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Jay Watamaniuk on the Warden's Keep DLC:
We were getting a few questions regarding the Warden's Keep post-release content. I checked around with important people here and came up with the following:
When you buy the digital version (and only the digital version) of the Collector's Edition you get the Warden's Keep for free to compensate for no actual cloth map nor the metal collector's box (both cloth and metal are hard to download).
Those who buy the box version of the Collector's Edition or the regular version of Dragon Age do not get Warden's Keep for free.
Hopefully that is super clear for everyone. Stay tuned for additional answers to questions as they pop up on pre-ordering Dragon Age Origins.
Jay Watamaniuk on the Tome of Knowledge:
A lot of factors contributed to us wanting to get something like this going despite some completely excellent (and crazy extensive) fan wikis out there. We did want something on our own servers so we could make darn sure it stayed open for one and that we could have more control over the look and feel.
That being said Colin, our graphic artist, shook his head in despair at my efforts and will hopefully find time to add some sass to the look of the tome soon.
I am very tense actually that folks who have worked so hard to construct top-notch real wikis (I call them the 'real' wikis because they have miles and miles of content) would be mad. My intention to get these people to help us find our wiki way and give them more behind the scenes look at our content before the game ships. Working together like, y'know, a community should.
My secret ultimate plan is to have the wiki vets (and if you have edited wikis past, say, Thursday of this week then you are more of a vet then me) tackle it and get it filled out. This is if we can the crafty legal team 2 out of 3 matches. It makes no sense to NOT let fans fill in the blanks as shown by current DA wikis out there.
The big reason right now is that it can be a place that doesn't take a lot of web resources to publish new stuff and I can do it myself (or Chris P). We also needed an area that can address the nitty gritty details of Dragon Age that might not appeal to the wider crowd of gamers out there but is critical to folks like me who want to know more about the lore, stats and so on.
David Sims on the Warden's Keep DLC:
We've been told internally that all versions* of Dragon Age: Origins, be they digital or retail, collectors or normal, come with the code for The Stone Prisoner. If there is anything saying otherwise, I suspect it's a mistake. Hopefully Fernando or someone with more authority than I can officially confirm this soon. As for what Wardens Keep is, I can't discuss plot details or pricing, but essentially it's a DLC adventure that ties into the standard game. You download it and it opens up a new place to visit on your map with associated content. It will be available for purchase to everyone. *I speak only for english localized versions. I don't know what the plans are for other localizations, although I suspect they will be similar.
David Sims on class specializations:
There's a difference between unlocking a specialization and actually taking that specialization. As your character levels up, he/she gains specialization points which can be spent to take specializations from those that you have unlocked. Unlocking specializations is done through the story and sometimes through items. Once unlocked, a specialization is available for all playthroughs, not just the current one. You don't get the attribute bonus until you spend a point and take the specialization.
Specialization points, talent points, attribute points and skill points are all gained and spent independently.
You gain specialization points by leveling up. I don't remember the exact levels, but 7 sounds about right for the first.
Theoretically You can unlock specializations at any level, provided you can complete the story content to unlock them. You can also start the game with all specializations unlocked if you've unlocked them in other playthroughs. Having a specialization unlocked provides no immediate benefit.
Spending a specialization point to take a specialization provides a one time stat bonus. It also unlocks new spells/abilities unique to that specialization.
Abilities unlocked by a specialization are purchased with the same talent points that are used to purchase all other abilities.
All points, not just specialization points, do not have to be spent right away. Unlike NWN or KOTOR you do not level up one level at a time if you have multiple levels saved up. DA is more like ME in this way. You level up automatically and points are added to their respective pools to be spent whenever you want. Other than maybe specialization points, there doesn't seem to be much benefit to saving points up for a long time though. At least that's been my experience.
Very minor mage origin spoilers follow.
The player does not unlock any specializations or gain any specialization points after the harrowing. The player probably will gain a level however. The preview confused the issue somewhat by talking about specialization in schools of magic when they were spending talent points on spells. They also looked at the possible specializations, which you can do even without any points to spend.
