I can't believe that the game is finally over. On one hand, largely due to my schedule, it feels as if Dragon Age: Origins lasted forever. On the other hand, it seems as if the game was no where near long enough. I did not time the playthrough and therefore cannot tell you the number of hours it took. One can, however, easily estimate roughly 60 to 70 gameplay hours when some of the DLC and various side quests are taken into consideration. While it is sad to part with Perra and her companions, I'm very excited to finally begin Mass Effect and immerse myself in a whole new, completely different world of aliens and spaceships.
Continue onward to see my final thoughts about this DA:O playthrough and find out what was in Perra's epilogue.
There are endgame spoilers after the break.
The Results of Perra's Actions -
Queen Anora - In the months that followed her coronation, Anora proved herself an adapt ruler. The royal coffers were refilled and the capital rebuilt. The army was likewise restored. Anora insisted on a statue of her father being built to overlook the Orlesian Embassy. People generally ignored it, but Anora went annually to place flowers at its feet. Due to her high standards for a potential groom, Anora rebuffed all offers for her hand and ended up ruling alone.
The Sacred Ashes - Rumors of the Sacred Ashes and Arl Eamon's miraculous cure circulated the land. Slowly at first, then in great waves, people began to make pilgrimages in search of Andraste's shrine. Eventually the Chantry made an official decree that no final resting place for the Ashes had been found. If the Urn of Sacred Ashes had once been in the ruined temple, they were no longer there now.The Circle Tower - After months of grim effort, the templars finally cleared the Tower of all remaining fade demons and it was once again safe to rebuild Ferelden's Circle of Magi. Rumors of what had happened made people mistrust the magi even more. Once the Tower was rebuilt, The Knight-Commander Gregoire stepped down from his post in the Templars and became a Brother of the Chantry. Where he had been firm yet ruled with a respect for the magi, the new Knight-Commander Cullen was far more strict and less trusting of the Magi. He ruled the Circle with fear.The Denerim Alienage - With the slave trade in the Alienage finally shut down, the city-elves improved their lot over time. During a series of riots over food shortages Anora was forced to crack down on them and this caused a lot of resentment. Shianni continued to be an outspoken member of the elven community and eventually became their new elder.Redcliffe - Arl Eamon returned to Redcliffe and began to rebuild his holdings. His villagers were eager to assist in an effort to push the Blight and all its battles from their minds. His wife Isolde eventually gave birth to a baby girl named Rowan. Isolde died in childbirth. When Rowan began to show an affinity for magic, Eamon gave her over to the Circle for training but continued to love her and visit her as often as possible.The Dalish Elves - The elves prospered after the siege at Denerim and began to earn the respect of the human around them. Their new Keeper Lanaya was respected by the Ferelden court and by other Dalish alike. Tension with the humans, and the accompanying distrust, eventually returned however and only the Keeper Lanaya's presence kept the peace.Orzammar - King Bhelen reformed the city by increasing trade with surface lands and loosening caste restrictions. In exchange for more freedom, the casteless were able to take up arms to fight the darkspawn. For the first time ever the darkspawn were pushed back, and a couple of the older thaigs were reclaimed for the dwarves. His reforms made him many enemies though, and after numerous assassination attempts, the Assembly was dissolved. Bhelen ruled alone without their council or their presence to balance his power.The Assembly declared Perra a living Paragon and her statue was erected in the Commons. A new house was founded in her name, and this house quickly drew a great number of followers from all castes.Although the Anvil of the Void was destroyed, a few determined dwarven smiths eventually found its remains. The first golem they created bound a spirit from the Fade. The golem immediately went insane and further work with the Anvil was banned.Perra & Friends - Both Perra and her companions who helped defeat the Blight eventually scattered to the four winds , drawn either by personal duty or the call of adventure. Circumstance dictated that they would not see each other again - at least for a time.
Some Final Thoughts - It was mentioned a couple of posts back, but of all the time I have spent in Dragon Age's Ferelden Perra's playthrough has perhaps been the best yet. This could be true for a couple of reasons.
Most obviously, this was the first time I had ever played a dwarf, not just in DA:O but in any game. Dwarves are very different creatures, but after spending time in Perra's headspace I'm left with the impression that they are not too terribly different from humans after all. Unlike the elves whose extremely long life cycle alters the way they view the world, dwarves (of the DA:O variety at least) possess a lifespan closer to that of a human's. They have a different religion, a different political system, a different social system, and different cultural values. That said, I think they are emotionally comparable to the human race. Perra understood the world a little differently then her human companions, but emotionally she was driven by the same things - family, friendship, loyalty, etc. My personal interpretation of Perra and her culture will, of course, differ from what others may think but that is all part of the experience I suppose. In the end, it was a real pleasure to step into the head of an individual completely foreign to me.
The other reason Perra's playthrough was particular enjoyable lies with this blog. I have been playing cRPGs for quite a few years and have over time become increasingly more involved with the characters I play. Sometimes I keep a sheet of paper with their motivations, background, and perspective of the world near my computer as a reminder. Other times I trust in my memory to help keep everything straight. Breaking the story down into parts for this blog though has made me really pay attention to what Perra was doing and why she was doing it. If I forgot what Perra did at a certain point in time, I could go back and find a blog entry to refresh my memory. Not only that, but blogging forced me to pace gameplay by dividing it into smaller, more manageable sections. One unexpected benefit of breaking the game down was that I found a way to still play despite my loaded schedule. The other benefit was that I did not experience the usual feast & famine scenario. (The feast & famine scenario is where you have a couple weeks of constant marathoning that inevitably results in a few weeks of gaming burnout where you can't even bring yourself to start the game up.) Breaking the game down meant that DA:O took longer to finish, but it also resulted in a richer experience.
All in all I'm extremely pleased with the way this playthrough went. I connected with Perra much more than I did with any of my previous DA:O characters. Through her I connected with the story even more than before, and likewise I connected with particular companions more than before. Perra's connection with Alistair, in particular, was perhaps what surprised me the most. Before, any of the relationships my previous characters had just seemed kind of "there". This time around, however, it killed me to not take Morrigan's offer back at Redcliffe and that decision cast a bitter shadow over the game's final leg. I was truly shocked when Alistair refused to let Perra sacrifice herself, and even shed a few tears as his life drained away. I'm not one to cry at movies or books, and certainly not at video games. That I did this time around is truly a testament to Bioware's writing team. I salute them all for a job well done and a story well told.
Thank you for following Perra's tale along with me.