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#1 | Back to Top09-23-2013 10:00:16 PM

Quixim
New Student
Registered: 04-08-2013
Posts: 8

Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Heya! I'm a recent fan of the Bioware games, and I've found a lot of difficulty in finding places to talk to them. The Bioware forums are pretty bad, and Tumblr is difficult because all discussions are by nature open to all followers, just as an inherent fact. I really love the attitudes of people here in the rose garden, and the kinds of analysis you do, and so I sort of wanted to create a topic to start a ball rolling talking about dragon Age and Dragon Age: 2 and the upcoming sequel!

To start off with: Any main thoughts on mages and what they face? There's a lot of really great tumblr posts such as http://sinaxi.tumblr.com/post/61228162733 that one about mages, but what are your thoughts? Also, how do you feel about Anders' actions at the end of DA2, or how he and Fenris butt heads due to the different types of abuse that other people have felt?

Or perhaps, on a metatextual level, the difference between DA1 and DA2 in terms of theme and storytelling, with different writers in charge?

I'm looking forwards to reading your thoughts~

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#2 | Back to Top09-24-2013 01:17:45 AM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Thoughts about mages, huh?

You know, I honestly don't have any complex thoughts about the situation the mages are in. It's wrong, pure and simple. The certain collateral damage of basically enslaving people is worse than the potential damage caused if they were free. In a world where a rogue is a match for a mage (and yes, I would argue that a rogue and mage of the same level are equally matched in both DA:O and DA2) there is no excuse for the kind of mental and physical bondage that the mages endure.

Also, all the fuss about Andraste and the Chantry and how the touch of human mages tainted the Golden City and the Maker turned his face away is bullshit. Even if all that happened, and even if the Maker did turn his face away from humanity because the Golden City was tainted, punishing people that had nothing to do with that "sin" still makes him a gigantic bag of dicks who would take entirely too much dancing around and placating for my tastes. So, fuck him, he's a jerk. Don't punish the mages on the account of a god who demands mercy and temperance and enlightenment but won't bother to cultivate any himself.

...this may be why I'm not Christian emot-keke


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#3 | Back to Top09-25-2013 12:30:43 AM

Quixim
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Registered: 04-08-2013
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

I agree! But I'd note that one of the big examples used in fandom and in-universe is the Tevinter Empire, which is a magocracy that undergoes wholesale exploitation of the non-mages and lesser-mages. The in-game balance between classes isn't exactly equal to the reality-altering and blood-magic powers of mages, especially blood mages and demonology, and the access to greater powers that they have. The circle system and the chantry and the way the chantry exploits the templars and makes them at odds with each other is definitely wrong, but there has to be some checks and balances for the power inherent in Mages

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#4 | Back to Top09-29-2013 02:31:58 PM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Oh, I definitely agree. Tevinter is a leetle too much like the end-game Roman Empire; I would be surprised if the writers didn't include some sort of upheaval there after they're done with Orlais.

What do you think would be a good system of checks and balances? I do agree that mages have more destructive power than any other class, so story-wise, they would probably win over a thief (NOT IF THAT THIEF IS BEING PLAYED BY ME emot-mad) or a warrior. There would have to be a corresponding organization to watch them for signs of possession/destructive behavior. The system of the templars is a terrible one because it interferes and regulates too much in their lives. What if they took a few steps back? And presented themselves as friends rather than jailers, helping the mages to make sure that everyone, mages, peasants, and nobles alike, is safe? The kind of organization that would ally itself with mages like Wynne in order to prevent harm.

I dunno, I just keep thinking that the Circle mages don't need jailers so much as they need allies to help protect them from everything, even themselves. But I'm a hopeless optimist. emot-keke

Hey, has anyone read the comics? I'd love to know what goes on in them.


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#5 | Back to Top09-29-2013 08:27:52 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Yasha wrote:

(NOT IF THAT THIEF IS BEING PLAYED BY ME emot-mad)

All powerful mages have to like, notice you're there, to stop you from stealing their precious lyrium-imbued items. emot-biggrin

I haven't played DA2 yet, but the thing that strikes me about it is that the Templar solution doesn't teach anyone any kind of control, all it does is distribute an unholy amount of power more equally between two groups that aren't necessarily able to handle it, instead of giving it all to one. It's a checks and balances attempt, sure, but it always seemed to me that most of the templars were no better equipped to make decisions for the mages than the mages themselves were. If anything, there seemed to be a theme of zealotry and control with the templars that deliberately didn't become them. After all, the only head trip as big as being able to alter the fabric of the cosmos is being able to dominate such a powerful creature and have utter control over their fate. Alistair, who is the opposite of power hungry, seems to be presented as a counterpoint to how the templars are often portrayed. I could be totally talking out my ass, though.

