Diecast #82: Dragon Age: Inquisition, Far Cry 4

By Shamus
on Nov 24, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

200 comments


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Hosts: Rutskarn, Josh, Shamus, Chris and Mumbles.

Show notes:

1:00 Dragon Age: Inquisition!

This is spoiler-free. Heck, most of us are still messing around in the first zone.

23:00 Chris is playing Smash Brothers and Far Cry 4.

32:00 MAILTIME!

Dear Diecast.

I was rewatching your Mass Effect-Spoiler Warning seasons recently, and one thing Shamus brought up during Mass Effect 1 was wanting to court-martial Ashley for killing Wrex, and throw her out of the party. My question is, do you think writers should try to make more of an effort to account for the fact that players might not like a companion character, and let players do things like throw a companion out of the party – especially when they do controversial things like in this example – instead of seemingly writing characters under the assumption that players will love them? Also, is there any game that you think handled unlikeable companion characters well?

Stay awesome
Macfeast

And so we go right back to talking about the Dragon Age games.

43:00 Surprise email, introduced mid-topic!

Dear Diecast,
Hi everyone! Did you know Ruts streamed the second half of the last Diecast (recorded 23/11/2014), and I got to listen to it live?
For an actual question, How do you feel about twists in game design, and especially games that outright reveal the twist, but keep it hidden only through the protagonist denying it?
All the best, keep diecasting,
Merzendi.

From here we go on to talk about the dangers of accidental livestreaming. This is a problem just waiting to make headlines.

46:30 And now back to the planned list of mailbag questions…

Die Dearcast,

Is there a foreseeable way put of the “everything is a franchise” mindset in the more expensive echelons of game development? If so, or if not, where do you think it might come from?

Yours,
Ira.

P.S.: Mr. Viel, what is a good entry point into the Shin Megami Tensei series? I’ve loved it from afar for a few years, but don’t know how or where to get involved.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!A Hundred!EXACTLY TWO HUNDRED COMMENTS.

From the Archives:

  1. Zukhramm says:

    Why do people need to be told to move on in the game? Wasn’t Skyrim really popular? I thought people would be used to open world games by now.

    The power system sound similar to something Tales of Xillia 2 did, where you have to pay back a loan due to some huge medical bills incurred during the opening. You have to pay back a certain amount to start the next mission, which makes you do a couple of side quests before you keep going.

    If someone asks about Shin Megami Tensei I’d assume they where talking about SMT proper and not Persona. Although I have not played any of them yet I’ve heard plenty of recommendations for Strange Journey. Though, if you do not want to go looking for an old DS game or dig out a PS2, Shin Megami Tensei 4 seems like the obvious point to start at.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      Thing is, in most open world games, you don’t have to move on. You can screw around in Skyrim as much as you want as soon as you get out of the beginning area and have plenty of fun.

    • Bloodsquirrel says:

      That was weird- comment system posted my comment early.

      Anyway, I’m not hearing anything about DAIII that makes it sound good. It sounds a lot like my original impression was when I heard they were imitating Skyrim- that the developers don’t really have any passion for open worlds or any idea why people like them, but they’re begrudgingly putting it in because Skyrim was more successful than DAII.

      • Zagzag says:

        My first impression when I heard about what they were intending to do was also that they’d never pull off an enjoyable open world and that it was mostly marketing to try to appeal to Skyrim fans, but in my opinion I was wrong. I’ve been massively enjoying the open world aspect and the exploration it allows for. I found it interesting that Rutskarn claimed that this is a worse version of an MMO, because for me it felt like the perfect example of the original point he referred to, that MMOs are usually a worse version of something that would have been better single player, but with other people around. This feels like an MMO done very right to me, rather than done wrong, and I certainly don’t see it as a step backwards from the way sidequests have worked in previous Bioware games. I’d much rather have this than Dragon Age Origins or 2 sidequests.

        I’d go so far as to say that this game is the most enjoyable RPG I’ve ever played, though it seems like I’ve put more time into it than the Diecast folks have. I’ll be very interested to hear what they have to say in future, both positive and negative.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I agree. Including these new mechanics solves a problem Bioware has had. They have too much combat. I was always just killing waves of dudes and monsters just to move forward and particularly in DA2 where you’re mostly killing bandits, it just seems ridiculous that there’s so many of them to kill.

          Obviously, expanding the scope without increasing the quantity of combats helps but I think its also nice that you’re doing more than just getting to the next part of the dungeon, you’re establishing camps, claiming landmarks, sealing rifts, taking keeps (and I like that the keeps were saved for several hours in to help rotate the flavor) increasing your power and influence stats and changing what the landscape is like. There is a bit much resource gathering (and it doesn’t help that this game doesn’t support click to move like the previous ones did.) but I do like their crafting system otherwise as well. And I like that you can overgrind and overlevel but you don’t have to.

          But yeah, the new mechanics add a variety of contexts to the combat to supplement contexts Bioware has and continues to provide through narrative.

          Also, I hated Morrigan too. Aside from being cruel, she and Flemeth both had that annoying tic where they thought being cryptic and obtuse and obtusely cryptic was the same as being clever. “Its beyond your ken” Well it wouldn’t be if you used your oh so impressive vocabulary to actually explain it. But like every Bioware character, she does eventually show that side of her that softens you up (except Miranda).

          But you can kick her out. She will show up again to do the thing she has to do late in the game.

    • Shamus says:

      I think it’s a matter of genre expectations. In Bethesda games, you roam at will. In BioWare games of the past you were supposed to do all the sidequests for the given zone before moving on. Some places (Taris, parts of Mass Effect 1) even become unavailable after leaving them, thus forever locking away their sidequests.

      So now Bioware is making an open world game and it’s not really clear what to expect. Moreover, Inquisition is kind of bad about aiming you at your goals in the Hinterlands.

      • Sacae says:

        So now Bioware*

        Sorry…

      • Zukhramm says:

        Were you supposed to do that? I don’t remember the games pushing me to play that way. Side quests, as I see them are supposed to be optional, and if I compulsively to all of them or am forced because they’ll be gone that’s no longer optional, is it? Side quests are for taking a break from the main quest, for going back to old areas or for extending the game before going to the end, if you want to.

        • Hydralysk says:

          It kind of depends on the game for me. In choice-based games, like the ones Bioware has been been making, I have a habit of wanting to do everything because of the possibility it could have an impact later. It’s not that I really want to help the farmer find his cow, it’s that I’m worrying “What if helping that farmer impacts the story later? I’d be missing out on that!“.

          On the other hand, if you give me a JRPG or something like Far Cry I couldn’t care less about whether I finish the sidequests.

          • Mike S. says:

            To some extent, it depends on how immersed I am in my character. If I’m playing a good-hearted hero, it’s really hard for me to turn my back on a sympathetic questgiver even if the sidequest is really tedious or I’ve done it a million times. I’ve never played through Mass Effect without helping the Feros colonists get their food, water, and power, even though it really makes very little difference in the long run, because I can’t just leave them in the lurch!

            (City of Heroes was even worse– until I could fly, I had to rescue people from muggers, even when I was overleveled and without a quest. Because what sort of superhero just walks by while someone’s being mugged?)

        • Felblood says:

          Bioware RPGs are different though.

          They don’t usually have truly “Random” encounters, so there is a nearly finite amount of loot, XP and alignment points in the game. Player characters are then portrayed as desperate scavengers, and willing to consider the unthinkable, just to get their hands on a few more credits or an extra bonus feat.

