Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’ – Hour 5

In the fifth hour of Dragon Age: Origins, Morrigan and Alistair fight a lot, and I finally figure out a huge component of gameplay. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age: Origins.

Hour Five

Okay, I know I brought it up yesterday, but you have no idea how cool it is to me that I am finally learning how to play an RPG like this. I have avoided them for most of my life because they always seemed so daunting and overwhelming. I admit that I do feel like I don’t know what I’m doing all of the time, but as I discover some new aspect of gameplay, I get this adorable sense of pride, like, “Shit yeah, I just figured out something millions of people have already known how to do for decades.” And I don’t care that I’m completely behind the times in my discover of all this. We all have to be newbies at some time, right? And while I sometimes encounter people in fandom who make it seem like they hate new members of their specific fandom (coughcoughLORD OF THE RINGScoughcoughcough), I do like that we can all generally be TOTALLY UNPREPARED for whatever we’re getting into.

During my fifth hour of gameplay, my roommate showed me the Tactics menu for each character. It’s not something the game teaches you at any point, and it helped me prevent Alistair from constantly dying. He was always the first to go when I was doing all those side missions in the Lothering woods. Clearly, the enemies knew he was strong, so they’d gang up on him and take him out. You bigots. But I couldn’t figure out why, time after time, they’d go straight for him. It was hard enough to keep track of the health and stamina meters of four characters at once, but when one of them dies in the first fifteen seconds of battle, it made the game much harder than I anticipated.

I’m doing my best to understand how the gameplay works, so despite feeling entirely overwhelmed by the tactics menu, I figured out a pretty cool way to keep Alistair alive. He know automatically takes a Lesser Health Poultice if he gets below 50%, and I stopped him from attacking the lead enemy immediately. I peeked at the Tactics for the other three characters, too. As they grow and gain more skills, it’s going to be fun to see what I can do with them to build a badass party.

I also did the side mission to free Sten, which triggered the very first time I got to choose who was in my party. Sten is a brute, but I was happy with Morrigan, Alistair, and my dog, Adama. (That’s still really funny to me.) But then he disappeared? Where did he go? I thought he was joining me for the fight against the Blight. I imagine he’s somewhere in some sort of central location, and I’ll find out where that is later. (Must check on the map!) Oh gosh, there are so many ways to customize your experience in this game. It’s ridiculous, and I love it. Of course, the customization in characterization is probably the most fun. You get so many options for how to make your character talk to those around you. I chose to threaten the Revered Mother to get Sten freed, and I adored that it affected how my party members would react to me. Alistair was horrified, and Morrigan LAUGHED. SHE LAUGHED. She also thought it was hilarious that I insulted the kid whose mother’s body I’d just found. Seriously, Morrigan and Roslin are going to be the very best of friends. Even when I’m not fighting or talking to someone, Alistair and Morrigan have extremely entertaining conversations of their own. I LOVE THIS. THIS IS SERIOUSLY ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS EVER. I’ve never played a game like this!

Honestly, though, I keep coming back to the story. I’m reminded of how fun it was to play the Uncharted games because the story is so integral to what you’re doing. That’s the case here, too. For all the strategizing and planning I’m trying to do, I find that I’m far more engrossed in what’s going on. After escaping Ostagar, I find out from numerous people in Lothering that Teryn Loghain IS A TOTAL BUTTFACE. Now the Grey Wardens are evil by his decree? Oh god, he left me behind and then betrayed me. FUCK HIM. I CAN’T WAIT TO MURDER HIS FACE. What’s he trying to do? Usurp all this power by making me an outlaw? Oh, this will not stand. Plus, the Arl Eamon is ~magically sick~ in the worst possible moment ever, so I’m not going to believe that’s just mere coincidence. It’s totally on purpose.

So what’s going on? What’s Loghain’s next move? Whatever it is, I can’t wait to bigot murder him with some buttstabbing. Oh god, I buttstabbed so many bears and spiders in this hour. IT WAS GREAT. I REALLY LIKE THIS GAME, EVERYONE. Plus, I finally upgraded Roslin’s talents so that she can wield dual weapons, so now she has two badass daggers and she is going to tear apart some bigots. Fuck. Yes.

My Character Stats

Strength: 20
Dexterity: 18
Willpower: 15
Magic: 13
Cunning: 16
Constitution: 13

Heroic Stats

Kills: 44
Damage dealt: 5860
Friendly-fire: 0
Greatest damage dealt: 34
Contribution to party damage: 48
Hit rate: 81
Most powerful foe slain: Ogre
Injuries: 0

Mark Links Stuff

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99 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’ – Hour 5

  1. Nothing much to say this time except glad you are having fun!

  2. megotelek says:

    First Time Gameplay
    So I'm at level 13 now, and I think I'm on a roll now! 20 hours played so far. So, Lothering! During the part where you have to take out the three bandit groups, I basically hid behind one of the hills, left my party there, and went around the corner and pulled them around one at a time so Alistair and Morrigan and I could tear them up. And then there were bears and wolves and spiders (oh my!) Sten I'm not sure about (I freed him, but he murdered a family? I guess we'll see if he can behave himself) and [future possible companion spoilers] V ybirq Yryvnan'f punenpgre. Qvq Znex abg trg Yryvnan? Vs lbh yrnir Ybgurevat naq qba'g gnyx gb ure qb lbh arire trg gb zrrg ure?

