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Post by Rifneno on Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:42 pm

Huh. So, I just realized something today. It's kind of obvious in retrospect but...

You know that part of the history lesson where Andraste is burning at the stake and Archon Hessarian suddenly has mercy and kills her quick and insta converts to her religion and all that shit?

Andraste body hopped to Hessarian. Thoughts?

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Post by ZerebusPrime on Tue Aug 05, 2014 10:42 pm

@Rifneno wrote:Huh.  So, I just realized something today.  It's kind of obvious in retrospect but...

You know that part of the history lesson where Andraste is burning at the stake and Archon Hessarian suddenly has mercy and kills her quick and insta converts to her religion and all that shit?

Andraste body hopped to Hessarian.  Thoughts?

Flawless.
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Post by DSharrah on Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:33 pm

@Rifneno wrote:Huh.  So, I just realized something today.  It's kind of obvious in retrospect but...

You know that part of the history lesson where Andraste is burning at the stake and Archon Hessarian suddenly has mercy and kills her quick and insta converts to her religion and all that shit?

Andraste body hopped to Hessarian.  Thoughts?

It's definetly an interesting thought...you have aslo posited that Flemeth may be Andraste due to this body hopping (right?)...so "Andraste" - Hessarian - ... - Flemeth - ...Do you have any theories on who may have been inhabited b/w Hessarian and Flemeth and how it could be connected to the lore?

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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Sat Aug 09, 2014 12:02 am

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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:05 am

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Post by Fur28 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 2:41 pm


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Post by Eryri on Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:22 pm


Spoiler:
So Hawke's back then? Cool, I'm enjoying playing as sarcasti-Hawke in DA2 at the 'mo, so I hope his / her personality gets imported too.
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Post by ZerebusPrime on Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:51 am

1:37-1:39

Spoiler:
Azathoth, it's a boy!
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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:09 pm

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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Fri Aug 15, 2014 11:33 pm

Writing Villains

[DRAGON AGE]: Before we begin, who is your favorite villain from the previous Dragon Age games, and why?

[DAVID GAIDER]: I'd say Loghain in Dragon Age: Origins, primarily because I couldn't blame him for feeling as he did. Was he paranoid and ultimately wrong? Yes, but I could imagine myself stepping into his shoes and taking some of the same actions he did… which is a little frightening.

[SYLVIA FEKETEKUTY]: Meredith from Dragon Age II, and the tragedy that unfolded out of her stubborn paranoia. As Hawke, I enjoyed butting heads with her, and Meredith's voice actor was terrific. Jean Gilpin brought this wonderful, thunderous gravitas to the role—I really believed Meredith thought she was doing the right thing, even up to the end.

[LUKE KRISTJANSON]: This is a tough one because I have never been able to play a BioWare game unspoiled. I've written at least part of almost every villain we've served up.

I really enjoyed writing Commander Harwen Raleigh of the Leliana's Song DLC. A good old-fashioned hardline jackass, and you just want to punch the sneer off him.

Also (so long as I'm not kite-dueling him), the Arishok in Dragon Age II. That's a good "we are at an ideological impasse, and this only ends one way" kind of match-up. Good fun.

[DA]: In your opinion, what makes an evil character truly memorable?

[DG]: When the word "evil," as it applies to that character, can be reasonably argued.

[SF]: A good dynamic foil. A viewpoint that fascinates, even if it's self-serving or covering an agenda. (There's a reason everyone remembers the cuckoo-clock speech from The Third Man.) The antagonists who stay with me typically change a story's protagonists when they clash, whether by forcing them to adapt or by irreversibly altering their entire worldview.

[LK]: Give them flaws they know and defend, and flaws they don't know and ignore. That gives them understandable reasoning and unexpected blind spots. Villains are often just heroes taken to an internally consistent logical/emotional extreme.

[DA]: What is your process for creating characters? Do you start with their role in the game and work backward, or do you find it helpful to flesh out their backstory first?