          Whatever other flaws KOTOR 2 had, it was really good at making a series of armed robberies seem like a tempting proposition. Once you figure I figured out how to do it, I don’t think I ever had a playthrough where I didn’t commit estate fraud to get my light saber early. The dark side is seductive.

        • Wide and Nerdy says:

          You win, we’re all stupid and we’re all very impressed with how smart you are. Congratulations

      • Sacae says:

        Also to make things a tad confusing, (from what I heard), big areas like the Hinterslands you can go back to. But smaller areas may disappear after leaving them. (Like the mission on the bottom of the map to rescue your people. And the shard mysteries temple)

      • SmileyFace says:

        That’s exactly what it is – Bioware games generally have stuff become inaccessable after a point, either areas, quests, or worst of all, companion dialogue, and the way you avoid that is by not progressing in the main quest at all until you’ve done everything else. It’s a strategy that works well every Bioware game since KotOR, but if you do it in Dragon Age: Inquisition, you’ll start the game, get some story, not go anywhere for 9 hours or something, get a good, tasty chunk of story, and then not make any progress at all for the 50 or so hours it takes to do all the exploring bits, which have no real bearing on anything else. I did that, like a moron, just in case it did have an effect, but it didn’t.

        The funny thing about it is that for someone who hadn’t play a Bioware game, it wouldn’t be a problem at all, and actually avoids situations where you miss out on content because you run ahead with story. By making the game legitimately more new-player-friendly, Bioware inadvertently turned the habits they’ve cultivated for the past decade into a problem, and looking at it that way, I can’t really fault them.

        • Deadpool says:

          I only know of one quest that gets blocked off by story… I highly recommend doing story missions until you get to Skyhold before focusing on sidequests. The game REALLY opens up after that, and you have enough options to not be bored.

  2. Tychoxi says:

    Hey, Neverwinter Nights 2 gave us Mask of the Betrayer. All your arguments are invalid.

    • Ithilanor says:

      Amen to this. As many problems as NWN2 had (and it had a lot), it ha some interesting parts, then MotB knocked it out of the park.

      • Humanoid says:

        I’m a bit of an outlier with NWN2 in that yes, I found the original campaign unfinishably dull, I couldn’t even properly get started in MoTB due to the awfulness of epic-level D&D (particularly as a rogue). My purchase was only finally vindicated by SoZ, which seems the very definition of love-it-or-hate-it.

        (Technically I didn’t finish SoZ either, but I got to the point of accessing the final area, just couldn’t be bothered going through with the last fights)

        • Tychoxi says:

          Maybe give it another try? I only played it for the first time recently and was happy to see it lived up to the hype. Great companions, offers plenty of reoleplaying options, the game mechanics tie in with the plot and tone. Speaking of tone, the tone and atmosphere were just superb.

          • Humanoid says:

            A major factor is probably my insistence on playing a rogue, because that’s my go-to class for any CRPG given the option. Starting dungeon of MoTB? *Everything* immune to sneak attack, because D&D. So that left a bitter taste and I just couldn’t get over it.

            Maybe someday I’ll relent and play it with some other class, or maybe just use cheats to get past the combat, but yeah, it’s all just disappointment for now.

    • ehlijen says:

      I’m one of the few people who enjoyed NWN2 and disliked MotB.

      Yes, the opening was slow and the gate was dumb and the end was wtv. But I did get swept up in the story by the end and I loved the keep building (for what little it did).

      MotB, on the other hand just left me floundering around without direction (I don’t enjoy high level DnD combat much either) and when it got to the bit where it explained to me how I need soul energy to live and basically boiled things down to ‘every X minutes press a(good) or b(evil) to not die’ I quit.

    • ET says:

      The other problem I see with how streaming software works, is that you don’t have explicit control over which windows/programs/cameras get shared.
      For example, maybe I want to share my window of game X, and my window of gamefaqs where I show you which FAQ is the best, but my window where I’m typing up my top-secret plans for a new videogame – don’t share that.

      • Humanoid says:

        And yet Ruts seems to have about a 20% success rate in remembering to record the streams. So that cancels out, right?

        (As of right now, only two stream recordings are viewable in Hitbox, though to be fair a third one is present but bugged out to be unviewable)

      • JackTheStripper says:

        You do have explicit control of those things. I’ve used OBSE a few times and when you put the stream on a game, the stream will stay on the game even if you alt-tab out of it. Closing the game will simply turn the stream to a black screen even. The stream will restrict itself to a certain window and won’t go to what you’re looking at unless you explicitly tell it to.

        It’s possible to simply transmit anything that you see, but you have to go against the way the program is set up to do it. So only a complete amateur would make a mistake like that. Most regular streamers don’t even have a feed for the desktop set up, so a mistake like that is not even possible.

        • James says:

          You can set up to show “game” which is the game, it has ways of telling what game it is, “Window” this is basically a program so chrome, a game, a text doc whatever, or monitor, which is everything on the monitor as you see it, you can set up multiple sources to show at once or to switch two, as well as overlays.

          OBS is very versatile

    • Dragomok says:

      And let’s not forget that people actually livestreamed actual sex by accident. (That was also mentioned on Escapist, but I can’t find the link.)

  3. Otters34 says:

    My apologies, Diecast Crew, for the egregious typo. I realized my mistake approximately one second after clicking send.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer both my questions in such detail, I really never thought of how gameplay affects things like that. The appeal of game franchises is because of what you DO in them, as the player. That’s a very valuable lesson.

    And I’ll take your words on Persona 3, Josh and Galaxy Gun. Heartening to hear that the game encourages a specific kind of narrative and gameplay rhythm.

    • Trix2000 says:

      I highly recommend following 3 with 4. It should feel quite familiar yet different, and if you really liked the style of 3 it won’t disappoint. Also 4 might be one of my favorite games of all time (no bias at all here >.>).

      Also, don’t be afraid to do them on easy to start. The story’s worth it, and the battles can be HARD (but very engaging).

      • Daimbert says:

        I second this. Even on Easy, on a first play through, when you’re not used to the combat mechanisms, there still is enough challenge that you won’t feel bored.

        I always play it on Easy because I’m interested in the story, not the combat.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Oh. I wrote a comment to that question that’s now way below this comment. I wrote it thinking that you were talking mainstay SMT, not Persona.

      Yeah, Persona 3 is a good starting point. Follow it with Persona 4. (Going the reverse direction is more annoying.)

      • Otters34 says:

        I was meaning the MegaTen franchise as a whole, but whatever works.

        And yeah, since so many people have allarently had the best experience going from 3-4, I’ll try that for certain. From how they describe it on the Diecast the “talky-fighty”* cycle sounds a lot like how I hoped Alan Wake would pan out, so that’s cool.

        EDIT: *That is, during the day you spend time with Mrs. Wake and get to know the town, getting invested in it and finding clues about what’s going on. During the night you go through horror-time. Man do I wish that game hadn’t any guns. Actually fighting with lighting is so much more unique and interesting.

  4. Daniel England says:

    So. In regards to the Mass Effect question:
    Bioware had to be really careful with the Virmire mission, see if you decide not to recruit Garrus and if you have not picked-up Liara yet, then the only people in your party are Kaidan, Tali, Ash, and Wrex. At Virmire Ash can kill Wrex (or you can) and then Kaidan dies (b/c of course he does (unless you’re romancing him.)) So the only people left are Ash and Tali. So if you court martialed Ash… There would only be one character left (until you got Liara.) So yeah… That would have actually been really interesting!

