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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

157

Girl Talk: Alistair

So. I had planned to save further BioWare love for later in the year after hittin’ Garrus in March, but then my sister-in-law-to-be played Dragon Age: Origins for the first time (first of five times in rapid succession, to be accurate) which made ME want to play Dragon Age again, and, well, it was inevitable. We have to talk about Alistair. Oooh yeah, we are SO going to talk about Alistair.

But first! A note on Garrus: I made a point not to include spoilers in his post only because Mass Effect 3 had just been released. If I do not specifically state that I am avoiding spoilers, expect ‘em. It’s hard to gossip without including the good stuff! Now get the hell out of here, Garrus; Alistair’s on his way.

Whether you play as a human, elf, dwarf, noble or broke, Dalish or mage, big hands or — wait, everybody in Dragon Age: Origins has big hands — you first meet Alistair in Ostagar prior to a giant battle with a bunch of darkspawn who are apparently being rallied by an Archdemon to destroy your country and everyone in it. And then, the world. As bad guys do, right? And what is Alistair doing during this trying time? Hassling some sassy mage who gave him attitude. Aaaah, you guys, as a lady who was introduced to this guy at a formative age, there is just something about smartasses. The “smart” has to outweigh the “ass” in the equation for maximum effectiveness, and Alistair’s healthy dose of self-deprecation doesn’t hurt. Despite Morrigan’s claims to the contrary, Alistair tends to be quick to grasp the important points of any given situation and sum it all up with a quip.  As he points out, "You know, one good thing about the Blight is how it brings people together." As it happened, many lady Wardens were happy to have the opportunity to, uh, come together with Alistair. 

I cannot emphasize the connection between voice acting and video game crushes enough, and Steve Valentine (who I have not and will not peep on IMDb; I saw what Brandon Keener looks like by accident) did an amazing job with Alistair. But in this case, you guys, the writing. The WRITING! If anyone out there wants to hook up a reverse Cyrano de Bergerac situation that will likely work best in a survey-type situation in which the lady selects among a limited selection of questions and responses, hire David Gaider to come up with your dialogue. Alistair is believable, people! He is sarcastic and deflects questions about himself with humor. He has a somewhat inexperienced flirting technique that comes across as genuine and damned endearing. He is loyal and he is stubborn, but not to a fault! As a templar, he tends to be distrustful of apostate mages, but as he grew to know my mage character his views about Ferelden’s legal and religious structure evolved to reflect his understanding of those it impacts as people rather than abominations, or, uh, Morrigan. He has regrets and misgivings, and he is able to find humor in the situation at hand. Congratulations, David Gaider! You win the first ever unofficial Hairpin award for excellence in video game character writing.

Two things I particularly want to address: the virgin thing, and the king thing.

Alistair is a virgin before (if!) your lady Grey Warden deflowers him. He explains this in a rather adorable fashion that affirms my theory that ANY phrase can become sexual innuendo if said in the right tone. Have you ever licked a lamp post in winter? Or tried coming on to somebody with a similarly ridiculous phrase? You should; it’s fun! Anyhow, the fact that Alistair is a virgin pre-Origins Grey Warden lady is appealing for reasons other than some hackneyed ‘pretty princess girl gamers just want to be his special first time’ hypothesis. Not to discount that; it may be valid for some! For my part, I thought it was interesting that the topic came up at all. It makes sense in the course of Alistair’s background: he was turned over to a religious order at an early age, grew up to allllmost become a member of said order as a templar, and then joined a not-so-highly respected organization (the Grey Wardens) in which life expectancy is short and hook-up opportunities don’t exactly abound.

And then Ostagar happens, and over the course of slaughtering numerous opponents and having blood-spattered heart-to-hearts, he starts falling for a (rare! as he points out early on) lady Grey Warden, and … wait, he is forthcoming about his prior lack of romantic experience and lays out his expectations regarding the future of the relationship? The guy’s got Wade’s superior dragonbone-plated guts. Thinking about it, Morrigan’s probably a virgin, too. She lived in the wilds with her formidable mother … person? ... until being sent along on your journey. When would she have had the chance to hit it? She may have done it in bear form or had a one-nighter with a Chasind man or something, but it’s pretty likely that Morrigan never got any before a Warden-dude came into the picture. And does she say anything about it? No. Because Morrigan is (sort of endearingly) a socially awkward person who thinks she knows everything about how people are and (less endearingly, and only if you are a dude) mainly just wants to have your demon baby to bring forth some new god-race or something.

But Alistair wants to pursue a meaningful relationship on his own terms, insofar as he can, and that means taking time with the sexin’. That in-and-of-itself is not necessarily sexy (or unappealing), but a dude saying flat-out — or if not quite flat-out, veiled in silly euphemisms — what he wants and needs is sexy. Communication! Communication. is. so. sexy. Fan me, everybody! (And don’t remind me about this in the future when I say some other character is sexy because they are mysterious and unknowable, thanks.)