    I'm so glad I'm playing on a PC so I can use mods. Appearance-related, mostly, and thanks to suggestions I installed the one that hides hats/helmets. Because seriously:

    <img src=""&gt;
    WHAT. I mean really. I also installed [mod spoilers just in case] gur nhgb ybbg bar fb V qba'g unir gb eha nebhaq ybbgvat vaqvivqhny pbecfrf (gunax gur Znxre!) naq gur ybpx onfu bar orpnhfr vg veevgngrf zr jura Yryvnan pna'g cvpx ybpxf ba purfgf sbe zr. V pbzznaq gur cevzny sbeprf bs gur havirefr ohg V pna'g trg guebhtu n fvzcyr ybpx? Cyrnfr. V nyfb tbg gur zber unvefglyrf bar naq gur erqrfvtarq ACP bar; abj V unir gb svther bhg ubj gb rqvg zl punenpgre'f snpr/unve jvgubhg univat gb erebyy ure. I am DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE, PEOPLE.

    Grey Warden storyline spoilers
    V'z va gur Qnyvfu ryirf' sberfg abj, nobhg gb tb uhag zr fbzr jrerjbyirf. ("Jrerjbys? Gurer jbys. Gurer pnfgyr.") V'z nyfb fyrrcvat jvgu Nyvfgnve abj, jnvgvat gb frr vs gur erfg bs zl cnegl jvyy oevat vg hc. Cyhf V sbhaq Syrzrgu'f tevzbver naq tnir vg gb Zbeevtna, fb abj fur jnagf zr gb tb xvyy Syrzrgu orpnhfr fur sbhaq bhg gung Syrzrgu xvyyf/cbffrffrf ure qnhtugref naq gung'f ubj fur'f yvirq fb ybat. V'z xvaq bs nibvqvat gung bar hagvy V yriry hc n ovg, orpnhfr V pna'g vzntvar gung jvyy or na rnfl svtug. V zrna, vg'f SYRZRGU.

    DLC/easter egg spoilers
    Naq nobhg gung rnfgre rtt phgfprar (gur Fhcrezna bar jvgu gur zrgrbe ber) V sbhaq bhg gung vg'f pbaarpgrq gb gur Jneqra'f Xrrc QYP naq znantrq gb tb onpx gb Fbyqvre'f Crnx naq trg vg pensgrq vagb n fuval fuval fjbeq sbe Nyvfgnve. Abj ur whfg arrqf n orggre fuvryq.

    • cogsandcurls says:

      Znex jvyy zvff Yryvnan vs ur yrnirf Ybgurevat gb qb bar bs gur znva 4 dhrfgf naq gura PBZCYRGRF gung znva dhrfg jvgubhg tbvat onpx gb trg ure. V'z gbea; ba gur bar unaq V yvxr gur vqrn gung Znex'f hacercnerqarff zvtug yrnq uvz gb zvff pbzcnavbaf, ohg ba gur bgure, V ybir Yryvnan fb zhpu naq V'q yvxr uvz gb zrrg ure! Qvyrzzn :(

    • Andie says:

      V'z nyfb fyrrcvat jvgu Nyvfgnve abj.

      Rirel gvzr V cynl n srznyr Jneqra, fur zrrgf Nyvfgnve naq fur'f vzzrqvngryl yvxr
      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

      I can't help it, okay?

      • megotelek says:

        YES. EXACTLY. I did notice that gurer frrzrq gb or na bcgvba sbe zl srznyr Jneqra gb ebznapr Yryvnan juvpu jnf vagevthvat, naq V fbeg bs jnagrq gb ohg gura NYVFGNVE.

      • BettyTheThird says:

        Ba zl svefg cynlguebhtu, zl punenpgre jnf yvxr "fgbc pelvat juraire V guerngra fbzrbar jvgu ivbyrapr, vg vf SBE GUR TERNGRE TBBQ" naq fur riraghnyyl fgbccrq gnxvat Nyvfgnve jvgu ure…naq fgvyy raqrq hc jvgu uvz, vqrx

        znlor ur unf orre-synibherq avccyrf

        • megotelek says:

          Lrnu, V pna frr ubj gung jbhyq trg naablvat. Ohg V'z cynlvat guebhtu nf (zbfgyl) ynjshy tbbq (fbzrgvzrf punbgvp tbbq) fb jr'er cerggl zhpu va flap. Zbeevtna naq Fgra ba gur bgure unaq? Gurl fgnaq nebhaq va pnzc naq ybbx cerggl. Naq V qb gnyx gb Zbeevtna, ohg V'ir tvira hc jvgu Fgra. Sbe abj.

        • snapsnzips says:

          Alistair-flavoured nipples

    • snapsnzips says:

      There are a couple of mods that let you change your face in game – one has you just go in and create a new character and then will do a switcharoo outside the game. If you can't find one, raise the flag and I'll dig out the link tomorrow.