[DG]: When it comes to major characters, there's always an element of the role they play in the overall story, which comes first. Then we start coming up with concepts for that character and fleshing out the backstory, at which point their role may start to change. Neither the overall story nor the character is completely static during early development, though a point eventually comes when we've nailed down exactly what we want from both.

[SF]: For me, their role in the game tends to suggest the backstory, if they're a character we know we want from the get-go. For more minor characters coming out of whole cloth, I'll sometimes think up a concept I like ("Wouldn't it be fun if the Shadow Broker's lair had one of those little drones floating around, acting as a secretary?") and then see if there's a place for them in the game.

[LK]: You need to be able to do both because it really depends on when you join a project. If you're in early enough, you can craft the character along with the role, but a lot of times the role and/or plot is necessarily defined already. I prefer knowing where they need to fit because then I know the pieces I have to work with. A lesson from growing up with LEGO: limitations breed creative solutions. The freedom to make stuff up also comes with the uncertainty of what will need to be cut. In either case, I can't do anything without keeping the needs of the overall game in mind.

[DA]: Does seeing early concept art of the characters ever inspire your creation or spark any new ideas?

[DG]: It can. Sometimes, we'll have a concept artist such as Matt Rhodes sitting in on our concept meetings, and as we discuss ideas, he sketches away and actually has pictures for us to look at by the time we're done. Sometimes, they're pretty amazing and will make us incredibly excited at the possibilities.

[SF]: Definitely. The concept art is really when a character starts solidifying into a person. You ask why the character dresses the way they do, why they carry themselves with a certain posture, etc. Those questions need answers, so the threads start coming together.

[LK]: Oh, hell, yeah. Plenty of times, I've gone to one of our concept artists with a description, and they have hit back with something great I never would have suggested. Maybe they seized on a word I didn't mean to emphasize, or just bring their own unique understanding of an archetype. Or maybe it even seems "wrong" initially, but it makes me think about the character in a new way.

Not related to villains, but an early concept for Sera had dangly metal earrings (ultimately we didn't get them), and I was concerned that an archer would find them annoying. Then I pictured someone in-world asking Sera exactly that, and it helped define how she would react to critiques of her choices and what she likes. "No. Do they annoy you? (Shakes head vigorously.) It's like music!"

[DA]: Is your process for writing enemies the same for writing heroes, or do you have to approach them differently?

[DG]: Very differently. The story is largely from the hero's perspective, so you have to account for the villain's presence from that hero's viewpoint. The player is only aware of who the villain is and what they're doing insomuch as their character is aware of it, and you have to write the villain with the core idea of motivating the player to care about stopping them.

[SF]: It's complementary. You want an antagonist worthy of the hero and vice versa. They can't be separated out on a macro level without some consequences because that's usually the core of your drama.

That said, I think people "permit" some supervillain-esque characters to be more theatrical because that pompousness speaks to a tragic weakness in their own perceptions, which in turn makes them larger than life to those who cross them. And also because it's really fun.

[LK]: In a BioWare RPG, the "villain" is defined, and the "hero" is more of a blank slate.

The risk, then, is that the hero can be less relatable than the villain. I have to try to accommodate as many internal motivations for the player character as I can, stated and unstated. The motivation for the villain is always consistent, even if his or her actions have to adapt to the variables of the player character.

[DA]: Is it tough for you to get into the mindset of a villain?

[DG]: Not if you've done your job. If you have, then you can inhabit a villain's mindset the way you would any other character—it's just going to be more extreme.

[SF]: Not really. It's the old "everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story" chestnut. The important thing is to ground their motivations in something believable for the character and the tone of your story.

[LK]: There's a reason the writing pit has a NSFW sign on the door. All those nasty things that can happen in the game? We have to think them up, talk them out, figure out what's mean, too mean, satisfying, etc. I focus on their flaws, find their rhythm, and try to let them talk. Sometimes it's just a question of asking yourself, "What if you had no doubt about X?" That doesn't mean correct. It means no doubt.

[DA]: In any story of good and evil, you have to have a powerful foe to stand in the hero's way. How would you describe the "Elder One" from Dragon Age: Inquisition in one word?

