Monday, 11 January 2010

In defense of a DLC

I don't get the bitching about the Warden's Keep DLC for Dragon Age:Origins and the way it's presented. A single NPC promotes it inside the game. You don't get to hear a stupid message about it every time you start the game, reload a game or talk to someone, or open the journal. It's unintrusive and self-contained. Don't want to do it? Don't friggin talk to the guy again. Simple.

And it wasn't just an hour of dungeoneering. People keep bitching about the length but if you listen to all the dialogue and read the lore, it's comfortably two hours long. Two very immersive (I hate that word by the way) hours and it seems odd that players claim breach of immersion by an NPC advertising additional content and then skip/steamroll through said content's story like crazy.

Another thing to consider is what it added to the longevity of the game. It's more than a simple dungeon and a chest to store stuff inside. Let's see...

You are able to forge Starfang, the best 1H-sword in the game. And it's not unbalanced Fallout 3-style but fits in well. It stays close enough to other weapons in power to make it not a necessity, and they really did make it look nice.

The Warden's Commander Armour is pretty neat. Depending on when you get it, it's either a very good or simply one of the best sets of armour in the game. It protects you for as long as you wear it, which can easily be the rest of the game. The rest of the friggin huge game.

The storage chest is a subversive thing. See, it undercuts the whole gameplay mechanic of immediacy of inventory. You're not supposed to have a warehouse full of wargear stashed away somewhere. It's there for the compulsive hoarder, the clutterer. For people who can't let go or... well, you get my point. There's even a mod that goes further by including a chest in your camp.

It adds six unique special abilities. Those aren't gamebreakers and you can even choose to not take them. But, depending on your class, you get two very nice and gameplay enhancing abilities that complement your character.

On top of that, all Voice Actors reprise their roles. Are players aware of how much it costs to do an hour of studio recording?

Of course I'm not without criticism. It's disappointing that there's nothing to do after you're through the story - no incentive to revisit the area. You don't get to see a rebuilt keep or a bit of life after essentially gaining a personal stronghold and I'm hoping BioWare will pick this up for the Awakening Expansion Pack.

I had hoped that after months of it being released, the blind hating would have stopped, but it seems to me that it became canon. And you know what? It's things like this that kill PC gaming.

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