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--Isolationistmagi (talk) 17:26, December 11, 2011 (UTC)
Forums: Index > Game Discussion > DA2: The Way It Should Have Been
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This has been coming looong but I didn't feel like writing that horrible wall of text I had on mind, so let's do it differently. There have been several discussions on what we would like to change in DA2 but I'd like to keep this thread concentrated solely on story improvements, particularly on those issues almost everyone feels uncomfortable with, and I believe it should be kept neat and organized.

-And civil. "Haters gonna hate" arguments are not welcome, and neither are "DA2 sux 'cus it's the worst game evar". Other than that, feel free to add as many topics as you wish.--Ygrain (talk) 16:17, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

I'm all for this topic :D--SunyiNyufi (talk) 16:53, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Fill mage plot-holes

I included three of the most common plot holes below. Feel free to add to the list. Fritzywiggins (talk) 17:34, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

  • There are no repercussions for being a blood mage, not even in party conversation. What might have been: affected party members could have brought the issue up in conversation, resulting in the party member leaving or possibly even attacking based on dialogue options chosen.
  • Mage party members practice magic in the streets, which Anders and Merrill can somehow get away with for a decade without even having to leave their homes. Worse, Anders becomes visibly possessed by Justice, while Merrill can use blood magic, which makes their use of magic in the streets of Kirkwall even more conspicuous. However, party members address this issue in conversation, at least. What might have been: Quests involving Anders' and Merrill's status as apostates might have resulted in a more logical reason for their unusually stable housing situations. Another possibility is that Anders and Merrill could have changed home bases between chapters, which could be explained to the player in the codex and journal.
Actually, Varric pays those dangerous elements off as he mentions in party banter; he bribes the thugs to leave Anders and his clinic, and to let Merrill stroll during the night. I think Merrill can still remain hidden, as she said that Keepers don't perform magic in public even amongst their people. You still have a more realistic alternative though.
Wikia sig NicKeL BreaD Talk 21:54, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
I just wonder how much he had to pay them not to report Anders to the Templars, I bet they give coin to denouncers. --Ygrain (talk) 11:18, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
  • Staves and robes are ridiculous dead giveaways that Hawke and other party members are mages. What might have been: The easiest solution would have been simply having more subtle armor and staff models, considering that the entire game takes place in the same city.
A couple of details in my older thread Forum: Being An Apostate In Kirkwall, but feel free to develop on any idea here, as well. --Ygrain (talk) 18:10, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
  • This thing is the most glaringly persistent amongst all the atrocities of DA2 plot. With blood magic it should've been simple - practice it anywhere in the city, game over. Do it in front of Anders or Sebastian, they quit you right away but, say, it can give some sort of synergy with Merrill. Varric and Isabela wouldn't care, Aveline may be persuaded if Hawke's on friendly terms with her, Fenris, well, him being pals with any kind of mage is odd by itself, so blood magic adds nothing. About magic in general - they could've gone BG2 route or incorporate it into the plot some other way - say, a party's mage carelessly tosses a spell, gets noticed by a templar or ratted out and taken away (esp. good if that's Bethany, would build that much touted but unexistant family connection). Then Hawke may be blackmailed by a corrupt templar, or, even better, introduced to Thrask & Co as anti-Meredith faction, which may give some less heavy-handed exposition into what's going on in Kirkwall. Running chores for a corrupt templar if blackmailed would also give better sense of purpose than current "dick around, let Dace pay your 50GP". Dorquemada (talk) 08:13, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Yeah it makes me angry because it could have been done so easily, if BG2 could do it 11 freakin years ago then I'm pretty sure DA2 could have done something. Inside towns after a templar sees you using magic they should give you a warning the first time Via BG2 style, second time they ask for a fine or like Oblivion/Skyrim you can resist arrest and fight them, which in turn will increase the templars security. To stop this you should be able to buy a magic licence at the Circle (prehaps Wynne in DA:O had one) which allows you to cast all spells in public EXCEPT blood magic which the templars will attack on sight when used. I also like the above Idea of paying off a courpt templar or doing tasks for the templars or Thrask to hide your powers from Meredith. MrRexfire (talk) 12:35, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that giving a warning would make sense, they should be after you immediately the very moment you reveal that you are a mage (the use of blood magic should provoke an attack by a stronger group, maybe even a chase throughout the city). Some kind of license, or rather travel permit, claiming that you are under the authority of the Ferelden Circle instead of Meredith's, might work, but we haven't seen one before and we do not know if such even exist, and if they would suffice to keep the local Templars at bay. --Ygrain (talk) 14:04, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
True but there should be some way of paying off the Templars incorporated into the game such as getting some kind of pass to avoid them or paying off corupt ones because if they came after you every time you cast a spell it would be the opposite of this discussion, too much templar interference in the game; Then no one would want to play as a mage lol. MrRexfire (talk) 15:23, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
I definitely think there should have been a way to actively take care of templar suspicion. Maybe not bribing (in the strictest sense), but I think giving Hawke a chance to make some moderate-templar friends or to garner the grudging respect of less-moderate-but-not-unreasonable-templars because of his Batman-like anti-evil-mage vigilantism could work. It would be a fairly legit reason for Hawke/his mage friends to stay off official reports, get some early info about impending templar raids. And, depending on the level of respect he earns, the friendlies could even go so far as to quash “rumors” that he and his cadre were rogue mages. It’s sort of what the game tells us is going on, but giving us the chance to see/make it happen. HELO (talk) 18:27, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
For a believable plot, there actually should have been a couple of ways: a Hawke siding with templars definitely needs to worry less than one supporting mages, and Hawke who doesn't give a damn to both them idiots (and that should be alowed in the game, as well!!) is again a different case. Bribe, cover-up by Templar fanatics or by Thrask's comrades, depending on the siding, plus some isolated cases of either blackmailing or plain human gratitude, like after killing the abominated Wilmod, which Cullen wouldn't have been able to do on his own. - Heck, I even played the sequence _twice_, since I was sure he _had_ to respond to my mage staff-twirling somehow and that I must have missed something along "you saved me here, I won't report on you". --Ygrain (talk) 18:37, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Agree. I would propose something similar to TW1/2 in case the devs think it takes too much time and effort to write all the possible dialogue options. You can side with one faction, with another or tell them all to go to hell. Another one that comes to mind is VtMB:Bloodlines, which had factions but to a lesser extent. You are still forced into some tough decisions to further the plot, but eventually you can either join any of factions or simply leave. Joining also depends on your dialogue choices and actions you performed in the game.
As for Cullen, yes totally agree. I've mentioned the same complaints further on in the post. --Ascendra (talk) 09:35, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