[DG]: Relentless.

[SF]: Let's go with "ambitious."

[LK]: Arrogance. Not "arrogant"—that's somehow not enough. He has a confidence born of absolute certainty that in his estimation no others can comprehend. He will do what needs be done.

[DA]: We debuted a new trailer, "The Enemy of Thedas," this week at Gamescom, giving players their first look at the Inquisition's foes. How does it feel seeing all that hard work come together?

[DG]: It's hard to describe just how exciting that is. The first time I saw the new trailer, I think I peed a little.

[SF]: Pretty good! We're all kind of tired, but still. It's good. I'm really enjoying playing through the game, which is my main task at the moment, so I think that's a good sign.

[LK]: At this point in a project, I'm kind of numb. It's hard to parse the game as a whole. When you see a solid trailer of your own work, it makes you sit back for a second and consider how it's all come together. So, excitement and relief?

[DA]: If you had to pick, which one is more fun to write: heroes or villains?

[DG]: Villains, without question. They get to break all the rules.

[SF]: Everyone always says villains, and they are fun. They're the ones who bring the propulsive friction that catalyzes your story and stakes. But if your other characters aren't popping the same way, that's a good reason to step back and ask why not and if those character are working. In that sense, villains can be the "fun" element by which other story elements are measured.

[LK]: Copout answer: Mid-plot villains, when it's starting to unravel. End-game heroes, when it's all coming together.
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Post by Rifneno on Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:14 am

Saw this in chat today. Screenshots of the Keep beta. Incredible amount of options on it. Many things that can't possibly even wind up being mentioned. Too many options is far better than too few. Good to see.

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Post by Fur28 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:34 am

http://www.dragonage.com/#!/en_US/inquisitor
It gives you the background of your inquisitor

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Post by RavenEyry on Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:38 am

Wow, looks like actual effort went into Keep. Good to see.
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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:54 am

@Fur28 wrote:http://www.dragonage.com/#!/en_US/inquisitor
It gives you the background of your inquisitor

Here are all the scenarios laid out:

Dwarven Rogue/Warrior
The dwarves of Thedas are known for their once-vast underground empire and guilds of merchants and warriors held in high esteem by the other races of Thedas. Not you. A cast-off "surfacer," unwelcome among the dwarves or most humans, you have scraped by as part of a criminal fraternity known as the Carta, smuggling magical ore known as lyrium. As part of the ruthless Cadash crime family, you spent your life on the streets of various Free Marcher city-states—until you were sent to the Chantry conclave as a spy and everything changed.

Elf Mage
Enslaved long ago by humans, most elves still live as second-class citizens within human cities. Elves who reject this life are known as the Dalish: nomadic wanderers who strive to keep the ancient elven religion and traditions alive. You grew up in the wilderness, a member of the Lavellan Dalish clan and apprentice to its leader and guide, the Keeper. The clan wandered the northern Free Marches, and you had little need to interact with humans—until the Keeper sent you to the Chantry's conclave as a spy. What happened there, she said, would impact not only the Dalish but indeed all elves. She could not have known how right she was.

Elf Rogue/Warrior
Enslaved long ago by humans, most elves still live as second-class citizens within human cities. Elves who reject this life are known as the Dalish: nomadic wanderers who strive to keep the ancient elven religion and traditions alive. You were raised in the wilderness to be a hunter, relied upon by the Lavellan clan for food and protection. The clan wandered the northern Free Marches and had little need to interact with humans—until the clan's Keeper sent you to the Chantry's conclave as a spy. What happened there, she said, would impact not only the Dalish but indeed all elves. She could not have known how right she was.

Human Mage
Born to the Trevelyan noble family of Ostwick in the Free Marches, you were originally intended for a life of privilege—until magical abilities surfaced at a young age and you were forced into a life of confinement within Ostwick's Circle of Magi. Protected but stifled, educated but isolated, the Circle would have been your entire future had the mages not rebelled against Chantry rule. Like it or not, you had to fight for your life against templars hunting down all "free" mages. You joined the delegation of mages attending a Chantry conclave in hopes of negotiating peace with the templars. It didn't go well.