In addition to the novelty of a romantically inexperienced male video game character being seduced by a kick-ass lady protagonist and fantastic dialogue that makes the player feel she's having a satisfactory communicative experience that will lead to furthered intimacy, the whole delayed gratification thing just works for video games in a way that it doesn’t in real life. Doin’ it in real life is not just a prelude to the final battle. (…hopefully.) It is also not an achievement that you can only earn one time and then watch the same animation over and over if you keep doin’ it thereafter. In the state of gaming as-of-right-now, however, plotlines tend to be fairly Joseph Campbell adolescent hero’s quest-ish. THEREFORE, it feels more satisfying to have to “do” more tasks in order to finally get some. I have great affection for Zevran, but I’d be more psyched to love him up if there were increasing benefits, rather than seeing the same sex scene play out for hi-I-just-met-you-let’s-hook-up to the big ZOMG-only-you-forever-we’re-probably-going-to-die-tomorrow-and-I-want-to-spend-the-entire-rest-of-my-life-with-you-short-as-it-may-be deal, you know? Therefore, I appreciate that Alistair is all, "let’s not do it jussst yet; keep slaughtering darkspawn and werewolves and manipulating dwarven politics and we’ll have a lot more increasingly flirty dialogue with some heartfelt moments here and there and THEN we’ll do it!" In-game, anyway. If I were one of two existing Grey Wardens who could be killed any day and faced a nigh impossible task that I was unaware was scripted, I think I’d probably be a lot like Oghren in camp. What do you think? We’ll chat in the comments. 

The king thing: surprise! Alistair is the king’s bastard and becomes heir to the throne when Cailan goes and gets himself ogre-smashed. You can make Alistair become the king or you can NOT make Alistair become the king. I never have, because I think Alistair would be a terrible king. He thinks he would be a terrible king! Morrigan thinks he would be a terrible king! In fact, pretty much everyone thinks he would be a terrible king. Female human nobles, don’t even start; you know you only made him king so you could be queen, and you intend on doing all the ruling yourself. Right?

You guys, I fully died a death and wrote angry things on the internet when I fired up Dragon Age: Awakening and Alistair turned up as the king and greeted my character as his piece on the side after I’d made Anora become the queen in Origins. Then I realized that my 360 had just wonked out and loaded from an early Origins save. Resaving the end of my Origins game turned Alistair back into a plain old Grey Warden and not king as I’d intended, and I was relieved. BUT STILL. Aside from noble human lady Wardens, did any of you feel that Alistair was the best choice to rule Ferelden? Or did you just loathe Anora and her shiny boob syndrome so much that she had to die? Did anybody let Loghain live, or actually genuinely like the idea of a second-rate Snape running Ferelden? The idea of Alistair as king becoming canon for the purpose of post-Origins properties bothers me. If so, how did my decisions in the game mean anything? And if so, is it canon that your Grey Warden died at the end of DA:O? Because...

WHAT THE EFF IS UP WITH THE MORRIGAN/ALISTAIR DEMON BABY? As an Alistair-lovin’ woman character, I talked my sexually inexperienced lover-dude into sleeping with a woman he hated on the eve of the final battle with the Archdemon instead of doing it with me so we that could both survive and rack up lots of therapy bills later after we kill the Archdemon! Does that mean nothing?! I thought about dying nobly and sharing my imaginary man with no one, but my will to survive was just too strong when it came down to it. And, uh, stronger than poor Alistair’s dignity and hatred of Morrigan, apparently. What WAS up with that? I want closure! I don’t want to imagine killing darkspawn in a Ferelden with no Alistair until the taint overwhelms my character!

Aaanyway, let’s sum up: Even with a (to my mind) somewhat unfortunate haircut, Alistair is handsome. He has a sexy voice. He says many hilarious and therefore attractive things with that voice. He offers straight lady characters the chance to experience one of the most engaging instances of relationship-building in video game history. There are many opportunities to kiss him in between fighting and politicking, AND you get watch a sex scene featuring him and your character slow-mo rolling around next to a fire in their underwear. What’s not to love? I could talk about Alistair forever, so let’s take it to the comments.

Other things to ponder: The other romance options! Are you more of a Leiliana-lover than an Alistair-admirer? Are you a Zevran fan, and if so, do you prefer to hook him up with one sex more than the other? Do you, like me, think Zevran sounds like Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots? Just how uncomfortable do you think Morrigan must be in her default, uh, "shirt"? The other characters provide plenty of contemplation fodder, too. Sten: love him and his cookies or want to punch him right in his “you can’t possibly be a woman because you’re a fighter” mouth? Oghren reminds me of a friend from college, and I can’t help but love him. What did you name your Mabari? (My favorite is Melkor.) Wynne is a nice lady, but she’s no Dr. Chakwas. Has there ever been a better companion character than Shale? No, no there has not. Just HOW COOL is Flemeth? It might be worth being possessed by your oddball Witch of the Wilds “mother” figure in order to turn into a dragon, honestly. Think about it. And shhhh, don’t tell Alistair, but does anyone wish Duncan had lived so they could get their romance on with him?

 

Previously: Sheik. 

When exploring dungeons in real life, Jennifer Culp knows not to disturb glass phylacteries that contain dark shapes swirling around a slip of paper.



157 Comments / Post A Comment

Elle Marie@twitter

I completely replayed DA:Origins so I could A) become queen, because C'MON, and B) have a 3-some with Alistair and Isabela, the duelist in the brothel.

There was a point, after 80-plus hours of gameplay, where I allllmost felt like I was cheating on my fiance. Then I remembered that Alistair is fictional, and that makes it totally OK, right???

alphabiddycity

@Elle Marie@twitter As soon as I finished the game and realized my AWESOME MAGE who was SO MUCH PRETTIER than Anora could never really marry Alistair, I knew I had to play again. I kept on reading that you could make him agree to have you be his piece on the side (and yes he was hardened and yes I did everything right) but as soon as he became king I could just tell he didn't care anymore.

Ahhh. It's just a video game!

Summer Somewhere

@Elle Marie@twitter YOU CAN HAVE A THREESOME?!!?!?!?

terrific

@Summer Somewhere HELL yes you can. It's awesome.

