Wait... if no one can become a darkspawn without going to the black city.... why are there so many?
Duncan is still one of my favorite characters from the lore and series (books and games) and I hate that the game basically launches off his death. I believe he did not survive Ostagar.
And I hope he is truly dead, and not still knocking around as a darkspawn. Because wardens past their freshness/sell-by date somehow seem worse than other people who become ghouls or darkspawn.
Solas created the veil to separate the physical world from the fade, a move he now regrets because he didn't forsee the outcome. He also thinks it would be cool to destroy the world everyone lives in to undo what he did.
Nobodys perfect, of course....but I think I don't trust his judgement.
For various reasons, wardens are a secretive order. Blackwall actually knew surprisingly enough about grey wardens to be believeable. Even to other wardens who apparently needed to be reminded about it.
Thom Ranier may not be a grey warden, but I actually think this is a point in his favor. His actions, at least during the span of DAI, carried the will and intent of a grey warden, without the corruption imposed by Corypheus, made possible by the Joining.
I know. A good accent wasted on Sebastian :(
In my headcanon, a Highever accent was always scottish.
I wore the hell out of DAO. The wheels haven't come off, so I'll probably play it again at some point. I can still hope that one day the Warden returns. I know I am not alone in wishing that the DA universe had more continuity of main characters from game to game. The characters differed mostly in the section before Ostagar, so I only had two main character types (mage or rogue) that I played the whole way through with. A lot. I love the story, characters and the combat - package deal.
I probably played DA2 4-5 times. DA2 is kind of like the steel roller coaster compared to DAO's wooden. It's a faster, slicker ride. Shorter, but still fun. Every time I played it, while there was no protagonist continuity, it built on the DA universe continuity, which I enjoy. This game did make being a mage look awesomely cool.
I just finished my second play through of DAI, first time doing the DLC, and was pleasantly surprised by how the last DLC rounded out the game for me. Will likely play again.
I'd argue that BioWare, with it's diverse creators, wanted both.
As a female gamer, I've had to play a lot of stuff which made narrow assumptions about the player that didn't fit, or depicted gratuitous content for a target demographic to which I did not belong.
There were limited options at times, and there were times I expressed my opinion by closing my wallet. And there are companies that will not give a rats ass about my demographic taking their money elsewhere.
I played a lot of Civilization, Sim City, etc. waiting between good adventure/action/RPGs. Sometimes the wait was longer than others.
BioWare was a consistent exception. The fact that their games were also great made me a fan girl. They have been getting my money for years because of this. If they stopped making good games, or devolved somehow into a racist sexist Fill-in-the-offensive-world-view-here developer, once again my wallet would close.
Good games are not synonymous with bias or ignorance. That's a choice based in part on the story being told. Good games don't require pandering to bias or ignorance to be good.
I do think in general that the industry has improved. Or maybe I'm just very selective in my purchases.
I just don't think a publisher owes me an apology (or apology content) for every possible topic, scene or character in the games they put out. Mostly it's just stupid pandering (turians aren't mammals, near as I can tell, and yet...).
I hope they get better and if it's really offensive, I spend my money elsewhere. Consumers are often the only corporate conscience out there.
Because BioWare cutscene powers are scripted to follow a narrative. I don't try too hard to make them fit the lore any more.
Mass Effect had several of these. The DA franchise has many examples... The magic murder knife that was lampshaded if you had Isabella as a LI in DA2.
Uhm... You do know DAI had multiplayer, right?
Anthem with a full single player experience will likely get my money, easily. If it also has a bit of co-op multiplayer, I'll play that too.
Anthem, without single player means I'm unlikely to shell out for it. If there is no co op either, then interest for me drops to zero.
Anthem with token single player, and mostly multiplayer, same thing.
I think that taste is not something universal. You'll get majority trends, likes and so on. But the thing of it is, no one can make you like something if you don't. This conversation is a bunch of folks online demanding reasoning behind someone else choice of favorite color. And then wanna argue about it. Like there could be an argument worth having about it.
I like four star movies, and I am also a believer in two star movie night. There's room for both in my intellectual diet. Just don't bring up Dumb and Dumber.
So Morrigan? I don't like her in DAO. I think a lot of characters are an interesting part of the landscape, but I don't have to like them, and I find the fascination some have with her amusing. I wouldn't mind if the Quizzie had wound up killing her, but there were dialog choices in DAI that reveal that she had managed to find a way care about another living being more than herself. So now I dislike her less.
On the contrary, Solas and Anders, I now dislike. Hey, use people, get a lot of people carelessly hurt or killed, and threaten to blow up the world, and expect an attitude change.
I just dislike Viv in general.
Actually at this point I don't hold out much hope that they will properly revisit the Warden at all.
I'm sure by now you know Alistair was so angry at Loghain, that if he fights in the Summer meet, he just takes the man's head on the spot.
I don't have too much sympathy (some, but not much) since given her own control of the throne, Anora wants Alistair's head also, if you don't interfere.
They put the "fun" in dysfunctional extended family.
BioWare occasionally makes decisions that are hard stops. Often tied to character betrayal. This may well be one of them.