Incorporating family: Leandra

/copied from Forum: Why Hate?/I had an idea that during ActI, Leandra could have been a quest-giver. A strong and open-minded woman as I believe her to be, it would be little surprise if neighbours soon started to address her with their problems, which she in turn would present to Hawke: those little fetch missions, and even some of the main quests. In fact, Leandra insisting that Hawke really should do something, would be a nice indicator that This Is Important (and, to an unwilling Hawke, a little talk along the line "You're not getting any dinner, Garret Hawke, until-!"). I really wondered during ActI why I should bother following some vague rumours, or do these quests at all, and having Bartrand inform me that I have some unfinished business was rather lame (instead of "No, you're not going anywhere, darling, until you help our friends in need, didn't I and your father teach you at least that?") --Ygrain (talk) 15:29, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, I could totally see Leandra as quest-giver and it would really make sense, and would give an other reason for a sarcastic Hawke to grow up a bit and get more serious. In Act 1 I thought that Hawke would just pretty much do anything as long she/he gets paid, and Bartrand's warning is at least more subtle than the one in Fallout New Vegas, where it pretty much says there is no turning back...yet some people complain about it lol. --SunyiNyufi (talk) 15:47, December 7, 2011 (UTC) /--Ygrain (talk) 16:17, December 7, 2011 (UTC)/
  • They should've started incorporating family in the tutorial. Did they really expect us to have an emotional reaction to death of a flat character introduced a minute ago? If tutorial was set in Lothering and had quests other than "Hack everything!!!!!", the family might've been fleshed out enough to feel bad about the sibling's death. Also, since Leandra has nothing to add to the main plot, why not make her death optional? Flesh out the murder mystery quest, if you do everything alright, mum livers, if not, you get zombie Frankenstein bride. Dorquemada (talk) 08:20, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Introducing Orsino and Meredith during ActI

There are several ways they could have introduced Orisno and Meredith, and it should have happened way before the end of Act 2, though I'm not sure if Act 1 would be the right place for that. As I see it the best time for an intro would be the very beginning of Act 2. Hawke is already a noble at the time, heir to a very well known family (one of them almost became viscount after all), and is someone whom the viscount himself asks for a favor, so there is no reason for Hawke not to know the most important people in the city. They could have been introduced during a noble party, and interact a bit. Like Meredith saying what she says at the end of Act 2 only a bit different:

M: I know you. *dramatic pause* The name Hawke came up many times in my reports. Too many times.

H: Just trying to keep my home safe.

M: That is....admirable.

Or something like that. This way a mage Hawke wouldn't be outed right away, yet the tension of prey meeting hunter would be there. As for Orsino, I imagine he would be pretty casual with Hawke at first, since everyone in the city knows that Leandra ran away with an apostate, so he would chat with Hawke about Malcolm.--SunyiNyufi (talk) 16:53, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

