To complement the other content they posted earlier today, IncGamers has slapped up a hands-on preview of Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening. Consider this a quick appetizer while we wait eight more days for the full experience:
From what I've seen, Vigil Keep is the single biggest difference between Awakening and vanilla Dragon Age, and it really is a huge one. Once you fend off the Darkspawn in the initial attack you're granted control of it and, indeed, the title of Arl, essentially making you the ruler of Amaranthine. In a fashion inspired by the class keeps from Baldur's Gate II, all the problems of both Vigil Keep and the region on the whole become yours. With the increase in Darkspawn attacks, will you send soldiers to defend the city, or spread them out throughout the countryside to keep the farmers alive? Will you focus on expanding trade to maintain and build up the region? Can you spare the manpower to guard ore deposits so that your soldiers' weapons and armour are improved, or will you have them defend a quarry so that Vigil Keep's walls can be reinforced? I have absolutely no idea how these decisions will turn out, but every time I wandered back to the Keep there was something new going on and a new decision to make. Then there's the more personal threat of traitors and conspiracies against your power, which will need to be deftly handled.