Happy Thanksgiving!

By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 27, 2014

Filed under: Rants 117 comments

It’s that time of the year when we count our blessings and overeat. But not in that order. And maybe more the second thing than the first. And then we go shopping.

In any case, I’ve compiled a list of everything I’m thankful for:

1. The loading screens are outrageous. It takes forever to start the program, forever to load a game, forever to change zones, forever to exit back to the main menu, and forever to exit the application.

2. If you want to use a controller, you need to have the controller active when the game is launched. If you forget (or if you use a wireless controller that sleeps when not in use) then you have to exit the game and re-launch it. (See #1.)

3. When the controller is in use, the mouse and keyboard stop working. ESC doesn’t even bring up the menu. I’ve never seen a game that limits input like this. Every other modern gameThat I’m aware of. lets you switch freely without needing to change any menu options at all, and doesn’t block one type of input when the other is active.

4. Being deprived of mouse input would be less disorienting if the game didn’t continue to display the now-useless mouse pointer on the menu screen. There’s no way to move it, but it’s floating there anyway for some reason.

5. These misplaced rocks:


As soon as I rolled my first character I saw these rocks hovering beside me. (And if this is supposed to be magic, then they should tumble or bob up and down or something. They’re locked in place and when you visit the spot later you can walk right through them.)

I understand that there are thousands of props in a game like this and once in a while one object ends up where it shouldn’t, but these are from the first seconds of the game.

6. If you’re using the controller and it disconnects (maybe you unplug it, or you’re using wireless and the battery dies) the game doesn’t revert to mouse + keyboard or re-enable them. You literally have no means of inputting things. If you can’t get the controller working, you have to ALT-Tab and kill the game manually.

7. Moreover, if your controller is disconnected the game doesn’t pause! It doesn’t even let you know. This is a major interface no-no and when combined with #3, means a dying battery can get you killed.

8. Sound cuts out sometimes. You can fix this by going through a zone transition or re-loading the game. (See #1.)

9. Animations sometimes stop working. Happened to me.

10. There’s a nice loading screen where you can read some in-game tips and bits of lore. However, it inexplicably vanishes after ten seconds and gives you another twenty seconds of blank screen to stare at.

11. The system requirements doesn’t match the visuals. Yes, the game “looks nice”. But Skyrim also “looks nice”. So does Shadow of Mordor. And Batman: Arkham City. Those games are all in the same general ballpark in terms of graphical details, they have larger crowds, much larger draw distances, and they take a tiny fraction of the power that Inquisition demands. I have Skyrim modded to hell and back with graphical boosts and high-res texture packs, and still out-performs Inquisition by a large margin.

12. Setting model detail on anything other than “high” will inexplicably give everyone highly glossy hair.

I want to touch it, to see what it’s made of. At the same time, I really DON’T want to touch it.

It looks shockingly bad. Moreover, this makes no sense. There’s no reason that lowering model detail should impact the lighting, and there’s no reason it needs to look this awful. Again, older games do far more with far less and look far better when reverting to lower settings.

13. Even when model detail set to high, Sera’s face looks like THIS:

You need to wait for the varnish to set before applying the second coat to avoid this messy “lumpy” look.

14. The in-game Origin Overlay is incompatible with FRAPS. Steam does not have this problem. This is probably a problem with Origin, but the mutliplayer uses the overlay to invite / join games, which means if you’re running FRAPS you can’t send or receive invitations.


Circles, how do they work?

16. The pose and camera angle always make it look like this lady has no arms.

Everybody! Everybody!

17. The game has built-in VOIP chat which is always on. You can’t adjust your mic volume. You can’t adjust the sensitivity. You can’t disable the system outright. You can’t set a push-to-talk key.

Whoops. Looks like I messed up and posted my list of Dragon Age: Inquisition glitches instead of the list of things that make me thankful. Which means tech support is going to get a really sappy email from me today and have no idea why.

To make up for it, here is a shot of Cassandra just blatantly checking out Varric’s ass:

I’ll bet you’re regretting that “Vow of Stick Up Your Butt” now, eh Cass?

I guess I’m kind of thankful for that. Have a great day.



[1] That I’m aware of.

From The Archives:

117 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Be thankful that it still isnt as bad as asscreed unity.

  2. Sacae says:

    LOL 16 made me laugh soooo much. I never noticed it. Now I will be unable to not see it.

    Also number 9 is usually caused by jumping and entering talks with someone mid jump.

    Given having no jump button, or this bug I would choose this bug. Mostly cause jumping as an archer has made getting to higher ground much much easier.

    You could say why not have the jump and also not the bug.