Hmm, I understand the concern about depictions of groups in ... less than flattering situations. But does the offense given pass the sniff test?
The pros in the Pearl were not solely trans. Transgender persons in the game are not all depicted in a negative light. For whatever reason, I don't recall Maeveris at all. Krem, was awesome.
My only recollection of the Pearl is that they seemed to have something on tap to suit most anyone's taste. I didn't spend a whole lot of time fascinated by an in game brothel. I had a guy ask me once how to get into Kirkwall in DA2 if you'd spent all your money in the brothel already. I lol'd.
To be offended by the one incident, though, is to imply that there is never a trans person who has ever done anything unflattering. And based on my experience of human nature, that is impossible.
Equality means accepting trans (or any other specific group) as both sinners and saints. I'd agree you had a point if BioWare had a pattern of denegrating transgenders, but by your own admission, they don't.
Society in general? Taken over the span of our culture, you could likely make a case. But don't make BioWare the apologist for all culture, when you know they are one of the most inclusive publishers out there.
I happen to like all three games, and they have slightly different feel to each of them, and I am actually good with that.
DAO had the old school Baldurs Gate perspective to combat, and I still miss that. I wasn't fond of the way they put the tactical view in DAI or DA2, so I don't use it in either.
I also play the PC as my primary platform, and I am still not pleased with the severely cut down skill bar. Yes I've heard all the excusing for it that I care to, but when you go from a toolbar that was two deep and several skills/items wider than what we had, down to enough skills to easily work with a console controller, you will find few PC gamers who consider this any kind of improvement.
DA2 had several trade offs of that nature, so that I think was the cause for most of the dismay. The very claustrophobic regions and recycled maps were a sore point, and map recycling to me anyway was rather lame:
Varric: Hey, haven't we been here before?
Hawke: No, don't be silly! That door was blocked off the last three times. It's entirely different!
It had some story issues as well, in which it seemed the player was railroaded into pivotal plot points with zero control. This happens in a great many games, but for some reason, there were more complaints. Perhaps the manner it was done?
So here comes DAI, and now people have the opposite complaint... They (BW) responded to DA2 criticism and comparisons to Skyrim by creating a more open world, and there were people upset by that too (cough... Hinterlands... cough)
My main complaint about DAI is that you don't get a decent ending without forking out for the DLC. Actually, now I think of it, you don't get a decent tie in from game to game without forking out the cash for DLC, when a decent ending should be included in the cost of the main content.
The Architect, for all his reasoning, is twisted. His solution to taint everything, so the Blight ends is kind of like saying well, once everyone who isn't killed outright is just like us, we'll have world peace.
This, on it's face is so twisted, that in the game only a semi tainted individual partly under the influence of the Blight itself might seriously think that's a cool idea. And if a grey warden thinks it's nuts, they just turn the Calling up to 11, and wear them down.
Darkspawn in the current state are little more than mindless animals whose only instinct is to kill anything not tainted. The more advanced ones have tactics and some coordination.
Awakened, they can only ever be twisted reflections of who they once were.
And the song is still everything.
@Silver Warden, on the old god thing, you are correct. On the hell-mouth thing... let's call it an uncomfortable proximity to the Well of Crazy. The frequency of people losing their minds seemed unusually high, and unusually concentrated.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that brutal, unfair, paranoid and harsh are not qualities I associate with good folk when concentrated in one soul. In this context, that is the very frame the picture of evil hangs in.
From the game content, it would appear that she was not so before the lyrium corrupted her, not any more than the average mage was evil before corrupted by a twisted or bound spirit. But does evil exist in people without magical corruption? You betcha.
How much of it was corruption, and how much was plain ol human evil? Whatever she was before was amplified by the lyrium. Rites of tranquility were wielded like a sledge hammer, not just used on mages who showed a weakness to demonic possession, but on those who spoke up, spoke out, resisted the injustices, and would not quietly submit to abuse. For the mages who caved, it was used as a bludgeon to force compliance, silence, sexual and emotional submission.
As darkly as DA2 paints the mages, it paints the templars with an equally dark brush.
I don't mistake the Joining for anything. It was used in desperation to stop the world from being consumed. That its use has resulted in the Blight being held in check I'm going to call a good thing. The fact that this delayed (or abrupt) death penalty was needed is not. Like other magic, it's a tool, and an imperfect one at that.
Mages are frequently FUBAR. Imprison someone for their entire life, after their good Chantry family is horrified to have a mage-baby and cant get rid on him fast enough. Have a religion that basically says that you are less than any other member of society in control of them. Its no surprise the circles are going to raise generations of messed up people. With super powers.
I'm not 100% sold on the idea that Anders is an abomination, or that Justice was twisted into Vengeance. Upon reaching the end of Inquisition, I'm leaning towards the idea that Justice is what he always was - a spirit of justice that willingly bound himself to a mage who had been treated unjustly. I think that it is true that one man's justice is another man's vengeance. Is it a good combo in this case? Oh, hell no.
