^BWAHAHAHA! Nice, MM.
Fenris had only the character development that 'you' controlled as Hawke. Everyone else changed on their own accord (perhaps maybe not Merrill). Anders got more bitter about the fight for mages regardless of your friendship with him. Aveline becomes a Guard-Captain and even eventually fumbles through a relationship. Varric does take over the family business with Bartrand's demise. Beth/Carver... well, that's up on you, but if they survive the Deep Roads or go Circle/Templar, there are changes. Izzy... kinda? She keeps crawling back, at least. Ok, Sebastian never changes. Merrill's driven to fixing the Eluvian, and Fenris into hating everyone, including himself.
Why didn't he go out and free slaves? Become the Darth Vader of blood mages? I mean, wasn't that what the Lyrium Warrior thing was for? To make a nigh-invulnerable warrior that would be nearly immune to magic? He could have been SLAUGHTERING magisters and freeing slaves.
Is it okay if I use Uncle Gamlen as a human shield?
Flemeth's been dead before. I should know, I really tried hacking her dragon head off so I could bring her skull to the Landsmeet as a trophy.
I still have no idea how Keran/OGB figures into it though.
Well, according to the Canticle of Solas, we're converting all the Chant of Light books as well as the Tomb of Koslun into Braille! #SolasFTW!
The Maker does not 'bread' sinners. - Sister Petunia, Denerim, DA:O
@StingerRay I like the thought of having Lia Elrensdottir as a character. Yes, she does have the potential of becoming a City Watchman (Watchwoman? Watchelf? WatchArwen?) which probably makes her the first anything official for an elf that isn't a Warden (even then, there's only a couple of elvish Wardens, and if you don't Import/Keep Mahariel, there's only one Dalish one, who writes all those notes on the Storm Coast).
Still, I wonder if the Dalish would suddenly be tricked by Solas. Yesyesyes, Lavellan blundered into that one (along with everyone else), and I guess getting in touch with Femeth/Mythal didn't warrant a warning (whoops). But I also have a hard time beliving that the Dalish would align themselves with (gasp, racist term coming up!)
I'm still thinking the Dalish Covenant is going to unite and scalp a bald man.
Actually, blood has some longetivity thanks to a side quest in Dragon Age: Origins.
A group of Tevinter Magisters (mage-type, not all-powerful Lord Mage types) had been collecting blood samples from Ferelden nobles to 'change' their minds about things; things from napkins for shaving cuts to (dear God) cotton pads for those heavy flow days. Warden and Crew kick in the door and do what all griffins do (butcher shit with glee) and you find out that some of the issues of the nobility stems from Tevinter mind-mucking.
These weren't exactly phylactery-quality vials of blood, but practically dried blood droplets collected over time, preserved... and used.
Now that we got an actual good debate going on (I'm loving the different views and thoughts!), I assume that Tevinter has most everything figured out when it comes to Blood Magic. Hell yes Hemmorage was a great spell, and I honestly would love to see some HP-Only spells instead of HP-for-Mana, something like Rend (and tear a victim apart) or perhaps the Mass Effect Biotic Spell Reave (which you tear a victim apart and perhaps gain their life essence in return?). To me, if you're going to have so much crying over 'dark' magic... please make it dark magic. Summon a demon the size of a small building, rip the ground open and invent a volcano, bring back Hamlet to go on a warpath... that kind of thing. Mind control is pretty scary (would love that as the 'hacking' bit where you turn foe-to-friend and watch some Lieutenant-ranked baddie start hacking into his own guys!) or just plain call out a dragon (or shapeshift into one, I'm not picky). But for all the crying about the Chantry did about the evils of blood magic... make it fucking evil/awesome (like Jowan slamming half a dozen Templars and a couple of mages, including the First Enchanter, on their asses; an epic moment there when a crybaby apprentice can top overwhelming odds that already assume he might be a maleficar, or the DAII trailer where MageHawke rips the Arishok's arms off despite coming up second place with a slice to the chest, a knee to the face, and being smited).
Now it makes me kind of wish for all those B-Novel evil wizard bad guys in their black towers cackling with glee as they raised the dead, turned frogs into werewolves, shriveled mens souls inside their bodies, and made dogs mate with cats.