    But being as this is the first bioware game with jump, Im one to say meh.

    but there is another jump bug that bothers me lots more….though still not enough to be too upset.

    Also I always rename my crafting. My first bow was ‘Nug Bow’ you can guess why.

    Edit: But having jump has made my personal game as mainly an archer better. That and being able to move why basic attacking with bow. In fact I love being able to move this much as an archer getting use to a mage is hard cause you cant move and attack.

  3. Eruanno says:

    A-HA! I’m not the only one that thought the woman had no arms (#16). I had to walk around her when the cutscene was over just to double-check. And surely #10 must be a bug? Right? Some of those text blocks are really long and HAVE A SCROLL BAR. There is no way I could be able to read them in the ~10 seconds they flash by on my screen.

    1. There really should be a “Continue” button appearing when the loading is done, that way you can finish reading then click the button to resume playing. (make it a toggleable option in settings maybe).

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes.Continue button is also excellent for when the loading starts just as you have to do something else(a phone rings,you decide to go grab something,etc).Why its not more common I have no idea.

    2. Aquarion says:

      All of the longer loading-screen things I’ve seen are random pulls from codex entries you haven’t read yet, so you can always go in to the inventory and read them.

  4. Theminimanx says:

    Something I’m thankful for:
    DA:I is probably the first game I’ve seen that has alt-tab friendly loading screens. Meaning that while I was waiting for the game to load, I was reading this blog post.

    1. Changeling says:

      Wasteland 2 got it a few weeks ago. :-p

    2. Humanoid says:

      Might have worked for The Sims 3 as well, though memory somewhat hazy.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,out of the three major games that came out recently,one is a shitty port,one is just shitty,and one is practically just an expansion of its predecessor(although its still a fun game,especially because you can finish it in 15 minutes).Why are AAA games so expensive again?

    1. Warrax says:

      Apparently for DA:I, it’s all the layers upon layers of face and hair lacquer.

    2. stratigo says:

      DAI is a legitimately fun game. I’ve had more fun with it then I’ve had with a game for a few years.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Doesnt change the fact that its a shitty port.Far cry 4 is also a fun and funny game,Im enjoying it immensely,but that doesnt change the fact that its basically just a reskin of 3.

        1. Kavonde says:

          It’s not a shitty port, man. I’ve played shitty ports. It’s a competent port with a couple of weird design choices, and it’s a port from a new console generation. It’s not surprising that there’s inexplicable weirdness like wax sculpture ‘dos. Overall, though, it’s been mostly stable for me, with maybe four crashes over 80+ hours and one or two noticeable animation bugs. Maybe I’m just lucky, I dunno.

          I apparently am having the “sparse party banter” bug, though. I hadn’t noticed because the party still banters about as much as they did in the last couple of games. C’est la vie.

          1. My experience has been much like yours–it works fine apart from occasional small oddities, like getting randomly disconnected from the Dragon Age servers caused all of my video and audio settings to go back to default once. Also, choosing to customize Hawke’s face switched my Inquisitor’s voice actor from the one I like to the one I hate. Reloading the game and going with a default appearance fixed it.

            I don’t understand why you need 3 separate menus for crafting, equipping, and modding gear though. Oh, and yet another one for buying/selling. Shouldn’t I be able to do this all from a single menu? It takes me longer to run back and forth between all the tables than it did to get all the ingredients in the first place. Yeesh.

            I was also looking forward to having better customization options, but I always wind up with the same armor look because that’s the one with the decent stats. I only have 2 or 3 to choose from, anyway.

            And I don’t get why my DLC items that are level 3 to use don’t show up in my special deliveries until I’m level 10. By that time they’re basically useless.

            I’m hoping for some DLC armor/weapon packs, I guess.

  6. Sacae says:

    Personally I like DAI….

    1. mhoff12358 says:

      To be fair this isn’t saying Inquisition isn’t fun, it’s saying it has technical problems. Now, I don’t think Shamus’ Twitter feed has been nice to the game’s fun-ness, but this is a different complaint.

  7. Gunther says:

    Loading times are actually really short for me. Ah, the joys of owning an SSD…

    I do have a bug that’s more annoying than everything listed above, though; the “scarce banter” bug, which some huge percentage of the player base has without realizing it. 30 hours of play in and I’ve heard maybe 10 of the random banters when you’re supposed to get one every 10 minutes or so as you wander around the open-world areas.

    I wouldn’t have even realized I had it if I hadn’t watched a friend play on his ps4 – party members were actually having conversations with the inquisitor as he wandered around! Certainly made the interminable Hinterlands quests less dull when you’re listening toIron Bull hit on Dorian or whatever.

