DA2 Expand-O-Pack: Better, Tougher, Morer

By Mark Wallace on July 20th, 2011 at 3:30 pm.

Dragon Age II: Legacy Bronto
When Dragon Age II: Legacy comes out on July 26, it will mark the first real chance that developers Bioware have had to respond to the criticism you lot (you know who you are) sent their way after DA2’s initial release. It was a particular problem for the many fans of DA: Origins, who largely felt that the second instalment just didn’t produce the kind of fantasy experience they felt appropriate for a sequel. Maybe you checked the “unchallenging mobs” box before you sent in your DA2 feedback form. Or maybe it was the “samey combat encounters” box. Or maybe “tired dialogue choices”, or “boo! on rails”. In any case, a lot of you checked a lot of boxes. (And the Dragon Age Facebook game probably didn’t help.)

But anyway, good news: Dragon Age Senior Producer Fernando Melo has read all those response cards, and he’s here to tell you — or anyway, he was at EA recently to tell me — that he feels your pain.

“We really had to go back to the storyboard after the launch of Dragon Age II, to take in the feedback and figure out, how do make our content better?” Melo says. He warns that the scope of what the studio can achieve in a single DLC installment is limited, but “hopefully, people see this not as everything we’re doing [to respond to feedback], but rather as a first step toward addressing some of their points.”

Dragon Age II: Legacy
Is he nervous about the upcoming release? “That’s a good question,” Melo says — though apparently not good enough for a direct answer. “If somebody comes in and they’re expecting that this single DLC is going to solve everything — whatever everything is for them — then clearly this is not going to meet their expectations. If it’s somebody that enjoys DA2, they will absolutely love it. If it’s somebody that enjoys the lore and story of Dragon Age, I think they’ll absolutely love it. If somebody was kind of on the fence with DA2 and they’re still willing to come in with an open mind and give it a chance, I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what they find here. Hopefully.”

“For sure there are certain people who probably wanted Origins 2 with Dragon Age 2; we did not go in that direction,” Melo adds. “This DLC is not going to solve that for them.”

One of the main points Legacy is designed to address: “People wanted to feel they had more tactically challenging combat, where they had to draw on their abilities a lot more and use their parties more effectively,” Melo says. To that end, the darkspawn and other creatues that populate Legacy won’t just materialize in front of the party or “pop out of walls”, but are set up to give the player more taxing combat situations, including ambushes. As the player, “You’re walking into their space, they [the creatures] know it intimately,” Melo says. “You’re the one who is at a loss. They have the advantage.”

Dragon Age II: Legacy Genlock
Among the creatures who will no longer be popping out of walls are not just new darkspawn but also tougher versions of creatures first met in Origins. “There’s also lots of other traditional Deep Roads creatures that we’ve brought back, including Deep Stalkers, Brontos, and a couple of other surprises as well,” Melo says. At EA, Melo’s team gave a live demo of Hawke and his mates coming across a Genlock alpha sporting a new piece of kit (an enormous shield it had apparently been awarded after 200 hours playing the Facebook game) and using its environment to better (or at least more varied) effect than the slightly singleminded mobs of DA2.

Melo puts the playable content of what he calls the “route one” main quest at about two-and-a-half to three hours. But take note, you “boo! on rails” people: “The really nice thing with this content,” Melo says, “is that there’s a lot of additional side quests and exploration areas, and a couple of easter eggs as well. This is one of the things we wanted to address from previous feedback.” All told, Legacy is maybe five hours of content, Melo says, depending on how puzzley you are and whether you backtrack at all. “Our hope is that people get snagged into the story and they want to find out more about Hawke’s father and some of the other elements.” Melo says. “What we’ve seen is that most of our fans do enjoy exploring the areas and finding the nooks and crannies, and there’s a lot more of that in here.”

While Melo doesn’t necessarily think size matters, both he and the EA reps I spoke to were at pains to describe Legacy as “the biggest DLC we’ve done since the retail expansion pack for Origins,” and “the first major story-based DLC” for DA2. Story-wise, Legacy reveals much more of Hawke’s past — particularly his issues with dear old dad Malcolm — and why he’s such a central figure in Dragon Age at all. It’s in his blood, you see.

Dragon Age II: Legacy
At the center of Legacy’s “route one” quest is an ancient and powerful darkspawn that is so badly in need of a bath that the Grey Wardens have kept it under wraps for millennia. “Hawke sort of stumbles his way into the middle of this, and you discover that his blood is an important element in what’s going on,” Melo tells me. Of course, blood magic has been a significant element of previous DA releases, but with Legacy, blood magic, blood ties, and blood sausage (presumably) will be used to tie together much of the story of the darkspawn, the Grey Wardens, and the Blights.

