I always try to at least start a female playthrough in each game, but I never get very far (maybe the first act or so). All of my completed playthroughs in each game are as male characters.
I sincerely hope that we're not playing an elven "god" or even an incarnation of one (like Flemeth). It reminds me too much of The Elder Scrolls. Besides, I think that would give the protagonist an unnecessarily personal stake in what's going on. It's enough that Solas is threatening our lives. Personally knowing him back in the day, for what might have been thousands of years, is a bit much. He would probably detect us almost immediately, teleport with an Eluvian, and then proceed to either kill or enlist us (depending on the specifics of their relationship).
However, I could get behind playing some type of spirit. While I never really used Cole (or any rogue, for that matter) in my DAI party, I did like the character. Surely, there are other spirits like Cole, manifesting physically in Thedas and potentially able to become mortal. Playing as one would justify having everything explained to us. Presumably, the class system wouldn't be affected. I'm not sure about playable races though.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion. I think that Solas is among the most fascinating characters in the series. Anders, on the other hand, is inconsequential at this point. It's a false equivalence to try to compare them, in my opinion.
Anyway, I've been thinking about this blood magic ritual theory. Unless dozens of the ancient elves (besides the Evanuris) are still alive somewhere, Solas is going to need to populate the restored Elvhenan with some type of life. Perhaps this hypothetical ritual is meant to physically and mentally prep the elves of Thedas for living in an ethereal world.
Alternatively, perhaps Solas plans on using the elves in a blood magic ritual...
I just assumed that Solas was recruiting elves in order to stop them from worshiping the Evanuris once they're released, assuming the elves of Thedas survive the Veil being torn down. I mean, thousands of years might have done a lot to elven biology.
I'm not even sure what the elves can do against the Evanuris anyway, unless my theory about belief literally fueling their power is accurate.
Solas (presumably) didn't need an army to create the Veil. Why would he need one to tear it down? Unless he expects an opposition that he can't defeat on his own...
I just had a thought. What if Solas and his kind derive some degree of their power from belief?
I've long believed that the ancient elves (or at least the Evanuris) were complex spirits. Generally speaking, spirits derive their nature from some aspect of the "real" world (whether it's an emotion, purpose, etc).
According to Solas, the Evanuris evolved from merely powerful mages to being worshiped as gods. Perhaps enslaving their subjects to keep that belief intact not only preserved their political power, but also helped to maintain their magical power. Of course, this doesn't account for Solas' power, since Fen'Harel wasn't worshiped in the same way as the other elven gods and the fact that Solas opposes being labelled a god.
This idea reminds me of Morrowind. Hmm.
Addendum: I don't think a hypothetical benefactor to the protagonist would be an Evanuris. I suspect that Solas has kept tabs on them, but not necessarily the Forgotten Ones. He'd probably be expecting the former situation, but not the latter.
Similar to what EzzyD said...
I think that being influenced, but not necessarily possessed, by something powerful would make sense. There's no way we're defeating Solas (unless he's somehow depowered or if he just gives up, which is unlikely), except if we have a benefactor of sorts to help us match Solas' power to some degree.
Assuming this idea pans out in the final game, I'd bet that this individual is most likely one of the Forgotten Ones. They would have personal experience with Solas, but might not be able to confront him directly.
Yep. That last one was partially meant to fulfill the OP, but it was also intended as a jab at a certain politician. I doubt that BioWare would include dialogue like that.
Still, it would be interesting to hear more Tevinter perspectives, from mages and non-mages alike, on the mage situation in southern Thedas.
I imagine there must be mages in Tevinter, particularly youth, who wish to leave the Imperium (because of its culture, the constant threat of war, etc.), but they've basically had nowhere else to go until recently. The possibility that three separate mages in the South rose to prominence in the span of about a decade would be very encouraging to them. On the other hand, it might frighten others.
Here's another dialogue...
Guidance counselor: Have you given any thought towards what you'd like to do after graduation?
Student: I want to fight for mage freedom, like all of the Southern heroes. I'm tired of being oppressed.
Guidance counselor: You're the Archon's nephew. You've literally never been oppressed a single day in your life. Have you considered going into real estate development?
Something like this?
Dockworker 1: It scares me sh*tless that the Ferelden Warden-Commander, the Champion of Kirkwall, and the Herald of Andraste were all mages who uplifted other mages.
Dockworker 2: So? We live in Tevinter and we're not slaves. Honestly, I'd be more concerned about that Qunari dreadnought sailing towards us.
My DAO rival is Sten because his views significantly conflict with mine and my Warden's views, but I still respect him.
A "rivalmance" with Morrigan would have been neat. I hated leaving her at camp to avoid approval drops while I romanced her. My Warden was just too much of an upstanding citizen.
As for DAI, I don't know who my rival would be. Maybe Solas? Sure, he plans on ending the world, but we didn't learn that until after he left the Inquisition. As far as my Inquisitor was concerned, Solas was a wise mage who wanted to share his vast knowledge with the world. He also risked being imprisoned or killed by religious folk because there were bigger concerns. I respect that. There's really no alternative rival.
Blackwall is too boring to be considered.
Cassandra is my one true love.
Bull, Varric, and Dorian are cool.
Cole is basically a kid.
Sera is sometimes annoying, but she makes good points.
Vivienne has all the cards. I'm unworthy of being her rival lol.
Out of the three, I preferred DAI's approval system.
I didn't like seeing a companion's approval in DAO. The dialogue cues in DAI are more appropriate, in my opinion. Of course, some of that dialogue is a bit too ambiguous. I actually like that certain decisions affect approval for companions that weren't in your party at that time. As the Inquisitor, it is a guarantee that everyone is going to know what you've done.
As for DA2, I never understood why some companions in a rivalry with Hawke wouldn't just leave or turn against them. I appreciated that DAO and DAI both had that element to their approval systems. Realistically, would a person remain by a rival's side? Some would, but not all. Goku and Vegeta are a classic example. However, there must be consequences if a companion finds one or more of your actions to be truly irredeemable.
I think that bonuses associated with approval can be worthwhile, but should be optional (if anything). Suppose I want to spec a companion a certain way, but there's an automatic stat bonus because I've maxed out their approval. Sure, that doesn't affect my ability to allocate points to something in particular, but it would be nice to be able to use that bonus as I see fit. So if you max out a companion's approval, they could earn an extra ability point or something. Or you can be given a choice between an ability point and a piece of high-quality equipment specific to that companion. I don't know. That might be too game-y.
Leliana's not a cougar then. Well.
There has to be some connection between spirits and immortality. They can apparently be reborn indefinitely, although they lose whatever memories they had of their previous existence (or "life"). If a spirit were able to retain a single identity across multiple existences, then it would basically be immortal.
I've long believed that the ancient elves were either a higher class of spirits by nature or that they were mortals that found a way to shed their physical forms and exist in a metaphysical world (and gain "immortality"). Of course, the latter theory might require the existence of a previous homeworld that was just as physical as Thedas. Perhaps the eluvians predate the ancient elves? This also assumes that the ancient elves have forgotten this proposed mortal existence from before their immortality.
And completely within BioWare's current wheelhouse lol