Summon the dark hordes!
Hmm, the bashing of Electronic Arts confuses me.
EA has made great games in the past. Even if you avoid the cookie-cutter Madden games (and everything EA Sports does, which is an off-shoot but still technically EA) there is a library of EA games that have been successful with and without BioWare, like Dead Space (which spawned at least two great-looking games but I've never played the third one).
BioWare was bought up by EA in/around 2009/2010. Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age II, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and (I believe) Star Wars: The Old Republic all were developed/indev for this acquisition. And all these games did well (and several got MANY awards). While ME:A was a bit of a let-down, and I would like to throw BioWare: Montreal under the bus for this one, I would say that the biggest flaw (so many to chose from) was bad management; it was a rushed project. Anthem wasn't necessarily poorly made (graphically, it was very pretty) and the story was enticing (I still want to rip off Owen Corley's head off and shit down his neck; that's good story-writing!), but it really lacked that zing and sadly, making a Single Player/Multiplayer hybrid hasn't quite turned out the way people thought it might.
Now I've discussed that I thought the game would likely come out in what I thought might be a year sooner; I'm not disappointed in being wrong and that the timeline is to the right/later. Very few of us understand the complexities of making a video game, and technology is certainly always evolving. This long timeline tells me a few things.
1) New Engine - The scripting and testing of these things take time. And we all know what a great engine can do. A great game makes a video game company money. A great engine makes a video game company's future (how long did the Unreal Engine last? The Quake one? My God... the ID/Doom Engine that was cloned more times than a Star Wars Clone Trooper?)
2) New Platform - Honestly this is probably the big one. We all know that Xbox is coming out with the latest and greatest soon... as well as PlayStation. DA:I came out when there was about a year left with the PS/XB platforms, and then did a re-release (thus robbing us twice, I tip my hat off to you profiteers). They are making the game probably in conjuction with the coding and the liscences for distribution (things that I know of in an off-hand manner, but don't understand the layers involved)
3) Story-development - We know that Tevinter Nights is coming out; this isn't a mistake or some way to placate us. The previous books that came out before the games were teasers, not always about the game, but I think they were testing waters to see the level of interest as well as seeing at what we *the consumer* would want. BW has been pretty good at trying to keep abreast with what we want (perhaps not always succeeding, but they certainly do try their damnedest to stay true with their fans; I commend them for that!) so I think a lot of this time is probably going to deal with the richness of the story and the details of the world. This has always been one of BW's strong points (with a hiccup with DAII) and I think that, considering games of the past and the continuing of releasing media for interest, BW is keeping this point near the top of the priority list.
4) Seriously, making games is a pain in the ass! - @Silver Warden makes a good point; people come and go from dev teams all the time, but its usually the director and the producers that 'make' the game (see Justice League movie on what happens when you change the director halfway, especially two big names known to make great movies and having... lukewarm soup). Thousands of people and dozens of companies are involved, things outsourced and projects handled on the side to see if they even work. A good director/producer is a make/break deal, and even then, we don't always end up with grand slams or even home runs (I'm thinking of some past Assassin's Creed games). Despite the obvious rush and some of the sillier things about DAII, it did get a good reception. I think the first thing I'd look at is the dev team.
5) Time Spent ='s Quality Spent - While I wouldn't always say that the longer you spend on a game, the better it is, but it's certainly true that a rushed game generally turns out a flub. So it might take a few years [ :'-( ] for the next Dragon Age to come out; in my mind, this means they are taking it seriously. I haven't heard of an installment for Mass Effect (or God... ANTHEM) in the works, so I assume that DA is the primary focus.
Hopefully, BioWare has learned its lesson about rushing games to put a product on a shelf; and please stop trying to tout another 'clean-up' version of Baldur's Gate? I'm not paying $50 for a nearly-20 year old game with the same engine and graphics that a controller can't handle (thanks, MAD DOG!).
Now that's something I've never thought about or considered that @Buckeldemon and @Warden Nuggins mentioned; the voice acting in the non-English games. I've been doing FanFics for years where last names (or first names if applicable) are based upon the English-speaking VO's for those anonymous persons who only merit one name (or zero). But there are VO's in other languages for the games that had other languages spoken (and I've never thought about it, but how many languages was that? 4? 5?)