We didn’t have to work for them right away, much in the same way we didn’t work for the Viscount until Act II, but we should have at least had some idea of who they were before Act III rolled around. This could easily have been done by following the classic Grand Theft Auto structure (especially given Hawke’s rise from the gutters): we hear about them from the start, brush up against people connected to them as we take our first low-paying jobs, eventually get work from their underlings, then do jobs for them directly (probably needing to pick sides, at that point). They sort of do this (kind of) with the Arishok, in that you come into contact with him before interacting with him becomes super-important to the plot. HELO (talk) 16:57, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Yeah, something like that. I think it's vital for a story to introduce the main characters early on. If Hawke could be more involved in Wayward son, e.g. delivering a letter from Ariani to Orsino (she was in touch with him somehow, or am I wrong?), they could establish a first contact, and on the way through the Gallows, Hawke might encounter Meredith - even without actually talking to her, merely be witness to some issue she solves. Also, flashscenes of events Hawke is not directly experiencing, might serve this purpose - like in DAO when we saw what Loghain was doing while the Warden was elsewhere. --Ygrain (talk) 17:16, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
"Hawke might encounter Meredith - even without actually talking to her"- well, we sorta had that in the very begining of Act1, when she walked past the thief, who stole Hawke's purse. On my first playthrough, without any prior knowledge, I thought that: 1) it's the head templar of the city and 2) she's batshit crazy-Algol- (talk) 20:34, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Funny, on my first and only playthrough, I never noticed. Anyway, not what I'd call an introduction of a character. --Ygrain (talk) 20:43, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
It's not a proper introduction, I agree. But at least we know that Meredith is out there. My problem with her further introduction during the qunari attack, and her general attitude towards people, is too unrealistic. They should have given at least some ammount of common sense to her. Because if a raving lunatic is in charge, the whole city just chips in and hires the Crows. I mean, look at her first appearance during the liberation of the Viscount's Keep: she is a commander of an elite military organization. Now she deploys some brilliant tactics of headrushing a fortified position, full of high-valued hostages, the viscount included. My reaction to this was "I'll handle the fight, while you do this city a favor, and hang yourself from the nearest tree, please". Then during the attack on the Gallows, her templars rush just through the only chokepoint, like the batshit fanatics they are, and naturally get torn to pieces. Same with Cullen. We all know, that the events in the Ferelden Circle, when he was sitting in a forcefield, had a serious impact on his fragile little templar mind. Now he's been appointed a high-ranking officer, instead of being sent to a mental institution. Who the hell would follow his commands? More realism, please.-Algol- (talk) 21:25, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Actually, the DA2 Cullen seems nothing like his DAO counterpart. In DA2 he is almost... reasonable? - Again, a terrible inconsistence. --Ygrain (talk) 11:30, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that one is among their biggest faults. In the end of DAO depending on your choices in the Tower, there are different endings for Cullen. DA2 seems to account for these choices, so why can't Cullen have a personality that accounts for them as well. For example, the Cullen that started oppressing mages should keep oppressing them and the Cullem that was broken should remain as such. But the DA2 Cullen, which has to operate among numerous demons, abominations and blood mages, is not only normal, he is also one of the sanest people in that nuthouse called Kirkwall. --Ascendra (talk) 12:03, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Has it ever been stated anywhere why they thought it necessary to incorporate him at all? So that he could say "I knew an Amell, she was special?" Gah. --Ygrain (talk) 13:35, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
That's exactly what I thought when I was typing this. Cullen has no reason to appear in DA2 other than mention something about a mage Warden, and if you didn't play the mage than he has no reason to appear at all. Also, if Gaider speaks the truth, they did not even know Cullen was that popular among girl-fans. The fact that they included him doesn't make sense. In one of the endings of DAO he is supposed to stay in Ferelden, because he was made a freaking Knight-Commander of something. --Ascendra (talk) 14:04, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
"One of the sanest people in Kirkwall" stopped being Meredith's trusty lapdog only when she started to shoot red lightnings out of her eyes. "One of the sanest people in Kirkwall" tells you, that he has nightmares about abominations running around the Circle, during Act1. And in Act2 after his phrase "Mages are not people, like you and me, they cannot be treated equally to us", really came the time, when I wanted to use the murder knife. When the devs present such characters without any concern of how they fit into the game, I'm starting to feel that I'm playing animal control service, putting rabid dogs down. Yet the devs decide to kill off Thrask in the stupidest way possible, without allowing my character to intervene, maybe fail in that, but at least TRY. Less fanservice, more freedom to the player, please. That's my point, basically.-Algol- (talk) 14:54, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
You really dislike Cullen, don't you)) I agree with your points, but since I really like his character I tend to sort of forget what he says at the beginning. You can contradict him and if you do, he is rather reasonable. That conversation makes much more sense in my game, because my canon Warden (and my all-time import) is a femSurana who is King Alistair's mistress, and Cullen always mentions her in an amazingly sweet way. In Origins if your Warden is female mage, then Cullen gets a bit more dialogue related to how the demons tried to break him using her image. I'm a sucker for such tragically sappy stories, so I tend to forgive him. What actually bugs me is that he makes such comments after you've been casting fireballs left and right in front of him and never mentions you doing it. I wish there was at least some reference, that conversation just turns ridiculous. --Ascendra (talk) 07:35, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

Use the Resolutionists

We know (or at least heard) there’s an extremist faction of the mage underground identified with the Resolutionist fraternity that is supposed to actively work against/attack the Chantry. Why not use them? They could have given much more weight to the whole mage/templar conflict in the city (instead of just templar prejudice vs. the existence of mages), because then we’d have an actual semi-organized conflict (essentially a gang war) between Meredith’s hardliner crew and some full-on rebels.

And it would be easy for Hawke to get mixed up with them: he essentially works for anyone who will hire him, so he could do some small pro-mage missions early on that would bring him into contact with (and thus connect him to) the Resolutionists, allowing him the opportunity to either support the pro-mage cause more actively or use his insider knowledge to help the templars root them out.

PLUS it opens up the possibility of swaying Anders away from the extremist path without taking away the chantry-blows-up plot point. (That is, the Resolutionists will always destroy the chantry at the end of the game, but Anders does not have to be the one to pull the trigger. It would just be a special bonus knife-twist if he is.) HELO (talk) 20:09, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

