Sunday, January 1, 2012

Damn Squishy Mages....

It's an older game, Dragon Age:  Origins; however, just to give you all a warning, this is a huge spoiler post, specifically for the missions concerning Arl Eamon and the Circle.  I don't think I can do cuts like in a Livejournal post, so it's all coming out.  You've been warned.

Usually when it comes to video games, I have issues game guides.  I will admit, I have used them to locate people, or when it's something that I refuse to fail at, like elf sex but that's another spoiler entirely!  I didn't get the Zodiac Spear in Final Fantasy XII because it meant that I would have to open certain boxes in certain places, and the only way to know for sure which ones was to follow a guide.  Otherwise, it's just a guess.  I find this regrettable at best, and well, I won't mention what I think at worse.  It should be noted that game guides are big money, and a lot of people swear by them.  So continuining, because I must....

I got Dragon Age II as a present from my nieces this Christmas, and when I started playing the game I found out that you could load the information that you had from the previous game, which Partner and I bought a while ago. This is something that I love and if I were ever to make a game would insist be the case.  I hate it when video game sequels don't continue the story where you left off.  There are all sorts of minute changes that you've caused in that world.  Why the hell would things just magically be cut off from your accomplishments.  Anyway, it got me really excited so I decided that well, I kind of have to finish Dragon Age now. 

So I started playing again.  I am very much of the opinion that when you play a game, you play straight through, regardless of the consequences.  I come from playing video games where most choices don't hugely effect what happens, read: any of the Final Fantasy Series, so I have had a bit of a learning curve with Bioware games.  It's actually quite similar to the system in Mass Effect if you've played it, just as an example.  

(I'll also mention how much I enjoy men in armor.  Yes, it's why I majored in Medieval and Renaissance Studies in college and why I'll always go to Ren Fairs.  Always holding out hope!)

So, getting to the point, I should mention that I started playing again, and got to the missions with the circle.  I naturally wanted Wynne in my party the second I got her.  She is a healer, and I need one, desperately.  I depend on potions and elixirs a lot.  I am a bard, it's what we do.  Drink a potion, get your life back.  That's how it works.  So with Wynne being a healer, totally set! When you're fighting in the tower though, you get this thing called a Litany of Andralla.  You use this to prevent Uldred from draining the life force from the circle members and turning them in to abominations or killing them.  I thought you cast it once, and it was over, but no, apparently you have to keep casting it.  So all the mages died, and I had to get help from the templars, because the circle of magi was no more.  Plus, the chantry appeared to be controlling everything then, and the chantry is a bunch of dicks.  So that sucked, but well, I had to play it where it lies.  Time to help Arl Eamon now.  

So I go through all the mission and get towards the end when well, someone Partner told me about in his play though comes back: Jowan.  Jowan is a blood mage who you as a mage help escape the tower.  You find out later that he was caught and put into jail in Denerim and was paid by everyone's favorite butthead, Teryn Logahain, to poison the Arl because Loghain told Jowan that the Arl was a threat to Ferelden.  So after the Arlessa Isolde finds out, she has him put into prison.  That's when demons start attacking the castle.  So the Arlessa assumes it's Jowan's punishment, when really, you find out shortly thereafter that the Arlessa has been hiding the fact that her son Connor, is actually a mage.  Instead of turning him over to the Templars, because she didn't want to lose her baby, she hired a mage not of the circle, Jowan, to teach him how to hide his magic abilities.  

Here's where the fun comes in.  You find out when you talk with Connor upstairs that apparently he broke into Jowan's room and started reading Jowan's books because he was trying to find some way to help his sick father.  Instead, he got in over his head and got possessed by a demon in the fade.  So Merry Christmas, because of all this foolishness and mayhem, to borrow from Niecy Nash, you now have to decide what avenue to take to remedy the situation:

Option 1 is to kill Connor.  No one wins here.  It's heartbreaking and you lose points with almost everyone for doing it.  (This is an exceptionally bad thing as Leliana will not like this.  I'm trying to become a bard.  If she likes me enough, she'll teach me.  So yeah....)

Option 2 is to let Jowan send one of your mages into the fade to kill the demon there.  Only, and here's the best part, since he's not of the circle, he can't do it through normal methods.  He will have to use the blood magic that's already gotten his ass and Connor's into so much trouble to do it.  He'll have to sacrifice the life of someone else to do it.  The Arlessa volunteers.  Everyone whines for a while, but this is a possibility.  Neither Wynne nor Allistair like this.  Leliana will like you for trying to save the kid, but you have to choose if you'll send Wynne, who for me was a healer, or Morrigan, who has no interest in helping people get out of their shit.  Especially, when she's forced to.   I tried sending her in and her ass was toast in about two seconds.

I do not like using mages, for a couple of reasons.   Mages are what's called "squishy."  When a gamer says someone is squishy, it means that they have low defense, and usually die quickly.  Mages, for me, are exceptionally squishy.  I also have a problem of blocking with my head. Also, I love dual wielding bards.  As soon as I can start training in dual daggers, or dual one handed swords if I can get away with it, that's exactly what I do. 

Now since I let the circle of mages die out, I didn't have option 3.  In option 3, the circle of magic which has sworn allegiance for you, preforms a ritual to send you and I believe two or three mages into the fade to get rid of the demon.  That means I have backup healers possibly and people to cast spells instead of a single mage trying to make it through.  Much better.  

I went through the entire story for option 1, because I couldn't make it through the fade with a single mage, and I let the circle die.  I went through the entire story line for it, feeling like a massive douchebag.  I was on the verge of tears.  Finally, if you fight Connor like I did, his mother demands you stop, and she....she kills him herself.  I was on the verge of tears at that point.  I was just like, no I can't do this.  I kept telling myself though, ok play it where it lies.  Don't abuse of having the internet there.  Just relax, it'll be over soon.  And it was, and then there was the punishment for Jowan that had to be decided.   Ugh, gross.

I finally went back to the campsite, thinking it was all over, but no.  Allistair comes over to you, first thing, hella pissed that you killed Connor.  At that point, I was just like, hell to the no.  I can't do this.  Luckily I saved right before I went in to fight Uldar, so I just refought him this time, and saved the Circle.  This time I struck the accord with the circle, and now....I have to completely redo the Redcliffe missions, but this time, the kid doesn't have to die.  The circle will help me.  All right!

Seriously, it was sad.  I am exhausted now though.  I never thought a game would be this mentally taxing.  I think I'll lay on the couch now, and watch something senseless, maybe fall asleep.  Well, who knows.  

Mages are always around to fuck me over, that's just how it is.  Damn squishy mages....

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