But you mention the accents and that got me thinking.
Leliana in DA:O was the most 'apparent' of the 'foreign' accents for the game, as Oghren was just Brian Bloom through and through and Sten (don't remember the VO) didn't really have an accept despite being from a different country (and race). Now Morrigan clearly has an Australian accent (considering that Claudia Black is Australian) and Zevran sounds Spanish/Italian, but Leliana was the first person you encounter with an 'accent', specifically French (as Corinne Kempa is French).
Makes me wonder if she had a French accent in the other languages... and what did BioWare do for the French version?
It makes me really sit back and appreciate that a video game will do that, adding flavor even if it's isn't necessary. A great deal of world-building was done for Dragon Age, and I'll admit that BioWare has done a good job looking at such aspects (like Kasumi's VO from ME2 being actually Japanese [and her name, Kasumi Goto, is actually Japanese for 'shadow thief', loosely translated], or Haluk from Anthem having Maoui/Native New Zealander tattoos upon his face despite that the world of Anthem wasn't Earth at all nor the people from Earth), investing a little extra time and money to make someone in a game different/better/exotic/you get the idea.
But that does make me wonder about the 'dub' cast. Did they get a French-accented German, or a German who spoke French? I'm trying to imagine French-accepted German; I wouldn't be able to tell if it slammed me in the face with a Volkswagen.
To agree with your point, let's highlight the issues that Mass Effect: Andromeda had as well, which was indev for shorter than that, had about 18 months of semi-concrete work, and then rushed in the last few months. I wouldn't expect the flaws that it had from a mid-tier game developer much less from two game producers of BW and EA's caliber (yes, BW:Montreal is an offshoot, but not exactly starting off in their parents' basement or in some crummy corner office, either).
Reveals are usually done a year or two in advanced, but anything further than that is generally a bad idea; you want to build up hype, not frustration. Now I don't know what the general percentage of completion must be reached before a big reveal is done, but I assume somewhere at least in the 50% range; the game engine and mechanics, a level or two, characters, some dialogue, a few small betas and testers to work out the beginning kinks. I'm sure some of us (ahem) older folk remember the issues with StarCraft: Ghost and Duke Nukem: Forever and how long it took to make those before winding down into development hell long after the reveal.
Now BioWare has made games side-by-side with some good success; Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age: Awakenings, and Mass Effect 2 were relatively back-to-back in a three-year period, and this is on top of coming out with Star Wars: The Old Republic, which was quite different from the SPC that BioWare almost always consistently did. It's easy to tell that Mass Effect 3 was focused upon when it was created, as well as Dragon Age: Inquisition; those games had very few flaws (minus one rather epic shitty original ending) and competed very well with games similar to them (such as HALO and Elder Scrolls).
Flash forward to Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem.
Transposing a template from a linear game into a sandbox can be difficult, but BioWare and Electronic Arts have been making good (and great) games for years, even decades. The graphics issues that ME:A suffered were practically unforgivable, and honestly ME:A should have been a stand-alone universe without the need to including the Mass Effect brand as a promotion.
Anthem was.. okay for an MMORPG. I did enjoy the actual campaign, and there were parts of the story that had met pretty riveted (I would still love to take an epic shit down Owen's neck). But other than the flying suits, it was too much alike Destiny, fighting alien-like beings and an all-encroaching enemy that was, unrealistically, undefeatable. Honestly this concept of a broken world with chaotic elements abound would have made a better MMORPG if the random quests and missions not a part of the SPC had more flavor than random hunts and strongholds; something that made me appreciate games like Destiny more.
As for Dragon Age IV, the best advise is that we'll likely hear more in the soon future, but reveals were generally about a year in advance for BioWare, give or take. Most of their games tend to come out around the March-April time frame (most) with bigger reveals about six months prior, usually with trailers, teasers, and clips. I'd find it hard to believe that there likely wasn't something in plan with the conclusion and general acceptance of the Trespasser DLC, a few people tacting on ideas and thoughts on where to go. Perhaps an upgraded engine, some world building, a list of possible/potential characters with some artists working on concepts, but nearly three years into the future seems a little excessive.