    1. Karthik says:

      Any idea if there’s truth to the claim floating around that DA:I’s Denuvo DRM is messing up SSDs?

      I’ve stayed away from the game so far because I don’t want another Starforce on my system, ever, and I’m waiting for this Denuvo thing to shake out.

      1. gunther says:

        Yeah that worried me, but it turned out to be a rumor started on a forum somewhere without any evidence to back it up. Now that it’s out people have run plenty of tests and found it’s no more likely to screw up SSDs than any other program. Here’s a reddit thread on it:


        I don’t wanna sound like I’m defending DA:I though, so I’m just gonna reiterate that while that bug turned out to be fake, there’s still a crap ton of real ones to discover, from the amusing (dead NPCs teleporting into the sky and then falling to the ground in front of you) to the frustrating (sometimes you’ll have finished one of the “fetch NPC #92321’s lost goat” minor quests and notification that you’ve finished it won’t come up and it’ll continue taking up space in your quest log. Forever.).

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The rumor is not without evidence,rather the evidence points out to a diferent source of the problem.

        2. IFS says:

          My favorite bug so far was when I fast traveled to a camp in the hinterlands to find a requisitions officer buried up to their neck in the ground who immediately said “Nothing to report ser” and popped back out of the earth completely unharmed.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      If I had to guess (without ever touching the game), I’d say that there’s probably a bug somewhere that makes an otherwise trivial task take 20 seconds.
      So after 10 seconds (on Shamus’ machine) the game thinks it’s done loading, removes the loading screen and then something in between doing that and bringing up the game screen again just takes forever.

      1. Eruanno says:

        The bug(?) exists in the PS4 version too.

      2. Zagzag says:

        It’s actually because the loading is split into two parts. First of all it loads the map, and this is when you get the loading screen with text on it, then it starts populating the map with terrain, trees, NPCs, etc. During the second phase you’re just sitting on a black screen with no text.

        My source is that occasionally the game bugs and the screen in the second phase isn’t black, I start off seeing just a skybox, then the ground appears, then my character in the default animation pose with arms sticking out, then the rest of the world gradually fills in around me until it’s done and I can move around.

        I have no idea why they couldn’t have unified this behind one loading screen as others presumably do, but we do at least know what it’s doing and what the distinction between the two parts is.

        (Also I’m not finding the loading intolerably long at all, but then again I’m getting similar times to the ones described in the Diecast, they’re just what I’m used to for most of the games I play. Granted, my PC doesn’t have the fastest loading times in general, but Inquisition isn’t any slower than anything else I’ve played. For some reason only people with fast PCs seem to find it takes longer than normal.)

        1. Purple Library Guy says:

          Hm. Wild guess–maybe the process somehow isn’t threaded, doesn’t take advantage of multiple cores or whatever?

  8. Zekiel says:

    I am really glad I read to the end. After reading the first couple of paragraphs I was very tempted to jump to the comments and point out you’d forgotten to mention anywhere in the title or intro that this was about DA:I.

    Amusing and somewhat depressing. I’m particularly irked by your report of how the game performs and looks on older systems, which means I’m unlikely to ever play it.

    Also Bioware have improved in one way – the game at least allows you to use a controller even if it isn’t implemented very well. I was extremely irked that Mass Effect 1-3 did not (even though it was obviously implemented for the console versions).

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      “point out you'd forgotten to mention anywhere in the title or intro that this was about DA:I.”

      What about the title picture?Even before the list started,I was wondering how he is going to tie thanksgiving with dragon age.

      1. Zekiel says:

        Eh? On closer inspection I see it says “Dragon Age Keep” in tiny letters in the bottom left of the pic, but other than that there is nothing in this picture to tell me its DA:I. Of course if you own the game I guess you’d know instantly, but I don’t. To me it could be any fantasy game.

        1. guy says:

          It’s got the Templar emblem on the shields, so it’s recognizable to people who have any Dragon Age games.

          1. Zekiel says:

            As someone who owns DA:O and has completed it twice, I dispute that. Potentially recognizable, yes. But not necessarily.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I dont own the game either.And I didnt even notice that text until now.Its just that Shamoose has talked about the game so much on twitter that as soon as I saw the picture I thought “this one is from dragon age”.

          1. Zekiel says:

            I suppose that’s a fair point. And what other generic fantasy world game (sorry Dragon Age) is being talked about now?

  9. tmtvl says:

    This list is kinda making me glad that I’m still embargoing Bioware over Mass Effect 2.

    1. acronix says:

      I embargoed them after Dragon Age 2. Close enough!

      1. gunther says:

        Even with all the bugs, Inquisition is incomparably better than DA2.