    • Humanoid says:

      I’d be angry at Ashley shooting Wrex if it came to that. I’d want the privilege of shooting him myself in a renegade run.

    • Henson says:

      No. If you only have four people in your party on Virmire, it is impossible for Wrex to die. The game gives you an easy out, so that you have enough people for the mission (Kaiden & Ashley on their own, Wrex & Tali as your two party members).

      • Daniel England says:

        Oh yeah! Forgot about that.
        Still, it would have been interesting if they have let your party go down to one member. Although that would have highlighted just how unnecessary your party is (at least on the lower difficulties?)

  5. Eleion says:

    I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but I just wanted to say that I love all the Mumbles on Diecast lately. :3

  6. Sacae says:

    Is it bad I dont want to listen yet so I can avoid anything bad sad about DAI (if there is any, cause assuming is bad habit).

    Currently the first new game in a long while Im very much liking.

    On the Hinterlands note (from comments)

    there are clues. A dragon you have no hope of defeating, two rifts double your should-be level.

    THOUGH there have been like a few articles of people telling players to not stay too long in the Hinterlands.

    So the point isnt clear enough.

  7. Sacae says:

    Are they liking DAI?

    • MichaelGC says:

      They’re mostly only at the point of realising one shouldn’t stay too long in the Hinterlands! One is much further along than the others and was very positive. Should get more next week.

      (Oh, and one seems to be playing through the whole trilogy from the start rather than jumping right in. Just about to do the Deep Roads. Should get more next year.)

      • Sacae says:

        OMG I pity the last person. At least its not the FADE. Mages tower in DAO ack lol

        • Josh says:

          DEEP ROADS UPDATE:

          Full run completion in 5.5 hours. Dual blood mages make every fight that’s not golems trivial.

          And that’s still way too fucking long.

          • ehlijen says:

            Did you explore all the maps fully?

            Also, I think most of the time isn’t actually spent fighting, but collecting the loot after each fight…hurray for more fluorspar…

            • Josh says:

              Yes, and completed all related quests. Notably, this does not include Shale’s companion quest, which also takes place in the deep roads and took me another 15 minutes or so to complete.

              Only wiped once in the whole run (on hard difficulty); at the very end when I stupidly let my main character get killed by a golem.

              • Grudgeal says:

                Oh yes, that quest. We’ve just been through all of Orzammar and Deep Roads, get out, back to camp… And then we have to go right in again. A small mercy in that Shale’s thaig aren’t connected to the Crossroads at least.

              • ehlijen says:

                How often did you have to backtrack to the one shop/craft/ditch stuff?

                Who ever thought a limited inventory was even remotely something the game needed?

                • Josh says:

                  I sold most of my unused equipment in preparation for the run and had previously fully upgraded my inventory, so I managed to make it all the way to the end before I ran out of inventory space. Although I did have to leave a greater injury kit on Branka’s body (the horror!).

                  Although I also didn’t bring a rogue with me.

                  • Zagzag says:

                    I really hope for your sake that you’re not hoping to import this save into Inquisition without realising that it doesn’t directly import saves, but you did mention that you’d played some Inquisition already so hopefully you know how the system works.

                  • ehlijen says:

                    Nice.

                    No rogue though? I guess I don’t actually remember any locked chests in the deep road, but I always felt I’d miss out on something cool if I didn’t bring one of those party slot hogging lockpicks…

          • Sacae says:

            Have you done the mage’s tower yet?

          • James says:

            The Fade might be shorter, but i hate it more, the overlay they add is powerfully bad to look at, the mechanics are annoying at best, it is ALL solo and has almost none of what i play DA for the multi-person tactics gameplay. the shapshifting added something just not enough.

  8. Wide And Nerdy says:

    About the “Pippin Song”. There’s a point in the game where its sung and I couldn’t unhear that and it almost undermined what was otherwise a very cool scene, the first scene to make me really feel like Dragon Age was back.

  9. SoranMBane says:

    That’s not true that you can’t make if a decent character in Skyrim; if you’re making a khajiit or an argonian, you can actually come up with some pretty cool results (there’s less of the uncanny valley to contend with there, I suppose). My attempt at an unarmed character was this big bulky khajiit with a mohawk and gold earrings; he was basically Mr. T as a snow leopard. If that isn’t amazing, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Humans are really hard to get right, though, and the elves are pretty much hopeless.

  10. SpiritBearr says:

    I found that the Power points were useful for the game to scale when you were ready to take on the next story part. If you didn’t have enough points just go out and grind to close rifts. If it is being used as a part of EA’s “march to free to play” it would suck but in DA:I it does serve to make the hinterlands matter.

    My biggest problem with the game was that the Inquisitor’s regular clothes look just like a white version of the clothes Shrek wore in Shrek 2 when he was human.

    • Zukhramm says:

      How getting to play Dragon Age without throwing out $60 would suck is a mystery to me.

      • CrazyYarick says:

        It would suck because they would make the game, more or less, suck for you to play it( if they went full free to play). I don’t’ know who said it and I’m not sure about the actual quote, but ” Free to play isn’t free. It’s cost obscured.” With the cost being bottomless pit of money that you need to throw at it, or a tiring game play that just isn’t all that much fun(exceptions are super rare to the point of not having to mention them). Remember that all of the things you will throw your money at will be consumable. Free to play companies don’t usually like to cap the amount a user can spend, in any way. EA is really starting to look into the free to play direction pretty hard.

          • Wide And Nerdy says:

            Its a model that shoots itself in the foot because it has to, by its nature, be designed so that the users will want to periodically pay for consumables. It creates a bad kind of tension. You’re either getting a cheaply made game or one designed to exploit whales. Or both. Or the company can’t keep it going and fails.

          • Felblood says:

            –but only in the same sense as what folks used to call “cripple-ware”.

            Give away just enough that people can get interested, but don’t make the free part truly fun or useful on it’s own.

            The idea will always be to squeeze even more out of your consumers in the long run.

        • Shamus says:

          Adding to this: They might adopt a free-to-play model yet STILL CHARGE $60 FOR THE GAME.

          Multiplayer is already infected with this thinking. Pay $60 for the base game, and then pay more money for health potions in MP.

          • MichaelGC says:

            MP is a different cauldron of cod, I guess, but it feels to me a little as though SP microtransactions were included at some point, but we’re taken out. (The timed wartable missions, for example, and the bundles of herbs and whatnot, would certainly lend themselves to such.)

            It’s possible that the Dungeon Keeper debacle was a factor?: if so, something good did come of that! It’d be nice to think that the tide has already turned, rather than this being the start of a new trend. Although I imagine there would have been some long difficult conversations at executive level…

            /wildspeculation

          • Sacae says:

            I still hold multiplayer can be done without paying. AT LEAST that has been my goal to never pay and Im still having fun with it. The fact that they didn’t let you pay to speed up war table missions is loads better than AC Unity letting you pay to make your sinngleplayer character stronger.

          • CrazyYarick says:

            Yeah pay to pay isn’t fun. At least they kept it to the multiplayer. That was the one thing though that made me never even touch Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer. Well that and the fact that I kept hearing it was terrible.
            See and the thing is that f2p isn’t bad for some games. Hearthstone, Dota 2, LoL, TF2(I know you guys hate those hats but still the game is fair about what it gives you), and I even used to play Combat Arms and it was alright. The problem is that all of these games are multiplayer only and are not really deep narrative universes. If they were to do this for the single player of any RPG then they would have to go the Candy Crush Saga route and royaly screw you at about every 4 levels. The way that, that game works is that you get to play about 20 levels reasonably unmolested(you still have the lives system with a timer, but I digress). Once you beat those levels though it asks you to in essence harvest 1,000 bear asses(beat 3 stupidly hard levels that you only get one shot per day to play) or pay 2 bucks. If you put this in single player it will kill the mood sooooo quickly.
            Point is that if EA or anybody else starts to really push this model, then I think RPGs(or most other games) as we know them are dead. And boy howdy how they do want to push it.

