Dragon Age: Awakening Confirmed, Priced

By John Walker on January 5th, 2010 at 2:26 pm.

Clearly not from the new content.

Before I begin, other news: Return To Ostagar, today’s DLC release, has been delayed. No word when it will appear. Sadpanda.

Onward. After yesterday’s scurrilous rumours of a potential Dragon Age expansion called The Awakening this March, the truth has come out. There’s a Dragon Age expansion due this March, but it’s called Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. There’s no “The”. Take that, Eurogamer.cz, with your so-called “news”. It’s set after the events of the main game, with you playing a Grey Warden Commander aiming to rebuild the Warden’s ranks. One thing. It’s going to cost $40.

Due March 16th, it’s set in a new area called Amaranthine, and apparently will reveal the “secret motivations of the Darkspawn.” Which is intriguing, since I thought their motivation was to increase their numbers and then kill more people. Oh, once again, this takes place after the end of the main game, so there’s a danger of spoilers below.

But it really does seem to be quite big. For instance:

“Players will face a range of horrific and terrifying creatures including an evolved, intelligent breed of darkspawn and other menacing creatures such as the Inferno Golem and Spectral Dragon. Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening provides exciting new ways for players to customize their heroes and party, including the ability to re-spec their character attributes, allowing even greater customization and replayability. Featuring an increased level cap, new spells, abilities, specializations and items, plus five all-new party members, players can continue their adventures from Dragon Age: Origins, or begin with a brand new character.”

That moment at the end. Five new members. That’s five new actors, five new people’s histories to learn, five new characters to get to know. And again this seems to imply that the “Grey Warden Commander” may well be your previous character. Should your previous character be… available. New specialisations is interesting too – that implies a much more expanded skill tree.

Here’s some more spoilerific details from the press release:

“Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, BioWare’s next thread in the Dragon Age: Origins tapestry, occurs following the events of Dragon Age: Origins and puts players into the role of a Grey Warden Commander entrusted with rebuilding the order of Grey Wardens. In addition to rebuilding the ranks of the Grey Wardens, you will be tasked with uncovering the mystery of how the darkspawn survive after the slaying of the Archdemon. How players choose to rebuild their order, resolve the conflict with the mysterious “Architect,” and determine the fate of the darkspawn are just some of the many intriguing moral choices that will shape each player’s heroic journey. Players will be able to import their character from Dragon Age: Origins or start out as a new Grey Warden from the neighboring land of Orlais.”

I’m a bit disappointed that the enemy are the darkspawn. I’d prefer something a bit more politically intriguing, an enemy from within. Perhaps an uprising in the Chantry, or a rebellion amongst the Mages. It seems to somewhat undermine the rather enormous efforts in the main game to then have the darkspawn still be a menace. I realise they are a perpetual problem for the Dwarves, but it would have been nice to think that defeating the Archdemon had a slightly more significant effect on the safety of Ferelden.

However, I think if we’re honest the big news here is the price. The dribbling of new small chunks of content have been kept at relatively low numbers (and today’s vanished release will eventually be the first that most people didn’t get free with the main game anyway.) $40 is the US asking price, and we can assume it’ll be ungenerously rounded up to British pounds, and then have a zero put on the end and cubed for mainland Europe. That’s the same price for 360 and PS3 as well.

However, there’s no indication of the size of the expansion. They describe it as “epic”, although yesterday’s leak put it at an unconfirmed 15 hours. And sure, we regularly pay $40/£25 for 15 hour-long games. Hell, we pay more than that for games half that length in our tens of millions. But there’s something about expansion packs that makes it seem like it could be cheaper – you require the full game to play it, you’ve already invested, and they sure as heck didn’t have the same overheads and development costs to make extra content. Clearly they can charge whatever they want, and no one is entitled to an expansion, but people will be sad if it’s unaffordable. It’ll be very interesting to see how it’s received. Will people pay that much only four months after the original game came out?

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122 Comments »

  1. Mike says:

    It depends. If, as you say, we’re looking at five new fully-formed characters with lots of depth and whatnot, then perhaps the length of the quest itself becomes moot. It’s just, the idea of the old bad guys having a “secret plan” that wasn’t mentioned at all in the original, does make it sound a bit tacked on.

  2. The Sombrero Kid says:

    personally I’m a little worried about dlc in general, including this one, we’re being burned quite a lot, personally I’ve been disappointed by the 3 major priced dlc’s I’ve had the opportunity to buy (fallout3,mass effect, borderlands), as the gap in quality i expect from review scores and the original game and what is delivered has been way off.

    please note i didn’t actually buy borderlands or mass effect dlc, i’m basing my assumptions on what i’ve heard about them.

    • itchyeyes says:

      This actually isn’t DLC but a boxed expansion, though at this point I think the lines between the two are becoming more and more blurred. I think the real question on everyone’s mind is, what kind of value will we get for $40. In terms of content and gameplay, Dragon Age is a fantastic value. While the first DLC, which could be finished in under an hour is almost completely on the other end of the spectrum.

      Likely it will be somewhere in between the two though. If this expansion is a 20+ hour adventure, I think a lot of people will be more than happy to shell out $40 to spend more time in the Dragon Age World. But if it’s just a short, 5-10 hour quest line, I think people will be pretty put out.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “personally I’ve been disappointed by the 3 major priced dlc’s I’ve had the opportunity to buy (fallout3,mass effect, borderlands)”

      “please note i didn’t actually buy borderlands or mass effect dlc, i’m basing my assumptions on what i’ve heard about them.”

      personally I’ve been dissapointed by the 3 types of fish I’ve had the opportunity to eat (cod, haddock, plaice)

      please note I didn’t actually try haddock or plaice.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      buy not try ;)

    • oddshrub says:

      Now I don’t know which of the Fallout 3 DLC’s you’ve tried, but personally I found all of them aside from Operation: Anchorage to be welcome additions to the game world. Heck The Pitt and Point Lookout were downright awesome. But to each their own.

