Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls, Day 2: The Solas Effect

Solas *always* slightly approves

Continuing a Dragon Age: Inquisition diary.

I seem to have found friends by default. They were just there when I performed my Act Of Ultimate Heroism (i.e. wavey green hand shtick) and now they won’t seem to go away. I already introduced you to the relentlessly serious Cassandra, a very, very solemn ex-Templar who first wanted to kill me and is now telling the world that I’m its salvation. In a fight, I’m her boss. Outside of a fight, she’s calling the shots. Not sure how I feel about that yet. There are two others who’ve decided they’re going to stick to me like glue. They’re bit… full-on.

The Sex-Dwarf

Varric is a dwarf who clearly wishes he had a cleavage. In lieu of that, he really, really wants everyone to look at his chest hair.

Alright, jeez, put it away. Though it does complement the broken nose and ear piercings quite well, admittedly. The Disco Pick-Up Artist look is offset, unexpectedly, by a slightly soulful character. A writer, a ranger, a dwarf with regrets, but also a businessman with a finger in a whole lot of pies across the land. I’m pretty sure he’s sorted for life already, and is doing this hero business because it looks good. He’ll be running for local election in a few years, you mark my words.

He has got something to him, I suppose:

A guy who looks that surely knows how to use it as a weapon. Thus, I’m wary around Varric – I’m convinced he’s going to make a pass at any opportunity. So far though, he’s kept it buttoned down. Unlike his damned shirt.

On the other hand, I’m disappointed that he’s shown no interest in me. Come on now, clearly I’m the most impressive She-Ox around here. I just need to make him see that.

Wait a minute. Is he negging me?

Richard Elf’Brian

From afar, I just want to pick Solas up and cuddle him. He’s so tiny and elfin (even by Elf standards), he’s got this softly-spoken Welsh accent that’s all sing-song with a sustained hint of wonder, and he talks about how he thinks spirits from beyond are his friends.

He’s a lonely nerd from the valleys, but he’s never let it get to him, and he’s turned up now because he just wants to help out. He also Slightly Approves of almost everything I say to him. Somehow that’s better than fully approving it. He doesn’t get carried away, but nor is he aloof. He’s so loveable.

Until I see his face close up.

Aargh get it off me get it off me me get it off me.

I do feel guilty about this, but I really do struggle to look at this uncanny boyo from the valleys for more than a second or two. OK, hang on, I’ll try one more time.

Oh, God! Oh, Jesus Christ!

I sought outside advice on whether my reaction was uncalled for, and a sometime colleague from other adventures told me that “Solas freaks me out – like an egg with a face painted on, but the face is slightly more realistic than any other face in the game. He creeps me out. I didn’t kiss him.”

Solas looks like bad magic fused together the little one from Flight Of The Concords and him from Command & Conquer. But Welsh. And an egg. With a cleft chin that’s about three feet long. Again, though, he’s adorable from a distance. Is there some restraining order I can take out, so that he can only ever address me from at least twelve feet away? Will he still be willing to fight by my side and tell me sweet stories about his intangible chums if I do that? It seems a bit rude, but I’m just not sure I can keep looking at him.

Anyway. These three are with me wherever I go, and so far that’s most involved setting up hillside campsites and collecting sheep meat for someone.

Next: The Iron Bull’s nipples.

28 Comments

  1. Myrdinn says:

    I like this diary series as it paints the game in a more lighthearted picture. Bioware should take cues from you and look for the humor in all it’s dreadfully serious ‘save the world’ scenario.

    • katinkabot says:

      “He also Slightly Approves of almost everything I say to him. Somehow that’s better than fully approving it. He doesn’t get carried away, but nor is he aloof. He’s so loveable.” THIS. He seems so geniunely pleased by your PC’s insight and/or curiousity – even when you ask robotic questions like “Please tell me more about the Fade”. Solas is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters of the series and it’s for the best that he’s an egg-face. I would love him too much if he also looked like Paul Walker clone-Cullen.

      • tumbleworld says:

        Although he really does look like Richard o’Brien at a distance, up close he looks a lot like Arnold “The Mummy” Vosloo. If you grabbed poor Arnold and stretched his head to the point of explosion, anyway.

    • colossalstrikepackage says:

      Agreed, but my main response is ‘woohoo – a diary’. That Alec is writing it puts the icing on the cake, and pushed me over the edge to buy it (the WIT was indeed unexpectedly positive).