            PS: I think it’s funny how so many people think that iOS/mobile development is cheap and quick. It isn’t. I know that for many of those top grossing games, espesially the Clash of Clan type f2p ones, the cost is HUGE. I’m talking at least 5 Mil. Now that may not seem like a lot for AAA devs, but the bill grows every year as more and more companies are trying to compete for every last player that is willing to pay. Honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see f2p games have just a giant crash.

          • Mephane says:

            Selling health potions for real money is either borderline pay-to-win – or pointless if they can be easily acquired in copious amounts by just playing the game.

            In any case: EA, what the…

          • Zak McKracken says:

            If it worked for WoW, it also must work for any other game, right? So EA will be making even more money, and that is good because it means more expensive games for you!

            Seriously, why WoW’s payment model worked is still a complete mystery to me, but I am very sure that it can’t simply be copied. However, copying concepts they don’t quite understand seems to be exactly EA’s thing.

    • Ivan says:

      I was so confused reading comments for a bit there, but I finally realized that the “I” in “Dragon Age: I” Stands for “Inquisition” not the Roman numeral “I”. I haven’t played any of the Dragon age games, but I was reasonably sure that this wasn’t the first one in the series…

      I think you guys need a new acronym… I can’t be the only one who was thrown off by that.

      • Humanoid says:

        I generally type DA1, DA2, DA3, though not really because of potential ambiguity, more because a colon is hard to type.

        Until Dragon Age does an Assassin’s Creed and makes a Dragon Age 3 separate from Inquisition, there’s no real downside.

  11. Vermander says:

    Regarding Ashley possibly killing Wrex, I think that was pretty obviously an “illusion of choice” situation where the writers figured that the players would be even more angry if the script forced them to pull the trigger themselves.

    In terms of characters that the players might not like though, to me the biggest offender was always Liara. I actually liked her fine as a character, but it was pretty obvious that developers saw her was the signature character of the franchise and wanted her to play as big a role as possible. No matter what you thought of her she couldn’t be killed, avoided or discarded, and by the third game she was pretty much the second lead.

    • Mike S. says:

      She actually could be avoided in ME2. (She’s paying your docking fees at Illium, but in principle you never have to even visit her office let alone talk with her.) But she’ll still show up on Mars in ME3 of course, having made her career change with or without you playing her DLC.

  12. Wide And Nerdy says:

    Also, Valiant Hearts: Advanced Warfare.

  13. drkeiscool says:

    In regards to Morrigan and Alistair they have ulterior motives for staying with you:

    Alistair: you two are the last Grey Wardens, and he wants to defeat the Blight no matter what.

    Morrigan: She wants to have the old god baby with you.

    Both those characters will leave when their goals are fulfilled (or they die).

    • Sacae says:

      Not totally true on that last line.

      Morrigan will leave if you refuse to do the Dark Ritual. Thus, not helping her goal, not killing her either.

      Alistar will also leave if you dont kill logeion.

      • Tizzy says:

        And both of them *did* leave me. I cheered when Alistair did, but Morrigan left deep in the creek without a paddle. Or rather, deep in the final battle without a battlemage. :-(

    • Joe Informatico says:

      Alistair’s more motivated by his loyalty to Duncan personally, and a lack of any other direction in his life, than the Wardens as a whole. Thus, it’s possible to get Alistair out of your party, but only at the Landsmeet, before the final battle in Denerim. If you induct Loghain into the Wardens instead of executing him, Alistair leaves and becomes a drunk–his hatred towards Loghain over Duncan’s death outweighs his obligations to the PC or the Wardens as a whole. Also, under certain circumstances if Anora’s made queen she’ll execute Alistair, either over her father’s death/deposing, or because he threatens her claim to the throne.

  14. Dovius says:

    Basically no serious spoilers below aside from location thingamajigs:

    The funny thing about the F2P joke is that eventually a merchant does show up at Skyhold that sells Power and Influence (Inquisition XP, basically, for perks)… for ingame gold.

    It’s like they’re making fun of it, because by the time that guy shows up, you earn Power by the shiteload just by doing random quests and opening easy rifts.

  15. MichaelGC says:

    Just wanted to say thanks to ydant for setting up the RSS feed. (And I hope I found the right username, there.) I only got it running at this end a few weeks ago, and it’s been extraordinarily convenient. So thanks!

  16. Tizzy says:

    Well, I liked Morrigan. Sure, she was exasperating and often wrong, but what do you expect? She was raised in a swamp!

    She was the most direct and open of any of the characters. No need to guess her mood or opinion on a subject: she calls it as she sees it. Very refreshing.

    I did pity her, though, and she could not forgive me for that…

    • Humanoid says:

      Now I’m picturing Morrigan as a stereotypical Louisiana redneck. Thanks for that.

    • Grudgeal says:

      Morrigan was basically Baldur’s Gate 2‘s Viconia with a faux-posh accent (lord knows where she got it from, considering her mum and the other tribe people didn’t have it), only someone at some point seemed to think she needed to be that game’s Kreia in importance as well as outlook.

      Never saw the appeal, really. Kreia had a consistent philosophy, while Morrigan is “in my worldview you have to do whatever you can to survive” one day and “clearly these mages all deserve to die for choosing slavery over being put to death” another, just for the sake of presenting a contrary statement. When Shale and Sten wanted to kill all the mages I could at least understand why.

      • Blovsk says:

        Morrigan’s character never really felt to me like they went anywhere with it –

        In terms of substance: She’s got a mass of stupid contradictory views, no empathy with other characters, very little emotional range, not much of an arc (cf. Oghren or even possibly Alastair), almost no motivation and is persistently rude to everyone and patronising to the player.

        In terms of how she fits the RPG: she can’t be thrown out of the party until near the end. She doesn’t want to join up with you, which means if you don’t want her along it’s a ridiculous scene. She’s introduced really poorly. Additionally, having to take her clashes with the ability to roleplay anyone with a serious objection to either magic or sociopaths.

        Blovsk’s proposed rewrite:

        Morrigan asks to leave with you to escape Flemeth (of whom she’s deeply suspicious), presenting it to Flemeth as a fait accompli and makes it her business to try and learn as much about Flemeth as possible. Morrigan is terrified of both Flemeth and the Templars rather than being smarmy about them and only gradually develops to the level of contempt she displays in the base game as she becomes more powerful.

        With regards to her general superiority complex and social Darwinism, that’s something that should be explored by the existing Flemeth storyline with her either softening towards the player after realising she needs their help or that attitude hardening if the player refuses to help on the grounds of the Darwinism she herself espouses. Which might then add extra options to the end of the game where a softened Morrigan might help the player while a hardened one would extort the player like she basically does at the moment.

        There you go: emotional range, much more sympathetic, has an arc, allows player influence and has a better motivation for following you around.

        Of course, in Baldur’s Gate or Planescape it didn’t matter if some characters were incredibly unpalatable because you could just not take them.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Morrigan’s character always made more sense to me if you just assume she spends a large chunk of the game lying to the Warden. It’s not hard to do given the many times she is obvious about it. Beyond that, her primary motivation isn’t to survive but to be free -hence why she hates Flemeth and why she refuses to stay with the Warden a moment longer than she must.