      The Mass Effect DLC is free, at least for the PC version of the game – but this is a PC gaming blog so… :p

      I havn’t tried the DLC for Borderlands yet so I won’t comment on that, but it did cost around 5€ on steam doing the holiday sales which isn’t too bad compared to the 40€ this awakening will cost.

  3. The Sombrero Kid says:

    ohh and i doubt i’d've bought wardens keep if i didn’t get it free.

  4. whortleblurp says:

    The second of the two Dragon Age novels seems to explain precisely how the plot of this game is likely to work. Not a terrible book, if extremely light. But you can take from it that although this will be focused on the Darkspawn, they won’t just be the mindless menace of the first game (and in that game, basically the only firm point in the game universe about which you make absolutely certain moral judgements), but rather allow the possibilities of – say – the kind of moral dilemmas you get in the Brecilian Forest in the original game. Might be quite interesting.

    • Tei says:

      Spoiler:

      That why I choosed to let morrigan “save” the ‘old god’ with his sexomanty (necrromance?, bed-magic? ).

    • oddshrub says:

      In my mind it’s just poor story telling when you need to read novels, comics or watch television/movies to get the full picture of the story.

      In Mass Effect I eventually chose Anderson to lead humanity and was surprised to learn that all of my friends had found him an extremely bleak pansy character. The difference of course was that I had read the Mass Effect novel and knew Anderson before I even met him in the game.

      In world of warcraft everyone I know dislike the new King of the alliance, but I know noone who’s actually read the comic books where he was introduced.

      Now the Mass Effect novel was easily weakest sci-fi novel I’ve ever read. I’m not going to say it was a waste of money because the paperbag cost me around 2£. It was, however, guilty of wasting my time and as such I doubt I’ll ever buy another Bioware novel. Of course this means I’ll miss out on chunks of the story telling in all their future games. Which sucks.

  5. Sly Boots says:

    I liked DA:O. A lot.

    But I think I’ll be holding off on this until it drops drastically in price. That’s partly because after buying the original game on release at full price, I was dismayed to see it being sold for half as much only a few weeks later.

    • itchyeyes says:

      Keep in mind that a lot of those cut prices were holiday sales, and Dragon Age is back up to nearly MSRP at most retailers now. If you intend to wait on a price drop, I would expect the typical 6-9 month lag.

    • dancingcrab says:

      @itchyeyes

      That depends entirely if you live in the UK or the USA. The UK prices has remained affordable. The USA charges an arm and a leg for software and video games, so any small reduction in price over the holidays has crept up again now.

    • dancingcrab says:

      I ought to clarify – UK MSRP are usually higher, but discounts occur much more frequently and are far more generous.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      I paid €32 for the game at full price. One month later I found it for €16… It’s still up for €20 at amazon.co.uk.

      So I won’t pay nearly the price of full, boxed and shipped copy for something that will last me one fourth of the main game. A price point of €10 seems more reasonable to me. I’ll skip this one until the prices drop.

  6. Stupid Fat Hobbit says:

    It’s not really clear from the sections of the press release you quoted, but is it possible they’re selling this as a standalone game rather than an expansion? It would explain the price, at least. Though I can’t imagine there’s much of a potential market that doesn’t have the original game already.

    Personally, I can’t see myself buying it at that price if the rumours of length are accurate, even with five enticing new characters.

  7. bookwormat says:

    “we regularly pay $40/£25 for 15 hour-long games”

    No, “we” don’t.

    • Alex Hopkinson says:

      Well millions of people other than you do.

    • bookwormat says:

      Well millions of people other than you do.

      Sure , but hundreds of millions of people do not.

    • Rinox says:

      That doesn’t change the fact that 20 million kids are eat by bats every second.

    • Jeremy says:

      Those hundreds of millions are the ones that don’t own a computer.

    • Mac says:

      What’s the point in paying full price, when you can get games for less than £20 within a week or two of launch?

      To be honest, I only bought 5 games last year, and only one of them was £25. In 2008 i bought well over 25 games, but this was when they launched at £17.99. i used to pre-order most games – sure, i got burned a few times when games were released half finsihed, etc but overall at this price i would take a punt.

      Now, however, I often plan to get a game when it drops in price, but by the time it does i’ve either forgotten about it or just can’t be arsed.

      This basically means that the industry gets a lot less of my hard earned cash, which can’t be good economics can it?

    • Scott Ossington says:

      or they went outside and got eaten when they should have been inside playing some very short DLC

    • archonsod says:

      “What’s the point in paying full price, when you can get games for less than £20 within a week or two of launch?”

      I pre-ordered DA : Origins for £20 ….

    • Psychopomp says:

      “What’s the point in paying full price, when you can get games for less than £20 within a week or two of launch?”

      1)Because I’d like to play the game now, rather than later.

      2)Spoilers

  8. SheffieldSteel says:

    Well, that will be something else to put on the list of “things I’d buy for DA:O if I wasn’t altogether too uncertain about their value for money in addition to my unwillingness to provide any money that might eventually make it into the pocket of anti gay rights author Orson Scott Card.”

    • itchyeyes says:

      OSC doesn’t own any rights to Dragon Age, nor does he have anything to do with the software development, or the story line in the games. Unless you plan on buying the spin off comic book, I don’t think you have to worry about him getting any of your money.