If you have a spirit of sadism that willingly binds itself to a mage who is sadistic, ain't nobody going to find a silver lining there. What if Arl Howe was a mage and found a spirit to match? Yikes! That mage is just not an abomination, and the spirit was not bound by blood magic.
So if Solas is correct, that there are far more spirits of society's baser natures (jealousy, rage, desire/greed, etc) the deck is stacked against a mage. They seriously need to stamp out ignorance and train the mages to understand or deal with their magic, spirits and the fade properly, or abominations and mages freaking out as demonic boils on Thedas' rear end will continue. The Chantry is not qualified to do this.
I'm gonna throw a thought grenade out there - What happened to healing spells, and why is the mending of flesh not considered a form of blood magic? It may be covered in a book that I haven't read yet, and if that's the case, just let me know which of the books it is.
Build a man a fire, and he's warm for a night. Set a man on fire, and he's warm for the rest of his life. All magic cuts both ways.
Magic is a tool, and blood magic another type of that tool. Both are capable of good and evil. The Joining ritual itself is blood-magic, but not many notice that. The very noticeable proceedings at Adamant fortress - blood-magic too. Most people also notice the steaming slag of entrails that Kirkwall turned into (pro-tip: dont build a city on top of a hell-mouth, and then park a mage tower in it.)
Spirits bound to mortal mages... Holy evil abomination Batman! Right? Except we find that demonic abominations only occur if the spirit is bound against their nature or will.
Unfortunately, the greatest magical power possessed by mages (most of Thedas, really) is ignorance. The Avvar know better than most of the continent what spirits are. You ignorantly enslave (bind) a spirit, you get a demon - and yes, blood-magic is used to power that binding. A spirit of faith binds itself to a faithful mage, and you get Wynne.
Most of the problem blood magic has is that the mage performing the ritual cannot provide enough blood of their own to power the really big spells. Then those without moral compass move from their own blood to the blood of animals, or volunteers, then to the innocent or unwilling. Then we've got a mass murderer on our hands.
Mages are mostly powerful, ignorant, idiots. The re-education of Thedas is sorely overdue.
I cut my teeth on text guides, but I have been spoiled by the wiki, I'm afraid. I will agree, for a first play through, it can reveal too much. Its just too tempting not to click!
I tend not to look anywhere online when doing a first play through. Of my (many) quirks, my friends probably have the most fun poking me about that. I hate a spolier, or even so much as pre-release rumors.
@Feyran ..four things. Loghain has no love for Grey Wardens. This, I think comes indirectly from WC Sophia Dryden, and her failed coup in Ferelden. That got the Wardens banished from the country (Warden's Keep). He has double the disdain for WC Genevieve and Warden Fiona as they are Orlesian as well. Duncan may have been from Highever (the codex and the book disagree), but he brings Maric back a changed man, ready to sit in the throne again, when Loghain had virtually been the de facto regent. In short, Loghain /really/ doesn't like Grey Wardens.
Orlesian. Elven. Mage. Warden. Might as well have been the kiss of death. I don't doubt that Maric knew it well, and so he would never have told Loghain who the mother was, much less anyone else.
The saying goes "two men can keep a secret, provided that one of them is dead", but I think that three people kept this secret, and now only one remains. The chances that she told anyone else, endangering her son, the king, is virtually nil.
Agreed - Loghain didn't want the player and Alistair assigned to the task of lighting the beacon. I don't think he ever intended to light it, at least not on time, and with his own men in the tower he had full control of that.
Cailen,I feel though was probably more in favor of the idea of his younger brother, a grey warden, lighting the beacon that would signal his plan into motion. His epic victory at Ostagar would be that much sweeter if his brother played this pivotal support role, while he wiped out darkspawn fighting along side the wardens, and his father's friends.
He seemed to be in love with tales of great battles, and shining armor, and griffons leading the charge into battle. He was raised in a time of relative peace in Ferelden, and likely never saw real battle before.
I do agree that it's likely that Loghain didn't specifically know that Howe intended a bloody massacre, but I also don't think he cared that much at all either way. He was a veteran of his own generations civil war, and not a stupid man. The Couslands getting killed didn't bother him. While I don't think he had any intention to kill Eamon, and he had no idea about the undead problem, he certainly wanted the Guerrins out of the way, too.
I would say that Loghain was clearing all the possible roadbumps in his path. Get rid of the other Teryn, any arl not in his control, and the spare-heir. There was already mutterings among the bannorn that perhaps Cailan should set aside his marriage to Anora since the marriage had been, so far, childless. If that didn't freak out Loghain, the idea of a warming relationship between Cailan and Celene would certainly have done it.
If he had any residual resentment towards Duncan specifically, as a reminder that he did not always have Maric's full agreement or compliance, it was drowned out by his distrust of grey wardens in general, and Orlesian ones in particular. Maric had returned from his adventure with Duncan, and for the first time since Rowan died, picked up the reigns of his kingdom once more. If I recall correctly, Loghain had been more or less running the show after Rowan died, and Maric lapsed into depression. No matter - had Loghain's plan gone as intended Duncan and Alistair would have been wiped out at Ostagar with the rest of the Ferelden wardens.