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DA Podcast - Episode 26: Oh Look, A Cookie! | Dragon Age Podcast

DA Podcast - Episode 26: Oh Look, A Cookie!

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24 replies [Last post]
VaeVictus X
I just finished Dragon Age: Origins with my first character, a Dwarf Commoner Warrior. Clocked in at 94 hours. Human Noble Rogue is next. :)
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Dragon Age Podcast

Episode 26: Oh Look, A Cookie!


As promised, our spoiler-filled look at Dragon Age II is here, but things certainly didn't go as planned in the last episode. Friend of the show, Zuzana, joins David, Mike, and Ann for a very chaotic episode filled with nerd rage, gratuitous cursing, much talk of cookies, quite a bit of laughing, and an important announcent. We hope you like it, but if you don't, we'll gladly accept your hate mail.

If you enjoy our show, you can show your support by reviewing us on iTunes, posting on our BSN General Discussion Thread, or leaving a comment here in the Dragon Age Podcast Official Forums. Also, if you feel so inclined, feel free to join our BSN Social Group, our Steam Group, our Xfire Club, or follow us on twitter.

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vegakvd
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Gotta agree with Vae on this one. The complete lack of choice ruins this game and even though I prefer the combat to some degree (at least the fast flow of it) the story was terrible and after two complete playthroughs I have accepted, this game sucks. I love to play evil characters and this story left barely any options other then some companion betrayls. How cool would it have been to side with the Quanari and destroy Kirkwall? Could have been great, but I doubt I will play it again. I started another Origins character and already (5th playthrough) it is way different then previous playthroughs. DA2 makes Origins look that much better. Heck, even Awakening is a classic now.

Dekin
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You CAN give the Aroshok Isabella when she turns in the relic, as he asks. And Merril talks about the elves leaving, because they're supposed to leave every few ears, and since its been 7 years at that point, the elves should have moved to a new location. When you arrive you find out that they haven't, and the story continues. and at that point he leaves peacefully.

Honestly you guys just sound bad. You cant beat it on Normal? tsk tsk. "What is kiting?" lawl.

Yeah it does suck to get stuck in animation lock cause spiders keep smacking you in the face, but its awesome to be have a timely move to the left or right to dodge a spell, rather than having say a fireball that locks on you and always going to hit you. It's exploitive i suppose like kiting, but its totally functional and it doesn't throw things off like you assume. Moving too fast? You can PAUSE anytime. You can range the mob on your wimpy mage and threat spills over to your warrior who's cleaving everyone.

Get the DLC and respec if you have problems. other than that your doing it wrong.

ShanePJD
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By far my fave podcast episode so far! The amount of banter was great. I'm currently near the end of Act 2 and over the past two hours or so of gameplay (im doing every single quest possible) im beginning to not enjoy the game as much as i did even as far back as the demo. The fight scenes are so repetitive its kinda frustrating and the constant wave after wave just takes the piss.
I also didnt understand why you guys all hated Anders soooooo much until now! He is a whiney basterd.
My fave character for some unknown reason is Sebastian Vael. I just really enjoyed the background to the character and I really like the archery in this game and therefore have decided to do my second playthrough as a rogue archer. But, As a downloadable content i didnt like how Sebastian wasnt a level or two above the rest of your character's or at least had more specific attacks that can effect your gameplay more? Just wasnt as good as a character download as Shale was (not even close)
Overall as a huge fan of the Dragon Age franchise I like this game and would like to see maybe another two books from David Gaider, as I enjoyed the background to origins through The Stolen Throne and The Calling. Maybe the books can lead up to the third game which i really really hope BIOWARE take their time on and regain their fans respect!