        Alas, as I’m naturally incredibly lawful good, her chaotic moments alone clashed with my playstyle, and whenever she drifted towards chaotic neutral or chaotic evil we had a real problem -so I always had a hard time keeping her in the party. I meshed better with Wynn.

        My narrative problem was deeper -as with several other characters, including Alistair and Loghain, I never felt like the tease ever paid off. Morrigan becomes honest just long enough to conceive the Old God (which scene is played for romance when it should be played for tragedy, grumble, grumble) and then disappears. When she returns in Witch Hunt, she is again evasive. It began to feel like she was being evasive for its own sake, not because she was actually hiding something.

  17. Michelle Randall says:

    Oh for anyone who is playing DA:Inquisition who doesn’t know about this. If you feel like having to wait 24 hours for a war room mission is BS, the in game clock is tied to your desktop clock, so you can skip forward a day while still in game and it will count it as having the 24 hours completed… ahh remember the days when games actually had QA.

    • Zagzag says:

      The first time I took a 24 hour mission I was under the impression that it meant 24 hours of playtime (“It’ll be fine, I’m sure it’ll take me longer than that to finish the game.”) I was rather surprised when I booted the game up the next day to find it complete.

  18. Toasty Virus says:

    Kanji is my top Persona bro, his voice actor cracks me up.

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you want to be able to throw people out of your party,then youd have to make a bunch of recruitable npcs,like in baldurs gate games.Which is not going to happen,because everything has to be completely voiced now.

    • Humanoid says:

      My preference would be a game playable with a variable party size, ideally balanced right down to solo play. Hey, it was doable in some of the IE games too…

    • Blovsk says:

      True, which is a shame and part of how much less player agency the new Bioware games have than the old ones. With Dragon Age: Origins a lot of the issue was that you were obliged to keep some of the characters but not all of them and that Morrigan especially was just foisted on you rather than being someone you needed for a quest.

      Basically, if you have unkillable, unfireable companions, justify the hell out of that. Make them transparently essential to your mission if at all possible, make them interesting and make them do nice things for you so they appear invested in the mission and fit the player’s story as an effective professional colleague/subordinate you don’t get on with rather than an annoying child (how much better would Miranda be if she just appeared to be using her status within Cerberus to get you stuff and requisition things for your ship in between missions).

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I always thought miranda wouldve worked best if she was the one giving you money and resources,and only half way in you realized that she was cerberus.It would both better justify you having her constantly around,and remove the gripe of you working with cerberus despite what you did in the first game.

  20. I’m as much an aficionado of Peter Jackson’s LOTR as anyone, but any time I hear “Pippin’s Song,” I first think of something like this from the Broadway musical, “Pippin.”

  21. ehlijen says:

    I’m surprised that the ranger from NWN2 made the list but not the warlock who killed the party member he replaces.

    Worse, the reason you’re being told you’re stuck with him is that he has unique knowledge and skills no one else can get…apart from that one other NPC who is much more agreeable, has even more knowledge on the matter and can replace him in every way.

    And what about the youth stealing, kill stealing jerk from Fable 2? I’d have thought he’d top the list from what shamus wrote about him.

    • Greg says:

      In fairness, Zhjaeve was bland exposition city while Ammon, though evil and giving the player plenty of reason to bear a grudge, actually has a pretty damn good motivation and character arc, and you can absolutely get him to admit what a total bastard he’s become and how all the “necessary” evils he committed might have been avoided if he’d just frickin’ made some friends to help him.

      It doesn’t help that Warlocks suck and Clerics are gods, but fluff-wise Ammon was supposed to be badass on a level Zhjaeve probably couldn’t match.

      You are absolutely correct that the guy from Fable 2 is the worst one, though, way worse than Bishop. He actually griefs the player, and there is no way to give him any sort of comeuppance, whereas Bishop is just kinda a dick that you can kill.

      Also, on DA:Inquisition: is anyone else a bit bugged by the subtitle? Perhaps you can play it as one, but at least in my playthrough … the Inquisition in this game really isn’t an Inquisition at all. It’s pretty much just a military splinter sect. I feel like DA:Chosen or DA:Ascension would better fit the themes at play in this game, but they fell in love with “Inquisition” as a cool thing early in development and then didn’t change the title as the plot changed away from it.

      Minor nitpick for me in what is, so far, otherwise an AWESOME game.

      • ehlijen says:

        There was that, but getting to know ammon (thanks for reminding me of their names) required talking to him when I really just wanted to stuff him in some anti-magic prison cell to rot (didn’t help that I prefer Paladins in DnD (the shining hero bit, not the slave to alignment bit)).

        At least he didn’t betray me like Bishop and Qara did…

        I think the problem, at least for bioware style games, was that the writers feel the need to cater to a large range of player interpretations of characters, and thus a range of party members they’d get along with, but still somehow also tryed to shoehorn everyone into the same camp for talking to.

        BG2 didn’t have that camp thing. If you didn’t want to adventure with Viconia or that evil dwarf or the paladin or the wannabe paladin halfling, you just didn’t recruit them, end of story. It seems like such a simple solution to such an obvious problem, but of course then too many players might miss the character altogether…

      • acronix says:

        I am under the same impression about the “Inqusition” subtitle. You don’t even go around making inquiries at all, from my understanding.

      • Keeshhound says:

        Ammon also benefits from the fact that despite Warlocks being a weaker magic class, he’s probably the best caster NPC by virtue of Warlocks having fewer “spell” options (more likely to cast something useful, if you tailor his list) and not having limited casts. ALL of the other AI casters (including Zhjaeve) WILL blow everything they have on weaker enemies, meaning that you either have to stop and rest after every encounter, or deal with them running dry in the middle of a big fight because they didn’t pace themselves.

    • Rutskarn says:

      Take what you want out of this, but seven years later I still hate Bishop for what he did and I didn’t even remember that Ammon was a character.

      • Greg says:

        Huh, really? What did Bishop do aside from just defecting at the end? I guess I wasn’t at all surprised by that, so it barely registered aside from “Alright, guess we’re finally doing this now.”

        I was honestly more pissed off by Sand’s defection, because it’s just incredibly stupid. Qara’s (if it happens) and Bishop’s at least made sense in character, but Sand? Quite possibly the dumbest move ever for supposedly the most intelligent character in the game.

        Although seven years later, the only thing I’m still annoyed about by NWN2 (aside from rocks fall, everyone dies, which MOTB at least kinda fixes) is that Neeshka wasn’t a romance option.

        • ehlijen says:

          As far as I can tell, Sand only defects if Qara doesn’t, so that whatever group ends up fighting you has one of the two primary arcane casters in it.

          For me it was always Bishop (I never wanted to befriend him, so I never tried), Qara (unless the scales were tipped enough to make it Sand instead, which is just stupid as you said) and Neeshka (I think I got her to stay once, but I can’t remember how).

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          Thats just it I think. Bishop’s betrayal is not a surprise. But you have to recruit him and you can’t avoid or preempt his betrayal. All you can do is strip his gear beforehand.

          Its a longstanding pet peeve of theirs when the game makes you do something stupid and then rubs your face in it.

        • Chauzuvoy says:

          Fun fact: Apparently Neeshka was originally intended to be a romance option, but it was cut as they hit the home stretch and realized they were running out of time/money. Bishop was supposed to be a romance as well, for evil characters.

