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Dragon Age: Origins


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God, the Landsmeet dialogue/cutscene was awesome, I made sure to try out all the possible outcomes of it and finally went with *spoiler* keeping Loghain alive, which resulted in Alistair fucking off (Good riddance, dumbfuck), and a very awkward sex scene between Loghain and Morrigan that makes me want to burn my eyes out.

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"Resisted! Resisted! Resisted! Resisted! Resisted!"

This is ridiculous. First there was that ogre, now it's a dragon. My mage might as well not exist in these goddamned orange monster battles.

This is part of the reason why I love the Baldur's Gate series so much. Yes, there are enemies that are resistant to magic, protected from it or even immune to it, but there's always a way to get around it. You could use indirect attacks, or tie them up with a horde of summoned monsters, or use some buffs and wade into melee yourself, or even just use one of your many, many counter spells to break down their protections. You would never, ever be caught in a situation where a mage is relegated to spewing crappy little projectiles and having to rely on pure luck to accomplish anything useful.

EDIT: And, seriously, why the shit is is that even though Alistair has Threaten activated at all times and enemies are supposed to be drawn to those in the heaviest armour, everything insists on attacking my mage and never anyone else? I DO NOT CONSIDER RUNNING AWAY ALL THE TIME TO BE AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE.

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There's a few spells that lower magic resistance which should more or less function the same way breach and pierce magic did in Baldur's Gate (Vulnerability Hex and it's upgrades.).

There's also the hilariously overpowered Mana Clash spell that basically instagibs any Mage.

And there's also Cone of Cold which for some reason just fucking freezes everything.

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Did I miss something?

I finish one area with Leliana in my party and suddenly she's all up in my business like we've been going out for two years. It's a little jarring to suddenly go from "It must suck being an elf" to "Let's talk about our future together."

This is why, if you're going to have a romance option in your game, you need to have it work based on time passed, rather than just "influence" or "approval rating" or whatever you want to call it. Spread it out a bit. Give me the "Sucks being an elf" talk, then make me go out and do some quests or accomplish a plot-critical objective before I can get the "It's a nice night" talk, regardless of whether their love bar is at 80%. Feels so much more natural than getting a whole bunch of talks at once and being told somewhere in the sudden avalanche of dialogue that we've apparently been chatting it up for months and keeping watch over one another at night. Have we? NO-ONE INFORMED ME. MAYBE THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CUTSCENE FOR THAT.

But why do I have to tell you this anyway, BioWare? You've done it before. You did it in Baldur's Gate II. You did it in Knights of the Old Republic. You did it in Mass Effect. So why the hell not do it now? Do you think we're so desperate for the now-obligatory make-out/sex scene that we need to have it fed to us before even a quarter of the game is over?

WELL MAYBE WE ARE. But you're not proving anything by stooping to our level, BioWare. Have some integrity.

EDIT: It was also pretty painful to listen to her getting all cute and flustered and asking Alistair to ask me if I'm checking her out...about ten minutes after she joined the party. Christ, woman, get a grip.

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EDIT: And, seriously, why the shit is is that even though Alistair has Threaten activated at all times and enemies are supposed to be drawn to those in the heaviest armour, everything insists on attacking my mage and never anyone else? I DO NOT CONSIDER RUNNING AWAY ALL THE TIME TO BE AN ENJOYABLE EXPERIENCE.

You're probably seriously outdamaging them or using AOE spells ineffectively. One of the tips that came up for me on a loading screen was that you want to be really careful as a mage since enemies will go after the person doing the most damage. Then again, I've also seen a tip about enemies going after the most armored person (don't really understand that; I'd want to kill the healer first, then the mage, then the harder-to-kill enemies).

Think of it like an MMO: when you start a battle, enemies have an equal chance of going for anyone. If what the tip said about armor is true, then this'll affect who enemies go after to a degree, and Alastair's taunt will help. But you can't expect enemies being nuked repeatedly by you, with no one else going after them, to focus on someone else.

To survive longer, do things like use spells like earthquake and cone of cold to keep the enemies controlled, hold off on your big AOE nukes unless you've got some control already in place, use something like stonefist to knock down enemies who are charging you, and give the tanks some time to get the enemies focused on them before you launch into your big AOE spells.

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You're probably seriously outdamaging them or using AOE spells ineffectively.

That's just it. I'm not. I don't even have any AOE spells right now. I prefer to play "battlefield controller" mages rather than blasty mages, so I've focused mostly on debuffs and stun/paralyze/restriction/whatever spells.

So I send in my tanks, let them get some hits in, then cast a debuff and, say, Paralyze, both of which invariably get resisted, and then I get to spend the rest of the battle being chased around while everyone else pelts the monster to death with arrows.

I guess it works, in that it allows me to win, but it's still boring as hell and completely retarded.

The only spell I have that doesn't get resisted all the time is Crushing Prison, and even then, sometimes it just doesn't do anything. I cast it, it doesn't get resisted, the forcefield effect appears around them...and nothing happens. They can still attack and they don't get locked in place. Which is bullshit. This isn't a JRPG, god damn it. You can't make me work my ass off for some top-of-the-line killer spell and then not allow it to function on anything important.