I believe that they should maybe bring out ONE expansion like Awakening but for alot cheaper to make up for the poor game on BioWare's and EA's behalf

PS: Dont change anything you guys do! I really enjoy these podcasts and I just hope BIOWARE can offer you something of the Dragon Age franchise to talk more positively about and look forward to, whether an expansion or rumours of beggining Dragon Age 3. Who knows? maybe the effect Dragon Age 2 has left us all feeling may decrease our expectation of the 3rd game so we can be blown away? Tongue

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Demiath
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Wow, that was one rough podcast in terms of the raw emotion on display. Podcast schedules aside, it really would have helped if David had just stepped back, taken a deep breath and simply tried to forget about DA2 completely for at least a few weeks before recording this podcast. Not because the passage of time would in any way change his views on the game - which he is perfectly entitled to have and which he clearly shares with a lot of people out there - but because then the show would have been less about his (very patient) co-hosts trying as hard as they could not to get bogged down in a pointlessly heated argument with him (Mike's prolonged silence was as wise as it was telling), and more about a more relaxed and balanced discussion about the pros and cons of the game. Again, I'm only addressing the general tone of the conversation here, not the substantive criticism itself - even though I personally wasn't truly bothered by even a single one of all the negative aspects which David seems to have cared so passionately about during his playthrough. Other than Fenris being a complete asshole, of course, but that goes without saying.

To David's credit, he did manage to say some nice, constructive things about the characters and party banter etc. despite disliking so much else about the game (I'm not sure I would have been able to give the game that much credit if I hated it as much as he apparently did). That said, even though the only two episodes I've listened to are these last ones (25 and 26), I find it hard to believe that the show can even go on with one of the central participants having more or less declared war on his once favorite developer and burned all bridges that could possibly be burned (the podcast isn't called the "Dragon Age 2 Podcast", though, so I guess there's still Origins to discuss). Then again, seeing Ann's not very subtle comments on the inherent worthlessness of religious people has pretty much guaranteed that the entire podcast crew will be assassinated by fundamentalist Christian ninjas within the next couple of days, I'm not sure any of this matters in the end... Wink

From my own perspective, I find it a bit strange that all this so-called "nerdrage" is suddenly erupting at this late stage in the evolution of Bioware as an RPG developer. My own growing disappointment with the direction the studio is taking has been a much more gradual experience and it started all the way back with the lifeless 3D graphics and stripped-down gameplay mechanics of Neverwinter Nights (Throne of Bhaal being the last "classic" Bioware release as far as I'm concerned). Neither the well-rounded but ultimately fairly anonymous Knights of the Old Republic, the ill-advised and generally uninspiring Jade Empire nor the curiously clunky Mass Effect 1 did much to convince me that Bioware knew what they were doing at all. The big change (the "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" moment, if you like) for me came with Mass Effect 2, which was the first truly successful non-"hardcore" RPG Bioware ever produced in that it so seamlessly combined action and roleplaying in fresh and genre-redefining ways, and since then I've been relatively happy with Bioware's new approach to game development.

I won't deny that DA2 on almost every level is significantly scaled back in comparison with the undeniably epic but (to me, at least) ultimately rather generic and strangely forgettable "BG Lite" which was DA:O, but I feel like they're finally getting a whole lot better at making accessible games...which is clearly what they've been trying desperately to do for years now (not surprisingly, then, I'm not buying David's account of how Bioware has somehow managed to stay true to their roots up until the release of DA2). It's sure going to be interesting to see how the developer reacts to all the vocal criticism of their latest game, though...

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jan1c
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First time listener here, really liking the podcast.

I like how Vae went from "Hey, Bioware fans: Let's give it a chance" to "FUCK THIS PIECE OF SHIT". Eventhough I enjoyed the game and am not an oldschool Biodrone, I have to agree with his criticism. [semi-spoiler ahead] It doesn't even matter if you side with Mages or Templar's really. You still have to fight both Meredith and Orsino because they both went batshit. I guess it's more convenient considering there's gonna be another Dragon Age, but why not carry over those major decisions. Anyway, looking forward to the next episode.

PS: Ann is adorable. Wink

dagas
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Hi. I found this podcast a few weeks ago and have listened to all episodes in this short amount of time.