    • TwoDaemon says:

      In any case, I hope I’m not alone in holding the view that an author’s works should be viewed separately from the author’s views, unless the one is expressed in the other. And if they are expressed and you disagree with the views you probably won’t like the works anyway, hey?

      Granted, this isn’t universally applicable – use your own judgement, etc. But Orson Scott Card’s views won’t stop me from enjoying, say, Ender’s Game, or Shadow Complex. Any monetary gain he may make from those is me appreciating his work, not his views on gay rights (an area in which, I point out, I disagree with him quite strongly).

    • Lobotomist says:

      Funny though.

      DAO is probably the shining example of Pro Gay entertainment in recent history.

    • itchyeyes says:

      @TwoDaemon

      The problem is that OSC plays a rather significant role in the anti-gay rights movement in the US, which involves contributions of not only his time, but also his money. This is something that he has been publicly vocal about. In buying his products, we contribute to his income, which contributes to the organizations he chooses to fund. If you have strong objections to these organizations, it’s not at all irrational to abstain from buying products which will indirectly fund them.

      As I mentioned before, it’s extremely unlikely that OSC benefits from the sale of Dragon Age software, as he had no role in its creation. However, he does benefit from some of the promotional and spin-off material for the games, in particular the comic books which he was contracted to write.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      i don’t mind that all the money i spend pirating funds terrorism.

    • Damien Stark says:

      @itchyeyes

      If “indirectly funding” people you’re opposed to is your moral boundary, then god help you. Though I am impressed by the posting of comments on your personally hand-carved wooden PC over a hijacked Internet backbone.

      Not to mention that even if he had been one of the primary writers of the game proper (which he wasn’t) then the funding is still heavily “indirect” on a team of hundreds with a budget in the millions. Surely the positive treatment and acceptance the game itself gives to homosexuality would outweigh the few thousand dollars he would have made and spent publicizing his opinions to those who already agree with him?

      The problem is that he’s famous, and it’s easier for people’s brains to hold on to one big famous person than a team of a hundred ordinary staff persons and a complex system of fungible currency flows. So the news story reads (this one from Tom Chick, who I consider pretty respectable) “Dragon Age gets in bed with Orson Scott Card”

      It frustrated me when this happened to Shadow Complex too. A goddamn excellent game is going to get a bunch of negative press and forum flame wars because it can be vaguely name-linked to a prominent writer with intolerant opinions. Pick your favorite ten video games ever, and go through the credits from directors, producers, all the way down to writers (who are very rarely considered the top talent in that org chart). Do you really know the opinions and political activities of all those people? Would you really stop liking/playing/recommending Deus Ex now if you found out Alexander Brandon (one of the soundtrack composers) opposed foreign aid? (He doesn’t, AFAIK, this example conjured from thin air). Do you really pretend that you knew whether he did or didn’t?

      It’s lovely to see gamers trying to be mature and take notice of political causes and the consequences of the economics involved, but seriously – “indirectly funding” someone bad is a terrible, terrible standard to hold yourself too. Most likely a disingenuous one as well, since I doubt any of you know even the third-hops your game purchase money takes through the system. “Well, Warren Spector refilled his gas tank at a TotalFinaElf station, so Deus Ex funded Saddam Hussein…”

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      Carra says:

      I have enjoyed some of his books such as Enders game. They don’t contain any anti gay messages. If they did I’d have stopped reading very fast.

      And lobotomist has a point. This game isn’t anti gay at all. You can even start same sex relations with some of your companions.

    • itchyeyes says:

      @ Damien Stark

      First of all, take a minute to actually go back an not re-read what I wrote. Nowhere did I suggest anyone should boycott Dragon Age Awakening. Not only did I not suggest such a thing, but I attempted to reassure someone, who was considering a boycott, that they need not worry. So, now that I have that out of the way, I’ll address the parts of your post that aren’t based on a complete misinterpretation of what I wrote.

      You said:

      The problem is that he’s famous, and it’s easier for people’s brains to hold on to one big famous person than a team of a hundred ordinary staff persons and a complex system of fungible currency flows.

      The problem is not that he’s famous. The problem is that he’s famous and vocal. As such, his political positions and affiliations are well known to many. It’s one thing to support someone who’s politics you are unaware of (as you point out in several examples). It’s quite another thing if you are familiar with their beliefs before you must make the choice of supporting them or not.

      Now, let me be very clear. I am not advocating a boycott on OSC, or any other politically active creative mind. Even if one does accept that some portion of their money is going to support something they disagree with, it’s still a personal choice as to how that weighs against their personal beliefs. For some, the 10% or so OSC receives from book sales may be too much, but not the token amount he may receive from Shadow Complex. For others, depending on how strongly they feel about the issue, any money at all may be too much. And others might not care at all how much he receives, or even prefer that he receives a profit. All I’m saying, all I was ever saying, is that it’s not an irrational position to abstain from purchasing products that supports someone you disagree with if you feel strongly enough about the issue in question.

    • Jeremy says:

      Intolerance is a relative concept I would wager. If OSC was pro gay rights, there would be a whole slew of people boycotting him whom you would consider ridiculous. I think by definition, having an opinion creates an inescapable situation by which you’re being intolerant to someone. Thus, it is impossible to be truly tolerant, and besides, what does that word even mean anymore? Our ideal of tolerance still is, and always will be, coupled with our individual moral compass. As social morals change, so too does its threshold for tolerance.

  9. spinks says:

    Sounds great actually. Whether I’ll buy it when it comes out depends if it’s out before Final Fantasy 13 or not. I can only play one cool full price CRPG at a time ;)

  10. Pijama says:

    BIG ASS MOTHAFUCKEN SPOILAHS

    So, I s’pose the only way to continue the game is if you have bedded Morrigan, amirite?