LadyJo

@Elle Marie@twitter I could NOT figure out how to have the threesome! I tried MULTIPLE times. But good lord did I love Alistair!

Megasus

@terrific It's even awesomer if you did it and then play 2, cuz Alistair shows up if he's King and if you bring Isabela, they're like "Heeeeeeeeeyyyy"

TheBourneApproximation

@Summer Somewhere Pff, threesome? You can have a frikkin FOURSOME.

fondue with cheddar

@TheBourneApproximation Yeah baby! With Isabella, Zevran, and Leliana. I was so disappointed that nobody would speak of it afterward. :(

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Ha! That's fantastic. I wish I'd had her in my party when that happened.

vittoriama

best thing ever@v

SarahP

I have several responses to this:

1.) I didn't play it, but instead watched my husband play it and told him what to do, so maybe this is just because "we" were playing a male character, but I found Alistair obnoxious! I'm pretty sure I was annoyed every time he was on my husband's team.

2.) No way Morrigan's a virgin! I bet she broke many hearts in the wilds. She broke my husband's heart, actually--we couldn't figure out how to woo her.

3.) Becky Chambers has a great article about the "Hey Sweetheart Scenario" in video games, and she actually quotes Sten for it.

SarahP

@SarahP Haaaaa I just reread that article after posting and realized that she says Sten's dialogue makes sense, whereas Alistair's annoys her.

Megasus

@SarahP You have to be like, super survivalist. Even when she talks about horrible things her mother did, you have to say stuff like "It made you a stronger person." Also she likes jewellery. I will not tell you how many times I have played Origins, but it's probably in the double digits now.

Danzig!

One of these days Bioware has to actually hire Joss Whedon instead of lamely approximating him. Shame what happened with Dragon Age 2, though. Thedas was a pretty solid setting, if a bit GRRM-lite (which is to say, not GRRM at all).

I will always and forever be creeped out by the gameification of romance

Summer Somewhere

@Danzig! I would play an RPG romance game. I love that shit.

lady_j

@Danzig! If there was a Whedon-BioWare collaboration, I'm pretty sure I would just never. stop. playing.

Megasus

@Summer Somewhere They already exist in Japan, and have for years.
Also yes, A Whedon/Bioware collab would be absolutely amazing. Even if he just did a DLC! I would pay so much money.

frigwiggin

@Megano! The most beautiful and true example of the genre being Hatoful Boyfriend, obviously. The one, the only, the pigeon dating game.

youresmalltime

@frigwiggin I. I cannot stop looking at this.

frigwiggin

@youresmalltime The full version is out in English now! I know what I'll be doing this weekend.

Mildred

@Danzig! I definitely think the sex scenes in video games are weird - mostly because the game mechanics are always fucked up and everyone moves together like dueling broomsticks. While it is kind of creepy fake flirting with cartoons it also makes the game kind of hilarious for me. Like that common bug in DAO where Alistair goes for a kiss but kind of leans in chest first on the warden's face and gropes the air behind her? He was cloistered you guys.

Megasus

@Mildred The dwarves making out with elves doesn't work properly either! It's hilarious. The sex scenes also make me laugh a lot too. I mean, they are definitely not erotic, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss them in DA 2. Also the brothel is SO LAME in 2.

Mildred

@Megano! I visited ~The Pearl~ after Alistair made me break up with Zevran because YOU DON'T OWN ME ALISTAIR and it was so funny and, thank god, had a fade to black. I haven't even played DA2 (and only recently played DAO actually and Assassin's Creed II because I live in 2009) buuut I heard it's not as good? But it's getting pretty cheap so I'm sure I'll pick it up anyway.

youresmalltime

@Mildred Assassin's Creed 2 is an essential member of any video-game-brothel conversation. You are So Relevant.

TheBourneApproximation

@Mildred That is the best Dragon Age bug. What is he doing with his hands - rubbing them to get warm? (Or perhaps it is the *second* best DA bug. I wonder if THIS was part of his Templar training?)

Megasus

@Mildred No I just replayed it (hadn't played since it came out), and 1 too, in preparation for 3 coming out in the fall.
Also anyone ever play Neverwinter Nights? Remember how in the brothel there you had to woo the whores? I was like "WHAT!?" but it was actually kind of fun.

frigwiggin

@TheBourneApproximation You have no idea, the strangled noises I was making in my office at work trying not to laugh at that. WHAT. WHAT. ALISTAIR WHAT ARE YOU DOING COME BACK HERE

youresmalltime

AAAAHHH I did not expect this until tomorrow! YES!! It's like a GIFT! Also like a gift:

Or did you just loathe Anora and her shiny boob syndrome so much that she had to die?

Well, I just died, anyway. Oh, the Puritan braid coils.

fondue with cheddar

@youresmalltime And the constant hand-clasptng.

NotMandatory

@youresmalltime: How embarrassed was I to realise I had the same hair as Anorra? When I picked it, I thought it was all Leia-like and showed off my lovely elven ears. When I saw The Harridan, I knew that I had chosen poorly.

Scandyhoovian

AUGH IF ONLY I COULD GET TO YOUTUBE FROM WORK. I said my piece (with mighty rage) regarding Alistair with a friend of mine on our YouTube channel, healthygaminghabits, which is almost entirely devoted to videos getting on BioWare's case about things we weren't happy about. Replete with humor and shrieking!

But, uh, pretty much it's "wait wait wait I romanced you and made you the king and the way you respond to that is by DUMPING ME? GOODBYE, A-HOLE, ENJOY YOUR KINGDOM."

