Dragon Age Appreciation

Since I started replaying Dragon Age Inquisition, I have been on a full-blown Dragon Age kick.

Mass Effect may have sparked my interest in game writing, but Dragon Age is what cemented it. I have always had a thing for fantasy worlds. I mean, I practically grew up on the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. I love worlds that have magic in them.

When I started playing Dragon Age: Origins, I had no idea what I was getting into. I knew it was a medieval fantasy world, there was something to do with Grey Wardens and darkspawn, and the world had magic. I knew nothing about the story or the tone. My roommate at the time knew slightly more than I did, even though she never played it before.

When it came time for both of us to start a new game, it was an easy choice. I had my PS3, she had her PC. With very little foreknowledge and nothing else to do, we dove right in.

By the time the intro was done I was absolutely hooked. It hit this sort of sweet spot both story and gameplay-wise that I didn’t even know I had. The more I learned about the game (from playing and from researching), the more I loved it.

The craftsmanship

Fun fact that I learned around the time I was playing DA2. The team that made Dragon Age spent 3 years crafting the backstory and the lore of the world before spending another 3 years developing the actual game.

And you can tell.

From the very beginning, you are immersed in this vast, open world that is embroiled in conflict, both social and physical. The decisions you make quickly begin to affect your story as you are recruited into the Grey Wardens. The level of detail when it comes to worldbuilding is astounding.

Throughout the three games, you keep learning more and more about the world, the people, and politics. You get to see life in Thedas from different viewpoints, and the NPCs surrounding you treat you differently based on your background and your race.

The complexity

As I said before, this world is intricate. From the start, there is a lot going on, the world is in chaos, and it is up to you to fix it.

Basically, when BioWare created this series, they were looking to create something dark and full of difficult decisions. They did a FANTASTIC job of this. I can’t count how many times I sat, staring at the TV for a full fifteen minutes, trying to figure out what I wanted to do.

Dragon Age 2 was especially good at this. It was a much smaller scale than the other two games. You weren’t trying to save the world, just save your family. The conflict still feels very large and real (and complicated) and you are smack in the middle of all of it. That’s not even counting the number of times I made inhuman shrieking noises when faced with some of those choices. It kills me every time and I love it.

Dragon Age Inquisition ups the ante even more, with you fixing the known world. You have to be very careful with your choices, else Thedas end up more screwed up than it started. And it started with a massive explosion descending the world into chaos.

Don’t even get me started on the Trespasser DLC.

The community

So, the Dragon Age fan community is ABSOLUTELY amazing. Any time I meet another fan, we become instant friends. I know people who could spend hours and hours discussing every aspect of the lore. We also have countless content creators both on YouTube and Archive of Our Own as well as cosplayers, graphic designers, streamers, and more.

Needless to say, the community that formed around this game is vast. Almost as vast as the open worlds of Dragon Age Inquisition. And it is only going to continue to grow as we introduce our friends to the game. Heck, this game has even inspired several women to become game developers.

These fans are dedicated too. The entire community exploded after BioWare released a minute-long teaser trailer for Dragon Age 4. It may not be coming out until 2021, but we are more than willing to wait.

Because we are Wardens, we are Champions, and we led the Inquisition.

We are ready for whatever comes next.

My Dreams for 2019

2018 was an…interesting year for most people. Very little went as I had planned it, so I had to do a lot of learning on the fly and adapting to uncertain situations.

I’m not going to lie, it was tough. It all worked out, though.

I can say with confidence that I am in a better place now than I was when I graduated. I have a good, stable job. I’ve made a lot of connections. I have learned a lot about business, entrepreneurship, and life in general. I honed my writing skills by delving into game writing and completing NaNoWriMo (for the first time in 7 years).

Now I am looking to the new year. And I have plans.

First off, I want to publish blog posts more consistently. I was going pretty steady for a while, but sometimes I get busy and it throws me off. I want to be more intentional about my posting. I want to start working on posts earlier, so that not only will they be done on time but they will be done well.

I also want to write more games. While most of my focus will be dedicated to my work with the writing team for Fallout Cascadia (relatively new project), I want to work on some ideas of my own. Most of these will be simple little games, but they will be good practice. Given my desire to one day work for BioWare as a game writer, I should probably get started somewhere.

Another goal is to finish the first draft of my novel. After NaNoWriMo, I realized that while I had learned a lot about the world and the characters, what I had written was a giant mess. I learned a lot about the world and the characters, but the flow needed a lot of work. I started rewriting it about a week ago and have almost hit 1,000 words. I want to have this draft done by the end of the year.

During Thanksgiving break, I got an idea for a project that I fully intend to pursue in 2019. I want to help authors with their social media marketing, both for themselves and their novels. Whether this ends up being on a purely freelance thing or grows into something more, I’m going to do it. I am still working out some of the details, but once I’m ready to roll I will definitely be sharing it.

I know that I have said before that I would be doing a podcast. Truth is, I still very much want to do one, I just haven’t decided how/what I want to do it on yet. I have a few ideas I am playing around with. I am hoping to have one of them ready to launch sometime this year.

There are a few other things I want to do as well. I want to get better at pixel art to the point where I can create animations. I want to try my hand at graphic design. I want to teach myself how to play piano on the keyboard we for some reason bought a few years ago and never used.

For me, 2019 is going to be a year of opportunity and growth. A year to try new things. A year to chase old dreams.

Whatever this year throws at me, I intend to live life to the fullest.  

What about you?