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Dragon Age: Origins PDF Print E-mail
Written by Silver Sorrow / Starfox   
Monday, 07 March 2011 00:00
Article Index
Dragon Age: Origins
The Hands Of Destiny
The Grey Wardens Wants You
Too Damn long to write here!
Talents, skills and other things
Character creation and other self-torments
All Pages


Dragon Age: Origins


Character Creation And Other Self-Torments

In-game character creation is okay; the options are limited and sometimes lead to some wonky results (strangely truncated noses, for example). Oblivion, by contrast, had an incredible number of option, but all the stupid sliders were dependent upon each other and you could screw up the face completely by a single accidental click. I finally became tired with the vanilla facegen in DAO and went to the Toolset to make my characters' faces. The options are far more comprehensive and you have a lot more control over features. With that said, I wish the eye shape, cheekbone, and nose controls had more options. Not a lot of freedom there, really.

A standalone tool for character creation exists in the Dragon Age Character Creator. This allows you to put together a bare-bones character for uploading to the social network,** as well as importing into the game. (However...the game, as far as I could tell, doesn't have a shiny little button that says "upload character." Oversight? Incompetence? One wonders.) This allows a bunch of people to upload their lame attempts at interesting characters, all for the world to mock and laugh at. Another blonde with gigantic lips. Yay.
[** I identify "social networking" with "social disease"; thus you can see my distaste for interaction of any type.]

Personally, I obsess so much over my character's appearance that I've restarted games from the midpoint, just because I didn't like her cheekbones. I would seek help, but it all seems so futile, what with all the other, larger issues staring back at me in the mirror every morning.

Anyway, the Character Creator WOULD be a great resource, except for several drawbacks that turn the entire concept into one gigantic, useless clusterverybadword:

What Worked For Me: A possible solution is to open your profile diagnostics page on the social site, open DAO via the launcher, make a hard save with the character you want to update, then do a few things (change clothing, armor parts, etc.), play for a few minutes (performing a minor quest is ideal), and alt+tab back to the diagnostics page. It should either update on a refresh or tell you something about the site being busy...either way, check back later and you should see your character updated, maybe even a new avatar uploaded, and so on. If not, don't worry about it.

Of course, if I could keep myself from worrying about it, figuring out how to get it working wouldn't have been necessary in the first place.

Myself, I just disconnected from the server after the patch 1.04 because of all the mess with the DLC authentication process. I never connected again after that. I recommend it. Alleviates a lot of stress. But then again, the first thing I did when I installed the game was to turn off any communication with the server, including profile updates, a feature that as far as I'm concerned is the most useless in there.


Hark The Herald Strumpets Sing

I barely register the music to RPGs anymore. This game's music, for example, is like a pseudo-Celtic version of Mass Effect, but nowhere as good. (I'm somewhat biased in favor of Mass Effect, if you haven't noticed yet.) And then there's the licensed music...while I liked the Aubrey Ashburn material a great deal, I was sorely disappointed by the inclusion of 30 Seconds To Mars' "This Is War," which is a dubiously shining example of all that is wrong with modern mainstream rock today. I hated that stupid song. If they wanted something more appropriate to the game, they should've gone with Cycle Sluts From Hell's "By The Balls."


Dragon Age: Origins


Change Sucks

Yes, mods are very much possible. (By contrast, Mass Effect 2 is almost as intransigent as its predecessor.) For *other* people to make, I mean. Because the Dragon Age Toolset is just about the unfriendliest, unintuitive editor I've messed with in a long time.