          And the final battle works out somewhat strangely. It’s based on influence. If you’ve got higher influence with Sand, Qara betrays you, and vice versa. Neeshka has a really high influence check to come back, Grobnar actually has one to determine whether the Construct fights alongside you, and Zjhaeve and Ammon are always on your side. I forget how Casavir, Khelgar, and Elanee work out. But I think there’s some condition where they can turn against you.

          Of course, you’ve also got the complete moron option to betray the entire rest of your party and join Bishop and the King of Shadows because evil. Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies I can forgive for the same reasons I forgive the KotOR2 ending- Obsidian had project management issues. But that was just an insultingly dumb choice to be offered.

  22. Isy says:

    If you want to play Persona 3 ever, play it before Persona 4 because the gameplay improvements make going back to 3 completely hellish.

    • Daimbert says:

      The PSP version — which is playable on a Vita, I’ve been told — let you issue direct commands and has the female protagonist, so it wouldn’t be that bad. The biggest problem with Persona 3, for me, is the grinding nature of the dungeons, that Persona 4 eliminated.

      • Blastinburn says:

        They mentioned that the PSP version of Persona 3 is the best version, but that isn’t the case. The PSP version is missing an entire epilogue chapter called the “Answer”.

        What I am personally doing, is playing through Persona 3 FES so I can do the epilogue, then I plan on playing through the PSP version as a female and experiencing the additional character interactions.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Personally, I don’t feel like The Answer is even worth playing. I watched an LP of it, and that’s honestly probably for the best.

          The biggest two problems with it are that The Answer is locked into Hard Mode, without any ability to change it. Further, you can’t use the compendium, and there’s no social link stuff. It is pure dungeon crawling.

          Were I the one making the choice, I would say that you should just get the PSP version and then watch The Answer later on YouTube. (And yes, the PSP version does bring in some Persona 4 mechanics, like Guard, Direct Commands, and follow-up attacks).

  23. Jokerman says:

    Yea…. Shamus, your daughter is not the only person who sleeps in there clothes. I totally do that too… i didn’t know anyone else did :D

  24. Sacae says:

    But comparing DAI to Assassin’s Creed Unity, really show you the differences. Already mentioned, is the fact Unity had no real reviews til 8 hours after it was released while DAI had reviews out a week before. Also they had a lot of streamers allowed about four hours of streaming the game on twitch within that week. And the first 6 hours opened on xbone.

    They were not afraid to show their game in public hands. Verse Unity having an to wait till after the game was sold.

    Looking on xbox the day of release, AC had ‘timesaver’ dlc already up. And in single player you can use real money to make your assassin stronger.

    At least DAI limits it to onyl multiplayer, and the multiplayer has no effect on the main game unlike ME3, which is a good step.

    DAI may have some issues, but in all its a pretty solid game.

  25. Phill says:

    With regards to the “free-to-play”-style features that Mumblesgun mentioned, my first suspicion was that it was developed to go either way. Producers (and publishers) love putting off decisions and vacillating (and then making decisions too late, wondering why the programmers can’t implement a whole new game system in week remaining, and demand 100 hours of overtime a week to ‘catch up’). The power system sounds like hedging – the microtransaction code gets written, and the game system utilising it is written, and the final decision to use it or not can be left until pretty late on, because it basically then comes down to:

    a) use config file 1 to enable microtransactions and cut down the amount of power you can gain for free or…

    b) use config file 2 to disable microtransactions and give the player enough power in game to progress at a reasonable rate.

    It might well be that the original plan was for microtransactions, and that a moment of sanity struck someone (who noticed that Dungeon Keeper wasn’t so popular) and they ditched the plan and found the least demanding way of turning it in to a ‘normal’ game mechanic.

  26. Mumbles says:

    I realize now that I sound like I smoke a bunch of weed before every episode but in reality I just woke up. THIS IS MY MORNING VOICE I AM SORRY INTERNET.

  27. Talby says:

    Sera is the worst character in the history of Dragon Age. I’d rather have four Morrigans and Miranda in my party than tolerate Sera’s annoying “lul randumb!!!33” painful attempts at comedy than tolerate her for a second longer than is absolutely necessary.

    • Greg says:

      She wasn’t “lul random”, she was “poke fun at pretty much everyone, especially the people who think they’re above everyone else.” With occasional childish pranking that was endearing to me, but I can see how that might grate on others.

      Seriously, how could you not love her response to Solas’ condescending “compliments” in ancient Elven?

      • Kristoffer says:

        Ran into her today, and she’s the first companion in a Bioware game I’ve played that I turned down right away. That intro was unbearable. Poking fun at self-serious people, great, making important people look silly, wonderful. But I couldn’t stand her sense of humor, to me she was painfully, provokingly unfunny. If the point was to make her purposefully obnoxious, I think they did an amazing job.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          I wish I’d done that.

          Though she wouldn’t be my personal first. I opted to finish Zevran off on my first playthrough rather than wake him up and interrogate him. That makes the most sense and still does. I only don’t do it now because I know he’s supposed to join the party.

          But yeah. Sera is the most forced instance in Bioware history of “cute and quirky.” And I couldn’t understand half of what she was saying in her introduction (though that one aspect of her character gets a little better after the initial scene.)

      • Talby says:

        Because “let’s make grenades out of BEES! LOL BREECHES BREECHES!” isn’t random or annoying at all. And that dialogue. “You’re the herald thingy.” “Obey me arrow in my face.” Half of what she says isn’t even intelligible. And I thought “swooping is bad” and “I want to be a dragon” was awful…

        I never let her in my party. Sera is a new low point for BioWare characters. She’s on the level of a bad fanfic self insert character.

        • Greg says:

          Eh, have to agree to disagree, here. The breeches thing was precisely how she was poking fun at those in power, by humiliating them before killing them. Same with the bees (which are an awesome weapon in game); she takes mundane problems and turns them against people who think themselves more than mundane. Her dialogue was intentionally obscure but, at least to me, had an understandable through-line: she’s an uneducated hoodlum who uses irreverent humor to turn her anger at the establishment into something fun so she’s not depressed or negative all the time.

          The point was indeed to make her purposefully obnoxious … to those she thinks deserve it, which means she’ll make light of important plot threads because doing so lets her assert some small amount of power over these overwhelming events. She refuses to even pronounce the main villain’s name correctly, and if you press her on it she angrily drops the facade and pretty much says straight out that the BBEG doesn’t deserve the respect of even getting his name right.

          But I guess YMM severely V.

        • Anonymous says:

          “Sera is a new low point for BioWare characters. She’s on the level of a bad fanfic self insert character.”

          Are you aware that there actually was a bad fanfic self insert character in DA2? This hilariously isn’t a new low, not even close.

    • IFS says:

      I didn’t like Sera much at first either mostly due to not finding her jokes to be funny, though she has grown on me a little. That said I only have her in my party on extremely rare occasions, though that’s at least partially due to playing a rogue myself and finding both Cole and Varric to be more interesting characters. Also due to the fact that I try to pick characters who seem suited/related to what the mission is, and Sera never seems to fit that criteria.

  28. Spammy says:

    To get to what Chris was saying about the 3DS’s screen… y’know, Smash Brothers (of which I’ve only played the demo) is the only game I can think of where resolution has been an issue. The 3DS’s top screen is small, but in your hand I’ve never seen anything wrong with it. I mean, they upscale onto gaming news websites terribly, but in person I think the 3DS looks great. The most graphically intensive games I own for it (Mario Kart 7, DOA: Dimensions, Resident Evil: Revelations) don’t appear when I’m playing them to really be any behind their console counterparts. I don’t look at the screenshots of Revelations on Steam and think that it looks that much better than what I played on my 3DS.

