Dalisclock plays through the Dragon Age Trilogy and makes a lot of running commentary along the way. Spoilers abound.

Dalisclock

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Did a couple of the Orzammar sidequests before I head into the deep roads for the first time. Decided to side with Behlen because while a total Jerk and a kinslayer, he's also a progressive as far as dwarves are concerned, apparently, which is probably for the best overall(though not great) considering Harrowmont is apparently Xenophobic as fuck. I contemplated trying to play both sides but found out that apparently trying to do so can cause serious bugs where neither plotline progresses and you can't finish the whole dwarf thing, so fuck it, picking one and going with it. Oh Bioware, you make a perfect opportunity to play both sides and backstab two opposing nobles but then leave bugs in there that make it a risky attempt to do so for your save.

Decided was a good time to check out another of the DLC, Tales of Orzammar. So it sets up with giving you the character creator screen again, letting you build a character from scratch, ,giving you some free points to build your character and then dumping you at tapster's tavern where a MYSTERIOUS HELMETED NOBLE DWARF offers you the chance to find an artifact in the deep roads and after you recruit one of the drunks(sorry, there's one drunk dwarf warrior you can recruit and you can't leave the tavern to look for anyone else) you're sent straight to the deep roads to fight through tunnels of darkspawn, spiders and those little lizard dudes before you reach the Aeducan Thaig, fight a Golem Boss Then at the end the MYSTERIOUS HELMETED NOBLE DWARF shows up and reveals him to be Prince Bhelen, brags to you that he's scheming to kill his brother and then tries to kill you in another Boss fight. You can beat him, but then he just congratulates you on beating him then offers you exile instead of death because he can't possibly let you live.

It's a Demo. It even flashes a big PC GAMER screen at you when you start up the thing and looks like it was basically to show off the gameplay, which it does decently since you have full use of the character creator(no, you aren't limited to a dwarf despite starting in Orzammar and it kinda makes no sense to let you choose any origin or race but whatever) but otherwise if you've played the dwarf noble origin you've already seen all of this. You even take the exact same route through the deep roads to reach the thiag where the noble origin finds the shield. It kinda sets up Bhelen's betrayal but that's only if you played it before playing that origin story, otherwise it's completely redundant. It also feels cheap since there's no VA at all or even cutscenes. It's more or less a generic RPG dungeon crawl with the most generic "Meet at Tavern, go through caves and fight monsters to find artifact" RPG plot with the "Curse your inevitable betrayal" twist at the end, which again, it's a twist if you already played that origin story and realize the MYSTERIOUS HELMETED NOBLE DWARF is Bhelen(and you can trick his bodyguard into saying most of his name at the first meeting).

So if you had played Tales of Orzammar back in 2009 a month before the game came out, no doubt on a PC Gamer Demo CD, Maybe this might have gotten you to play the game based on it's gameplay. Playing it now it feels generally pointless and I probably would have felt insulted if I'd paid extra for this by itself, but then again bioware threw it in with the DLC in general and it's like an hour long at most so it's generally just very meh. You can skip this and not miss anything at all.
 
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Drathnoxis

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I didn't even think of bringing Zevron, though I really should have. I ended up bringing Liliana instead because I'd done more with her. Maybe I didn't realized Zevron was originally a Dalish or something? I also tend to get really comfortable with a party combination and then don't experiment much unless I'm having issues. That's why Alister is almost always in my party because I'm a Rogue and a tank is very useful. And Morrigan and Wynne are my Black/White mages respectively.

Then again, I'm playing a rogue and I have the Assasin tree so technically I am the assasin.
Zevron was definitely not Dalish, he was raised in a city by prostitutes and assassins. Looking it up, his mother used to be Dalish, though.
 
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thestor

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Do you explore the game world a lot? Like, talk with everybody? Not so much for the XP but for the worldbuilding. For example, what did you think of the Dalish?
 