“Route one” takes the player deep into the heart of a Grey Warden prison, where players will not only encounter Genlocks with Facebook accounts, but will find a new weapon-customization system as well, in which mini-bosses guard gates that are opened by the player’s weapon of choice. Each gate is controlled by a set of seals, each of which will apply a different bonus (higher damage, higher crit chance, etc.) to Hawke’s dagger, bow, spud gun, or what-have-you. DA’s combat system was apparently built with some foresight: customizations are not limited to the Legacy expansion but will stay with your weapon back in the main game or in future content as well, Melo says.

When I ask Melo how make-or-break this release is to the Dragon Age franchise, he replies, “It’s not really a make-or-break thing. It’s our privilege to be able to serve additional content to the fans. So long as they want it, we will make more content for them. But clearly, if people do not like this and the numbers show that and the feedback we get shows that, then we either will take a new tack and a different approach on the next piece of content, or we’ll see what that means. But Dragon Age II has been successful. We’ve attracted a lot of new fans and even old fans who said, ‘You know, I struggled with Origins or I wasn’t able to complete it, and I found DA2 much more palatable’. At the end of the day, right now that is our audience. There are a lot of people who enjoyed DA2 and they’re looking for more content, and that is the primary audience for this. But I’m hoping that we can also win back a lot of people that were perhaps expecting something else with DA2 and are willing to give it a chance. I think they’ll see a lot of improvement in here already, and hopefully we can continue to show them that we’re on the right course and we are listening to them and making those changes.”

Dragon Age II: Legacy
“For players who enjoy the lore of Dragon Age, they’re going to have a very rich treat here, not just in terms of the main arc of the quest, but a lot of other side content regarding Malcolm Hawke, as well as being able to tap into some of the other things that we had revealed so far through Origins and some of the other DLCs,” Melo adds. “It reveals a lot more of some of the central pillars of what Dragon Age is all about.”

Reveal your central pillar when Dragon Age II: Legacy comes out on July 10 July 26. But not before. And not here. Please.

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121 Comments »

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  1. franches says:

    I refuse

    • Mayjori says:

      me too.

      let me clarify one of their descriptor of whether you’d like it or not
      “If you didnt like the way we fucked the mechanics up, then they are still all fucked up, so that all the dumb console kiddies wont complain about the game being to complicated.”

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      “We’ve attracted a lot of new fans and even old fans who said, ‘You know, I struggled with Origins or I wasn’t able to complete it, and I found DA2 much more palatable’. At the end of the day, right now that is our audience.”

      Oh well, thanks for KOTOR, ME, Jade Empire and DAO Bioware, I guess this is the part where you release Ultima IX with the blessings of EA.

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      Not only will I not buy this, I now will not buy DA3 either.

  2. Bhazor says:

    “Reveal your central pillar when Dragon Age II: Legacy comes out on July 10.”

    Are you sure?

  3. Wizardry says:

    Maybe you checked the “unchallenging mobs” box before you sent in your DA2 feedback form. Or maybe it was the “samey combat encounters” box. Or maybe “tired dialogue choices”, or “boo! on rails”.

    I did that for the Dragon Age: Origins feedback form too.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m agreeing with Wizardry! Now excuse me while I feint.

    • Wizardry says:

      Well, none of that’s really subjective. It was a very easy game with very easy fights, even on the hardest difficulty. The combat encounters were very repetitive with no real tactics required to beat them. And the dialogue… well, it’s a BioWare game written in parts by David Gaider. Of course it was bad.

    • Nick says:

      I only found it easy if you used certain spells a lot, so I avoided those and it wasn’t too bad. Then again, self limiting isn’t really a good guage of game difficulty. I still liked Origins anyway, I don’t think its as badly written on the whole as some people like to insist, although some parts were rather poor and bribing people to fuck you was a terrible idea all round. (and in the game etc)

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      AndrewC says:

      I died quite a bit in DA1 and I was playing on Easy. Apparently I don’t exist.

    • thesisko says:

      The difficulty wasn’t the real problem in DA:O, it was the filler combat and repetitive encounter design which relied on a handful of different enemy types that made it boring.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Andrew: You very much do exist. I’m sure there were plenty of people who died on the easiest difficulty. But “good” and “bad”, “difficult” and “easy” are relative to the “genre standard”, really.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Difficulty wasn’t the problem for me either. Just a boring world full of uninteresting characters and settings really. It had absolutely nothing original or new in it.

      It did have moments where it was very good, but it wasn’t worth the huge amounts of grind in between.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Wizardry

      WAIT. You played Dragon Age 2? You come on here and whine and whine and whine about how much Bioware sucks, but you still buy the sequel to one of the games you hated and whine about that.

      Dude. All sympathy lost.

    • Vinraith says:

      Difficulty was inversely proportional to how many mages you had in your party, so it wasn’t so much “easy” as “unbalanced” if you ask me. You’ll get no argument on the rest of those checkmarks, though.

