Tag Archives: Dragon Age

What a difference a day makes

So just yesterday I was down about LOTRO but all fired up and excited for Dragon Age.  Those are pretty much flipped, although I’m actually playing DA:O today and not LOTRO as I need the ability to pause which LOTRO doesn’t quite give me.  Anyway, what happened you ask?

I’ll start with Dragon Age.  Today was supposed to be the day their first DLC was released as my post from yesterday talks about.  However, at about 4pm-ish yesterday Bioware announces the DLC will not be released on any platform and that’s it.  No time-frame, no reason, no nothing.  There’s now roughly a 150-page thread on their boards about this issue with ZERO response from Bioware.  I don’t need exact specifics or timeframes but ANYTHING would be nice.  I realize in the software industry things happen, but at least give us something.  And then the kicker for me is they pick today of all days to announce the release of the upcoming expansion!  Now don’t get me wrong, the Awakening sounds REALLY cool as we get a chance to continue the story with our characters from DA:O if we want, start a new character, and grow past level 20 with new abilities, items, etc.  And I also realize the press releases were most likely planned ahead of time and went out automagically – but seriously, you have enough resources to put out all this info, change your web-site, etc and you can’t give us a “Ostagar will be out next week” post on the forums??  To top off this wonderful day, this expansion pack will cost $40!  I’m not sure I follow the math as it isn’t as big as the original (rumored at 15 hours vs 30+ with DA:O) and it is the same price as DA:O (not the special edition).  I will most likely still buy it as I’m really into this story line but decisions and service like this is really making me less likely to play SW:TOR and more happy I’m a lifetime subscriber to LOTRO!

(edit – update as I’m still waiting on YouTube – Chris Priestly has posted 3 updates basically saying we’ll get it when we get it.  Now his first post was 20 hours after the slip announcement and 3 hours AFTER he announced the xpack.  I know it is tough for them, but this is all rather frustrating and potentially an indication of things to come.  They could have had some other rep announce the xpack – kinda makes them look like they really don’t care about the DLC)

Ok, my rant is over.  I was stalling this post for 2 reasons today – 1) hoping Bioware would do something and 2) waiting for my videos to upload onto YouTube (over 2GB worth).  But, YouTube beat Bioware 🙂

The good part of yesterday was a great day for my warden in LOTRO.  I ended up not logging in until late but managed to log in just as my kin was looking to get a group together for Sammuth Gul (new Mirkwood 6-man instance) and I joined in.  We were just planning on doing easy mode as it was pretty late, and that was fine by me.  Now I didn’t end up tanking it as our main tank was joining us too.  However, for my first run I was more then happy to not have the added stress of having to main tank as I had a chance to learn what was going on and understand how things should be done.  So we made our way up to the first boss and had a couple of un-fortunate issues with our RK and minnie, so it was down to me (warden), guard, and champ to finish off the last 30K or so of the boss.  The champ as they usually do since they’re real squishy dies next and the guard and I finish him off.  Here’s the video of it for your viewing pleasure.

The next 2 bosses went relatively smoothly as did the trash, needless to say I was happy to run with this group as they had it pretty well down pat.  Here are the videos of those fights as well.

And then to top it off, after that the champ, guard, and I ran Sword Halls – again on easy mode.  Pretty fun to run an instance without a healer 😉  Another video as well:

So with those instances, I was able to get enough tokens for my first piece of both the 25 and 15 radiance sets.  Nothing huge, but a step in the right direction for sure.

Oh, and I finally got enough marks to get the ranger mask – as you’ll notice from the videos.

Sadly Return to Ostagar is delayed

Just saw this post from Chris Priestly on the forums, “Hello Dragon Age fans, We’re sorry but the planned Return to Ostagar downloadable content scheduled to launch on January 5th has been delayed for all platforms.  We will update you as new information becomes available.”

Glad they caught whatever issues they had, but seems like we’re sliding further out of the “holiday season.”

New Year’s with Dragon Age

So, I hinted at this in my previous post as I think there’s a bunch of really cool news in the Dragon Age Origins world.  Yes I’m still playing it, and enjoy it as a nice distraction from LOTRO.  I’m still working through on normal mode – if I play through again I will definitely crank up the difficulty as this run-through with my dual-wielding warrior is seeming a tad easy.