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That's just it. I'm not. I don't even have any AOE spells right now. I prefer to play "battlefield controller" mages rather than blasty mages, so I've focused mostly on debuffs and stun/paralyze/restriction/whatever spells.

So I send in my tanks, let them get some hits in, then cast a debuff and, say, Paralyze, both of which invariably get resisted, and then I get to spend the rest of the battle being chased around while everyone else pelts the monster to death with arrows.

I guess it works, in that it allows me to win, but it's still boring as hell and completely retarded.

The only spell I have that doesn't get resisted all the time is Crushing Prison, and even then, sometimes it just doesn't do anything. I cast it, it doesn't get resisted, the forcefield effect appears around them...and nothing happens. They can still attack and they don't get locked in place. Which is bullshit. This isn't a JRPG, god damn it. You can't make me work my ass off for some top-of-the-line killer spell and then not allow it to function on anything important.

There's two taunt-style spells: "Threaten" (an aura) and "Taunt" (an ability).

I play a tank as my main character and I had massive aggro problems until I got Taunt AND Threaten. Check your tactics and make sure that your tanks start attacking anyone who is attacking your mage. Also, make sure they have enough willpower to use Taunt a lot. If you don't have Massive Armor yet it makes a huge difference over Heavy Armor.

Also I tend to use a lot of Affliction Hex before I lead off with any spells. And if you don't have Cone of Cold, it's a very, very good spell.

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There's two taunt-style spells: "Threaten" (an aura) and "Taunt" (an ability).

I play a tank as my main character and I had massive aggro problems until I got Taunt AND Threaten. Check your tactics and make sure that your tanks start attacking anyone who is attacking your mage. Also, make sure they have enough willpower to use Taunt a lot. If you don't have Massive Armor yet it makes a huge difference over Heavy Armor.

Also I tend to use a lot of Affliction Hex before I lead off with any spells. And if you don't have Cone of Cold, it's a very, very good spell.

Thankfully, none of this matters anymore because I just became an Arcane Warrior.

Imagine a nerdy, awkward kid in school who gets picked on every day for being all quiet and studious and asocial, but he just keeps his head down and puts up with it because he knows his studies are what will really matter in the end. Then, over the summer holidays, he knuckles down and does some hardcore weightlifting and martial arts training, and when the next school year starts, he returns to dangle women off his arm and wreak unbridled carnage on everyone who has ever slighted him.

That is exactly what I felt like once I donned a suit of heavy plate and got my first taste of Combat Magic in action. Except I already had women dangling off my arm because apparently Leliana is very easily impressed.

It's time for RETRIBUTION.

EDIT: Urgh. I'm really starting to wish I'd gone for Morrigan instead, because I'm finding it completely impossible to keep Leliana from charging into melee rather than using her bow; you know, the weapon she's actually GOOD with and has all the fancy combat techniques for. I'd understand it if she only switched when someone got too close, but no. Unless I take control of her directly, she insists on diving into the fray unless she's practically on the other side of the map. And she doesn't even need to use her melee weapon anymore because I took that skill that stops her archery being interrupted if she gets hit.

I swear, it's like for every thing this game gets right, it does something else wrong to balance it out. Having a communal inventory and not having to worry about encumbrance is good, but why can't I drop items and come back for them later rather than having to destroy them when I run out of space? Being able to position characters individually to set up ambushes and such is good, but what's the point when most of the difficult fights have cutscenes before them that automatically place everyone right in front of your enemies?

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You can fix the issue with Leliana by either taking her melee weapons off her or possibly by altering her tactics (there might be a command line that tells her to switch to melee at certain points.)

And yes, I felt like such a badass when I went from scrawny mage to a tanking machine. Arcane Warrior/Blood Mage is definitely one of the best class combo's for mages.

Edit:

oghren.png

I really need to start writing down Oghren's pickup lines.

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Leliana from charging into melee rather than using her bow; you know, the weapon she's actually GOOD with and has all the fancy combat techniques for. I'd understand it if she only switched when someone got too close, but no. Unless I take control of her directly, she insists on diving into the fray unless she's practically on the other side of the map. And she doesn't even need to use her melee weapon anymore because I took that skill that stops her archery being interrupted if she gets hit.

On the tactics menu, on the right-hand side, there's a setting for their targeting behaviour. It is usually set to "default". Change it to "passive" or "ranged". I always set my healers to passive and my mages/archers to use "ranged".

Arrows aren't that good though. I'm kind of determined to convince myself that they're good, but they miss too often to be useful and their passives use up too much stamina. Not to mention, poisons and enchantments don't seem to work with them either.

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Well maybe I should stoop down to the level of

instead then! (Don't watch if you haven't done the redcliffe castle quest yet)

Also, I found out it's literally impossible for me to have Alistair in my party. I just can't stand him at all for some reason! He's a decently fleshed out character and he's not completely lawful stupid like Anomen in Baldur's Gate 2 was, but god, something about him just makes me want to punch his prettyboy face in. I can't quite put my finger on it though.