    • Wizardry says:

      @thesisko: Yeah. That actually helped to make it easy, because you never had to really adapt your tactics for each fight. Each fight allowed you to perfect the same tactics you used in the previous fight, meaning that the game got easier as you got used to your abilities.

    • Wizardry says:

      @ResonanceCascade: I didn’t buy Dragon Age II. This is about Dragon Age: Origins.

    • Nick says:

      I also agree there were too many filler sections, especially the fucking Deep Roads. Ugh.

    • wodin says:

      Yeah DA soon became very boring and yet again I never completed an RPG pc game…stayed away from DA2.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @Wizardry

      Ah, my apologies for doubting your sanity.

    • bagitomacho says:

      @ResonanceCascade

      I did. Even did a blind buy on the day of release. Before then, I usually do blind buys as long as it’s Bioware. All I have to say is “Once burned, twice shy.”

      Good thing Witcher 2 got the bad RPG taste out of my mouth. haha.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      When games like Titan Quest and Torchlight have more interesting combat encounters than the repetitive hitpoint absorbing mobs in your story-driven cRPG it’s probably a good idea to go back to the drawing board.

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d love to see BioWare to make a pure adventure game instead of trying to force combat into their games, because honestly, that’s usually the only part I don’t enjoy in their games (though usually it’s okay, but in DA:O I felt that there was simply too much combat without enough variation.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Without the combat, they’re effectively visual novels. So not even good adventure games.

      I do sort of wonder how many people who praise the “choice and consequence” in BioWare games might think twice if you boiled off all the filler that happens to be entirely unrelated to said choices or consequences.

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      AndrewC says:

      @Wizardry Your genre standards are not remotely standard. Also you need to be careful about describing things as ‘not subjective’ in one post and then stating those things are ‘relative’ in the next. Keep going though.

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      dirtyword says:

      I was really enjoying the game until the end of the long beginning chapter. I left my sister at home, and when I returned she was being taken away by the guards – the likes of whom I’d cut down without much trouble previously. I chose the dialog option indicating that they would only be able to take her over my dead body… and…. no fight, they took her anyway. Fast forward some 3 years.

      I realized that I had no power of choice in the game and that’s just about where I stopped playing.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Vinraith says: “Difficulty was inversely proportional to how many mages you had in your party, so it wasn’t so much “easy” as “unbalanced” if you ask me.

      Bingo! If the first DA had simply nerfed the mages a bit, and had about five times as much variety in the types of recurring enemies you fought, it would have been a far better game. As it is, I still preferred that slower-paced combat and more believable fighting moves to DA2, where Rogues leap into the air with Hong Kong wire-fighting kung fu moves, and can teleport behind enemies. Looks ridiculous, although I suppose at this point they aren’t going to tone any of that down, for the DLC.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Andrew: I think you can have something that’s not really subjective while being relative. For example, compared to the average CRPG, Dragon Age: Origins is much easier. Compared to the average CRPG, there is less enemy variety. Writing is the only real thing that can be classed as subjective, but then again I was only poking fun at David Gaider.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      DA:O would have been an utterly superb 20-30 hour game. As it was it was a 100 game with some utterly superb bits and a decent smattering of good ideas, and one really awfully railroady bit at the end.

    • Wizardry says:

      @FunkyBadger3: The only good idea I found in Dragon Age: Origins was the origins. It did nothing else new that I can think of.

    • Laurentius says:

      @ TillEulenspiegel

      “Without the combat, they’re effectively visual novels. So not even good adventure games.”

      I would love to play DA:O and DA2 “lite” with combat completly removed, combat was a tedium in DA:O when after one playthrough i knew i would never ever return to this game despite some cool features to chcek on next playthroughs but just memory of Deep Roads and my brain melting onto my keyboard is enough. Demo of DA2 told me that combat is the same tedium or maybe even more so i skipped the game, If it was just visual novels i’d very much give it a go: decent story, characters, voiceacting, romances, yep it would a bit short but nevertheless i think it would be fun for me.

    • Wizardry says:

      But why not wish for fun and engaging combat instead of removing it altogether? I know that’s BioWare’s way, to strip out badly implemented features instead of making them better, but I hoped that wouldn’t rub off on their customers.

    • Laurentius says:

      @Wizardry
      Oh, I very much wish that but what can I do with games already published? At least ME2 shooteresque combat while not really that enjoyable gave me illusion that despite its repetitive nature time between cutscenes wasn’t tedious chore. DA2 completely failed even at that so actually “lite” version without combat would be more preferable that skipping it completely.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      Wizardry: the Origins were a great idea (especially the dwarf commoner), the Fall of Ostagar was superbly done, Flemeth and Morrigan’s storylines were excellent (properly creepy in places), I thought what they did with the dwarfs was excellent – particularly the Dead Legion and the golems. None of it particularly original, but nice enough twists on well known themes. The characterisation and voice-actiing was top-notch in most cases (Leilani excepted) – Alisdair and Zevran especially.

