Dragon Age: Political Simulator?

Of course the BioWare hit is not a political simulator per se, but the game’s myriad of races do serve up one political situation after another, which an article in the Examiner explores.

 The author calls Dragon Age “rife” with politics:

The dwarfs bicker with each other about who should be the next king, conducting back room deals with you to advance their cause; Zevran – an assassin who attempts to kill you – tries to smooth talk his way into your good graces, convincingly arguing how he could advance and aid your cause; and Loghain betrays his king and, yet, you still have to convince the nobles to rally to your cause and not side with Loghain.

Given the success of the title and this country’s (growing) general distaste of politics, the author wonders why gamers put up with politics inside the game:

Partly, we put up with the politics in Dragon Age, because we enjoy the story. We deal with, suffer through, tolerate the politics because they help move the story along and we actually like them in the context of the story.

Oh yeah, there’s also the fun aspect:

Almost every dialog in Dragon Age will eventually give you an option to just kill them all. Ahhh. How satisfying. No pressing of the flesh. No back room deals. Just action.

There’s never a political situation in Dragon Age that can’t be solved with the point of a sword.

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  1. 0
    Talouin says:

    If you didn’t abbreviate the game titles I might have some possibility of considering your opinion to be valid.  Also, the 90s are approximately 10 years ago and classify as a long time ago.  Please read before responding and try to keep some form of clarity in your posts.

  2. 0
    Alyric says:

    Exactly.  There are no new stories, only old ones re-told in new ways.

    Clearly, some people didn’t enjoy the way Dragon Age told its story.  Which is fine – show me a game that everyone likes.  Personally, I loved Dragon Age. I won’t say it’s my favorite game – it’s not – or even my favorite swords-and-sorcery fantasy game (Betrayal at Krondor holds that honor), but not every game I play has to be the "best ever" for me to find reasons to enjoy the ride.

    Does Dragon Age have flaws? Yup, absolutely. Both in gameplay and story. It’s still worth a playthrough, though – and if you’re like me, probably more than one.

  3. 0
    TaoJeannes says:

    Exactly. What people don’t seem to get is that Dragon Age is the spiritual successor to the D&D franchise. Complaining about how derivative and cliche’ it is is like complaining about how the Star Trek movie was just the same old schlock about the Federation and conflicts in space with injections of nonsensical so-called technobabble. There are other reasons to not like the movie, but being too much like Star Trek isn’t one of them.

    Likewise, the D&D-inspired medieval fantasy may be over done, BUT THAT’S WHAT DRAGON AGE IS. The fact that they manage to put even a few clever spins on things (like how they deal with mages) is an accomplishment in itself.

  4. 0
    Positive_Gamer says:

    To the comments about it being cookie-cutter:

    Betrayal, Love, Deceit, War, Hate, Good, Evil:  It’s all been done before.  Stop making TV shows, Movies, Books, Music, and Games because this stuff is nothing new.

    But seriously, as long as enough people like the medieval setting with elves and dwarfs and the like, they will keep being made.  Just like all sci-fi is basically the same and all horror films/books are basically the same.  Except, like with Dragon Age, they are not all the same.  That’s why people prefer Star Wars over Star Trek and why people prefer Stephen King to Clive Barker.  Because deep down, they are nowhere near the same.

  5. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    …rriiigghhttt….BG,FO and arcanum(mid to late 90s western rpgs) has alot more detial in thier storys…… DA is much more a sound bite of a game……. not that thats bad…its jsut refiend and simplifed…..

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  6. 0
    Talouin says:

     Though the real world connections are tenuous at best, Dragon Age remains one of the best medieval setting RPG games I have played in a long time.  For those that are going "waaaaaaaaaah cookie cutter", obviously RPG games are not for you.  Get over yourselves.

    The amount of detail packed into this game, from the conversations the party has with each other in the background to the genuine feeling of some of the story I fully recommend this game.  I can honestly say that if you stopped to listen to the NPC talking about the Broodmother before engaging it, you would find it all the more revolting.  The downtrodden atmosphere of the Dwarf Commoner intro was also done very well.

