Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Awakening’: Hour 14

In the fourteenth hour of Dragon Age: Awakening, I am mystified by runecrafting, and then the end is here. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to play Dragon Age.

Hour Fourteen

Characters level up so much quicker in Awakening. At least that’s my perception. Just a minute or two after starting up this hour of gameplay, Nathaniel leveled up, and that meant I could finally give him that fourth runecrafting talent. Little did I know that this would lead to an endless portal to hell.

And by “hell,” what I mean is “a time consuming and barely satisfying exercise in repetition.” Part of that blame is mine, technically. I should have made it so that Roslin had Master Runecrafting, not another character. That being said, WHY WOULD YOU PUT THE ONE PERSON IN THE GAME WHO SELLS EVERY TYPE OF NOVICE RUN AND CAN ENCHANT YOUR SHIT INSIDE THE FUCKING CASTLE WHERE YOUR PARTY DOESN’T EXIST? I am convinced that this was not an oversight, but the evil, fiendish idea of some developer who wanted to see how far one person would go to get a Paragon Rune.

Well, guess what, dude? I spent FORTY FUCKING MINUTES getting just eight Paragon runes. This involved me:

  • Putting everything aside from my runes and what I was wearing in that storage chest by the door.
  • Running back and forth between the courtyard of Vigil’s Keep and the throne room.
  • Assembling as many runes to trigger the next level as I could before I ran out of blank runestones or etching agents.
  • Doing this for FORTY FUCKING MINUTES.

I sound angry. I know I do! Truthfully, this is the kind of shit I live for. The game just gave me a way to customize the weapons and armor of my party in increasingly unique ways, and my diligence pays off with a TOTALLY UNSTOPPABLE CREW. +14 to constitution? +7 flame or frost damage? Chance of paralysis that is so high it’s pretty much 100%? 30% resistance to ALL spells? Y’all, it was worth it. It was worth it SO MUCH. If anything, I only wish I had done this much, much earlier in the game. (Now that I know it’s there, it’ll be one of the first things I do whenever I get the chance to replay the game.)

So! After this absurd fantasy was over, I went up to the seneschal with the hopes of getting Velenna into her Joining, but I had no idea just how close I was to the end of the game. The endgame sequence was finally triggered, and I was informed of a darkspawn threat at Amaranthine. I chose to take Nathaniel, Sigrun, and Anders with me, and my other companions bid me farewell. (I’m still bitter that Velenna was universally mean to me, but was a total sweetheart to my face as we left. WTF, make up your mind!) It was time to fight the darkspawn siege at Amaranthine!

But this is Dragon Age we’re talking about. Things are never this easy. Aiden immediately informs me that I’m too late. The darkspawn have overrun Amaranthine, and most of the city is lost. And then this guy shows up:

In the most shocking twist yet, he says The Architect sent him to tell me that The Mother and her forces were heading straight for Vigil’s Keep, and that I needed to go there to defend the city. The Architect wants me to defeat the mother. Okay, WHAT THE FUCK. However, in order to do this, I’d have to leave Amaranthine behind and BURN THE CITY TO THE GROUND. What? What??? But there are survivors left inside!

As difficult as it was to make a choice, I loved that the game allowed me to think about Roslin’s characterization when making a choice. I’ve played her as a ruthless warrior who will do anything to save even one person. She inherently cares about those left behind and forgotten. And by gods, she is not going to leave people to die! I knew this was a risky move, given that I was possibly putting Vigil’s Keep in harm’s way, but I couldn’t let these people perish if they’d managed to survive a darkspawn attack. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I was able to convince this darkspawn messenger to FIGHT ALONGSIDE ME. HOLY SHIT. HOLY SHIT! I mean, they are able to communicate like humans, so why did I never consider the fact that you might also be able to reason with them?

So my party (with this strange new ally in tow) headed into the city, where we universally destroyed. Our newly enchanted weapons and armor proved virtually invincible. It was unreal! Almost every beast we faced was felled in under three hits. THIS IS SO AWESOME, Y’ALL. It took me under five minutes to clear out all of Amaranthine.

I headed into the Chantry once I was informed that another wave of darkspawn were on their way. I’m curious to see how much more fighting I’ll have to do before I go back to Vigil’s Keep. And I hope there’s something left of Vigil’s Keep when I do return. I don’t want to regret my choices!

