Stropp's World

Games And Gamery

Slaying Dragons

Posted by Stropp on March 20, 2011

How long ago did I buy Dragon Age Origins?

I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it was soon after the game was released.

At the time I didn’t get much further than the Redcliff quests, which I did immediately after Lothering.

So a couple of weeks ago, with all the talk of Dragon Age 2 around the web, I decided that hey, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to make another run at the game. So I created a human noble warrior, and set off once again on the quest to save the world, and spent many many hours doing so.

This all culminated with the slaying of the Archdemon, and nice big graphical reward for doing so.

I must say I’m really glad I went back and completed the game, although I did miss a lot of the additional quests from the special givers like the Blackthorn guys. I think that’s why I never had the financial resources to buy the really great weapons.

I also left the Premium content that came with the game towards the end, forgetting that Soldiers Peak provided some handy extra storage. If I ever do the game again, I’ll remember to do all the premium content first. And maybe I’ll even consider buying the rest of the DLC.

Of course DA2 is now out, and it seems that most people like it, even if there are a few dissenting opinions. So when I get some free time, I might give this one a go too.

EA: Get Your Community Elsewhere

Posted by Stropp on March 11, 2011

Both Tobold and Keen & Graev have posted about the policy at EA that can result in you being locked out of not only the official forums, but also any games that are linked to your EA account.

At first blush, this looks like making EAs forums much nicer places to visit according to Tobold and the G.I.F Theory. No one will want to be a semi-anonymous jerk because they might get banned from playing their single player games like Dragon Age.

The law of unintended consequences applies here. Some players might not want to complain about legitimate bugs because they fear the EA thought-police, so useful information will be lost. Rather than outright aggressive language (which can be dealt with by mods and the community) these forums will end up with lots of passive aggressive language that can’t be dealt with, and will make the forums an unpleasant place to be. The better forum users will leave along with the helpful content they write that makes the forums better.

Draconian policies do not make a nicer community.

As far as I’m concerned there is a better option. When someone makes rules you don’t like for their playing field, just don’t play on their field. Which means in this case one of two things.

  1. Don’t play their games.
  2. Don’t use their forums.

I’m assuming that most people will ignore the first point. After all, SWTOR is looking nice, and Dragon Age 2 is highly anticipated.

But this is the Internet, where anyone with a few quid can buy a domain and hosting and set up a forum (or a blog.)

As a rule, most unofficial forums tend to be nicer places to visit anyway. Sure there are the elitist jerks and eq2flames forums that feel like a PvP gankfest, but there are other nice venues.

The other thing to realise is that forums are not the only source of gamer community. There’s all the social networking like Twitter and Facebook where fans can congregate and chat. Twitter comments especially have a short lifespan, so it always feels like more of a conversation. There’s no necroing of year old threads on Twitter.

And then there are blogs. Blogs, I think, are one of the ultimate sources of community. They are operated by passionate fans, contain lots of useful info (mostly) and provide a place for commentors. In fact on the bigger blogs, the prolific commentors are known to the whole community.

So if you don’t like EAs all-compassing-banhammer, then don’t put yourself at their mercy. Get your community elsewhere.


Dragon Age Time Tip

Posted by Stropp on November 8, 2009

Warning: This has some slight spoilage ahead, but not too much. I won’t be giving away storyline.

There are at least some quests in Dragon Age: Origins that have an element of time criticality, and I’m not all at sure if ‘some’ should read as ‘all’ since I’ve only done about 15% of the game after nearly 15 hours on this one character. It may be too soon to be conclusive about that.

Now for the spoilage.

The first village I came to offers a quest to deliver notices of conscription to three individuals scattered about the kingdom. I’m not sure if the quest indicated a timed element, but I instead went off and did two of the premium downloadable content quests before I went to Redcliffe and (as part of my other activities) delivered one of the notices. I then saved the village… hurrah! Checked my journal and noticed the quest was missing.

It turned out the Blight was on the move and had overrun the village I received the quest from. That was something I wasn’t aware of. It may be that completing the major parts of the Blight quests advance the Blight across the map, in which case it’s a good idea to do side quests when they are received rather than let them pile up and do other quests first.

If only I hadn’t dilly dallied.

Although, in keeping with the game play aspects of making choices that matter in Dragon Age: Origins, it may be that whatever I do in one direction, the big bad will affect something else.

Tis something to keep in mind for the other quests.

Can Bioware Tell A Story, Or What?

Posted by Stropp on November 6, 2009

After going through the preload decrypting and installation process on Thursday evening my time (which took longer than I’d hoped unfortunately) I fired up Dragon Age: Origins, created my first character and started playing.

