Category: Guest Posts

Dragon Age: Origins - AwakeningI love comments of all shapes and sizes. As long as they are good I will pet them, hug them, and place them on my mantle for all to see. A good comment truly makes my day. I good comment is anything that it thought out and has any valid point to make. Good comments don’t always agree however they are still interesting. Usually when people disagree with something we’ve said we find it interesting but try not to engage in a debate with them. It’s their opinion and more power to them for having it. However once in a while someone else responds. What you see below is one such instance.

A while back I wrote a post that met with general agreement: Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening: No Romance, No Tenting? As the title suggests it was a piece that helped answer the question “can you tent in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening?”. One commenter (ttruthbetold) had this to say on the subject:

This website has somewhat false info. For one thing it’s mission focused yes… and your character may mess around after your romances in Origins but others don’t. For instance, my favorite warrior’s romance with Lelianna continued after I finished awakening. It told me how he ‘retired’ from commander of the greywardens and never returned to the keep. Only to be seen beside his love the red head bard Lelianna. and so on so forth… So in a sense relationships do carry over.

And this problem doesn’t take away from the game. Unless you want to slut your previous char around. Where I do see a problem is if you start an ‘orlesian’ warden and you want to romance one of the characters. But it still doesn’t take away from the game IMO… unless you like to hoe around lol – if so… more power to you, but quit whining.

Well played, sir…well played. I was content to let it slide even though I disagreed, but then we received a comment that I could not ignore. Kytti, who Kat instantly became a fan of because of the name, disagreed with ttruthbetold. She says:

Actually, I believe what the issue is partly the fact that romancing and developing relationships with the other characters in the game is one of the major features of this game that many have come to love. The fact that it’s been stripped away takes away from the gameplay for many many people.

And while you may have had a relationship with someone in DAO and want to remain faithful to them is fine, there are also the people who didn’t have a relationship with any of the DAO characters, etc.

Also while you might be satisfied with a summary of who knows how many years of your character’s life, done in ONE measly paragraph a great many more are not.

I for one found the character development one of the things that made the game and story so wonderful and something to draw you in further. As a description of the games says ‘Immerse yourself in a shattered world’ and ‘Experience complex moral decisions that have game-changing consequences’ it really is not surprising that people would be heavily disappointed when a so-called expansion comes about that takes those interesting and dynamic experiences away.

I don’t know how many people will agree with me on this point, but from what I have read on several forums I’m not the only one who feels cheated. The ending of the game was so incredibly anti-climactic that I could only stare at the credits with disbelief, thinking… WTF?! I also wondered if I’d messed anything up for it to end so abruptly… but nope, that’s normal. So to add insult to injury they then teased with an ‘expansion’ that didn’t EXPAND onto the game, rather tried to stretch it out for as little effort as possible.

It’s like Bioware just gave us an incredible, and special experience, then left without so much as a goodbye. ‘Wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ if you know that saying.
Wham- you slay the archdemon, your regaled as the hero of Fereldan, your friends go off on their adventures and you are promised more time with your beloved (except for those with none, or Morrigan of course)… then… a disappointing 5 minute read of summary that while ended things left promises unfulfilled and unsatisfied…
BAM- ‘Guess what everyone, you get an expansion onto Origins using your PC (if you want) and get to go off on another adventure! But wait… several of the favorite gameplay features isn’t available anymore. Oh, and sorry none of your favorite characters will actually be around besides cameos’
Thank you ma’am!

And piling on yet another disappointment, this expansion isn’t even fully canon to the storyline for everyone. For those who became ruler of Fereldan… How the heck did you get away from court, WITHOUT bodyguards or troops to go adventuring? Or, using my first ending as an example:
Alistair and my character are together, and while he isn’t King, we both decide to stay with the Grey Wardens, together. Even the one paragraph summary at the ending states that Alistair never left her side except for the short time to make a memorial for Duncan. So, I ask… if he never leaves her side, then how can Awakening be canon if he only shows up for a short time for a conversation, and then the PC goes off galavanting… and without any other wardens as well for help, since she is the Commander? It can’t be. So, forgive me for feeling betrayed… but that IS what has happened to myself and many many others.

As someone pointed out in one of the other forums I read, and with which I agree, the other DLC’s are sexist. Witch Hunt- revolves around Morrigan and that is only 1-2 hour advertisement for DA2 it seems. And Leliana’s story is a prequel.