Megasus

@Scandyhoovian Also if you harden them, there is way to be his mistress.

Danzig!

@Scandyhoovian I thought Alistair was a pretty fun character up until the the point at which he forgets everything he previously stood for in order to produce drama

Scandyhoovian

@Megano! being his mistress is hardly consolation, hahaha. I just "got him back" by making him sleep with Morrigan (what a terrible power to have, by the way -- YOU. LET THAT GIRL YOU HATE RAPE YOU. DO IT FOR FERELDEN.)

Megasus

@Scandyhoovian I always went more with the, "Do it so I don't have to die, Alistair!" tack. Because I am selfish, lol.

Summer Somewhere

@Scandyhoovian I really enjoyed corrupting Alistair just a little teeny bit. Dude could use some mud on his armor. Anyway you can't vocally hate someone so much without wanting to bone them a little bit. Just like homophobes with gay secrets!

ormaisonogrande

@Scandyhoovian I seriously felt kind of crushed when he dumped me. I was like, you were all in love with me and wanted to be exclusive and dude I took your virginity, but if you're king I'm not good enough for you. I think I accused him of being racist, also, because I was an elf. And then I too got revenge by making him sex Morrigan.

TheBourneApproximation

@Scandyhoovian You know what makes the whole Alistair breakup thing about 100x more tragic, and actually fairly poignant? Modding the game to have a gay romance with Alistair as a dude, as detailed in this blog post.

notfromvenus

@Scandyhoovian You know, he tried to dump me even though I was dating Leilana. It was kind of sweet and sad, like he'd been carrying a torch for my character or something.

Mildred

@ormaisonogrande I hated that! I wanted to be all, "Why don't you take care of all this your own damn self then, I'll just crawl back to my ghetto."

I totally agree with this lady though, Alistair would make a terrible king.

Megasus

Alistair FOREVER. Although I really like Fenris AND Anders and Isabela in 2, though the romances aren't as satisfying in Origins.
Also, Alistair actually does turn out to be a good King! Plus you can "harden" him by picking certain dialogue options after his friend quest with his sister to make him an even better King! Gaider has said that canon Alistair is King Alistair, so obviously he's not gonna be bad!
Also I may have Fic Theories about the demon baby situation. But I haven't written them yet. Because I am lame in so many ways, lol.
Also I bet Flemeth probably entranced some Chasind dude for her daughter like, as soon as she started menstruating.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! I hardened him in other ways, too.

Summer Somewhere

I was flirting with Leliana and sleeping with Zevran, but then Zevran got jealous (even though he didn't want a commitment?!) and Leliana got mad (even though flirting does not equal monogamous relationship) and then everyone hated me. So I started over, slept with everyone once and broke up with them, got together with Alistair who fucking dumped me when I made him King, and lusted secretly after Morrigan the whole time. :(

I love Sten. He was upfront. He was the only one whose respect I had to earn, so when I got it I felt like it meant more. Anyway I got SO TIRED of Alistair's lawful good nonsense.

Scandyhoovian

@Summer Somewhere Sten also got the fun little Portal gag at the end. "The cake is a lie!"

Summer Somewhere

@Scandyhoovian It was really fun to bring him to the Holy Grail or whatever. So much sarcasm! <3

alphabiddycity

Alistair made me believe in love again. I'm only 50% joking. I was crazy obsessed with him for at least a month.

Scandyhoovian

My biggest question about Morrigan's shirt is not how comfortable it is or is not, but rather, where she is hiding the strapless bra she dons for sexy scenes with dude Wardens.

TheBourneApproximation

She had *more* coverage than usual in that scene!

annev6

So I was a diehard player of KOTOR and Oblivion, and now Skyrim. I couldn't get into Dragon Age, but I probably could if someone were to say, explain to me right now how this game is similar to/better than those titles. I seriously have Origins sitting on my shelf right now. I tried to play it when I was waiting for Skyrim to come out but was expecting something like Oblivion so I was disappointed. Does the gameplay get less restrictive as the game goes on?
ALSO HOORAY FOR LADY GAMING CHATS.

Summer Somewhere

@annev6 DA isn't a sandbox. I loved DA and am tepid for Skyrim for the same reasons I suspect you love it.

Megasus

@annev6 The gameplay is not good. You play DA for the story and fantastic character interaction and banter.
That said I hate the combat in Skyrim/Oblivion even more than in DA.

lady_j

@annev6 Oblivion and Skyrim are actually a little too overwhelming for me - I feel like I will never be satisfied with my experience, and I don't really relish the idea of putting 100+ hours into a single game. Dragon Age doesn't get less restrictive, but I like that, and (at least for Origins) I loved the characters and the plot. The Elder Scrolls, sandbox-type games just aren't my thing.

Summer Somewhere

@lady_j I don't really see DA as restrictive, but maybe that's also in comparison with DA2, which was not only restrictive, but the art gave me constant deja-vu.

@Megano! I normally play a mage and have experimented with rogues, but I'm a sword-and-board defender in Skyrim just so that I can button mash without worrying about dying. I have killed a few followers though. (Even the ranged fighters are so fucking overeager.)

annev6

@Megano! The newest update for Skyrim actually made the combat a little more fun in that you now get fully animated slo-mo kill shots for every weapon/destruction spell. It looks neat, especially when you level up to the point that you can kill things in one shot. I will say the fighting can get repetitive at times though.

Danzig!