      I wish they’d boiled away some of the 70 hours plus that wasn’t the above, is all.

    • Wizardry says:

      @FunkyBadger3: So basically all the good ideas weren’t in the game mechanics but rather in the story/content?

      ;)

    • Ateius says:

      @Wizardry: “I think you can have something that’s not really subjective while being relative. For example, compared to the average CRPG, Dragon Age: Origins is much easier.”

      What exactly are you using as your basis for the “average” CRPG? I played through DA:O on normal difficulty, and found the combat ranged from doable to exceptionally challenging depending on the size and composition of the encounters. It was certainly much more difficult than, say, Morrowind or Oblivion, or either of the recent Neverwinter Nights titles. At a rough estimate I’d say I died about as often as I did in BGII, maybe a bit less since it was harder to wander into an area where everything simply out-levels you to death.

    • Wizardry says:

      @Ateius: I think you’ve mistaken what I meant. I’m not comparing it to a game that I consider to be of average difficulty. Therefore I can’t tell you what that average difficulty CRPG is. I’m comparing it to some actual average difficulty in my head based on all the CRPGs I’ve ever played. If you were to ask me which well known CRPG is closest to the average difficulty as I perceive it, I would say something like Ultima V.

      In other words, if I were to list all the CRPGs I’ve played in terms of difficulty, Dragon Age: Origins would fit comfortably in the bottom half. That’s all. Oblivion and Morrowind, two games that you mentioned, would probably be very much near the absolute bottom.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      @Wizardry: well, duh. Yeah.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      @Wizardry: for comparison, the most mechanically interesting RPG I’ve played recently was Alpha Protocol, such a shame that was stuck with fairly crappy combat systems…

    • Kadayi says:

      @ResonanceCascade

      Strange only a week ago he claimed he’d played DA2 in another thread to try and give some authority to his disparaging remarks (though when pressed on specifics he couldn’t cite one in game situation in any detail). This week however he’s claiming the reverse.

    • Wizardry says:

      Link please Kadayi. If you can’t provide evidence then you should learn to shut the fuck up.

    • Ateius says:

      @Wizardry: “I think you’ve mistaken what I meant. I’m not comparing it to a game that I consider to be of average difficulty. Therefore I can’t tell you what that average difficulty CRPG is. I’m comparing it to some actual average difficulty in my head based on all the CRPGs I’ve ever played.” (emphasis mine)

      But that’s entirely subjective. Since you said it wasn’t subjective, I thought you were going for some sort of objective baseline, hence my question of what standards you were holding it to. My mistake, apparently.

  4. JackShandy says:

    “Mark Wallace”? Now they’re just letting anyone in.

    • Auspex says:

      I would like a wee “contributors” section in the “About Us” section. I like to look through someone’s previous reviews till I find one I disagree with as this allows me to dismiss every opinion they’ll ever have.

    • Oak says:

      A short bio, RPS. Literally one sentence.

  5. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    so it’ll contain actual new content? new maps and stuff? not that same old cave?

    • Nick says:

      It’ll be one new cave reused eight times. New content!

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      Oozo says:

      No, it will be the one cave that has become a second home to us, but with ALL NEW monster placement! And even some old-new monsters thrown in at old places!

  6. DiTH says:

    Just let the game die and move to DA3 it will be better for all of us.I would prefer buying a DLC for DA:O at this point than supporting DA2.

    • Burning Man says:

      You took the words right out of my mouth.

      What the hell were you doing in there, anyway?

    • Whitechip says:

      ؟ Cause you know the DLC for DA:O was so good………..

  7. D3xter says:

    I did check a few boxes for Dragon Age: Origins… I only checked the “shitty game almost all around” box for Dragon Age 2 unfortunately :/

  8. Dawngreeter says:

    I’m sure DA2 was as bad as everyone says, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why DA1 is considered good. It was unforgivably clunky. And boring. If DA2’s criticism is that it is easy all the time, DA1 being too difficult (unless you crank down difficulty or figure out early enough that only two classes with a couple of specific skills are actually worth having in the party) isn’t automatically better.

    EDIT: No, I have no idea why I originally used DE instead of DA all over the place. Dragon Edge?

    • Zenicetus says:

      I don’t think everyone who is comparing DA1 to DA2 is saying DA1 is a great game. it’s just better than the streamlining approach they took in DA2. At least that’s my take on it.

      I liked the first game well enough to finish it, but was deeply disappointed in how safe the design was. They took no chances, used hackneyed fantasy stereotypes for the races, and set it in a boring “a great evil is about to break out and menace the world!” back story, that we’ve all seen hundreds of times by now. It just wasn’t all that interesting. It felt designed-by-committee, instead of following a strong vision for a more interesting fantasy world (for which, see The Witcher 1 and 2)..

      That said, it means I’m not exactly looking forward to this new DA2 DLC, if the big thing that’s supposed to draw me in, is “interest in the lore.”