  3. cogsandcurls says:

    Congratulations Mark, you just picked up your first completely-missable companion in the form of Sten! (Well…if you don't count Dog). I was worried you were going to miss him – I know some people have, and half of the fun of this is seeing who you get and who you don't – but still. I really look forward to seeing what you make of him. Sten, for me, embodies what I like about so many Bioware characters – I don't necessarily LIKE him all the time, but he's really interesting. That's what good character writing is, to me.

    And oh man, that Chantry Mother! I generally play a goody two-shoes character initially, but my latest Warden has quite a lot of sass in her and she threatened the Mother to get Sten released, too. The reactions were PRICELESS.

    • megotelek says:

      Sten is definitely an interesting (and different) character, ohg nsgre ur pbasebagrq zr va Unira naq V unq gb svtug uvz sbe pbzznaq, ur vf qrsvavgryl ba zl fuvg yvfg. Ur trgf (n srj) cbvagf sbe sehfgengrqyl tvivat gur sreelzna pbbxvrf gb trg hf bire gb gur Pvepyr gbjre, ohg evtug abj ur'f va gur 'yrnir ng pnzc nyy gur gvzr' cbfvgvba.

      • cogsandcurls says:

        Bu lrnu, V gbgnyyl flzcnguvfr jvgu lbh. Gur svefg gvzr V cynlrq guebhtu gur tnzr gnyxvat gb uvz jnf yvxr gelvat gb trg oybbq bhg bs n fgbar, vg jnf FB sehfgengvat. V qvqa'g rira trg gur Unira fprar va gung eha orpnhfr V arire gbbx uvz naljurer!

      • Gillyweed says:

        Jung V yvxr nobhg gung fprar vf jura lbh xvpx uvf nff lbh trg nccebiny. Ol chggvat uvz va uvf cynpr ur fgnegf gb erfcrpg lbh. VQX, V whfg ybir Fgra, vs ur jnf n ebznapr bcgvba, V'q gbgnyyl tb sbe uvz.

    • jerssica says:

      I totally screwed up in my game and somehow ruined getting Sten for myself. I don't know what I did, but no one was going to let me take him. Gura V fnvq "htu svar, V'yy trg uvz yngre" naq yrsg gur gbja naq gura ernyvmrq jung n ubeevoyr zvfgnxr gung jnf nobhg 3 ubhef yngre. Orpnhfr V'z gur jbefg ng guvf tnzr fbzrgvzrf.

  4. misterbernie says:

    …butbqbutbqbutbq jung vs ur qbrfa'g ragre gur gnirea jung

    My last Warden got on much better with the Revered Mother.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Blessed art thou who bark in the sight of the Maker.

  5. Andie says:

    Mark, have you thought about how you're going to do Mark Plays videos for this game, since it's so changeable based on what you feel like doing? There are no levels, so if someone wants to see you play specific part, they can't just be like 'dibs on level 9,' you know?

    Also, party banter is my favourite thing ever. It's why I always try to take new combinations of companions with me every time I do a new playthrough — because I don't want to miss something hilarious one of them says. bzst Btuera nfxvat Nyvfgnve jung ur qvq jvgu zl punenpgre'f yrtf juvyr jr jrer univat frk. BTUERA, LBH NER FB UBEEVSLVAT, NAQ V YBIR LBH SBERIRE.

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      Well, I'm not worried about that. I always come up with something.

      My main concern is that I need to buy a device to record my gameplay FIRST. I have to worry about that.

      • I thought you could just have people pay you to record an hour of gameplay. Like any hour of your choosing. If you think interesting stuff will happen then take a chance and hit record. Otherwise I don't know how people can buy videos from you for these types of games without spoilers. But I'm sure you'll manage. :)

  6. misterbernie says:

    Also, good to see that Roslin finally switched to using two daggers and not a goddamn greatsword.

  7. Tahaneira says:

    FUCK YES STEN. Oh Sten, I love the big guy so very, very much. V pna'g jnvg hagvy ur fgnegf gnyxvat jvgu uvz naq jung ur'yy guvax nobhg gur nyvra phygher gur Dhanev unir. V nyfb jbaqre vs ur'f cvpxrq hc vs Fgra vfa'g uhzna lrg? Ur unfa'g zragvbarq nalguvat nobhg vg.

    It's not surprising that Roslyn and Morrigan get along so well, but I still have to wonder ubj ybat gung jvyy ynfg jura Ebfyla svaqf bhg nobhg ure 'shpx gur jbeyq' nggvghqr.

    Nyfb, V nz veengvbanyyl greevsvrq gung ur jvyy yrnir Ybgurevat jvgubhg trggvat Yryvnan. Qba'g fnl nalguvat V ybir gur tvey.

    Quote of the Day:
    Flemeth: How odd. Now we have a dog… and Alistair is still the dumbest one in the party.

  8. Ryan Lohner says:

    First Time Playthrough

    Okay, clearly I blew through Lothering way too fast because I went through almost none of this. Gubhtu V qvq erpehvg obgu Fgra naq Yryvnan. I also still haven't figured out how to automatically make people drink poultices (they…really didn't know what that word means, did they?) but luckily it's pretty easy to just keep an eye on everyone's health and do it manually.

