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

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