David Sims on the game's length:
I'm not going to give gameplay time figures because they really are dependent on how you play: how much time you spend asking question in conversation, how much time you spend looting and managing your inventory, how much time you spend reloading and trying battles again because you died, how much time you spend conversing with your party members, how much time you spend exploring and looking for quests, how much time you spend backtracking and making sure you haven't missed anything, how much time you spend reading codex entries, how much time you spend enjoying the scenery. There's no shortage of ways to increase or decrease your game time.
DA is big. It's very big. Even if you ignore the side content, you're still getting a long, rich main plot. It may well be the biggest main plot we've ever done, even including BG2 since so much of that game's content was optional. Length aside, it has more choices, consequences and overall complexity than anything we've done previously.
David Gaider on healing potions and addiction:
There is a cooldown timer associated with potions, so you're not able to quaff multiple potions as a way of gaining infinite hit points. I'm not sure if the mechanic changes with regards to the difficulty level -- it might, but a systems designer would be able to better tell you the exact numbers. As for the addictive nature, I believe you're thinking of lyrium potions -- the ones that restore mana. They are still addictive, but that's a long-term affect and a story mechanic (as opposed to a gameplay mechanic -- at least in this particular game).
We had the addiction mechanic in-game, for a while, but it was decided that it didn't work very intuitively. I think all the hooks are still there, however, for interested modders (like me).
David Gaider on Dragon's Peak:
Dragon's Peak is called that because the peak looks sort of like a dragon's head. It has an older name that dates back to the Alamarri, but Dragon's Peak is what the Tevinter referred to it as and the name stuck with the locals.
Drakon is not a reference to a dragon. Kordillus Drakon was the name of Orlais's founding Emperor and the man who established the Chantry. You'll see a lot of Drakon this and Drakon that in the world.
David Gaider on the Warden's Keep DLC:
We will be explaining exactly what Warden's Keep is. Considering that the digital version of the CE isn't even available for purchase yet, we're not doing it right this moment. I doubt you'll be waiting long to find out, however.
David Gaider on evasion tactics:
It's not, really. I think the impulse is for people to try and "dodge" the swing, but the only way you're going to avoid the actual blow is if you back off before the actual "attack" occurs -- which, according to the computer, happens as soon as the computer makes the necessary computations, not necessarily when the animation actually plays. Damage is not incurred, after all, when the animation of a sword swing connects with something.
So often what you will see, if you look close, is someone running away from the opponent and still receiving damage just as they start doing so (if they waited too long to fall back).
David Gaider on sex & marriage:
1) How common are non-hetero people in DA:O? Are we talking a somewhat larger, more casual number, ala Ancient Greece? Or a small minority, like in modern times?The notion exists, though it is uncommon in Ferelden. Tradition demands that men and women marry, for the sake of their families and procreation if nothing else, and beyond that the personal matters one gets up to in one's bedroom are their own affair. Even so, there isn't a culture where such interests are commonly spoken of or where people of non-straight persuasion could find each other -- so it's largely rare. It would be a bit more prevalent in Orlais, where such practices are considered a quirk of character amongst the aristocracy.2) Is non-hetero behavior generally regarded as odd, or revolting? Do people not care one way or another? Is it accepted? Is there some sort of gay subculture, sort of like how Nobleman could be gay, and nothing was really said about it?In Ferelden it would be considered odd, but like Mary said the Chantry is far less judgemental of such matters than the Catholic church was in our own history. Even so, the forms must be observed. If such practices occur, they are generally done in secret and considered distasteful when made public (at least, when it comes to those from whom respectability is expected -- married folks and those with families).3) I know you can visit a brothel, but is this LEGAL in the game?Yes.4) Is marriage an institution invented for the purpose of merging assets and families? Is marriage dictated by the Chantry? Is marriage simply about 'love', or has it evolved from it's original purpose to one of 'love'?The Chantry considers it a matter of tradition and practicality, and a holy bond between man and woman. Love need not enter the picture, and indeed is often thought to not be necessary. The Andrastian ideal states that love in marriage is something worth striving for.5) Is there a breeding purpose for marriage? In that, marriages are typically encouraged between two families for making strong children? I thought, for a warrior culture, or a dying race this might make sense.Yes, marriage is for procreation -- for the most part. Note that this applies to humans and city elves. Dwarves and the Dalish work quite differently.6) Polygamy? Legal, viable?Only amongst the dwarves.7) Gay marriage?No. Not to get political on the subject, but regardless of my support for the idea of gay marriage in our society I think it would feel pretty anachronistic to include such a concept in our setting. I doubt it's something that would even occur to people in Thedas, regardless of their orientation.8) What about the ending of marriages? Is there a such thing as a "divorce"?There is annulment. There is no concept of "divorce".