And then there's Morrigan, a mage raised outside the boundaries society places on them. She's brought to us as an example of the potential mages have to better understand their own power than they necessarily do from within the Circle. She has a sense of her own potential and the responsibility she has to the world at large that feels lacking in a lot of the mages you meet in the game, who are kind of snobby and aristocratic, in the way you'd expect from people raised in an enclosed space and told they're very, very special little snowflakes. You can never really know your own strength and your responsibility to temper it if you're protected from it, but at the same time, what option is there for society at large when the bad apple can destroy not only a barrel but god damn everything around them?

I don't think there's a good answer for that one. I'd like to think though, that if the templars weren't there, most mages would be smart enough, and responsible enough, to be somewhat self-moderating. I'd like to think they'd keep each other from the dangers the templars are stated to protect them from.


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#6 | Back to Top10-05-2013 11:44:40 AM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Yasha wrote:

In a world where a rogue is a match for a mage (and yes, I would argue that a rogue and mage of the same level are equally matched in both DA:O and DA2) there is no excuse for the kind of mental and physical bondage that the mages endure.

I don't know that I would agree with this, at least in the equally matched category. I've never had a single enemy rogue take down my entire team before. I have, unfortunately, had a single mage do it. Repeatedly.

So much so that making sure either Morrigan or Wynne has the Mana Clash spell is an absolute requirement, and that I target mages above any other enemy on the field.

Now, granted, these mages are striking from a distance. Once I get in close they are usually toast within one or two swings of my trusty sword sword, sword my diamond sword sword.

But if they have time to unleash multiple AOE or chain-effect spells, they can effectively win the battle without warrior support.

Similarly, on my own side, if I have Morrigan and Wynne combine AOE spells, they can clear the entire field without me having to engage anyone.

I think this type of mass damage is really at the root of the Chantry and Templar's caution.

I do agree with you that there is no excuse for the way the Chantry handles this, and no excuse for the abuse the mages suffer. I can see why they'd feel that way, however.


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#7 | Back to Top10-07-2013 03:19:30 PM

Snow
Troublesome Insect
From: in the wolf
Registered: 09-30-2013
Posts: 642

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

I never quite understood what they wanted to achieve with the circle system anyway.

'Hmmmm what could we possibly do with a huge group of supernaturally gifted, possibly dangerous people vulnerable to demonic possesion?Oh, I know! Let's take them from their homes as babies,cram them all in stone towers, deny them basic human freedoms and allow them to be treated like crap by an army of religiously militant junkies! That sounds like a great idea!We'll also brainwash them into thinking god hates them, for good measure...what could possibly go wrong?' They were kinda asking for all this shit in the first place...

I didn't quite feel for the mages in Origins, possibly because the circle in Ferelden, as we later find out, had it all a bit easier than the other circles ( things still went to shit, though ). It hit me pretty hard in DA2, though...mainly because of Anders ( I love the guy, can't help it emot-biggrin ). I won't spoil but damn...it makes you think. Even so I ended up not knowing what to feel, as the story really allows you to see the situation from both sides ( what DA2 did good, for all the hate it gets )...my roleplaying of an overprotective Hawke watching out for her little sis' won over, in the end...
I really hope the third game allows some kind of a third option, a way to make things a little better for one side without messing it up completely for the other. I honestly have no idea what that option could be, though, with the present situation and all.
(...shit, what I really hoped for was getting to shag Anders again, but I probably won't be getting that *sigh* emot-frown )

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#8 | Back to Top10-09-2013 11:54:36 PM

Quixim
New Student
Registered: 04-08-2013
Posts: 8

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

I think the templars themselves are fine, but their influence by the chantry is not. I think that having templars around to check in on what the mages are doing, templars who -understand- the process and theory of magic, and who are present during experiments to ensure nothing's going wrong or anybody's doing anything evil or blood magey or something would work. Not to shut down pranks, but to basically make sure nobody summons a bunch of demons. An independant mage-group could work for sure, but then it's sort of like trusting the government to police the government.

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#9 | Back to Top10-10-2013 12:10:09 AM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8731
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Ashnod wrote:

I think this type of mass damage is really at the root of the Chantry and Templar's caution..