        Granted, that’s not saying a lot; DA2 was Bioware at their worst.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Wasnt that me3?The bugs,lack of polish,screw kai leng,and that awful ending.

          1. Sacae says:

            ME3 and DA2 were big ass disappointments to me.

            But I still got DAI, and Im enjoying it lots lots more.

            1. Eruanno says:

              I quite liked DA2 and ME3, despite their shortcomings. Yeah, you heard me! My opinion is different from yours, dear internet-people! Surely, the world will end now.

              1. acronix says:

                OMG I could see the fires of the end creeping out of the horizon and slowly spreading across the world as soon as you posted this.

              2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Nah,the world will be fine.As soon as you open that bo…I mean,nice safe package Ive sent you.

        2. IFS says:

          I really enjoyed DA2, though I’m certainly not going to deny that it’s flawed, so for me ME3 is Bioware at their undeniably worst.

          1. gunther says:

            I’d argue that ME3 at least has competently executed gameplay and some nice character moments, which puts it two up on DA2.

            Varric and Anders are the only characters I even remember from DA2. Everyone else just kinda blends together into “Generic Bioware party member type four: Ashley clone” or “Generic Bioware party member type six: Tali clone”.

            1. Jeff says:

              Oh come on, Merrill was adorable!

            2. Cinebeast says:

              I’m going to have to side with the others who are defending DA2. I assume when you say “Ashley clone” and “Tali clone” you’re referring to Aveline and Merril, since they match similar archetypes, but I’m sorry — they’re both damn interesting characters. I’d even go so far to say that Aveline is a perfected Ashley — she’s tough and righteous and slightly intolerant and everything, but it all works so much better on her than Ash. And I like Ash!

              Seriously though, DA2 will probably go down in history as the most underrated Bioware game out there. Calling it now.

              1. Khazidhea says:

                For me DAI is disappointing character wise, which is a first for me in the DA series. There are some interesting companion characters, but mostly my favourites are ones that carried over from previous games, I feel pretty meh about half of the rest, and actively dislike the others. I’m not knocking others opinions, this is very subjective (I’ve heard there are some out there who even like Sera!), just my view of things.

                My biggest complaint though is no option to change your character’s appearance after creation. I’ve only got a few minor things that I want to change, colour of tattoo etc, but for an 80 hour long game I feel this is something that should be possible.

              2. gunther says:

                Jade Empire, surely.

                That game caught way more flak than it deserved.

              3. gunther says:

                The fact you instantly knew who I was talking about when I said “Ashley clone” and “Tali clone” kinda proves my point for me.

                That’s at least one thing DA:I has going for it; nobody really falls neatly into the generic Bioware character templates. Iron Bull (for example) looks like he’s gonna be the “Black Whirlwind” clone – the big tough manly guy who jokes about how much he loves killing people all the time, only to completely subvert it by showing that much of it is an act for his men and he’s perhaps the most kindhearted and empathetic member of your party. He’s also bisexual and has a rather tender romance with another male party member if you don’t romance either.

                1. Kavonde says:

                  I actually had no idea who you meant by “Ashley clone.” I guess Aveline and Ashley are both human females whose names start with “A,” and both of them are classes that get to wear heavy armor. Clearly, they have so much in common.

                  Now, Merill being a Tali clone is actually one of my favorite things about DA2, because she absolutely is, but with one, big twist. Like Tali, she’s total nerd bait–smart, cute, dorky, funny–but unlike Tali, she’s also got one HUGE character flaw that made me hate her guts (in a good way): blood magic. After DA:O, I knew damn well that blood magic was Always Bad, Always, and DA2 goes out of its way to reinforce that at every single turn. Merill’s stubborn refusal to stop using it, insisting that she’s the one exception to the rule, was frustrating and fascinating to me, and it paid off in a satisfying way. Poor, stupid Merill.

                  Of course, DA2 also had Fenris. Friggin’ Sephirelf.

                  1. gunther says:

                    I guess Aveline and Ashley are both human females whose names start with “A,” and both of them are classes that get to wear heavy armor. Clearly, they have so much in common.

                    Both tough, righteous, duty-bound, slightly intolerant soldiers who have issues with your other teammates. And they both have sizeable chins.

                    “Like Tali, she's total nerd bait”“smart, cute, dorky, funny”“but unlike Tali, she's also got one HUGE character flaw that made me hate her guts (in a good way): blood magic”

                    And Tali has a fatal flaw when it comes to the Geth – both come into conflict with their estranged people (both oppressed minorities, incidentally) over their flaws and can get exiled for them. I mean, it ain’t exact, but it’s close.

