I’m beginning to wonder if Dragon Age 2 is the sort of game I should be writing diary posts on. I get the feeling that the writeups aren’t very exciting or entertaining, perhaps because of my general inability to write, which I can do nothing about, or because the game simply isn’t as exciting as exceptional games usually are. Which does imply that Dragon Age 2 isn’t an exceptional game, but I’m sure you got a whiff of that before you read this. Because I don’t want to act on a feeling and abandon writing about DA2 (I probably will finish playing it) and then find out that the series weren’t that bad, there will be a poll below this paragraph. Please vote on it, but not before reading the rest of this post as it will help you decide. I’ll provide virtual hugs for anyone who votes.
Warning: The following post is very likely to contain Dragon Age 2 (and possible Dragon Age: Origins) spoilers. Continue at your own risk.
Continuing from where I left off, I still didn’t have enough money to fund an expedition into the Deep Roads, which meant running more menial tasks (called quests) that didn’t really stick out from the mush of MMO-esque escorts, deliveries and ethnical cleansings I preformed. Well ok, I’m lying. There were a few…
Running into a whore who claimed to be a captain was one. Oh wait, that was Isabela. You’ll have to excuse me, it’s an easy to mistake to make, what with her wearing only boots, a tunic and a bandanna. I’m not even sure about the underwear. And that cleavage! I immediately agreed with the tanky chick when she said this; Isabela must have had a lot of sailors under her. That’s because she’s a captain, of course. In any case, she was having problems with a treasure and a few grumpy tresure hunters (actually, they were hunting the one that’s supposed to have the treasure, but that’s pretty much the same), which I took care of momentarily. I can’t really remembered what happened after the cleanup. Either because it was completely unremarkable or because I was busy staring at Isabela’s cleavage.
What I do remember is that I had a whirl with playing the rogue class by taking over Isabela and it seemed very fun, with the animations being very dynamic, fluid and flashy, and the combat exciting. If I can ever muster enough effort to replay the game, it will probably be with a rogue.
Another one of the quests I remember was when I was tasked with cleaning out a quarry. And that’s not because there was a dragon boss at the end (which I almost ended up kiting around with Bethany again), but because the game ignored my decision to not follow up the quest with another one, where I was to become a partner of the quarry owner. I refused to continue the quest because the working conditions in the quarry were horrible even after I cleaned out the dragons, which says a lot. And because I had no interest in being a partner to an arrogant, self-serving frenchman (who cares about him being a slavedriver and a murderer). But the game promptly ignored me and plopped the follow-up quest in my journal, where I was supposed to rouse the rabble and get them to return to the quarry. I was disgusted at how the NPC was ignoring me and felt like bashing the twat’s head in. But you can’t attack non-hostile NPCs in DA2. Awesome.
I sought out the workers hoping that I will have the option of telling them to not return to the quarry ever again. I was hoping that I could pay them to gang up on the owner of the quarry, but no such luck. The only options I had were all about getting the drunkards back to work (I couldn’t even cancel the conversation), so I did. And felt cheated.
There was also a quest about apostates hiding in a cave, which I remember because of the weird decisions I made. I could have either killed the mages and helped the templars or the other way around. What I ended up doing was helping the mages by tricking the templars (that pimp midget — sorry, dwarf — is a sly one) and letting the mages escape. Now I’m pretty sure that this option is the least evil of all of them, since nobody dies. The apostates could eventually all be taken over by demons and raze a city or something. Well, not really. Bah!
Then there was a quest where I was supposed to bring back a prisoner that fled into haunted ruins. There were some complications with the prisoner being someone’s son (they usually are), having killed an elf’s daughter and me needing to bring him back alive. Just to spite the authorities, I declared that I’ll kill him if I want. But in reality I just didn’t care. However, I did care about the ruins, because entering them awakened the RPG feeling in me. Thounsands of years old haunted ruins harboring who knows what dangers, how exciting! Plus they looked awesome.