I've been a Bioware fan since KotOR (I didn't play BG because I'm primarily a console gamer). I loved DA: Origins and recently bought the Ultimate Edition for PC to play some mods even though I have played it on 360 many times.

So my two cents about DA2 is that it's a great game. I agree with pretty much every complaint about the game, but I still don't hate it. Sure I would have wanted it to be better, but to start hating Bioware for changing up the formula a bit seems like an exaggerated response. If they can learn from what worked in DA2 and from what didn't when they make DA3, then DA3 could be the best game ever. I still very much enjoyed DA2 despite it's flaws. I've played it three times (on my fourth play through now). I don't see however how you can take 60h to complete it. I completed it in 33h and I did every side quest I could find and read at least for the first third of the game all codex entries and just generally played at a very slow methodical pace. I guess it might be because I'm not playing on PC and thus not pausing the game and such. By comparison Origins took about 45h which is about the same as KotOR1&2 and ME1&2 (all on console) and I did all quests I could find in all those games which I'd say would be around 90 %.

I doubt my oppinion carries much weight around here though since I've not been around since BG and such. Believe me I have tried to play BG and BG2 and IWD and all those isometric RPG's, but for someone who grew up with JRPG's (like FF7 which was my first real RPG and I was 12 at the time and did not fully understand English yet since I live in Sweden) rather then D&D I could never understand them very much. KotOR was the first WRPG that I could even play. In BG and IWD I just die in the first fight. Maybe I can go back after playing Origins on PC, but I just can't handle not having a mana bar for mages and having o find spell books and such.

I hope that you keep making the podcast and even if you don't want to talk about DA2 at least continue to talk about DA:O mods. Since a lot of people seem to hate DA2 I bet more people will continue to make mods for Origins to keep that game alive.

I just hope ME3 will be great. I love ME2 despite the direction it has taken towards action and away from RPG, but if they keep going away from RPG then I'm going to be really disappointed. There are plenty of action games out there. Ultimately what I care about in an RPG however is the characters and choices you make (the actual role playing) rather than the loot and skill trees and I can't believe Bioware will abandon the character interactions and dialog choices. Actually in most RPG's I just power through combat to get to the next story or character interaction. Same in JRPG's like Persona 3 and 4 which I love for the story and characters rather than the combat. I enjoyed the combat in ME2 and DA2 more than any previous Bioware games. I guess because I don't come from a D&D and BG background.

evilteq
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First: I think DA2 is a GREAT game. It's 150% Bioware. DA2 repeats most of the virtues and flaws DA1 and ME have, the only difference is that it doesnt even try to conceal the flaws.
No choice in this game really matters. There is nothing you can do, but you are going to fight the qunari, kill orsino and kill merredith and the chantry is going to blow up. Thats true and, imo, its very frustrating and dissappointing. But it also happen in Origins... sort of. You can save or not the earl's son; you can side with the templars or the circle (¿dejavu?); you can kill or side with the architect; you can do many choices... but other than a small footnote at the ending (shamefully missing in DA2, by the way), it doesnt change the overall story.
In DA2 you can side with the templars or the mages (again), but it doesn't really matter, you are going to kill them all anyway, one way or the other.
The worst thing for me wasn't mentioned by anyone. This game is supposed to be a sequel, it's named dragon age TWO... and it's not that. It's a spinoff with some cameos. The promised "choices in origins DO matter" is a BIG LIE. Origins characters who come back are not MY characters, they are not the ones I shaped and knew while playing. I wanted to know what happened to Morrigan: she is barely mentioned on one line of dialog. That is not the Leilliana I romanced. And let's not talk about Anders/Justice, what we got is neither, not even close.

By the way, someone mentioned Fenris doesnt change his view for the mages in the entire game. Thats not true. Playing as a mage, and rising friendship (not romancing) he comments something like "damm, my only true friend... and it is a mage". In final act, he initially sides with the templars, but you can easilly convince him and he sides with you. He says something like "you are awesome Hawke, here I am, risking my life defending mages".