    Also making me feel foolish: I've given Kalian (yes, I didn't change from the default name. I'm a bad role player) a bunch of dual wielding upgrades, and have just been confused as to why she never seems to use them. And now it hits me: daggers.

    • baruchan says:

      If you're playing on the PC, you can access the Tactics menu by pressing "\". But if you're using a console or a Mac, I don't know how to do it, sorry.

      Alternatively, there should be Codex entries for explaining the combat system, using Tactics, etc. DA was the first RPG I've ever played, so those tutorials were vital for me.

    • ensignkt says:

      Kalian is an awesome name. When I first played I was all set to pick a name and then I was all "Wait, that's better than anything I could think of."

  9. BornIn1142 says:

    First Time Playthrough (I think).

    I'm still slightly miffled that I totally wasted several talent points on two-handed weapon skills on my first character when I actually soon specialized exclusively in dual-wielding. Those couple of useless abilities really annoyed me every I had to look at the talent menu while levelling up.

  10. enigmaticagentscully says:

    V thrff Znex unfa'g yrsg Ybgurevat lrg, ohg jub ryfr vf ernyyl pbaprearq gung ur'f gbgnyyl tbaan zvff Yryvnan?

    Be znlor V'z whfg na vqvbg sbe zvffvat ure gur svefg gvzr ebhaq. Fbzr qhqr bhgfvqr gur vaa fnlf 'V jbhyqa'g tb va gurer vf V jrer lbh!' naq V jnf nyy yvxr 'YBY BX' naq gura unys na ubhe yngre va gur tnzr, zl sevraq pbzrf gb ybbx bire zl fubhyqre naq vf yvxr 'Fb jurer'f Yryvnan?' naq V jnf yvxr 'Jub?' naq V unq gb er-fgneg sebz n cerivbhf fnir gb trg ure.

    • Sternenblumen says:

      You're definitely not alone! Ur arrqf Yrvyvnan! Vs bayl sbe cbffvoyr srzfynfu checbfrf KQ … (Nynf, zl punenpgre jnf nyernql jvgu Nyvfgnve va zl svefg cynlguebhtu. V'q ybir gb unir unq gurz obgu!)

    • V'z thrffvat fvapr ur unfa'g yrsg ybgurevat lrg ur zvtug fgvyy trg ure. Nygubhtu V'z fhecevfrq ur tbg ure orsber Fgra ohg gung'f onfrq ba gur jnl V cynl zber fb guna nalguvat ryfr.

    • misterbernie says:

      V'ir orra jbeevrq nobhg gung fvapr orsber ur fgnegrq cynlvat.

    • klmnumbers says:

      Gung jnf gur svefg guvat V gubhtug jura V ernq guvf cbfg. Ubjrire, ur unfa'g zrg hc jvgu gur qjneirf lrg naq qbrfa'g frrz gb unir npghnyyl yrsg gb uvf ~pnzc lrg. Fb, V'z ubcvat gur arkg cbfg vaibyirf cvpxvat ure hc.

    • mreeb says:

      Gung gbgnyyl unccrarq gb zr, zl fvfgre ybbxrq bire zl fubhyqre naq jnf nyy AB LBH UNIR GB TB ONPX. Yhpxvyl fur qvq guvf orsber V'q tbar naljurer ohg pnzc fb Ybgurevat unqa'g orra qrpvzngrq lrg naq V qvqa'g unir gb erybnq n fnir be nalguvat.

      V sbetrg, jura qb lbh yrnea gung Ney Rnzba vf fvpx? V gubhtug vg jnf ng gur ragenapr gb Erqpyvssr, ohg gung jbhyq zrna Znex'f nyernql yrsg Ybgurevat jvgubhg Yryvnan. FBZRBAR ERNFFHER ZR. V'Z JEBAT, EVTUG?

      • cogsandcurls says:

        Don't worry! Bar bs Rnzba'f xavtugf vf va Ybgurevat'f punagel naq ur yrgf lbh xabj nobhg gur vyyarff. Fb gurer'f fgvyy ubcr!

        • mreeb says:


          Abj, Znex, qbrfa'g Ebfyva jnag gb purpx bhg gur gnirea? Sbe…vasbezngvba? Naq…naq Fgra jnf ybpxrq hc sbe njuvyr, fheryl lbh jnag gb ohl uvz n qevax? Va gur gnirea? Jurer…jurer lbh pbhyq tb? Vzzrqvngryl?

    • EmberQuill says:

      Jbj, V qvqa'g xabj vg jnf npghnyyl cbffvoyr gb zvff ure. V sbhaq ure ba zl svefg cynlguebhtu naq unir erpehvgrq ure ba rirel cynlguebhtu fvapr.

      Jura V gnyxrq gb gung thl bhgfvqr gur vaa qhevat zl svefg cynlguebhtu naq ur gbyq zr abg gb tb va, V vzzrqvngryl gubhtug "V zhfg vairfgvtngr!" naq jrag fgenvtug va.

      Vs Znex qbrf rabhtu fvqr dhrfgf va Ybgurevat, vg'f cerggl zhpu varivgnoyr gung ur'yy tb gb gur vaa riraghnyyl. V erzrzore ng yrnfg bar dhrfg gung yrnqf lbh gurer.