Too bad the ruins turned out to be a set of corridors with enemies in them. Although they looked insanely atmospheric in the beginning, that feeling wore off when I realised the whole dungeon looks pretty much the same. So kill a bunch of spiders, skeletons and whatnot, rescue the girl and grab the prisoner I did. He claimed to be insane, that he beat up a girl and murdered people. Normally I would kill this sort of scum on sight if I were playing an RPG. But I wasn’t, so I didn’t care (plus, were not in USA here, so the accused is assumed innocent until proven otherwise, not the other way around). I delivered him to the hand of justice and headed off. Later, I went up to the magistrate who gave me this quest and told him that I’m telling everyone what I know (a bluff on my part, since I had no idea what was going on) and that he can sod off. That made me feel a bit better about the whole dungeon fiasco.
Hm, what else have I been up to. Saving the mayor’s son from the Qunari (who, oddly enough, weren’t Qunari), killing a whore who tried to charm me into slitting my throat (part of the a quest about templar recruits getting kidnapped), killing the head of the mercenary guild that I worked for as a result of them ambushing me for refusing to kill a dwarf noble, nothing out of the ordinary really. It felt like playing the resident superhero. I only needed a cape and some way of swooshing around the city.
One other quest I remember was about the Qunari and oddly enough, the quest wasn’t that good. I only remember it because BioWare had the sense of changing only the appearance of the race and not their philosophy. I find the Qunari philosophy to be one of the more intriguing ones among fantasy races created for games/books. They take the concepts of self-control and stoicism to the extreme, which makes them appear robotic and emotionless, and yet their sense of duty and commitment to the greater good that stems from them being able to operate without restraint or doubt is an expression of patriotism and love. A whole civilisation based on unquestionable and unconditional loyalty to the society that is led by a group of revered individuals is extremely alien to us. It’s like merging the Christian religion (unconditional loyalty) with Sparta (duty and commitment to something that actually exists, in addition to stoicism) into a weird conglomerate of stoic zealots that worship their society. Oddly enough, the GW2 Charr resemble the Qunari quite a bit.
It’s funny how I never liked Sten in Dragon Age: Origins because the Qunari philosophy was never explained well enough. He was also quite inaccessible, so I never bothered with him. In DA2 however, in an inferior sequel, I find myself being intrigued by the race. Shame it didn’t happen sooner. So when I got quest where you are asked to escort a Qunari mage to safety, I jumped on it. Apparently it was a way of bridging the gap between the human and Qunari societies, which doesn’t really make sense, but it doesn’t matter anyway because the original reason is a cover for a more sinister one. The plan is for you to get killed in the escort and the Qunari blamed for it, which would give the chantry a reason for kicking them out of the city. At least that’s how I remember it.
What’s remarkable about the quest is finding out how the Qunari use their mages. Their bodies are mutilated and individuals are tasked with controlling them with the use of some kind of rods. This is all done in order to prevent the mages from going crazy and razing cities, or something like that. In essence, they are tools that are used for the greater good of the Qunari society. And remarkably, the poor buggers don’t mind this at all. They see all of this as necessary to ensure they can fulfill their role in the society.
When I chose to break the rod and free the Qunari mage after being attacked by his captors and killing them (at first I refused to hand him over and might have said some rude things that upset the Qunari squad that came for him), he told me that for a Qunari freedom is being true to yourself and fulfilling your duty. His was that of obeying whoever was controlling him and serving the Qun. Without being able to do that, he chose death as the only alternative. My character freaked out, but I now understood why he did what he did. Qunari are quite fascinating, to say the least.
In any case, it looked like that chantry tart set me up. When I confronted her she didn’t even try to deny it. What impudence! I was going to strike her down on the spot! But the game gave me no option of doing so and she even laughed into my face knowing this. I was fuming. If I want to kill someone (in a game), damn it, I should be able to! This pissed me off. Again.
Later I screwed over a templar after rescuing him, which made me feel a tiny bit better. If it were my choice, I’d left him there because he was stupid enough to get caught. By a mage of all things. So getting him fired wasn’t that bad, at least he was alive.
I was wrapping up most of the quests and by now I was printing money. I was itching to travel to the Deep Roads, because I was expecting it to be a full fledged expedition. I was expecting it to take at least as much time as the Kirkwall stage did. Did my hopes come true? You will have the opportunity to find out if I decide to continue the series. Or you can simply go play the game yourself, you cheapskate.
PS: In DA2 it never rains anything but blood. *ignores Sara while whistling*