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You know, as awesome as the special "Ogre kill" animation is, you'd think they'd have the decency to make you invincible while you're doing it, or at least allow you to cancel out of it while there are still about twenty Genlocks shooting at you.

EDIT: Jesus' balls, the Deep Roads is nothing short of a goddamned test of endurance. To the player. OK, here we have a big dungeon, followed by another big dungeon, oh and there's this other big dungeon you can go to if you want you probably should there's some cool stuff in here oh and here's a BOSS and here's another BOSS and SPIDERS SPIDERS SPIDERS and then we have another dungeon and some more BOSSES and oh look another big dungeon but OK this is the last one look there's this ominous lead-up to a big boss fight and HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THAT BOSS THAT IS ONE AWESOME BOSS this is totally the final boss of this area it's OK you're done it's finished now HAH JUST KIDDING IT'S ANOTHER BIG DUNGEON AGAIN.

For the love of god, cut me a break. This is starting to feel like work.

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finished this game last night, around 60 hours played. i loved it. there were some minor gripes, but i really enjoyed it.

i just wish that most of the decisions made in the last few hours of the game actually mattered with THIS runthrough. sure, it's cool having stuff for the next game, but who really took advantage of that with KOTOR 1 and 2? how many people are actually going to 'continue' with DA:O 2 comes out? maybe it's just me, but i like more closure than the fallout 3-style ending allows.

edit: archaon, do you realize how easy it is to leave a dungeon and go unload all your stuff on a merchant and run around topside for a while? like, easier than any other game i've ever played. so stop bitching. they made it long on purpose - some people LIKE to grind dungeons. like me.

edit 2: did anyone else think it was enormously funny to find OMG SPOILER sandal in Drakon Fort at the end of the game, and when you ask him how everyone in the room was dead /OMG SPOILER he says "ENCHANTMENT!" and takes you to the rune screen? i laughed for a solid ten minutes at that one. i had to get up and walk around.

edit 3: i should point out i did the entire game with myself (champion/berserker), alistair (templar/berserker), morrigan and wynne (both shapeshifter/spirit healer). i used sten before i got wynne, but he dies too much. both alistair and myself were sword-and-shield fighters. i was mostly damage-based - i was doing 70-80 a hit with a sword, plus up to 25 bonus from runes - and alistair had juggernaut armor, constitution of 50-something before being enhanced, and a tower shield that was very, very expensive. he had like six hundred health =) basically nothing could kill him, including being the only one alive at the end of the paragon battle in the deep roads.

once you get up higher, you can keep enemies on the ground for the entirety of the battle between war cry, shield bash, and stone fist. i REALLY like that. oh, and kanthos, cast grease once you've got earthquake, before you do inferno and fireball. it's a significant increase in damage, and it's like 2 mana to cast. if your characters have indomitable, or the shield bonus that doesn't allow knockdowns, they can kick ass the whole time your enemies are on the ground, too. even more so when your tank has massive dragon-scale armor, with 75% fire resistance. you can just leave him in there and tank the shit out of them.

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I enjoy the length of the dungeons to be honest, though maybe I'm a masochist. I spent about 3-4 hours in Deep Roads the first time and about the same amount on my current playthrough (because I was playing on Hard), and though the battles with darkspawn were becoming a bit repetitive, it still had some epic moments (like fighting your way across the bridge and the guy from the legion of the dead coming up and congratulating you for breaching what is basically the frontline of the main darkspawn army)

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Alright. I am now convinced that the Curse of Mortality spell exists solely for enemies to use in order to piss off the player. "Oh, what's that? What's that? You're about to win? CURSE OF MORTALITY BITCH HAHA NOW YOU'RE GOING TO DIE NO MATTER HOW MANY POULTICES YOU CHUG"

Speaking of which, why the hell do the characters drink poultices? That is not what you do with a poultice.. I can understand if they didn't want to create separate animations for "applying poultice" and "drinking potion", but if that's the case, why not just call them "Health potions"? Nobody would have cared.

Also, it is so damn annoying when enemies just appear out of nowhere. I don't mind it so much when it's a spider dropping down from the ceiling or whatever, but when a group of foes just magically pops up behind you or charges in from a room you just cleared out as if they've been there the whole time...ugh. Hate that shit.

So as to break up the litany of complaints, however, I'll mention something I've noticed that I do like. From what I've seen, your party members will always take care to avoid any traps that you've spotted, rather than just blundering straight into them. They see a pressure plate on the ground, they'll be able to bypass it without you having to take control of each of them individually and painstakingly march them around it. This is a very refreshing change from the likes of Neverwinter Nights, where your companions would happily go charging recklessly through a corridor filled with traps just to kill a single, feeble enemy at the other end of it.

EDIT: Anyone know what Morrigan's deal is? Everyone else seems perfectly happy to teach me their specialisation once their approval hits 25-30, but Morrigan's is nearly maxed out and she's still being a damn cocktease about it. Do I have to shag her first or what?

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