I didn’t create a Bioware social network account yet, nor have I registered the game. I really just wanted to hop in and get playing. That was probably a good move since I’ve since heard that Bioware experienced the release day blues with their site, and players have had a tough time getting it all to work properly.

I’ll probably do that tonight, especially since I need to register to get the downloadable content and rewards from buying the digital deluxe edition on Steam.

Since this isn’t a review, more a first impressions, I won’t rate the various parts of the game like the graphics (which are excellent and smooth by the way.) Instead, I want to rave about the story.

Dragon Age Origins provides six character origins to choose from. Each of these relates to race and class.

Humans can be warriors, mages, or rogues, and have a single noble origin.

Elves have the same class choices, and have the city elf, or country elf origins.

Dwarves can only be warriors or rogues, and have a choice of noble or commoner origin.

Mages only have one origin as they are effectively imprisoned, a gilded cage of sorts.

Each origin provides a different story, and so far I have played four characters, a human noble warrior, human mage, city elf warrior, and a dwarf noble. Each of these stories has been told excellently, which is one of the reasons I’ve done all four to date.

Each of the characters, except for the first; the human noble, has taken me a little over an hour to complete. At that point you are taken into the main storyline, which is the same for all character types. However, there are apparently still differences here, and your race and origin affect how NPCs treat you. I’m also wondering if  those choices affect how the game progresses.

So far my favorite is the Dwarf noble warrior. I really enjoyed the quests leading up to… hmmm, perhaps I should say any more, eh?

Hopefully I’m not speaking too soon, but I think once again Bioware has shown themselves to be masters of storytelling in games. They’ve drawn me into their plotlines to the point where I’ve felt some pretty strong emotions in some scenes, and towards some characters.

And that King I met. I’m really not too sure what to make of him yet. I’ll have to watch him closely…

It’s Like Christmas

Posted by Stropp on November 4, 2009

There’s nothing better. Getting up in the morning and checking under the tree for a prezzie or three.

Well this morning it’s a bit like that.

Of course the tree is the Steam client, and the prezzie is Dragon Age: Origins, but you get the idea.

Now I have to head off to work in a few minutes. Bummer.

Why can’t the government declare today a public holiday?

Dragon Age Day.

Has a nice ring to it.

I Lurve Digital Distribution

Posted by Stropp on October 20, 2009

I was reading a piece on the upcoming post apocalyptic Borderlands on Rock Paper Shotgun and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that will be available on Steam?”

So I loaded up the Steam client, and lo and behold, there it is. Coming on the 27th of this month.

Then I noticed, directly below, coming on the 28th of October: Torchlight.

A little more searching and there is on the 4th of November, Dragon Age: Origins (plus the digital deluxe edition.)

Just wait while I do a little happy dance…


…done, back.

Aside from the convenience of downloading games directly to my PC, which is a winner in itself, it’s also marvelous to be able to get them for US prices.

Here in Australia a new game from a game store will normally cost close to A$100. (Up to $20 more for a console game.)

Back when the Aussie dollar was down around 75 US cents, that made sense. The difference in currencies made importing an expensive proposition. But with the Aussie inching closer to the US dollar, it makes more digital purchases more and more attractive. (Won’t work with console games though since they use the evil region locking madness.)

It’s also a great time for Aussie subscribers of US based online games. We’ll finally be paying the same (or close to) as our US brethren. Kinda almost makes up for all those scheduled downtimes falling in Oceanic primetime hours.


Posted by Stropp on October 8, 2009


Dragon Age is being released in less than a month. I’ve been looking forward to this game, moreso after seeing some of the good stuff popping up on Dragonchasers. The game has a 100 hours of gameplay (you can probably double that based on my normal rate of progress in games!) and there is so much else to play and to do. Hmmm.

Still, at least Dragon Age is actually going to be released here in the land of Oz. I haven’t heard any reports that it hasn’t passed muster at the OFLC board.

Which is definitely better than Left 4 Dead 2. Valve cut content out and resubmitted after the game was originally refused classification. The news today is that L4D2 has now been accepted. Good news in a way I guess.

What irks me is that one semi-elected official can dictate what the entire country can play. The attorney general for South Australia belongs to a state government elected by approximately 1.5 million people. The other five attorneys general belong to state governments elected by the rest of Australia’s 22 million populace.

So one essentially unelected individual can hold up something important like an R rating for games. Something that even a lot of people in his own state want.

There’s a state election approaching too. Unfortunately, there’s no credible opposition in SA, so it’s likely Atkinson will be returned, and will continue blocking progress.

Tell me. How that is democracy?