@annev6 Every Bioware game after Baldur's Gate 2 follows the same narrative structure, even as their actual gameplay diverges. If you liked the character arcs in KOTOR, Dragon Age and Mass Effect and Jade Empire are all variations on a theme.

annev6

@Summer Somewhere Have you ever played Knights of the Old Republic? I feel like it might be somewhere in the middle? Anyway, I loved it and suspect you might like it more? I'd really like to like DA after reading how much everyone loves it. I knew nothing about it going in. I'll have to give it another shot.

Megasus

@annev6 Is it still clunky as shit and sometimes unresponsive? Also I hate having to be in first person. Basically I want all my swordplay to play like Assassin's Creed 2.

lady_j

@Summer Somewhere Mostly I was going from what @annev6 said ("Does the gameplay get less restrictive as the game goes on?"). I didn't mind the gameplay at all, but compared to Skyrim where you can literally just wander around doing nothing for hours on end, I can see how DA seems a bit restrictive.

Scandyhoovian

@Summer Somewhere I was really disappointed in the DA2 levels. They seemed to really only design a handful of new things and then just cloned it everywhere, so no matter where you went it all sort of looked like the same place.

Megasus

@Scandyhoovian They literally did do that. Except sometimes you just went up backwards. Everyonnneeeee complained about it though, so they are not gonna make that mistake with 3.

annev6

@Megano! Mine sometimes crashes my 360 on the loading screen but I attribute that to my 360 being 5 years old (or 500 in computer years). Also I feel the same way about first person as until just recently it used to make me very dizzy. I know on the console game you can toggle to 3rd person, not sure about the PC. But yeah, I feel you. Assassin's Creed was AMAZING.

annev6

@Danzig! Holy crap, I LOVED Jade Empire. Weren't they going to make a sequel to that?? It was such a GORGEOUS game, I thought. You've convinced me to give DA another shot, I just needed to think of it in KOTOR and Jade Empire terms instead of Skyrim terms. Now it all makes sense!

Summer Somewhere

@lady_j I stopped playing Skyrim because I got tired of having to go home and do chores after every mission. If I wanted to do that I would not be on the video game machine.

RK Fire

@Summer Somewhere: on this note: I was really sad when I accidentally killed/lost Lydia.

TheUnchosenOne

@Megano! I was like 20 or so hours into the game before I realized that I wasn't going to the same beach and cave for all those missions.

Summer Somewhere

@RK Fire I got really sad when my dog got roasted by a dragon, but Lydia creeps me out (why are you in my bedroom, YOU HAVE YOUR OWN VERY EXPENSIVE BEDROOM). I travel with a dark elf rogue lady and I love her to bits but she keeps running between my blade and the enemy. And then I reset!

Megasus

@annev6 THIRD PERSON IS EVEN WORSE. It's not designed to be used in third person, so your character moves like a big square block. I HATE IT.

RK Fire

@Summer Somewhere: She is creepy and kind of annoying but a) aren't all followers and b) I find her weirdly endearing since you start off with her.

Honestly, I play a stealthy assassin/thief so followers generally cramp my style. Especially the ghost assassin follower you can get when doing the Dark Brotherhood quests. He and Shadowmere can pretty much aggro everyone in a dungeon!

Summer Somewhere

@RK Fire Well, she is sworn to carry your burden.

annev6

@RK Fire I dunno about you guys, but I get really emotionally invested in my horses. I won't even let Shadowmere near a battle because if he died I might fall apart.

Summer Somewhere

@annev6 Omgz I park my horses so far away and then have trouble finding them after the battle, just like with cars IRL.

Megasus

@annev6 I killed so many horses. But not Shadowmere, I will actually backtrack to save Shadowmere.

Danzig!

@annev6 There were all sorts of rumors about a Jade Empire sequel but it's been awhile and as far as I'm aware it was considered something of a financial failure for the company.

Bit of a caveat about Dragon Age, though - its combat sequences tend to be a lot longer and contain more variables to keep track of than KOTOR or Jade Empire. But the parceling of narrative info and the pace of character development is very similar.

Inkling

@annev6
I watched a friend play through the whole game (male), really liked it, and began my own game (female). I couldn't get into it, because the big difference between the genders is, as a female, you have an additional dialogue option that is sexist.
If someone is scared, you can be like, "I'm a woman and even I'm not scared!"
If someone is weak, you can be like "Even this girl is stronger than you!"
I played about 15 minutes of it, so I'm not sure if it improved, but it was just really weird how the woman had the option to (negatively) reference her gender all the time and the man did not reference his at all. It was really "man is default, woman is different and also insecure about it". Did that turn anyone else off?

RK Fire

@all: I love everyone's devotion to their horses.

annev6

@Inkcrafter I tend to just tap A until everyone shuts up and I can go kill something, so thankfully I've never noticed that. It does bother me when the guards are all like "A guard might get nervous at a woman approaching with a weapon drawn." I've decided I'm just going to level up crazy high and then kill all those guards.

Summer Somewhere

@annev6 They don't say that to the dudes?! ... Killing spree forthcoming.

Princess Slaya

I'll always be a Garrus-gal at heart, but Alistair definitely deserves love. I tried to crush out on the others, but Leliana was too corny, Morrigan too uninterested, and Zevran was cute but not "my mage's" type. Alistair and I remained as Grey Wardens, and Anora became queen, because I thought she'd be good at it. I didn't finish Awakenings. Then mage-Hawke met Fenris, and it was rivalmancelove all the way to the seige of Kirkwall.

As for Gameplay, DA Origins is a turn-based game at its core. Maybe you don't like controlling a party?

I also love the Bethesda games though, Oblivion was a little too much for me, though I love Skyrim and am playing fallout3 right now!