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Do you explore the game world a lot? Like, talk with everybody? Not so much for the XP but for the worldbuilding. For example, what did you think of the Dalish?
I generally tend to poke my head into as many nooks and crannies as I can, unless I'm in a dungeon and getting ambushed every 5 seconds and I'm just kinda ready to be done with it, so I might decide to just skip a couple rooms. Especially if I'm full up on loot and need to offload, in which case I'll try to come back later. Towns I'll definitely explore and talk to anyone with a name and especially anyone whose spotted me because they've got an exclamation mark over their head.

The worldbuilding is pretty good and probably one of the best things about the game aside from the roleplaying and dialogue choices. I do feel like some of it is buried in arguably harder to read then I'd like codex entries(Mass Effect seems like they got this down a lot better).

The Dalish were interesting though not as invovled as some of the other factions. It feels like the elves kinda got shortchanged because the Elves have the ones who live in shitty city ghettos and the ones who live in mobile camps out in the forest while the Dwarves have all these complex poltiical and cultural things going on and the Humans are waging a near civil war along with a mage rebellion going on as well as Loghain fucking the king over and the Dalish thing is basically....some werewolves because of some shit their leader did way back in the day. I mean, thematically's fine but it feels fairly detached from everything else, even the Origin story of the Dalish Warden.
 

meiam

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I generally tend to poke my head into as many nooks and crannies as I can, unless I'm in a dungeon and getting ambushed every 5 seconds and I'm just kinda ready to be done with it, so I might decide to just skip a couple rooms. Especially if I'm full up on loot and need to offload, in which case I'll try to come back later. Towns I'll definitely explore and talk to anyone with a name and especially anyone whose spotted me because they've got an exclamation mark over their head.

The worldbuilding is pretty good and probably one of the best things about the game aside from the roleplaying and dialogue choices. I do feel like some of it is buried in arguably harder to read then I'd like codex entries(Mass Effect seems like they got this down a lot better).

The Dalish were interesting though not as invovled as some of the other factions. It feels like the elves kinda got shortchanged because the Elves have the ones who live in shitty city ghettos and the ones who live in mobile camps out in the forest while the Dwarves have all these complex poltiical and cultural things going on and the Humans are waging a near civil war along with a mage rebellion going on as well as Loghain fucking the king over and the Dalish thing is basically....some werewolves because of some shit their leader did way back in the day. I mean, thematically's fine but it feels fairly detached from everything else, even the Origin story of the Dalish Warden.
There's more Dalish in DA2 cause one of the character is Dalish, but they haven't been explored that much in any of the game. But next one should be heavily focused on them.

The codex UI sucks, on console as you scroll down it automatically mark new entry as "read" so its really hard to figure if you've already read an entry...
 

Gordon_4

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There's more Dalish in DA2 cause one of the character is Dalish, but they haven't been explored that much in any of the game. But next one should be heavily focused on them.

The codex UI sucks, on console as you scroll down it automatically mark new entry as "read" so its really hard to figure if you've already read an entry...
You know the Codex in DragonAge sucking compared to Mass Effect almost seems like a joke about the ability of the two civilisations to record, archive and disseminate information to be understood by the masses.

The DragonAge setting is shit at it because it’s based on a period where reading and writing are considered higher learning skills and books and such must be produced by hand and carefully stored.

The Mass Effect setting however is 200 years hence from us with all the advantages and advances in digital storage and distribution and reading and writing are considered basic skills taught to children.
 

Drathnoxis

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The codex UI sucks, on console as you scroll down it automatically mark new entry as "read" so its really hard to figure if you've already read an entry...
Yeah, I was going to post about that. So frustrating. You basically need to just ignore the codex until the very end and then spend 2 hours just reading entries or else you are forever trying to figure out if you've read something already.
 