  11. I tried five times to get Sten in the new playthrough I'm doing (Female Dalish Elf Rogue, because I was inspired by your elf and I played as a male city elf last time (who is lovely and I really should play him again sometime)) and failed each time. That INCLUDES the one time I threatened the Revered Mother. Clearly I'm just not good at this~.

    • megotelek says:

      I think it only worked for me because V unq Yryvnan jvgu zr ng gung cbvag. Gur Erirerq Zbgure nfxf ure nqivpr, fur fnlf fur guvaxf Fgra pbhyq or hfrshy naq gung gurfr ner qvssvphyg gvzrf, naq gur Erirerq Zbgure tvirf ure gur xrl naq gura lbh pna tb yrg uvz bhg.

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      I have some special necklace or something that raises my cunning and perhaps that helped?

      • Stat explantion. Encoded just in case anyone wants to work this stuff out for themselves.
        Vagvzvqngvba fhpprff vf nssrpgrq ol ubj znal enaxf bs pbrepvba fxvyy lbh unir naq ubj uvtu lbhe fgeratgu fgngf. Crefhnfvba vf pbrepvba naq phaavat.

  12. Elie says:

    First time playing

    That's our Morrigan: Laughing at Orphans, and saving the murderers. Always making fun of me for helping people, and since she's the only mage, I keep her around While she tells me to set kittens on fire. Seriously, I can't wrap my mind around her. It'd be one thing if she was just a cynical, survival of the fittest sort of person, but she just enjoys the suffering of others. Spoilers for the Mages circle bit: V gnxr Zbeevtna vagb gur gbjre. jr ner ng gur gbjre gb erpehvg na nezl bs zntrf. gur gbjre unf orra gnxra bire ol qrzbaf. Jura Jlaar gryyf hf ubj gb fnir gurz, fur fhttrfgf yrnivat gurz gb qvr orpnhfr gurl'er jrnx. Jr'er bayl urycvat gurz fb jr unir na nezl bs jvnmeqf gb svtug gur Qnexfcnja Jbzna! Sebz n cheryl centzngvp fgnaqcbvag, guvf vf bayl n ybff vs lbh fbzrubj frr urycvat crbcyr nf pbzcyrgryl ercryynag, rira vs vg'f sbe pbzcyrgryl frysvfu zbgvirf!

    Also Sten's awesome. yrvynan is cool too.

    • megotelek says:

      since she's the only mage, I keep her around

      This may have contributed to my decision to reroll as a mage. Don't need you now, Morrigan! You and your disapproval of my helping people can just sit by the wayside. [Future plot spoilers] Bs pbhefr, abj fur jnagf zl uryc gb xvyy Syrzrgu. Uzz, znlor lbh fubhyqa'g unir orra fb fanexl jura V jnf fnivat bgure crbcyr, abj, fubhyqa'g lbh?

      • @ElieStav says:

        I already restarted just to get rid of my godamn face tattoos, and I just caught up to where I was before. So help me I will not go through Ostagar for a third time before I've beaten the game.

      • @ElieStav says:

        I have already restarted this game to get rid of my godamn face tattoos. I have only just reached where I was before. Not going to do this a third time. [Circle Tower Spoilers] Orfvqrf. V unir jlaar abj.

        Can I just say it's really hard to be constantly surrounded by Rot13, when usually I just cypher it? I am not good at avoiding spoilers, and soon I'm going to look up something I wish I didn't.

      • ShadowLash says:

        YES. I’m playing as a mage this time, and I am NOT missing Morrigan’s complaining (although I had to deal with it in Lothering before I got Sten and Yryvnan and could switch her out). Anything she can do, I can do, with a distinct lack of whingeing about actually helping people in need. Sure, I miss the Alistair/Morrigan banter a little, but it’s a trade off for NOT being subjected to constant kvetching about saving people and tossing a few coins to those in need.

        Bs pbhefr, abj fur jnagf zl uryc gb xvyy Syrzrgu. Uzz, znlor lbh fubhyqa’g unir orra fb fanexl jura V jnf fnivat bgure crbcyr, abj, fubhyqa’g lbh?
        Seriously. Jung, bgure crbcyr ner gbb fghcvq/hajbegul/jrnx/jungrire sbe hf gb uryc, ohg *lbh’er* fhpu n fcrpvny yvggyr fabjsynxr gung V fubhyq whzc gb fnir lbhe nff sebz shgher cbffrffvba ol Zhzzl Qrnerfg?

  13. pal_sch says:

    First time playthrough.

    So I decided to give this a shot.

    Playing a commoner dwarf, based on an old MMO/RPG character named Kosoth. His main past incarnation is as a DDO two-weapon fighting Barbarian, using the absurdly big dwarven waraxes. So obviously I went warrior and put every point into two weapon fighting. V'ir fvapr fcrpvnyvfrq va orefrexre naq chg n pbhcyr bs cbvagf gbjneqf gung.

    I recruited the dog and named him Joe for reasons. Points for getting the reference. Sadly not used him much yet.

    So far I do have a few issues with the game. I'm used to two main styles of RPG.

    The first is fully or mostly turn based. These give you the chance to queue up moves, or at least check and select each character's orders after each turn. Really good fun for tactical play.