TheBourneApproximation

@Princess Slaya Heeh, that's exactly how all of my DA playthroughs have gone as well. Anora knows what she's doing! I have recently finished playing DA2 and can now appreciate the whole Fenris thing in all of its throwing-against-the-wall glory. Mmmm, rivalmance... Third article to complete the BioWare trifecta, plz?

angelan

@TheBourneApproximation I loved the mage-Hawke/Fenris rivalmance thing. I've always wanted to try a Templar-Hawke/Anders rivalmance as well, but I think it would probably End Badly, Like, Really Really Badly.

jrockford

I never got all the interest in Alistair.

But the first time I played the game through (of like 6 times, not including playing all the DLC's, expansions, sequels...) I was so into Morrigan. I'd never been so into a game character before. Even if she was a bit on the mean side. I kind of like women on the mean side. Also, if you go far enough, you can discover that she's got a good heart.

At any rate, the first time I played I totally blew it with her and was upset.

fondue with cheddar

My dog was named Dogspawn.

I was totally into Alistair but had trouble romancing him because he looks a hell of a lot like my brother. So I saved him until my third playthrough (with a mage, of course).

I bagged Leliana during my first playthrough. I liked her red hair and voice and badassness, but when she sang to me in camp it was totally awkward and not romantic at all.

I'm still disappointed I couldn't take a tumble with Oghren because he's so charming, but not as disappointed as I was in DA2 because VARRIC. The wit and the chest hair! He was so fuckable.

ANORA AND HER SHINY BOOB SYNDROME. That bugged the hell out of me.

Summer Somewhere

@jen325 Speaking of unrequited DA2 lust: Aveliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine <3 <3 <3 <3 :(

TheBourneApproximation

@jen325 Unfortunately, Varric is totally out of Hawke's league.

fondue with cheddar

@Summer Somewhere Oh, I loved Aveline! At first I was turned off by her apparent lawful-good-ness, but once I realized she was willing to bend the rules she became so much better.

I liked all the romance options except Anders. He seemed hot at first, but so whiny. And then when he...well I don't want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn't played. AND WHERE WAS SER POUNCE-A-LOT?

fondue with cheddar

@TheBourneApproximation You're probably right. He's clearly in little league. ;)

Summer Somewhere

@jen325 Anders is the worst activist ever. So disappointed in him. I would rather have had Ser Pounce-a-Lot in the party.

TheBourneApproximation

@Summer Somewhere SER-POUNCE-A-LOT FOR DRAGON AGE 3 COMPANION.

Megasus

@jen325 I have definitely said many times that it's kind of racist not to give the dwarves some sex! I overcompensated for it in Origins by having all my dwarf characters bang every single person possible.

silly*goose

@jen325 - Barkspawn forever. All four times I played, my mabari was named Barkspawn.

Summer Somewhere

@silly*goose My first dog was Snoop. My second dog was Biggie. I loved Biggie.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! It is racist! Little people need love, too.

fondue with cheddar

@silly*goose Barkspawn... nice. :) I played as Dogspawn the first time and Moo the second (named after my dog in a cat's body). I ran out of ideas after that, because I think my next one was named Doggydog or something like that.

angelan

I let Loghain live! It seemed like the right choice, on account that he could stab the archdemon instead of my mage, and I could tell Morrigan to go find her demon god baby somewhere else (if they ever make a DA3, I am positive she will have managed this, but hey, at least it's not my fault the world's ending!).

RK Fire

Can we also do a comment thread about crushes on characters in other video games? I spent a lot of time combing through possible husbands in Skyrim and ended up marrying my dark elf to this guy, who is both hot and you can't just stay in the inn that he will one day own if you don't feel like buying/cheating your way into a house.

fondue with cheddar

@RK Fire OH...nice choice! He is a hot one.

I actually haven't married in Skyrim yet even though I've been playing for quite a long time. But now I'm taking a break because I got pissed off at the Valthume claw door bug and I'm waiting for them to patch it. THEY'D BETTER PATCH IT.

Megasus

@RK Fire I married Vilkis. AND THEN BROKE THE GAME FOREVER. But the romances are lame in Skyrim. Plus you can't bang that Thieves Guild guy who sounds like Ser Jorah and always calls you "lass". FAIL SKYRIM.

RK Fire

@jen325: I just got back into Skyrim after being stifled by the Markarth/Forsworn quest bug. I HAD QUESTS TO TURN IN THERE, GAME!

@Megano!: Vilkas! Strong choice. I agree, romances are lame in Skyrim (I mean, you pretty much abandon them when playing) but I really enjoy the free gold.

Megasus

@RK Fire Yeah, having a portable shop is nice, but ultimately ends up being useless cuz like, you have to actually buy stuff there.

Roaring Girl

@Megano! I am here super late just to say that I totally married Farkas and broke the game--he just went and sat in my house and wanted to sell me things. Things I'm pretty sure I already owned... And also, holy cow did I want to marry Brynjolf. That not being an option was the biggest disappointment ever.

fondue with cheddar

@Roaring Girl Oh, hell yeah. Brynjolf is totally fuckable.

fondue with cheddar

@RK Fire Bugs where you get stuck in places are annoying, but gameplay bugs that prevent you from doing quests are the worst. If they don't patch the Valthume bug I won't be able to get all the words of power! THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

RK Fire

@Megano!: Nah! He still makes a 100 gold/day regardless of whether or not you shop there. BONUS.

@jen325: I was working on doing radiant Thieves Guild quests in each city and I was totally stifled in Markarth for a while. I was so, so annoyed.