I always thought it was more the threat from demonic possession than the overall destructive potential of a mage acting entirely on his own? Granted there are huge stretches of the DA universe I'm not in on yet. The whole mage conflict for me was mostly absorbed in the first game by taking Alistair and Morrigan everywhere I went and listening to them crab at each other. Now that I think of it, I don't think I'd have had much of an impression of it at all without their banter. Even Wynne didn't address it much but that is probably because she spent most of the dialogue trees with me laffoing at my budding romance with Alistair.


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#10 | Back to Top10-10-2013 12:24:55 PM

Snow
Troublesome Insect
From: in the wolf
Registered: 09-30-2013
Posts: 642

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Quixim wrote:

I think the templars themselves are fine, but their influence by the chantry is not. I think that having templars around to check in on what the mages are doing, templars who -understand- the process and theory of magic, and who are present during experiments to ensure nothing's going wrong or anybody's doing anything evil or blood magey or something would work. Not to shut down pranks, but to basically make sure nobody summons a bunch of demons. An independant mage-group could work for sure, but then it's sort of like trusting the government to police the government.

Maybe the solution could be using scholars who studied magic (there's some kind of college in Orlais) instead of templars, basically someone not controlled by a religious institution ( that is biased against the mages from the get-go ). I think a scientific approach to magic could lead to some breakthroughs, possibly a way to protect against possession or counter blood magic, plus mages would be more willing to cooperate with someone that approaches them with no prejudice.
Plus the whole lyrium addiction thing going on in the templar circles definitely doesn't help, so if templars were tocontinue doing their duty, some effective method of supervision would be necessary...
I agree that while most templars we meet in the games are asses, there are some decent ones, so being a jerk obviously doesn't come with the job

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#11 | Back to Top10-10-2013 05:19:44 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Giovanna wrote:

Ashnod wrote:

I think this type of mass damage is really at the root of the Chantry and Templar's caution..

I always thought it was more the threat from demonic possession than the overall destructive potential of a mage acting entirely on his own? Granted there are huge stretches of the DA universe I'm not in on yet. The whole mage conflict for me was mostly absorbed in the first game by taking Alistair and Morrigan everywhere I went and listening to them crab at each other. Now that I think of it, I don't think I'd have had much of an impression of it at all without their banter. Even Wynne didn't address it much but that is probably because she spent most of the dialogue trees with me laffoing at my budding romance with Alistair.

Sure, the danger of an abomination is part of it, but isn't the only part the Chantry and the Templars fear.

There is no effort to bring apostate mages into the Circles; essentially to convert them. They are treated as malificar and hunted down because they are not controlled. Mages that practice blood magic are obviously considered a bigger threat than the standard apostate, but these mages are still hunted down and killed.

Wynne's story about her former student Aneiren is a perfect example of this.

Last edited by Ashnod (10-10-2013 05:20:21 PM)


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#12 | Back to Top10-11-2013 11:26:26 AM

Snow
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From: in the wolf
Registered: 09-30-2013
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Ashnod wrote:

There is no effort to bring apostate mages into the Circles; essentially to convert them. They are treated as malificar and hunted down because they are not controlled. Mages that practice blood magic are obviously considered a bigger threat than the standard apostate, but these mages are still hunted down and killed.

I agree, surely at least some apostates would be willing to cooperate if they weren't in danger of being killed.
Plus I got the impression ( from games only though ) that some apostates turned to blood magic because they were being hunted by the Chantry, and turned to it as a last resort...all of which could have been avoided if templars acted like you suggest. That would leave only the completely batshit insane mages  as a threat.

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#13 | Back to Top10-12-2013 01:13:27 AM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Gah...

Damnit, Dragon Age, why do you play with my emotions like that. emot-frown

It's strange how what one might consider the optimal ending is actually pretty damn depressing.


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#14 | Back to Top10-12-2013 11:16:50 PM

Nova
Phoenix Down
Registered: 05-02-2012
Posts: 535

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Never again, EA.

So in March 2012 Amazon gave me a gift to apologize for Mass Effect 3 being such a turd sandwich: a free copy of Dragon Age Origins. At the time I gave it a spin, played to about level 5, and decided that I was not having fun, so I stopped.

Tonight I decided to give it another go.

The game uses EA's Steam knockoff, Origin. I fired up Origin and downloaded the game, then clicked PLAY. At the main menu for DA:O, I was asked to log in to my Bioware/EA/Origin account, so I entered the appropriate user id and password, and it failed to connect to the EA server. I quit DA:O, quit Origin, launched Origin again, clicked PLAY on DA:O, and tried to log in again. I got in this time.

