Posts Tagged ‘Dragon Age’

The RPG Scrollbars: Language Of Uncommon Tongues

The sign of a truly hardcore world is that it has its own languages. Klingon. Dothraki. Elvish. The term for these is ‘Conlangs’ – aka ‘constructed languages’ – and whether you see them as a vital part of world-building or a joke-in-waiting on The Big Bang Theory (they’re due a third one one of these days), there’s more to them than just slapping together some uncommon syllables and hoping it sounds alien. Well, actually, that’s exactly how Klingon started, but never mind. Done right, paying attention to language offers more than just another DVD extra. Or at least, it can do…

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The RPG Scrollbars: Rise Of The MOBA Heroes

Hello there. This week, I’m writing not just as an RPG columnist, but as president of the newly formed League Of Folks Who Don’t Really Play MOBAs But Are Bizarrely Hooked On All The Trappings. As far as I can tell, our membership is roughly a billion people and counting. That’s what happens when the likes of Blizzard and Riot spend literally tens of dollars creating gorgeous videos to promote their worlds, yes, but it goes somewhat deeper than that. Have you ever watched a new character reveal for a game you know you’re never going to play? Then the sickness might have spread.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Just Go Along With It, Okay?

Spoiler alert, RPGs are kinda ridiculous. Most games are, of course. While the Mythbusters may have shown that carrying Doomguy’s loadout into battle isn’t as bad as it might sound, there’s a reason they’ve never done a follow-up about doing it after taking a few rockets to the face. Likewise, we can’t know the effect of glugging down fifty health potions a day, but it must mean a lot of pauses for the heroic knight to hurriedly get his armour off for a quick pee-break.

Like a lot of things, there’s a line here – on one side, things that are interesting to see a game justify, and on the other, things that are probably best handwaved. Where does that line lie?

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The RPG Scrollbars: Roles We Take, Roles We Choose

Not for the first time, I’ve spent quite a while recently pondering the nature of roles – more specifically, mechanical role versus narrative role. When we think of RPGs, what we’re usually thinking of is the latter. You play the role of the Hero, but in a universe that’s typically designed to let you define that however you like. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but there’s a key difference between that and stepping into the shoes of someone more specific. Geralt in The Witcher 3 for instance is – spoiler alert – a Witcher. Every encounter revolves around that, every system involves it, every decision has, whether it’s by your choice or Geralt bringing it up, a mercenary element that reinforces that asking for money in exchange for your services is expected and not, as is often the case, the first step towards douchery and getting the Evil ending.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Hearthstone. The two things are linked.

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Lost Magic Of Magic

Given a choice, I almost always play as a mage. Swords? Pah. Divine magic? Save it for Sunday School. Give me control over the elements, the power to reshape the very building blocks of the universe according to my every whim, and if at all possible, a cool hat. It’s an easy fantasy to indulge in almost any RPG out there.

I just wish it was a more satisfying one.

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Radioface: In Praise Of Peculiar Protagonists

I had to take out a stack of dice when I was playing Dragon Age: Inquisition over the weekend. Not to re-roll the complexities of combat – the numbers thrown around are too big for my collection of bones – but to generate a face for my character. Above you can see my knobbly-nosed dwarf. His name is Pootle and he has a Radioface.

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Wot I Think: Dragon Age – Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition might just be my favourite game released this year. Considering my expectations and relationship with recent BioWare games, that’s about as likely as Saturday night’s soggy kebab being my favourite meal of the year. I’ve spent almost sixty hours uncovering as much of Inquisition’s enormous open world and intricate story as possible, and as soon as I have a few days free, I’ll be spending another sixty or eighty hours seeing it all through new eyes.

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Dragon Age: The Last Court Is Failbetter’s BioWare Project

Serault will be fine. Probably.

We’ve been speculating about Failbetter Games’ collaboration with BioWare since February, so it’s a relief to finally discover that it’s Dragon Age: The Last Court. It’s a text-driven project set just before the events of BioWare’s soon-to-be-released Dragon Age: Inquisition.

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Tactical Wizarding Action In Dragon Age: Inquisition

I hadn’t noticed until now, but the vast majority of the footage we’ve had of Dragon Age: Inquisition hasn’t featured combat in the way it will be played. Everyone will use the over-the-shoulder camera for, oh, 24 seconds or so then never again. Far more useful is the free-roaming tactical view that pauses time, giving you a moment for a sip of tea and a good think. Perhaps you’d like to target your fireball over here, sir? Or bash this ingrate’s head in with a warhammer, ma’am? Bioware, continuing a trend of blitzing us with trailers at Ubisoft pace, show it off below.

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Soulier Than Thou: Dragon Age – Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition’s new trailer makes me think that Bioware’s blood and (b)romance fantasy series has noticed the brooding character standing at the other side of the RPG battlefield. The veteran of a thousand deaths stares back, scars criss-crossing every inch of its face, nostrils included, and then rolls backwards out of the door. Dragon Age looks on enviously. It wants to have cool scars a well – it’s the scars, right? Chicks love the scars – and it wants people to notice when it rolls into a room. That, presumably, is why the E3 video caused me to react with a raised eyebrow and a murmur of “Soul-y shit”.