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Spent the last few days playing Bhelens errand boy. "Hey, Warden. Go into the Deep Roads and find this guy to win his vote" So I do it. Then it's

Bhelen: "Hey, I have an Organized Crime Problem. Go kill Jarvia, the leader of the Mob in the crap part of Orzammar"
Me: "Don't you have guards for this short of thing?"
Bhelen: "I do but I don't wanna waste any of my guards on this. You do it. FRIEND"
Me: *Sigh* "Fine"

So I go rummaging around the Dust District, find the sus door, realize I need a key of some sort and then spend like 10-15 minutes wandering around trying to find some Carta members to beat up for their key. Interestingly, I was ambushed by a group of them when I first entered and when I looted them(I need to get paid, after all) they didn't have anything. I also scared off a couple of thugs trying to shake down a shopkeeper in the commons and I wondered if I made a mistake or if they would come back. No, it turns out I had to go to the Dwarf Commoner house, which I'd already checked out a few times before this looking for loot and only then I'd be ambushed by thugs who had a key. Except I had no reason to think there would be anything new there now and only when I checked a guide I realized I was supposed to go back there yet again.

Fucking Dragon Age.

So after chopping my way through most if not all of the Dwarven underclass on behalf of the Prince(Am I the baddie?), I go back and find out of course, Bhelen needs something else.

Bhelen: "Good Job. Now go find the Anvil of the Void and Paragon Branka, who MIGHT still be alive somewhere in the Deep Roads"
Me: "I'd really like my troops now, like you promised"
Bhelen: "Too bad, BUDDY. I'm not done with you yet because I got more dirty work to be done and I know and you know I hold all the cards here"
Me: "Fuck. Okay, so where is Branka and the Anvil?"
Bhelen: "No clue but hey, just go into the Deep Roads and you'll find it eventually. Try this Crossing"
Me: *Looking at map of the Deep Roads and noticing just how much Empty Space is still on that map past the new location he gave me* "FUCK!"
Bhelen: "Have a good time, BUUUUUUUUDDDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!" *Sporting the most punchable smile in Orzammar*

So yeah, looks like I get to go crawling deep, deep into the Deep Roads on a totally easy and not at all annoying task waste of my fucking time.

At least I'm getting paid a lot for this, right? RIGHT?
 

laggyteabag

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So yeah, looks like I get to go crawling deep, deep into the Deep Roads on a totally easy and not at all annoying task waste of my fucking time.
The Deep Roads were always such an interesting concept to me.

Dozens of Dwarven towns and cities, connected by a sprawling labyrinth of underground roads. Once necessary for Dwarven travel and trade, now overrun with Darkspawn, and other subterranean horrors. Occasionally the Darkspawn would dig their way to the surface, releasing the Darkspawn Horde onto the surrounding areas.

Its just a shame that in Dragon Age Origins, at least, they are little more than a few corridors and caves.

There are a few adjacent interesting bits of lore, though. The Legion of the Dead and the Warden's Calling come to mind. But visually, it is a bit of a slog.

I do remember that the Deep Roads are revisited in DA2, and a DA:I DLC, but I can't really remember how much more interesting they are, there.
 

Gordon_4

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The Deep Roads were always such an interesting concept to me.

Dozens of Dwarven towns and cities, connected by a sprawling labyrinth of underground roads. Once necessary for Dwarven travel and trade, now overrun with Darkspawn, and other subterranean horrors. Occasionally the Darkspawn would dig their way to the surface, releasing the Darkspawn Horde onto the surrounding areas.

Its just a shame that in Dragon Age Origins, at least, they are little more than a few corridors and caves.

There are a few adjacent interesting bits of lore, though. The Legion of the Dead and the Warden's Calling come to mind. But visually, it is a bit of a slog.

I do remember that the Deep Roads are revisited in DA2, and a DA:I DLC, but I can't really remember how much more interesting they are, there.
The Deep Roads aren’t very impressive in DAII. But the Decent, the DLC for Inquisition makes them look very, very impressive. And one of the guest NPCs is voiced by David Hayter so that’s fun.
 

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Get more drunk.
Wait, do the deep roads improve with intoxication? Is that the missing factor here? Is that why Oghren is always drunk?

I haven't had much to say for the past few days because the deep roads really aren't that interesting in execution, as others have said. Sure, it's a cool idea but in practice it's a lot of caves and underground highways. And honestly Kentucky Route Zero did the Underground Highway thing a lot better. Yeah, Bioware, you got beat by 5 guys working in a phone booth. Suck it!

I said it before and I stand by it. Dragon Age Origins graphics are passable and the level design is generally okay at best. The Deep Roads just emphasizes this more then a lot of other areas because mostly it's a series of twisting tunnels that al look very much the same.

