A good day of gaming

Every once in a while, we need a good day of gaming, especially if gaming time falls short for us.  Sometimes I feel like I’m just nibbling at games between everything else and really desire to take a big ol’ bite every so often.

For me, it was Saturday.  A lazy Saturday, as it turned out.  After spending time shopping with the family in the morning, we laid the kids for naps and my wife entertained herself with various projects.  Therefore, I ended up with several hours of uninterrupted gaming time, in which I bounced between LOTRO, RIFT and Dragon Age II, accomplishing various tasks and feeling as productive as a gamer can.

I’m still working hard on getting my Eagle-friend for my Lore-master, but it’s probably going to take some time.  I was stupid during this quest chain and used some skirmish points to buy items that I could’ve farmed or purchased on the AH if I wasn’t being lazy.  Now I’m at the next step where I need special items that are only dropped by dungeon bosses or sold for ridiculously high prices through a skirmish vendor, and I blew almost all my skirmish marks already.  Doing some basic math, I figured that I’d have to run about 28 skirmishes to get the items if I couldn’t find a dungeon group.  At two a day, that’s a couple of weeks.  Ah well, I wasn’t thinking ahead enough.

As for RIFT, I’m not really rushing anywhere in particular but am enjoying Gloamwood for its quests and rifts, and am joining as many dungeon runs as I can get my hands on.  Dungeons in RIFT aren’t as mindless as I felt they became in WoW, nor are they as difficult to find a group for as they are in LOTRO.  Some of the fights are tough, but with a little perseverance and group strategy (boosted by swapping roles), I’ve seen many dungeons to the end without frustrated players throwing in the towel.

Dragon Age II is proving to be an excellent RPG experience.  It’s much, much better than the first game, which I felt suffered from too much generic fantasy and too tough of a combat system.  Instead, it’s shrunk the world down to a city and its immediate surroundings (like in Baldur’s Gate II) and set you loose to earn your fortune through various side-quests (again, like BGII).  I much prefer the combat in DAII over DA:O, since I’m not dying every single fight and magic doesn’t have to worry about friendly fire.

I first started playing DAII as a mean-spirited warrior, but quickly abandoned that to reroll as a goofy mage.  DAII’s dialogue system may be streamlined too much for some people’s tastes, but I like that I know exactly how I’m approaching the situation, and I really love the humorous choices.  It’s actually started to make my character sound like an actual character instead of a placeholder for myself, which I feel is a good thing.

I’m also cursing the game for making an elf that I actually find quite adorable and hilarious — the little quirky Merrill  (“They’re so big and grim! What do you suppose would happen if I tickled one of them?”).  The roster of characters may not be as strong as DA:O, but they’re not bad, either.  I’m still trying to figure out the optimal party setup, but I am definitely having fun with a rogue and three mages.

Story-wise, I’m once again vastly enjoying all of the yarns that BioWare crams into these games.  The over-arching tale isn’t as captivating for me as the smaller stories are, and I’ve found myself surprised a few times by twists and turns even though I figure I’m pretty good at spotting them coming.

9 thoughts on “A good day of gaming

  1. I’m not sure of the optimal party set-up either but I’m a rogue and I’ve been doing Varric-rogue Anders-heals/mage and Fenris-tank. It’s been great so far as Varric just hangs back and volleys his arrows and I can do go and melee.

  2. I don’t know about the optimal DA2 party, since I just keep the characters I like.

    Varric is my favorite this time around (as Oghren was in Awakenings), so even though I’m a rogue, he’s always in my party. I usually have Anders too, for the heals. I’m glad they toned down his goofiness. I can’t stand Fenris or Aveline, and since I chose the rogue, I’m stuck with Bethany. Next time I play through, I think I’ll go as a warrior. For now, I take Merrill. I don’t find her quite that endearing, but she’s good in fight. 2 rogues/2 mages has made some of the fights REALLY challenging, but that’s what F9 is for!

  3. For Dragon Age I’ve been playing with me as a sword and board warrior tank, Merrill and Varric as damage dealers, and Fenris and damage/off-tank. Working well so far (just got to act 3 on hard.)

  4. DA2 seems to be such a polarizing game. I still have to work through the Persona games on PSP, so it’s not for me for some time. Mostly I’ve been ignoring MMO gaming because it’s gonna be more of the same for the next 5-10 years, and catching up on movies.

  5. If you find Merrill adorable now, man, just wait until some of her later events – which are at turns tragic and comedic. I’ll have to bite my tongue about some of her real gems.

  6. Dragon Age 2 is an “ok” game. I liked Merrill too, at first, but play thru the game, it´s just..you will see. The game is very very streamlined, the reuseing of the same areas made me hate it in act3 and just gave me that “i hope this is over soon” feeling.

    What they have done with Anders, and cameo returns from DA:O characters is just…dumb.

    I won´t even comment on that silly combat system.

    It´s not all bad, don´t get me wrong, the game has very strong moments! The story is decent, not great but still and the writing is good, try a lot of the funny replies, they are worth it. I also like some of the other characters, Varrick is great, Isabela is funny too, but they have no character development, you can´t even talk to them, only if they (scripted) want it, bah.

    Overall i thought it was ok, but it is, in my opinion, their worst RPG to date, and it´s nowhere near BG2, it doesn´t even deserve to be named in the same sentence 😉

  7. I’ve gritted my teeth and rolled a 2-H warrior as Aveline and Fenris were just annoying me too much as a rogue. Running with Varric, Anders and Merrill at the moment and I haven’t had any problems 🙂

    I’ve just started Act 2, and I have to say that currently, in my opinion, Origins is by far the superior game in terms of characterisation, story and combat… but… DA2 is still a huge amount of fun. The fast pace both in terms of story and combat is making a nice change but I don’t feel as involved… Enjoying it even so 😉

  8. I’m in the middle of DA2 as well and I really like the character interactions. The only character I regularly leave out is Bethany, because she has almost no personality. I constantly switch all the other party members in and out just to see what they’ll say to each other.

    Dragon Age II has such an easy combat system compared to DA:O that you can really get away with any party combination on normal or casual difficulty. So pick the characters you think are interesting and don’t worry about optimizing the party.

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