However, keep in mind that I had problems with editors for Doom, Unreal, and Half-Life. I'm just not a technically-oriented person, nor do I have the creativity necessary to put it all together. While every other kid was making elaborate Lego sculptures, I just made little tombs for my Star Wars and G.I. Joe figures. Multi-colored tombs. Because I may have had nine million Legos, but they were never in a *theme*, if you catch my meaning. My parents did their best,** but it was cheaper to buy them in small amounts than buying, for example, a Lego Death Star. But when you consider that, I'd just have a bunch of gray Legos. Boring. Anyway, I have a better time of it using words instead of my hands, which hurt all the time now anyway. This helps my typing a great deal, as you can imagine. Not that I ever learned to type correctly.
[** Working on radar systems for Raytheon wasn't exactly a high-paying job for my dad. But at least it paid more than the motherf**king Air Force did. "Join the Air Force! Watch your family starve to death!"]

Waitaminit...whatever happened to my Legos, anyway? I've never given it any thought before, but now...

ANYWAY, the Toolset is made for people who can handle such things, those who have been fiddling with Bioware's editors for years on end. I much prefer the friendly atmosphere of Bethesda's editors (the Elder Scrolls Construction Set [TESCS] and the Fallout 3 editor [the G.E.C.K.] which...well, I never did anything elaborate really (I'm from the Humanities, remember?), but I managed just enough to be dangerous to myself and several others. Different engines, different ways of doing things, I understand. But it's far more fun to just right-click in the armor section, select new, add in all the stats, assign the art/materials, drop it in a box, save, load up the game, find the box, get your new armor, and enjoy.

Well, the Toolset's a little different. By which I mean a LOT different. First, you have to choose "Manage Modules." Then you have to go on a long, tedious trip where nothing is fun. The inflexibility is maddening, as is the fact that very little is explained. Going to the DA Builder Wiki is futile, as I very little of use to me with what I was doing. ("Oh...that's helpful," I snarled often in the most sarcastic way imaginable.) That's a curious aspect of the Bioware community, I found: I saw a lot of pleas for help with certain issues, but they either go unanswered or are answered with condescending disdain (in a way meant to be technically confusing) so that it probably would've been more merciful just to have left the original question unanswered. But what's the use of teh intrawebs if you can't rip someone a new one with your awesomeness?

In fact, after several days' worth of researching and following tutorials, I finally managed to get custom armor in-game and (sort of) working. At which point it dawned on me: so fudging what?!? I spent three days on this and I learned very little of use; I was just following instructions. I can't apply any of this to ANY part of my life! And I don't even like the game that much!

In summary:

  • The Toolset isn't designed for the casual modder.

    Which is fine as 99% of the gamers out there won't even bother downloading the toolset in the first place (especially because it comes with an installation bug that requires from you to manually set up a database hence to have at least a basic knowledge of how MySQL Server 2005 works). It takes a particular brand of masochists like us to tinker with it.
  • The community is rampant with retards.
  • My time "modding" would have been better spent learning something useful, such as how to reattach digits after an unpleasant encounter with power tools.


Dragon Age: Origins


Bring It Home, Satchmo

Dragon Age: Origins is a game that defied my usual conception of a "good" game. I usually like my games a lot less touchier, but I had fun regardless. I mean, there were moments when I would have gladly sold the developers into slavery, but there were also moments when I was glad I had bought the thing. One of those Loathe/Like things, I guess. The frustrations outnumbered the good stuff, but I played it almost constantly for a couple of months. That means it was good. I think. I may just be confusing "something to do while bored out of my mind" with "good." Either way, I'll take it.

Overall, Dragon Age: Origin is better than what the tone of the review might led you to think. If you play it just once you probably won't even notice the gazillion of little things that get on the nerves during subsequent playthroughs. You'll pretty much notice the overall difficulty of combat though, especially on the first playthrough. That's the one really bad point of the game, associated to a blatant unbalance between the different character classes. It maybe the only RPG where the class likely to die the most quickly is the warrior, especially when equipped with a two handed weapon.


The Envelope Please, Ms. Li...And Please Stop Rubbing Your Body Against Mine. You Insatiable Goddess, You.

I give it an 8 out of 10.


And Finally...


Maybe once they're done with Mass Effect 3 and its DLC? The Return Of Scholar Ling!


Game Rated 8/10


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