For now, I’ll leave you with this rather poetic image that was the last thing on my screen at the end of this hour. By gods, I am so excited, y’all.

Bring it on, darkspawn.

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21 Responses to Mark Plays ‘Dragon Age: Awakening’: Hour 14

  1. Eliestav says:

    It's always weird when Mark misses an important detail that was advertised very heavily. Yvxr gung vg jnf gur pvgl be gur xrrc. Abg obgu.

    Fb…Guerr ebthrf sbe gur svany onggyr? Gung zvtug or qvssvphyg.

    • Grpuavpnyyl lbh pna xrrc gur xrrc cerggl zhpu vagnpg vs lbh vairfg n ybg bs zbarl naq gvzr vagb trggvat vg ohvyg fgebat. Crbcyr fgvyy qvr, ohg lbhe pbzcnavbaf snve cerggl jryy, naq va gur rcvybthr vg'f zragvbarq gung Ivtvy'f Xrrc fgnlf fgnaqvat gnyy sbe lrnef gb pbzr. Xvaq bs yvxr raq bs Znff Rssrpg 2 lbh unir gb or jvyyvat gb chg gvzr vagb vg. BU Tbq gung znxrf zr areibhf nobhg Znff Rssrpg 2. Vs Znex'f abg pnershy ur'yy xvyy rirelbar…

      • adaptation says:

        Mass Effect series spoilers (sort of) in my comment and the one above ^

        bzt V jvyy ynhtu fb uneq vs Znex xvyyf rirelbar ng gur raq bs ZR2.

        • Eliestav says:

          V xabj sebz crefbany rkcrevrapr gung lbh ernyyl unir gb tb bhg bs lbhe jnl gb xvyy rirelbar va gur fhvpvqr zvffvba. Lbh pna'g hctenqr gur fuvc ng nyy, naq lbh unir gb or pnershy nobhg jubfr yblnygl zvffvbaf lbh qb, rgp. Gurer'f ab jnl gb qb vg ol nppvqrag.

          Naq V xabj gur xrrc fheivirf vs lbh chg va nyy gur jbex, ohg V'ir ab ernfba gb guvax znex qvq gung. V rkcrpg Naqref gb qvr ng yrnfg, juvpu jvyy envfr dhrfgvbaf ertneqvat gur frdhry V rkcrpg.

          • xyliane27 says:

            DA2: Jryy, ur oebhtug Naqref jvgu uvz, evtug? Fb ur fubhyq or svar. Whfgvpr, Irynaan, naq Btuera, gubhtu… Ng yrnfg Whfgvpr vf n Snqrf fcvevg fb vg pbhyq or nethrq uvf qrnyvatf jvgu Naqref unccrarq juvyr Xevfgbss'f obql jnf snyyvat ncneg.

          • EmberQuill says:

            (ME2 Spoilers) Lrnu, jura V cynlrq ZR2, V znantrq gb xrrc rirelbar nyvir snveyl rnfvyl. V qvq nyy gur yblnygl zvffvbaf, naq qhevat gur fhvpvqr zvffvba, V whfg cvpxrq gur crbcyr jub znqr frafr sbe nyy gur ebyrf, naq abobql qvrq.

            Znex pbhyq zvff Yblnygl zvffvbaf gubhtu…ohg bapr ur'f cynlrq n srj bs gurz ur'yy cebonoyl ernyvmr gung nyy bs uvf fdhnqzngrf unir bar.

          • Vg whfg bppheerq gb zr gung fvapr ZR qbrfa'g unir na boivbhf nccebiny zrgre, Znex zvtug abg ernyvfr gung gurer'f n cbvag va gnyxvat gb uvf grnz. Guhf zvffvat bhg ba obgu yblnygl zvffvbaf naq hctenqrf.

          • mreeb says:

            ME1 and ME2 spoilers: V'z abg nf jbeevrq nobhg uvz zvffvat yblnygl dhrfgf fvapr Xryyl gryyf lbh gb gnyx gb lbhe pbzcnavbaf jura lbh arrq gb. V'z npghnyyl zber jbeevrq nobhg gur erfg bs gur perj, naq gur cbffvovyvgl ur jba'g qb fuvc hctenqrf. Naq gung ur'yy zvff Jerk'f yblnygl zvffvba va gur svefg tnzr naq gura jba'g unir rabhtu vagvzvqngr be punez cbvagf gb gnyx uvz qbja ba Ivezver. GURFR TNZRF NER FB FGERFFSHY bu tbq.