November 2020 would be a little closer to my bet (if I were a betting man). I'd expect some splash on the next E3. March/April 2121 at the very latest.
I would say that with Connor Guerrin, there's a bit of a difference. Connor might not have been 'fully' possessed, as he was a normal child for at least three and a half days before the Warden and Crew fight their way through the bowers of Redcliffe Castle and encounter Connor and his lying mother in the throne room. It's hard to say what level of possession there is considering there are several pieces of evidence.
1) The Templar's Daughter (DAII): In Year 4, Ser Thrask asks you to save his daughter, who fully turns into a twisted abomination when cornered. This is supposedly when a demon fully takes you and mutates your form into some mockery between your old self and the demon that now possesses you. To me, this is a one-way none-reversal trip.
2) Evelina, The Good Mother (DAII): In Year 4 I think?), you meet a lady mage who has been possessed and is harboring orphans and runaways in the bowers of Darktown. While clearly told that she's possessed, Evelina is human (if a little insane) when Hawke and Crew confront her.
3) Eremond (DAII): Yes, trying to find the Templar Recruit who turns into an abomination with no explanation as to how that happened, or better yet, who stuffed a demon into him (as very likely it wasn't a mage). He was fully human and not exactly chanting Charles Manson quotes when you reach him on the Wounded Coast with Ser Cullin being rather belligerent, but then turns when heavily accosted. Possessed? Yes. Fully? No... no I don't think so.
4) Sophia Dryden (Warden's Keep DLC): Probably the best example of possession with little to prove otherwise. She's a ghoulified Warden walking corpse thanks to the two centuries of being tainted while also being possessed by what is likely a demon of pride. There is absolutely nothing left of Sophia Dryden thanks to the conversation you have with her before you attempt an exorcism with swords and spells.
5) Reverants and Shadow Warriors: These are supposedly possessed non-mages. Shadow Warriors are likely possessed rogues (as they can stealth and like stabbing you in the back) and Reverents have that extremely annoying 'pull you halfway across the battlefield to impale your ass silly' ability that are obviously possessed warriors (perhaps even possessed Templars). This is a non-refundable trip.
6) Arcane Horrors: Spell-users who have been possessed to the ultimate degree, and lash out with magic in their twisted forms. To me this is the next level up from Abominations, who just beat and claw you to death. Perhaps a timeframe is needed for evolution.
7) The Wardens of the Western Approach (DA:I) This is clearly of a different vein as the Wardens were more or less turned into demons themselves instead of merely possessed, turning into rage demons. Because of the permanent tear in the Veil (the Breach) as well as Cory-Thingie's knowledge, this is more of an exception than a rule.
8) Demon summoning (DAII): Danarius, Fenris' former master, unleashes more than a few shades and horrors against you in the first act when Fenris hunts down Denarius. Now... there's no one in that Hightown Mansion, so thus it is likely they were summoned by pure blood magic and small tears in the Veil. But no possessions. Actually, I can't think of a Tevinter Mage ever being possessed (crazy? Yes. Possessed? I can't think of one).
9) Cole (DA:I) Despite being bat-shit crazy to where even Sera thought he was nuts (and that's saying something), Cole is a Spirit of Mercy possessing a body of a dead mage (who isn't rotting away). Obviously, this is irreversible unless somehow the body gets destroyed, perhaps taking Cole with it.
10: Kristoff/Justice (DA:Awakening): Congradualations, a walking corpse Warden with a spirit animating the body. Despite answering every horror movie in existence, let's have the smelly rotting guy fight on our side! Clearly a possession, Justice has completely taken over as Warden Kristoff had been dead for at least a few days when he took over.
11) Anders/Justice: Something of an in-between possession or a merging, Anders fully admits that, while he ISN'T an abomination, he's rather close to it. Though he retains his mind, personality, traits, and skills, he also possesses the abilities of Justice as well. How Anders is different from everyone else is likely because Justice doesn't 'seek' to take over permanently, probably due to their prior friendship.