Laika
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Vae, I think ur frustration with the game has a lot to do with ur expectations. U were exposed too much to the spoilers of the game. In some sense, u had already imagined ur own DA2 before u got ur hands on the real game. When the game fell short (or simply diverged) from ur expectation, the frustration set in.

I had the same experience last year. I was too occupied with my work that I couldn't set aside the time to watch inception when it first came out. After several weeks, when I finally got to the theatre, I didn't enjoyed the movie at all. In hindsight, I think it's because I was spoiled too much by my friends and the media coverages to the point that I couldn't have the immersed experience that I could otherwise have if I go into the theatre with an open mind.

As for the game itself, it is certainly very different from what u would expect a DAO sequel should be. But it still could be very enjoyable if u treated it like a new game, at least in the 1st play thru. Honestly, I think I enjoyed the game more than I did when I first play Dao. Of course, I didn't know the game was much more streamlined, the choices u make don't really have much impact in the game. But these things don't really matter to the majority of the players who would only paly the game once or twice. All in all, I think DA2 is a good game, and it's worth it's price compared to other games in the market nowadays. It has it's limits. Like it doesnt give u any closure that u would expect from a sequel, or its lack of replay value, loot variety, map variety, decision consequences, toolset, etc. But it is solid as a standalone game if u treated it as such.

Edit: the game can be quite challenging on higher difficulty, but once u realized that every enemy has to go thru a exaggerated slow motioned animation before the attack do any damage, u can hack thru the game w/o a healer. Ppl are doing nightmare solo by manually control their characters to avoid most of the melee damage.

VaeVictus X
I just finished Dragon Age: Origins with my first character, a Dwarf Commoner Warrior. Clocked in at 94 hours. Human Noble Rogue is next. :)
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Laika wrote:
Vae, I think ur frustration with the game has a lot to do with ur expectations. U were exposed too much to the spoilers of the game. In some sense, u had already imagined ur own DA2 before u got ur hands on the real game. When the game fell short (or simply diverged) from ur expectation, the frustration set in.

Wrong.

My frustration comes from the fact that the game is garbage. Go back and listen to Episode 25 if you want to see how much I was willing to forgive. If my expectations were too high, it's only because I expected BioWare to make a BioWare game. They didn't.

Oh, and learn to spell if you want to be taken seriously. It's "you," not "U."

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dagas
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VaeVictus X wrote:

Wrong.

My frustration comes from the fact that the game is garbage. Go back and listen to Episode 25 if you want to see how much I was willing to forgive. If my expectations were too high, it's only because I expected BioWare to make a BioWare game. They didn't.

Oh, and learn to spell if you want to be taken seriously. It's "you," not "U."

It's still a Bioware game, more so than Mass Effect 2, which if you haven't played you can get for free now if you own DA2.

I guess we just have to agree to disagree. For example I know you hated Alistair in Origins, but I loved him. To me he is one of the best characters in a video game ever. His sense of humor is great. Even when playing an evil character who is mean to Alistair he always have a witty or sarcastic response. A lot of people agree. I'm sorry you didn't like him, but at least there was enough variety in characters that everyone can find someone they love.

I think they tried the same thing in DA2, trying to please everyone. Too bad they ended up alienating some people. What I read about ME3 seems promising for Bioware's future. Seems they will return to more RPG rather than going even further from the RPG genre.

"The RPG elements of Mass Effect are being expanded for the third game. Skill trees will be larger, and powers can evolve several times. In Mass Effect 2 there were only four tiers of skill advancement.

Weapon mods return, not quite to the degree of Mass Effect 1 - but there's the option to swap scopes, barrels, etc. This affects not only the behaviour of the weapon, but also its appearance."

