New Dragon Age DLC: Darkspawn Chronicles

By John Walker on May 6th, 2010 at 5:55 pm.

That's you, that is.

There’s new Dragon Age DLC on the way. Which so far hasn’t really been much of a cause for celebration, but this one, Darkspawn Chronicles, sounds interesting. Very interesting. It’s an alternative history, where your character is killed during the Grey Warden’s Joining ceremony. This leaves the lovely Alistair in charge of the elite group, but oh no, you don’t play as him. You play as a darkspawn.

Which asks an awful lot of questions.

It’s described as “A standalone adventure in which you command genlocks, hurlocks, shrieks, and even the mighty ogres.” It’s hard to know from this whether this means you’ll have more than four in your party, or perhaps there will be the army-deploying system that appears toward the end of the first game. Or maybe something even more strategic? BioWare detailed the DLC with this description:

“You now fight as the Darkspawn! The city of Denerim, jewel of Ferelden, girds itself for war. As a hurlock vanguard, you alone hold the power to make thralls of your fellow darkspawn and drive them into the heat of battle. Heed the archdemon’s call–Denerim must burn!”

Be the ogre.

I like the alto-timeline thing. It’s an excellent answer to the question, “How do you add in new content to a game people have finished, but without needing people to have finished to enjoy?” Although I’m not sure quite how differently Alistair would have run things – perhaps more allegiance to the Chantry, and less tolerance of Mages.

Oh, and when you complete this standalone story you can unlock some Darkspawn item or other. Which is probably a bit late for most people playing. It’s out on the 18th May, and will cost 400 Monopoly Monies, or about £3.40. Here’s a trailer:

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54 Comments »

  1. Mr Labbes says:

    While not including any canon characters, there’s a small mod called “Emissary” in which you play, you know, a Darkspawn Emissary commanding a group of other Darkspawn.
    It’s quite lovely, and it’s also quite hard.

  2. Alistaresatyou says:

    So brown.

  3. Snall says:

    Actually a cool idea, need more stuff like this…although…come to think of it I wanna re-install Vampire: Bloodlines now (With latest fan mods) …and Deus Ex just for balance.

    • Wulf says:

      I strongly recommend installing the Clan Quest Mod if you do that. It includes a lot of the best skins, the best mods, a very recent unofficial patch, and it just fixes and berrifies™ the game. Also, opt to install the arsenal mod when the game asks you, since that reworks weapons and gives you all sorts of fun new things to play with, including grenades. Oh, and it includes the highly spoken of Camarilla Edition mod, too, so there’s that.

      All in one neat, tidy package, with an installer!

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wulf

      I’m curious, does that mod suite fill out some of those dead areas towards the end of the game, and possibly de-bullshit the final boss fights? Those two things have kept me from replaying Vampire, but if they were no longer an issue…

    • Wulf says:

      @Vinraith
       
      You might not have been expecting this but… yes!
       
      “[...] fill out some of those dead areas towards the end of the game, [...]”
       
      The unofficial patch does stuff like this, it adds a number of NPCs and things.
       
      “[...] and possibly de-bullshit the final boss fights?”
       
      With the stuff included in the arsenal mod, and the new roleplaying options/quests (all adding up to extra XP), you’ll find you’re much, much better kitted out by the end of the game. Troika commented themselves that the state of the game was horrible, and that the balance of things was way off. This particular compilation provides a fairly balanced experience, it’s not too easy and it’s not ridiculously hard.
       
      In fact, I encourage you to read the notes of everything included in the mod pack, it’s a lot better, these days, and the game is still being actively worked on by lots of people.
       
      VTMB is one game that won’t die. Even I’ve recently reinstalled it for another run through with the latest CQM.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Wulf

      Expecting? No. Hoping? Absolutely. :)

      Has the unofficial patch really done a lot to fill out those areas in the last couple of years? When I played it a few years ago…. wait, that was actually 2005 wasn’t it? Yeah, it’s probably pretty different by now, time to check it out again. Thanks for the heads up.

    • Klaus says:

      Damn you Wulf, I’m not even finished with Awakening yet and I’m off to install Bloodlines. Oh!

      I’m going to name my mabari ‘LaCroix’ next time.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Now you done it, Wulf. I shall have to replay VTMB (again) with this shiny new mod. My gaming backlog grows increasingly long, and is not helped by mods like this…

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t think any of you will regret reinstalling it and using the CQM mod-pack though, simply because it really does add so much stuff. There’s going to be a good amount of stuff in there that you’ve never seen before, especially if you haven’t played the game in a good number of years.