  11. Lobotomist says:

    It depends

    If its at least 30+ hours long , than its worth 40$

    Anything less should not be more than 15$

    Also I really hope they fix the horrible ruleset somehow

    • Jeremy says:

      That seems like a bit too high of an expectation, which will only leave your soul crushed, or give you ample reason to go buck wild when it’s announced to be around 20 hours of play. I’m curious if others here think that time = money, because not too long ago people were up in arms that Blizzard would dare release 30+ missions for 3 separate races at 3 different times.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Jeremy

      It doesn’t seem like too high an expectation to me. At least a 30 hour campaign seems like a completely reasonable requirement for a $40 RPG expansion, actually.

      And yes, taking quality as a given (because a game’s worth nothing if it’s not fun) time = money. Actually, it’s a little more complex than that, time enjoyed = money. That means short but fun to replay games can be worth more than their hour length would suggest, and long but boring games can be worth less. For a game of this sort, though, one playthrough seems the most likely metric by which to judge and so length of campaign = money seems about right.

  12. aZepolyn says:

    On a serious note, I do wonder if the expansion will play off of your previous decisions, Elves vs Werewolves, Bhelen vs Harromount, Alistair and/or Anora, did you free the Circle from the Templars …

  13. Tei says:

    Well… €40 is a 80% of the price a normal game. For €40 is expect a big chunk of gameplay, days and not hours.

    Since I have already paid for the engine, and I have already give to the authors $50, I expect the price to be more like €20. Or will the engine get enhancements? we will see a redone of all the textures to new heights of quality? proabbly not, just reuse of medias we have already paid for.

    Is like some random EA executive has decide to double the price for not reason other than, his own greed… he probably expect to get paid more bonuses this Q for his smart bussines decission.

    • derFeef says:

      Makes me wonder why there is no such discussion about iTunes. Your PC already is able to play music, but you still pay the same price for every track, even if its 1 or 3 minutes long.

      Oh. My. Gosh. !

    • Tei says:

      Re: music

      Well.. I only have the C64 MULE tune on my computer. I tried to play Audiosurf this xmax. I installed iTunes once, and uninstalled rather quickly, It creates services and try to control the computer a bit too much for what I allow to applications to do.

  14. manveruppd says:

    Wasn’t Throne of Bhaal priced around $30/£20ish all those years ago? If you take into account inflation and growing development teams, it’s a modest price hike.
    Plus, if $40 is the RRP, it’ll be £15-18 from e-tailers. Not that this justifies the price entirely, but it makes it less unpalatable.

    • CJohnson03 says:

      correct me if I’m wrong, but Throne of Bhaal also added new classes, customizable mercanaries, a new campaign, runes.. tons of entirely new features. That’s what I expect out of an expansion pack. I’d pay $40 for something like that.

    • Lilliput King says:

      The newspost would seem to suggest a new campaign, new classes and new NPC characters.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Throne of Bhaal took about 40 hours to complete, about the same time in which I finished Dragon Age (without missing too many sidequests).

      I would be willing to cough up decent money for a new DA adventure but only if Bioware did something about the ridiculous amount of useless filler encounters. It’s literally several steps back in this area compared to the IE games, even the first BG.

  15. jsutcliffe says:

    No Sten, no purchase.

    Maybe they need to make a casual game spinoff, Sten’s Animal Playtime. I’d buy that.

    • Tei says:

      Re: sten and friends

      Maybe is possible to create a mod to have “duplicated” characters. I imagine a party of 4 dogs, or 2 morrigans 2 alaistairs. Imagine the chatter there.
      Or having 4 stens.

    • Choca says:

      Sten and friends ? That would be Sten all alone with his sword right ?

    • Rinox says:

      Don’t forget the cookies.

    • Sly Boots says:

      I disliked Sten intensely. I kept waiting for the explanation as to why he did what he did, or that he took the blame to protect someone else, but nothing. And then he attacked me.

      I guess you could say it’s good design/writing to create a character to engender an emotional response like that, even if it was a negative one.

      I let him die in the cage in my second playthrough…

    • jsutcliffe says:

      I find it very interesting how people latch on to particular characters, and strongly dislike others. I suppose it is evidence that Bioware know what they’re doing, emotionally, with the player. I cannot stand Alistair, Ohgren and Morrigan but I see many other people really like them, while I cannot imagine not having Sten in my party.

    • James G says:

      Sten does describe the motivations behind his actions if your influence is high enough. It also goes someway to reveling why he was so loathe to reveal them.

      ::Sten Spoiler:: After collapsing in battle he lost his sword, something of extream importance to the Q’nari. As losing it is pretty much a death sentence, and a mark of major incompetence, Sten paniced, and attacked everyone. Crap excuse granted, but you can see why someone who values self discipline might be loathe to admit that they had a little panic attack after discracing themselves. ::Spoiler::

      I’ll probably be picking up the expansion if I can grab it for £20 or less. I only spent £25 on the full game itself, so paying the same again for ~15h would feel a bit silly, even if the £:h of the OC was ridiculously reasonable.

      Oh, and in other topic branches, I hadn’t realised OSC had any involvement in the DA:O marketing side of things. That’s somewhat shitty. I loved Ender’s Game and Speaker, then made the mistake of reading up a bit more on Card, mistakenly thinking he’d be a reasonable well balanced bloke. Since then I haven’t been able to read his books, not only because I’ll be throwing money, indirectly, at causes I despise, but also because I know I’ll be reading in between the lines and cursing the author.

      It has taught me not to read the Wikipedia entries on my favourite authors.