I checked the DLC menu, because I remember having a lot of it, part of the package from Amazon. There was a list of about twelve bits of DLC to which I was entitled, but had not downloaded. I clicked one to download it. The download failed. Huh. I clicked it again. It failed again, and I was informed by a pop-up that I would now be taken to EA's tech support, and DA:O summoned Firefox and opened a window to the main landing page for EA support. I've been on that site before, and know that it is a fool's errand to get anything done there, so I Xed out of Firefox and tabbed back to DA:O. I tried to download some other bit of DLC, and got the same result.

Huh.

So I fired up Firefox and Googled that shit, because fuck EA. The top result was a 12-page ranty thread in some forum in which a Bioware rep admitted that things were fucked, and linked about four links to bits of DLC, and instructed all to click the links, download the packages, and use a utility program buried three levels deep in the DA:O install folder to install them manually. Like the next ten post replies, I too noticed that this was far fewer bits of DLC than I actually owned. Not wanting to do something that looks wrong at first glance, I minimized that tab and tried something else. I popped over to The Worst Forum On The Internet (social.bioware.com) and clicked into my profile to check the bit about me which lists which products I own, and found about twenty (which is more than twelve) bits of DA:O DLC for which I was eligible.

I manually downloaded all twenty to my desktop and then used the obscure utility buried three layers deep in the file system to install them. No dice. These DLC require a newer version of DA:O.

Wait. I downloaded DA:O through Origin earlier tonight. Is this not the most current version?

No. No it is not. Unlike Steam, Origin does not auto-magically send the most current version of a game, or auto-patch installed games. (To quote Jeff "Joker" Moreau: "what the shiiiiit?")

So, back to Google, where I found (top result, again, because either I am a goddess of Google, or Google knows way too much about me) a twentyish-page angry tech support thread in which some other rep of Bioware posted a week or so ago that all this is solved by the DA:O 1.05 patch, and here's a link.

So I downloaded 1.05, ran the installer, and patched DA:O up to 1.05. Then I ran the obscure utility buried three layers deep in the file system to patch in my twenty bits of DLC. It appeared to work.

I fired up DA:O. The DLC window is broken into three tabs, one showing what you can buy (suspiciously empty), what you can download (full of red X marks from failed download attempts), and what you have installed. The what I have installed tab showed all twenty ready to go. Ordinarily this would please me, but the presence of the same twenty items in the next tab to the left with lots of red X marks and "0% downloaded" comments unnerved me.

I dared not try. Annoyed beyond belief, I closed DA:O and went to do something else, like write this. I'll start playing tomorrow.


. . . maybe.


I have left this forum. If you wish to contact me, ask Ashnod or Satyreyes how I may be reached.

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#15 | Back to Top10-14-2013 06:22:06 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Bah.

Awakenings, why do you have to make me dislike the world of Dragon Age?

I'm suddenly not looking forward to Golems of Amgarrak & Witch Hunt...but I want to play it all before venturing into Dragon Age II.


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

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#16 | Back to Top10-14-2013 09:57:27 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Oh...it appears that decisions in Golems of Amgarrak & Witch Hunt do not import into Dragon Age II.

Alright then...skipping them and moving on.


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

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#17 | Back to Top10-15-2013 06:40:00 PM

ArthurianRoseKnight
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Registered: 11-17-2012
Posts: 76
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Hopefully, the next Dragon Age game (HA!) will be better now that the Hamburger Helpler...I mean, Ms Hepler, is out.

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#18 | Back to Top10-20-2013 08:34:06 PM

Ashnod
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From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
Posts: 1243
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

I know I'm only nearing the end of Act II, but...

wow...at this point, I think Dragon Age II is unfairly maligned. Supposedly things will happen in Act III that might change my mind, but right now I'm loving it.


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#19 | Back to Top10-20-2013 08:44:26 PM

Yasha
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From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Dude, it is SO SHITTY the way people treat it. It's got some problems, but nowhere near worth the venom that gets heaped on it.

And honestly, I hate the way people treated Hepler too. ArthurianRoseKnight, I respect that you don't like her influence, but she was nowhere near the blight on gaming that people treated her as. She made a couple mistakes with her writing that she would have learned from given time-- but no, Bioware fans collectively decided she didn't suck their dick hard enough and deemed her evil and started calling her house and threatening her children.

Present company excepted, I'm convinced that Bioware has the shittiest fans on the face of the planet. I wouldn't wish them on something I hated.