    The second is fully real time. DDO falls into this category. You get direct and full control over one character while (usually) other plays control your allies. This depends on those controls being reliable and responsive. Good for games where precise timing is part of the challenge or, obviously, have other players backing you up.

    DA:O seems to take a middle path I'm having trouble getting used to. Part of me wishes you could go entirely hands off, leaving combat to the tactics you assign and letting you only watch and modify orders, not directly control anyone. Every time I'm in direct control of a character I start playing it like DDO or a similar game and someone else gets into trouble and dies before I can respond. Not to mention that some of the tactics options seem really awkward and nearly unworkable. Oh, and you have to unlock extra tactics slots, which greatly limits most character's usefulness if you don't micromanage them.

    But anyway. Besides that and a few other control issues (just how many things does the right mouse button do?) it's a fun game. When the combat works it's entertaining enough.

    I'm pretty deep into the game now and don't have that much to say about the early sections. Just spent a few hours focusing on getting gear and then about half that ploughing through some plot. Pretty well kitted out but still hit a fair few opponents who were a serious challenge. Naq gung shpxvat qentba znl nf jryy or vzcbffvoyr.

    • megotelek says:

      I have to say, once I figured out you could pause the game, queue up attacks for each member of your party and who to aim them at, the game got a LOT EASIER for me. Plus movement! I always have to make sure that I get ranged companions out of the thick of things so they can be awesome from range and not die in 2 seconds.

    • stumpoman says:

      minor expectation spoilers
      Naq gung shpxvat qentba znl nf jryy or vzcbffvoyr.
      jurer jnf guvf qentba, bhg bs phevbfvgl?

    • AzuraLuna says:

      RE: Naq gung shpxvat qentba znl nf jryy or vzcbffvoyr.
      Fur'f bcgvbany, lbh pna svavfu gung dhrfg jvgubhg univat gb svtug ure (qba'g evat gur tbat), naq gura pbzr onpx jura lbh'er ng n uvture yriry.

  14. @RadagastWiz says:

    OMG the new banner! Genius.

  15. @ElieStav says:

    Can I just say that I love the new banner? I love the new banner.

    Also how does one bold comments?

  16. @ElieStav says:


    Also some of my comments seem to be disapearing into the ether. Any idea why that is?

    • Mark Does Stuff says:

      It's probably a moderation setting! Sometimes they're thrown in the mod queue. A mod will usually clear that out throughout the day, so don't worry!

    • knut_knut says:

      Are they all there now? There's nothing in the spam filter at this moment, but usually comments get stuck there.

  17. @ElieStav says:

    cool cool thanks thanks. Of course now I have a double post I need to get rid of.

  18. stumpoman says:

    Companion spoilers
    V'ir orra hfvat fgra naq zbeevtna sbe guvf cynlguebhtu fvapr gurer nggvghqrf frrz gb tb jryy gbtrgure. Gurl unir fbzr bs gur orfg pbairefngvbaf

    Zbeevtna: Fb unir lbh punatrq lbhe zvaq, Fgra? V qernz nobhg lbh naq V, vs lbh zhfg xabj.
    Fgra: Lbh jbhyq, rira jrer V vagrerfgrq va n fznyy guvat yvxr lbh. Gur Dhanev npg vf… hacyrnfnag.
    Zbeevtna: Hacyrnfnag? Hacyrnfnag ubj? Abj V ernyyl nz vagrerfgrq.
    Fgra: Qrnqyl.
    Zbeevtna: Naq jung vs V qvqa'g zvaq? V rawbl n yvggyr… navzngvba.
    Fgra: Lbh'q or yrff navzngrq nsgrejneq.
    Zbeevtna: Vg fbhaqf nf vs V nz nebhfvat lbhe cnffvbaf nyernql, zl qrne Fgra.
    Fgra: Cnefunnen. Jul qb lbh crfgre zr?
    Zbeevtna: (Puhpxyrf) Orpnhfr 'gvf nzhfvat, gung vf jul.

    naq gura

    Zbeevtna: Lbh frrz fb qrrc va gubhtug, zl qrne Fgra. Guvaxvat bs zr, creuncf? Gur gjb bs hf, gbtrgure ng ynfg?
    Fgra: Lrf.
    Zbeevtna: V… jung qvq lbh fnl?
    Fgra: Lbh jvyy arrq nezbe, V guvax. Naq n uryzrg. Naq fbzrguvat gb ovgr qbja ba. Ubj fgebat ner uhzna grrgu?
    Zbeevtna: Ubj fgebat ner zl grrgu?
    Fgra: Dhanev grrgu pna ovgr guebhtu yrngure, jbbq, rira zrgny tvira gvzr. Juvpu erzvaqf zr, V znl gel gb ahmmyr.
    Zbeevtna: Ahmmyr?
    Fgra: Vs gung unccraf, lbh'yy arrq na veba cel one. Urng vg va n sver, svefg, be vg znl abg trg zl nggragvba.
    Zbeevtna: Creuncf vg jbhyq or orggre vs jr qvq abg cebprrq.
    Fgra: Ner lbh pregnva? Vs vg jvyy fngvfsl lbhe phevbfvgl…
    Zbeevtna: Lrf. Lrf, V guvax vg vf orfg

  19. sertaki says:

    Hey Mark,

    I'm a fan of your sites, love your insight and the impressions you share – i totaly have read all your potter reviews and it made a couple of my days. (Hope you read the dark tower series soon ;) )

    Also, i'm a gamer and therefore love what you started here to death in general, and this entry specifically.
    Totaly great game, one of my favorites, besides the mass effect series.
    Will be fun reading about this :D
    Especially all that Bigot Buttkilling!
    You are not prepared.

