What I’m Playing
Obviously, Guild Wars 2, but after donating to Obsidian’s Project Eternity Kickstarter, I had the urge to experience that old-school isometric-style RPG feeling again. So I booted up Dragon Age: Origins again and started up a new character.
I had forgotten just how great that game is.
The voice acting is top-notch. The character development is solid without being overly complex – and with the addition of the “Combat Tweaks 3.2” mod, much better balanced. I’m playing a female noble rogue because I want to see what happens at the end – I understand the option exists to become Alistair’s queen. I’m also playing on “Hard”, which makes combat far more tactical with friendly fire possible. I’m taking my time and reading all the lore pieces this time, too. I have a pretty solid grasp on the tale, but I tend to get in the habit of being caught up in the “game” and not in the “world”, and I want to remedy that for my single-player experiences.
To touch on “not being overly complex” – that’s been my issue with BG2 which I have tried countless times to play through. Undoubtedly, BG2 is an RPG classic, but it’s also extremely cumbersome to level. It wouldn’t be so bad progressing just the main character (I didn’t encounter this issue in NWN, for example), but dealing with all the classing options for the other companions, and the myriad of spells/special abilities felt more like work than fun. I chose the character I wanted to play – I don’t want to manage six of them, a couple of which I don’t like or fully grok the class mechanics.
D&D has a pretty significant power-creep problem that once you reach upper levels, it’s just out of control. So many options, the cross-classing, etc. I could just single-class all of them, sure, but that seems counterintuitive, and … yeah, it’s just a “me” problem, not a “BG2” problem, I know. One of these days, I’ll do it. (Maybe once the updated version comes out – is that still happening?)
I loved the original Baldur’s Gate because it was a low-level campaign with enough options to keep it interesting, but not so many that it felt laborious. I’m probably in the minority with these complaints, but not having to worry about multi-classing my characters in DA:O (just selecting specializations) just felt like a relief. Like I said above, there are enough skill and talent options without being overly complex, and the Combat Tweaks mod does an excellent job making underused skills relevant. I am also refusing to respec any of the characters to avoid turning Morrigan into a super-healer or super-nuker right out of the gate, for example. It has made for a wonderful play experience thus far.
Even better? Dragon Age III: Inquisition was just announced shortly after I returned to DA:O. Awesome! There’s a thread up on the BioWare forums where people are providing feedback on what they’d like to see. The best comment I’ve seen so far can be summarized as this:
“Change the name to Dragon Age: Origins II and give us a sequel worthy of the title.”
Amen. Give me a true RPG again – not another hybrid like DA2, please. Meaningful choices and tactical combat. Please, please, please. Please?