... That's brilliant. Nothing more to add really. WHY did no-one at Bioware come up with this?
Not only would it clarify Hawke's place in the conflict, it would justify Meredith's decision to wipe out the Circle. Because obviously she'd conclude the Resolutionists have influenced all the mages in the city. It would also give us a better final mage boss than Randomlygonecrazy!Orsino. The Resolutionists could collectively decide to turn to blood magic in a last effort to protect their fellow mages, and it would backfire on them. Kestrella (talk) 22:41, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Or it could act as "Blow up the Chantry, Plan B" in case you decide to rat Anders out to the Templars and they react appropriately (try telling Cullen Anders is onto something in the game; facepalm at his reaction). Or get rid of him in some other way. This removes a plot armour - ever the irritating thing - from a character and lets them do the scripted event any way in logical manner. Dorquemada (talk) 08:27, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
The devs created so many factions and lore that they get mixed up in it and probably forget. It's like when you already know/created something you are limited in imagination and find it difficult to see the bigger picture. Then you just facepalm "why haven't I seen it before" when someone mentions something obvious. It probably accounts for short development time. They had good general ideas but didn't have enough time to think them through and put together as one smooth plot.
The idea with resolutionists is brilliant. --Ascendra (talk) 12:12, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

About the "Randomlygonecrazy!Orsino":) Use the Loyalists. It's also a fraternity, who believes that templars are right, magic is really a sin, and so they are completely obedient to their Arvaads, I mean, templars. If the devs want to make a fight with the mage boss, the inconsistency for mage-aligned Hawke could be avoided, by putting a powerful Loyalist mage among the templar ranks - there, you have it. This mage may even turn into a Harvester, with the best intention to help the templars and do the righteous thing, it would be no less logical, then Orsino's turning into a Harvester.-Algol- (talk) 02:33, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

Re-frame the Story

I hope this section qualifies for this thread:

Awhile back I proposed a theory that DA2’s frame (the interrogation) was one that, at its core, could only lead to a disappointing story, because it made the point of the story “proving to Cassandra that Hawke (someone we’ve never heard of) wasn’t important” instead of “what made Hawke a legend…plus some gritty details the legends usually leave out!” I argued that this was similar to hearing a de-romanticized version of Robin Hood without any prior knowledge of the Robin Hood story.

As such, I think the story would benefit from a better frame: no interrogation, just Varric‘s voiceover at the beginning telling us that the legends are true (or true enough), but that the whole truth is an even more compelling story. It sets Hawke as an exciting figure--and let’s be honest: he did do some exciting stuff--without the danger of setting him up as the most important figure in the history of Thedas only to show us that he isn’t. HELO (talk) 20:44, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

The topic definitely qualifies, though I think this is probably the most difficult part. Some people claim that it was the framed narrative per se that doomed the game; I am not convinced of this.
While your Robin Hood point is valid, the clash here is not caused by the story itself but mainly by an exceptionally bad marketing move: advertising the product as one thing ("the most important person in the history of Thedas"), and presenting actually something else ("the most important bystander", as someone aptly put it here on the forums). If this discrepancy was never allowed to exist, the concept of busting Hawke's myth we never knew existed might have worked better.
I definitely wish the framing was more compelling: TW2 intro was also framed, and definitely did not lack the thrill --Ygrain (talk) 21:22, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
The “Rise to power!” marketing choice was definitely hurt how I perceived the game on my first playthrough. But when I started to look at what was actually going on when I did my next couple of playthroughs, the interrogation frame really stood out to me. Cassandra knows Anders--not Hawke--blew up the chantry before the game starts, so she’s not looking for Varric to implicate Hawke as the bomber. She thinks he’s the mastermind of the Mage/Templar rebellions, that it was all some carefully calculated scheme to destroy the Chantry (with Anders acting under orders from Hawke). And it’s up to Varric to show the very insistent Cassandra--note that she’s not looking for “what really happened” but “how Hawke did it”--how uninvolved in the major event Hawke really was. Which, to me, automatically means the story needs to be more detached and unimpressive with regard to the relevant events…which is then further intensified by a lack of context, which is then further intensified by the inaccurate marketing.
But regardless of which frame did which amount of damage, DA2 really needed a better (and, as you said, more compelling) frame. HELO (talk) 22:17, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Meaningful Quests

One of my largest complaints with DAII is that almost none of the quests seem to be going anywhere. Until the Arishok invasion, I felt like I was just playing errand boy for everyone in the city. they paid me, I did stuff, who cares? And then after the Arishok I thought "hey, maybe we're finally going somewhere" then act three came and I was like well @@@@, it's the same damn thing. Then the chantry got blown up and I was like hey! Finally, something exciting happens and then I was like: Oh... it's over. The quests should have been much more interdependant. --Isolationistmagi (talk) 21:10, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

