Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 06, 2009
Dragon Age: Murphy's Law

In an extremely predictable sequence of events dictated by Murphy's Law, I first bought Dragon Age: Origins via Steam, and promptly got an e-mail from EA's marketing people saying that they decided to send me a review copy after all, and that it's in the mail. In hindsight of course I should have waited, but at least by buying the game a few hours before it came out I got some pre-purchase bonus in-game items.

Well, I started playing, and did both a dwarf commoner warrior, and an elf mage, playing them until their stories converge. First impression is that the mage is overpowered, having ranged magic dps, crowd control, and healing. As it is a lot easier to pick up various melee types for your party, playing a mage as your main guarantees you always have a healer around, plus excellent dps, which is a great tactical advantage. I'm enjoying Dragon Age: Origins very much up to now, due to combat being a lot more tactical than most MMORPGs. Even at normal difficulty setting you can't just storm into every fight on automatic settings and expect to come out alive.

I'll play this a good deal more, before I write a review of the game.
In before the first "Can I have your extra copy?"

Looking forward to reading way too many blog posts in the game community about DA:O. Hope you enjoy yourself.
Have been concidering buying this game myself. From what I've seen, it looks really good, and I could use another good RPG by now.

Am looking forward to see what you've got to say about Dragon Age. :)
Time for a competition I think Tobold.
It seems like it has really been quite some time since a company has poured so much love into developing a classic single player CRPG.

My wife and I have really enjoyed the game so far and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.
:) Im sure a gamer-friend will be interested in the extra copy, it looks like this is a winner. Sofar i only played a bit through the mage "origins" part. I agree that this class looks *totally* overpowered though (on "normal" difficulty), which may lead me to play another class first.

Now the lacking graphics were mentioned by a lot of reviews and on forums (going so far as to point out the pixel-level flaws in certain images). I have an "old" pc (core2 duo6600, 8800gts360) which doesnt even meet the recommended spec, so i was surprised how well it run, with graphics which at least to me looked pretty good.
So far I have done the opening as a Human warrior(Sword/board), Dalish Elf (Rogue Archer), and a Human Mage. Definitely feel more dominating as the Mage. Really liked the Dalish Elf Rogue origin story the best though. Will be trying a dwarf next before deciding on who to play out first. Really like this game a lot so far.
I've been playing it for about four hours now. I picked a tank common elf which means my party now has three tanks and one mage who can't even heal...

One think I do miss thus far is a connection to my party members. I invite someone to my party and an hour later he's dead. I get new party member. An hour later they're dead... How can I care about anyone if they die so fast? But I'm sure that will change as I play more.
"Even at normal difficulty setting you can't just storm into every fight on automatic settings and expect to come out alive."

I tend to disagree. Maybe it's the way that I play (where I tend to micromanage all the skills all my characters are using, during every fight), but it feels like every fight is a challenge.

As for the mage being overpowered, there are certain fights that having your main being mage makes way way easier; but some fights that my mage (2nd character) has trouble on, my original warrior character breezed through.
@Dyssent: Are you sure you didn't misread my "can't" as "can"? Otherwise I don't understand your comment, because I'm saying that every fight is a challenge, and you say "no, I disagree, every fight is a challenge".
You should just return the EA copy Tobold, with a sweet note saying that review copies are usually more useful before ship date. This way you can also claim 1000% impartiality - 10 times as much as normal!

That being said, you should not be sorry you picked the game off Steam. It really is the spiritual successor of Baldur's Gate, and so far I personally am enjoying it immensely.

The battles are not that hard if you approach them as 4 man WoW dungeons, you need to have the tank, the healer, the CC and the DPS and it works pretty well. Mages may seem overpowered at first, but the introduction chapters are pretty easily done with a warrior/rogue character as well. Don't get me wrong, at least one mage is essential for any party, but you can get an NPC mage to join pretty soon in the game.
I'm only a little way into the game, but so far I like it a lot. The story and characters are great and the combat system is very tactical (although I miss the range of spells in Baldur's Gate). It also feels more open-ended than other recent Bioware offerings, with a lot of room to explore.

I agree with you about the difficulty level--on the "hard" setting even random encounters in the wilderness have been pretty challenging.
I'm enjoying DAO but it runs really sluggish on my comp for some reason..holding out hope for an optimizer patch.
As Ayr mentions, mages don't end up "overpowered" in the game world outside of the origin/tutorial level. What they are, though, is almost necessary to a party's survival.

While there are stories on the forums of parties that have gotten quite far by using only healing potions, a mage with healing powers seems much more common in a party's makeup.

Keep in mind, without spoiling too much, that in order to find/use a mage NPC that can heal, you may have to manually level her (minor spoiler: all the NPC mages are female) and select the healing talent for her.

I've completed the first ten hours or so without a healing mage. It's harder than, say, WoW, but doable. I certainly will grab a healing talent for whichever mage NPC I decide to use.

Carra, after about six hours or so, depending on how quickly you play, you'll emerge into the larger game world. At that point, your companions will no longer die or disappear after every major set battle. You have to totally finish the Ostagar part of the game before that happens, though.
@Tobold Wow, yeah, I definitely read what you wrote wrong. I read "can"... Haha, disregard my comment
I love the game so far. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter the balance between classes per se, since your party members aren't just side characters or anything, you will level them up and use them just like the main character.

And the thing that limits mages is definitely just the amount of talent points you get, which is way limited. A single mage can only do so much, though having the basic healing spell and some CC definitely rocks, even if you can't commit to the entire trees.
Can anyone tell me how I activate the pre order items? I got a key but no idea where to enter it (I have the steam version)

Or do ou get the items much later in the game?
I had to enter the codes on the Bioware social network site. On the main screen of Dragon Age, in the lower left corner there is a button to "Log in". Use that to create an account on the social network site. Then I think it was the Downloadable Content option in the main menu of Dragon Age, but I'm not absolutely sure.
Hm odd, I not got it like you said, but have a ring and armor for classes I don't play :(

Strangely it downloaded the large DLC (1200 points) but the Tower DLC (520 points) isn't. Hmpf.
I'm enjoying it too. Glad you decided to come aboard. As far as I have been seeing that Bioware has taken notes from successful MMO's designers.
Concur with the mage comments and the issue of having a strategy going into a fight. Very tough sometimes, I am amazed how quickly the tanks go down. I have to figure out how to get them to circle and retreat from crowds.
been playing a mage and I kinda like the killing blows that the melee does...

next playthrough definitely going with a board and sword of some sort. Possibly going to go templar to get all the spell resistance
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