DAO: Awakening Trailer, Ostagar Released

Iiiiiiittttt's aaaaa ghooooooosssssssttt!

It’s not exactly jam-packed with detail, but there’s a new Dragon Age: Awakening trailer that features a spectral skellington dragon, The Queen of Black Marsh. That’s good enough, right? Which also affords me the opportunity to let you know that the long, long delayed Return To Ostagar DLC is finally available for the PC (the poor PS3 crowd still don’t have it). Almost a month late, and held up by a series of fiascos, we’ll be taking a look at it just as soon as we can.

In the meantime, DRAGON FIGHT!


  1. Ian says:

    Speaking of Dragon Age extra stuffs, is the Warden’s Keep stuff any good/worth paying for?

    I’ll be keeping an eye out to see how well received this stuff is, too. Not that I’ve finished my first playthrough yet, but I’m really enjoying it so more stuff of the same quality would be welcome.

    • Bobsy says:

      Warden’s keep is pretty okay, yeah. Not spectacular, and certainly not essential to the game in the way that Shale’s stuff is, but it’s jolly decent fun. Like a miniature Durlag’s Tower, if you will.

    • Ian says:

      I had to pretty much shout at my friend to go and get Shale. He didn’t realise he’d got a code for that stuff because those wily devils at Bioware put it on the other side of the Dragon Armor slip.

      Shale’s awesome though. I don’t know if I would do a playthrough without [Shale*] in the party.

      * Better? I trust everybody else is going to be asked to edit out every reference to anything that happens in the first game too? Cool.

    • jalf says:

      I didn’t realize it either until a few days ago. And the amount of grief Bioware’s online profile/DLC management/redeem code pages have given me didn’t exactly encourage me to keep fiddling with it.

      But I think I got it working in the end.

    • dishwasherlove says:

      Wait what. Her?

    • Psychopomp says:

      Oh dear, he doesn’t know yet…

    • Ian says:

      Er, whoops. Spoiler warning?

    • jackflash says:

      Dude. Ian. Watch it with the spoilers, jebus. Not cool.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Guys spoilers don’t matter for goodness sake. Pay attention.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @lilliput Depends how you look at it. The article on spoilers in yesterday’s sunday papers was pretty close to how I feel on the subject. I got told a big spoiler about the Landsmeet which I’m now not going to react to with “ZOMG WHO’DA THUNK IT” but “oh right, that’s what Dave meant, cool”.

    • Captain Becardi Jagermister says:


      “Oh dear he doesn’t know yet”

      OMG, this made me giggle to no end! Thanks for that

    • Ian says:

      I’m annoyed when I come across a spoiler BUT in a thread about content that is set AFTER the main story of Dragon Age you’ve got to come in preparing to either have the game spoiled for you if you’re not careful, as I did because I’ve not finished the game either.

      And besides, what I posted barely reveals anything anyway. The story of the whole thing related to what caused all this is still good.

      Other people have even posted more significant “spoilers” in this here comments thread than I have.

    • Lilliput King says:


      I was being a bit tongue in cheek. I agree with you, incidentally. The original argument suggested that there are two important aspects to storytelling, identified them as ‘what’ and ‘how’, then told us ‘what’ isn’t important with the sole justification that “well, sometimes I know what’s going to happen and still enjoy playing.”

      Astonishingly weak.

  2. Psychopomp says:

    Finally got around to finishing Dragon Age, and aside from turning it down to easy because I just wanted the god damn thing to end already, the last third was really satisfying. That last set of decisions really took some balls on Bioware’s part.

  3. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Ooh, Oghren is back.

  4. Colthor says:

    Annoying that just as this is released a new icon appears on my map, despite not buying anything or even having my profile logged on. Can we stop the non-consensual in-game advertising, please? It doesn’t help the immersion to have somebody sitting there dying until you go and buy the expansion. It’s not as bad as the exclamation mark in the camp, but it’s pretty bad.

    Otherwise the game’s amazing. You must’ve rushed through it in 80 hours, John – I’ve been going at it for a hundred and I’m only just about to go to the Landsmeet! (“Easily Sidetracked”, indeed.)

    • Fumarole says:

      Easily sidetracked? Damn, my first play through was seventy seven hours and I visited every single location. I can’t imagine what you were doing for twenty more hours. I mean, the game’s not like Oblivion or Fallout where you can run around doing everything else while blissfully ignoring the main quest, as I usually do.