It seems ME3 will be some sort of middle ground between ME1 and 2. I'm hoping DA3 will do the same for DA1 and 2 so they can please everyone. I hope you are not giving up on Bioware for one game you didn't like. I was very skeptical about the future of their games after Jade Empire. I still liked that game, but not nearly as much as KotOR. It was their first own IP. I see DA2 as their first time trying to get non RPG gamers to play an RPG. Here's hoping that they will learn from that just like they learned from Jade Empire.

cainx010
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I am also having a negative reaction to the game. As a huge fan of Baldur's Gate and DA:O, I really tried to like the game (and failed). I eventually quit playing the game (near the end of Act 2). I wasn't having fun due to the trash mobs, cut/paste locations, and generally cheap feeling of the game. I missed being able to toggle weapons on my rogue using a hot key (which resulted in having to access the inventory during fights which is ridiculous). At least I have DA:O mods to play such as Baldur's Gate Redux and Dark Times (among others mentioned on the podcast), so I'm looking forward to playing the fan content (which I may even pretend is the REAL DA2).

The one thing that kills me is when people say I'm "old fashioned" or "can't accept innovation" or "hates something new". If that was the case, I would have rejected DA:O. I simply don't like bad games. I don't know what Bioware was thinking. I just don't get it. Blizzard is the only company I trust now for pre-ordering games (and being excited about them).

Thanks for the great podcast. I always look forward to the episodes.

jarober
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Have to say that I disagree about the complaints - especially on combat and "kiting". Short answer: David is doing it wrong. Longer answer:
[link removed]

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VaeVictus X
I just finished Dragon Age: Origins with my first character, a Dwarf Commoner Warrior. Clocked in at 94 hours. Human Noble Rogue is next. :)
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jarober wrote:
Have to say that I disagree about the complaints - especially on combat and "kiting". Short answer: David is doing it wrong. Longer answer:
[link removed]

Just because I didn't have the same party as you doesn't mean I was "doing it wrong." Two tanks? Aveline is a decent character but no way in hell was Fenris allowed anywhere near me. You claim the battles are more tactical than in Origins, but that's just not the case. When even one group of enemies spawns in from out of nowhere, let alone wave after wave of them, that renders all tactical positioning moot. Even taking out the "boss" (I think you need to learn what a boss is) doesn't eliminate the endless waves of tedium. If you enjoyed it, fine. But fuck you if you can't listen to valid complaints and criticisms without insulting my ability. The combat in DA2 is abysmal for most of the game, and the difficulty isn't even close to consistent.

Besides, I guess you were playing Origins wrong. I found Warrior an incredibly easy and fun class to play. Yup. Since you didn't, you must have been doing it wrong. Whatever. There were at least 3 times I found I was forced to kite. Maybe two tanks would have made a difference, but it's a roleplaying game. It's bad enough the only healer available is an asshole. The rest of my party is going to be made up of the characters I would want with me. Not the classes that give me some advantage within the systems. Are you seriously suggesting that the only right party is the one you used? On Normal, I should be able to take ANY party through the game with a relatively smooth difficulty curve.

Did I want to play a Rogue like in Origins? Yes, because in Origins tactical placement mattered, just as it did in Baldur's Gate before it. In DA2? You only have to worry about position in a small handful of encounters. As far as I'm concerned, Dragon Age II is "doing it wrong."

Edit: Next time you have a comment, don't make it on your blog and expect us to give you free traffic.

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Laika
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Sorry for the spelling. I was typing on an iPhone, so I cut some corners

If you read through my reply, you can see that I agreed that da2 not quite a proper sequel in the Dragon age franchise. BIoware is certainly trying a lot of new things here (or trying to copy some proven elements from mass effect series). For a RPG fan like myself, it is disappointing.

I read a review a couple of weeks ago. Can't remember exactly where, but it has a valid point: "the really problem is not whether DA2 is good, it is that whether DA 2 is a proper DAO sequel. And that is where most of the animosity from players come from". You have to agree though, if this is, for example, a authorized spin-off from, let's say Obsidian, bioware's hardcore fans would probably like it a lot more. But that's not gonna happen, is it? Even if bioware rerelease the game as a spin-off, how's that scenario really different from what we are facing now? We still have to wait at least another year and hope bioware has learned his lesson and get it right the next time.