    • Wraggles says:

      Hrm, I think the problem is the same problem a lot of people had with the transition from ME1 to ME2. In the first game you played a gem of a game that was rough around the edges. Combat was clunky, and unbalanced, but deep enough to show potential.

      Then, as Bioware does (no one should be surprised by now, it’s basically their MO), instead of fixing things, they just remove them. The stand out part of Origins (the Origins), was gone. Character race choice, gone. Combat was clunky, so instead, they make it smooth, but repetitive, combat was difficult, so they make it bland. Too much inventory (Ha! ME1 all over again), so now you can’t equip your teammates except for their weapon.

      Not to mention other mistakes, added VO, just so when your character speaks he says something you didn’t mean, and so the voice sounds totally wrong coming out of your custom face. A story about apostates, and if you are one you don’t hide that fact AT ALL. Re-used dungeons….surely with a little clever thinking they could have at least made it a little less obvious (I can think of at least 30 simple cost effective ways just off the top of my head). Waves of enemies popping out of nowhere…

      As far as the first games story goes, I can forgive it, the marketing was all aimed at how it was a return to the “old rpg”, and the traditional big bad fantasy setting is pretty much an old RPG standard. Elves as second class citizens, and the templar/mage/demon dynamic are actually fairly well fleshed out. The second not so much, one city, one group of people etc.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I should note here that I’m in the “ME2 was way better than ME1″ club. In fact, I was excited by the prospect of DA2 being more like ME2. And then I read what everyone was saying and just decided to skip the whole thing.

      RPG for the sake of RPGing isn’t necesserily good and ME1 just suffered from designers sticking with genre conventions for no real reason. Guns and Conversation is a fine upgrade if that’s what the RPG would’ve been anyway. I was hoping for Swords and Conversation in DA2, which I think is what they wanted to make. Shit and Bad Conversation is what came out, apparently. And that’s sad.

    • D3xter says:

      I liked Mass Effect 2 a lot more than Mass Effect too, for the reason that Mass Effect was designed to be a gun-pointy shooter in the first place… they just made the misguided attempt to imbue it with bad RPG mechanics in the first place e.g. trying to fit a story-based shooter into an RPG stat-corset with clunky RPGy-combat.

      Dragon Age (at least the first one) was never intended and didn’t show any signs of trying to be Dynasty Warriors meets Diablo 2, but a tactical top-down RPG… while the first had its fair amount of faults the 2nd was just bad from the design up… the gameplay just felt like a bad compromise all over.
      It could have still been an okay/good game if they didn’t rush it and SCREWED UP EVERYTHING ELSE doing so, letting the whole game play in a bland lifeless city with a lot of loading screens, recycling everything, introducing the wave-combat that doesn’t require any tactics, bad characterization and all that…

    • Brutal Deluxe says:

      Absolutely agree. I found both the combat and the driving sequences in Mass Effect not to be much fun and detracted greatly from the game as a whole. Although the combat system in ME2 was somewhat derivative, it made for a much more enjoyable experience. Ultimately, I thought the storyline across both games was great.

  9. jti says:

    Buying a DLC from them? Not with that track record, never.

  10. Robert says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed DAII.

    I’m not buying the DLC. Chapter is done. Haven’t ever bought DLC, and sporadically buy full-fledged xpacks.

  11. Bettymartin says:

    Better, Tougher, Morer.

    Too laterer.

    • Torgen says:

      DA2: Daft Punk Edition.

    • Burning Man says:

      No more complaints about choosing one dialogue option and listening to another! You now get to choose a thematically appropriate Daft Punk song and just boogie away! ‘Something About Us’ for those tender, loving moments, ‘Derezzed’ for those tense action sequences, ‘Technologic’ for when you’re obviously not right in the head and many, many more! Pre-order today!

  12. Ian says:

    I’m bound to have missed something, but who’s that there Mark Wallace chappy?

  13. Pemptus says:

    Manwhile, The Witcher 2 just got a new patch with a lot of fixes!

    (Does this count as an obligatory “DA2 is shit” post? Because I wouldn’t want to repeat myself, hurr hurr)

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      Joshua says:

      That post is more a case of “W2 is (somewhat) shit”. What kind of game does not include support for 4:3 and 16:10 resolutions at retail?

      Although with all the bitterness in here, i presume people will say that is the only thing DA2 does better then W2.

  14. Khann says:

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, I never buy your shitty products again.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    So he basically says that the Origins audience is no longer their target audience? Well that’s me out then. DA2 had some nice features and improvements but over all, it was the disappointment of the century when it comes to gaming related stuff.

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      Joshua says:

      He is not saying that. At all. He just says that the people who really really liked origins and really really hated DA2 should not expect to have all their worries and complaints fixed at once, and that is the only thing i can distill from the entire message which might point into your direction, but on further analysis, does not mean anything and is, in fact, pure honesty.

