It is funny how a conversation can set someone down a path. During the Saturday night recording of AggroChat 70, we got onto the topic of Ashgar playing Mass Effect again, which not surprisingly lead to some discussions of Dragon Age as well. For whatever reason I have struggled to play Dragon Age Inquisition, and in truth I had the same issue getting started in Dragon Age 2. It was a good year and a half after the release of that game before I finally managed to play my way through it, and I was beginning to wonder if the same would be true for Inquisition. At face value the game seems like the perfect mix of Dragon Age storytelling with Skyrim-esc open world exploration. The problem is the mixture together seems to be a confusing mess for me personally. Even though every single person I have talked to says to leave the Hinterlands… I struggle bringing myself to do this. The Elder Scrolls player in me wants to wander about seeing what all I can find in this nook or that cranny. Which means I have spent twelve hours so far playing the game and have not really accomplished much. Yesterday however I started trying to force myself to knock things off my quest list rather than wandering around and seemingly gathering up an endless number of them.
Not surprisingly as you can see above I am playing a Dwarven Two-Handed Warrior. That pretty much means I will always be grouped with Cassandra, because of the two tanky options I have encountered she is preferable to Blackwall. I don’t mind the character of Blackwall at all, in fact I kinda like it… but compared to Cassandra… well there just is no comparison. For most of last night I ended up playing with Vivienne as my mage, and quite frankly… I think I am switching back to Solas. Vivi apparently disapproves of my whole wanting to help the Mages thing, which is something that happens while I am playing Dragon Age. Normally I am more than happy to see Mages slaughtered by the dozens… but this game mythos actually makes them into characters I can sympathize with. It feels like they have simply drawn an unlucky lot in life, and are oppressed for it. Those Tevinter however… I am still more than happy to slaughter them by the handfuls. I guess ultimately last night I turned some sort of a corner and managed to get into the game just enough to make me want to keep playing it. Previously it was a pretty if not slightly awkwardly controlling Skyrim clone… but last night it finally became a Dragon Age game for me.
Herald of Andraste
I did not mention my favorite party member yet I guess. You can see in the background Sera, the awesome elvish archer you pick up in Orlais. She is sassy, irreverent… randomly shakes her ass at Vivi… and is having absolutely none of my shit. Grouping with her reminds me of the many nights Tarantella has hung out with us on voice chat, and I mean that in the best possible way. I’ve reached the point finally where I just want to play more of the game, and I had to pull myself away from the screen last night in the middle of a big action sequence because otherwise I would be non-functional this morning. The only negative is that the next few nights are largely spoken for. Tonight I have my original Final Fantasy XIV raid team, and Wednesday I have a second Static… with Tuesday sandwiched in between which I have been attempting to devote to some Wildstar play. My fear is that if I wait too long I will lose the momentum that I have going right now. I am not sure why this game in particular has been such a struggle for me to get into. I think part of it honestly has been that generally speaking I play single player games on my laptop downstairs. Dragon Age Inquisition will functionally run on said laptop, but it looks like shit and suffers from the shiny hair syndrome that occurs when you attempt to play the game on crappy hardware.
Instead I need the firepower of my full gaming machine upstairs to do the game justice. I am just not used to playing 50 to 100 hour games on my desktop. I guess in the grand scheme of things I am going to have to get used to it, because Witcher 3 suffers from pretty much the same issue. My laptop while more gaming oriented than a lot of them, is just dated at this point. It will run most of the MMOs I want to play decently, but the GTX 660m card in it just cannot handle the PS4/Xbox One era of gaming. At some point I will upgrade it and everything will be fine, but for as little as I have actually used my laptop of late… I just can’t see that as a sensible expense. I have a fairly checkered past when it comes to laptops. I’ve owned several “gaming” laptops over the years and each one dies a fairly spectacular death after a year or two of use. As such I pretty much have resigned myself to picking up cheap second hand laptops, because each time we have spent full price on one… it has lasted just long enough to get out of warranty before suffering some catastrophic and largely un-repairable error. The laptop I have now has been a trooper and in spite of it having a dated video card runs most everything that I want to play. It will run FFXIV in DX11 at around 40 fps which has made up the bulk of my recent game time.
I am honestly not really sure why it has taken me this long to boot up Dragon Age Inquisition, and why it required the AggroChat show to remind me of its existence. I think part of it is the fact that it is on Origin, a client that unlike Steam I never actually have running. When I have a game on steam, I see it sitting there in the list mocking me… so I end up booting it up periodically. Origin however is in a completely different client that only really has Bioware games for me. I have been going through this down cycle lately where I am largely keeping to myself. Inquisition would have been the perfect game for this sort of activity, but out of sight out of mind. Honestly Origin works perfectly fine from what I can see, but as a testament to how little I use it… I had not actually added a single person to my friends list until last night when I imported my PSN network. I only did this because at some point we are going to try both some Mass Effect 3 multiplayer and some Dragon Age Inquisition Multiplayer. In spite of Origin doing a fair job, it still annoys me that I have to use it at all. Steam for me is a value add, because it gives me quick access to all of the games I want to play and represents a generally cheap and ubiquitous portal for purchasing them. Origin however falls in the same category as UPlay… as that piece of software that I am required to use but constantly frustrated by.
Last night I actually took some time and poked around the Origin store, and I came to the stark realization that honestly… the only EA games that I care about are the Bioware games. For the most part everything else is either a franchise I have grown out of like Battlefield, or one I have never quite gotten into like Sims… or a string of sports games that I have never had any interest in. EA largely produces games that I don’t care about, and I guess that is why having my beloved Bioware games blockaded behind the service feels so wrong. The funny thing about it is that the supposed core reason behind EA pulling out of Steam, was that they did not like having to discount their games on a regular basis. It seems that EA is having to discount their games even further than Steam generally did to get people to nibble. I noticed last night that Titanfall, the game that was supposed to herald in a new era of Xbox One supremacy… is down to $10 for the Deluxe digital collectors edition that once sold for $100. The only real positive however is that Origin also has cloud sync, so when I installed Mass Effect 3 it synchronized all of my save game data from the Bioware servers and it remembered everything that I had unlocked. All of this Origin ranting aside… I expect my solo gaming to continue on for a bit longer as I get some more Dragon Age Inquistion gameplay in. In truth I have reached a good pausing point in Final Fantasy XIV as I have essentially finished getting gear on my Warrior from Alex normal (minus the chest piece) and have upgraded every slot on my Dragoon to 180, giving me two viable characters for endgame shenanigans.