            3. lurkey says:

              ME3 had Kai Leng. Your argument is invalid.

        3. Theminimanx says:

          I’ll say this about DA2 though: it’s far more interesting than DA1. Origins is the most standard fantasy game I’ve seen since Baldur’s Gate. Dragon Age 2 on the other hand, despite all it’s flaws (and it has many), tries some new things with it’s aesthetic, lore and game systems. Not that all of those things work, but they at least gave me some food for thought.

          1. Khazidhea says:

            That’s my take on DA2, though definitely understand where the majority is coming from with their opinions of the 2

        4. kdansky says:

          I found DA2 significantly better than ME2 and ME3. It was full of bugs and lacked polish, but at least it was honest: Hawke was a minor side-character on the stage of world politics, and his choices didn’t matter. Unlike Mass Effect, where Shepard is a major character, and his choices don’t matter either.

          1. guy says:

            Actually, Hawke’s choices only matter when they cause horrible things to happen. The mage-templar war can be attributed to the Deep Roads expedition and not murdering Anders with a fair degree of confidence.

  10. Zak McKracken says:

    Nice list, and you didn’t even need to bring up the multiplayer again!

  11. Henson says:

    Why is it I never noticed that massive chest-window on Varric in DA2? It hasn’t changed, and yet in every Inquisition screenshot he’s in, all I can see is the blatant cheesecake.

    I mean, I’m sure it’s a very nice cheesecake.

    1. Eric says:

      BioWare knows its audience, as evidenced by all the Cullen “beauty shots” and #ridethebull I’m seeing posted on Twitter.

      Though that said, I wonder if Varric covers himself up when he wears armor or if he gets it custom-fitted to leave his chest exposed.

      1. Eruanno says:

        It gets covered up when you swap out his armor. He still swaps back to normal chest-showing-clothes when he hangs around back in Skyhold/Haven, though.

        1. Taellosse says:

          It actually depends on the outfit. Some medium armors cover his chest, others don’t. I haven’t gotten that far into the game myself (I think everyone’s level 7 or 8 right now), but it looks like everybody gets a handful of basic outfit designs, including the one they start with, and the different armors appear as palette swaps of those.

          1. Kavonde says:

            This is mostly correct, though a handful of unique armors actually look the same on everybody.

            Also, one of the top-tier medium armors restores Varric’s chest window coat, but adds giant, spiky shoulderpads to it. It’s pretty metal.

  12. Hal says:

    Oh, now I want to talk about Skyrim mods. This is what happens when you come to a game well after others are done with it.

  13. Irridium says:

    I’ve been loving Inquisition so far. Controller support is iffy, though. I mean yeah it’s nice they finally added it in after three games that were built for it but never had the option, but still really wonky. Which is a shame.

    Also I’m surprised he didn’t mention the awful, awful inventory.

    Also also, anyone else figure out how to sprint? I’ve tried with both the controller and keyboard but it never works. Worked in the tutorial/prologue, but never again.

    1. Taellosse says:

      My understanding is that with K/M input, you default to run all the time, so the sprint key (default is left shift) does nothing. I haven’t used a controller yet, but from what I’ve heard it’s supposed to work properly there – I think one of the triggers activates sprint?

      1. Irridium says:

        Nah with a controller right trigger does your normal attack and left trigger switches the active abilities you have to use. And the left bumper brings up the radial menu (for potions and the like) and right bumper is one of your special attacks. The manuals I’ve found online say pressing the left stick sprints, but so far it’s done nothing for me.

        1. Taellosse says:

          Maybe it’s just that there’s walking and running, and the left analog stick will let you walk if you push forward a little bit, and run if you push forward all the way?

          1. Incunabulum says:

            Yeah, there’s no sprint as such – you walk or you run and the speed is controlled by the stick.

            1. Tintenseher says:

              On mouse and keyboard sprinting only does anything while mounted, where you gallop.

              1. Kavonde says:

                During multiplayer, clicking in the stick sprints as well.

  14. Bropocalypse says:

    I don’t understand 2 and 3 at all. The only way I can imagine this happening is if they hard-coded the inputs and then, instead of allowing multiple inputs do the same thing, they CHANGE what the inputs are if you have a controller plugged in at start-up.
    That almost seems like more effort. It’s an achievement in crapiness.

    (Does ‘crapiness’ have one ‘p’ or two?)

    1. Atle says:


    2. Matt Downie says:

      Maybe there were a bunch of bugs discovered at the last minute that occurred when you used the joypad and another controller simultaneously, and they decided to disable one or the other as an emergency fix?

      1. Amstrad says:

        Considering that the beta test for The Crew has this issue I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of another dev encountering it.