Human Rogue/Warrior
As the youngest child of the Trevelyan noble house, you grew up in the Free Marcher city of Ostwick and have enjoyed a life of privilege. With close family ties to the Chantry, and many relatives among the priesthood and the templars, you were always expected to follow a similar path in service of the Maker—regardless of how you feel about the matter personally. Willing or unwilling, you were sent to the Chantry's conclave to assist relatives who sought to make peace between the templars and mages. It didn't go well.

Qunari Mage
Followers of the strict religious philosophy of the Qun, the Qunari appeared like a tidal wave to the north of Thedas three hundred years ago. You are Tal-Vashoth, a Qunari who has rejected the Qun and never even lived in Qunari lands. You have earned a place within the Valo-kas mercenary company as its mage, possessing abilities that would have made you a pet slave among your own people, ignoring the fearful looks you receive from those around you. Most recently the company was sent to the Chantry conclave, hired swords meant to keep the peace—a task that has gone horribly wrong.

Qunari Rogue/Warrior
Followers of the strict religious philosophy of the Qun, the Qunari appeared like a tidal wave to the north of Thedas three hundred years ago. You are Tal-Vashoth, a Qunari who has rejected the Qun and never even lived in Qunari lands. As part of the Valo-kas mercenary company, you have earned a living by your own wits and the strength of your blade, ignoring the fearful looks you receive from those around you. Most recently the company was sent to the Chantry conclave as hired swords meant to keep the peace between mages and templars—a task that has gone horribly wrong.
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Post by Norlond on Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:09 pm

@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:As part of the ruthless Cadash crime family
Shale won't be happy about that

@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:You grew up in the wilderness, a member of the Lavellan Dalish clan
@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:You were raised in the wilderness to be a hunter, relied upon by the Lavellan clan
Fuck being dalish, imma still play an elf but she'll be a traitor

@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:As the youngest child of the Trevelyan noble house
More generic human noble, 0/10 will not play

@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:You are Tal-Vashoth
Imagine a Qunari Mage that isn't Tal-Vashoth, the dialogue would be great without tongue Laughing

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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Thu Aug 21, 2014 8:29 pm


Dragon Age: Inquisition Combat Q&A

Can we customise AI tactics as in the previous games (i.e. drink a health potion when below 25% health)? —@WordsToGold, Twitter

[DANIEL KADING]: Yes. The interface has changed, but it includes the ability to customize what skills your allies use, when they will (or won't!) use potions based on their health and how many potions you have left, and set targeting rules such as guarding certain allies or attacking the leader's target.

Do weapons and armor degrade over time? If so, can they be repaired in the field? —@Wild_Morrigan, Twitter

[DK]: No equipment decay! Thedosian merchants give their products lifetime guarantees, which was a pretty shrewd business move what with the apocalyptic sky-hole.

How will cooldown work with abilities? —@FreshRevenge, Twitter, United States

[MARK DARRAH]: Cooldowns are still there. You can have eight abilities mapped on the console, which gives you opportunities.

[DK]: Different abilities have different cooldowns, which can sometimes be reduced with upgrades or passives. Particularly powerful abilities may have relatively long cooldowns, making you carefully choose when to use them—or perhaps to combo them with abilities that reset your cooldowns.

Will there be any enemies with instant death moves? —Michael Lao, Facebook, United States.

[DK]: None of the enemies have sync-kill/instant death moves… though with the right combination of difficulty setting, a low-level party, and wandering-into-places-you-ain't-'sposed-ta-be, a 1-hit knockout isn't out of the question.

Can I have two swords again? —Matthew Orsini, Facebook

[MD]: Warriors have the choice of two-handed weapons or sword and shield.

[DK]: Dual-wielding daggers is otherwise only available to a rogue.