12) Wynne: Wynne was, in fact, possessed by a Spirit of Mercy, and a Spirit Healer. Despite being an obvious Loyalist and asskisser to the Templars, being a half-abomination seemed to be okay with her as long as she wasn't gutting little children. She ultimately 'releases' the spirit to save the life of a Templar named Evangeline, whom you see in 'Asunder' and is spoken of by Cole in DA:I (the missions involving Wynne's son, Rhys, and the Templar Evangeline).
13) Merrill: Who in God knows what the hell Merrill was, consorting with demons, performing blood magic, and trying to fix the same mirror that ruined Tamlen and Mahariel regardless of what Origin one picks. When a Dalish Clan throws out one of the People as well as one of their precious mages? That should tell you something.
14) Fenreyal (sp?) (DAII): The elf-blooded dreamwalker. Hawke and Co enter the Fade to stop a Desire Demon who clearly SUBERTS your crew one at a time unless your approval is high enough (in which the only time I was ever successful with that was with Bethany). This SHOULD turn them into abominations or something, but everyone returns to the real world just fine.
Banter between Alistair and Oghren when you romance Alistair.
Oghren: So what did you do with her legs?
Alistair: What? Whose legs?
Oghren: You know who's.
Oghren: Dwarf ladies legs aren't even an accessory. They just get in the way.
Oghren: So what did you do with her legs?
Alistair: I'm... well... um...
Oghren: Got them out of the way and got right to business?
Oghren: Good for you, son.
(Proof that Oghren is a ladykiller)
Most might thing DAII when I mention Anders... but this one (despite the lack of romance) is a good one from Awakening
Anders: The last time I escaped they put me in the Black Cells for a year.
Anders: The only thing down there was this mouser.
Anders: Eventually, it got turned into a demon. Even killed a Templar.
Anders: The only thing I miss from the tower is that cat.
(Proof that Anders is a Cat Lady)
I will fully admit that I cringed my way through the Dorian romance. Yes yes yes, revile me for not being able to watch a man/man relationship, but I will give Dorian full recognition on being a charming, suave devil.
It was less painful that watching Cassandra fumble being romantic and that Marker-awful shot in her nighties. That was just gizzard-upchucking.
(Proof that, yes, I am quite likely an asshole)
But despite the sweetness of Cullen, the smoothness of both Liars (Blackwall and Solas)… Iron Bull was my favorite.
Seriously, who else gets away with slapping the Inquisitor on the ass with a smile and a wink and totally walks away with that will like a pro? And the bedroom scene (with intrusions) is utterly classic and hysterical. Hell, he even teaches the Inquisitor SAFE WORDS!
Fifty Shades of Grey by Iron Bull.
Now I just had weird thoughts of that guy from Legend of Korra, the bloodbender? Seriously, that would be some wicked awesomesauce bloodmagic right there!
Templar - "I'm going to kill you!"
Bloodmage - "I'm going to torture you where you stand... from over here. While sipping tea and eating crumpets. Ta ta!"
Templar - "I.. well... um... shit."
Now I know that the mana cleanse spell and smiting would clear 'Lyrium' magic of an area and turn a mage into an unpowered chump in canon, but did it work against blood magic? Despite it's touted 'power' (which why couldn't I rip someone to pieces like Hawke did in the DAII trailer?), I never felt more 'powerful' in the game watching my health drop like an idiot. The only real advantage I saw was being able to turn on all the sustains in the mana pool and then activating all the killer spells with my health. No increase to spellpower, area of effect, damage... Why couldn't Bloodmage come with like a 50% increase in damage, range, and/or effect?
And yes, using blood magic on Loghain in the duel at the Landsmeet or the Arishok at the Viscount's Keep (in front of Meri Stannard, no less!) is absolutely hysterical. Cut the arm, smite the enemies, get applause. Bow and salutations.
I still think that Blood Magic has some limitations; Tevinter proves this if without direct evidence. Blood Magic is powerful... okay. But a country that has a good many of practiced and trained blood mages can't retake over the world? Yes, they stopped something like three Exalted Marches due to the Schism, as well as the Exalted Marches against the Qun, but if Blood Magic were really 'that' powerful... you'd think that Tevinter would have regained some of its lost territory. Nevarra, the Anderfels, and Rivain haven't lost any territory to them, and the Anderfels in fact threw them out when they were reconquered sometime in the Storm Age, I think.