    • Damien Stark says:

      I think it might actually be worse. I should have been clued-in by the gold icon on the map, but I somehow thought that location had cropped up as part of my quests.

      So I went there, and see a man arguing with some guards. It tells me he was at Ostagar, that he’s important – I should save him! Battle ensues, and he is killed. After finishing the guards, I go to search his body (which also has the glowing quest marker). The search dialog then says “press 1 to download content, 2 to leave”.

      Not impressed.
      IMHO, it should be like Steam News Updates, when you “login” to the game, it pops up a menu saying this content was released, do you want to buy it? After you say no to that, it goes away, and can only be viewed in the Downloadable Content menu.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Damien Stark

      Yeah, my only real complaint about DA is these immersion-breaking in game DLC ads. I’d like to behead that jackass standing around in my camp with an exclamation point over his head.

  5. Junch says:

    It’s hard to keep switching my attention between Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 because they are both just so good. But I think Mass Effect 2 gets a little ahead, thanks to its awesome characters.

  6. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    hmm you should probably edit that, Ian, its a little bit spoilery.

    Just completed ostagar last night, nice little adventure for £3. Quite moving as well for what it is. It fits in well with my character’s story as well. I’ve just left the Alienage and I’m on the way to the Landsmeet, so a return to where it all began seemed apt. Keep up the good work Bioware!

  7. Piispa says:

    Where can I get those fancy 13 month calendars? My lousy one only has twelve…

  8. mbp says:

    I have just finished DAO and it took me 114 hours 58 minutes on the game clock. Xfire tells me I spent a total of 171 hours playing the game. This is a standard play through on normal difficulty and I haven’t even done the Shale add on.

    I need a long break from the game – I certainly won’t be buying and DLC in the near future.

    I have to say I did like the final battle though. I saw some folk complaining that it was too easy but for me he difficulty was just about right. What really made it special for me though was the way that all the folk you have helped along the way turned up at the final battle to chip in and they weren’t just scenery either they were pretty useful.

  9. Brumisator says:

    I miss Dave Tosser :'(
    He was the greatest.

  10. malkav11 says:

    I wish they’d bothered to get it out -before- I beat and uninstalled the game. Won’t be going back just for one bite-sized DLC.

  11. PixelCody says:

    Ditto to Psychopomp on turning it down to easy to power through to the end. Perhaps a bit unnecessary when I had 2 well specced mages and an incredible supply of herbs and potions.

    Any word on how long Ostagar will keep players entertained for?

    I wont be watching any trailers for the expansion seeing how likely I am to buy it.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      i think it took me 2 or three hours, for £3 its not bad. compared to the equivalent time if I was in the pub, for example.

    • PixelCody says:

      Not bad price-wise. Though I doubt Bioware could cram enough into 2 hours to make it must-play content. You could get a lot out of a 2 hour film, but with games/DLC a lot of that time will be padded out by gameplay that is much the same as the 60 or so hours I’ve already put in. I’m gonna stick to my Expansions > DLC mantra.

  12. Skoul says:

    I really hope they remember to evacuate Skellington before setting the SKELLINGTON DRAGON loose for real :)

  13. Nimic says:

    I don’t understand how some of you spent so much time on it. Oh, I definitely spent longer on it than most games, but I don’t think I used more than 25-30 hours. Certainly nowhere near the 80 hours promised. Granted, I didn’t have any extras, like Shale, but the “80 hours” thing should mean the base game, not pay-to-play tidbits.

    Also, I may perhaps have shaved off some time by having done the first part of the game several times by the time I actually finished the game, but certainly not that much time. And I did walk around and explore, and I did every side-quest I could find (I might have missed a few of the extra quests).

    But 80 hours?

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      seriously? blimey, you must have wizzed through it. I’m on 75 hours atm and I’ve hardly been dragging my heels. Did you just do the key plot quests then, because the grand total of the DLC is about 6 hours play time max?

    • Psychopomp says:

      It took me 50 hours to beat Dragon Age, and the stats screen tells me I’ve only done 37% of what there is to be done.

    • Nimic says:

      @ Tom O’Bedlam

      I did every quest I could find. Like I said, I might have missed a few, but certainly i did the obvious ones.