    Btw, i'm also looking forward VERY VERY VERY much to you playing Mass Effect,
    because hell, you are NOT EVEN REMOTELY PREPARED
    (and you will enjoy it a hell of a lot I think :D)

    Also: the new banner rocks :D

  20. tchemgrrl says:

    We all have to be newbies at some time, right?

    Sounds like you're one of today's lucky 10,000:

  21. sertaki says:

    didn't think about it this way :D

  22. Plactus says:

    Updates on my playthrough – NOT first time

    As of my last post, I was through Lothering and Ubaayrngu. Since then, I've:

    • Hfrq gur Jvagre Sbetr zbq gb znxr fghcvqyl oebxra rdhvczrag sbe zl punenpgref. Frevbhfyl, ng guvf cbvag, V pbhyq bhgeha n pragnhe cebonoyl fbyb gur erfg bs gur tnzr, naq univat n cnegl gb onpx zr hc znxrf vg rira rnfvre.
    • Qvfgevohgrq Srnfgqnl tvsgf gb zl cnegl. V nyfb tnir Fgra gur Ohggresyl Fjbeq naq hfrq gur Jvagre Sbetr gb znxr vg njrfbzr. -Re. V'z tbvat gb or ernyyl gbea jura V trg uvf erny fjbeq onpx…
    • Unq nf znal pbairefngvbaf nf V pbhyq jvgu gur cnegl zrzoref (fxvccvat gur boivbhfyl ebznagvp bcgvbaf jvgu Nyvfgnve). Evtug abj V'z va tbbq jvgu Nyvfgnve, Yryvnan, Funyr, Fgra, naq bs pbhefr Onexfcnja. Zbeevtna… abg fb zhpu. V'ir fgnegrq Fgra naq Yryvnan'f crefbany fvqrdhrfgf.
    • Qbar Jneqra'f Xrrc.
    • Zrg Znewbynvar'f nffnffvaf ba gur ebnq, gura jrag gb Qrarevz gb pbasebag ure naq gryy ure gb yrnir Yryvnan nybar.
    • Qbar whfg nobhg rirelguvat V pna qb va Qrarevz ng guvf cbvag. Gurer znl or enaqbz rapbhagref V'ir zvffrq (V qvq svaq gur bar jvgu gur oynpx ivny, gubhtu). V'z nyfb fnivat Vfnoryn sbe yngre.
    • (Fcbvyref sbe bar bs gur znva fhocybgf.) Tbar gb Oebgure Trargviv'f ubhfr va Qrarevz. V xarj sebz cerivbhf rkcrevrapr gung gur thl V zrg gurer jnf n qentba phygvfg sebz Unira, ohg qrpvqrq gb cynl nybat jvgu gur cnvashyyl boivbhf genc ur'f fraqvat zr gb ng Ynxr Pnyraunq. (V guvax gur svefg gvzr V vtaberq uvz pbzcyrgryl naq oyhaqrerq vagb gur ebbz jurer gur erny thl'f pbecfr vf.)

    One of my favorite Morrigan quotes (I had this conversation entering Lothering, but ciphered just in case):
    Nyvfgnve: Whfg jung jbhyq lbh qb vs lbhe zbgure qvrq?
    Zbeevtna: Orsber be nsgre V fgbccrq ynhtuvat?
    Nyvfgnve: Evtug, irel perrcl. Sbetrg V nfxrq.

  23. Peter says:

    First Time Gameplay

    not much to say today other than Sten!!

    Qvq Znex zvff Yryvnan? V ubcr abg

    I love Morrigan's tone whenever she talks to Alistair – it's just dripping with scorn. But I'm calling it now – they're so into each other. I wonder how that will work with the romance system (I am of course only assuming that there IS one, but I'd be shocked if there isn't).

    My warrior Sigurd is pretty much a goody two-shoes, so I actually got a little worried in Lothering when I didn't feel that Sigurd should intimidate the Revered Mother, and I thought that maybe I wouldn't ever be able to get Sten. I was like "NO DID I JUST MISS A PARTY MEMBER?" Ohg Yryvnan yrg uvz bhg bs uvf pntr fb gung jbexrq bhg

    I'm several (actually many) hours ahead of Lothering now, so I don't remember exactly where I figured out how to work tactics, but it was definitely AFTER my fifth hour of gameplay, Mark. So be proud of yourself; I was stumbling around in the dark for a lot longer. It IS nice when everyone doesn't rush into the thick of things and immediately die, isn't it?

    And to echo above posts, awesome banner is awesome!!!

