Hi all! (Will get to Dragon Age in just a couple paragraphs…) Good to be back from vacation. We had a fun time, but it was a long time and it’s good to be home. We tried to keep up on comments over time, so hopefully we didn’t miss any – let me know in the comments below if you’re looking to hear from us about something!
Also a thank you to our guest posts last week – two from Comparative Geeks guest-bloggers AC Powers, about ethics in medicine research, and about gaming immersion. Then a guest post from a new guest here, Hannah Givens from the excellent blog Things Matter. She wrote about Ms. Marvel, which I read the first volume of while traveling – great stuff, and great post!
The thing I was most excited about with coming home was Dragon Age: Inquisition. We had preordered it, it arrived, and was waiting for us. Lo! Game was there. I was hoping for my Sunday to be pop, bam, let’s do some playing! I didn’t care if it was Holly or me playing, just to see this game we have been waiting for since the moment we first finished Dragon Age 2. But… there’s not a save game import as anticipated by me in previous posts. So we were stuck going to the Dragon Age Keep online to get our world set up like we wanted it! So let me regale you with our stories of distress, and talk through what I like about it.
Dragon Age Keep
Ah, Dragon Age Keep. Apparently still in Beta… with the game it relates to having come out on November 18. But it’s necessary for the game, to be able to play it like it’s your world, the one you know and have experienced.
I’ve been writing here about how I have been working so hard to finish Dragon Age 2 finally before Inquisition, to be able to import it. Because that’s what I should have needed to do, right? It’s been the way it’s done since Baldur’s Gate 2 with BioWare games.
At least if we had to do this, they told us well in advance and had the system ready, right? Oh, here’s the news story from their news site, from 22 days ago… so, a little over a week before the game, and right before we went on vacation:
So no time for us to do anything with it, and not long for anyone not on vacation to do much with it – not much time to even find the article and see it’s a thing.
First and foremost therefore, my problem with this is somewhat in the fact of its existence, that it’s a Beta still, and that they did such a bad job letting people know about it.
Pulls in the Big Details – Not the Small
So when you load up on Dragon Age Keep, you sign in with your BioWare Social account – which Holly and I have been logging into at this point for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2, and the Mass Effect trilogy. Okay, so easy enough. That knew our X-Box Gamertag as well, so it then pulls up your achievements.
Then you can pick your heroes from your save games, and then it will read you the story of your playthroughs! It gives you edit buttons as it goes. And it’s Varric Tethras reading the story – pretty excellent.
So we went through Holly’s, and it seemed pretty cool. Loaded up her characters, went through her story, it all seemed right as rain. Great, we thought, this isn’t going to be so bad at all.
Then it shows you your world Tapestry, all your big decisions it narrates… and it shows you the small ones to edit as well. And here was, to her horror, where Holly found the problem: it didn’t have the data for any of her small decisions. She needs to go through all of these to line them up with her playthrough, or at least to her satisfaction – they all pretty much default to “you did nothing.”
Yeah, that seems really annoying. So you’re right, she hasn’t done it yet.
…If It Pulls In Anything At All
Then there’s my problem with it. I loaded up the list of Dragon Age: Origin characters, and was wondering what had gone wrong in the system. Lots of characters – none of them mine. Had it given me someone else’s data?!?
Nope. These were the default characters, as it turned out. It says it can’t load my Origins heroes – so I had to completely build this playthrough from scratch. Which isn’t much more than what Holly’s staring down doing anyway, when you get down to it.
I mean really, maybe they should just lead with “make all the choices,” as you pretty much have to anyway – giving you a false sense of hope that your character was loaded so it must all be good is really just more frustrating than just building it from scratch. So yeah, I’ve done that.
I was able to load my Champion from Dragon Age 2, but had to do all the details. That was annoying, but I had done most of it in recent months, so that helped at least. The rest of these playthroughs have been years now, that we’re trying to remember small side-quest details from limited hints. Basically just names.
So what did we Like About It?
Okay, so I’ve been down on it, and it has been annoying. We still have yet to get to play Dragon Age: Inquisition because we’re dealing with Keep instead. But there are a few things to like.
Varric narrating is one. He was a great part of Dragon Age 2, I’m excited for his return in Inquisition, and it’s well done. The animation, as well, which looks like the storyboard transitions they have been using in the games.
Also, for once it’s all sorted and put together, the narration itself is pretty great, cramming in a whole lot of explanation and why-you-care elements in very short order. If it loaded up your data better, I would say it’s a great recap to remind you of the past games and get you ready for Inquisition.
And I’ll probably like it in the future. When I can set up the factors for a second playthrough of Inquisition, with a different World State, a different history, without having to fully replay the first two games. Which seems great… although an excuse to replay these games doesn’t seem like a bad thing. Well, okay, I might be good on Dragon Age 2 for a while…
What do you think, those of you who’ve played the game? Did you even use Keep? Love it or hate it? Let us know in the comments below!