Now that I’ve recovered a sample of Andraste’s ashes and cured the Arl of Redcliffe, I have access to the endgame and can finish Dragon Age: Origins whenever I decide I’m ready.
But what’s the point of rushing? If a big part of the fun of BioWare’s games is the way your choices carry over from one game into another, then I have always found that it behooves me to make as many choices as possible. Thus, brief notes on catching up on as many sidequests as possible.
The Golem: I like Shale. She’s not always, say, agreeable, but unlike Sten she’s almost always fun. (If you’re going to be cranky, you may as well have a good time being cranky, I say.) I fought “Kitty,” and wasn’t able to save Matthias’s daughter. I don’t humor demons, although in this case apparently some subterfuge is required to save Amalia. On the whole, I prefer to make the effort to save NPCs, but it didn’t feel like it was going to have as much impact as, say choosing between Connor or his mother. Even Matthias didn’t seem to mind that much, which, I think, is maybe a failure in the writing.
As a side note, I’m only referring to Shale as “she” because I cheated and looked ahead. I never completed her companion quest (I just never went back to the deep roads). Somehow, thinking of Shale as a woman changed my headcanon from Shale as a Harvey Firestein to a Bea Arthur. (Both good.)
Ostagar: Killing that ogre and giving King Cailan’s desecrated body a proper burial felt pretty good. Still, I was a bit underwhelmed by the reward of the king’s armor. There’s a lot of sentimental value in Duncan’s sword, but at this point in the game I have stronger equipment for the most part. (Also, even with the Arcane Warrior specialization letting me equip just about anything I want, the heavy armor isn’t much use to a mage.) Sten’s sword in his companion quest was kind of the same. I really wanted to equip it on him, but it wasn’t as strong as the sword I already had.
Leliana: The Leliana’s Song DLC takes place before Dragon Age: Origins, so I took a break to play it and acquire Leliana’s special armor. I hadn’t played Denerim yet, so the locations felt new, and the story was well told. Especially since I never did unlock Leliana’s companion quest. More on that later, maybe, but it seems to have had something to do with —
Feastday gifts: So the gifts from the Feastday DLC finally made me popular with my companions. It felt like cheating because it was cheating, but you know what? Screw it. It feels good to be liked. Even by Morrigan.
Oghren: I wasn’t a very good wingman, and Felsi didn’t take Oghren back. I have a suspicion that it was the right call on her part.
Soldier’s Peak: Kill the demons, kill the demons. Drank Avernus’s potion and was a bit surprised that it doesn’t actually turn the character into a full-on blood mage. (Oh well.) The Warden Commander armor was pretty good, though, and felt appropriate for Alastair. The Winter’s Breath staff carried me through the end of the game.
It’s really hard to find good staffs, isn’t it? I used the Darkspawn staff after the initial battle in Ostagar through quite a bit of the game.
And with that, I’m off to Denerim.
Just as a reminder, in June I’ll be starting Dragon Age II notes as an email newsletter through TinyLetter. You can sign up at http://tinyletter.com/theplaythrough