Dragon Age: The Ferelden Scrolls #4 – Ride A Red Hart

Continuing my Dragon Age: Inquisition diary. Earlier chapters here, and once again there are mild spoilers of a sort.

I’ve spent most of my time so far rambling (and in the game, etc). Off to find a campsite over there; off to close a rift on top of these cliffs here; off to recruit a Grey Warden who’s hiding out in some fishing huts; off to do menial work for some dude who thinks it’s more efficient to send the lady who’s busy SAVING THE BLOODY WORLD twenty feet outside his village to collect some sheep meat for him than to do it himself.

This has involved a great deal of trudging over the mountains and far away. It’s not simply distance that’s been the issue. Occasionally I got stuck at the bottom of a steep cliff that’s too slidey to climb and fought my gravest battle yet – trying to find the will to go the long way around. Sometimes I tried jumping off waterfalls to shortcut, and that didn’t go terribly well. The long way round it was, again. My companions didn’t outwardly complain, but I was concerned they’d be thinking that a country hike and a spot of sheep butchery wasn’t quite what they’d signed up for.

So I was ecstatic when I got given a horse. When mere minutes later I also got given a massive great moose to ride on, I was over the moon.

Let me tell you about my moose. Technically he’s a hart – The Red Hart, no less – but somehow that seems to undersell him. Moose it is. Mickey Moose, the moosiest moose who ever did moose. Just look at ‘im:

If Mickey turns his head too quickly he’s going to decapitate whoever’s riding him. And he is going to turn his head quickly, because quite clearly whoever’s riding him isn’t even remotely able to see where they’re going when they’ve got that much antler in their peripheral vision, and if he’s got anything in his moosey head he’s going to worry about running off a cliff.

That said, he’s oddly obedient given he’s the width of an aeroplane. He will jump off little cliffs, and he will gallop as often as I tell him to too. Trouble is I don’t like doing that, because he makes a noise like the world’s rustiest gate being opened whenever I do.

Horrendous. Is he in pain? Is he happy? Is it just mooslish for ‘righto, whatever you say, boss?’

There’s also a significant downside to having the most impressive antlers in all of Ferelden or Orlais. I really didn’t think this through:

Though I notice that Mickey somehow found a way through by himself once I’d gone to all the effort of dismounting and trudging through the crevasse myself. Maybe he secretly has bendy antlers.

While, thanks to mass displacement magicks, I am able to apparently shrink the rest of my party down small enough to fit in my pocket while I go for a moose-ride, it’s not just me who can take charge of the steed. If Sera wants to ride him, the rest of us conveniently disappear, for instance.

Fair’s fair – wouldn’t be right if I was the only who could take a load off. Where it begins to seem unfair – at least to poor Mickey – is when The Iron Bull takes his turn:

There is far too much horn in that picture. And that poor, poor moose. However could I inflict such a burden upon him? Well, mostly because it looks funny.

Oh, and I should mention that I do have one other choice of mount – a Bog Unicorn. Frankly, it’s far too freaky for me, what with it basically being a horse corpse with a sword shoved clean through its skull.

Thanks, Boggy, but no thanks. Also, please get yourself checked for tetanus.

Life’s been a lot easier thanks to Mickey. I’ve pretty much saved everyone and collected all the sheep meat in the Hinterlands now, and I’m on the cusp of signing up with the mages, not those stinky Templars. I suspect something Very Important will happen once I’ve committed to this decision. Let’s find out.

Fourth wall-breaking note: the Red Hart came with the ludicrously expensive digital deluxe version of DAI, which is what I ended up with. I’m not sure when/if the sensible people who bought the standard edition get to take him out for a canter.

40 Comments

  1. DThor says:

    I’m loving this game to pieces. I even enjoy inventory management, which obviously shows they’re used a non government – approved drug in the gui.
    One disappointment with the deluxe mounts was that the armoured horse looks awesome from the front but when you ride it it’s ass end looks like a wiggling tin hat. Awesome to silly beggars in 5 seconds. The stag (STAG) looks great but it’s cry scares the bejesus out of me. Next up is the rotting hulk of no. No, I can’t.

