Not for the weak of heart…

So you guys are getting a second helping of The Balrog Blog thanks to Dragon Age: Origins!

See what I did there? Thanksgiving joke!

Aaaanyway, today I decided that I was going to jump back into Dragon Age. I was really enjoying the game, but something just didn’t feel right. I decided to start fresh, start anew, with two goals in mind. My first goal was to use my Blood Dragon Armor. I know it was free and everything, but downloading it and having it take space in my Mage’s inventory seemed worthless.

Once I decided to roll a Warrior, I then established that I wanted to get the Reaver specialization.  For those who don’t play Dragon Age, the Reaver specialization is a sub-class of the Warrior class that specializes in causing pain to themselves and those around them, with some interesting and devastating effects. It sounded really cool, with moves like Devour which restores health from fallen enemies or Blood Frenzy, which makes you do more damage the lower your life is. The game describes it as “flirting with death.”

I then decided that I wanted to achieve both these goals in one night. Not too big of an undertaking, I assumed it would take about 4-5 hours, tops. I actually thought that getting to use the Blood Dragon Armor would be the harder of the two.

Anyway, I fired up the game and let me tell you… the City Elf Warrior origin was SO much easier than the Mage origin.

Now, I’m under some suspicion that it might just be because I’m used to the game, and knew what to expect and how to play. But honestly, even with watching everything again, I still got my Warrior to the point that my Mage was at, and then some.

Now, around the time my Warrior got to that point, I started to feel that I could get the Reaver specialization unlocked. For my Mage, the Shapeshifting specialization was tremendously easy. I talked to Morrigan and that was it. The end. Once I hit level 7, I was able to learn it. So I thought Reaver would be similar.

Boy was I wrong…

After funneling all of my points into Strength, around level 7-8 I had 38 Strength, which is the requirement to wear the Blood Dragon armor. Around this time, however, I still hadn’t gotten Reaver and I was getting worried. Upon looking up the requirements, it told me I had to pour blood into an urn of ashes in the quest for “The Urn of Andraste.”

No sweat.

About 9 hours later, I was about ready to speak in tongues and drop kick my controller into my TV.

Quest after quest, talking after talking, Reaver was still no where in sight… I really did not want to be playing for 9 hours straight, but I had to do it… I was compelled to do it, I HAD to get Reaver.

Around this time is when I started to realize how difficult this game could really be… lucky for me, I didn’t have to continue playing my game in that storyline once I got Reaver. Getting Reaver, storyline wise, actually made you miss a few good things, and sort of messed up my good girl persona in the game, so all I wanted was to get Reaver, and then return to a previous save file and play it the way I wanted to.

Very possible, if only I could get there without wanting to cause bodily harm to myself and baby seals (Editor’s Note: Machombie does not condone seal clubbing.)

When I finally did get to a point where I could get Reaver, it of course put me in a boss fight, a boss fight that I could not win. Sadly, I had not stocked up properly, and was out of heals. So here I was, about to get what I had been working all night on… and I couldn’t beat the boss.

Sadly, I have to admit I dropped the difficulty. But honestly, I just wanted Reaver and was getting impatient.

Again, this made me really think about how hard this game can be. I was playing so far on Normal difficulty, and there were areas that were just kicking my ass. I could not imagine these areas on Hard, with friendly fire on. You have to be some high level of hardcore to want to frustrate your way through this game on the Hard difficulty, let alone the Nightmare difficulty.

I know there are those of you out there though, and to you, I tip my imaginary hat.

Anyway, I got Reaver, I got to wear my armor, and now my chick elf is amazingly hot (both literally and figuratively.) I would have screenshots posted, but sadly I am on my PS3 and I’m still working on video capturing.

There was a lot of good that came out of restarting. I’m having a lot more fun, because I now see the addictive nature of this game, and the fantastic and gut wrenching storytelling. Questions like: save the life of the son, but have the mom sacrifice herself or destroy the child to destroy the evil spirit, but save the mom.

Decisions, decisions. This game throws them at you pretty hard, and it really keeps you engaged.

And it helps that the Warrior class is fun and versatile. Greatswords are always satisfying…

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~ by machombie on 11/27/2009.

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