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just watched the trailer for it. Looks pretty good, maybe by the time it comes out I'll be playing DA:O ha ha

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I can't believe how fanboyish I've become over this game, but I asked for both of the DA novels for Christmas. I finshed the other one a couple days ago and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. If you don't know anything about them, both books were released before the game and take place years before the video game.

 

The first book covers the time when Felderon rebels against the Orlesian occupation and wins its freedom. It details how a young Prince Maric (King Cailan's father, who we never see in the game) first meets Lohgrain and leads the rebel forces to victory. I thought that the writing was excellent and very well paced. It caught my attention from the first paragraph and kept me interested until the end. In fact, I thought it would make for an excellent movie (well, movie trilogy actually). I only had 2 real complaints about it.

 

1) It cost $14.95. Its like a 7"x5" paperback and has around 550 pages, but I would have been a lot happier if it'd been normal paperback size and only $7.99.

2) They cut it short. The first 3/4 of the book were awesome. The details were great, and I felt a real association with the characters (it goes a lot towards explaining why during the game Lohgain is all hung-up worrying about the Orlasians - so much that he's blinded to the true dangers of the Blight). But then around page 400 or so, it started to seem like the author was skimming over some of the things he'd previously expounded on. Then you get to a one of the key battles that the entire book has been leading up to, and they skip the entire thing in between chapters. End of one chapter they're preparing for the fight, beginning of the next chapter its 3 weeks later, the battle is over, and you learn the high-level details of what happened thru narration. I was pretty bummed.

 

That said, my work with CAV over the last few years has opened my eyes to how printing books actually works, and I can definately see how those 2 items are probably related to one another. I'm sure that with such a new and unproven IP, that EA/Bioware was reluctant to print an extremely large number of the books (in fact no book store here in Omaha stocks the books. My wife had to get them thur Amazon), and the fewer books you print, the more the costs go up. So they had to charge more per book to off-set increased printing costs. Likewise, page count is a huge factor too. I really got the feeling that this could have been 2 books: pages 1-400 and then 400+ in another book. Guess they weren't willing to take that chance tho.

 

Still, if you're up for a bit of light reading, I recommend it.

 

I've just started the second book so I can't say much about it. I can say that it takes place about 10 years later and this time Duncan is the main character. He's just been recruited into the Gray Wardens and judging by his attitude it wasn't by his choice. A group of Orlesian Wardens has travelled to Ferelden to ask King Maric for help navigating the Deep Roads. Maric and his band travelled them during the 1st book and accidentally found an old dwarven thaig, once which the Wardens need to reach ASAP to save a fellow Warden who's been captured by the Darkspawn.

 

There are 2 tidbits I've picked up so far, depsite only being 2 chapters into the book. First, Duncan's background is as a theif. I always figured he was a warrior. Second, there are some Darkspawn emissaries who are intelligent enough to actually talk and reason with humans. They're even aware of the Warden's link to the darkspawn and how it works. And on an ironic note, they're even smart enough to understand that the lesser darkspawn are driven to find the Old Gods by instinct and have accepted that there's nothing they (the smart ones) can do to change that. I'm guessing that these guys are the new Darkspawn race/class that's mentioned in the new expansion.

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I got tired of the endless dialogue

That was one of the game's biggest selling points. Like way more spoken dialog than any previous Bioware game ever. Didn't you know what you were getting yourself into when you bought the game?

 

No. I saw some stuff about it months and months before release how it was supposed to be the RPG to end all RPGs. The small tid-bits that were given did not go into any details about what it was all about other than it was supposed to be epic. Seemed like a slightly souped up Baldur's Gate without the D&D rules...nothing terribly amazing.

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Seemed like a slightly souped up Baldur's Gate without the D&D rules...

That's exactly what it was supposed to be from the get go. Here's a link to the first preview that GameSpot ran on it back in 2004 - note the very first sentence says its the "spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate". Same with the previews they posted in July '08, Oct '08, etc, etc. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm honestly surprised that you found a decent article on the 'net that didn't refer to it as a non-D&D sequal to Baldur's Gate. Bioware's entire goal was to combine the "epic" size and scope (IE something that takes longer to play than today's 20 hr video games), BG's tactical combat, with the story-telling and cut-scenes they've developed with Knights of the Old Republic and Mass Effect, in a game world of their own design (and most importantly Intellectual Property).