Onto the news, I can’t wait for tomorrow as the first big piece of downloadable content (DLC) for DA:O is being released.  It is the Return to Ostagar and allows us to return to Ostagar to find out what happened during the battle and what happened to the king.  And of course, pick-up his sweet looking set of armor.  I’m also really hoping to find out what happened to Duncan, so you’ll know what I’m up to tomorrow once it becomes available.  The cost for this DLC is $5 and I’m ok with that price tag for now, we’ll see how many of these they release and to what quality level before I change my mind on it.

Now, the other piece of news which I have mixed thoughts on is the tease of an expansion coming out in March.  GreyWardens.com has the scoop on this but the original report comes from Eurogamer.cz.  They’re supposedly talking about 15 hours of content (good amount for me) chronologically following DA:O.  Now the part that I’m not so sure about is they mention a completely new main character and increased level cap.  I’m not sure how those 2 will work as that just doesn’t make sense to me.  Hopefully, its something like a new class option or race (they mention a new origin story) as I’d love to continue the story with one of my characters.

So it certainly looks like the adventures in Ferelden will continue throughout the year and I’ll be checking in on things from time to time for sure.

Ringing in the new year

This will be the first of a bunch of posts coming up today and tomorrow as I get caught up on things.  I wanted to start of with a recap of 2009 and looking forward into 2010.  This will cover both LOTRO the game as well as my plans for LOTRO and other games.

Looking back

2009 was a pretty solid year for me in LOTRO.  Early in the year I achieved level 60 on my warden although not quite as quite as quickly as others due to the poor timing of the Moria launch (poor timing for me that is).  I also managed to get my three mains (warden, captain, and minstrel) not only watcher ready but watcher kills on each of them.  My minstrel and captain were part of a couple DN raids, but sadly my warden has not seen the inside nor have I been through the entire thing.

I switched kinships twice this year, the first time due to the amount of drama and the second time was just moving from a 3 person kin (more of a holding kin) to a raiding one that included those same 3 people.

I didn’t quite achieve my goal of finishing through Volume 2 on all my toons before Mirkwood, but I came pretty close.  My minstrel is just short 1.15.12 and 2.5.5 –> 2.6.8.  My captain is all finished and finally my warden is short on 1.14.1 through to volume 1 completion and the last chapter of book 8.

The other game that caught my attention of course was Dragon Age Origins.  I ended up finishing it twice (with a few different endings) and am working towards a third.  It was a great filler as I was waiting for Mirkwood and gives me a good change of pace.  All of the accolades this game has received are well deserved IMO and I would highly recommend picking it up if you haven’t already as I know they’re dropping the price on various sites.

And finally, in September I started up this blog.  As we came towards the end of the year I think I caught my stride and really got into a pretty decent grove of not only news, tips/tricks, and general LOTRO thoughts and ideas which I hope to carry through to next year.  I also started recording some of my adventures, and that certainly will continue.

In LOTRO itself it was also a pretty busy year.  Some folks pointed out that 2009 was a slow-down and pointed to a decline in LOTRO but I think the slow down was due more to some large scale behind the scenes issues (server performance, system overhauls, etc) and not a decline in the game.  Really, 2008 only had one more content update then 2009 and while MoM was larger the SoM there were some very significant system changes with Mirkwood that we haven’t quite had time to absorb.  I’m not claiming 2009 had more content then 2008, but I don’t feel it is a large a drop-off as some like to claim.  In March we saw Book 7 release which opened up the area of Lothlorien as well as the continuation of the epic storyline.  While this area was on the small side for some, I certainly enjoyed the change from the dreariness of Moria and continually enjoy visiting that area just to look around.  Also in this book the famed (or infamous) Turtle raid was launched with a few issues but those were pretty quickly hammered out.  Orion released his first part of the New Player Experience with the re-works of various starter zones.  And we saw the intro to skirmishes with the release of the Crafting Instances.

June brought us the release of Book 8 which brought us back into Moria and new raiding content.  We got 2 3 man instances, 1 6 man, and a new 12 person raid Dar Narburg.  There were some other additions/changes as well with new barter systems and such but for the most part Book 8 was an end-game focused release.

And of course we had Siege of Mirkwood in December, but we’ve seen that covered all over the place so I won’t re-cap that here.  I have a bunch of posts on it, just search for Mirkwood and you’ll find them.