      I really think you’re all going to enjoy it. A note, though: You’ll get the most out of the game if you play as a Malk, because the Dementation option and some of the Malk lines are too funny for words. One of my favourite moments of the game is where the TV newscaster starts talking to you.

    • Fhoenix says:

      I wish Clan Quest Mod would be compatible with the Companion mod. Between the two of them it just too hard of a choice to make.

    • drewski says:

      Worth installing for a first time playthrough? I’ve got it sitting on my shelf awaiting a go.

  4. Bdawg12 says:

    Cant’ wait to see the nude patch!

  5. Bolt Axyon says:

    Deus Ex, I would like to get into that, but how and what do I need?

    • Mr Labbes says:

      You need the game, that’s really all. I’m playing vanilla Deus Ex and having a blast, I’m just afraid the mods will break the game (HDTP did, for me).
      It’s available on amazon.co.uk quite cheaply, go and get it. Now. You know you want to.

    • Arthur Barnhouse says:

      Double check graphics card support. I’ve tried running the steam version of Deus Ex on two different computers, and both times have been met with failure.

    • RedFred says:

      This is getting ridiculous. Whenever you mention an RPG now someone, somewhere wants to install Dues Ex.

    • kyynis says:

      @Bolt Axyon
      You must be, like, the most unfortunate guy on this earth. DX was on sale at Steam for three bucks or something just a couple of weeks ago, now it’s price is tripled. Works perfectly on modern systems. Or at least on my rig. I’d wait for sale on direct2drive or something.

    • MultiVaC says:

      For Deus Ex you can also use that D3D10 renderer that someone made for the original Unreal engine. It has a few visual enhancements you can turn on, but the main attraction is that it’s something modern systems are perfectly at home with, including nice support for widescreen monitors and stuff.

      http://kentie.net/article/d3d10drv/

      I’ve haven’t done a lot of playing with it yet, but from testing it out in Deus Ex it seems pretty great. Also try this UI mod if you’re running at high res: http://deusex2.filefront.com/file/OTP_UI_Fix;84991

  6. Wednesday says:

    this sounds… crap

    Oh well, Awakening was good.

  7. ChaK_ says:

    quite a good game, but didn’t get BG 1 & 2 out of my head.

    I really miss a good RPG, top view, nice environnement.

    DAO was ok, but the tactical cam was a joke. Not far enough, and you couldn’t appreciate the surrounding since it wasn’t really meant to played with that view. I didn’t get the “click” actually. That and not enough members, not enough choice.

    I miss choosing 4/5 out of 30 NPC, with different alignment.

    Tho to be honest I absolutly loved dialogue.

  8. bleeters says:

    I always knew Alistair was useless.

    Watch your back, Steve Blum. I’m coming for you, too. All dozen or so of you.

    • Wulf says:

      Leave Steve Blum out of this! D: The world needs more of that man’s voice, not less!

    • Vinraith says:

      Oops, errant reply. I clicked the wrong button, I suspect. Disregard. Though for the record, Alistair rules.

    • bleeters says:

      Oh, I have nothing particularly against him, he does good work. S’just that he’s everywhere, to the extent that I’ve had Steve Blum (Oghren) holding a conversation with Steve Blum (Gorim).

  9. Stick says:

    Given that Alistair never wanted to lead, and that the PC was all that prevented him and Morrigan from killing each other and/or getting naked, I suspect this scenario leaves the Dog in charge. Which can’t be all bad. Everybody loves the Mabari.

  10. fuggles says:

    Q&A with the designer here:
    http://uk.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/dragonage/news.html?sid=6261320&om_act=convert&om_clk=newsfeatures&tag=newsfeatures;title;1&mode=previews

    Gives away a lot of details as to how it works. Sounds interesting, and I’ll probably get it because I’m an impetuous fool, even if I loved “Emissary”. On the bioware forms there is a collective wailing and gnashing of teeth about this.

  11. Sobric says:

    I think I’ll need to complete the original first. My enthusiasm for the game suddenly took a nosedive, and I’m not sure why…

    • Elusiv3Pastry says:

      Same here, probably because it’s so morose and utterly depressing. Which is appropriate, I guess, given that the world is engulfed in darkness and everyone is being slaughtered. But still. The camp music makes me want to wear eye shadow and slit my wrists.

      I played Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2 more times than I can count and never got bored. Try as I might, I can’t shake the feeling that Dragon Age is just grind-y and monotonous.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Same here. Keep meaning to get back to it but the bugs plaguing a couple of my characters don’t help. It doesn’t pull as much as I’d hoped.