    • montorsi says:

      You mean like the humor they sprinkle throughout the game? Jesus, pull the stick out.

    • mukuste says:

      Yeah I love this series too. Also I nominate Sex Dwarf for word of the year. It’s just that good.

      “Sex Dwarf Bares All”

  2. jezcentral says:

    Varric is wonderful.

    But, in that pic, he does look like he was going for the B.J. Blazkowicz role in Wolfenstein: The New Order. Those eyes! So sad!

  3. melnificent says:

    I thought I was the only one that was freaked out by Solas. His face is just not quite right.

  4. Drake Sigar says:

    Nobody’s cracking that dome.

  5. amateurviking says:

    Just got to the last act of DA2* – hopefully going to get it finished tonight so I can dedicate the whoooooooole weekend to this. I am quite excited by the prospect.

    *Can see why people hated it – especially the seemingly endless respawning waves of enemies around every corner (especially especially iof they were expecting DA:O 2). I bumped the combat difficulty down to ‘casual’ and it became much less of a problem, and the moment to moment combat is actually a lot more exciting/immediate than DA:O, miss the less frenetic pace, more spaced out engagements and tactical approach/toolbox of Oranges mind you.

    Great characters and I’m really enjoying the narrative framing, story and the (non collect 10 bear asses) questing though.

    • notenome says:

      It seems really clear that the IP changed direction somewhere along the line. DA:O was billed as the origin story for your character along the series, whilst mechanically being a return-to-our-roots kind of thing. DA2 was a mess, but I was still hopeful because it was rushed out the gate to capitalize on the unexpected success of DA:O. In other words I hoped that the glaring flaws and changes in DA:O were the result of a rushed 1 year production, and not a change in vision.

      DA:I on the other hand shows that the IP really did take a radical turn, which is disheartening. Not only because Bioware doubled down on some of DA2s shoddy mechanics, but because the level of quality in the writing continues its downward trend. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some solid ideas in there, but oh my god is some stuff awful. A lot of deus ex machina, new characters suddenly popping out of nowhere due to narrative necessity and the game trying to shove ‘drama’ and ‘tension’ which it hasn’t (narratively) deserved. The sing-a-long for me was particularly grating.

      I’m not unhappy I bought it… but I am fairly sure that this is a series that will be firmly rooted in my ‘what could have been category’, which is a shame.

      • Hawks says:

        I was sort of hoping it was going to turn in to a musical game tbqh.

        Edit: Bioware took a turn down their current path when they got bought by EA. DAO and ME1 were done before, then we got ME2 which was done under EAs direction.

        Mass Effect is actually a lot better in some ways as an action oriented game, it just works better as a shooter. But then they tried to do the same thing with DA2, and it just doesn’t work right.

        I think DAI is really great(30 hours in), and returns to being more RPG than Action. Not exactly what I was hoping it would be, but you got to remember these are the guys that pushed out DA2 and thought it was good.

        • notenome says:

          ‘I was sort of hoping it was going to turn in to a musical game tbqh.’

          So was I! Imagine my disappointment.

  6. katinkabot says:

    I have to agree with you there – I’m not even close to being done with DA: I – but some of the main story line(s) are becoming worrisome. I was hoping it would get better, but from what you’re saying…it doesn’t. There was one major plot point that I got to last night that made me have to stop because it was so offensively stupid — I won’t give details for fear of spoilers(but it’s an early major one). I usually forgive idiotic plots because I actually tend to enjoy soapy ridiculousness, but this was just like reading some bad fan fiction.

    I want to love this game(as noted above in my gushing over Solas) but I fear it’s going the way of Bioshock: Infinite, where every critic and fan gushes about it for like 2 weeks and then sort of realizes it’s not all that great. I honestly don’t think DA:I is bad or even mediocre as it does a lot of things beautifully i.e. the gorgeous world and the enjoyable exploration, but it’s missing the soul/heart of the first game and even a bit of the 2nd. I’m hoping this game is just a slow burn and it’ll be there in the end.

  7. Danarchist says:

    I replaced Egg-Face with Hawt-Horn-Hat as fast as I could because every cut scene id almost have to hold my hand in front of him to not start giggling. He looks like a clone that got pulled from the vat a day early.

    I like the game flow in this one so far, I end up getting side tracked constantly by every shiny thing I see in the distance. For me that’s a sign of a good game, im not just grinding down quests to move the story forward. Although I find the cut scenes start wearing me down after the second time through each one and my newest character I have skipped everything I could so far.