I agree. I hope this can be considered story-related but I'd like to expand upon that if I may. I'd like to see side-quests that link to the story in the future. And I don;t mean the compulsory "side quests" (which were essentially main quests) in DAII, I'm talking about optional side quests which actually have an impact on story. For example, completing The Trial of Crows in Origins could win you an extra vote in the Landsmeet, I'd like to see more of that, but on a much larger scale with much more impact. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk   21:18, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Seconded, I just suggest we split this even further and come up with particular solutions to particular quests. --Ygrain (talk) 21:23, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Well, for example I would have liked for A Noble Agenda or The Last Holdouts to have more impact, and also felt that The Mage Underground (with Mistress Selby) had some potential. Just off the top of my head, I would have liked to see more heat on Aveline for assisting apostates. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk   22:42, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Initially, I was thrilled with A Noble Agenda, only to arrive at an even bigger disappointment. Are the nobles of Kirkwall truly such sheep that they cannot find the stones to challenge Meredith? --Ygrain (talk) 07:55, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Apparently, it gets worse. The game implies, that Hawke himself/herself cannot find the stones to challenge Meredith. What I'd do: as a Champion, right at the begining of Act3, I'd realize this: I have a duty to protect the city from all threats. The biggest threat now is Meredith and she needs to step down. The grand cleric, who can make her step down, prefers to sit on her anointed ass and do nothing. So it comes to me to do the right thing. I'd gather the nobles with their private armies, the city guard, probably some mercenaries just for the numbers, and challenge Meredith out of the Gallows, delivering an ultimatum: either you and your high-ranking officers step down, submit to authority and allow their crimes to be investigated, or I'll arrest you by force, right here, right now. And also don't forget to make a deal with the circle mages, who would stab the templars in the back, if things go sour, and position marksmen, overwatching the meeting place. Period.-Algol- (talk) 11:16, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Exactly! This definitely should have been an option: a third faction to join, and to ACT on your own, not just respond belatedly to what is tossed your way. - An option, I say, not a must. The conclusion still could have been the same: the Chantry boom might precede your little coup d'etat by mere hours, or happen right during it; either way, it would totally upturn the balance. While some nobles would continue supporting Hawke, others would turn to Meredith to perform her Templar duties, defend the faith and punish the mages, while yet others would flee the city. --Ygrain (talk) 11:26, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
In my latter example, I thought of Meredith escaping the fight (I'm sure she wouldn't back down), gathering supporters in and out of Kirkwall, and then returning in the exact same time of the battle with her, telling everyone "Haha! I've told you mages were bad! Look at my sword, it's shiny and it sings". But that's not so important. You could join Thrask's conspiracy group as a third faction. There are mages and templars working together (!!!) to overthrow Meredith and don't let the city burst into flames of war. Instead of the dialogue option "Can I join the club?", the game forces me to kill them on sight. *Sighs and facepalms*-Algol- (talk) 16:39, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
This is getting rather cluttered so I'll keep this brief, but I would have loved the idea of a longer Act 3 where Meredith is ousted and disappears at the beginning. However, with a more tolerant Knight-Commander, The Last Straw would never have happened (debatable, but let's not do it here Tonguesmiley). In this scenario, I think it would've been great if a fully insane Meredith returned and took Anders' place, targeting the Gallows or Viscount's Keep instead. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk  

Purpose and Cohesion

It's a generally accepted principal that a good story needs a driving force; something that the protagonist works towards. In Origins, we were Grey Wardens: sworn guardians who worked towards finding Old Gods and eliminating the darkspawn. In DAII, we were Fereldan refugees whose aim was to get rich and rise to power. In Origins, fulfilling your duty as a Warden spanned an entire game and an expansion. DAII's goal was completed by the beginning of Act 2. And then we were forced to become a diplomat. And then we tried to...stop extremists...and, then fought in a war. Oh, we're Champion now? Great! So I guess this means we can just kick back - oh, what's that? Trouble with the mages? Not sure why we're involved, but okay...

I think you get the point. I'm not necessarily advocating being part of an organization that has a mantra and some sort of obligation to fulfil, I just want some sort of purpose. A single grand goal that we work towards in the long term, instead of having disjointed plots that had been thrown together as with DAII. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk   21:33, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

The problem there is Hawke being the Most Important Bystander Ever rather than the Most Important Person Ever. S/he's a catalyst, not a driving force. There's only one good way I can think of to make the story goal-oriented:

The Amells were far more important in Kirkwall. As in, you become royalty or damn close to it when you regain your social status. This gives you a duty to protect the city and play politics. Perhaps have Liandra come after Hawke with a dough roller or something if s/he tries to shirk his/her responsibilities. Still not a purpose like the Warden's, because there's no immediate threat to defend Kirkwall from, but it would give Hawke a reason to be involved. It would also paint a clear "ask me for help!" target on Hawke's forehead that would explain random people popping up out of nowhere and expecting him/her to fix their problems. Kestrella (talk) 22:55, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Also, introducing a villain to vanquish would be a good way to make Hawke personally involved; this is partly why I advocated introducing the big bosses in Act. Or, there could have been a personal enemy, someone like Howe. Being able to save the day _and_ get rid of such filth make one feel wam and fuzzy :-) --Ygrain (talk) 11:33, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Easy target: a noble who treated your family like crap before you regained status. Making snide insinuations about Malcolm, ensuring the family members can't find respectable jobs, trying to get Aveline fired... maybe someone Leandra rejected in the past. Not quite Howe-level, but since wholescale family slaughter isn't really an option I think this would work quite nicely. Kestrella (talk) 13:28, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
In that scenario, I believe the Comte de Launcet could have great potential, and been turned into quite the bitter schemer due to Leandra spurning him for Malcolm. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk   18:46, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
A good idea, it would strengthen Leandra's incorporation into the story. And _much_ better than a whole-family slaughter, which has already been copied enough by one Chantry boy. --Ygrain (talk) 18:53, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Becoming the Champion/Viscount

Ultimately, I didn't see how Hawke became suitable for a highly political position like Viscount just by stopping the Qunari and slaughtering the mages and Meredith. There's no political development. In DA:O, by the time the Warden shows up in Denerim for the Battle of Denerim, he's got some clout. Entire peoples have trusted his leadership and sworn to follow him into battle. And what's more, you go through many, many quests earning that trust. Except for the origin, every group you approach for help looks at you as an outsider, and you have to prove your worth over and over again. Doing something similar in Kirkwall would have really made the "Champion" title felt earned.

