Friday, February 11, 2011

DA:O - Amusing Oddities 3

Now that the weekend is here I shall be venturing into the Dead Trenches very soon. In the meantime I present you with another edition of Amusing Oddities. Every once in a while I run across things in the game that are slightly befuddling or make me laugh. Below are a few from Orzammar. 
 This post involves very mild spoilerage about the Circle Tower.

Shale I Choose You! - Sure this is neither amusing nor an oddity, but I thought that you might be interested in seeing what Perra's entire party looks like. Thus, I present you with the current party selection screen. For those of you who have played the game before, you will notice that Wynne is not present. Earlier in the game Perra was one hard-hearted Hannah. She provoked Wynne at the Circle Tower and was eventually forced to kill her. That's right, our hero killed an old lady. At this stage in the game I highly doubt that Perra would do such a thing, but at the time she was fresh off her skull-crushing days with the Carta. When you combine her early violent tendencies with the Templars' insistence that the Tower must be cleansed ... well one can see how Perra made the decision she did. Having completed Dragon Age twice before, I must admit that playing without Wynne feels a little odd. She is such a pleasant "old sage" character who really seems to take the roll of Camp Mother seriously. I also appreciate Wynne's hunger for knowledge. If Dragon Age took place in the Wheel of Time, and Wynne was an Aes Sedai, I'm 99.9% sure that Wynne would have been in the Brown Ajah if it weren't for the fact that Wynne is a healer (and thus of the Yellow Ajah). I love the Brown Ajah. Okay, now I'm sad. This screen grab is for you Wynne. RIP.

Bathrooms - For years I wandered from video game to video game blissfully unaware that they all contained one major flaw. Then, a number of years back while digging through Planet Elder Scrolls, I ran across Morrowind house mods by the venerable Princess Stomper. Perhaps one of the most skilled Elder Scrolls modders around, Princess possesses one famous pet peeve. She is bothered by the fact that video game homes do not have bathrooms. As a direct result of this, everything she mods features a bathroom or washroom of some sort. Years of playing her mods have stripped me of my ignorance, and her pet peeve has since become mine. Imagine then my glee when I realized that Orzammar homes have washrooms! I do not know if Bioware has been listening where Bethesda has not, but either way it is clear that civilization has finally reached the dwarven halls. It's rather funny when you think about it, because Oghrin is the only in-game companion to resist bathing and cleanliness. Granted, he's also an unrepentant drunk ... a dwarf so deep in his cups that even other dwarves shun him for his habits. Maybe his lack of hygiene, like his drinking, do not speak for the whole of his race.

Appreciated Trespassing - Well before Perra met with Bhelen for the first time, she and her gang roamed freely through the Royal Palace. The ability for strangers off the street to meander unsanctioned though royal property is peculiar enough. Consider then the case of a thieving expedition, which had tunneled through the palace's floor, that was thwarted by our heroes. Not only did the palace guard arrive late to the fight (read: all the thieves were already dead), but afterwards he let Perra and Friends continue their wanderings unchallenged. There was no "What are you doing here Brand" or "You don't belong here Brand." Nope, instead the guard thanked Perra for her help and let her party continue on it's merry way. That is some tight security Bhelen has going on there.

Vengeful Spirits - Remember my issues with the sarcophagi in the Elven Ruins? Well I for one was glad to see that Bioware did not repeat the same mistake in the Deep Roads. Instead, Perra & Friends ran into at least three waves of restless spirits guarding their crumbling thaigs. For historical accuracy, some of them even commanded stone golems in battle. The spirits came in multiple classes - Forgotten (former casteless), Indignant (former rogue bards), and Enraged (former 2H greatsword warriors). Perra has yet to meet the fourth class of Legion Spirits (former Legion of the Dead). You know I've always wondered how Perra can fight spirits of the dead with weapons. Why doesn't her ax sweep harmlessly through them? Aren't spirits non-corporeal by nature? Yet, like their flesh and blood comrades, these spirits bleed when struck. Unlike their living counterparts though, they disappear into thin air when defeated. You know what? I'm not going to think on it too hard. I simply appreciate the fact that the undead haunt these abandoned halls.

I openly admit that the Deep Roads have an excellent story arc, but sometimes this leg of the game feels like it goes on forever. It probably feels like that, because it does. That said, Bioware really did right by the dwarves. From bathrooms to avenging spirits, they left no ancestor blessed stone unturned.

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