  2. theenglishmanCA says:

    Man, I just realized that if you're ever going to play the Metal Gear Solid series, you're going to need a LITTLE more than an hour for each entry. For cutscenes alone.

    That being said, I'm enjoying this and can't wait to see you start and Mass Effect (and hopefully Assassin's Creed someday? Please? :D)

    • Yeah there's games he's confirmed that don't have traditional levels that are going to be very difficult to break into hour increments because either he's watching a ton of cutscenes or just not much happening for huge stretches.

  3. Hexe says:

    3 Rogues in one party, eh, interesting choice. (I really don't like rogues. I take one out of necessity but never more; dualwields die all the time and archers do no damage.)

    Runecrafting is tedious. I used a Manual of Focus to re-skill my warden for Runecrafting, than another one once I had all the runes I could possibly want.

    • snapsnzips says:

      My dual wielding rogue kicks everyone's ass over and over. You can kill the world with 3 rogues and a mage. Or two rogues and two mages. The key is dexterity.

      • Sybylla says:

        Amen. A dual-wield rogue with two daggers and high dexterity is a DPS god.

      • Hexe says:

        Depends on what difficulty you play on, I guess?
        Because my dual wielding rogues really don't like friendly fire and skilling my party for single target damage only seems like a waste of potential and makes fights against large groups tedious.

  4. pirktro says:

    Ah yes, I remember the running in and out for ages part, I made the same mistake and at first, made Anders my runesmith.

    It's too late to do it now, and I didn't want to spoil that, but you missed something quite nice, it might save you some trouble on your next playthrough: Herren sells a book that lets you redistribute the character points that you already spent, so theoretically, if you have enough gold, you can spend your points normally on anything you want, buy two books, read one, make your character a runesmith, make all the runes you want, read the other book, and put the points in her fighting talents again.

  5. I gotta say this is interesting to me because I made the other choice: to burn the city down and defend Vigil's Keep. So I really have no idea what shape it will be in when Mark gets there.

    • pirktro says:

      Nf sne nf V erzrzore, vs lbh qrpvqr gb qrsraq Nznenaguvar, lbh jba'g frr Ivtvy'f Xrrc ntnva va-tnzr, jr jvyy bayl svaq bhg ubj gur onggyr jrag va gur rcvybthr.

  6. accidentalbeard says:

    RUUUUNECRAFTIIIIING! Imagine me shaking my fist at the heavens here.
    On my recent re-play I had forgotten how irritating I found runecrafting, and I decided that some of Wade's amazing items just weren't amazing enough for me to tromp in and out of the Keep making a Grandmaster rune for him. Sorry Wade, you're great, but you'll just have to pout for a while.

    Qvq Znex unir Jnqr bhgsvg gur Xrrc'f fbyqvref jvgu orggre nezbe? Qvq ur cnl sbe jbexref be svaq tenavgr sbe gur jnyyf??? V'z n yvggyr jbeevrq gung rirelbar onpx ng gur Xrrc jvyy or qrnq.

  7. I never bothered with rune crafting so I don't feel your pain, but I can certainly sympathize with it Mark. :) You picked 3 rogues, but if I remember correctly Sigrun has a specialization that makes her almost invincible. It's great to unlock for dual wielding rogues, that do a lot of damage but sometimes get killed pretty quickly.

    My party of choice for Awakening is Justice, Anders, and Nathaniel. With me as a dual wielding rogue, killing all the things.

  8. Sybylla says:

    Gamefaqs has a runecrafting guide that I always use, simply because it breaks down the number of novice runes, runestones, and etching agents you need to buy for each level rune. Admittedly, it's straightforward enough to do the calculations, but I generally just don't want to bother with it when someone's been nice enough to do the work for me. :)

  9. BornIn1142 says:

    I'm quite fond of the final fate of gur Qnexfcnja zrffnatre. Ernqvat nobhg uvz va gur rcvybthr jnf fbzrguvat V tbg n xvpx bhg bs.

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