    • Phinor says:

      “I cannot stand Alistair, Ohgren and Morrigan but I see many other people really like them, while I cannot imagine not having Sten in my party.”

      Alistair, Ohgren and Morrigan, that’s my whole party right there :P On the other hand I really dislike Sten a lot.

      I’ll definitely pay $40 or £25 for this expansion but I won’t touch it with a pole if it’s 40€. I wonder if you can mix different versions of Dragon Age and Awakening as I currently have Dragon Age from EA Store but the cheapest expansion is probably found from an UK retailer.

    • Lilliput King says:

      I liked Sten too. My party was him, Morrigan, and Alistair. Seemed to be the best of the bunch. That said, I didn’t actually meet all the characters.

      ::spoilers::

      My Dragon Age was a bit fecked – I never met Oghren, but he followed my party around as a disembodied voice, occasionally shouting things at no-one in particular, which was awkward for everyone. On the other hand, I got to know Loghain surprisingly well, as he accompanied my party to the siege of Denerim despite his recent beheading. He seemed totally unfazed by the experience. He was also present at the epilogue, but he remained ominously, terrifying silent, merely staring at me unwavering till I left-clicked my way out of the conversation.

      Oghren also became embodied at the epilogue, and chatted quite happily to me as if we were old pals. I couldn’t help feeling slightly unsettled.

      To round up the entirety of my Dragon Age bugs, upon being selected Alistair would repeatedly and without provocation refer to my (male) character as “my love.” Take THAT, OSC.

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      Carra says:

      @James G. I felt something similar. I read through the four ender books box I bought and enjoyed them a lot. Then I took a look at wikipedia to find out a bit more. After which I was thinking if it’s a good idea to support someone with whose ideas I can not find myself.

    • Choca says:

      Sten : No.

      Sten Disapproves (-12536)

  16. Rinox says:

    I say bring it on. I’ll gladly whip out 40 bucks for 15 hours of DA-quality gameplay. Mind you, 40 bucks, not euros. But if it’s 40 $ I’ll gladly pay 30 €. Let’s hope the steam currency conversion diseases doesn’t catch on and leaves us Europeans screwed again. :-(

  17. Alexander Norris says:

    I very much doubt that this will get my money. Dragon Age was a disappointment for me (even though I went into it knowing that it would be one, I was hoping against hope that it wouldn’t be) and $60 (or $96000000, according to John) for 15 more hours of the same choresome combat and ultra-linear plot is not something I’m willing or in a position to shell out.

    On a tangentially-related note, I really wish fully-voiced RPGs would go die a horrible death.

  18. VHATI says:

    I welcome an expansion. for $40 is way to high for 15 hours.

    As a huge fan of DAO, thats still to costly in my opinion.

    • derFeef says:

      I paid 50$ for a 7 hour game (not expansion), SP only. Thats a bit worse…. imho. I dont get the “jump on the high price bandwagon” thing here.

    • VHATI says:

      well. consider the size of previous true rpg expansions. they all clock in above 15 hours and cost less than $40, usually $20 or $30.

      15 hours in an rpg is like a slap in the face.

    • CJohnson03 says:

      Yeah, but that 7 hour game was something you’d never played before, new and original. With this, it’s just more of the same. I probably won’t throw down $40 to play something almost identical to what I just finished playing, not without some significant new content/features/gameplay

    • Wulf says:

      (Don’t jump any guns based on the name, eh?)

      @VHATI

      I’m not so bothered by the time, and to be honest I am much more welcoming to something that’s three hours of brilliance, rather than three hours of brilliance padded out to infinity so that the brilliance can’t even barely be found any more, not even in the faintest of glimmers.

      Mask of the Betrayer was a pretty short game, especially if one bolted through it, but the quality was undeniable, and having a smaller party helped with the dialogue variety and party member-related content, too. By going for a smaller game over all, it can be quite possible to create a enriching, gladdening, and fulfilling experience.

      Portal was just three hours, but it was three undiluted hours of total bliss.

      To be honest, I wish we could get over this time investment thing and start looking at the quality of a game instead. That’s how it works with films, after all. Consider if you will these rules applied to reviewing films. Try to wrap your mind around a 60-hour long version of Last Action Hero, and compare that with The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello.

      The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello is a mere 30 minutes long, so by the length value standard, the 60-hour long Last Action Hero wins out, even though I personally believe that watching a 60-hour long version of Last Action Hero would be a valid medical equivalent to performing a lobotomy, without all the messy bits. So the time-as-a-value-standard just doesn’t wash with me.

      By any rational values of quality, The Mysterious Geographical Explorations of Jasper Morello wins the day, because despite it only being 30 minutes long, it’s 30 minutes of sumptuously pulchritudinous wonder. It’s a fantastic little piece of story-telling, and quite the opposite of the mind-rot it’s being weighed in against. My truth, the truth I have found in this, is that undiluted quality is always superior to quality padded out so much that the quantity of quality transmogrifies into worthless trash.

      It reminds me of how people claim that just because they’ve put a lot of time into World of Warcraft, they’re skilled, but it doesn’t mean that at all, it just means that they’ve wasted a hell of a lot of time and they haven’t really achieved anything or done anything enriching with that time, it was just padding, wasted, worthless hours. And we only live for so long, so every hour, every second is a valuable, precious thing.

      If they can clean all the gunk out of the Dragon Age model and provide some undiluted originality and imagination, then I’d pay $40 for it. But it depends on how much undiluted brilliance there is here. Is this 15 hours of awe-inspiring taleweaving, or is this an half hour of content padded ou to 15 hours? That’s the trick, for me, as a reviewer. Figuring out just how much something has been padded and diluted, and the more diluted it is, the more padded it is, the less worth it has, and that impacts on its value for money.

