Corpse Camping the Dragon – Sidelined

No new posts for an extended period, again!? Am I new at this?

Well, no, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less lazy. I’ve spent my free time this weekend and Monday watching Dreamhack streams (keeping up with three different competitions can be quite time demanding) and then on Tuesday I was just LoLing around. Which isn’t exactly recommended when you have a backlog of Dragon Age 2 gameplay to blog about and are notorious for sporadic posting!

Ah well, it’s not the first or the last time this has happened. So I wouldn’t be keeping my hopes up of this ever changing. In other news, apparently the four people who voted on the new blog design are split on the matter (50/50), which leaves me wondering why I asked for an opinion anyway. Well, you’re stuck with this theme now because I’m lazy and won’t go changing it back. If you don’t like it, maybe you should have voted on it, eh?

Am I bitchy today or what, it must be that time of the month. Or maybe it’s the heat. Anyway, Dragon Age 2!

Aveline exchanging pleasantries with Isabela.

Warning: The following post is very likely to contain Dragon Age 2 (and possible Dragon Age: Origins) spoilers. Continue at your own risk.

I’m sorry to say that this post will simply be filling out some holes in my adventures and won’t describe what happened with the main quests. This is because I don’t quite remember the sequence, importance or development of these quests. Maybe because I suck at remembering things, but I’m going to blame the game for not being interesting. Yeah.

The last post ended with the death of Hawke’s mother after completing a few other quests that had no bearing on the story of the game. And yes, Mrs. Hawke dying didn’t have much of an impact on the gameplay. It would have, had she been a fleshed out character, but she was just someone to complete the cast of characters. So now the heroine had the whole mansion for herself. Which is extremely awkward, considering that Merrill lives in a shack in the poor end of the town, the tanky bitch sleeps in the barracks on a bunk bed below a guy named Fat Joe who likes eating baked beans and Isabela’s home is the bar at the Hanged Man. All while Hawke sleeps in a different bedroom each day of the month. Makes sense.

Being knocked down.

During our adventures we sometimes had to spend the night sleeping on the floor. No money for camping equipment, or so we were told.

But nevermind that my scruffy looking companions, we have the world to save! Well the city. The district. All right, we’re just regular mercenaries, but the job is still a glorious one, even if I take all the spoils and you sleep at the bar. Just stop your whining, will you?

In any case, remember that guy who screwed me over in the Deep Roads? Varric managed to track down his brother and we were going to go poke him a bit and ask him a few questions. When we entered his hideout there was a short event where you could only control Varric (you have to take him with you) as he was going against hordes of mercenaries. He had increased damage, health and stamina regeneration to be able to cope with it and basically went rambo mode (although Rambo used a bow, not a crossbow). I thought that was a nice event and I had fun slaughtering the lot of them. Of course the game explained this as him being an unreliable narrator, which doesn’t work in the context of DA’s story at all. It works in a narrative that plays to that and is structured around that technique, but in DA2 it comes across as a slapped on gimmick.

Varric's intermission where he says he's lying.

I want you to go away so I can go back to playing Planescape Torment.

Why not just explain it as the rest of the party being overpowered by the dark forces which happen to empower Varric because of his love for his brother, or something? Any cheesy explanation would have worked better than tying in the horrible narrative in a narrative thing they (wrongly) thought was a great idea to have in DA2.

The rest of the quest went as usual. We slapped around anything that came close, got to Varric’s brother who pleaded insanity as a result of the influence of the statuette he stole (really didn’t see that coming, what with the statuette glowing and him acting strange when he took it, sigh) and left with Varric vowing to take care of him. I don’t know why I didn’t choose the option to just kill him, maybe because that way he can suffer for as long as he lives? Who cares, it’s not like what he did had a terrible impact on the expedition, if anything he helped Hawke get rich by grabbing the statuette and taking the fall for her.

Hawke remarking how Merrill couldn't hurt anyone.

Picture unrelated. Also: evidence suggests otherwise (see the last screenshot).

DA2 appears to be deliberately trying to disappoint me. Remember that quest where I helped a bunch of apostates that were hiding in a cave escape from templars? That single action causes a reaction further into the game, but the game won’t allow me to be part of that. It teased me with a letter that said something about the apostates being captured and that they are going to be executed, but it wasn’t actually a quest. When I tried finding those mages at the Gallows I found the one mage I interacted with in that quest, but there are no conversational options with her, she just curses me for setting them up. What the hell game? Why are you playing yourself? The one quest I’m slightly interested in and the developers chose to not make it into a quest chain, but they do tease you by showing you how the events unfold. Maybe I’ll get a quest about it later on in the game, but I’m not holding my breath, even though I can do it for a fairly long time (I doubt a minute would be long enough anyway).

Speaking about the game being stupid, there’s a quest with Aveline (or tanky bitch as I like to call her) having a crush on another guard, and you having to help her get together with him. I guess the whole situation and her flailing is supposed to be cute and endearing but is instead awkward and tiring. I think Isabela summed it up quite nicely:

Isabela giving love advice.

One of the more interesting quests or rather encounters are the hidden evil tomes scattered around the maps. I found three so far and I always chose the option of taking them, since I always thought I needed to collect them and then give them to someone (Merrill). But having a peek at the Dragon Age Wiki (because I was getting frustrated with nothing happening with the tomes) it looks like you need to destroy them and taking them does nothing. Sigh, why the hell have the option of taking them if it amounts to nothing? Stupid game.

One of the caves where the evil tomes were.

Apparently this dragon was a hoarder of useless things, at least that's what his treasure pile suggested.

Another quest connected with blood magic is Merrill’s quest of helping her repair a magical mirror (which I believe is the same as the one from the Dalish elf origin from DA:O) . For this she needs a special tool which can be gotten from the Dalish. They naturally won’t just give it to you unless you perform a service. They task you with finding out what happened to a few of their fellow elfs who haven’t come back from hunting. Turns out they’ve been eaten by a Varterral, who must then die for his sins. An easy fight later we return to the elfs who give us the tool. Quest completed, although I have yet to find out if the repaired mirror amounted to anything. Probably not.

Fighting the Varterral

Then there was the matter of the Bone Pits, which I was a co-owner of, against my will I might add. Apparently someone has been stealing the shipments and killing the guards. So we find one of the men who we suspect might be the traitor, beat the confession out of him, find out who’s behind it and send the traitor to prison. This was one of the rare opportunities to be truly evil and I took it. But I regretted it afterwards, since it seemed to be completely unnecessary evil, evil without an agenda, chaotic evil. I’d rather be something like lawful evil, but of course such tiny nuances of character are too complicated for the next generation of RPGs so your character is a collage of whatever the game comes up with (compassionate, sarcastic, firm, altruistic, evil and selfish all at the same time).

Being evil.

So we track down the bastards stealing our shipment (The Coterie) and kill them. That’ll teach them! Incidentally, there are a few quests at the Bone Pits which seem to be poking fun out of the fantasy genre (poor Crankovich gets killed by giant spiders then resurrected as the undead). Which is ironic since the game could be making fun of itself rather easily. Actually, it doesn’t have to since I’m doing that instead of the game.

I’ve probably forgotten or missed a good amount of the quests I completed, but I’m not too fussed about that. Chances are that if I can’t remember the thing it’s not worth writing about it.

Next Corpse Camping the Dragon should be about completing the main quest, but who knows what might happen. Or if I get around to writing one at all. Yes, I’m like that.

Merrill insulting Anders.

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