    3. guy says:

      I think that they have an abstract control interface that the game itself reads from and pick an input device that provides the input values on launch. That’s how I’d do it, except with a way to dynamically change which one you’re using.

  15. Artur CalDazar says:

    Wait, what’s the issue with Sera's face?

    1. Zekecool says:

      Nothing really. She is extremely ugly and I think Shamoose thinks it’s some kind of bug.

      1. Kavonde says:

        I don’t know about “extremely” ugly, but…

        I actually thought it was pretty commendable of Bioware to include a major female NPC who couldn’t double as a Victoria’s Secret model. How many other ugly (or “ugly”) heroines can you name in fantasy fiction? It’s not a big club. Pretty much just Brienne of Tarth (the book version) and one or two former-bullies-turned-allies from YA series.

    2. lurkey says:

      I think it’s the case of her still looking kind of sweaty or greasy, high settings and all. Her haircut, that seems be given to her by someone with garden sheers and very shaky hands, is probably a feature though. Bioware’s skills in making ugly characters (save DA2 and DA:O’s females) is only challenged by its hat making expertise and is very definitely a feature.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        The haircut’s definitely on purpose – she’s one of the criminal *elven* underclass of Val Royeaux – she can’t afford beauty salons.

        And (IMO) she’s not *ugly*, they just didn’t make her pretty so she stands out as ‘normal’ – and, though she’s written as really immature, she’s got an amazing smile. Its nice to see a game where the women aren’t fashion models. Though they still keep the skin tight outfits on Sera and the cleavage canyon on Vivienne

        1. Tintenseher says:

          Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of pictures of Sera complaining that the game is ugly, but the majority of them seem to forget that graphical quality and character design are two different and mostly unrelated things.

          Sera just isn’t designed to be super pretty. It doesn’t help that she squints and frowns and otherwise scrunches up her face a lot. When she relaxes and smiles she’s beautiful.

          1. acronix says:

            I thought it had more to do with the lighting, textures and polygons making her look ugly, rather than her being natively ugly.

  16. Benjamin Hilton says:

    So given all of the posts of the last few days, here is my question: Let’s say that I wanted to get into dragon age, but my only experience with it is about the first 20 minutes of the original played years ago. Would Inquisition be a good entry to try to jump in on?

    Also Happy Thanksgiving to all Twenty sided peoples.

    1. Ronixis says:

      I’d recommend starting with Origins. I found all of the games to be fun and have interesting plots, and DAI will probably be better once a patch comes out anyway.

    2. Taellosse says:

      Not really, no. It assumes an audience already familiar with both the events and characters of the previous games. You CAN find out some of the events of those prior games from dialogue with those NPCs that were involved and return, or from second-hand accounts here and there, but it’s likely to be confusing rather than informative, if you aren’t already familiar with those events. If you’re really opposed to playing the prior games for some reason(DA:O is actually quite good – sort of the apotheosis of the classic Bioware-style RPG, which not even Bioware really makes anymore. And DA2 is flawed but nowhere near as bad as many people say – much of its early problems were due to bugs that have since been fixed, and the rest is due to an overly short development, but there’s a solid game under the flaws that remain), I suppose you could go read a summary of the events of each first. But I think doing so would be a disservice to your experience overall.

      1. Incunabulum says:

        NOt being hugely familiar with the world is not much of a handicap here. They actually do a good job of explaining *important* things – either through straight out exposition or through context – and the other stuff is minor and/or can be figured out through context.

        But – *I’d* start with DA:O. Overall this really isn’t a very good *game*. Certainly not worth paying the $10 premium for a console port. Its a decent story, good characterization, but I’m not having fun *playing* the thing. Essentially I’m grinding to get to the next story point.

        I’d do DA:O and wait for a sale (assuming Origin ever has sales).

    3. Humanoid says:

      If you got DA1 for free when EA were doing the giveaway then give it a longer go. I didn’t like the game, but I didn’t truly realise how much I disliked it until 10+ hours in. (I plugged on longer than I should have because I paid $100 for the bloody thing, this is before I wised up and started importing all my games)

      If you were going to buy one game though, go ahead and buy DA3 I think, because the previous games won’t really provide you with any meaningful similarities to the current one, at least mechanically.

  17. StashAugustine says:

    I don’t have Twitter so I’m going to say “Play Crusader Kings!” here.

    Also happy Thanksgiving.

    1. Michael Wilkerson says:

      Seconded =D Also, Europa Universalis 4 is great and if you play it, i look forward to the post about how the peace deal system 1. has many faults, but 2. still has ruined other strategy game peace systems for you X-)

      Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

    2. Humanoid says:

      You could even join the CK2 forum game, there’s about 6 months before the next turn is due.