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Nobody Expects A Dragon Age – Inquisition In-Game Video

Extreme Last Supper: Inquisition Edition

I remember when Dragon Age trailers were all Marilyn Manson, blood, guts and witchy sex. How things have changed. Or perhaps not. The latest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition shows some in-game footage, including a moment of dodge-rolling that made me hanker for Dark Souls II even more than I already am, but it’s mostly bombastic music and high-falutin’ voiceovers. In fact, watch the Origins trailer and this one back to back, switch out ‘Blight’ for ‘Breach’ whenever one or the other occurs, and it doesn’t look all that different. Prettier though. And with less blood and sex.

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Morri-gone: Dragon Age – Inquisition

Dragon Age: Inquisition won’t be out until Autumn 2014 at the earliest, but that doesn’t mean we can’t poke through the nuggets of information emerging from within the extended development cyclone. In the last week, two significant gobbets of information have emerged from Bioware’s lair. The first, as alluded to in the headline, is the news that Morrigan won’t be a party member, although that’s not to say her witchy ways won’t have a place in the game. The second piece of news wasn’t really news at all to me – Inquisition will contain multiple playable races. I didn’t realise that was a thing that might not be happening but confirmation came in a Game Informer interview.

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Dragon Age III’s Gaider On The Impracticality Of Sexism

All this talk of sexism isn’t going away, nor should it. The gaming industry’s sick, and the symptoms are plain as day. Mystifyingly often, however, the immediate reaction to even the faintest hint of that suggestion is “No, nuh-uh! You just want to censor expression! Give me one good reason we actually need to change.”* Well, if you really want to move beyond “Because jeez, it’s basic human decency to treat someone else the way you’d like to be treated,” Dragon Age III lead writer David Gaider’s got a laundry list of practical reasons for you. 14 years at one of the most influential studios out there, after all, will do that to you. Especially when it’s one that’s certainly not innocent of mistakes and missteps of its own. Prior to Gaider’s GDC talk on the very same subject, I caught up with him to discuss why sexism (and any sort of “-ism,” really) is bad for everyone: you, me, the industry, and of course, women or anyone else directly affected.

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Everybody Expected It – Dragon Age III: Inquisition

Sorry it's not another picture of a map.

BioWare have just officially announced Dragon Age 3. It has, of course, already been discussed in public as long ago as April, making an official announcement a touch silly. But it does at least have a name now. Dragon Age III: Inquisition, and it will be made in the Frostbite 2 engine. Which if you were of a curt enough mind, you might describe as the first full Dragon Age sequel.

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Speak Up: BioWare Now Taking Dragon Age 3 Suggestions

Either a screenshot from Dragon Age II or Bloodgame IV: Bloodletting Bloodstravangza Starring Badd Bluud - I'm not sure which.

Somehow, I doubt Dragon Age 3 is going to reuse levels at every all-too-familiar turn. And while BioWare still isn’t mentioning the next swords ‘n’ sorcery sequel by name because ours is a silly, silly industry, it’s now launching an official monthly “series of questions and discussions around Dragon Age” with the goal of getting a feel for what fans want. Do not, however, expect your fanfic simply titled “Anders: Lion Rider” to ride a red carpet right into series canon. “We’re not making promises,” emphasizes BioWare. “We’re talking about ideas.”

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No Reused Levels: Details Of Dragon Age 3 Emerge

So they SAY.

Rumours are flying that Dragon Age 3 might be something more like the sequel to Dragon Age we’ve been hoping for. After Dragon Age 2 came out feeling more like a side-project, BioWare have dropped some hefty hints that they’re looking to redress much of that in an unannounced third game for the series. At a PAX East panel, as spotted by Eurogamer and recorded by Gamespot, Dragon Age developers discussed what a hypothetical game might contain, were it to exist, which it currently doesn’t, but obviously does. It’s to be a far more varied game, with new locales, and decisions that carry over from previous games.

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How To Write Bioware Fanfiction

Dragon Age 2 guysby *sandara
I think I’ve just won the most literal title of the day award, and it’s my first post of the morning. Hear that, rest of RPS? You might try to defeat me, but I will bland you out the park. I hope I don’t get stuck in a rut. Can someone out there recommend a newly written guide to some sort of writing? What? Bioware‘s Senior Writer David Gaider has just written a blogpost on how to write fanfiction? What I do is essentially fanfiction to the whole of PC gaming. That’ll do!
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Dragon Age Multiplayer in BF3 Engine?


Activate the rumour siren! Bee-WOOP! Etc. Kotaku have posted saying that an “insider” has revealed a multiplayer Dragon Age game in the pipeline. Here’s the vague heart of the rumour: “The insider wasn’t sure if Dragon Age multiplayer was going to be part of a full, stand-alone title (ala Dragon Age 3) or available separately as a downloadable game. It is apparently being developed on DICE’s Frostbite 2 game engine (used for Battlefield 3), and even early-on the game apparently looks stunning.” Apparently! Apparently dragons will be playable, too. Take that, other dragon-based gameplay experiences! It does make a lot of sense, though – a dragon’s tail whipping through a destructible building as you mill about with chums trying to kill it with hammers. We’ll find out of if this is a true thing soon enough.

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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Infinite Dragons? Dragon Age III Confirmed

You'll be amazed to learn this isn't the official logo.

So, there’s going to be a Dragon Age The Third then. Eurogamer reports that BioWare are looking to hire staff to work on the game. While possibly no surprise to anyone, it’s still nice to know it exists. They’re after environment artists, if that happens to be you. Let’s hope they give themselves a little longer to make this one.