So I think they're limits to the mind control/body control, and what Blood Magic can do.
It could be (and I think this is a possibility) that while blood magic exists in the Tevinter Imperium, that it isn't the full-blown blood magic the White Chantry cries about. While Dorian supports a little of this, having anyone just summoning demons on a whim seems... like a bad idea. I imagine that demon-summoning is about the same level as harboring a tactical nuke in Thedas; if left unchecked or the mage lets it get out of control, can be a very dangerous thing.
Likewise, the idea of having a backyard pool of blood for magic summoning is probably an exaggeration on the White Chantry's part (they do it, but I think the amount is exaggerated); mages are pretty vulnerable when they're asleep, and even the poorest of beggers and slit your throat with a knife if you're a little too bloodthirsty. I would think (going with the idea of a phylactery) that it's likely that Tevinter Mages probably have vials of blood on them instead of just cutting themselves whenever. This seems excessive and silly; why not 'carry' blood in vials like lyrium? A sewing needed and a small glass vial and you've got extra juice on your side; no need to murder a person in front of others just to throw a few spells about if you've got a pouch full of blood vials ready for such an occasions.
Still, I'm digging the idea of the bloodbending thought as a bloodmagic technique. That would scare the shit out of people (I know I was pretty shocked to think that Nick was basically having kids tortured on a cartoon meant for ten-16 year olds)
Okay, Oghren is the stereotypical redheaded brawler known for drinking, rutting, and braining shit with an ax associated with a location that is well-known to being the only place in the world where the Ginger Gene exist.
Sri Lanka, perhaps, so says the Scot-Irishman here.
I think that, like all things in between guns, swords, and tactical nuclear devices, it all really depends on the eye of the beholder.
Now I'll start with my opinion/belief that blood magic is merely a tool; that's it. The Chantry casts a deep pall over it, and perhaps a portion of the problem is that the Southern Mages believe just that; it's inherently evil. Also without anyone learning, teaching, or actively practicing blood magic, demons have an easy in for possession (though I can't see why a demon, who has no blood in the Fade, would know anything about blood magic, as they don't need magic themselves in a realm where thoughts and wishes can come into existence).
I don't really recall any incidences of any Tevinter mages turning into Abominations. You would think the White Chantry would be crying left and right about that, but all they mention is blood magic and SUMMONING demons, not turning into them.
And that brings me to my next point; Tevinter knowledge and experience with blood magic. I know that it isn't public/open, but then we're all winking and touching our noses at that idea. Denarius (in DA II Act I when Fenris decides to go Punisher on him) summons a whole fleet of demons (shades, arcane horror, abominations... usual Vint Arsenal) but doesn't get turned himself. The Venatori mage that was slashing Warden throats didn't seem to have any real issues, knowing exactly HOW to turn a Warden into a demon and enslave a Warden Mage (yes, Corphy taught him... knowledge and experience). So I think that blood magic is 'useful' in the right hands, and perhaps not necessarily evil unless the intent (or act) is evil in of itself.
Having said that, I can think of at least three great uses for blood magic.
Healing - Seriously, if the guy just took a sword to the gut and is spilling red stuff all over the place, I don't see how this would be 'evil'. You're not taking blood, using it for power, trying to control someone, or turning them into a steaming slag of gore and bones. Healing him with his own blood (and stuffing it back inside) sound pretty beneficial considering blood magic is more powerful than regular magic and Lyrium-fueled magic.
Periods - Uh oh, I went there. But lady mages certainly have that advantage, don't they? But again, blood that isn't taken or start cutting one's wrists. Certainly redefines 'that time of month'.
The Harrowing - Obviously this is a Chantry solution into creating the boogeyman. They're stuffing demons into poor kids heads just so they can wave a flag and be 'technically' correct about the threat a mage imposes. But you didn't see Bethany have any issues being a free-born mage. Likewise, Solas didn't seem too worried either. Jowan was a full-blown unHarrowed Southern blood mage stuck in a haunted castle with demons and the walking dead... and remained human in an obvious Veil-Tear (but couldn't open the cage he was stuck in despite being a mage). Merrill was practically the Son of Sam without changing, and the Dalish Keeper from Origins (Varathorn?) practically shared a spirit/demon to live for centuries (with the elves blissfully stupid at this rather odd point while singing Duran Duran's "Hungry Like A Wolf").