The deep roads gets a little more interesting at the Ortain Thaig where there's an actual underground city of sorts and the poor crazy guy living in the ruins, apparently eating Kentucky Fried Darkspawn for all his meals. Then again, there's the spiders. So many fucking giant spiders. I feel bad for someone who has arachnophobia trying to play this section.

Also picked up Oghren, who's....interesting. He seems to be perpetually sloshed and considering Branka was his wife, yeah, there's a lot going on there. He won't let me chat with him right now but you know what, that's fine. Best to get this shit over with. I know I have to go to the Dead Trenches which sounds like a magical wonderful place to hang out and totally not awful and horrible and full of underground goblin-orc-zombies.

The Deep Roads aren’t very impressive in DAII. But the Decent, the DLC for Inquisition makes them look very, very impressive. And one of the guest NPCs is voiced by David Hayter so that’s fun.
Guest NPCs? David Hayter?
 
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meiam

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DA2 is probably where the deep road get explored the most, the second arc of the game focus is an expedition there. Although even then it's nothing special (you'll be glad when you do go there though since it'll be new dungeon map rather than the same 2-3 you do most of the game).

I can't even remeber if DA:I has any significant section in the deep road, I think dwarf are barely in that game.
 
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So broke through the Dead Trenches last night and reached the Anvil before I realized what time it was and had to go to bed, so once I unlocked the Anvil location I went back to Ozrammer to rest and replenish supplies(thank god I can fast travel between sections of the deep roads). That scene at the beginning of the Dead Trenches is nicely done, very effective and the dwarven city is probably the most impressive part of the deep roads outside of Orzammar, especially how fucking spooky it feels.

The legion of the dead were an interesting encounter, where they point out "We do this shit every day to keep Orzammar safe. A blight is a break for us" and realize just how fucking nuts their life must be that they've dedicated it fighting darkspawn deep in the abandoned parts of the deep roads. It's quite dedicated, though I'm still gonna yank the cool shit from the dead dwarves buried nearby because I need that shit. You know, for the greater good and all that.

Then I reached the fucking Broodmother and boy, that was just fucking horrific and disgusting. I managed to kill the thing on the first try but damn if that wasn't a tough fight and I almost wiped at the end. The chanting coming up to the fight DID NOT HELP. No Sir, it did not help.

The fact that ANY woman who is captured can be transformed into a darkspawn factory is horrific and hypothetically if you could kill all of the broodmothers you could wipe out the darkspawn through attrition but holy shit what an awful task that would be. You'd need a full army going down there to even attempt it and have any chance of success. Preferably with explosives and fire.

Hopefully I'm almost done with the Paragon of her kind quest and should finish it up tonight after work. I suspect it's not gonna be as easy as "Hey Branka, come back home" since I doubt Branka is....okay......considering she's been down here for 2 fucking years and I haven't seen much if any left of the house she came down here with. Other then the lady whose clearly lost her shit and was doing the creepy chanting on the run up to the broodmother.
 
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meiam

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So broke through the Dead Trenches last night and reached the Anvil before I realized what time it was and had to go to bed, so once I unlocked the Anvil location I went back to Ozrammer to rest and replenish supplies(thank god I can fast travel between sections of the deep roads). That scene at the beginning of the Dead Trenches is nicely done, very effective and the dwarven city is probably the most impressive part of the deep roads outside of Orzammar, especially how fucking spooky it feels.

The legion of the dead were an interesting encounter, where they point out "We do this shit every day to keep Orzammar safe. A blight is a break for us" and realize just how fucking nuts their life must be that they've dedicated it fighting darkspawn deep in the abandoned parts of the deep roads. It's quite dedicated, though I'm still gonna yank the cool shit from the dead dwarves buried nearby because I need that shit. You know, for the greater good and all that.

Then I reached the fucking Broodmother and boy, that was just fucking horrific and disgusting. I managed to kill the thing on the first try but damn if that wasn't a tough fight and I almost wiped at the end. The chanting coming up to the fight DID NOT HELP. No Sir, it did not help.

