Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Origins’: Hour 22

In the twenty-second hour of Dragon Age: Origins, I solve the crisis in Redcliffe while earning Alistair’s ire, and then I decide it’s finally time to go visit the dwarves. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age: Origins.

Hour Twenty-Two

Maker bless this game. Seriously, I can only begin to tell you how happy I am that I chose Dragon Age: Origins for the first longterm Mark Plays game. I admit that I was (and still am!) incredibly nervous about the execution of this project. Without defined beginnings and endings, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to pull it off. Plus, technical problems are the WORST. Nothing is more frustrating than knowing your issues aren’t defined by a lack of creativity or by the presence of writer’s block. But now that I’m using Elgato Game Capture to record my gameplay and share it with you, I feel like I’ve finally reached the full potential of Mark Plays. I can document my discovery for y’all in multiple ways, I can express my frustrations and my joys, and I can wax poetically about the engaging experience that comes along with playing a video game.

I firmly consider myself of the camp that believes video games are an art form in and of themselves, and I especially think that Dragon Age: Origins provides a medium to tell a story. While you could probably play the entire game without giving a rat’s ass about the story, I think it’s intrinsically tied to the experience. On top of that, this is my first experience with an RPG that’s more RPG than first-person shooter. While the Fallout games do provide character building, they don’t share the same mental process I’m going through with this game. I’m making decisions based on what I think my character would do. And look, I admit that I have never waltzed into the world of roleplaying. I follow some roleplaying Tumblrs because they’re fascinating, and I’ve watched some RP board games take place, but I always felt like an outsider. I didn’t get what was going on, and I didn’t understand the appeal. Now, I’m not saying that Dragon Age: Origins is a pure RPG. I have to put this game in perspective of my own history. I’ve never played Dungeons & Dragons, I’ve never been a part of a roleplaying community online, and, as I just mentioned, Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas are the only games I’ve played that come close the experience of in-depth character building.

So that’s where I’m at mentally as I play this game. This whole process that I’m documenting is new to me on multiple levels, and I’m just happy that there are so many of you who read along each day, post your own commentary, and make me excited to do this. My other two sites don’t have this learning aspect to them. I’m literally learning to do something new along the way, and I’m so appreciative that y’all are here, too. It’s weird that I’m basically… oh gosh, how do I put this? I’m performing in a way because playing Dragon Age is about skill, you know? So it’s not a matter of simply reacting to the text. I’ve got to also achieve certain tasks, and I was so terribly worried that I would be so abysmal at playing this game that no one would ever want to follow me ever. But y’all have been so wonderful! Well, accept for the small contingent of folks who yell at me over Twitter and email about Lelani or whatever her name is? I have no idea what I did wrong with this character, but someone sent me the ANGRIEST email about how I need to create new saves every hour so I can go back and get her? I DON’T GET IT.

Anyway, let’s talk about what I did this hour! I was shocked at how easy it was to conquer everything in the Fade realm. In fact, I have video proof of this!

LOOK, I DIDN’T EVEN DIE ONCE. HELL YES. Oh gosh, I’d forgotten how fun it was to play with Morrigan, especially now that I’ve focused certain spells and hexes in her Spell/Talent trees. She annihilated everything! Okay, so granted it wasn’t that hard, but I was pleased I was able to free Connor from Quor’toth. I mean, the demon. Right. Not only that, BUT I HEALED ARL EAMON. Oh god, I was so fucking worried that the game wouldn’t recognize that I had the Sacred Ashes since I did the story a bit out of order. BUT ALAS. ARL EAMON LIVES. And so does Jowan, whose life I spared. I almost thought he might get to be one of my companions for a bit, since I don’t have anyone in my party who is a blood mage. Of course, if I accepted him, I imagine that Alistair and Wynne would not put up with my shit.

Redcliffe gets a bittersweet ending, but it was nice to know that I had just one final contract to secure with the dwarves. Oh fuck, this game is coming to a close soon, isn’t it? ALLOW ME TO PROLONG IT FOR SOME TIME. I headed back to my camp to heal everyone, and Alistair immediately confronted me. Turns out he was more pissed about my choice to sacrifice Isolde than I realized. Whoops? I was somewhat relieved when I was able to persuade him that I did my best, BUT THEN I STILL LOST 9 DISAPPROVAL POINTS. ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? Oh, fuck. Now he’s totally neutral towards me! I ended up buying some gifts of Bodahn to bring my approval rating back up, but dude. DUDE. What was I supposed to do? GAH.

SO! It was time to head to the Frostback Mountains. Y’all, I was so excited to see what new story the game had for me. What fucked up twist would I have to deal with in Orzammer? Initially, that twist is the fact that the entire dwarf city IS UNDERGROUND. Which… okay, yes, that should be expected, they’re dwarves, but it was still cool to see how this was designed. I love it! Orzammer is massive and seemingly ENDLESS. I knew I should talk to as many people as possible, so that’s what I set myself out to do. Turns out that the previous king is dead, and there’s nearly a civil war amongst the dwarves. WHAT SIDE SHALL I ULTIMATELY JOIN? I don’t know quite yet, but it looks like it might be Harrowmont. I accepted the mission to join the Proving? Yeah, just call it the Gauntlet. It’s totally a gauntlet-style battle, isn’t it? I also helped a dwarf with his lost nugs, which sounds really dirty, but nugs are GODDAMN ADORABLE. Can’t I keep one? Please?

Oh god, Dagna. HOW. HOW ARE YOU REAL. She is so fucking adorable, and I’m going to break her heart. She’s a dwarf! She can’t do magic! I also couldn’t help but draw parallels between her and like ALL OF US WHO WISH HARRY POTTER WAS REAL. Right? We understand her Muggle hope. WE UNDERSTAND IT.

I’m surprised how not fucked up this story seems. The civil war is mostly political, unless whatever the deepstalkers are in the mine are connected, which I highly doubt. Creatures with worms for their heads? NO THANK YOU. Otherwise, I think this is a nice break from experience ultra-disturbing plot lines. I’m off to Prove myself and then get access to the mine. LET’S DO IT.

My Character Stats

Strength: 26+2
Dexterity: 25+6
Willpower: 20
Magic: 14
Cunning: 18
Constitution: 24

Heroic Stats

Kills: 379
Damage dealt: 74474
Friendly fire: 0
Greatest damage dealt: 90
Contribution to party damage: 35
Hit rate: 84
Most powerful foe slain: Piotin
Injuries: 8

Mark Links Stuff

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