Megasus

@jen325 You know no women were involved in the making of this game due to that little oversight.

Megasus

@RK Fire Have they fixed the Windhelm house quest yet? It sounds like a really cool quest, and I basically did half of it anyway by breaking into the house, but it not working definitely contributed to me getting bored with the game.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! What was the problem with that quest? I remember there being something tricky about it but I was able to complete it.

Megasus

@jen325 You just...can't start it. Like, everybody is all like "MURDERER" but it doesn't start up.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! That sucks. I had trouble starting it too, but I think it was just because I was missing something. Like I needed to talk to someone that the quest marker didn't point to? I forget. It is a neat quest but really, you're not missing much.

I don't even use that house because I have such a hard time getting anywhere in Windhelm. It's the most confusing of the holds to navigate.

Megasus

@jen325 This is true! BUT I WANT ALL THE HOUSES. I looked it up though, it is not just broken for me. I did all the stuff it says you're supposed to do to trigger it, it just never triggers.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Oh, I'm sure you're right, as I did hear about a bug with that quest. I just couldn't remember if the trouble I had with it was the bug or not. I want all the houses too, so I totally understand your frustration. I really hope they patch it!

Also, have you been to Valthume yet? Because if you haven't, DO NOT ENTER VALTHUME until they fix it. Like, don't even enter the building. Discover it so it shows up on your map and just WALK AWAY.

WE WANT ALL THE THINGS.

Megasus

@jen325 I think I did do it, and it worked fine?

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Good! It works fine for some people. When you initially enter the building and the layout loads, there's a chance that the puzzle door at the end becomes inaccessible but it doesn't always happen. The only way to fix it is to load a previous save from before you entered and start over. I'd be okay with clearing the whole dungeon a second time if I knew for a fact that I'd be able to get through the door, but there's no way of knowing if it's bugged until you get all the way to the end.

antarcticastartshere

I haven't played Dragon Age in SO LONG (after playing it 5 times in a row) I can barely remember, but I definitely made Morrigan get her demonbaby from Loghain once and it was pretty gross. I think I also had him kill the archdemon for me in one playthrough? I knew he was useful for something.

Megasus

@antarcticastartshere UGH UGH UGH SCOURING MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW

Summer Somewhere

@antarcticastartshere Loghain + Morrigan = double demon baby.

antarcticastartshere

@Megano! Yeah, I guess that's the punishment for what was otherwise a GENIUS PLAN.

Megasus

@antarcticastartshere But then Loghain is hailed as a hero again, and Alistair is a drunk (albeit a very amusing one, you get to see him in 2).

antarcticastartshere

@Megano! Alistair being a drunk just cancelled that first part out for me.

fondue with cheddar

@antarcticastartshere I was SO SAD to see Alistair as a drunk. I wanted to hug him.

Megasus

@jen325 I still laugh about all the taint jokes though.

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Oh yeah, the taint jokes are the best.

celeec4@twitter

OHMYGOD, yesss, Alistair~! I wasted SO MUCH time setting up my female mage with this dude, and cheerfully cackled when he was all, so uh, you and Leliana would be hot, buuuuut, me? only? And them went "awwww..."

I went for the m'fing tragic end, ya'll. Because at heart, I'm still the 13-year-old that thought like, The Last Herald-Mage Trilogy was The Best Ever, OMGWHAT.

antarcticastartshere

All this talk about banging video game characters, I have to ask...does anyone want to talk about The Witcher with me?

Megasus

@antarcticastartshere I really want to play this but my computer cannot handle it and I don't have an Xbox. But I literally made a joke about how it's called "The Witcher" because dude bangs witches, and then it turned out to be true? I'm still not sure if I think that is delightful or not.

antarcticastartshere

@Megano! I dunno, it is technically kind of awful, I guess. BUT I DON'T KNOW I LOVE IT. Also every other aspect of the game is awesome.

GIVE ME A REPETITIVE TASK TO DO AND I WILL DO IT 1000 TIMES, EVEN/ESPECIALLY IF IT IS BANGIN' LADIES.
--Me, and every other gamer

Megasus

@antarcticastartshere That kind of sounds like my cup of tea. Although I pretty much only want to be doing repetitive tasks if it is banging ladies (or dudes. or nongendered aliens).

Betsy Murgatroyd

Steve Valentine isn't unattractive. But I can understand if you don't want to spoil the magic of Alistair.

Mildred

@Betsy Murgatroyd Nah but he has a different...aesthetic about him I guess? Alistair is such a bro.

Sierrararar

I love you, the Hairpin - the articles are always great and the community is so friendly (almost devoid of trolls!!). I wish I checked often enough so I could get to know you all better :)

fondue with cheddar

@Sierrararar Trolls, no.

Ogres, yes.

Bambi

Dammit. I didn't bang Alistair and now I have to figure out if I can play the game (again) and set it up. I did have a threesome (Isabella & Fenris) and I pretty much banged anyone I ran into that I could (my husband called me slut bunny...still does, actually). I've just started Mass Effect 2 and I don't think I'll follow any romance parts for my character. Hmmm...maybe I should rethink that.

But Alistair. Witty, warm, fabulous...I should've deflowered him. And Joss Whedon + Bioware would probably blow my mind and I would never recover.

notfromvenus

Aww, I liked Alistair, but I totally went with Leilana instead.

Also, yeah, I let Loghain live, and had Alistair and Anora get married and rule together. And nooooo demon baby because WTF.