I'm not very good at being a strategic player, but I really WANT to be. Will there be some sort of stepping stones to allow players like me to graduate from more simple, action-oriented combat to a more strategic way of thinking? —Haley Livermore, Facebook

[DK]: Many battles are in locations that allow you to "scout" your opponents before they notice you, giving you the time to analyze tactical opportunities the environment offers: chokepoints for warriors, blind approaches for rogues, enemies in vulnerable locations, etc. Sometimes your allies will spot opportunities in these fights and make suggestions on strategies of approach.  

Will weapons be as interchangeable as they were in [Dragon Age:] Origins, or class-restricted like DA-II? —Jacob Wasylenko, Facebook

[DK]: Class-restricted, though our animators provided some beautiful variant attack styles within each melee weapon set. For instance, rogues perform different attacks depending on whether they're armed with single- or double-bladed daggers.

Are you going to bring back Arcane Warrior? —Robert Pennington, Facebook, United States

[MD]: Something similar will exist, but we'll get to that a bit later on.

Will there be finishing moves as in Dragon Age: Origins (like the jumping final blow seen against ogres)? —Kai Chen, Facebook, Germany

[DK]: No finishing blows; however, many of our damaging abilities are built to have a "good" way to use them, and a "better" way to use them. Mighty Blow is a massive overhead strike available to two-handed warriors that deals damage and knocks a foe to the ground—but if you use it on a foe already on the ground, it deals triple damage.

Is there a completely new combat skill that you can describe/reveal? —@MarkDLentz, Twitter, United States

[DK]: There's a fun one put together by our ability designers, Jon Fuller and Luke Barrett, called Fallback Plan. Only Varric, and possibly your Inquisitor, gain access to this ability, which lets you place a gadget on the ground; if you get into trouble later, you can instantly relocate to that position. If you upgrade it, you'll also be set back to the level of health you had upon placing the gadget, and—if you are standing close to an enemy—you'll kidnap the enemy back with you. By combining this with stealth, and placing traps or mage glyphs under the marker, many hijinks can ensue.

Is health and mana not regenerating between battles still a thing at this point? —@starcicles, Twitter, United States

[DK]: Mana and stamina regenerate. Health does not, requiring you to be careful about overextending yourself in your adventures. Potions are your primary method of healing in the field, though there are a few rare abilities that can be used tactically to regain health.

Will there still be cross-class combos, or any sort of similar system? —@blanketcocoon, Twitter

[DK]: There are cross-class combos, with unique effects caused by different combinations of rogue, mage, and warrior abilities.

Do all mage followers have good healing spells or will some be better at it than others? —Josh Rodrigues, Facebook, United States

[MD]: We are focusing more mage tactics on defensive abilities (like Barrier) than healing.

Are there any other benefits to the Inquisitor's "Fade power" other than being able to close tears in the Fade? —Dominic Freckelton, Facebook

[DK]: Most of the rifts in the Fade are defended by powerful, newly emerged demons that still bear a connection to the Fade. These battles are difficult, but the Inquisitor can use their power to even the odds by getting close enough to "disrupt" the Fade rift during these fights, which will send a powerful shockwave out that heavily damages and stuns its defenders.

[MIKE LAIDLAW]: As the Inquisitor masters his or her control of the mark, it may unlock another use that's a little more global as well.

How, exactly, does focus work in the game? —RJ May, Facebook, United States

[DK]: Focus is earned as a party, but spent as an individual. Focus is given to all party members when any of them damage a foe: this allows lower-damage characters like defensive warriors to fulfill their role while still accumulating focus. After enough is earned, a character can use an ability that costs focus. That character's focus is then spent, but not the focus of their allies, who can still use it for their own abilities.  

[ML]: Focus requires you to think long-term. You may need it to get out of a sticky situation, or you may want to save it for a particularly tough battle you're anticipating. Because focus abilities can't be used every fight, the combat team has been able to "turn up" their effectiveness. They can be real game-changers if deployed strategically.