 

I have to say I'm not totally surprised that you weren't expecting quite what you got. I think that while Bioware did a great job of stating what the game was going to be (and what it wasn't) that EA (the publisher) pretty much tried to lie to the average consumer and trick them into thinking DA was something other than what it was. None of the TV commercials ever showed actual gameplay - they all showed CG rendered characters fighting, and I think that led a lot of people into thinking they were getting something like Oblivion or something. I'm sure that EA was trying to entice more than a few WOW players too, whom most definitely don't fit the mold for the type of player who would love DA:O.

 

There's still regular posts on the DA forums (mostly from X-Box and PS3 owners it seems) who bought the game and were completely dumbfounded that it had tactical combat and loads of conversation.

 

For me, its the conversation and story that made the game so great. But I was expecting that (looking forward to it actually) when I bought the game.

 

As for your comment about not caring about your bethrothed dying, I can kinda understand that. But you did just meet him/her that same day, and depending on how you played that story, you may not have even wanted to get married in the first place. Me, I played that one as a dude, and when they kidnapped my fiance to rape her, I walked into the castle and killed every mother effing one of the bastards. Of course then I had to run and join the Greys to keep from being executed, but what the hell. :lol: The one thing I really noticed during my play thru of that Origin tho was that despite the fact that I was supposed to marry someone, it seemed as if it was really my female friend that I was concerned about. It felt like she was the one whom I was really in love with, but couldn't be with due to my arranged marriage. Thus why I really didn't give a hoot about leaving my bride to go battle the Blight.

 

BTW, even if you don't want to play the game past where you are now, you should really consider going back and playing all of the other Origin stories. They really are top notch.

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Speaking of IP - I saw a post on the Bioware forums today that I found interesting. The new forum admin was commenting in one of the "discussions" about the expansion that Bioware apparently has a 5 year plan laid out for Dragon Age. DLC, expansions, sequels... its all apparently already planned out, just needs developing now.

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I finished the 2nd book last night. While I don't think he did quite as good a job of building the characters as he did in the first book, it was still enjoyable and the ending added a twist to one of the things that happens during the video game. Best of all, the story fit the page count - there wasn't any noticable trimming of text like in the first book to make everything fit.

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I picked up the new expansion last week, but I didn't really get a chance to play it until last night. It seems that pretty early into the game that you're forced to make some pretty big decisions that will affect things later on, which is pretty cool. You have the choice of importing your player from the original or else creating a totally new PC from scratch. I decided to start w/a new character simply b/c your new character is from Orlais and I wanted to see how that would effect the game. Once I've finished it w/my new rogue archer I'll prolly replay it w/my original sword and board warrior too.

 

You start out a level 18 and you still level up fairly quickly. Just a few hours into it I've already gone up 2 levels. It looks like 27 or 28 is the cap for this one. There are 2 new specializations for each class that you get at level 22, and most of the classes also got 2 new "lines" of abilities. And there are 3 new lines of skills: Rune Crafting, one that gives you a bonus to HP, and another that gives you bonus to Stamina/mana.

 

Weapons look pretty much the same now, but armor has changed a little bit in that you can now attach runes to your armor. These are entirely new types of runes, so you now have 2 groups: the pre-existing runes are for weapons only, and the new ones are for armor only. They do things like give you % defense vs types of damage, bonuses to stats, or % chance to dodge attacks. There are a lot of new potions too. There's a Stamina pot now that allows warriors and rogues to immediately get back some Stamina, which is great during a fight. My archer goes thru her Sta like crazy. LOL

 

Story-wise, they are introducing elements from the 2nd book, which I think is cool. From what I have heard (and seen so far) only 1 of your party members from the previous game are available to join you in this game. That kinda sucks, but then again it allows you to meet some interesting new guys too. Best of all they give you the chance to invoke the Right of Consription, which I always wanted to do in the first game. LMAO! Granted, you can only do it w/the specific characters that Bioware designed for your party, but its still good. I enjoyed pissing off the idiots from the Chantry by conscripting the mage they wanted to hang. :lol:

 

Oh, one last thing.... the game came w/an insert for a Dragon Age comic book. That's not big news, but on the back of it there was a big red silhouette of a dragon like the cover of the original game. The only text on it was "2.2011". ::D:

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I've played it start to finish 6 times and I just started a new Dalish elf charachter named Nevaeh....

 

AND ALISTAIR IS NOT ANNOYING!!!! My dad thinks I only play the game cuz I have a crush on Alistair...thats not true...Zevran is cute too ROFL

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