  18. pearly says:

    Not sure if this is precisely germane to the ongoing Dragon Age conversation which I’m sure is raging above my comment (and possibly soon below it as well), but I was just watching the Thanksgiving episode of Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop show, and he just named his character “Shamus Marlow”.

    So. I mean, that feels like a reference, to me. Think you’ve got a fan?

    1. Soylent Dave says:

      ‘Shamus’ is also American for ‘private detective’ (via Yiddish).

      1. pearly says:

        That, I did not know! Thank you for learning me a thing.

        Although this character is, I think, a steampunk skyship-captain, so I’m not sure that private detective was the angle being gone for.

  19. Taellosse says:

    Not to invalidate your experience, but mine has been nowhere near so frustrating. I do have a newer machine, which includes an SSD, so both rendering and loading have not really been an issue for me – load times are generally extremely brief (the tips and hints screen is rarely there long enough for me to read much, and is followed by only a moment or two of black screen), and I have seen nothing like that overly-glossy hair at all.

    The controller problems would likely bother me if I had tried to use a controller, but since I’ve always played DA on PC, I just went straight to keyboard-mouse. There are some elements of the controls that are annoying for me there, though – the fact that left-clicking on the terrain and objects no longer causes the controlled character to move to the target being a big one. The fact that I have to hold down a key (or both mouse buttons) to auto-attack is another. I hear the ability bar is limited to 8 slots, which will be annoying as my mage reaches higher levels – in DA:O I remember it let me drag the bar longer, and while it wasn’t possible to have more than 10 hotkeys for the abilities on it (corresponding to the number keys), I could still click on them on-screen just fine (thus I put things I wouldn’t need in combat much, like buffing spells or summons, off beyond the numbered slots). I can’t remember what DA2 did right now. Maybe since there were fewer active abilities it wasn’t a problem?

    The game has frozen on me a couple of times – fortunately so far never when something important was going on, and never causing me to lose much progress – the autosave is pretty aggressive. I fortunately haven’t seen any other major bugs yet – I’ve heard about the dialogue bug, where your next option in conversation never appears and the game gets stuck in a conversation window. I’ve had wandering NPCs spontaneously appear or disappear once or twice in the background, or have weird pathing behaviors over uneven terrain a few times. Sometimes the loot drops for slain enemies spawn inside the terrain and I can’t get to them. Once I found a group of NPCs around a fire in the Hinterlands, and one of them was lying inside a rock. In Val Royeaux some of my party ended up on the wrong side of a gate that’s supposed to be inaccessible. I foolishly switched active control to one of them to check the space out, then couldn’t get back out save by jumping off the balcony and injuring myself. I just got a second monitor, and shifting focus to a different program on my secondary screen for some reason causes DAI to go into windowed mode instead of just staying put on the main screen (though it goes back to full-screen once I alt-tab back again).

    On the whole, I guess I’ve been lucky – my technical problems have been pretty minor. I’m sorry your experience has been so different. I assume you’ve made sure you’ve got the latest video drivers for your card? I heard NVidia released a patch specifically for DAI (I use an AMD card).

    The thing that actually bugs me the most is apparently there are no plans to release a toolset for this game. I hear Frostbite is very hard to mod for, and downloading mods for DA:O and 2 was always a lot of fun for me, even though it never got the kind of robust community that Neverwinter Nights had (the official quests were kind of dull for that game, but the fan-made mods were enough to keep that game fun for YEARS).

    1. Incunabulum says:

      Regarding toolset – I think they expect you to be satisfied with *unlocking* characters in MP and then paying real money for potions.

    2. acronix says:

      It sounds like the game wasn’t optimized for “old” computers, if you ask me.

      Also note that you are not subject to glossy looking characters if you have your model settings on high.

  20. Incunabulum says:

    “If you want to use a controller . . .”

    This is one of the saddest mistakes in the game.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are *worse* mistakes, but this is the saddest.

    Despite early assurances that it wasn’t so, its obvious the console *was* the lead platform for development and they still couldn’t get gamepad functionality nailed down.

    1. pearly says:

      You might mean this url instead. That one tries to download itself when you open it.

      1. Jokerman says:

        It doesn’t for me, i would edit it if i could though. Grabbed that straight from the DA wikia.

      2. stratigo says:

        You know what, I’m happy she doesn’t look that way any more. too many fashion models in bioware games

        1. MichaelGC says:

          Agree – and in games in general, I guess. From just the screenshot, though, I’m not entirely sure “fashion model” was what they were going for. It seems equally possible they were actually trying for “angered panda.” ;D

        2. Jokerman says:

          I am glad they toned down that make up for sure. But i liked the less shiny skin and different hair color of the original look.