  7. 0
    Valdearg says:

    As far as that line, it’s barely a spoiler. Loghain’s betrayal takes place almost immediately after you get out of your origin story. It’s like one of the first Plot points in the game.

  8. 0
    Valdearg says:

    Now that was a spoiler. Lol. I only know of this because at one point, I was looking for pointers on a fight, and noticed his name in the "Companions" section. I was like WTF?!?

  9. 0
    Positive_Gamer says:

    "and Loghain betrays his king and, yet, you still have to convince the nobles to rally to your cause and not side with Loghain."

    Definitely a spoiler.

  10. 0
    Pinworm says:

     There were no spoilers here. Saying there’s political conflict is about as much of a spoiler as saying mages use magic.

    If you meant "you can solve situations diplomatically, or with swords or other means".. again, not a spoiler.. that’s the point of the game

  11. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I dunno there was a diffrance in the good/bad scripts its jsut the writing seemed to not be up to snuff alot of the sentances ended mid sentance…it was odd….

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  12. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    pretty much.

    I think Biowares worst though is ME, i swear to god half the time, either what he said was NOTHING like what i chose and expected, or their was literally NO difference between the upper left (usually good) option and the lower right (usually bad/renegade option).

  13. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    I pretty much agree from BG to kotor to me to DA what do we have in the way of improvement? Piffery dialog? Sentences that don’t end mid sentence? Hidden alinement..er alignment  bar I mean  thats all I can think of.

    I keep thinking a modern dialog tree should lead you in 4 or 6 concert directions, Righteously good,good,ok, jerk/bad ass,evil and "I eat babies,kittens and puppies for breakfast."(this plus person to person,region and world wide karma bars will tell others and the world how to pecive you)

     But so far you get 2 or 5 lip service lines that kinda circle jerk then end up with 2 outcomes, its kinda silly…its like they think no one is paying attention……

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  14. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    I’m not against the choice function found in most western rpg’s, i’m against poorly done one’s. Maybe it’s the whole first kiss judged against the rest (even though it wasn’t my first choice based rpg) but after the Witcher, this just seems to black and white, it’s too easy to see it all in good, indifferent, or plain old jackass.

    I do commend Bioware for taking out the arbitrary morale meter, which allows you to switch it up instead of constantly going straight for the good/evil to maximise whatever bonuses it gives you.

  15. 0
    Valdearg says:

    The game IS slightly formulaic in regard to it’s main questline, but so far, each quest line has had it’s own twists and moral decisions. I especially like the moral questions. Do we trust what we’re being told by someone who should be on our side? Do they have a hidden agenda? Should we proceed on our quest without actually questioning our motives?

    Those are the kinds of choices we need more of in video games.

  16. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    At least DA lets you manage them better but the scripting for tactics is a bit messy, one problem I ahve found is it HATES you messing with it either tactics on and do not touch it,set to basic things like heal/spam a talent or off.


    if FF12 let you manage a party like it or dungeon seige1(best party based Crpg EVER) I would ahve givein it more time but between the bland equipment and broken skill system it put me to sleep 0-o

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  17. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    i don’t let the balance ruin the game, like i said, the story strikes me as boring, that in addition to the combat turns me off it.

    Now i’m not saying it’s a bad game, it has it’s moments (allister and Morrigan interactions are pure gold most of the time). It’s just that it seems like bioware kind of phoned it in. Could just be i’ve lost interest in Bioware games in general since a lot of times they are scarily similar in some respects.

  18. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    definitely, while i was never sure if this was a good or bad thing, i know for sure i could leave in the middle of some basic monster fight to the bathroom and be okay if i set up the gambits diligently.

    DA? i don’t even bother giving them a health poultice tactic, i just micro-manage it all myself for fear of them not doing it.

  19. 0
    Valdearg says:

    I’m just sick of people saying "This game is too cookie cutter" or "It’s too similar to x Game" when, in fact, the only thing that’s similar is that it’s a Medieval Fantasy Game. There is a difference between building on a basic idea, such as the Fantasy Roleplaying Setting, and straight up copying.