      Point is, something that’s 15 hours long can have 50 times the worth of something 60 hours long, but it all depends on the quotient of padding. And that’s really the first thing a review should look at, because a film-reviewer wouldn’t tolerate 10 minutes of entertainment padded out to two hours, and neither should we. If this is undiluted and unpadded, then we should praise Bioware and tell them this is what we want. If that is the case.

      At least, IMHO.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Wulf

      This, a thousand times over.

  19. phil says:

    Considering the problems big RPGs have had with periodically released chucks of content (Fallout 3 springs to mind ) and the chance of buggering up a character that represents dozens of hours of playtime, combined with price, makes me think I’ll wait for the debugged GOTY edition.

  20. Mike says:

    I say let them charge whatever they want for 3 months so they can soak the die-hard fans for all they can. Then I’ll come in next summer and pick up the inevitable “gold edition” of the original game and expansion pack on sale for $30.

    Just in time for the summer school break.

  21. toni says:

    i liked dragon age, i played the DLC, got the deluxe edition but enough is enough. no more money on it. I would buy DragonAge 2 if it is a good step forward (especially graphics and design-wise DA:O fails in every departement) but no money for small dribbling addons in such a short time. I have other games to play, I don’t wanna have TV episodes game I have to play a whole year to get anywhere near a satisfying conclusion. And like you said: Darkspawn again ? Way to defeat the purpose of the main game or undermine and belittle the enemy. takes away from the impact.
    I only hope they stop using 10×50 same-y enemies as “challenge” and replace it with meaningful fights that don’t go on forever with 5 different incarnations of the same boring demon.

  22. Vajarra says:

    Do you play the same character, or a new one?

    Because my first character is kind of… out of commission.

  23. Dante says:

    £20-25 for 15 hours seems like a solid deal to me. That’s what? Three times the length of MW2 for half the price? Steal.

    • Premium User Badge

      Carra says:

      Or one fourth of the original game for 80% of the price.

    • Dante says:

      You do remember how expansion packs work right? Or are you too young to remember them before they were renamed DLC?

      Are we to judge all games by Dragon Age’s length now? Is HL2 only worth £20? Max Payne £10? Modern Warfare 2 £0.13?

      Judging games or add ons by length this way is a mugs game.

  24. egg says:

    Well, Portal was kinda expensive and much shorter. Don’t think this expansion is gonna be anywhere as cool as Portal, but you get the point.

    Time is not the only component to judge value. Though it surely counts.

  25. Enoch says:

    You can survive the finale if you turn Morrigan down. Just let Al or Loghain finish off the archdemon for you.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      SPOILERS

      I had intended to do the heroic self sacrifice thing but then Al apologised for being a dick and dumping me before the final battle i dithered and told him it was all alright and whilst I was busy doing that he just went and sacrificed himself. The legend that he is.

      As for Sten; I found him a more interesting character the second time through when I’ve actually had him in a party (I’m playing a bit of a dick who kills first and asks questions later so he likes me). you can ask him about comments he makes during the incidental conversations and he starts telling you all these parables that give you a much better sense about what the Quanari are all about. He still smacks a bit of Dakon lite though.

      i’ll probably cave and buy the expansion; as much as I’m against the idea of DLC in principle I want more Dragon Age and that needs new content – although OK the second time through it wasn’t quite as enjoyable.

  26. Jimbo says:

    “I’m a bit disappointed that the enemy are the darkspawn. I’d prefer something a bit more politically intriguing, an enemy from within.”

    I agree with this one infinity percent. I’ll take anything that isn’t just mindless evil being evil though, so maybe if somebody is manipulating the Darkspawn/Blight somehow, it could turn out ok. Ideally I’d like to see some Qun vs. Tevinter political/military action, but that needs more than 15 hour to do it justice.

    As for what will actually happen, I’ll call it right now: Duncan’s body isn’t with King Cailan at the end of Return to Ostagar, dramatic zoom in on Alistair, “…Where’s Duncan?”, *credits roll*. Awakening opens with Duncan… awakening? You end up going to help him against “”The Architect”", *Surprise Twist!!*, Duncan is the Architect.

  27. Jeremy says:

    I’m fairly confident that they’ve got their lore straight though. I think at the very least we should check it out and see where the story goes. They set up a “doomsday darkspawn” event, and it actually left me with a lot of questions about the darkspawn, the old gods and what even caused the Blight in the first place, other than, these guys tried to touch heaven and were tainted and so now they kill everything. Learning the motivation of that would be really key to the lore. Also, if Heaven is tainted, then what of that? There were a lot of “this has happened” but not a lot of “why has this happened?” in the game, which I think could lead to some really compelling stuff, even if it is going back to darkspawn territory. Also, it is called Dragon Age for a reason, and the dragons/old gods will most likely factor strongly in any new stories created for the game.

    One thing that I like about the lore, is that it creates an actual religious context, instead of leaving things ambiguous. That allows for a lot of exploration of what heaven is, who these gods are, what it actually means to be a god in this universe, etc. Or if there is a main God? Are they roman/greek style with bickering and power plays, or more of a benevolent single God where things sort of went all wrong? All in all, I trust the direction of Awakening because I think it’s really critical to learning more about the world itself, and I’m kinda glad that the political stuff is waiting just a bit longer.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Is the religion in DA actually, um, “real”, then? I sort of assumed it was ambiguous

    • Schadenfreude says:

      The Bioware writers have said it’s all ambiguous. What the Chantry believes and preaches isn’t neccessarily true. The writers know what’s really going on but won’t say; bless their cotton socks.