So to me blood magic is like regular magic is like a sword; what are you doing with it? Yep, slitting the throat of a dozen slaves to make your tea is a bad thing. Cutting your own arm to defend yourself from someone trying to kill you? No, probably not a bad thing (get tetanus shots, first). Using it to heal someone? Good thing, IMHO.
And I don't actually believe the lie about the susceptibility of the Veil and blood magic considering the Magister Sidereal had to glut something like a hundred thousand slaves along with Dumat's Canticle To Overthrow Heaven to send seven people physically in the Fade. Millennia of blood magic didn't have a Breach opening up over Minrantheros, so I think Thedas might be okay.
I wonder of Qunari Sarabaas practice blood magic. All that hate on magic but they're not afraid to weaponize their own people (in a way that makes the Gallows look like a petting zoo).
When a Femquisitor (it's especially funny with Lady Trevelyan) pulls a fast one on Bull in the bedroom when she starts talking about marriage and nuptuals and the Bull is all like [ohfuckohfuckhfuck I thought this was a fling...] and then a hearty "Gotcha!"
One-upping Bull? Jersey greatly approves.
When is a drunken, axe-wielding, pissed off short ginger NOT a solution to life's problems?
It's like explosives; God's little miracle workers.
I know. Twice even! But Varric is a special circumstance. No beard, a crossbow (and awesome one at that) that hates caves, writes books, spies on people, and has the amazing knack of walking into the deepest shit and walking back out with a smile and a whistle.
I think Varric just exists in a category all of his own.
A great topic, and great selections.
Every class has its perks and its powerhouses, and it generally does boil down to personal preference; smacking slavers with a big sword or frying fools with lightning.
For me, I like the IRONIC hero.
DA:O - The little elf girl that blows shit up with overpowered fireballs. Nothing says 'Hero of Ferelden' like a tiny elf mage that pumps points into Entropic Vulnerability Magic and then the Primal Magics to take away their resistances and then blast them silly with the iconic spells of fire, ice, and lightning.
Tabris, the Maul - Someone killed your spouse; embrace your inner-Punisher and show those shems what's up with your trust Maul! Sure, the damn thing is heavy, but look at that armor penetration! Grab yourself Nug Crusher when heading back to Ostagar, ignore the fact that you've got the highest starting magic stat as you pump points into strength and CRUSH YOUR ENEMIES!
A bloodmage dueling Teyrn Loghain in the Landsmeet shouldn't have come down to this... but you're a Warden during the Blight, so start cutting yourself and casting hemmorage!
DA II - Archer Duelist/Shadow. Because shooting the fuck out of the Arishok in single combat with a bow never does get old. Knocking baddies back with Archer's Lance and sending them sailing is funny, too. But being chased around by a guy with two overcompensating weapons and pining him to the spot, raining arrows on him, setting up decoys and smoke bombs and then going for critical hits? Priceless.
Again a bloodmage in an obvious duel in front of people with the Knight-Commander watching on, no less, and not one comment. We'll ignore the fact that AN APOSTATE just went and turned the Arishok into a crispy critter (Maker bless you, Crushing Prison spell!), but turning on the red paint for extra magic in front of Kirkwall's ENTIRE NOBILITY and then being named Champion? It doesn't get much better.
DA:I - An elvish two-handed warrior. Elves are suppose to be shorter than humans (by a fair significance, like a foot or so) so having some short elf with a zweihander blade chopping shit down like a lumberjack, knocking enemies aside with a charge, and going postal in the middle of a slobberknocker is giggle-inducing.
Also, a double-bladed Qunari male who specializes in stealth is underappreciative. Having an invisible giant with small blades, slicing mayhem? Plus they got that 10% bonus to physical defense. Something that big shouldn't be able to move so fast.
Dwarf archer. Because when does that ever happen?
Shianni: Did you kill them all?
Kallian Tabris: Like dogs, Shianni.
(Plus anything that comes out of Oghren's mouth)
DA: Awakenings -
Anders: Why shouldn't I be allowed to live free and throw lightning at fools?