    There’s only so many major changes to that basic forumula you can do before it ceases to be a Fantasy Roleplaying Game, and begins to work it’s way into either the unbelievable or just plain campy. A game can set itself apart from others in the details and the fine polishing. Just because two games have swords, magic, and orcs doesn’t mean that game A copied from game B or vice versa. Two games can have similar basic settings, and the details will set them apart.

    It’s that whole "stolen from" mentality that pisses me off with webcomic fans too. People will see a fantasy webcomic with swords and magic and go "OMG, It’s clearly based off of WoW!!" It’s SO ANNOYING.

  20. 0
    Valdearg says:

    Ah, so your problem isn’t with the story so much as the balancing. I will admit, there are a few balancing issues.

    Frankly, if the game is too easy, turn the heat up a notch. Play it on a higher difficulty. If you already play on the highest, start to impose personal limits on yourself. Now, I’m not saying you should ever HAVE to do this to enjoy a game. Clearly, the game itself should have had better balancing, but don’t let the balancing prevent you from enjoying the game, you know?

  21. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    little details that set it apart are nice, but unfortuantely do not make up for the cut and paste overall story, and the, to be perfectly honest, broken to hell and back "omfg how did they not see this" combat system where practically every problem (yours or the enemies) is solved by a mage. Specifically having cone of cold, sleep or Crushing Prison equal easy street, not having them equal getting raped in the ass by bandits who outnumber you 5:1 in about 30 seconds on normal, there is literally NO middle ground in difficulty.

    Edit: i’d also like to know who made the decision to limit queing moves for your AI to only one move at a time. I’d much rather use the system like KOTOR than the tactics, which for some reason don’t always work as i’d like them to.

  22. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    Maybe you should try not acting like he’s supposed to kiss this games ass just because you like it.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  23. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    ….. I dunno I found most dialog options result in 2 predictable events either you make them love you or hate you…..


    The story itself is nice and as rich as a twitchy action rpg(or Crpg) can get, its not a bad game but liek FO3 there is alot of thigns over looked to get it out to start the DLC like you can only mod and poison melee weapons you get runes for a quater or less of the all the stats,element, effects in the game the talent trees could use work alor fo the spells need lvls….the talent/skills setup in KOTOR is a bit better……


    All in while it feels like a "pimply kids" version of Balduers gate its not bad enough to call annoying like FO3 or bioshock.

    Until lobbying is a hanging offense I choose anarchy! CP/IP laws should not effect the daily life of common people! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/

  24. 0
    Valdearg says:

    The world they created might be standard fare for fantasy worlds stylisicly speaking, but I, personally enjoy the details in the world. The interactions between the templars and the mages guild, for example. The fact that dwarves have become resistant to lyrium, therefore they’ve lost thier connection to the fade, and can’t dream is kind of a cool detail as well. Rather than focusing on everything that’s the same (OMG, lame! There are swords in this game! No creativity!!), maybe you should focus on the little nuances and details that set this story and world apart from the rest.

  25. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    Partly, we put up with the politics in Dragon Age, because we enjoy the story.

    Define "enjoy" because it seems so run of the mill western/tolkien fantasy i want to puke.

    The only similarity i can see is how it’s as predictable as hell, everyone’s gonna bitch, fight "every man for himself" style, and twist words as if we were all idiots who can’t see through half their bullshit.

    Honestly, hands up, who totally called the end of Ostagar? less suprising than the sun rise.

  26. 0
    Cerabret100 says:

    I’ve done most of the treaty plot quests except for the last half of the dwarven area (one for humans, dwarves, elves, and mages) and i can assure you the entire game is nothing but fantasy standard.

    I’ve heard the ending is AWESOME…but unfortunately hearing awesome is about 50-60 hours in the future isn’t exactly a great motivator.

    I’m having even trouble forcing myself to play the game.

  27. 0
    DarkSaber says:

    I’ve not played Dragon Age, but the descriptions of the Dwarves political state sound like what has basically been a fantasy standard for years.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  28. 0
    Valdearg says:

    Perhaps the gamers like the politics in Dragon Age because in it, we have control over the political situations. In real life, that kind of politicking goes on amongst our elected officials, and we just have to deal with it.

    In any case, the connection between the Dragon Age story and Real World Politics is tenuous, at best. To compare the two like they should be equally entertaining is a mistake.

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