Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Dragon Age: Absence

So Dragon Age: Origins is all over the internet today, having been released in the USA yesterday. Europe only gets the game this Friday, which is one reason why I'm not yet playing it. The other reason is more complicated:

Since some time somebody working for a public relations agency emloyed by EA to promote Dragon Age: Origins sends me regular e-mails with news about the game, and links to where I can download publicity materials. And they offered me a review copy of Dragon Age: Origins weeks ago, asking me to preferably write a review before the release date. That review copy never arrived. Yesterday, the day of the release, I got a mail instead, saying "I should hear back from EA later this week about whether I'm able to secure a review copy for your site. I'll keep you posted."

This has the somewhat perverse effect of me being reluctant to buy Dragon Age: Origins and to review it. If EA ends up sending me a free copy, it would be stupid to pay for the game as well. But as they apparently aren't really sure about whether they want to send me that free copy, I'm a bit stuck. If I didn't have this half-promise of a free game, I'd certainly buy Dragon Age: Origins. But the way EA handles their public relations ends up with me hesitating to buy the game, and in consequence not writing a review. That can't be what EA had planned when they wrote me.

[P.S. I'm just seeing that Rohan from Blessing of Kings has exactly the same problem]
Definitely an odd situation with the PR aspect, but from a pure gaming standpoint you can't find a better use for $50 than DA:O, so if you believe in the whole 'vote with your money' thing, why not buy it?
So far it worked. You hgave definitely raised the expectations by sharing your experience with ragon Age with us. Unfortunately today the excitement fizzels.

If they can't complete a mailing list by release day and ship the game, why should they be able to provide a fun gaming experience?

"If EA ends up sending me a free copy, it would be stupid to pay for the game as well."

Ah, a luxury problem.

Dragon Age looks like a good game. The reviews I've read so far are mixed between very good and great.

As a fan of Bioware since KOTOR I'll certainly play the game. It's been a while since I've played a hard RPG and not one of those clickfest action rpgs. They're fun to play from time to time.
Dragon Age: Purgatory?

I went around and the "usual suspect" reviewers had the same old predictable 8-to-10 out of 10 ratings, average about 9/10.

Tobold, I suspect that with no more than the product title you could probably write a review of this game that would be pretty close to the mark.
You're making the assumption that rationality has anything to do with the outrage that typically swirls around RMT. :)
from a pure gaming standpoint you can't find a better use for $50 than DA:O, so if you believe in the whole 'vote with your money' thing, why not buy it?

@syncaine: I'm actually a bit surprised by this endorsement from you. Aren't you aware that Dragon Age: Origins is basically the World of Warcraft of single-player RPGs, with little freedom, and lots of guided gameplay? I would have thought you'd prefer a game like Risen to that.
From what I've read Dragon Age offers 80 hours of gameplay for $50. I hope it's true, I finished Mass Effect in 25 hours where the box said 40 hours.

50 hours for $50 is a still nice price. But it's nowhere near as efficient as an mmorpg. 30 x 3 hours for $15 is cheaper.
I really really feel for you Tobold. I started playing my copy yesterday and was immediately sucked in. The game is so polished and complete it brings a tear to my eye; a feat only Blizzard or Bioware are capable of unfortunately. I can't wait to see what kind of user generated content awaits us. If it's anything like Neverwinter I'll probably be busy with it from now till doomsday.
You got that backwards Tobold, WoW is the $15 a month (plus $40 for new content) version of a sRPG (minus plot/lore) with 2002 graphics. If I'm going to pay $50+ $15 a month, I'd like to get some MMO with my RPG, but that's just me.
From what i've seen and read sofar: very old school, very promising. I'll get my copy tomorrow, and if it is anywhere near the epic that was BG(admittedly, a tall order) i'll be happy.
Just buy the game now, and if the review copy shows up, go sell it.
So I know the minimum specs say Core 2 Duo processor. My machine is 4 years old though, 2.79ghz Pentium 4. I do have 4G of RAM and a halfway decent graphics card (Geoforce 9400GT). Is there any chance I might be able to play on low settings?
I wouldn't penalize a game for its parent company's ineptitude. Gaming bloggers not receiving free copies sounds more like EA not giving a shit about the little guy as we've come to expect over the years--whether we're talking the consumer or their own employees.

If you notice, there's no "real"/"professional"/commercial game review sites bitching about not having received their copy.

That being said, Bioware did a stellar job with DA:0. I haven't even bothered looking at a single player RPG in a good 4-5 years. Last night I figured I'd install the game and tool around with character creation for a little bit. SIX hours later, I was still hooked.

Over the years I forgot how fun a single player RPG can be--and all the things they possess that MMOs totally lack.

Bah. One day when some devs couple the best aspects of a single player MMO with the scant non-played out grindiness of MMOs, we'll all win.

Until that day comes, I'm glad Bioware is still putting quality out there for us to munch on.
I am enjoying DA:O. The production values are extremely high and the combat system is a joy to experience even if it is a bit unforgiving.

It certainly makes a very pleasant change from WoW which I have stopped playing.

Probably best to wait for a demo.
I bought it today over steam and it should finish downloading by tomorrow. I probably shouldn't have from a fiscal responsibility point of view, and now money may be a bit tight this month, but I absolutely adore bioware, and among gaming companies there are few I would rather give my money to.
I wouldn't penalize a game for its parent company's ineptitude.

Nor do I, but I wish I (and everybody else) did.
I'd have to agree that this sounds more like EA just not caring about 'the little guy' more than anything.

This is the first single-player game I've picked up since 1999 (been a gamer since late 80's), and after about 5-6 hours, I've not had one single regret.

That's not to say it isn't without it's faults. The two things I'd fault it for at this point is...

A) Stinking 'must have CD in to play' feature...I should have just downloaded it. I thought this feature went the way of the dinosaur long ago, but then again, this is my first single-player game in almost 10 years.


B) Dialogue is great and all, but I'm pretty sure the '80 hours of gamelpay' this title suggests has at least '40' hours of spoken dialogue. I'm already beginning to cringe a little bit at the forced dialogue.

What really scares me about "B" is what it will mean for SWTOR when it comes out. Not sure so much speech is a good thing yet.
I thought November 3rd was the global date. In fact a friend who also livre here in Portugal has recieved her copy from GAME UK yesterday. :)

the situation with EA is a bit odd, to say the least. I hope they sort out your 'stuck in limbo' situation soon
This seems like one of those things that should define irony.

"I would love to buy this game. But their marketing team has created a situation where it might not be a good idea." So... way to go PR. -1 sale! Or, well I guess it's not strictly -1. It's more like Schroedinger's sale. Your game currently exists in a quantum state of "Free/Not Free" and you can't actually make a decision until the game is observed and collapses into a single state.

I pre-ordered the game on steam as an impulse purchase when I bought Borderlands, and I've just started playing it now. It's pretty good, feels a lot like an updated Neverwinter Nights so far (Only without the D&D). Though I'm just barely into it so I can't really say much else about it.
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