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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