    Huge difference in quality between PC and PS4 (I own both, ya I know 1st world probs etc). The PS4 has a couple bugs that are fiddely but nowhere near as nasty as what I am seeing on my PC.
    — I actually had to disconnect my second monitor to keep the game from crashing if I accidentally moved my mouse past the screen border.
    — On my very first go at the game after creating my character I ended up loading into the mountain you see in the first cut scene and could not go anywhere. I thought I had missed something but basically it just didnt load the starting scene with me in irons with angry ladies circling like when my girlfriends met eachother….
    — To make the cutscenes bearable you have to add an argument to the launcher in Origin that disables the 30fps cap. Very annoying that game makers still throttle PC games down to work with console specs. My PC costs more than my car for a reason.
    — SLI causes some super weird artifacting when you turn your head too fast
    — The controls are horribad, get a controller if you dont have one. I turn slower than a bus on the PC
    — Moving the game from my SSD to my standard HDD made the game run faster for some bloody reason?

    Still worth it though.

    • spron says:

      Yowsa, your PC costs more than your car? Holy RAM Batman!

      Obviously, everything you say is accurate as regards the game. I’m loving it, but it’s not very PC-friendly. If it really was (as a developer stated) developed with the PC in mind first and foremost, they needed to let it sit a little longer.

      A marginal PSA: some have said that the game’s copy protection (oops, how old school of me. I mean “DRM”) has unfortunate effects on SSDs. Might be better to have it on a traditional HDD for now anyway.

    • Azhrarn says:

      As far as I’ve heard so far, there is no 30 FPS cap in game, at all (TBs port report seems fairly solid around 90 FPS). It is however very resource hungry on the AA side of things. Don’t take MSAA over 2x, as MSAA 4x seems to uttery annihilate the frame-rate, even with SLI GTX980s (again, see Totalbiscuits Port Report).

      However, due to an apparent technical issue the dialogue scenes (with the dialogue wheel) are capped to 30, but that’s apparently a synchronisation issue with the audio, so that may get fixed in the future.

  8. Hawks says:

    Huh I never thought Solas looked weird, but maybe I am used to how Dragon Age elves look.

    PC version needs some patches though, but its playable.

    -To anyone using AMD cards and having issues getting it to even launch, update to the latest beta drivers.

    -If you are getting stuck in the room with the rock pillar after character creation, next time after finishing character creation spam your spacebar until you are in the jail cell.

    -Do not change your display or audio output devices while playing, game will crash.

    -To turn off motion blur follow these steps(the first part) link to gamefaqs.com

    -It uses Frostbite3 so Battlefield4 tweaks should work if you make your own user.cfg, ymmv and I am sure someone will write up a guide about this at some point.

  9. montorsi says:

    Don’t mind the professional naysayers, this is quite a marvelous game. Team sex card is probably upset there aren’t enough men around in this one to tell the women folk what to do.

  10. Monggerel says:

    Fucking simpering idiot of a companion, that Solas. I need someone to spit at my feet not fucking wax them.
    Morrigan and HK and Hanharr and Wrex got that. Sten broke and bowed like the twig dog he was. War is vigilance. To know I am hated is to see falsity where there was concert and revaluate truth and confidence thought carved in stone.
    Fuck friends. A warrior needs enemies or risk losing definition.

  11. poohbear says:

    lol love it! thanks for the laughs! The sense of humor on this site is why i keep coming back!

    I usually have Solas and varick in my party, but then again im only in the hinterlands and have sera (the archer), black wizard, and the grey warden as my other options.:p

  12. Jamesworkshop says:

    Wait a minute. Is he negging me?

    Solas looks like bad magic fused together the little one from Flight Of The Concords and him from Command & Conquer. But Welsh. And an egg.

    It seems a bit rude, but I’m just not sure I can keep looking at him.

    Keep it classy Alec

  13. Rich says:

    “Come on now, clearly I’m the most impressive She-Ox around here.”

    …wait. That’s a woman?

  14. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Where is that dwarf’s beard? Did he… did he shave it? Unconceivable!

  15. Silith321 says:

    Regarding Solas: at the very end, be sure to stay for the post-credits scene.

    Btw I’m so happy DA:I made it to this diary format, I love reading them and now they’re about my favorite game, yay!