My other point is that the game can still be enjoyable if you don't let the disappointment get in the way. I'm no zen master by any means, but I've found it often true that things I don't like fall into two categories: those that it is not in my DNA to appreciate (like pickles, Japanese food) or those that I am not in the right mindset to appreciate. Since I always think of myself as a typical fan of the RPG genre, I assume that most people reading This reply can also like this game if they approach it differently (like I said, as a standalone piece).

And as for the gameplay, I suggest you try some complex strategy settings on your healer and dps companions and manually control you tank. You don't have to kite per se, but try constantly adjust you position and change your target to maintain aggro. One taunt cool down is enough if you only use it manually, but if you like to err on the safe side like I do, also get goad and armstice on a rogue companion.

The storyline is no shakespeare by any stretch of imagination, but we can't hold it to that kind of standard since it is still to some extent an open world. The quests like "All that remains" are clearly too forced. But I can understand what bioware was trying to do. The game has to at some point antagonize Hawke against mages, and make the final decision somewhat a difficult one, Or from an RP perspective, only a psychopath would choose to side with templars. They could have done it better, but I think it is impossible to please everyone.

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Laika wrote:
... only a psychopath would choose to side with templars.

I'm just gonna reply to this statement.

Sorry, "only a psychopath"?

*SPOILERS*

Even after the First Enchanter Orsino basically HELPED Quentin(the psycho who killed Hawke's mother) in that sick "research"? And even if you DO side with mages, Orsino still goes mental and attacks you for no apparent reason.
Besides, throughout the game, you encounter way more mages that turn out to be abominations or blood mages than you encounter mages, that are actually sensible.

Templars, on the other hand, had only 2 flaws - Meredith going mental because of idol and Alrik who wanted to turn all mages into tranquils. Alrik failed when he presented this idea to the Chantry and the Knight-Commander.

Anyway, just my humble opinion on the whole mages x templars issue.

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*also spoilers*

you have to put that sentence into context. What I said was WITHOUT those quests (like "All that remains" and "the wise-till-the-end Orsino goes mental situation", which seems somewhat forced and out of blue) antagonizing Hawke against mages, the final decision would not become a difficult one. So, these quests although not well-writen, served their purpose in the storyline.

Xandercz
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Well you can't choose what side to fight for after O goes bonkers, but I kinda see what you're trying to say.

In my opinion, the decision is not THAT difficult because of the points I listed above.

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jan1c
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Xandercz wrote:

*SPOILERS*

Even after the First Enchanter Orsino basically HELPED Quentin(the psycho who killed Hawke's mother) in that sick "research"? And even if you DO side with mages, Orsino still goes mental and attacks you for no apparent reason.
Besides, throughout the game, you encounter way more mages that turn out to be abominations or blood mages than you encounter mages, that are actually sensible.

Templars, on the other hand, had only 2 flaws - Meredith going mental because of idol and Alrik who wanted to turn all mages into tranquils. Alrik failed when he presented this idea to the Chantry and the Knight-Commander.

Anyway, just my humble opinion on the whole mages x templars issue.

I sided with mages, I agree though. The only reason I didn't side with the Templar's is that you basically have to approve of Meredith's hardliner view. If I would 've known that you kill her and earn the remaining Templar's respect, I would 've chosen differently. I wish there would 've been an option to kill her beforehand (without her going batshit) and then having to do some quests to get the Templar's on your good side again.

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I think the problem is that we all wish would could have done things differently, like killing Meredith earlier, but we don't have the choice. I agree that DA2 seems more like a side story than a Dragon Age sequel, and I specifically said as much in Episode 25. As for the mages, that's another major problem with the game. In Origins, blood magic was something that had to be learned. In DA2, it seems a mage could sneeze and poof, they're a blood mage. Okay, maybe not quite that bad, but it certainly doesn't take much more than a bad day to cause an instant change. When siding with the mages even every choice throughout the game, I find it rediculous that I'm forced to fight so many of them. It's like DA2 asks you to make choices, but sends you down the same path regardless. To me, the defining characteristic of a BioWare game is that decisions have consequence. That's not really the case in DA2. I think it's time that we face it, BioWare is dead. I'd love to see them learn some lessons and make a kick-ass DA3, but after this there's no way I can continue giving them the benefit of the doubt. BioWare has to earn my goodwill now. They can no longer coast on a previous reputation they've seen fit to flush down the toilet.