For example, I wanted to spend that year working for the mercenaries or the smugglers, not just skip over it. I wanted to maneuver through Kirkwall's politics as well as its alleys. I wanted to spend time playing factions against each other and gaining allies and enemies. And when the time came to step up as Viscount, my allies would join me and our enemies would hopefully be dead or running. A sense of progress could have been developed in so many ways, from choosing which mansion you get in which neighborhood, to approaching competing gangs for help instead of just killing them all in the streets. anyways, there's my two cents. Enchantment! (talk) 22:00, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Took the words right out of my mouth. I agree 100%. And think how much more compelling the mage/templar war in the streets would have been if you'd literally been in charge of the city (as viscount) while it was all going on. HELO (talk) 22:17, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
True and true. I expected to have the game formed by my choices, and have many of them, but the only way I'm given to become viscount, is to support a certain faction, which I hate more then Anders does (you might have noticed that:)). The previous viscount wanted to oust the templars, and failed. Good idea, bad execution. And my Hawke is good at executions, all kinds of them:). So why can't I became viscount, when the nobles support me, and the only ones, who are against me are mostly dead after the final battle (I can't get why don't I have a choice to finish Cullen and the remaining templars)? Or at least I want a DLC, where I can take over Starkhaven, as there is a vacuum of power, and Sebastian is as capable ruler, as the Arishok is a capable relic-finder. Besides, I always wanted to bring him closer to his Maker, after he threatened me, my friend and my city. More choices, please-Algol- (talk) 22:23, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Absolutely. On top of this, was I the only one who liked the political stuff in Awakening? I really enjoyed quests like A Day In Court and A Brewing Conspiracy, and would loved to have seen more of that kind of thing in DAII. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed we didn't get to play at being Viscount. Chantry symbol King Cousland | Talk   22:42, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Enjoyed the mentioned quests too, need moar politics:)-Algol- (talk) 22:53, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
I LOVED the political line! (actually, this was a second reason why I'm writing the Awakening piece) It's only fault was that it was way too short, and quickly solved. Kirkwall policy would greatly benefit from some fleshing out.--Ygrain (talk) 11:35, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Making Hawke a Person

/copied from [1]/ Strangely, Hawke is a more open character than the Warden (or Shepard, since I'm using ME comparisons). We're told who Hawke's family is, and that his/her father trained the mage children and they moved around a lot, but that's it. We choose a personality without an accompanying in-game explanation for how that personality came to be.

Nobody ever asks Hawke why s/he turned out the way s/he did. The player is never given cause to question this either. Your exact relationship with your siblings, mother, and father is entirely in the player's head. If mage Hawke sides with the Templars we're left to make up a story for how this came to be.

I think maybe if we'd been given the option to choose a specific background within the Hawke family (examplary eldest sibling, odd one out, mummy's little boy/girl). And a life-changing event (watching or even helping a templar take out a murderous blood mage, finding acceptance in the army, being the one to pick up the pieces after your father's death). And if your surviving relations had treated you differently depending on this, I wouldn't have minded Hawke as a character as much. Kestrella (talk) 22:35, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

True again. And again, we don't have much choice in DAII - everybody's role in Hawke family is already pre-made. Using your classification, Hawke is an examplary eldest sibling, Carver is an odd one out (he's really odd:)) and Bethany is mummy's and daddie's little girl (given her constant need of protection from the templars). Again, more choices please.-Algol- (talk) 22:50, December 7, 2011 (UTC)
Wasn't it the same in DAO? I mean if you chose to be a human noble it's pretty much the same thing, you have your preset family and no previous background to chose from, if you chose to be bad or good or humorous through the game it's your choice and not because of something that happened in your Warden's childhood right? -- T-Shark (talk) 00:57, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Not really. We're given enough information that we can explain each personality we choose. We have a rough idea of the education the HN has received, what s/he's probably been taught about the Chantry, mages, other species, and honor/duty. We have the choice to give them a lover (which then influences how s/he approaches potential romance options later in the game). We know who most of the important people in his/her life were. We also get to choose our relationship with our family, you can be obedient to your father, eager/unwilling to join the Wardens, rude to your mother and other assorted people you interact with... You have time to create a base personality and attitude toward the world before it all goes to hell.
For example, my Alexa Cousland was extremely duty-oriented, obeyed and tried to impress her father, loved her mother dearly for all that she was exasperated with her attempts to find her a husband, wanted to join the Wardens but felt she had too many responsibilities at home, and just had her first sexual experience with Darrian. Fenrir Cousland on the other hand resented being the second sibling, flirted with everything that moved (and slept with Darrian), and wanted to run off with the Wardens the minute Duncan offered. Either personality can be justified by the base story, different people react differently to the same environment after all. But the point is they both have justification. There's a reason their families' death shapes them in different ways.
With Hawke, we're not given this base. S/he pops into the world diplomatic/sarcastic/rude and we're left to make up a story entirely in the privacy of our heads for how that came to be. Perhaps a melee Hawke felt his/her parents favored Bethany and had bonded with Carver over that, perhaps a mage Hawke turned to blood magic in an effort to save his/her father's life, perhaps a mage Hawke is willing to turn other mages over to the Circle because s/he's actually scared of his/her own powers. We just don't have enough information. We don't know what or how Hawke was taught, if s/he had friends/lovers, how much of a threat the Lothering Chantry was, if there was ever an opportunity to leave the family and travel alone, exactly what impact having mages in the family had on social interaction, exactly what attitude the family held toward Templars/Circle mages/non-mages, if Carver is just BSing when he talks about Malcolm favoring the mage children or not...
We start the game with Hawke suffering a loss, but how s/he takes that loss, exactly what was lost with Lothering, and why s/he has that reaction is entirely in our heads. All I want is either a pre-selected background ME style, or an Origins style introduction of "life before". And since we keep part of the family with us, our interactions with them should be colored by Hawke's relationship with them. Like... we could be the one to put pressure on Leandra to leave Lothering early. If we do and we succeed, Hawke will feel basic survivor's guilt over the sibling's death while Leandra will feel more guilty for trying to delay at all. If we don't bother Hawke feels massive guilt as s/he is now partly responsible for the sibling's death. If Leandra won't listen Hawke blames her. Just that tiny bit of difference would go a long way to making Hawke a person in my head rather than the blank s/he was and stayed throughout all of DA2. Kestrella (talk) 10:45, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
^This!!!-Algol- (talk) 16:30, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
I'll second it)--Ascendra (talk) 07:37, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