Adam564

Yeah me too, Alistar is one of my best video game characters in gaming world.
Good and funny topic, keep it up! ps4jbreak com

Regards and have a great day,
Adam

Roaring Girl

For video game crushes with good-looking voice actors, may I humbly suggest Balthier? Because Gideon Emery is a doll. Basch, too--Keith Ferguson is kind of adorable, only realizing that he was Bloo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends makes it a little weird.

damselfish

@Roaring Girl WAIT WHAT HE WAS BLOO!?

And TBH I kind of had a crush on Fran and her sexy Icelandic accent. I could watch a game that's Balthier and Fran trading repartee.

Roaring Girl

@damselfish I am maybe a bad person, because I used Fran as my party leader ALL THE TIME so I could watch her run.

creaves@twitter

Yesss! I'm playing DA:O right now and Alistair is just the best.

fondue with cheddar

OMG YOU GUYS

Megasus

@jen325 AHHH THAT IS OFFICIAL ART!?

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! I don't know! He is a lot hairier than his in-game character. He's really come out of his shell since then, hasn't he? RRROWR

Megasus

@jen325 I-is he wearing a kimano? (I realize kimono is technically ungendered, I just really like saying kimano)

fondue with cheddar

@Megano! Kimono? More like a kimo-YES!

Actually, it looks like a Hawaiian-style shirt to me.

Mildred

@jen325 NOPE

HMSBeagle

Oh yes. Allister. DragonAge:Origins was such a good game. I hope they pull their shit together for DragonAge 3, because #2 was released too soon.

I was disappointed that you couldn't seduce all the companions. Definitely some ageism/dwarf-ism going on there.

Mildred

I enjoyed all of Alistair's witticisms throughout the game. Once, my character died because I got so distracted by him saying "must...bite...ankles" as he was passing out

Was anyone else kind of disappointed you couldn't flirt with Sten? Like an option to ply him with Chips Ahoy or something? I mean yes he blacked out and slaughtered all those farmhands but he was really good with the dog, you guys (mine was named Stuart).

Megasus

@Mildred But apparently his wanger can like, tear you apart? (Spend some time with him and Morrigan, it all comes out)

fondue with cheddar

@Mildred "Must bite ankles" killed me! Though figuratively, not literally in your case.

@Megano! Oh, you know she wants Qunari wang. I'll bet she likes it rough.

Dandyliongirl

I watched one of my friends play through half of Dragon Age and ended up with such a huge embarrassing crush on Alistair that when I played it myself I did so with the help of a walkthrough so that I could woo him properly. I'm not ashamed.

blunderbussed@twitter

I am still so mad I couldn't romance Varric in DA2, because he was completely delightful.

janinedm

I am very late to this game but there's no way I was picking Anora to be queen. It's obvious that the game wants you to think that her experience matters to her benefit, but all her experience got her was widespread poverty and inequality, a nation under-prepared to fight the Darkspawn, and imprisoned by the military. If she was so great (and she repeatedly said she was doing the real ruling over the past 5 years) why was everything in chaos?

sidhe

In a world that creates RPG's to market them to men (who mostly just want to shoot things) Alistair stands out as a shining beacon of what is POSSIBLE if only more women get involved in the writing, execution (and playing) of these games.
People being people we all play for different reasons but I am guessing the female player is usually mostly interested in the romance. And the games have a very long way to go before they are even approaching equal in that department. (Check out the male/female romance option ratio in Mass Effect for instance.) The romance options are what usually count the most for a female player and yet we have all female alien races. (Where are the all male ones?)

Alistair, it seemed to me started out so wonderfully I thought only a woman could be writing his lines and then halfway through the game it seemed some man took over and decided to ruin him for us. I still wonder about that.
That whole demon baby thing illustrates my point.

Still, for a while there he could really put you on cloud nine. Garrus is really the only one who can approach him. Kaiden Alenko was not present enough to carry the banner although his voice acting was very sexy and the recording of the email that the actor very kindly made and released.. (You can find it on YouTube) of a message that he sends Femship is heart melting. He was terribly under- utilized.. (I assume to make room for yet one more love interest in the game for the guys. :-(

Anyway, I have to stand up for us Human Nobles. I had the good luck of playing one the first time. I made him king and my reasons were this.. Anora may be more capable of ruling but she is ultimately ruthless and heartless. I felt Ferelden was better served by a King with compassion teamed with a Queen who could make the hard decisions. If I had been given the option of another candidate that I thought had any soul at all I would have let poor Alistair off the hook. As it was, I felt the least he could do was face his birthright and "King up." He managed wonderfully.

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RedQueen001

I just found this site and it seems fun, so I went ahead and joined. :)

Since I loved Mass Effect so much I picked the some of the names from it where I could. My warden is named after Shepard, of course (Her name was Ava btw). I also named my dog Legion after my favorite synthetic, lol.

I wasn't sure who my character would romance, but I gravitated toward Alistair because it was funny making him blush over the things you can say to him. I didn't make him King in my first playthrough because he didn't want to be King, at least in that version of the game. I ultimately decided to do the ritual because I didn't want the main hero or Alistair to die. With everything that had been said in the game, I assumed they would and that there was no way around it. It seems like whenever there is a ritual in this game that it won't be pleasant and you made need therapy afterwards, lol.

I'm playing as a female human noble because mages can't marry Kings apparently. I wish they could because I loved being a mage. Even though some didn't like their origin story, I thought it was interesting. I figured since I played a biotic in Mass Effect it was practically the same thing as well.

I overall enjoyed the game and can't wait to finish the second one (I guess the third one will be out by the time I'm done with DA2).

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