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cainx010
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Looks like fans are working to fix at least some of the issues (difficulty / friendly fire tweaks, weapon toggle mods, etc). I may try to at least finish the game using fixes from the community. Too bad the community has to come in and mop up after Bioware (after already being charged $60). I'll take any positive I can get at this point.

Nanaya
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Great podcast. I personally would have liked to hear a bit more from Mike, but the problems that VaeX points out ring an awful truth in a hollow carcass that is this game. I have played BG2, IwD I & II, KOTOR and all the Mass Effect games, but this is not worthy successor to their lineage.

Dragon Age 2, as a game fails, because it isn't fun to play. Yes, I'll admit the skill tree and cross class combos were great and that the sped up combat added greater fluidity but it can't make up for the gnawing problem that were the waves of countless enemies. This is not fun; this is what I would call a chore. Adding grunts is not what makes fights harder, but rather the assortment of enemy types, positioning and tactics. I hate to speak out without using examples:

Remember in Origins in the Elven Ruins how there was the lich mage and how you had to position your party to predict his teleportations and AoE spells? What about the fight in the Deep Roads with that Darkspawn Ranger where you had to deal with a couple of Alphas and Emissaries? This is hard because the game expects you to use what you have learned and push you to new situations where you are forced to adapt.

Dragon Age 2 didn't do this at any point in the first or second act. The Elven ruins were at a pretty early age of the game and yet this sort of challenge didn't make an appearance for a good first half of the game. As for adaptation, since areas were constantly re-used, you automatically knew what positioning you would take. Also VaeX makes a good point here and in previous posts that respawning waves makes positioning and scouting moot.

Positioning in Origins was half the battle since enemies did not spawn. You had one hurdle and by your skill and grace, you surpassed them. With your insight with rogues, you knew what to do and everything went to plan! How great is that feeling that with your execution and command that it all went as you contemplated? This gets a kick in the balls in the sequel as you knew that after this round, another rigmarole would begin and that surprise surprise, your mages are standing right next to a spawn point. Need I not say that is removes any sort of tactical advantage gained from positioning and these fights boil down to a slug fest where the winner is the last one standing?

Once I got the ugly Isabela animation slow down bug and tried to fix it with an editor to no avail, I stopped playing and started playing Uncharted 2. It was strange sensation since I realised I was having a fantastic time with it as well and slowly it dawned upon me: I was having fun.

To VaeX, what Bioware did here was inexcusable. They knowingly rushed a product that they hoped dug into the fanbase. To be fair, Origins took such a long time because they constructed a world from scratch. Your diligence in reading entries upon entries in the codex reflects that, not to mention the creation of a new engine. What I put forth is that Bioware, having been bought out by EA have suffered the inevitable taint. EA saw a marketable opportunity with the franchise and thought: "YES, we can make money! Make it a sequel so people will get hyped for it!". Lest EA removes their clutches from the development cycle, Dragon Age 3 might win the fans back. However, if they dared to say that there will be a next one in the next few years, then my only hope lies within Mass Effect 3.

Kirazo
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I haven't played DA2 so I can't really comment on this argument about the game, although it has me thinking,"if it comes up on special on steam tomorrow will I buy it?"

What I can comment on is the podcast I suppose, of which I did enjoy, (I've been listening since the anniversary show, that was a blast btw Wink, there was a lot of passion and emotion on the April fools day show but in amongst it constructive criticism and remember not all criticism is bad.

Also, it is pretty clear that all the host's have different play styles and ways of enjoying the game, I love hearing those differences and the broader banter and side tracking conversations are important to the show as well. Would have liked to hear a bit more from Mike.