Into 2010

So I’m going through a bit of a rough patch in game right now, and I’m really hoping it is just due to a lack of playing time in December but I feel a bit lost and un-motivated right now.  Part of is that I know my kin is all geared out on at least 2 toons already and I’m concerned about getting my gear that I want.  So I am pondering a kin change or possibly even a server change.  But, I think I’m going to wait a bit and see how things progress here in the next month before doing anything drastic.

Hopefully with Orion’s comment before the holidays, I should be able to finish off the remainder of Volume 1 on my minstrel and warden and I don’t have too much left to do on Volume 2.  I also want to get at least the 2 purple radiance sets on these 3 toons as I should be able to in the 3-mans without too much effort.  And with the new year, there should be some opportunities to run not only DN but also the new Mirkwood raid I just need to keep an eye out for multiple groups.  I mainly want to get back into running content with other people, I’ve gotten into a bit of a solo rut and I’m not enjoying that.

I will be looking to continue my blogging and video posting, hopefully adding some more group action to my videos and not just solo ones.  I’m also toying with the idea of starting, co-hosting, or just guest appearing on a podcast to focus on more of the end-game content.  There’s some great shows out there but I feel this is a missing area.

I’ll save my Dragon Age plans for another post as there is some really cool news coming for that.

As for my 2010 LOTRO predictions, we will see Volume 3 in February as announced which will include Orion’s completed revamp of the Volume 1 epic line.  I’m not 100% sure what land-mass will be introduced (I’m pretty confident there will be more land) but my gut feel is we’ll head south to get back on the story line of the books.  I hope to see in Volume 3 Legendary items 3.0 and Traits 3.0 as I think they could certainly use the bumps.  For legendary items I hope they adopt the skirmish soldier methodology and allow us to have more control over our items.  I still realize there needs to be some randomness and grinding associated with it but I really want to feel more like the item is growing as I do.  As for traits, I want more class options and more legendary options.  I want to see more diversity and options for classes as I still feel even with the revamp in Moria there are still only a couple of viable paths for each class and LOTS of wasted traits that no one uses.  I don’t wait our virtues to scale past 10, although more equip-able slots would be nice 🙂  I’d also love to see them tied to skirmishes and be barter-able.  Allow us to “buy” a level of a virtue for around 1000 skirmish points for the first tier and 2000 for the second (I’m thinking level 65 slayer deeds, scale that down appropriately) as this will still be a grind but it opens up another path to get there.  And I think we’ll see an item/crafting overhaul that will bring radiance gear and crafted gear not only in line with each other but also desirable.

We will also see 2 more free content book releases at least, and possibly more depending on the timing – but I could see an April/July schedule with a possible 3rd in August/September depending on the expansion plan.  Skirmishes will continue to be an integral part of their storytelling and we’ll probably see them continue in the epic line as well as a couple other new ones per release, but I don’t think they’ll replace normal gameplay.  I do think we’ll see an expansion, but I’m torn as to whether it will be a box or digital.  I kind of hope it is a box as that means it will be a bigger deal, but I could also see them just sticking with the digital methodology as certainly that’s a better money maker for Turbine.  I’d love to see Rohan, but I’m just not sure how the timing will work out.  I’m pretty sure we won’t see mounted combat but I do agree with Almazar in his 2010 prediction that we’ll see some new combat technology to allow for large battles like the upcoming Helm’s Deep that we’re all waiting for.

So I think that wraps up my look back and ahead, I’ll have a couple more posts out shortly talking about some various Warden specifics, other Mirkwood items, the exciting Dragon Age news (I can’t wait for tomorrow), and a bit of a rant on micro-transactions (and not in the way you’re probably thinking).

2010 will be a heck of a year, and I can’t wait for it to get rolling!

More Dragon Age DLC

Yes, I rolled another toon on DA:O this week – a dual wielding warrior as I really want to see if this will actually work now that I know a little more about the game.

This was announced earlier in the week but I didn’t quite catch it nor really follow what was going on.  But Bioware has announced not only a new download pack coming this holiday season but an in-game reward item.  The pack is the Retrun to Ostagar and allows you to meet up with one of the survivors (would be cool if it is Duncan, but I highly doubt it) and also re-claim the king’s armor and weapons.  I’m pretty excited about the armor as it looks awesome, and I’m going to get it to play through the stories.  I loved the Warden’s Keep and the Golem stuff was pretty fun too – even though I don’t use Shale that much in my party.