  21. McNutcase says:

    My Dragon Age: Origins plays tended to stall due to really horrible combat (far too much of it, and it’s combining all the bad things about real-time combat with all the bad things about turn-based combat to produce a pile of not fun), but my Dragon Age 2 playthrough was abandoned in disgust when I found out Hawke wasn’t going to be able to romance Varric. Since he’s also non-romance in Inquisition…

  22. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    When I got to the end of Dragon Age 2, I was so irritated, I almost through my controller through the TV. It wasn’t just the railroading, but I also found myself slogging through masses of tough enemies with no healer (having executed Anders) and -when I got to Orsino -I simply couldn’t complete the game, even with the difficulty turned down to casual. And then the actual payoff -another boss fight and… I dunno, something about a mage-templar civil war… anyway, it was really unsatisfying to watch on YouTube.

    I am in the process of playing it again, hoping that if I do a better job of speccing my characters and make sure that Bethany joins the Wardens (so I can have a healer at the end), that I may be able to play the game through, and knowing where the game is going I may pick up things that I didn’t the first time.

    If I do enjoy it, this will be the green light to give Inquisition a try -though I may wait for the price to drop. I look forward to the considered reviews of the crew here next week.

    At the present time, DA2 is not lighting my fires. The copied and pasted environments are already starting to grate. Not that they’re copied and pasted, but that they are copied and pasted but supposed to be different places. I still don’t understand why they tried to fake this. Just have a single network of caves in the Sundermount and have a series of bandits hide out there. Boom, problem solved.

    So the narrative problems at the end may yet drive me up the wall.

    We shall see.

    1. Sacae says:

      I didnt even get to the end. Mid-way I was just fed up. Probably wont even touch DA2 again.

      DAI hasnt turned on me yet though.

    2. gunther says:

      I might have given up on it in the exact same place you did for the same reasons.

      Man, combat got grating near the end of that game. Every random mook has a billion freaking hitpoints and as soon as you kill them, more just teleport in. Usually around whichever character has the lowest HP.

  23. Steve Online says:

    With regards to #13… Well, i mean, i haven’t played the game, but maybe that character is just supposed to be ugly?

    1. Shamus says:

      Lots of people have brought this up, so I think I need to clarify: The problem isn’t that she’s not conventionally attractive, the problem is that she looks like she’s in anaphylactic shock. Her skin is puffy and glossy and her eyes and lips look swollen. This clearly isn’t intentional. (In the concept art and wallpapers you can see she IS conventionally attractive.) She’s just got a worse case of the flat, overly-glossy look that everyone has. (I’d love to hear from an artist on this. The skin looks like plastic to me, but I’ll bet a good texture artist could tell you what’s wrong with this. The color map? Normal map? Specularity? I’m not sure.)

      It’s been a long-standing problem in AAA games where the art director doesn’t have a solid grip on the intended style. Here’s an example from a couple years ago:


      There is just no reason for models to look this bad. We’ve taken a massive leap forward in how much horsepower we’re using, and the models arguably look WORSE than Skyrim, Assassins Creed 2, and Mass Effect 3.

      It’s the same problem we see in The Old Republic: The character models look awkward, dull, plastic-ish, and don’t seem to match their environments.

      What happened to the people that made Jade Empire?

      1. Sacae says:

        See only Sera looks bad to me, but most of the other party members looks real nice to me. Not all the models look like Sera.

        1. Sacae says:

          Sorry, I didnt read fully. The glossiness of the models is a problem, I agree.

      2. acronix says:

        Place here a token joke about them being sacrificed to the money god.

      3. Josh says:

        Well, presumably most of them don’t work for BioWare anymore.

        1. You know, that seems like the kind of thing one could check.

          Has anybody done so? I seem to recall something like that being done, or was it for another developer?

          And thanks Shamus for the clarification.

      4. guy says:

        I think it’s at least partially specularity. One side of her face is shiny in portions and dark everywhere else.

      5. Attercap says:

        Sera’s a bit shiny/oddly textured in the game for me compared to the other companion characters, but it’s Cullen that stands out for being oddly textured. On my PC (GTX Titan, highest visual settings), he looks like he’s got some sort of disease that’s causing his face to be shiny and the rings under his eyes are unnervingly red. …I dunno, maybe it’s supposed to be a symptom of lyrium withdrawl or something.

  24. Mechaninja says:

    And people keep asking me why I still play WoW.

    Honestly I’m scared to try anything else.

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