(Plus... anything that comes out of Oghren's mouth)
DA II -
Aveline: Perhaps you could write something to help deter crime.
Varric: And you expect people to read that?
Varric: How about I make you a sign that says 'DON'T'. You can hit people with it.
Best for last (not a quote, but a cutscene)
(Cullen upon walking into the Inquisitor and Bull, Bull laying on the bed stark naked)
Cullen: Sorry to disturb your rest, Inquisitor, but our fortif- Oh, sweet Maker!
(Cullen hides behind a portfolio he is carrying to cover the view)
Iron Bull: Cullen. How's it goin'?
Josephine: Is the Inquisitor awake? I thought perhaps we could- OH! *clears throat*
(This Inquisitor is a good several feet away from the bed, Bull hasn't moved and is smirking. Josephine isn't looking away.)
Inquisitor: This is actually, um... uh...
Cullen: I'm... so... sorry...
(Josephine is still staring while Cullen is still hiding behind a portfolio)
Josephine: I cannot move my legs.
(Cassandra enters the room)
Cassandra: Is something the matt- AHH-UGH!
Bull: Oh, for fuck's sakes.
Cassandra: Do you SEE this? *scorn*
(Cullen is trying to disappear, Josephine is still staring)
Cassandra: So... I take it...
Bull: Actually... he/she is the one who's been taking it.
(Cullen snorts and smirks, still looking away)
Cassandra: I apologize for interrupting what I assume was a... momentary diversion.
Cullen: Nothing wrong with having a bit of fun.
Josephine: Who wouldn't be a little curious?
(Cullen and Cassandra turn to look at Josephine, who is still staring)
(after they leave)
Inquisitor: I think we might have blinded poor Cullen.
Really, all three of them a quality soundtracks. The video game industry learned quite some time ago that forking over the cash for descent orchestra pieces and a good songwriter/conductor was worth the investment. Inon Zur makes great songs for both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, though of the three I would certainly pick Origins as my favorite.
Surprisingly, all the 'sung' songs (I Am The One, Leliana's Song, Mage Pride, Destiny of Love, and the choral The Dawn Has Come) are quite good and I think fit each of their respective soundtracks well for being different from the rest of the songs. And I did rather enjoy the old-school Medieval bard music from Inquisition; a nice touch.
I made the accident of playing The Decent with a Level 15 Mage Lavellan Inquisitor without bothering to read the notes and instructions that it's 'recommended' for Level 20.
It wasn't a grind. It was like being shoved into a steam-powered old-school whaling vessel with the sawblades and eviscerators sticking out with me being dumb enough not to back down from a challenge and deciding to 'tough it out'. In the first six battles with 'normal' baddies, I TPK'ed probably eight times, and I think I TPK four times facing the first elite alone.
It isn't called 'grinding for experience' when you're 5 levels early.
It's called being a masochist.
On the other hand, the loot was utterly epic since, being early, everything was extra-special top-tier goodies that made my crew (Magevellan, Cass, Bull, and the Liar) fairly close to being actually OP (even if every fight was a near death-sentence). For a grindrun, The Decent was a good one, very involving with lots of money, schematics, and resources to have, as well as the option afterwards of mining about 20-25 Silverite in about 45 minutes through Cullen for high-grade metal for crafting or just a big bag of money (I think you can get about 400-550 Gold for selling about this amount, far more than the 'Get Coin!' War Table choice). There was also a Leather option that, while not as fancy as Silverite, does provide a Tier III leather for crafting though doesn't sell nearly as high (nor do I remember getting that much of it when I did it). The 'Merchant' of Decent also provides Tier II and Tier III metals (perhaps more, I'm not remembering it too well right now) and I don't recall comparing prices with the Black Emporium (which is more expensive than most all dealers).
Still, best mistake I ever made, that brutal, brutal grindrun. I can't recall how many times I TPK'ed that thing before making it to the end, and I remember at one point having three dead party members, a half-dead mage with no more potions whatsoever, running away like a bitch from some room with a mess of enemies and drawing them out one or two at a time to blast them silly with Fire Runes, Blizzard, Chain Lightning, and my own curses. I think it took me an hour just to clear that one... damn... room.