  12. James G says:

    Almost skipped over this post as although I’m not anti-DLC, the previous Dragon Age stuff hasn’t done much to entice me. This sounds… different. Different doesn’t mean good of course, but it is something I like to see more of.

  13. Lilliput King says:

    Looking forward to the romance subplots.

    Phwoar.

  14. Finn says:

    This sound very interesting but they haven’t even bothered patching the dreadful bugs in Awakening and they are already announcing another DLC? Really?

  15. Vinraith says:

    I’m thankful to modern developers/publishers for training the completist out of me. in the old days, I bought every expansion pack for a game I liked, even if it was shit, just because I couldn’t stand not having every scrap of content for a given title. In a world full of $8 30 minute quests, $5 overpowered item packs that destroy the balance of the game, and the like I’ve had to change the way I look at these things, and I’m better off for it. The result is that I haven’t bought a single piece of DLC for DA or ME2 (though I did get Awakenings), despite greatly enjoying both games, because none of them have looked particularly interesting.

    This… as others have said this is different and may be more interesting. We’ll see, but based on the length and substance of previous DLC’s for these games I’m deeply skeptical.

    • sasayan says:

      “$5 overpowered item packs that destroy the balance of the game”
      This made the game a lot less interesting for me. Instead searching for and slowly upgrading my equipment, I ended up with several sets of armour and weapons that were better than 90% of everything I found in the main story. Even the free armour that comes in the box felt overpowered.
      Playing as the enemy sounds interesting though. I hope more developers try to experiment with a wider range of DLC than “tacked on side story with requisite shiny new loot”.

    • Vinraith says:

      @sasayan

      Indeed. I actually have pre-order equipment codes for both DA and ME2 that I’ve never used, because I quite simply don’t want that crap in my game. What is the point (and where is the fun) in starting out with the best equipment in the game?

    • Klaus says:

      Actually I just don’t use the super equipment because they’re pretty ugly.

    • sasayan says:

      Just remember both dwarven origins strip you of all your items at some point, which includes the special armor. Oops.

    • Klaus says:

      They patched that. I’m 90% sure they did anyway. Such a silly mistake.

  16. Stense says:

    Just as I was getting the Bioware-a-thon bug out of my system…

    Sounds interesting.

  17. bleeters says:

    A thought occurs.

    “What, me — LEAD? No, no no… bad things happen when I lead. We get lost, people die, and the next thing you know, I’m stranded in the middle of nowhere! Without any pants!”

    That might explain why we only see Alistair from the shoulder up in that trailer, then.

  18. Klaus says:

    I am amused at Alistair leading anything, I can easily see Morrigan and eventually Anora betraying him because they so much more devious than him.

    So as much as I adore Alistair, with the PC Warden gone I should be able to cleave through that party with ease.

  19. jalf says:

    Do they actually allow you to pay in real money yet?

    I might be persuaded to actually buy some DLC for a change if they didn’t require me to buy monopoly money for it first.

    Ridiculously bad business sense, really, forcing your customers to jump through hoops to give you money.

    • MultiVaC says:

      It does seem like bad business sense, but Microsoft seems to be making a killing selling things with their “Schrute-bucks” scheme on Xbox Live. They probably do it to force people to buy more points than they need to get the DLC. For example, the ME2 Stolen Memory DLC costs 560 BioWare points, but you can only buy them in quantities of 400, 800, 1200, and 1600 from the Mass Effect store. So there is a method to their madness. Fortunately, you can kind of game their system by buying points from their other stores, because for some reason the Dragon Age store lets you buy 400, 560, 800, and 1600 points, so I just bought points from there and spent them on the Mass Effect 2 DLC. So if this DLC ends up costing 1200 points you can sneak over to the Mass Effect 2 store and get the points in that quantity. And you can use the Zune Marketplace to get MS points in quantities that they don’t offer on Xbox Live or GFWL. It’s pretty ridiculous, but I can see how it squeezes a few extra dollars from the vast majority of people who are buying this stuff.

  20. Pantsman says:

    A bit late? Speak for yourself, I just started!

  21. Ian says:

    Interesting idea. Might suck, but it’s an idea.

  22. Shimarenda says:

    Playing as a darkspawn and killing my erstwhile companions doesn’t appeal to me. “Kill the Wardens?” No thanks.

  23. Kirrus says:

    Still trying to get through Origins! Managed to really mess up my character when I started, just used the respec tools.

    Not sure about this.. Don’t normally enjoy playing the bad guys, unless it’s in tremulous…

    Also, if anyone notices how much I’ve been commenting, I’ve been up for stupid hours, waiting for a server to come back to life. As usual, I keep wandering past Rock Paper Shotgun’s server, which reminds me to comment ;)

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