Are there any missions in game that might unlock new spells/abilities for our character, or will it solely be a level up system? —Kristen Coates, Facebook

[MD]: There is one…

[ML]: Mark's being cryptic about one particular element of the game, so I won't spoil that, but I will say that specializations are earned, not granted for free. You will be able to preview all the specialization abilities available to you before you make a choice of which path you want to follow. It's worth noting that unlike in the previous DA games, we've decided to bulk out the specializations more, but you will have to choose one to follow with your character. They add a lot of depth to your tactical options, but we wanted them to be actually special.
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Post by ZerebusPrime on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:22 am

So long as the Dwarf can still be a badass in ways that aren't completely outshone by the Qunari option, I'm good.
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Post by Eryri on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:30 pm

So Qunari mages get 50 bonus hit points eh? Good excuse to play as a Blood Mage.
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Post by Rifneno on Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:36 pm

@Eryri wrote:So Qunari mages get 50 bonus hit points eh? Good excuse to play as a Blood Mage.

The blood mage spec isn't playable in DAI.

Yes, seriously.

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Post by DSharrah on Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:22 pm

@Rifneno wrote:
@Eryri wrote:So Qunari mages get 50 bonus hit points eh? Good excuse to play as a Blood Mage.

The blood mage spec isn't playable in DAI.

Yes, seriously.

I almost kind of glad of that...been trying to work my way through DA2 (as a way to prepare for DAI)...and I have been reminded of just how much "blood magic" is present...at times it seems like every piece of random equipment that I come across has boosts for blood magic...it's almost as if they are begging you to use blood magic (if you are playing as a mage). It's not enough for me to say that I hate it...but I kinda of do.

In DA2 my favorite specialization for a mage was force magic...in DA:O loved mana clash...wouldn't mind seeing elements of either of those coming back.

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Post by Eryri on Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:51 pm

@Rifneno wrote:
@Eryri wrote:So Qunari mages get 50 bonus hit points eh? Good excuse to play as a Blood Mage.

The blood mage spec isn't playable in DAI.

Yes, seriously.

Oh...

That's disappointing. I was quite looking forward to the idea of playing a badass, apostate, tal-vashoth. I do hope they're not saving that character class for DLC.
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Post by Rifneno on Mon Aug 25, 2014 12:07 am

Supposedly there's some story reason why you can't be a blood mage anymore. I'm only forced to believe that because I know they wouldn't cut it for gameplay reasons - the fact that blood mage was nearly unplayably terrible in the first two games didn't stop them in the least.

I'm curious if it's just the inquisitor or if no one can be a blood mage anymore for some reason. If that's the case, I'm looking forward to seeing the templar's bullshit excuse for their continued attempts at brutal oppression over fear of BLUD MAGIK!.

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Post by Hanako Ikezawa on Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:26 am

Bioware said not having it was story related because of the fact that nobody reacts to the protagonist using blood magic in past games and it didn't feel right for that to be the case again. Or something to that effect. There will be NPCs that still use it, though.
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Post by Rifneno on Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:10 am

@Hanako Ikezawa wrote:Bioware said not having it was story related because of the fact that nobody reacts to the protagonist using blood magic in past games and it didn't feel right for that to be the case again. Or something to that effect. There will be NPCs that still use it, though.

So they decided rather than not make their NPCs retarded, they're going to take the choice to do bad stuff away from us.

Show of hands, who still has faith this game won't be a pile of crap?

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The Dragon Age Thread - Page 17 Hatreds_zps16b974a8Remember folks.  We didn't get A, B, C endings.  We got A, A, A endings.
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Post by Eryri on Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:31 am

Bioware do seem to have a habit of solving problems by taking things away, rather than fixing them. I'll admit that certain things in DA2 were incongruous - like Cullen in Act1 talking about mages not being "people like us". I was like "Dude, there's a huge freaking staff strapped to my back! Do I look like a rouge to you?"

Anders making no comment on my pro-Mage fighter having points in Templar was pretty weird too, I suppose. I take it that the Templar Specialisation will be off limits to fighters for the same "story reasons"?

Like Rif said, I'd much rather they fixed this kind of thing with better writing, instead of throwing babies out with bath water.
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