The Fan Fic Answer

For the none of you out there who were curious about what world I was referring to in my last post, the answer you haven’t been waiting for is finally here. The world that I would like to write a fan fiction in, but haven’t come up with a story to do so yet is:

Thedas.

For those of you who are wondering what that is, Thedas is the name of the land in Dragon Age, which consists of 3 console video games (so far. From what I hear, the fourth one will be releasing sometime within the next couple of years), 5 novels, an animated movie, and a number of comic books.

I have beaten the first two games at least five times each. The third one, only twice, but that’s mostly because it’s a lot longer of a game than the first two. I’ve read each of the novels twice, except for the last one which I’ve only read once. I’ve read almost all of the comic books. I’ve watched the movie 3 or 4 times.

Yet, during all of that, not a single idea for a story has popped into my head. It’s frustrating….

Pay Attention to Your Companions

The title of this post is good advice in general. Whether those companions be friends, family, or coworkers, it’s generally a good idea to pay attention to them. It’s an even better idea if the companion in question is a significant other. Then, not only is it a good idea, it’s a necessity.

I’m not referring to any of those people, though.

No, the companions I’m talking about are the characters that video games give you to help the main character complete their quest. Generally, these companions come in RPG style games, which are the ones I tend to gravitate towards. And, as anyone who has played these types of games before can tell you, those companions can be the difference between beating the game or giving up in frustration.

Recently, I found out that I did not pay nearly enough attention to my companions.

I’m playing through Dragon Age: Inquisition again. I’ve already beaten it, but I’m playing it on the Xbox One this time around instead of the 360. There is some DLC available for the One that I couldn’t get for the 360. So, at least there will be some new content for me during this playthrough.

I went to fight one of the game’s dragons. This is where I learned that I had spent too much time focused on the main character and not enough time on his companions.

About 15 seconds into the fight, every single one of my three companions was dead. Somehow, through luck (and using every potion in my inventory) I was able to defeat it by myself…. barely. Had it not been one of the weaker dragons in the game, I probably wouldn’t have been able to.

After the fight, I went to my inventory and looked at the weapons and armor they were equipped with. It wasn’t even close. The equipment for my main character was much, much better than theirs. It was as if I was wearing steel plate armor and they were wrapped in toilet paper.

Needless to say, I have made more of an effort to upgrade their gear. Since then, I have fought, and killed, a couple more dragons and my companions have fared a lot better.

Hopefully, you learn from my mistakes and pay attention to your companions. Otherwise, the next ass the dragon fries might be yours.

Versus: Season 2 Episode 2

Ok, I’ll admit it. The first post of the second “season” of Versus didn’t go as planned. Matticus and I both made our pitches and waited for our awesome readers to vote in the poll. Then, the time came for the poll to end…. only it never did. At last glance, which was about a week ago, it was still active. I’m still not sure what happened there.

At some point, Matt and I are going to go to battle in the virtual arena that is Versus again, but I need to iron out the kinks in the system first. So, with that in mind, I’m going to subject you all to some of my regular Versus posts, only I’m going to start including polls on those. That way I can practice, and hopefully figure out what I did wrong the last time, before we have our rematch. Unlike my older Versus episodes, however, I’m only going to be doing one matchup per post.

Let’s try this poll thing again. Onto the matchup!

MORE ANNOYING VIDEO GAME PARTY MEMBER: CARTH (STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC) VS. SERA (DRAGON AGE: INQUISITION) VS. LOUIS (LEFT 4 DEAD)

We’ve got us a three way battle. I also had a Three Way for dinner (which means nothing to you unless you’re from the Cincinnati area), but that’s beside the point. This matchup consists of three characters from video games that I have spent a lot of time playing. I’m pretty sure that I’ve logged over 100 hours on each of them. So, these characters have had a lot of time to get under my skin. Let’s go through them one by one, shall we?

Up first is Carth. He is the first actual party member you pick up in KOTOR. Then, he spends the rest of the game annoying the crap out of you. He goes on some whiny tangent about how he doesn’t trust anyone anymore because he was betrayed before. If you take the time to ask him about it, he gets defensive and snaps at you. As the story progresses, if you keep asking him about it, he reveals that the person who betrayed him was his mentor and the betrayal was the bombardment of his home planet which led to the deaths of his wife and child (Although, you find out later in the game that his child survived and turned to the dark side). Granted, if my wife and child were killed, I’d be devastated, but I don’t think I’d be a whiny ass and blame it on everyone I meet. I beat this game at least 5 times and I think the only time I talked to Carth enough to get the side quest that involved his kid was the first time. I couldn’t take it for any of the others.

Next is Sera. In Dragon Age, certain people have accents that mimic those that are on Earth. For example, the Orlesians all speak in French accents. Sera, on the other hand, speaks in a heavy British accent. Normally, that wouldn’t bother me. When Sera speaks, however, she goes 100 miles an hour. I can’t understand most of what she says she’s usually talking so fast. Even when you have the text appear on the screen and read it, most of what she says is still nonsense. She uses metaphors that just don’t make sense to me. Her answers to questions are usually vague and leave you with more questions than when you started. I won’t even talk to her anymore unless it’s absolutely necessary to complete a quest.

And last is Louis. Quite frankly, Louis is a little bitch. When any of the other characters from either of the Left 4 Dead games get entangled with one of the special infected (a hunter/smoker/jockey/what have you) they cry out for a teammate to help them out. Louis just cries. I looked for an audio clip so I could show you what I mean, but I couldn’t find one. The most annoying one is when he gets pounced on by a Hunter. He screams, “Get it off me! Get it off meeeeeeee!” while sobbing. Literally sobbing. If it wouldn’t lessen my chances of survival, I’d let the little bitch die every time.