    • Tyrmot says:

      Really? I’m loving it too, but the inventory is, like Skyrim before it, just really poorly implemented for a pc (rather than console) player. Actually it’s not as bad as Skyrim’s was, but I’m still hoping it will get some attention in a future patch.

      • Evil Pancakes says:

        Quite enjoying it myself as well, for the most part. The world seems rich (loved the DA world since Origin), there’s loads to do and most of the characters are pretty cool. (also nug mounts)
        What absolutely infuriates me though is how goddawfully stupid the AI is and what a chore combat becomes largely because of it. On hard or nightmare the game is nigh unplayable when you get around level 13 imo. In order to be effective in combat you will need to micromanage every tiny little thing every character does at every moment of the encounter. Which in itself would not necessarily be a huge problem, I did it in Origins, but it is when you don’t get any effective tools to micromanage with. There are simply too few tactical options to manage the stupid AI. This has caused me to rage quit the game several times after repeated attempt at killing a dragon, where every bloody time the ranged classes would close in to melee range and never leave. You can tell them to move away but 30 seconds later they will be right back where they were in the middle of a melee clusterfuck. And don’t get me started on AoEs. My team kept dying because 2 of em would always happily keep standing in a fire, slowly burning to death.
        Everything else about the game I quite enjoy. I’m thinking about just turning the difficulty down to the lowest setting so I can just enjoy the good parts of the game on offer and not bother with the combat as much.

        Edit: Found this: link to lazygamer.net I wonder if the you in that title is someone with severe mental retardation. Otherwise that’s just not true.

        • jezcentral says:

          You can disable the Friendly Fire effect in the menu, if you can’t bear to play it on Casual difficulty. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            Oh I don’t have friendly fire on. I’m just talking about the enemy AoE attacks. In that respect the AI here is like honey badgers, they just don’t give a fuck. They are perfectly happy to stand in an area that is continuously being burned/frozen/electrocuted even when there is a perfectly safe piece of ground two steps to their left. I just don’t understand why Bioware feels the need to remove things that worked great in their other games. Just give me some ability to “program” my characters, like I could previously. This is something even Dragon Age II got right, so why can’t this game?

          • jezcentral says:

            Oh, gotcha.

        • Silith321 says:

          You can tell them to hold position; just click twice in the tactical menu (one for “go there”, second time for hold). It doesn’t help much, it’s still stupid.

          Disclaimer: I love the game.

          • Evil Pancakes says:

            I’ve tried using Hold Position, but it doesn’t seem to work very well. In my expirience, the AI will loyally stand still for about 5 seconds and then goes “bored now” and run straight at the nearest enemy to get killed. At which point I have to force them to go back to their assigned positions like some kind of nursery school teacher putting a child with ADHD back in their seat. That’s what it often feels like at least.

      • Lacero says:

        The inventory ui is awful. And worse, the inventory limit is just pointless and tedious. There are loads of cool unique art weapons and armours but you can only hold a certain number of things at once and so you end up having to destroy stuff or sell it when you want to keep it for fun.

  2. amateurviking says:

    The bog unicorn: when you absolutely positively have to communicate your chaotic evil status, accept no substitutes.

  3. Ignis says:

    I bought the Deluxe Edition yesterday and dl’ed it overnight, today I can’t even launch the game as there’s seem to be somekind of a connection problem EA-side. There’s truckload of people with the same problem on EA forums and nobody have an idea where this is going to be fixed. Do you advice me to wait or to get a refund? I never had such problems with Steam, with EA though is always something.

    I already tried reinstalling Origin but to no avail. I refuse to uninstall my antivirus software, as I feel it’s stupid to relinquish your security for the game to even work.

    • montorsi says:

      Wait a few days unless you’re hard up for cash and would like to spend it on something else. They have a seven day money back guarantee, and will probably refund you even if you wait longer. Their customer service is excellent even if their client is like Steam’s backwards ass cousin with a touch of disability.

      • jezcentral says:

        The full text is: “You may return EA full game digital downloads (PC/Mac) purchased on Origin for a full refund within 24 hours after you first launch the game, within seven days from your date of purchase or within seven days from the game’s release date if you pre-ordered, whichever comes first.”