      Okay, I just loaded up the game for the first time in a long time, and it seems it took me as much as 41 hours to complete the game. That is, complete the main storyline. It says I’ve only completed 50% of it, though I’ve no uncompleted quests in my journal, and I’ve picked up any I’ve found on the road. I’ve also explored 91% of the world.

    • Tom O'Bedlam says:

      @nimic hah, you must just be a lot better at the game than me then :) I tend to spend a lot of time dithering about talking to everyone i can and reading the codex. The codex alone probably adds a good few hours to the game time!

    • Colthor says:

      Wow. Did you both have Haste running constantly? ;)

      Maybe it’s just different playing styles – I tend to micromanage furiously, spend a lot of time paused, set up fights in advance where possible, and fiddle in the inventory/menus a lot. It tracks time spent in the Character screen as “time played”, so maybe reading a couple of hundred Codex entries has inflated my run-through time quite a bit.

      You get an “Easily Sidetracked” notification when you complete 75% of the side-quests, so you can know if you got most of them. Between the job boards, your companions, NPCs with exclamation marks over their heads and the quests you get for finding collections of items/codex entries there really is a lot to do.

    • Nimic says:

      Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I didn’t spent a great amount of time reading the codex’s, though I read a fair few. Also, there was some backtracking, but on the whole I went “forward”. Then there’s the fact that I didn’t spent a whole lot of time paused in combat. I played it on Normal, so I mostly let my companions do their thing (their thing being what I had specified in their tactics, anyway). Obviously that isn’t completely true when it comes to hard boss-fights, but for most fights it was.

      I was also a mage, with the quite overpowered Cone of Cold (as well as the fire cone and the lightning cone, and a whole lot of other crowd control spells), so most of it wasn’t hard. That’s half the reason why I played the first part of the game several times; I didn’t like my character. My duel-wield elf warrior got stuck on Branka, since I only had one mage in the party, that being a healer. I couldn’t win with that party, no matter what I did, so I realized I’d done something wrong along the way. That particular fight was very easy with a crowd control mage.

      Ah, but I digress..

      Still, a fun game. Even though the constant nudging to pay for “extra content” had me quite annoyed.

    • Taillefer says:

      Took me 100 hours on hard as a fighter. There were numerous hold ups though. I did the Elves first, refusing to give up until the Elves were on my side; so that was slow progress, and I had to come back to kill the revenants and open the chests which were too high a level to unlock. I did the mage’s tower as the second to last thing, so I went through a majority of the game with only Morrigan to cast spells.

  14. marilena says:

    40+ hours is about right for a quick player, from what I’ve heard. You didn’t miss a lot of content.

    The time can be significantly longer for a player who spends a lot of time at the camp, travels back and forth a lot and so on. For instance, for me the game is lengthened by the fact that, after completing a region, I come back to it with Leliana, in order to check all the chests.

  15. marilena says:

    Oh, yeah, and reading the codex.

  16. Kyrne says:

    Just finished the Landsmeet and it has me at 37ish hours i think, although that is mainly just the storyline (with the odd additional side quest if am going that way).

    The Warden’s Keep extra was good, gave a bit of history into the Wardens and gave me a funky armour set :)
    The Shale one was more of a distraction for me, as i had already got a fair bit through a got a good squad set up, so i am planning on use him/her (its a Golem, how can it have a gender!?) for my next run through.

    • Dean says:

      See, no disrespect, it might just be a case of a slip of the mind, but this demonstrates a wider point. “Its a Golem, how can it have a gender!?” – if you’re at the Landsmeet you’ve already done Orgrimmar and the Deep Roads, and half of that story is about Golems, how they’re created and explains exactly how they can have a gender. That you somehow missed that…

      Yes, you can finish the game pretty quickly if you just skip through every single cutscene and conversation. But then you’re missing the point of game.

    • Nimic says:

      I finished the game in 41 hours, and I watched every single cut scene.

  17. oceanclub says:

    I’ve really got to get back to DA. The Steam sales really side-tracked me over Xmas; first I bought and played The Witcher (about 2/3rds through that), then I bought and played King’s Boughty, then Prey and then Psychonauts, and now I’m hooked on Freedom Force! Goddamit, Gabe; quit selling us cheap stuff.


  18. Vinraith says:

    I’ve been enjoying the hell out of DA, probably more than any other Bioware game since the Infinity Engine days. It really does have some of that “Baldur’s Gate” feel that I thought had disappeared from gaming entirely.