Bioware wake up and smell the coffee! Why are the characters being made 2D in personality after giving us ones with so much more depth first? It certainly can not be for the sake of money making, since every character has tremendous potential to have a continuation afterwards… like a TRUE expansion! And I would bet, despite the fact I have terrible luck, that those continuations would make a lot of money since people would want to experience them for in the very least their favorites. And most likely a lot of fans would want to experience them all. While there was a go made at expanding on things for Morrigan, that was cheapened, and the others, Zevran, Wynne, Shale, Leliana, Oghren, Sten and (my personal fave) Alistair were abandoned.

As a writer myself, I cannot understand how easily Bioware’s writer could do this to their own characters as well. It’s like killing them off, without really doing so and leaving many loose ends unsatisfied. Honestly, I hope that the writer is haunted by these characters until they are given the respect they deserve.

And Bioware, don’t you think your fans at the very least deserve more then a void of dissatisfaction left in DAO’s wake?

I’m not against DA2, but while it sounds like another good game to come it’s like another slap in the face to many of the good people who loved DAO so much. You would think that with each game that comes along in a series there would be more features, or at the very least the same. But DA2 takes away from them, the biggest that I know of so far is taking away our choice of PC race. Personally I dislike being forced into playing a human when there are other races available. Truly is it giving us the chance to build our PC around a fantasy version that we want when you have no choice? I don’t believe so. I know that it wouldn’t get changed anyways since it’s so close to when it’s supposed to be done, but I hope that this is something Bioware will consider if enough people voice their opinion regarding it.

Perhaps fellow Canadians that live near Bioware should do a protest there XD That would be hard to ignore!

But seriously, I think it’s in poor taste if they abandon DAO altogether after such disappointing continuations. They should not tease with promises that they give up on so easily.

Anywho, that’s it from me, just had to get that all off my chest. Join me in crossing your fingers in the hope that Bioware will wake up and realize the injustice they are doing to themselves, DA and their fans…

So now the question is….who do YOU find yourself agreeing with?


(polls)

Both parties raise very valid points. Both opinions have merit. Both opinions are thought provoking. Let us know below if you have more of an opinion. Who knows, your comment may wind up in another Dragon Age: Origins – Awakenings post. One thing however is certain, don’t touch Oghren’s junk.

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A few quick things – Polish the Console moved to new hosting over the weekend!  You may see some new ads along the sidebar here at PtC.  And secondly, we have a guest blogger today!  After reading her comment in response to the Anders the A**hole post, I decided to take her up on her offer of writing a thesis on why she loved Zevran.  And now, Calamitybird’s post!

-Kat

“Allow me to say this:  What we are doing here, stopping the Blight…I cannot think of anything I have ever done which is so worthy.  I intend to see this through to the end with you.” – Zevran Arainai

Zevran

While Kat & Wadoobie retch, Calamitybird swoons.

Not a quote you’d attribute to Zevran? Unsurprising.  Little has brought girl gamers together quite so much in recent history as the shared love for Dragon Age and its dashing, British, wise-cracking hero Alistair.  Zevran arrives under deplorable circumstances, and easily makes a bad first impression.  The hate I see for Zevran in gaming forums is positively vitriolic.  I almost like it – I have a thing for underdogs, and admit I secretly enjoy feeling like I appreciate something others don’t ‘get’.  But when Kat offered me a chance to defend the honor of my sweet, pragmatic, oft-maligned Antivan hottie, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

(Note:  Utterly spoilerrific in regards to Zevran’s history/dialogues.  If you still plan to give Zevran a chance on your own, set this aside for now.)

Sense of Humor: Yes, he has one.  Alistair tends to get the credit for this, and I understand why.  But the longer I played, the more I felt that Alistair’s humor was an old familiar I like to call the ‘Chandler’ variety (for those who remember “Friends”; otherwise think Xander from “Buffy”.  If you haven’t seen that either, what kind of geek ARE you?).  I began to see Alistair’s self-deprecating jokes as passive-aggressive and attempting to cover for a genuine lack of confidence and self-esteem.  Alistair gave me a ‘fishing’ feeling – he always needed me to validate him, to tell him what he thought and who he was and what to do.  And it got wearisome.  Man up, Alistair – I got over your type by the time I was 22.  Zevran admittedly doesn’t make with the charming zingers nearly as often, but jokes around often enough to show he does have a sense of humor, even about himself.  Given his cocky affect, the unflattering stories he chooses to tell about himself and his past adventures are unexpected, yet there is no awkwardness or fishing in the telling – he is simply comfortable pointing out his own mistakes and lucky escapes.

Zevran the Archer

Aren't elves always archers?