    • Jeremy says:

      That’s what I meant. Not necessarily that the Chantry is perfectly true, but that there is some kind of heaven, it’s been tainted, and there are all kinds of shenanigans going on with these gods and such. It has real ramifications on the world, hence the religious context being actual rather than a fine mist of religion that the designers just threw in there.

    • Wulf says:

      I couldn’t help but hope that the chantry was full of it, and that there’s something far more ominous and generally interesting going on, there. Perhaps if they were far more doomed than they ever realised, the Chantry knows the truth, and they’ve fabricated a religion to cover it up for whatever reason.

      The whole heaven and hell, and euphemisms of angels and demons, sins and virtues, and whatnot that the game has going on has a verisimilitude to the works of Tolkien, so much so that the game felt immensely familiar from the moment I dipped my toes into the lore. If the Chantry’s religion is true, then it’s nothing more than a derivative of Tolkien’s works, a Slash’EM to Tolkien’s NetHack, so to speak.

      This is why I always preferred lore that involved polytheist beliefs and multiiple planes instead of jjust heaven and hell, I felt that Dungeons & Dragons pulled it off with aplomb, as did Guild Wars, as both of those had religions with real deities that wasn’t cloyingly familiar.

      It would be a very brave move for them to expose the Chantry as flim-flam men and have something far more complicated and possibly even political going on there, it would also be interesting if there was a political background behind the Darkspawn, which had been covered up by religious flim-flammery (sorry, that’s fun to say). It’d be even more interesting if the Chantry had been manipulating the keepers of history, since in that kind of setting such a thing would be entirely possible.

      It’d be even more interesting if some organisation that preceded the Chantry was directly responsible for the Darkspawn and they created the Chantry to protect themselves behind a religious shield. Who needs to hire mercs when you can have entire kingdoms throw themselves to the Beast in the name of a God you’ve invented? History shows this isn’t exactly a far-fetched concept.

      Now that… that would get me into Dragon Age. Unfortunately I fear that there will be a heaven, and that the Chantry are good, honest people who’re telling it like it is.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Unfortunately I fear that there will be a heaven, and that the Chantry are good, honest people who’re telling it like it is.”

      Indeed. I get the feeling that is actually what they’re going for with the wotsit, Fade. It’s already been made abundantly clear if you’re weird and read all the backstory like me that the ‘heaven’ is actually a location in the Fade. A bunch of mages tried to get there, and messed something up, inviting Darkspawn into creation. The Chantry has essentially attached a fair bit of mysticism and bundled it up into some kind of ‘original sin’ sort of situation.

      It’s not terrible and maybe they’ll do something interesting with it, but it certainly would’ve been braver to create a fantasy world where faith isn’t fact.

    • Boldoran says:

      I am not sure I would like that. There are enough conspiracy theorie and corporate conspiracy plots in my opinion. Also the existence of the golden city does not directly make the chantry the only ones that are right.
      The Dwarfs for example do not have an attachement to the fade and seem to go by pretty ok on that .

    • Wulf says:

      I think my point was missed a touch, there.

      The point, clarified, is: I’d prefer a story where I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen, a story with ambition and intrigue, rather than a predictable story where I pretty much have the entire plot figured out from early on. As I played Dragon Age: Origins, I realised quickly that I’d all ready figured out pretty much the whole plot fairly quickly, then it was just a grinding slog through the padding for them to reveal what I’d all ready figured out. That wasn’t a whole lot of fun for me. I’d see much more value in Dragon Age if they were able to fool me, and maybe even shock me. But as it is, the story is entirely derivative of other fantasy stories I’ve seen. Therefore, having experienced those stories, I knew exactly what to expect in Dragon Age, and it never moved away from that.

      In the expansion, I’d very much like them to go WELL UR WRAAUUNG and do things that completely shake the very foundations of the staid derivative world they’ve created, undoing what they’ve done, and throwing everything into question, and leaving the player with far more questions than answers. As it is at the moment… well, I don’t really feel I have any questions at all, I have my own answers, and if the expansion continues like the original game, then those answers are very probably going to be right.

      Maybe I’m just old, I admit that, I’m old and I’ve read a lot of fantasy works, so maybe to someone younger all this is completely new and not derivative, but there was nothing in Dragon Age that surprised me at any point, and I wanted to be surprised, I wanted them to catch me with my pants down and show my arrogant assumptions for what they were, put me in my place, and so on. They never did. But I expect that of a good story. I just found it all so utterly predictable, from start to finish.

      So even a conspiracy theory would be better than that.

      /shrug

    • Lilliput King says:

      “Maybe I’m just old, I admit that, I’m old and I’ve read a lot of fantasy works, so maybe to someone younger all this is completely new and not derivative”

      Oh, FFS.

  28. kedaha says:

    I’m disappointed it’s more of the same. I felt Dragon Age lacked a lot of the City roleplaying I always enjoyed in other cRPG’s, as I always found towns the most enjoyable places to wander, quest and kill in.

    Ah Athkatla, we’ll never see your like again!

  29. Roman K says:

    As far as Gamestop is concerned, the game is priced at $30 for the PC version.

    Makes sense, really. $30 for the expansion on the PC.

    • Combat Dude says:

      Yeah, this is what a lot of people seem to be missing. It’s a RETAIL expansion, so we don’t have to settle for the “suggested” price that they’ll have on Steam or other digital distribution outlets. We can just buy it boxed. Maybe less convenient for some, but a heck of a lot cheaper.

      I’m guessing it’ll be £17.99 at Play.com.

