age tonight. Last night was more or less about wrestling with it (and with my computer, which seems ‘fixed’ now that I replaced the new ram with old ram).

A Dragon Age Music video?

I’ll admit it, I’m surly tonight. Dragon Age ships, and my gaming PC rolls over and dies the same night (unrelated, I hadn’t even run Dragon Age when this started happening).

But the press barrage must go on! 🙂

We have our first Dragon Age: Origins music video. The band is Thirty Seconds to Hell, the song is This is War, and it is debuting in Dragon Age: Origins, or so I’m told. *shoots hateful glare at the gaming PC* You’ve already seen a lot of the footage, but I guess this is a fresh way of looking at it!

Fresh batch of Dragon Age: Origin screens

Tonight I have another batch of Dragon Age: Origins screens, compliments of our friends at Bioware. There’s a mix of shots with and without hud elements. A few new baddies in here.

I have to be honest, I’m kind of tired of looking at screens and videos and am very much ready to play. I suspect the same is true of you, dear reader, but if there’s one person out there that finds something new to delight over, I figure they’re worth a quick post.

[Update: That lucky SOB Tom Chick is playing! I read this account of a battle and my anticipation ratcheted up another dozen notches. I also found it really interesting how much it sounded like an MMO battle in some ways.]

I also have a growing concern about the amount of gore that is in every batch of screenshots; I’m hoping you’ll be able to tone that down a bit when actually playing the game. I don’t mind gritty but some of the shots I’m seeing just seem a bit over the top…

Anyway, here’s tonights back of screenies!

Dragon Age commercials hit the web

Y’know if more ads looked this good, I’d be a lot more likely to pay attention to them! It’s all cgi and some of it we’ve seen before, but damn, does it look good. I love the “Not every hero is pure” tag line, too, referring to the taint that every Gray Warden takes inside his or herself in order to fight the Darkspawn. All of our heroes will be tragic figures, fated to die in battle or become that which we fight.

If it’s Monday, this must be Ferelden

For the past few weeks Monday has been Dragon Age Trailer day here at Dragonchasers, thanks to the good people at Bioware and their finely tuned hype machine.

This week we have a quick intro to the toolset — what you can accomplish with it, which is apparently a lot. Also a creature animation ‘behind-the-scenes’ clip that shows how a monster goes from concept to model to animation to become a life-like scary opponent.

I also have to point you at Dragon Age: Journeys one more time. I’ve been having a blast playing it, and it has made the burden of waiting for Dragon Age: Origins much more bearable. 🙂

Lastly, Bioware asked me to remind you of the big competition that I talked about earlier. You can watch a live stream of the event this Wednesday, the 28th. You can find details here.

There’re some strange promotions floating around with regard to the game. Between this ‘competitive single player gaming’ event and pre-order bonuses that boost experience, it’s almost like they’re marketing an MMO rather than a game with a strong narrative.

After waiting so long to play Dragon Age: Origins, the *last* thing I want to do is rush through it (or watch someone else rush through it). I’m looking forward to savoring every minute of the storyline.

Anyway, enough of my rambling, here’re the trailers for this week:

Dragon Age: Origins – Introducing Oghren

Good news today for PS3 owners: turns out Dragon Age: Origins for the PS3 is going to ship on Nov. 3rd, same as all the other versions. The word had been that the PS3 version was going to be held back until later in the month. I guess the Microsoft check didn’t clear or something.

Anyway, today we have a new trailer, this one introducing Oghren, the dwarf whose tale you’ll experience if you pick his origin story. Here is his intro:

Oghren, of House Kondrat, was once a promising member of the Warrior Caste who had earned great prestige in the dwarves’ gladiatorial proving grounds. When a Smith Caste family with plenty of money but few political connections offered their daughter in marriage, his family accepted the match. And then everything changed. His wife, Branka, invented a process that revolutionized the smelting process and was declared a Paragon—the first in a generation, forever ensuring an honored place among the ancestors. Oghren gladly joined his wife’s new noble house, but when Branka took her followers and vanished into the Deep Roads, she left him behind. He remains determined to find Branka again and learn what obsession keeps her hidden away from the rest of her kind.

Steven Blum, who lends his voice to Oghren, also voices Wolverine in a number of venues (The Super Hero Squad Show, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2). He sounds a little Wolverine-ish in this trailer, doesn’t he? I’m not sure that’s a good thing.