Hey, I Had A Hard Childhood Too:  With apologies to his fans, I got tired of Alistair’s daddy issues, which he seems to alternately attach to Eamon, Duncan, and Maric. He weaves tales of childhood abandonment and stepmom issues with a forced nonchalance that fails to hide his resentment.  And frankly?  He trailed off into near-tears over Duncan so many times that I was shocked when I discovered he’d only known Duncan for six months prior to Ostagar.  Even perhaps a little insulted, given that near as I could extrapolate from events, I’d been on the road with him playing therapist for at least twice as long by then and yet I doubted my demise would elicit the same epic moping.  Sure, Alistair had it tough.  But Zevran wins the Hard Childhood Contest hands down without a trace of the same bitterness.  Grudgingly raised by whores until he was barely old enough to be sold to murderers, then subjected to brutal and potentially fatal training (including, as the Warden witnesses in Zevran’s memories if he is brought into the Fade puzzle section, withstanding rack torture without crying out.  That’s fairly hardcore, I think.)   All of this he discusses unabashedly if asked, with a matter-of-fact perspective that acknowledges most of his peers had it worse, and that he appreciates life for the pleasures it does offer.

Easy Lover: I think this is where a lot of people get the impression of Zevran as being sleazy.  Folks, maybe I read too much Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson, but I just don’t get this.  Zevran is actually quite respectful when it comes to sex (hey, stop laughing!),  which to him is simply this:  a Maker-given, enjoyable act between consenting people, compatible with but not bound to love and monogamy.  He says what he means, plays no games and oversteps no bounds.  Early on he caught me off guard by calling me beautiful, and then asked if he shouldn’t.  I told him not to …and I never heard another word about it, though I retained the conversation option to flirt first if I wanted that track back.  That pattern is consistent:  Tell him to back off – no matter how far things have gone already – and he graciously does, though you may really hurt his feelings as evidenced by the approval ratings.  Give him a clear signal that you are receptive, and prepare to be frequently reminded that you are incredibly sexy, dangerous and desirable.  When I experimented with romancing him and Leliana at the same time, however, he put his foot down – which greatly surprised me until I heard his reasons.  Though he would never lay a claim upon the Warden, he explains, he realizes Leliana (or Alistair as the case may be) is a traditional romantic…and that if you are seeing both of them, it is definitely not with the other’s informed consent.  “I am many things…but I am no cheat,” he says.  “If whatever is between us cannot be honest, let it not be at all.”  My inner Heinlein applauded.

License to Kill: This is where arguments with my BFF got particularly heated: as far as she’s concerned, this is the Insta-Win button.  Zevran kills for a living = Zevran is Eeevyil = The End.  But he’s always been completely forthcoming about his background:  Purchased at the age of seven, trained to know only murder, and threatened with death should he ever consider leaving.  To him, this is How The World Is.  Dig at his motivations, and there are great conversations to be had – about the definition of an ‘innocent’, about whether a mark would have been killed with or without his personal involvement, about whether he would ever choose to live his life another way if he had a choice. Take an accusatory tone with him, and he will ask the Warden to examine her own soldier past and the merit of the lives she has taken.  It’s clear that he has considered the question, and has done his best to fashion a philosophy he can live with.

Further, gain his trust more fully and Zevran will finally tell the Warden of his last assignment before this:  Mistakenly believing a woman he loved had betrayed them, he allowed his partner to kill her, turning a deaf ear to her cries for mercy.  He brokenly acknowledges his behavior was “utterly cruel” and makes no attempt to justify himself.  He then tells you he no longer wanted to live after that, and in fact had grossly underbid the other Crows on this assignment precisely in order to “throw (him)self at the one of the fabled Grey Wardens”.  Okay, that bears repeating:  Fully capable of both love and self-examination, he essentially admits to remorse so deep that he tried to kill himself in “suicide by cop” style.  Whatever his past, the Zevran now traveling with the Warden could no longer live as the person he had been, found compassion where he expected none…and is open to the possibility of another way.   Does he still want to die?  “No,” he answers.  “What I want is to begin again.  Whatever it is I sought by leaving Antiva, I think I have found it.”

Zevran Sex Scene

Easy to bed for sure. For any gender.

Mind you, all of this requires a compassionate Warden to bring out; treat him badly and he’ll quickly revert to old ways. I’ve heard Zevran called “easiest to bed and hardest to love”, and indeed it was only over a few playthroughs that I drew out his entire story and even an eventual declaration of love and a proposal of sorts.  But in a game filled with moral ambiguity, shady pasts and opportunities for redemption, he’s definitely one of the more fascinating and rewarding characters to get to know.

-Calamitybird

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