  16. bleeters says:

    Mmmm. Delicious, unnecessary vitriol.

    I like that they’re apparently having your companions take an active role in things, or at least pitch in every now and again. Much as I thought Mass Effect 2’s dlc was overall pretty impressive (ignoring the appearance packs and whatnot, that is), the fact your team suddenly went mute was a little annoying.

    And hey! More Eve Myles? Never a bad thing.

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      Stense says:

      I played, and really enjoyed I might add, Dragon Age 2. I really liked Merrill. I also love Torchwood. I had no idea it was Eve Myles that did Merrill’s voice. It seems really obvious now!

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      Keymonk says:

      I also really enjoyed the game, despite what everyone else obviously didn’t. :P

    • Kadayi says:

      @Keymonk

      The incessant whining (a good 4 months since release) is tedious for sure. DA2 certainly had some issues, but nothing particularly game breaking. I’m fairly sure Bioware will have taken to heart all of the the valid criticisms that DA2 received and address them in DA3. No doubt though when that is announced we can look forward to more declarations from complete strangers that they ‘won’t be buying it’ or ‘witty’ speculation about ‘Will it have repeat dungeons’ ad infinitum.

  17. Saiwyn says:

    I bought and loved Mass Effect despite it’s clunkiness. I am still glad of my full price purchase.

    I bought and really really loved Dragon Age: Origins even though it wasn’t quite as Baldur’s Gate-ish as I wanted it to be. I am still glad of my full price purchase.

    I bought and rather liked Mass Effect 2 even though, despite much smoother gameplay, it had “streamlined” out quite a bit of what I enjoyed about Mass Effect. I told myself “Self, don’t worry. They are just trying to find the perfect middle ground.” I kind of wish I had waited to buy it on a discount.

    I bought Dragon Age 2 and had to force myself to play all of the way through. It is not a “bad” game per se but for what I was looking for and expecting it failed miserably. I actually regret buying this and I didn’t even spend my own money as I used gift cards.

    I’m thankful that there are still people putting games like Drakensang and it’s sequel out and also for GOG.com because Bioware games just aren’t doing it for me like they used to.

    • KauhuK says:

      I agree with you 100% with those statements. Bought ME and DA:O at launch for full price and didnt regret. ME2 was ok but as you said it was streamlined. DA2, while not entirely bad, didnt live up to Origins. I was a victim of hype and regret buying it soon after launch.

      I fear of what ME3 will be.

    • Wizardry says:

      Yeah. You can purchase the Might and Magic 6-Pack from GOG.com to get six CRPGs that are all superior to Dragon Age II for only a fraction of the price.

    • Vayl says:

      What i don’t get is alot of people going “is not a bad game”. Come on, if it was not a Bioware game everyone would be telling it was shit

      Repeated environments all over the place during the entire game, with the only difference being what doors are closed and what doors are open, they din’t even bothered to change the furniture around or the color of anything, even the minimap is the same wherever you are.

      The complete retardness of the spawning enemies all over the place in waves, apparently everything in DA world can teleport from the most common thief to demons, everything just *puffs* into existance making any tought of tactics complety pointless

      The city where you spend most of the game is dead, nothign happens over 10 years, nothign happens whiel you are there, theres no people MOVING in the streets at all, just some set pieces, there is nothing happening at all on the place ever.

      There’s no choice at all during the entire game and is most visible on the ending that is so stupid it hurts, if you side with the mages is screams “HAHAHA; YOU WILL END THE GAME LIKE I WANT, NO MATTER WHAT CHOICES YOU MAKE”.

      With these problems (and those are just the most obvious, but they had time and resources to spend on voice actors, game designers, artists, programmers to make realease day payed download content. Shitty game needs to be called what it is.

    • Saiwyn says:

      @Vayl

      You do make a point.

      Perhaps I should have said that it isn’t an unplayable nor broken game instead.

      Ultimately, good or bad, tits or shit, it severely disappointed me and made me harbor some serious doubts about purchasing Mass Effect 3 at full price.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Agreed completely. There is only one that that sold DA2 and that was DA:O. DA2 falls flat judged on its own merits, the Bioware name saved it from an obscure death too. Never again Bioware, never again will I blindly buy one of your games.

    • Arglebargle says:

      The demo convinced me not to buy DA2 immediately. Early commentary convinced me not to buy the game at all, even on the cheap. Continuing commentary has convinced me that I’m uninterested in playing it, even if it were free.

      Any new Bioware game will now get the hairy eyeball before purchase, as well.

    • Nalano says:

      @KauhuK

      From the looks of it, ME3 will be like ME2, but with more melee options and a wildly divergent series of possible endings.

      Which I’m ecstatic about. ME1 was clunky, and while playing ME2 as an infiltrator felt repetitive, it had enough meat to it to feel good. ME1’s enemies didn’t act like they were getting shot. The weapon sounds and animations were flat. ME2 solved that for me, and because of that I felt it gave the stronger experience.