        So if you could launch it (i.e. get to the menu, even if you couldn’t start a new campaign), you may be running out of time.

  4. Monggerel says:

    Why not just cut out the middle horse and go with a freaking centaur?
    If I got to play as this guy in a fantasy game (maybe something a little like Dark Souls combat-wise?), I would be happy for, like, 10 seconds.
    link to loldb.gameguyz.com

  5. theodacourt says:

    That mount is ludimoose.

  6. padger says:

    Looks like that mount should be able to flap its antlers and take off.

  7. iainl says:

    I know I’m going to regret this, but:

    Why does that moose have an Okapi’s arse?

  8. montorsi says:

    Still in Hinterlands, are we?

    • Alec Meer says:

      I’m much further on than that in fact, but keep going back to it to clean up old stuff

      • jezcentral says:

        He’s already got Sera and Bull, so he has been elsewhere.

        I reckon he’s grinding for the Hinterlands Elfroot achievement.

      • Danarchist says:

        My current life-goal is to kill that dragon in the hinterlands somehow. Even though she’s…ya know…flying and stuff. I wandered into her area early in the game and didn’t notice her till the shadow passed over me and the fireball hit.

        • Graves says:

          Just keep walking to the back of the Dragons zone and you will find her lair. Make sure you are prepared, though. The first time I tried I NOPED right back back to the camp with the unconscious bodies of my comrades teleporting behind me.

  9. Silith321 says:

    The Deluxe Edition is worth it for just the soundtrack alone. The horsies I don’t care about at all, the armor is nice though – but that soundtrack….

    I’m excited to read the next instalment of this diary – the mage story main quest (and the one(s) that follow(s) where Very Important Things happen) are when I finally fell head over heels in love with the game. Do it. The game hasn’t even started yet!

    • amateurviking says:

      I’m was smitten after standing brooding in the wind and rain on a cliff overlooking the Storm Coast.

      That is one visually striking environment.

  10. thekelvingreen says:

    I… like the bog unicorn.

  11. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    ♪ Open your eyes, I see your eyes are open ♫
    ♫ Wear no disguise for me, come into the open ♪

  12. Brosecutor says:

    This game is amazing. That is all.

  13. 2helix4u says:

    I bought this game and… is it just me or is it actually not that great?
    The loading times for me are completely insane, every review or article about the game also mentions what I noticed quite quickly: the majority of quests in the game are fetch quests, fine, same for most RPGs only in DA:I you HAVE to do them to progress, or run around grabbing campfires and other map icons because its more efficient. It ends up like if Assassin’s Creed starting gating content until you’d cleared enough icons off the map to get to the next cutscene.

    The dialogue is already pretty railroady, my Qunari can’t follow the Qun for example or tell racists to go fuck themselves. Companion dialogue at camp is sometimes done with a cheap dialogue menu and sometimes with a proper animated scene. A couple characters have really bad voice acting. Sera is actually the most cringely-written character in the whole world. The skill trees seem really basic unless you unlock further classes.

    It all seems very big and shallow, like they spread their butter over a whole loaf of bread. Can you grind enough power points by walking to places? Can you defeat these trash mobs? Then you can have a cutscene we put effort into.

    Maybe it’ll get great later on, but at the moment this has shades of DA2 to me, the game all the blogs went gaga over at the time which is now remembered as bad.

    • amateurviking says:

      The power gating hasn’t felt too bad for me thus far – there’s enough power to be gained between you and the main quest objectives without going too off piste – although it’s easy to get distracted. What’s impressed me is that the vast majority of the tasks make sense within the narrative (even the now infamous ram meat quest to an extent). Things pick up fast in the Storm Coast if you’ve not got there yet.

      I believe that some additional class sub-trees unlock as the game progresses (as with DA:O and DA2).

      Re: Sera, I like her, although it may be because I know someone very similar to her in real life. Also, she says ‘pish’ and ‘shite’ a lot, which reminds me of home.

  14. HothMonster says:

    A moose bit my sister once.

  15. Raztaman says:

    Can’t get through that little ‘tunnel’ with any horse, not just the Red Hart. Anyone else despise the mount sprinting?