The fact that ANY woman who is captured can be transformed into a darkspawn factory is horrific and hypothetically if you could kill all of the broodmothers you could wipe out the darkspawn through attrition but holy shit what an awful task that would be. You'd need a full army going down there to even attempt it and have any chance of success. Preferably with explosives and fire.

Hopefully I'm almost done with the Paragon of her kind quest and should finish it up tonight after work. I suspect it's not gonna be as easy as "Hey Branka, come back home" since I doubt Branka is....okay......considering she's been down here for 2 fucking years and I haven't seen much if any left of the house she came down here with. Other then the lady whose clearly lost her shit and was doing the creepy chanting on the run up to the broodmother.
Dunno if you plan on playing it but the expansion for DA1 deal a lot more with the darkspawn. But awkwardly the darkspawn fade into obscurity with later game and now I'm not even sure if its cannon.
 
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Dunno if you plan on playing it but the expansion for DA1 deal a lot more with the darkspawn. But awkwardly the darkspawn fade into obscurity with later game and now I'm not even sure if its cannon.
I'm planning on doing all the DLC though I might take a short break after main games here and there. There's also the possibility I might not finish a DLC if it gets on my nerves too much. I've been hearing that the Golems DLC for Origins gets wickedly difficult at some point so I'm not going to beat my head on it if it doesn't feel like it's worth it.

If the new monkey island game is good I plan to play that between finishing origins and awakening because Monkey Island will be short regardless and I'll need a short break.
 
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Fourth quest finished. Got to the Anvil, met Branka's crazy ass and Cariden and his big stone booty and realized I had to make a choice between him and her or more accurately, help Branka use the Anvil to make more Golems or destroy it. Though for me this wasn't much of a choice. Sure, the Golems are big fantasy mecha-like fighters, but everything I've seen so far convinced me that the cost of using the anvil outweighs it's benefits.

To start out with, there's the fact a lot of the "volunteers" weren't willing, but criminals and casteless and political rivals sentenced to become golems to feed the war machine, which itself is pretty skeevy. Keep in mind, Golems are golems FOREVER, they don't get a pardon once the war is over and are still slaves to the control rod, so there's a huge ethical issue right there even if all other things were equal. Then you get to the fact golems are made by putting dwarves in a suit of rock and POURING LIQUID LYRIUM onto them to fill in the cracks until they stop screaming(so yeah, it doesn't sound like they get any kind of painkillers for this), so that's even more horrible. When Morrigan started up on "We should keep the forge!" I shut her down by asking if she'd like to become a golem and suddenly she wasn't so keen because now it affects her. Fucking hypocrite.

Of course,that's all before the fact that Branka was fucking insane by this point and there was no way I trust her judgement about this. It sounds like she flat out admitted to feeding her entire house into the traps before the anvil in hopes to get at it and even worse, she might have had something to do with the broodmother back there was well. Then you have Caridian, who has been golemized, flat out asking me to destroy the fucking thing and honestly the choice is clear which is the good choice and which is the bad choice.Honestly, I don't trust the dwarven leadership to not abuse the thing either, especially Bhelen considering what he does to get power.

I did crown the fucker, because I promised him and I need his army by my side to fight the blight, but of course he immediately orders harrowmont execution IN FRONT OF ME as if for the sole reason of making me feel sick about my decision. But I made my blood deal and got my dwarven army so huzzah. Now that Oghren is part of my party I can feed him booze to get his approval up, though I question if I should since the man probably needs some kind of fantasy rehab more then me feeding his habit.

It's argued that the golems can help the dwarves regain the upper hand in the deep roads but honestly it feels like a band aid solution at best. The dwarves problems seem to stem from a stagnant at best and just plain awful at worst political and cultural system that nobody really seems to care much about fixing and it's been slowly killing them for centuries if not millennium. Them going extinct or not isn't going to come down to having golems, it's going to be them pulling their collective heads out of their asses and trying to change course as a society before they pass the point of no return.
 
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Drathnoxis

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I feel like saying that the Dwarves problems stem from stagnant cultural views is underestimating the darkspawn a bit much.