Dragon Age: Origins 60 Hours In

Dragon Age Origins cover

It’s been a few weeks and I’ve played about 63 hours. I’ve wanted to play more, but haven’t had the time. I also appreciate how this game lets me completely disconnect from work and school. It makes me go offline. Well, that’s not true, but my FF tabs aren’t open, so I don’t read feeds, tweets, nor email, which is basically offline.

There is a fine line between being a Diablo-like game and something more of an RPG. There is no doubt that from time to time, DA becomes a little too much like Diablo¹, but the fact of the matter is that it’s more of a game like Oblivion.

I’ve just gone into the Deep Roads in Orzammar, the Dwarven city. I’ve never played a game that simulated so well the Mines of Moria in Middle Earth. The Deep Roads are quite fun, compared to what I expected. The road to Branka is quite long, but it’s interesting.

It reminds me on how long it was when I went into the Lair of the Werewolves in the Elven Ruins in the Brecilian Forest.

My main character is Level 15 and I’m about to spend my other specialization point into Arcane Warrior. I’m already a shapeshifter, and although Blood Mage is unlocked, I won’t take it in this game. Apparently two of your companions will leave or try to kill you outright if you activate this.

I’m about 63 hours into the game and I’ve completed 20% of the game. That’s quite surprising. Does this mean that this game could be played for over 200 hours? I am unsure. We will see once I complete the “A Paragon of Her Kind” quest.

I still don’t have enough gold to purchase the more expensive items. There are items available that cost over 100 gold pieces. The Ring of Ages, 78gp, Robe of Reavers 98gp, a dragonbone staff worth 131gp at The Circle tower. I’ve never had enough gold to get those big ticket items. My money just goes on supplying up and slowly buying better armor. I’ve completed the Drake Armor quest and wonder if I will be able to wear the Drake Skin Armor that was made for me, when I become an Arcane Warrior.

I also expected to generate more money in Orzammar, but I didn’t. There isn’t a trick like potion-making that will generate large amounts of money, like in Oblivion. It’s good and bad. The most gold I’ve spent is about 23 gp on a book that gives you an extra spell point.

My go-to party is always composed of 2 fighters and 2 mages. One mage is my player character, an offensive Primal magus. The other one is Wynne and she specializes in healing spells. The two fighters are either Sten/Alistair or Oghren/Alistair. Since Morrigan doesn’t have enough healing spells, she’s just a bit useless in fights. I’ve never taken out Leilana nor Zevram. I miss out on chests, but most quests need quite a bit of fighting, for which my Champions are best suited.

The most challenging tasks were killing Flemeth, Morrigan’s shapeshifting mother, and killing a Revenant as part of the Juggernaut’s Plate Armor quest. The enemies level up as well, so they get more challenging as you progress. Ogres and Ogre Alphas are fine now.

Supplies are limited, often necessitating a trip back to the Party Camp or Denerim, where all injuries are healed. If you die during combat, but one of your party survives, you end up with a serious injury, which can only be healed with an injury kit. Injury kits aren’t easy to find and not plentiful, although you can make them yourself, finding Elfroot is another matter. There was a lot of it around before, and now there isn’t. The plants that I collected haven’t regrown and, if I’m correct, almost a year has passed in-game.

The Urn of Ashes was challenging as well, especially the Drakes in the wyrmlinglair. Drakes are smaller than dragons, but bigger than dragonlings. They are immune to sleep and do colossal damage. I’ve come up with a technique that works well. I use the Waking Nightmare spell on them, confusing them. Usually, if I’m attacked by three, two are affected and start attacking each other. This leaves 2 of my party to deal with one drake, which is OK, and 2 others to back the drakes up a bit while they kill themselves. It’s important to immobilize those types of foes so that they can’t outflank you and surround you. The same works for Revenants, though Revenants are more resistant to Waking Nightmare and those types of spells.

I’ve decided not to do the Mage’s Collective and Blackstone Irregular quests. They sounded fishy to me. In the Mage’s Collective, you often are involved with blood mages, a bit too much for my character. There is more to the Blackstone missions, especially with the one involved with dereliction of duty, but I haven’t found out much and stopped doing them.

The Deep Roads… It’s taken quite a few hours before I decided to get onto them. I dreaded them because I imagined that they were like the Mines of Moria from Middle Earth. To be honest, they are almost exactly like them. The Deep Roads are one of the few places that I’ve visited, the other place being Denerim, that have another internal map. The Deep Roads used to link different parts of the Dwarven empire, but they have long been abandoned and overridden by darkspawn.

Whispers in the dark… Finding the Anvil that Branka is looking for looks pretty challenging. I’m currently at Orthan Thaig and I have to get through this place, plus the Dead Trenches, the remnants of a city that has been overrun by darkspawn, to get to the Anvil of the Void. Pretty far away.

The game is pretty good. Definitely worth playing in my book. My only problem is with the controls on PC. You can’t have a 1st person view to look around, which is pretty annoying. I’ve tried looking through the controls menu and couldn’t find it. I tried the up/down, left/right keys but that didn’t help.

* * * * *

[¹]: The Elven Ruins, in the Brecilian Forest, are an example. It takes hours upon hours before reaching the ultimate end of that quest.

2 Responses to “Dragon Age: Origins <em>60 Hours In</em>”

  1. 1 tiny tim November 28, 2009 at 02:14

    Sure you’ve realized by now you can find unlimited elfroot in the Dalish camp store…

  2. 2 range November 28, 2009 at 12:29

    Yes, I realized this recently. This was because I rarely tend to visit the Dalish camp. I usually stick with Denerim and the Circle merchants, and now Warden’s Keep.

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