  30. Demon Beaver says:

    I bought 15 full length games for $50 lately (Steam Sale), many of them elaborate, long and interesting… no matter how laced this expansion (DLC?) is, I won’t get it until its price drops. Same goes for the original DA:O, really… I’ve seen friends play it, and I want to play it, too… but the price is just a bit too much for me right now… I’ll get it in a year for a few bucks less.

  31. Danarchist says:

    I would be much more turned on by the “5 new characters!” if there were more than 3 classes. Warrior, rogue, mage. Thas it folks! One of the annoyances I had with the O-riginal was that it seemed like I always had the same 2 companions with me in different skins. I needed 1 rogue to pick locks and one mage to do all the actual damage and healing. The third party member seemed to be the “Bonus” character as I filled the roll of tank just fine. All said it seemed like speccing was the only way to differentiate the tall barbarian warrior from the short dwarf warrior, and even then it seemed little more than a once-a-battle special move difference. My other problem was how quickly just a couple moves and one sustained ate up everyones stamina bar hehe. I think 80% of my warriors swings were auto attacks.

  32. Vinraith says:

    A hundred hour RPG with full mod support is more than worth $40. A 15 hour expansion is not. If it turns out there’s considerably more content than anticipated, I’ll pick it up at full price, but as described I’ll wait for a $15-$20 price point.

  33. Fumarole says:

    Only five games this year? Good god man, my Steam account alone increased by fourteen games over the holiday season.

  34. postmanX3 says:

    40 dollars somehow seems expensive. I dunno. I’ll probably buy it anyways.

  35. Mac says:

    All I want is a Tab toggle option – pain in the ass to hold it down most of the time !

  36. Choca says:

    Let’s hope we get at least one interesting evil character amongst these “five all-new party members”, I’m sick of only having Shale and the Dog in my teams because everyone else is a puppy kissing rainbow loving moron (well except Bitchy McWitchmoan but she’s nowhere near real evil either).

    Give me a Xzar, a Korgan or (even better) an Edwin Odesseiron to work with and I’ll be a happy sociopath.

    Oh yeah and no more warriors please.

    • Jimbo says:

      You didn’t like Sten?

    • Danarchist says:

      Sten was sorta boring in my opinion too hehe, plus he was always going on about honor blah blah blah.

      What was the name of the homicidal robot in kotor? We need one of him to hang out with shale. Regrettably shale reminded me allot of a tran that works at my favorite coffee shop so it was more awkward than funny.

    • manveruppd says:

      Watching Danarchist and the tranny who serves him coffee battle Darkspawn togehter, and then battle awkward sexual tension (while spattered in blood from their last battle) would, IMO, be pretty funny. :)

    • Choca says:

      @Jimbo :

      I wouldn’t call Sten evil, he sounds more like an honor and duty bound “neutral” character to me.

      And well, he does play around with kittens and pick flowers which makes him unwelcome amongst my kind :D

    • Jimbo says:

      He did slaughter an innocent family who were giving him aid and shelter, just because he had misplaced his sword. Sure, we’ve all been there, but it’s still pretty evil.

  37. Dean says:

    I also wonder if there’s any other game where a boxed expansion has been scheduled so soon after the original? They normally take at least a year no?

    • postmanX3 says:

      Yes, I think most games do take a while to get an expansion out.

      Of course, that doesn’t make this a bad thing. It’s more Dragon Age, for Pete’s sake. That could never be a bad thing.

  38. Kadayi says:

    Sounds like they are throwing a large amount of work into it, so I don’t see the problem with the pricing. DA:O was probably the best bang for buck story driven game of the last few years and even if the expansion is considerably shorter in terms of play time (although still a lot longer than most titles), I’m not going to begrudge them making a buck or two in these tough times given I feel I got more than my moneys worth out of the first title (I’ve clocked over a hundred hours playtime and still haven’t finished it yet). Games are a ridiculously cheap form of entertainment Vs most other mediums in terms of cost Vs time, so I find this ‘I won’t pay full price’ talk all rather whiny (a meal out to a restaurant or a Cinema trip could set you back more). Bottom line is, if there isn’t money to be made out of something developers will cease to do it, and personally I’m not adverse to supporting an industry whose products I like.

  39. oddshrub says:

    40€ is way too expensive for an 15 hour expansion in my eyes, I can buy Demon Souls for 35€ and that’s an entire new game which will last aslong as Dragon Age did. But I guess I’ll just pick up the boxed version in a year or so when it’s dropped to 5€. :p

    Or maybe I should simply trade in my DAO and wait for the game of the year edition with everything included? ^^

  40. Jimbo says:

    Let’s not get too carried away about the price just yet. The price they announce and the actual shelf or pre-order price aren’t necessarily the same thing.

    The RRP on PC MW2 was £40, but you could pre-order it for just over half that.

    • Kadayi says:

      Seconded. Way too much ‘How dare they!!!’ going on in this thread already. The RRP is never what’s on the store shelves in the end.

    • Carra says:

      There is competition for retail boxes. You can also find the game on four digital distribution platforms. Competition drives the prices down.

      But as to DLC? You can only buy it from the publishers website. No competition, no price clashes.

  41. Kadayi says:

    @Carra

    But awakenings isn’t DLC. It’s an expansion pack that’s going to be retail released (it’s on gamespot right now) and (at guess) available via Steam and other DD sites nearer release I suspect (Steam sales were pretty good for DA:O). So yes, expect to see some flexibility in the pricing.

  42. Dan says:

    $40 isn’t bad if any of you remember playing (and paying) for the Neverwinter Nights expansions that were very very cool at the time. So this isn’t new, its already been done before and it was done well.

  43. John says:

    Way too high a price. $25 would be more acceptable, and only if its a length expansion.

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