Also announced was that if you buy the game before Nov. 30th, you’ll receive a bonus dagger, called “The Edge.”  After reading through the boards, it appears that the easiest way to get these is to manually download them and use the DA updater.  You can also grab “The Wicked Oath” and the “Mark of Vigilance.”   Follow the links below to download the files, the bring up the DA Updater which is in your install directory.

The Wicked Oath – Ring – +1 armor penetration, +1 stamina regen, +10% crit/backstab

Mark of Vigilance – Amulet – +6 defense, +2% spell resistance, +5 mental resistance

The Edge – Dagger, 26 Dex – +5 damage, +3% crit, +4 attack, 2 enchantment slots

Worked for me, and now I have those items available – and they’re pretty nice items!

It does feel a little like they’re trying to nickel and dime us here with the add-ons, but I really enjoyed the other ones and $5 is a pretty decent price point for me.  So I can see it both ways, but I will be buying Return to Ostagar once it is out.

Little more in depth on Dragon Age

So this has been pretty much occupying my available free-time of late as I’ve really enjoyed this game.  Which partially explains my lack of posting and lack of LOTRO time.  The storylines are all very well written which is not surprising for a Bioware game, and there are lots of places where different decisions and storylines overlap.  I’m not going to post any spoilers, so if you want to talk specifics send me an email or twitter about it.

So far, I have beaten the game on normal mode (decent challenge without being too hard for me) with my daelish elven rogue.  I built her as an archer which turned out to be pretty darn effective, I didn’t have as many AOEs as I’d like but things did go down pretty quick.  I also have a male noble warrior I’m working on as well as a male human mage.  I’m finding myself really only drawn to a few of the companions due to their skills and attitudes, but they all have amazing depth and you do have pretty decent flexibility in how you set them up.  I love the random banter they get into while walking around towns – it really does make it feel like a real group.  Like other Bioware games you do have to gain reputation (and possible romance) with your companions, which is a good idea, but unfortunately there are way too many gifts in game to make this really challenging.  I didn’t have to try with anyone and if I wanted them maxed out I had them there easily enough.  The tactics system takes a bit to get used to but you can really script out how your folks act during battle, which you’ll find you’ll need to do for many of the boss fights.

Even though I’ve gone through 2 of the possible ending options for my rogue, I’m still playing to see how different decisions play out and what the other endings look like.  Certainly some very tough choices as you work through the game and the outcomes are not always obvious.

There are some issues with the game no doubt, but I feel the good far outweighs the bad.  I did have some performance issues at times which I haven’t fully nailed down – but re-starting the game seems to help.  Overall I enjoyed the graphics but can understand how people might be less then ecstatic over them.  Crowd control was a little ridiculous at times (on both sides) and there were lots of insta-death moves mobs could do that got a tad annoying when they did them repeatedly.  For example, dragons, dogs, and ogres all have an attack where they incapacitate you and beat the tar outta you.  You can’t use health pots in this mode and it is really hard to out-heal it.  And then if you are lucky enough to have multiples of such mobs (which is quite common) the next once will go right ahead and pounce again.  So I was able to work through it by just saving often and if I got unlucky, re-loaded right quick but it just seemed a little cheap at times.

I’m really looking forward to the modding community getting going I’m sure there will be some more cool stuff coming out – and surely will look to fill in a few of the gaps in the game.

There are lots of other reviews out there so I’m not going to say too much more about it, if I find any cool screenshots I’ll post them but otherwise unless there’s more news on this topic I probably won’t touch on it again.

More LOTRO news coming I promise.


Quite a bit of LOTRO news which I’ll get to here in the next day or so but wanted to put out a quick post before everyone forgot about me.  Last week was pretty rough with my work schedule and then I was a tad addicted to Dragon Age Origins as well, so that cut into my time for reading up on what’s going on.  So, here’s what I have coming up:

  • My take on the WarCry Dev Chat
  • Dev Diaries
  • Dev Posts
  • New version of CStats released
  • My first “MMO” turns 20
  • Oh and I’ll post some Dragon Age info too 😉

More Dragon Age

A few pieces of news first:

  • There’s a new trailer up (released on launch day) that’s pretty amazing
  • The developer toolset has been released
  • A patch is out
    • This patch has caused some issues for folks but a few of us on twitter haven’t had any issues
    • There are quite a few threads on the forums, some linking issues to not having the latest version of C++ on your machine.
    • Grab the patch here

As for me, I’ve re-rolled both my warrior and rogue as I wasn’t happy with the choices I made early on.  This time though I did roll a city elf, so I’ve seen 3 of the Origins so far.  I finished off a couple other quests that I missed my first go-arounds.  2 other things that were of a huge help for me:

  • Turning off “Frame-buffer effects” was a HUGE performance boost for me
    • I have no clue what it does, so anyone feel free to help me out with a definition
  • The tab key highlights objects such that you can find them – VERY handy for quest items and loot

Hopefully both of my new toons are now in Lothering and after that I’ll probably do the warden’s keep and then get Wynne.