...What about mages though, does the Chantry allow them to marry? Or do they try and prevent mages from reproducing where ever possible? Would they encourage mages to be gay (like some ancient cultures did with their warriors) so there isn't a possibility of children?That's an excellent question. I would say that mages are far more free to act as they wish, as by and large they are beyond "normal" social mores. Even putting aside the question of homosexuality, mages are likely more sexually promiscuous in general. They don't have expectations on them to marry or have children (though they technically could -- they just tend not to, as it's discouraged for practical reasons), and they don't have a culture where they would need to carry on their family's name or be introduced like civilized folk.
Keep in mind that while these are interesting questions, some of these things are not generally things that are likely to be referenced in the game more than obliquely -- but that doesn't hurt to think about it.
As for those who don't like the idea of homosexuality in general or don't like our treatment of it -- that's fine, too. For either party, please keep discussion on the matter respectful and remember that to some people who frequent these forums this is much more than a theoretical matter and is very personal to them.
Funnily enough, an inter-racial relationship would probably raise a few more eyebrows than an same-gender relationship. For relationships between human and elves, you'd likely get more objections from the elven side. Elves discourage marriage with humans as that is a path that leads to the disappearance of their race, as the progeny of such relationships would all be human -- their seclusion in alienages is partly their choice. From the human side, a relationship with an elf might be considered questionable more from the stance of the elf's social standing.
Similarly, relationships between dwarves and other races would cause more concern from the dwarven side -- but only if the dwarf in question had expectations placed on him from his house. Dwarves have a hard enough time breeding as it is, a dwarf who goes dipping his wick in infertile ground is just making things even harder for everyone else. Such matchups are likely only going to happen with surface dwarves, however, who have no such ties. Even so, they'd be rare.
Who knows about qunari? There's no evidence to say how people would feel about it (or the qunari, for that matter). I think people would be surprised to learn that the qunari even *had* relationships of any kind.
Fereldans think such behavior unusual -- the sort that would make them scratch their head, as it's just not something they're exposed to as people are in Orlais -- but you're unlikely to see Andrastians condemning it. They just see traditional practices such as marriage to be more important, and sexual behavior of ANY kind is something that should be something done in private. Even so, it's not likely something you'll see remarked on a great deal in the game. If you prefer to think otherwise, you're unlikely to be contradicted. The question was asked, however, so I'm giving my take on how it works in the setting.
Chris Priestly on the Australian release date:
We have confirmed that Dragon Age: origins will be available on the PC and Xbox 360 in Australia on November 5 2009. As with the North American version, we don't have an exact date for PS3, but when we do, we will make that known as well.
Chris Priestly on the different editions:
This will be the new BioWare account system (and social site) that we are working on. We'll have more details on it in the future.
One other question I've not seen answered yet is, there is no "BioWare" edition of the game. Just the standard edition (available to everyone) and the Collectors Edition (available till they sell out). Hope this helps your purchasing choice.
Fernando Melo on the CE and platform-specific editions:
Let's see.. Q about PS3 CE - as far as I know the extras for this is the same as the PC. Patches through EA - as with any of our other PC games I would guess that you should also be able to find these through normal sites, as well as the launcher when you start the game. But I can only confirm this once we get around to needing a patch. Internet connection needed - well, not for the disc based game. Obviously for the DLC items you'll need this for the download, but it shouldn't be needed thereafter. EU CE versions - we're checking into this. Digital CE is not yet available for pre-order, which would explain why some of you are only seeing (or being directed to) disc editions at the moment.
Getting DA on multiple platforms & items: Any DLC is tied to your online account. However, with DA these are platform specific - so codes in the box etc are keyed to that platform - that's just how the system is setup. In practical terms it means that if you were to buy a PC version of DA, and then a 360 version, you'd still only have the PC items on the PC version, and 360 items on the 360 - sorry
Q about PS3 CE - as far as I know the extras for this is the same as the PC.