  18. somnolentsurfer says:

    Hmm… I’d probably buy it, if my computer hadn’t just melted. I had fun with DA2, and the one thing I didn’t really like is what they’re claiming to have fixed. I did have other criticisms, but the lack of tactical depth was what made it worse than the first one. So many other things had improved.

    Quite why I they think I should believe them, I’m not sure. I’m just curious to find out if it’s true, I guess.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    I don’t know why I decided that this article was written by “Greg” Wallace instead of Mark but this misinterpretation led me to reading the entire article envisioning a dub remix style Masterchef presenter extolling the virtues of the expansion pack’s “crumbly biscuit bass.”

  20. Kdansky says:

    > It’s our privilege to be able to serve additional content to the fans.

    Translation: “We really love that we can sell tiny bits of game for ridiculous prices, and are oh-so-happy that most of our customers are too stupid to realize when they get ripped off.”

    I liked DA2 despite its shortcomings.

  21. Tei says:

    All games need big gelatine cubes monsters. I have here some ideas for new monsters for the next dlc.

    These screenshots are strangely too good. The colour palette is very wide. Maybe this DLC is paying attention to colours?
    Except DAGENLOCK-600×337.jpg, that is a mini-disaster. Too random.

  22. Jason Moyer says:

    “You know, I struggled with Origins or I wasn’t able to complete it, and I found DA2 much more palatable”

    Everytime I read something like that, all I can think is: stop. making. games. please (?)

    Seriously, if you’re that worried about whether people get to see your briliant failed attempts at screenwriting in their entirety, write a book or put together a movie or something. You definitely shouldn’t be in the “epic 100 hour RPG” market.

  23. Armand Van Flicknife says:

    I can’t believe people still care this much about DA.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      DA:O was one of the most boring rpgs i’ve ever played. never understood why people got so hung up on it. it was generic and grindy, why not let it go?

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      It’s strange really, on principle I really wanted to love Dragon Age – a tactical RPG with a darker setting and immense player choice, but I was terrible at it and found it somewhat boring. I respected the game, but didn’t have fun with it – it was like Leilana. Pretty, vivacious, but she lived in a convent and insisted on monogamy.

      Dragon Age 2 on the otherhand was a dirty girl like Isabella. I immediatly found it engaging, fun, and challenging but I could see the sloppy design all OVER it from reused tilesets to the spawning waves of enemies. I spent 73 hrs replaying just the first two chapters- never finished it. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t respect it, like a roll with a dirty bird.

    • Wizardry says:

      I never found Dragon Age: Origin’s combat to be tactical. I think that may have been your mistake. Jumping into it thinking it would be a tactical RPG would just bring about disappointment. All you need to do is use the same tactic for every single combat encounter to beat the game. Dragon Age II is basically the same but instead of controlling your party every now and again you can just button mash with the protagonist.

  24. Premium User Badge

    El_MUERkO says:

    I was disappointed in DA2, uninstalled it and wont be going back for DLC.

    I’ve played the first two games to completion, enjoyed 1 more than 2 but neither very much.

    I await 3 with little interest. It is a pity when there are so few games of this kind any more that the one there is can be so… dull.

  25. fearghaill says:

    I don’t know who this “Mark Wallace” fellow is, but that is not how alt-text is done around here young man.

  26. xsikal says:

    Didn’t really like Dragon Age (I was looking for BG2, but got a crappy levelling system, boring enemies, a bland world, and ‘we’re so edgy’ writing).

    Didn’t buy DA2 because, despite its massive shift from DA: Origins, nothing that they changed really addressed my issues with the first.

    It was similar to my problems with ME2 (which I thought was just okay)… they ‘solved’ a bunch of issues in ME1 that I did not see as problems and got rid of most of the ‘depth’ that made that first game somewhat interesting.

    At this point, Bioware has become a ‘wait for it to go on sale (and for the initial review hype/BS to die down and be replaced with honest opinions)’ game developer.

    • Erd says:

      I thought the leveling up system was dull too, particularly if you are a non-mage. All the moves were hit things X times.

  27. Mark Wallace says:

    Here I am, for those who’ve been wondering. And here. And elsewhere, for that matter.

  28. zerosociety says:

    I’m looking forward to this. I liked DA2 a lot more than the slow repititive grind-fest that was DA:O.

    (Well, okay, DA2 is horrible if you play a mage. Lovely combat – broken everything else.)

  29. Deano2099 says:

    “For sure there are certain people who probably wanted Origins 2 with Dragon Age 2; we did not go in that direction”

    Just figured that deserved repeating. Those silly silly people that thought DA2 would be a sequel to the first game.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, what -were- we thinking?

    • Premium User Badge

      Joshua says:

      perhaps they read all that critisism surrounding that all those Call of Duty game sequels are just basically clones of each other, and they wanted to avoid that by doing something quite different.