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#20 | Back to Top10-21-2013 01:18:46 AM

Snow
Troublesome Insect
From: in the wolf
Registered: 09-30-2013
Posts: 642

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Yasha wrote:

Dude, it is SO SHITTY the way people treat it. It's got some problems, but nowhere near worth the venom that gets heaped on it.

And honestly, I hate the way people treated Hepler too. ArthurianRoseKnight, I respect that you don't like her influence, but she was nowhere near the blight on gaming that people treated her as. She made a couple mistakes with her writing that she would have learned from given time-- but no, Bioware fans collectively decided she didn't suck their dick hard enough and deemed her evil and started calling her house and threatening her children.

Present company excepted, I'm convinced that Bioware has the shittiest fans on the face of the planet. I wouldn't wish them on something I hated.

They really threatened her? That's just...I heard there was some kind of a mess with her and the fans, but that is just too much.
Me and a friend started feeling stupid after finishing DA2, as so many people said it was total and absolute shit and we actually liked it. It's not Planescape Torment, but it's not a bad game by any means.

Shame Bioware has so many awful fans. It gives off the impression that they made better games when they didn't care about pleasing the fanbase so much.

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#21 | Back to Top10-21-2013 02:00:53 AM

Yasha
Bitch Queen
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Registered: 10-15-2006
Posts: 6018
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Yeah, they really did threaten her, through email, twitter, on BSN, and someone actually dug up her home phone number so they could call her and threaten her some more. And yeah, some of threats were about finding her kids when they got out of school and killing them. That's just straight fucked up. I have a hard time believing that the threats weren't at all a factor in why she left Bioware, but the primary motivation was because she wanted to work on a textbook about narrative design of family, so at least there's that.

And that kind of behavior is becoming more of a problem in the industry. If you read the article I linked, there are other cases investigated as well.

Anyway, back to Dragon Age stuff, DA2 was a hell of a lot of fun to play. I had a few problems with it, but on the whole it's pretty solid. I do miss the tactics element of gameplay from DA:O, because really, I can just stomp in and mow down most things in DA2 without having to plan or even hit pause very often, but that's not the most important element of a game for me anyway, so I didn't hate having it gone.

The thing is, while I like the idea of the mages and the Chantry having this huge conflict, some of the narrative devices used to tell the story were problematic and I found they interfered with immersion. Also, I'll never get used to having a main character that isn't a cipher. I'm so used to playing RPGs as a stylized version of myself that when you put me behind Hawke, I just feel like I'm playing the game with gloves on. Bioware's not gonna go back to that model now that they're switching over, though. It's easier to write for a character than it is to anticipate the responses of a player you've never met, and publicity for "Hawke" is catchier than publicity for "Player Name Here." emot-frown

Edit: Oops! Got the reason Hepler left wrong. Man, I suck at everything today. emot-mad


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#22 | Back to Top10-21-2013 07:36:32 AM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Yeah, DAII isn't really a terrible game (rushed as it is), but I got to admit that I miss playing a character who is mostly a "blank slate," so I can make them more my own character.

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#23 | Back to Top10-21-2013 04:06:24 PM

Ashnod
La poétesse revolutionnaire
From: Missouri, United States
Registered: 03-01-2007
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Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Lurv wrote:

Yeah, DAII isn't really a terrible game (rushed as it is), but I got to admit that I miss playing a character who is mostly a "blank slate," so I can make them more my own character.

How is Hawke less of a blank slate than The Warden? Some of the Warden backgrounds in DA:O are more detailed than Hawke's.


Flowers without names blooming in the field can only sway in the wind. But I was born with a destiny of roses, born to live in passion and glory.

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#24 | Back to Top10-21-2013 04:19:01 PM

Lurv
Pained Growlithe
Registered: 05-25-2012
Posts: 520

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

Ashnod wrote:

How is Hawke less of a blank slate than The Warden? Some of the Warden backgrounds in DA:O are more detailed than Hawke's.

Eh well, I guess part of is that their dialogue choices are voiced,

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#25 | Back to Top10-21-2013 04:37:47 PM

Snow
Troublesome Insect
From: in the wolf
Registered: 09-30-2013
Posts: 642

Re: Dragon Age: The deep roads AGAIN? (Spoilers)

And, as a consequence, there are fewer dialogue options available.

It was an interesting experience, though. It felt more like reading a very complex novel. It has good and bad sides, but different is good, once in a while.

(edited for silly typos, college is eating my brain emot-frown )

Last edited by Snow (10-21-2013 04:45:14 PM)

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