Patches through EA - as with any of our other PC games I would guess that you should also be able to find these through normal sites, as well as the launcher when you start the game. But I can only confirm this once we get around to needing a patch.
Internet connection needed - well, not for the disc based game. Obviously for the DLC items you'll need this for the download, but it shouldn't be needed thereafter.
EU CE versions - we're checking into this.
Digital CE is not yet available for pre-order, which would explain why some of you are only seeing (or being directed to) disc editions at the moment.
Fernando Melo on the Warden's Keep DLC:
We'll talk about Warden's Keep soon, promise.
It is included with the digital Collector's Edition - so one could extrapolate that the information for it may be available when the digi CE can be ordered, which would make sense that it would be 'soon'... but you didn't hear that from me.
The digital CE absolutely still includes The Stone Prisoner DLC, as well as the Blood Dragon Armor, the 3 regular CE DLC items and a digital version of the soundtrack.
If you decide the digi CE is not your thing however, you will still be able to purchase WK separately.
Regardless of whether you ever touch any of the DLC however, DA:O will absolutely deliver a massive game at BioWare's polish standard with a lot replayability.
Specific to DLC, my suggestion is not to think of DLC as chapter 5 in a 50 chapter book, think of it as Book 2 - chapter 1 through 5 that can accompany the 50 chapter book.
As with a lot of other things we've open the lid briefly, and then later on revealed in full, expect surprises (hopefully you'll agree that they are pleasant kind).
Wow, you folks really know how to get busy on a thread...
I'll try to cover off what I can remember (and can talk about for now) - apologies to the grammar police in advance, it is late, and I don't intend to proof read
- WK isn't randomly placed. As with any content (in the main campaign or in DLC) it exists for a reason, and purpose. It's location (while new/'added' to the game world) reflects those same values.
- From the name, it probably won't shock you to learn that this is a Keep, and it was once used by the Wardens.
- And from the (very brief) description, it hints that there is a strong connection to the Grey Wardens past, during a particularly troubling time in the Order's (and Ferelden's) history.
- Fans of the game's lore will find a wealth of new information here as they explore. Others may simply appreciate the "phat lewt", new exclusive abilities, achievements, etc. And let's not forget the biggest prize of all (saved for when we can reveal more)
- Where do you get DLC: Great question. You'll find this in the DLC store in the game. If you've seen the 360 marketplace, it will be something similar - basically, if you are online it will check to see if there is new content available and list this in the store.
As for the fuzzy ball of other posts, etc:
I'll respond with a few general things for now about DLC and why having content for day 1 was so important for us - you may disagree, as is your prerogative.
- Having DLC incentives is about making every edition feel special in some way. Giving everyone at least something above and beyond what comes with the main game. If everyone got everything, then the allure of each item would be lost. Each choice would have no consequence.
- We want you to try the dlc experience in DA:O. This is new ground for us, and obviously important to test it out as its a pretty important part of our longer term commitment for content.
- It is also no secret that we have committed to a substantial content line-up, but despite what we say we also know we may need to prove it. So we want to come out strong as early as possible and dispel any doubts that we're going to deliver on that commitment.
- Particularly with The Stone Prisoner, and Warden's Keep these are DLC that not only expand the game world in a physical sense, but they co-exist with the main campaign. It is hard to describe, without you having experienced a full playthrough of DA:O, what that actually means - but suffice it to say that these DLC will benefit you the most the longer you have them for. Thus making them available early for folks that may only do a single playthrough was important to us.
- We think the quality and scope of what you'll find in the larger DLC (such as TSP or WK) will really surprise. We want to show what you can expect from future content. There is nothing else out there like TSP. For what its worth, the current descriptions for both DLC hardly do these justice (yet).
- It is probably important to also note that we use the general DLC term to cover anything from an item to a full expansion.
Craig Graff on class specializations:
Buying into a specialization (which only happens once per character) gives you the associated bonuses and the option to spend talent points in that specialization's talent tree.
Most followers start with a specialization, but you can also spend points on additional specializations.