Continuity and General Plot Holes

I can't speak much on this subject as I've only played the demo for DA2 and looked up a few things on here but I thought this needed a section here. Hopefully others can point out some things I can't. but here's what I can point out at least. The biggest problems I know of are, Anders, Justice and Leliana. If you imported a save where they were dead they should have stayed dead and EA/Bioware should've properly prepared for that possibility in DA2. I'm sure there are some other possible similar plot holes at least for other companions and Flemeth that others could better clarify. I realize making a version of DA2 where Anders and Justice hadn't joined to make Vengeance and the Seekers of Truth didn't have Leliana would possibly completely change the games story but that's kinda the point. --Vampire Damian (talk) 23:23, December 7, 2011 (UTC)

Or at least, once they decided to ignore the players' choices, they should offer an explanation, especially with Leliana, who seems to become quite an important person in the future. --Ygrain (talk) 11:27, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
There is an explanation. Hawke: "Shouldn't you be dead?". Leliana: "It wasn't my time to die". How do you like it?-Algol- (talk) 16:30, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Obviously bringing them back to life and tricking Anders and Justice into merging was all part of Flemeth's Grand Plan(tm) XD Kestrella (talk) 16:56, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Combat and Tactics Improvements

Copied from [[2]] 'Combat. This is the thing DAII didn't do right. We have speed and intensity, but we sacrifice tactics and common sense. Enemies appearing out of nowhere, right near your carefully positioned mage, teleporting rogues and mages - the list could go on and on. Two things I hate in particular - 1.Class restrictions for weapon and armor and non-customizable companion armor. Now we can't experiment with some interesting builds and tactics, like we did in Origins - Arcane Warrior, heavily-armored Morrigan or Leliana, for instance. And 2. Overpowered rogues. I can't possible understand why my weapon-and-shield warrior chews on Arishok for ages, while my dual-wield rogue wasted him in six blows. Not saying that cross-class combos are the only way to win a fight on harder difficulties, and if you don't have them - critical hits are your only option. Well, at least the devs hopefully understand what they did wrong.'

Concerning teleporting - Gaider told that mages actually go really fast, so nobody can see them. That's basically what teleporting is, according to some theories on the possible nature of teleporting, if such thing existed.

And a couple more things: two-handed weapon warriors wield those huge mauls without any visible effort, dealing not very much visible damage. The weapon-and-shield warrior's role turned purely in soaking up damage, unable to deal some damage on his own, while the rogues turned into main damage dealers instead of support. The design of many weapons was too unrealistic either. And also I wanted to see some spell combos, like in Origins, in addition to cross-class combos. So could we please go 'back to the roots', or should I say 'back to the origins'.

BTW, I really like how this forum gets filled with good ideas. Maybe we send the contents to BioWare, with the hope of improving future DA installments?-Algol- (talk) 00:01, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

While these are valid points, I think this thread should stick to the objective of story enhancement. Don't you want to start a twin thread oriented at the gameplay mechanics? --Ygrain (talk) 11:04, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, my bad. I really should consider another thread.-Algol- (talk) 16:11, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Companions conversations

They could've pay more attention to those.

For example, Anders. If you're friends with him, but you hate all the mages, kill every single one you can or send to the circle, actively support templars - Anders still thanks you for supporting mages. On the other hand, if you like mages, help them, but call Anders an abomination, he talks to you as if you were a templar, about how cruel you are to the mages. It's like he thinks mages: him. Henio0 (talk) 08:40, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

I would've liked more companion conversations in general. I hate that when you do talk to them you have to run through every question in the dialogue wheel then and there or you'll never have the opportunity again. Kestrella (talk) 10:50, December 8, 2011 (UTC)

Not to mention the fact that you have to go their homes when you want to talk, which becomes especially awkward if they have moved over to Hawke's place. - BTW, where has the public kiss gone? --Ygrain (talk) 11:01, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Well, iwith Merril as her questline pretains to the Eluvian wich is stashed at her house, that makes sence. Even with Vengence (once again I will not call that Abomination...nope can't do it.(Anders. Ow.)) He runs a clinic in Darktown, even if he moves in with Hawke, it's not unreasonable that he would continue with it.CrowInvictus (talk) 11:07, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
During the day and when Anders is not currently in the party, the clinic would be a logical option. However, if you do have him in your party, or you are at home and he is standing next to you... "Come, darling, let's go to that creepy filthy Darktown to have a talk... - Er, Anders, there are about a dozen room where we could talk in private just upstairs." Besides, when someone has moved in, I'd expect those little important dialogues about breakfast in bed, his dirty socks under the said bed, his cat not getting on with my dog... at least as one-liners if not full-scale conversations. --Ygrain (talk) 13:42, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
About the public kisses... How is it a relationship, if I get to kiss my LI THREE times in the game: in the estate hall, before going upstairs together, after that, and just before the siege of the Gallows in Act3? I was perfectly good with the situation in Origins, but now I have a problem: what if I want to kiss Merrill every time I see her?-Algol- (talk) 16:11, December 8, 2011 (UTC)
Agree with both Ygrain and -Algol-. I'm a Fenris girl myself and I think public kisses would have made for some great laughs, especially if you imagine comments from Varric and Izzy, or Aveline. --Ascendra (talk) 07:16, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