    So now I’m wondering why the resolution is such a problem with Smash Brothers and Smash Brothers alone. The only thing I can think of off the top of my head is that it’s because Smash Brothers has such a zoomed out camera that it does make things a problem.

    I guess what I’m saying is that yes the resolution on the 3DS top screen is small but in person it’s not a problem. Except, oddly, for Smash Brothers.

    • Darren says:

      It’s too small and cramped to work well for Smash Bros. Playing the WiiU version I find that I really enjoy Shulk, but on the 3DS you can’t tell what his power-up move does and so are at a distinct disadvantage in trying to learn his moveset.

  29. James says:

    I had that problem with Morrigan as well in DA1. She does get better but the crowning moment of stupid evil was in the tower were she wanted to just let the mages die. I wanted to turn to her and explain math, you see Morrigan an army of mages and templars is bigger and more powerful than just an army of templars, and I need an army any of this sinking in yet?

    • Henson says:

      I was more perturbed that she wanted to let Redcliffe fall to the hordes of undead. “Um, yeah, if we’re trying to get the support of the Arl’s army, I don’t think letting that army die is a good option.”

      • James says:

        I get the evil thing put I would have preferred a more of a pragmatic evil, I get she wouldn’t really care about their lives but unfortunately we need people alive you know for military purposes.

  30. RTBones says:

    Recalling the angst that was ME3, I will wait until the community (err, SW crew) has had a chance to go through this thoroughly before I bite the bullet and get it.

    Also, still feeding my LOTRO urge. Still in Moria but doing epics now, no time for new game distractions.

    Also also, really not liking the recent ‘smart’ Steam update, so perhaps I should install Origin so that I am prepared to buy DA:I.

    Also also also, I dislike the new Steam update so much that Origin, and by association EA, may actually get more of my money. That makes me feel…I dont know…dirty somehow.

    Also also also also, but Ubisoft wont. Origin has actually improved. UPlay…no.

    • Sacae says:

      I dont understand hate on Uplay.

      Because of Origin I cant get say DAI on steam.

      At least I can still buy Unisoft games on steam.

      • Humanoid says:

        Exclusivity isn’t the issue, Half-Life 2 isn’t sold on Origin or UPlay so people who use that as a point against Origin or UPlay are indulging in simple hypocrisy, Steam is as much as an arse as the others in this situation. No, the problem with UPlay is the quality of the software itself.

      • RTBones says:

        Its secondary DRM. UPlay is not the only offender (I’m looking at you, Rockstar and your Social Club), but if I buy a game on Steam, I dont expect to have to have a secondary account somewhere – JUST for the sake of DRM. Its another layer of unnecessary complexity. While I am not a great fan of Origin – it HAS improved, to the point you can actually use it.

    • Humanoid says:

      I’d take it a step further, I’ll wait until the crew have done it as a Spoiler Warning season. I don’t care about the experience being, er, spoiled, I just don’t want to get burnt again. (ME3 is on the podium of the worst games I’ve ever purchased)

      That said, I’d be happy if they started the DA3 season now. I’m thoroughly bored of The Last of Us. Not the commentary of course, but Pittsburgh…

  31. Sacae says:

    I like both Solas and Cass…..

    • Sacae says:

      Then again I’m weird

      anyone else?

      • MichaelGC says:

        I like Solas, Cassandra, and Sera (from what I’ve seen of the latter whilst watching a stream), and I think we’re all a bit weird, really. (Humans, that is! – and I’ve always used “weird” as a compliment, so I hope folks will take it that way.)

        I can certainly see why people wouldn’t like one or all of them, though! – which at least is suggestive of strong characterisation, if obviously not of universal likeability. So – whilst they’re all NPCs – in this age of identikit protagonists and cookie-cutter wisecracking villains, that’s perhaps worthy of muted celebrations, even if one personally just wants to punch Solas right in the face.

  32. Draxom says:

    Chris mentioned Assassin’s Creed Rouge and I really want someone to discuss it. Like he said the game is being entirely over looked because of Unity. I’ve played it to 50% and it’s a good game. It combines a the best parts of previous AC titles(pirate ship is still there and they brought back a huge city zone) and adds a few cool new mechanics(enemies will now use hiding spots just like you do).

    Where the game fails it fails big. For instance some enemies will now instantly detect you and attack on sight(sometimes the range for this detection is ridiculous). Also they added micro transactions to the game.

    I’m curious to see of anyone else has played the game and if they think the good out weighs the bad on this particular title.

  33. Sacae says:

    Chris lol Chooses the wrong Nov 18th release.

    Should have got DAI not FC4

  34. Zak McKracken says:

    About that accident with the webcam, Shamus:
    Alright, so I haven’t even got a webcam (except every laptop has one built in, of course) but I was under the impression that unless you have some clever malware on your machine, there’s a little green light that is always on when the webcam is filming. Also, doesn’t everyone turn their computers off at night?
    I used to sleep in the room where my computer was, and I left it running only if TrueSpace hadn’t finished rendering yet or somesuch (barely audible over noise the other students were making…), but these days, the noise would just be too much, even though my computers are so much qieter than they used to be (also, they use electricity that way).

    … that said: Yes, every streaming software should keep a reminder on the screen, always.

    • Humanoid says:

      I immediately apply some electrical tape to the lens any such device as I won’t ever need the functionality. I also uninstall the camera drivers, so technically it’s a pointless exercise, but still.

    • ehlijen says:

      Nope, plenty of devices don’t tell you if the cam’s on or not (my laptop doesn’t, my tablets don’t). So yeah, like Humanoid, I disable my device driver for that thing unless I know I need it for a specific reason (and disable it again after).

      • Zak McKracken says:

        Wow! A warning light on the camera should be mandatory.
        I put tape over laptop cameras as well, except the one that I (veeeery occasionally) use. Though post-it strips work as well.

        Wonder when someone starts selling laptops (or separate webcams) with a physical flap in front of the lens. Or when culture develops to the stage where mothers routinely crotchet kitschy little webcam curtains for their kids — and the kids’ reactions :)

        • Mike S. says:

          I don’t really understand why plastic covers for webcams and a hardware cutoff switch for mikes aren’t standard. As it is, I make do with a post-it note on laptop/tablet cams and unplug separate ones, and my desktops don’t have built-in mikes. No idea what to do about mobile mikes, though.

          And now odds are increasing that if anyone has a smartphone, it’s listening all. the. time. in case you want to talk to Google/Siri/Cortana without pushing a button first. (Even if you’ve turned it off, the person you’re with probably hasn’t.) I really sort of wonder what the world will look like when people really know in their bones that everything they do will be both onstage and recorded for posterity. (As opposed to continuing to act as if privacy still exists until a slip happens.)

    • Zak McKracken says:

      … and this is how long it takes me to realize that the microphone at my games PC is always connected, because of Teamspeak, and that while waiting for co-players to show up, there may have been private conversations sent out to the (fortunately empty) TS channel …

  35. Nyctef says:

    Suprised to hear about loading times for you guys – pretty much every loading screen is about 5 seconds for me. I don’t get a chance to read all the little codex entries :(

    I actually really like Solas and his weirdly adorable face — kind of bouncing between love interests but I think I might end up with him. He’s kind and intelligent and actually does know tons of shit about the Fade, and presents it in a way that we’ve never really seen before. I’m almost wondering if it’s going to end up pulling a Korra by the end of the game.