  30. Grey_Ghost says:

    I really liked DA:O, but I came to it much later and benefited from a plethora of mods that fixed many a broken thing, especially those things that had to do with combat. I still play DA:O sporadically, but I have zero interest in DA2.

  31. BatmanBaggins says:

    Mmm… I don’t know. I’ll probably get it, to see if they’re all just full of hot air, or if they actually ARE making at least some small bit of effort toward fixing all that was remiss with DA2.

    I didn’t outright hate DA2, but when I look back on my time with it and ask myself, “Did I play a great game?”, the answer is decidedly no. Not even close.

  32. Grim_22 says:

    “For sure there are certain people who probably wanted Origins 2 with Dragon Age 2; we did not go in that direction”

    And you’re surprised that people were disappointed and hated your game? You took one of the best CRPGs of modern times and turned it into something else entirely. Was there any reason at all to change the formula of near perfection?

    • Gormongous says:

      Because if you churn out the same damn game according to formula, like the Halos, you only end with the fanboy audience left among a completely gutted market share?

      Dragon Age 2 made a lot of mistakes, but I will never ever blast a developer for attempting to innovate, however misguided the intentions. You can take your “more of the same” and get off my lawn.

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Didnt someone asked the same thing when Origin released Ultima VIII shortly after EA bought them?

    • malkav11 says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: innovation is a beautiful thing. It’s tailor made for NEW FRANCHISES. Sequels should be, for the most part, more of the same with perhaps a few incremental improvements and of course, a new storyline. Bioware’s failure to understand this severely hurt both the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises for me. (I probably wouldn’t have liked their new design in a brand new franchise either, but at least I could safely buy the sequels to Mass Effect and Dragon Age.)

    • pizzapicante27 says:

      Or for a Jade Empire sequel (or prequel) (know your franchises, Bioware).

    • Pointless Puppies says:

      @Gormongous:

      Why are we speaking in hyperbole? Surely there’s a nice balance between “churning the same formula” and completely destroying the source material with its “creativity”. A lot of other great sequels manage to strike that balance, and it’s not like BioWare doesn’t know how to make a good sequel.

    • Grim_22 says:

      @Gormongous
      I’d give you a few arguments, but malkav11 and pointless puppies already voiced most of my opinions on the matter.

      Besides, to call what they did with Dragon Age 2 ‘innovation’ is almost insulting to developers who actually innovate. All Bioware did was take the formula from one of their other franchises, Mass Effect, and then put it into Dragon Age to attract more mainstream consumers.

  33. Inarborat says:

    Good to know after all those years of buying and playing Bioware games, I’m not their target audience. Thank god for European studios so I can get my rough around the edges rpg fix.

  34. Brutal Deluxe says:

    To that end, the darkspawn and other creatues that populate Legacy won’t just materialize in front of the party or “pop out of walls”, but are set up to give the player more taxing combat situations, including ambushes.

    So they will “pop out of hedges and trees” then?

  35. Jimbo says:

    “But Dragon Age II has been successful.”

    Only successful in the sense that they probably did recoup the £18.50 they spent developing it. By no other metric is it a successful follow up to Origins. This ‘success’ has probably caused irreperable damage to what should have become a very (genuinely) successful franchise for them.

    They badly misjudged the market with DA2. Origins sold gangbusters on consoles because, even though it was designed primarily for PC, it still appealed to a woefully underserved part of the console audience (the actual console market is a lot more complex than just one lump of ‘durrr dumb console kiddies’). The segment of the audience that does value style over substance (which I would say was their approach with DA2) is already extremely well served nowadays, and DA2 wasn’t anything like good enough to stand out in that crowd.

    By pushing so hard for a broader appeal with DA2, they just ended up making something that didn’t really appeal to anybody all that much (and ultimately it’s DA3 that really suffers from a shitty DA2 – DA2 itself sold reasonably well to begin with purely on the strength of Origins). I’m sure they have gained ‘a lot’ of new fans, but how many old fans did it cost? Put a number on it, Mr. Bioware, if DA2 was really the success you claim it to be. How far down are sales compared to Origins after a similar amount of time? 50%?

  36. Gvaz says:

    If you buy this shit you are literally human scum

  37. cmi says:

    bio-who?

    (I know I’m late, just reading through my reader-account)

  38. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    I bought the DLC last night, and was met with a crash immediately. I went to the Bioware website, and found out from a Bioware mod that it was the latest Nvidia driver that was the problem in DirectX 11. He/she supplied the short-term fix (drop down to DX9 for the intro) and away I went.

    I’m loving it so far. It comes over as much more like more-of-the-game than the DAO DLC, which always felt like a cheap cash-grab (with the exception of Leliana’s Song).

  39. Wozzle says:

    Is this free? Because I’m not sure why they think anyone disapointed with DA:2 would want to spend more money on it.