    As to length, my save game says I’m 50 hours in, I just finished Orzammar (last thing before calling the Landsmeet) but have a number of side quests left to do. For that matter, there’s a bunch of stuff I know I’ve missed this play through, in no small part because I killed both Wynne and Zevran. And then there’s the fact that the 50 hours in question doesn’t account for any of the reloading I’ve done, and I’ve done a LOT of reloading.

    As to DLC, it’s my understanding that Warden’s Keep is only about an hour long? I know it adds a chest, but I already have the official mod that adds a chest in camp so I’d never use another one anyway. Is Return to Ostagar preposterously short for its price tag as well?

    I really hope Awakening has enough content to be worth $40, I certainly wouldn’t mind having some more DA.

  19. Ian says:

    Re: hours spent in the game, I’m just at the Landsmeet (about half an hour into that stuff) and I think my save has me at about mid-40s hours.

  20. KillahMate says:

    I find it fascinating how much I totally don’t give a crap about Dragon Age. It’s amazing, especially considering that I find the Mass Effect games incredibly attractive.

    It may have something to do with the bog standard fantasy world. Was it Yahtzee who noted how ridiculous it is that there is such a thing as a “standard fantasy world”? We desire to escape, go to a new, fresh, universe – but after a quarter century, the fact that it’s always the same “new” universe in each game, with what amounts to a new wig, is starting to really get on my nerves.

    I’m big on new realities. Planescape: Torment is one of my all time favorites, as are the Fallout games (haven’t played 3, hope it’s worthy – meaning, evocative). Zeno Clash was an instabuy. I have a soft spot in my heart for Albion, if anyone remembers that Blue Byte gem. The Void is coming up on my shopping list. And I can still recall seeing the first Baldur’s Gate for the first time, and thinking, even as I gaped at the incredible Infinity Engine graphics, “Gee, that’s not very innovative now is it?”

    So come to think of it, Bioware have been doing it forever. Dragon Age is nothing new, in both senses of the word. But what about Mass Effect? Oh yes, utterly generic space opera pastiche. So why do I care? Maybe because RPGs are so starved for new worlds that even something as cliched as that seems fresh in this context. I doubt they’ll be able to hold my attention past the Mass Effect trilogy though (if that).

    • MadMatty says:


    • Lilliput King says:

      To be honest, much as I love the Fallout games, they don’t really have an original world either. Post-apocalyptic fiction has been around since the 1800s, and Fallout’s particular brand of post-nuclear apocalypse since the 1950’s.

      And like you say, Mass Effect’s space opera is something we’ve heard, read and seen before.

      But then, it’s difficult to come up with immediately obvious as different without resorting to surrealism, as your examples would suggest (Planescape: Torment, The Void, Zeno Clash. All brilliant games, though).

    • malkav11 says:

      It always annoys me that people look at Dragon Age and see “bog standard fantasy world.” It shares a few of the broader strokes of other fantasy, like having men in armor with swords running around, magic, dwarves, and elves, and demons, and some vaguely orcish guys. I guess if you never look even a little bit closer you could argue bog standardness. But it just isn’t. There’s backstory and elements to just about all of that that’s anything but standard.

      And yeah, there’s a few fantasy games out there that are more immediately and strikingly different (Planescape: Torment, for one), but just because Dragon Age is generic in comparison doesn’t mean it actually is -generic-.

  21. Tom o'bedlam says:

    @lilliput ah sorry, the age old problem that it’s hard to discern motives in forum posts. If only there were some kind of “emotion icon” to solve this problem.

    I can’t fathom the behaviour of people like my friend who read the plot summaries of every tv show and game before watching/playing. It always seems… Wrong.

  22. invisiblejesus says:

    @Ian: To answer your question, I’d say Warden’s Keep is worth it if you expect to play through the game more than once. And if you like the game, you probably will. I’m not sure I’d recommend a DLC that short at that price if it was something most people would blast through once and move on, but there’s good odds you’ll spend enough time on repeat plays to get your money’s worth. It’s not a lot of content, but it’s good quality stuff.

    Jury’s out on Return to Ostagar as far as I’m concerned, I’m waiting on more reviews and info before I consider ponying up the cash. Even if I do it’ll likely wait a bit, as my head is firmly in Mass Effect 2 right now.