    I’m pretty close to kicking out Vivienne, though. She’s such an entitled bitch, a mage who’s pro-mage oppression because she’s never experienced oppression herself, and just assumes that the rebel mages are whining about nothing. She makes me angry pretty much every time we have a conversation.

    Morrigan turns up again, in pretty much the one place you would never expect her to be, and it’s glorious. Her overbearing darwinistic policies were a bit problematic in the first game, but i actually ended up romancing her, and the ‘what is this strange thing you call love’ routine you get to do is wonderful.

    • Mike S. says:

      “I’m almost wondering if it’s going to end up pulling a Korra by the end of the game.”

      I’m still really early in the game, but I’ve been thinking that since his first conversation. I wonder if I’ll have to kill him to prevent it, if that turns out to be possible.

      I thought Korra doing it was pretty nuts, especially considering it was the villain’s plan. But at least in that world, 99% of spirits encountered aren’t demons. And the last ostensibly “benign” spirit to team up with a human blew up a cathedral and started a still-ongoing war.

      Weighing that against “they’re awesome to visit in dreams! And I’m sure that they’re not manipulating my mind to feel that way!”…

  36. newdarkcloud says:

    To the guy who asked about Shin Megami Tensei. I have been doing nothing but playing and writing about Shin Megami Tensei games for a few months, and only just now finished, there are a few places I would recommend you start you.

    Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha 1/2: This game is a bit more of an action-RPG, where fights occur in real time. The mechanics are more simplified and easier to understand as a result. Further, the stories tend to be a bit more on the campy side, as opposed to Shin Megami Tensei’s typically dark tones.

    Shin Megami Tensei IV: Out of all the main SMT games, this is by far the most user-friendly of the lot. The fusion mechanics are so much easier and more intuitive and battles end quickly.

    One you get through those, you’ll be better equipped to take on Digital Devil Saga and Nocturne. (And I recommend doing it in that order. Digital Devil Saga makes it slightly easier on you, though it is difficult in its own right.)

  37. IFS says:

    Might be a bit late to point this out, but on the subject of Morrigan being unable to be kicked out there is a reason she is with you (beyond her personal reason to follow you) and that is that she is working magic to prevent the darkspawn from sensing you and just constantly ambushing you everywhere you go. Her presence is the only reason you can travel between areas in relative security during a Blight.

    • Classic says:

      That’s not entirely accurate. She’s carrying the magic that lets you traverse the wilds safely. Darkspawn sense is a lot more localized to the hive-mind and its loci of strong wills and/or high intelligences (it’s never quite clear what makes alphas what they are relative to their peers, and emissaries have been known to speak tongues known by men).

      You can also kick her out. Just tell her in conversation you want her to leave and she does if you push the point.

  38. Kerethos says:

    I’m kind of surprised to see/hear this level of dislike of Morrigan.

    I play mostly – to use D&D terms – Lawful Good characters in games and, for most plays of Origins, helped everyone and went out of my way to go the extra mile. And I rarely had any problems with Morrigan, outside of my first playthrough – where I also dismissed her as “evil witch” at the start and decided I didn’t like her.

    Yes, she complains about helping people some times. But that’s not because she hates everyone and is evil, it’s because she’s been brought up to be self-sufficient and free. She’s never had friends, never anyone who loved her and she’s been taught that relying on others will get you killed by mage hunting zealots (her view of Templars) or, at best, kept as a pet or a slave (her view of Circle Mages).

    So at first she’s Darwinian. But, as you make her like you, by talking with her, making jokes, proving that you’ve got her back and actually care about her, she eventually softens.

    A few actions of kindness can even bring her to the brink of tears (or actual tears, in the romance path), since she’s not supposed to care about you. Because she’s on a mission to save the soul of old god Urthemiel (aka. making the Old God Baby) – because she thinks such a majestic creature deserves to be free, rather than killed along with the Warden – and she knows she’ll have to leave you by the end to raise the child somewhere safe.

    I – obviously – consider her my favorite character in all of Dragon Age, mainly because of how she can change and grow as a person during the game. And I think people are missing out by dismissing her as just an evil bitch at the start of the game. And, like I said, I even made that same mistake myself, at first.

    • There is a DLC that extends her storyline and if your Warden did not die (and you romanced her) then you can vanish into the unknown with her.

      • Kerethos says:

        Indeed. You travel into the unnamed realm that connects the Eluvians and apparently is pleasant to elves and disorienting for humans, or something like that. I’m trying my damnedest to stay of the wiki, until I’ve played through Inquisition, but the temptation is great :<

        Either way, I found it a satisfying ending, and I hope to learn more in Inquisition.

  39. Sera and Mumbles have the same laugh/humour.

  40. Dragon Age Inquisition is huge, too huge in my opinion.
    Smaller areas that are more split up to reduce backtracking would be nice.

    If BioWare studies my savegames they’ll see some weird shit.
    I love RPGs and I love them for a special reason, they are awesome to cheat on, I love hacking around with the character stats and limits etc.
    So my character in the first hour goes from level 1 to level 27 with every skill available.

    And here’s a “cheat” for the War room table if you hate waiting…Once you’ve started a advisor mission at the war table alt-tab out and change the date/clock of your system ahead by 1 day, then alt-tab back and you should see the advisor mission complete (if the game is not paused you should see it happen instantly) now just set you date back to the correct date again.

  41. Game loading times can be excused due to the way a engine is made (This is Frostbite that BioWare is using).

    But quitting a game to the menu, if that is slow then that is a sign that memory is being freed and cleaned up.
    Quitting a game/program does not normally require freeing memory, as the OS will free all memory allocated to the program memory heap(s) automatically.

    One thing I did notice with DA:I though is that when you load a game, and then you load the same save again a moment later (or save and then load that save) then it’s only a few seconds to wait, my guess is that the engine caches a ton of stuff.
    Not sure how the Skyrim engine did things but I suspect it sort of streamed/loaded stuff in.

    The upcoming Star Wars game from DICE will obviously use the Frostbite engine. But I also seem to recall that Bethesda would move to using the Frostbite engine too?
    Oh and the next Mass Effect will use Frostbite.

    I think a lot of the issues is with BioWare learning a new engine. The DA.O and DA2 engine was BioWare’s old (but up to date) “NeverWinter” engine which was used for KoTOR and Jade Empire as well.
    I though BioWare went all Unreal when Mass Effect used Unreal, but it looks like all future BioWare games will be Frostbite engine based (EA’s influence and funding of DiCE as the reason probably).

  42. FarCry 4 uses a engine based on FarCry’s (FarCry 1), which was um using Cryengine 1 I think, it’s possible the devs are trying to “improve” the engine (instead of using Cryengine 3 or something else).

  43. For those not interested in romancing any of the companions and don’t want to romance one of the available advisors…Try flirting with the dwarven scout chick, super cute reactions, great voice acting.

  44. Ronixis says:

    Remember back when people got really angry at the BioWare writer who suggested being able to bypass combat? I find it kind of ironic* that she was the main writer for Orzammar and the Deep Roads, where everyone wants to bypass the combat.

    *Or fitting. It depends on the reaction of the person I’m talking to, I suppose.

  45. tengokujin says:

    I realize that I’m way too late for anyone to be reading my comment, but regarding Persona 4: I love hiimdaisy’s synopsis comic and the subsequent fandub.

    Spoiler Warning! :p

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