Feel free to add me as a friend on Bioware’s social site – my ID there is Docholidayj7.

Dragon Age Origins – Initial Thoughts

Wow, what a roller coaster of a day for this game.  I can honestly say I was about to give up on it and cancel the order off my credit card – that’s how horrible their web-site was yesterday.  It wouldn’t recognize my game-code and the various pre-order codes I had came up with both a success and failure.  Not to mention my online profile was all sort of messed up.  Thank goodness the Direct2Drive system worked flawlessly, once I realized I needed to re-click the download link to get all my codes 😉  After banging my head against the wall for a bit I figured I might as well try to install and see what happens.  Sure enough, the install accepted my code so there was hope.  At the end of the install it prompted me to log-in – which again I had issues with.  This was the second to last straw for me – luckily there was an option to manually enter my game key, which worked.  The game finally launched!!  On the main launch screen there’s also a log-in option, so I figured I might as well press my luck – but shockingly this one worked.  Even more amazing, all my codes, pre-orders, and items from the Dragon Age Journeys flash game were there and downloaded more or less ok.  I had to finish up the 2 additional zones this morning, but they weren’t necessary to start the game.

With all the chaos behind me – I started in the game.  Holy cow is it an amazing story – I figured it would be good based on Bioware’s other games but so far (I’m just through the origins on 2 toons, and have joined the Grey Wardens) it is by far the best RPG story I’ve played.  I’ve never been this pulled in so early in the game.

I enjoy the graphics, and the splatter effect of the blood is a nice option as it makes it feel a little more real.  Also, on crit kills you can execute a finishing move which can be pretty darn spectacular – think of the moves you see in the trailers.  The game does use a lot of cinematics but they’re interactive in that you still have conversation options during them so it makes for very smooth transitions.  I’m playing it on my laptop (pretty beefy Dell) on High settings (one below max) and I don’t have any performance issues at all.

As for the gameplay mechanics, I’m still getting used to them.  To be honest, I’m wrapped up in trying to advance the story that I’m not checking out all the options enough.  It used the standard WSAD controls and the UI is pretty standard.  What I haven’t dug too deep on is the tactics system which allows you to control how your companions react in combat.  Each companion (you can have up to 3 in addition to your toon) has a series of options and roles that you can pre-define in addition to some pre-built ones for you.  The depth here is pretty amazing, you can have it trigger off their health, friendlies health, enemy health, etc. and then kick off some action.  One of the first ones I added was to have my companions use a health potion if their health dipped below 25%.  There’s also a similar system to KOTOR 2 in that you can gain/lose influence with your companions to unlock other options but I’ve just started that system.  And like other games, there’s a deed/badge system that keeps track of all the things you do and unlock in game which is tied to their online system and can keep track of things like %completed, kills, etc.  Another neat feature is that while you can take screenshots the game automatically takes shots for you during key points or

So far, I think my favorite companion actually is my dog 😉 as he has an AoE stun that’s just awesome.  And he can take quite a bit of punishment which is good as he likes to run into large groups of mobs.  Although, I will admit at times he can get my real-life dogs a bit excited!

Overall, I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here as I really haven’t gotten too far into it.  But what I’ve seen has blown me away.  And it is perfect timing as for the next month or so I’ll mainly just be raiding in LOTRO so I actually have gaming time available to enjoy it!  So, for those of you who like single-player RPGs, I highly recommend checking this game out if you haven’t already – although you might want to wait a couple days for their web-site to calm down.

Interesting Dragon Age Origins cross-promotion

Saw this over on MMORPG.com, but it appears that the box version pre-orders of Dragon Age include some goodies for Warhammer Online subscribers.  Included are the Skaven skin cloak and an Adventurer’s Handbook which provides a 10% experience bonus on the back of one of the marketing slicks.

Not that I’m a WAR player, but thought it was interesting – here’s the article.