I would dearly love it if it were possible to change companion attitudes about some things through conversations. It is just so boring when none of them ever change. For instance: Anders is always bleep TTemplars! Fenris is always bleep mages! Isabella is always bleep me! Merril is always bleep everybody, I am right! Thabnks to whoever wrote the post I just stole that from. --Isolationistmagi (talk) 02:55, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

You're very welcome ;)GoldenNightKnight (talk) 15:20, December 9, 2011 (UTC)
Would you mind being quoted over here? Forum:Set In Stone --Ygrain (talk) 16:29, December 9, 2011 (UTC)
No problem at allGoldenNightKnight (talk) 21:42, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

I agree, we need public conversations and kisses. In Origins it was nice to kick some Darkspawn @ss and then turn around and chat with my blood spattered friends. The idea of a homebase wasn't bad, especially since you were staying in one city the entire time. In Origins you were traveling, therefore your home base was everyone else's home base as well. I didn't appreciate having to trek back to everyone's house just to say "Hey, how ya doing?" and even then there wasn't always a conversation "lined up". I would have fixed this by having the ability to chat with your companions anywhere. Have some "exclusive" conversations dependent on area. "Private" conversations in either their home base or yours (if they live with you), "anywhere" conversations, and "area" conversations.

An example of an "area" conversation (in my mind): Hawke is gleefully trotting about Hightown and whimsically decides to chat up Izzy. A conversation can ensue about Hightown, how Izzy doesn't really care for the well-to-do, and Hawke can express their own opinion (and not what Bioware thinks Hawke's opinion should be). Or in the Gallows Hawke can talk to Anders, who may be nervous and urge a quick departure due to the many templars (who should really be taking notice of the apostates merrily skipping about Kirkwall).

I have a few more suggestions on the companions issue, but that would be a wall of text.GoldenNightKnight (talk) 15:53, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

The antagonist

The general lack of a really decent one was disappointing. One that comes close was Arishok, but they didn't execute it properly. What I think they should've done was making the game longer, and make the Arishok the final boss in Act 3. The game would end with Hawke becoming the Champion, and we would be introduced to Orsino and Meredith. Then, make the story of Act 3 with the templars-mages conflict longer and release it as an addon, like Awakening. Because, let's face it, Act 3 is tottaly out of place. Henio0 (talk) 10:44, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

I thought the Ancient Rock Wraith was the only challenging boss in the game. I have no problem with a "there's no main antagonist because you're just building your power base" storyline, but such an idea needs strong bosses along the way to keep things interesting. Enchantment! (talk) 15:26, December 9, 2011 (UTC)

I had my antagonist personally, because I wanted to kill Meredith since Act 2, but I understand the point. "Randomlygonecrazy!Orsino" was totally out of place and I don't think that the devs could reserve the Arishok up to the very end - things already got tense enough in Act 2. I'd vouch for some powerful demon like that Hubris one, trapped under Kirkwall, who would also be one of the causes of all that craziness happening in the city.-Algol- (talk) 15:18, December 11, 2011 (UTC)

Wasn't it established that Corypheus was actually the "demon" trapped under Kirkwall and causing all the craziness? They should've just incorporated Legacy into the main game and made him the ultimate final boss. Then in one last desperate effort to preserve his life he mentally links with all mages in Kirkwall and forcibly turns them into abominations. Or makes a deal with some of the more radical Revolutionists, if we're going with an improved storyline. And off goes the Templar-Mage conflict. That would feasibly put Hawke right at the heart of it, and only those present during the battle would know the truth of what happened.
Unfortunately Meredith stopped working for me as an antagonist when I realized during Varric's personal quest that she was the one who bought the idol. Going through Act II and III knowing full well that she's slowly going insane made it way more difficult to hate her :S Which is just too bad, I think I could've properly worked up Loghain-worthy levels of hatred if her behavior had been a conscious choice. Kestrella (talk) 15:33, December 11, 2011 (UTC)
I too find it difficult to hate Meredith, but I don't think that's a bad thing. My problem is that the develpers waited way to long to give her a proper introduction. It would have been so much better if they had introduced her in Act I as a rational person. That way we could see how her mind deteriorates after obtaining the idol. It would make a much better story to see her warp over time then simply take the developers word for it that she was rational before she found the idol. --Isolationistmagi (talk) 15:56, December 11, 2011 (UTC)
From what I've heard and read about Meredith since the begining of the game, she wasn't exactly a mentally stable person even without the idol. Though she doesn't fit as an antagonist of the entire game regardless. The whole problem was that DAII was largely unfinished, and looks more like an introduction, than a stand-alone story, with antagonists and all. I hope they learn..-Algol- (talk) 17:13, December 11, 2011 (UTC)
Very true, but she obviously had to lose some part of her sanity or else Varric would have never made his comment. Other then that, I agree on all counts. --Isolationistmagi (talk) 17:26, December 11, 2011 (UTC)
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