  24. Psyched180 says:

    I'm reading along, not really knowing what is happening 'cause I've never played this game, but I feel the need to post today

    Because that new banner


    15 thumbs up

    • megotelek says:

      It is a glorious thing. I loved it, and then I noticed that the sliders are all set for the level of 'unpreparedness' and the story one is right off of the bar. I don't even know the whole story, and that made me cackle.

  25. baruchan says:

    Mark, the baddies take out Alistair first because ur unf n uvtu ntteb yriry (zbfg yvxryl orpnhfr ur'f jrnevat gur urnivrfg rdhvczrag nebhaq). Vs lbh svther bhg ubj gb gnxr nqinagntr bs gung snpg, lbh'er zhpu zber yvxryl gb or vtaberq ol gur rarzvrf (cebivqrq lbh rdhvc lbhefrys jvgu yrff urnil nezbe). Gura lbh pna ohggfgno gur Qnexfcnja nyy lbh jnag! (no spoilers, just general advice on how to play the game)

    Alternatively, if something baffles you, the explanation usually could be found in the Codex. (Also: I suggest that you pick up as many Codex entries as possible. Not only does it give you XP, the sheer amount of worldbuilding you will read there is amazing.)

  26. tethysdust says:


    That was more or less my first idea for a comment in your last hour (though I don't think I was going to use the exact words "MURDER HIS FACE". That's a neat image.). I edited it to make it more mild, cause I figured you hadn't yet learned of the depth of his assholery. But seriously. He needs to get butt-stabbed to death by Roslin.

    Also, I actually never used tactics. I just really couldn't get it to work well for me. I guess I didn't want my companions to use tactics, I wanted them to be SENTIENT, dammit. Obviously that wasn't going to happen, so I settled for pausing constantly and micromanaging everything. It made many of the fights really long.

    At this point in the game, I was also using Dog, Morrigan, and Alistair. I love Morrigan/Alistair's bickering as you walk around. Sten was just too stern and untalkative for me to want him around while I traipsed around little villages.

  27. byelves says:

    Areibhf nobhg gur ynpx bs Yryvnan urer! V jnfa'g areibhf nobhg ure orsber, ohg V nz abj. Jung vs ur zvffrf ure bzt???

    Annoyingly terrible of me, but it took equally long for me to figure out tactics and such. Warriors shouldn't die so damn much! V ybir lbh Nyvfgnve.

  28. Barbara says:

    Alistair is the tank in the game. He's the character that can take a lot of damage and divert the enemy's attention away from the rest of the party. At least, usually. ^_^ That's probably why they're picking on him.

  29. Bxnl, abg yvxr nalbar pnerf ohg guvf cbfg bapr ntnva punatrf zl cerqvpgvbaf sbe ebznapr:
    Znex jba'g pner nobhg ebznapr.
    Znex jvyy fperj hc uvf nggrzcgf ng ebznapr.
    Znex jvyy arire svther bhg lbh pna ebznapr fbzrbar (ybbxf yvxr ur'f yrneavat jryy fb sne fb guvf vf abg n uvtu cebonovyvgl nalzber).

    Cebivqrq ur qbrfa'g zvff erpehvgvat Mri be Yvy, V guvax gurl ner jnl zber yvxryl guna Nyv orpnhfr vs ur xrrcf ba jvgu guvf fanexl fanexl zrnarff (naq gurer'f abguvat jebat jvgu gung cynlguebhtu, vg'f ernyyl sha) Nyvfgnve vf tbvat gb ungr uvz irel dhvpxyl. Yvy vf nyfb tbvat gb or fubpxrq ng uvf zrnalcnagf nggvghqr, ohg V'z guvaxvat gurer'f zber bs n punapr ure fjrrgarff naq/be gur cbffvovyvgl bs srzfynfu jvyy fbsgra uvz n yvggyr ohg Mri vf zbfg yvxryl orpnhfr ur'f punezvat naq frkl naq na rys naq ur jba'g unir n ceboyrz jvgu zbfg bs Znex'f fanexlarff.

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />
    Cyrnfr qba'g zvff Yvyvnan Znex. Cyrnfr!

    • That gif also applies to:
      Lbh'er gelvat gb gnxr ntteb njnl sebz lbhe bayl gnax?
      Serr ervta bs lbhe cbgvbaf ol gur NV'f? (Qba'g xabj vs guvf vf fbzrguvat bgure crbcyr qb ohg va zl cynlguebhtuf vg vf nyjnlf n UHTR jnvfg bs cbgvbaf. V ubgxrl cbgvba gb O ba nyy zl cnegl zrzoref naq vs V frr gurz trggvat ybj V'z yvxr ohzcre-ohzcre-OOO-ohzcre be ohzcre-O-ohzcre-O-ohzcre-O-ohzcre vs gurl'er nyy uhegvat.)

  30. Jojo says:

    Mark, I had a dream that you were the cashier at my local grocery store; you took cash only, not cards, but thankfully I had some on me and could actually pay. You recognised me and I told you to znxr fher gb erpehvg Yryvnan. You thanked me for the advice and gave me a discount.

    My Warden is always a female Human Noble, ebznapvat Nyvfgnve orpnhfr ur'f fb cerggl, but City Elves are fun, too!

Comments are closed.