Dragon Age: Origins: An Idiot's impressions.

Posted by gormanator (105 posts) -

As I am only 18, and really only got into gaming when i was 14, I missed out on many of the Infinity Engine titles people remember so fondly. Some forum members have looked on me with disgust as I admit that the oldest RPG I have played is Morrowind, which remains my favorite game to this day ever. Period. The point I'm trying to make is that I had no absolutely no idea what this game was going to be. 

In the short two hours I played, the combat made me feel extremely stressed out. I feel like I have no clue how to tactically command my characters, and end up watching them auto battle, with an occasional random shield-bash placed at random. However, there is something about the game that remains extremely compelling to me. I LOVED the exploration and  dialogue in the town where I started. The codex entries really haven't interested me, but then again, I didn't even read them in the Mass Effect series either. I guess this impatience for reading explains my shitty writing style though.  Although it's been a little overwhelming, I think I'm gonna keep exploring this game before I put it on the shelves for good. 
 
Note: This is really my first blog type entry. I'm writing this at 12:00 in a hurried, haphazard fashion because I can barely stay awake. You might be thinking, "gormanator", why would you be writing this blog entry now then." If you're asking that, you're a much wiser person than myself, and I can't really provide an answer for you. I would, however, like your feedback. Writing regular posts on random shit I think about video games would be something I'm interested in doing, if it really does entertain enough readers. If it reads like a shitty ten year old ranting on the forums, then by all means let me know. I wouldn't want to subject anyone to that crap.

#1 Posted by gormanator (105 posts) -

As I am only 18, and really only got into gaming when i was 14, I missed out on many of the Infinity Engine titles people remember so fondly. Some forum members have looked on me with disgust as I admit that the oldest RPG I have played is Morrowind, which remains my favorite game to this day ever. Period. The point I'm trying to make is that I had no absolutely no idea what this game was going to be. 

In the short two hours I played, the combat made me feel extremely stressed out. I feel like I have no clue how to tactically command my characters, and end up watching them auto battle, with an occasional random shield-bash placed at random. However, there is something about the game that remains extremely compelling to me. I LOVED the exploration and  dialogue in the town where I started. The codex entries really haven't interested me, but then again, I didn't even read them in the Mass Effect series either. I guess this impatience for reading explains my shitty writing style though.  Although it's been a little overwhelming, I think I'm gonna keep exploring this game before I put it on the shelves for good. 
 
Note: This is really my first blog type entry. I'm writing this at 12:00 in a hurried, haphazard fashion because I can barely stay awake. You might be thinking, "gormanator", why would you be writing this blog entry now then." If you're asking that, you're a much wiser person than myself, and I can't really provide an answer for you. I would, however, like your feedback. Writing regular posts on random shit I think about video games would be something I'm interested in doing, if it really does entertain enough readers. If it reads like a shitty ten year old ranting on the forums, then by all means let me know. I wouldn't want to subject anyone to that crap.

#2 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -

Writing regular posts on random shit I think about video games would be something I'm interested in doing    

Hey, I'm interested in that too! That's why I started a weekly blog series (shameless plug) in which I ramble on about whatever interests me that week. Often that will involve video games. If you want to write, then write. Nobody can stop you. Even if you have a somewhat odd style and repeat words needlessly from time to time. Maybe work on that last issue a bit, but just keep writing and you'll continuously get better. That's just the way of things, after all. 
 
Anyway, I'm trying to finish up Dragon Age Origins right now. I'd encourage you to keep playing. It may just take you a while to adjust to the style since you aren't particularly used to these types of RPGs. If all fails though, Skyrim's coming soon. Sounds like you'd definitely like that. 
 
P.S. If you'd like, you could choose not to post your blogs to the forums. Just don't click that button at the top of your blog after posting it initially.
#3 Posted by PenguinDust (12553 posts) -

Hey, I write a weekly review blog over on Anime Vice (my shameless plug), so I’m always interested in supporting my fellow scribblers.  I think it’s great that you enjoy writing and want to develop your talents further.  I found that reading lots of other resources, even those not related to the subject you’re interested in will help you formulate better structure and possibly a greater vocabulary.  It’s not a new idea, but still one worth repeating.   

Since you are PC aligned, I’m going to assume that you’re playing DAO on the PC which is good, because that’s my only point of reference.  First off, don’t be afraid to dial back the difficulty when a particular engagement has become frustrating.  Even on “normal” there are quite a few battles that can be difficult if you’re not prepared.  Make certain you’ve got a good number of health and injury kits.  Also, it’s a good idea to always party with a “healer” if you’ve got one in your group.  I don’t know what class you are but if you’re a mage, adding skill points to that tree is not a bad idea unless you’re planning on a bee-line to the Mage’s Tower and Wynne.  That’s what I did during my second or third character play-through.  I believe Morrigan functions best as a combat or support mage, but the choice is yours.  The Tower also offers fast leveling which makes the rest of the game easier.

The combat in DAO can vacillate between chaotic and ponderous.  For someone unfamiliar with the mechanics, I suggest the latter path; pause often and micromanage each battlefield round.  Play the game almost as if it was a turn based strategy.  When I encounter a “mob”, I hit pause and see where each of my party members are positioned relative to the enemies.  I then check to see what forms of “crowd control” I have in my group.  Leliana has a pinning shot with her bow (if you equipped her with one) that will hold a target for a few seconds and Morrigan has a freeze spell.  Other additional party members also arrive with various skills that can slow or stop the enemy.  This is very important because it gives you more time to kill them without taking excessive damage.  Expand and improve your party’s ability to limit the actions and movements of the enemy whenever possible.  For those held by spells such as Cone of Cold and Petrify, try to immediately shatter them with Stonefist or a critical physical blow/shot. 

It’s best to have two or three party members focusing on a single target when possible.  As the game progresses, you can splinter the group up more and even use a single “tank” to hold the mobs attention.  Early on though, that’s harder because everyone is weak to damage and will drop when overwhelmed.  Keep your ranged and magic in the rear if possible at least until they expend all their mana.  On a side note, if you want Morrigan to stick with her staff and spellcasting, do not equip her with a melee weapon.  She has a tendency to chose daggers or whatever over her magic as soon as the enemy is close.  There’s probably some change that could be made to the combat tactics queue to correct this, but I set mine so that she would cast a Vulnerability Hex followed by Winter’s Grasp at the first sign of trouble.  That brings me to another point, always try and have each member’s attack contribute to the previous one.  The flow of the battle is easier if your teammates are acting as a team.  Look and see which spells and skill compliment each other then use them successively in combat.  

Finally, just keep practicing.  Patience is key to this and while the “run and gun” style of play might work fine in Dragon Age II, it won’t get you too far in Origins.  Keep an eye on everyone’s health and mana, make sure injuries are healed, and focus on a single target at a time when possible.  As you become more comfortable with the system, you’ll recognize which skirmishes require your complete attention and which you can let flow on auto-pilot.            

#4 Edited by punkxblaze (2990 posts) -

Dragon Age seemed totally overwhelming to me, at first, too. In time, you'll start to figure out combos and strategies, even if they're just basic tactics. Have faith, you'll find your way. 
 
 
...Oh, and take ^That guy^'s advice.

#5 Posted by JJWeatherman (14558 posts) -
@PenguinDust: Good tips! I learned a thing or two myself.

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