But, who is more annoying? That is for you to decide, dear readers. I’m going to put up this here poll thing and hope it works correctly this time around. Cast your vote and let me know who you dislike having in your party the most. If I get it right this time, I’ll post a follow up with the winner in 8 days.

RPG Sequels 

I’m sure this has happened in many other games, but the one I’m focusing on right now is the Dragon Age series of games. And not just the games, but the books and the movie too. Specifically, I’ll be talking about the characters that inhabit these things. 

In the first game, everything is fine. There are no problems because it is what is starting the continuity. Then the second game came out. Sure, depending on what you did in the first game, there were some cameos from people in the first game, but none of them played a big role in the second game…. except for Isabella. 

It’s easy to forget that Isabella was even in the first game. Hell, I forgot it until she interacted with another character from the first game who was making a cameo. In the first game, you could play some type of card game with her, but I think she always won because she cheated. The other thing she did in the first game was teach your character a class specialization. Now, I don’t remember what level you needed to be on in Origins to gain a class specialization point, but I do know that in the second game you got them at levels 7 and 14. Which means at the time of Origins (according to the game mechanics), she had to be at least at level 7. Although, if you look at it logically, someone proficient enough to teach others a skill would be of a higher level. So, I would venture that she had to be closer to level 14 than 7, during the time of Origins. 

Yet, when you first get to play her in 2, she starts off at your level. I’m pretty sure I was at level 5 when she first joined up with me. That means that sometime during the 2 years, or so, of the time between the end of Origins and that part in 2, Isabella managed to lose at least 2 levels of experience. As I said, though, it would probably be closer to 9.

How does that happen?

And that one isn’t the one that’s bothering me the most. It’s two characters from Inquisition: Cassandra and Varric.

Out of the two, Cassandra is the more forgivable one. After all, her skills aren’t shown in Dragon Age 2. They are, however, shown off in the CGI movie Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker. Within the first five minutes of the movie, she kills a dragon pretty much singlehandedly. I don’t know if you’ve ever played any of the Dragon Age games, but, like in most mythos, they’re hard to kill. Not counting the Archdemon at the end of Origins, there is only one dragon a piece in each of the first two games. The dragon in the first game is a giant pain in the ass. I hated fighting that thing. In the second game, the dragon was easier to beat, but it was still tough.

In Dawn of the Seeker, they explain that she’s good at fighting dragons because she studied under a group that specializes in killing them. Ok fine. If you take the time to talk to her in Inquisition, Cassandra tells you that she was a teenager when Dawn of the Seeker happened and that it was 18-20 years ago. That would put her somewhere between 36-39 years old. She’s still in the years to be in prime physical form. Yet, when you fight dragons, she does just as much damage to them as she does to everything else. Shouldn’t she do more damage to them since she’s a trained dragon slayer? Maybe double or triple as much? Shouldn’t I do more damage to them if she’s in my party? It would be very easy for her to point out its vulnerable spots are.

The worst offender of the bunch, though is Varric. He is a member of your party almost the entire game in 2. I beat the game, while doing most of the side quests plus the two DLC missions, and I was level 25. At most, he was one level lower than me. So, according to the game, in between 2 and Inquisition, Varric managed to retain the memory of all the events that took place, yet somehow forgot how to fight.

Once again, how does that happen? 

At least in the KOTOR games, there’s an explanation for why the two main characters, who were badass Jedis before the games started, found themselves learning how to fight and/or use the Force again. Here, there is nothing but questions.

WTF Bioware?

Finding a Story

Normally, story ideas just come to me. I could be watching something, reading something, playing a video game, or even listening to a song, and an idea for a story will just pop into my head. Some story ideas, if I’m very excited about them, I’ll start working on them right away. Others, I’ll start working on them and get bored with them early (which is looking like how it’s going to be with Sceptre of Chaos. If you’re a fan of the series, don’t worry. I still plan on finishing it). Still others I’ll file away in hopes that I’ll get around to them eventually.

Having all of these story ideas bouncing around in my head is not always a good thing (especially when I bounce back and forth between a few of them, trying to write them all, and usually end up accomplishing nothing). It also doesn’t help when, instead of using the ideas that I already have, I go looking for new ideas upon which to work. Continue reading

Dragon Age 2

The first Dragon Age, Dragon Age: Origins, was another of Bioware’s instant classics, along the lines of KOTOR. Origins was grand in scope, with the future of the world hanging in the balance. It’s a game that you can play multiple times and find something new each time you play it. When I heard that they were making a sequel, I knew that I had to get it as soon as it came out.

Dragon Age 2 has done some things to improve on the first game. The fighting is smoother. The talents are upgraded. The graphics are a lot better. Plus, they let you have the dog without having him use up one of your party slots. There are a few things about the second game that aren’t as good as the first one.

The scope, which they say is grand, you never see because you spend the entire game in one city. It just doesn’t feel like what you’re doing is all that important. The story is just not as good as the first game. Plus they brought back too many people from the first game. I can forgive bringing in Isabella because she was in the first game for all of two minutes. The others, however, are unnecessary. It’s like having R2-D2 and C-3PO in the Star Wars prequels. It’s stupid and takes away from a story that’s already lacking.

It’s still a fun game to play and I plan on playing it again.