I'm still on my first play through of Origins and loving it.

Looking forward to your next Podcast!

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Thanks for the great podcasts. I had orginally purchased DA:O for an XBox which my wife gave me but my roots were in PC gaming back to the Quest for Glory Games from Sierra. I also played and enjoyed BG I/II and Planescape Torment.
I enjoyed DAO on the Xbox but listening to this podcast, persuaded me to put bootcamp on my Mac, buy a PC version of DAO, mod it up and go. It was a great experience so I was really looking forward to DA2. I purposely avoided the podcast until I finished the game - today - it took my 67 hours since March 9th to finish it. I did almost all of it on hard.

I was sort of taken aback by the hate David had for the game, and the f-bombs flying everywhere. Wow. It's your opinion but I really don't think that adds a lot when you are trying to listen to it - it's distracting and takes away from your points, many of which I agree with.

For me, this was a good game. I don't feel the same way about it as DAO which was my favorite game ever, but I thought it was enjoyable to me and worth playing. A few comments.
Pros:
1) Combat is vastly improved, much more fluid. Some of the "waves" are irritating but it's become a tactical decision as to hold back some of your best spells as long as possible since you likely know more enemies are coming. The only time I had to "kite" was in my solo encounter with the Arishock - I had built a force mage - I just didn't have enough offense to take him on without doing that - it was a bit lame and repititous, but other than that, it was usually a case of "repositioning" my soft mages in enounters as opposed to "kiting. Not sure why you would have to do that all the time.

Anders being the only healer was something I didn't like from the beginning. Since I didn't want to be forced to always have him, I developed some of the Spirit Healer line on my Force Mage so I would have more options. Did the final battles without Anders and could heal enough using my mage and healing potions.

I also felt a great sense of increased power in my characters, scaling well in the late teens, when they would mow thourght many Mobs but face big challenges in higher level enounters. I thought it was very well done.

2) The final enounter was great, so much better than the end enounter in DAO which basically consited of whittling down the high dragons hit points. I did it on hard the first try, but it was very tough and close - a few resurrections of companions was needed, and constant smart positioning of my party for maximum impact and mob selection. Really well done, IMO.

3) The story - while a "save the city" as opposed to "save the world' was a nice change. I really didn't know what the end goal was during the game until well into Act 2 or early in 3. In DAO, the die was set that the endgame would be against the Archdemon very early. The game then revolved around collecting the 4 armies. Very predictable, and done 100 times bafore. I thought it was a great story.

4) Crafting was simplified and less tedious. I got really sick of inventory mgmt. in BG and DAO. IMO, it adds nothing to the game at all.

5) I though the companions were quite well done, some of them irritated me, some I liked, I suppose that's the way it should be.

6) I liked the overall look and feel.

Cons.

1) Inventory was too restricted. I liked the customized charcter looks, but maybe a better implementation would have been to allow more customiation of armour for characters that was specific to them to maintain the distinct look.
2) Loot was useless, why bother with the junk?
3)Recycling of enviroments felt so cheap. I got use to it, but at first it was a big dissappointment.
4) Waves of enemies did get old at times. That usually meant time for game break!
5) A few bugs but only 2 that were really noticeable.
6) It was more linear than I would have liked. I think I need a another playthough to get more perspective on some choices.

Overall, it was a slight letdown, and to me could have been GREAT if only it wasn't rushed, which it had to be given the development cycle. All the talk about BGII, made me reinstall it and I would never want to go back to that style of high maintenance, inventory managed style again. Character voicing and more fluid pacing is needed these days, however the games need to be less linear.

To say it is CRAP, which I valid opinion is something I don't agree with. If you can't deal with the combat in this game on normal, even without a healer, combat can't be one of your strong points. I'm certainly not a stat nit-picker, equipment maximizing type of player and I found hard to be a nice challenge but quite doable.

Thanks for such a great podcast, I really enjoy it and have learned a lot!

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i must say thats a very interesting dish. but i prefer thai delivery.