Note: This is obviously going to be spoiler-filled for the path I took for the game. I’d still say read it and don’t make the same mistakes as me, but read at your own risk.
Or better called–an ode to why I can’t ever play games with effective choices correctly.
I’ve played through my origin story and have officially joined the Grey Wardens and already feel like I single-handedly ruined the lives of everyone I’ve encountered. Whether my outcomes were unavoidable, I still feel guilty because of the choice mechanics.
I grew up in the land of linearity. I read everything in sight, overly-invested myself in TV shows, and watched the same movies over and over again. Even when I ventured out and read choose-your-own-adventure-style books, I would try to read every possible path and outcome, never committing to a choice. So here I want to save before every conversation and area transition in case I make the wrong dialogue choice.
Speaking of which, so many times I say something, and it comes out all wrong. I am a naturally sarcastic person. I say mean things, but it is always a joke in tonality. Every now and then I would pick a mean comment that was funny. I told one of the other Grey Warden recruits that it stunk to be stuck with them, and he took major offense and wouldn’t stop referencing it anytime I tried to say something nice. I hate there aren’t any choices that sound like me; all are two extremes–brown noser and sociopath. I feel embarrassed when sucking up and guilty when being rude.
I replayed an entire section because I did not choose the right answer to keep a girl from having to go to a labor camp with sexually-frustrated soldiers. But in that process I went from easily acquiring money as a gift for my upcoming arranged marriage in one conversation to horribly offending the same guests and getting nothing. Then I realized something cool might have happened if I had this money because I could give a coin to a homeless man and then who knows what would have happened!
These are the things that keep me awake at night.
And how I caused my cousin’s execution by accidental choice. That one stings a little too.
I’m playing as a female city elf who was placed into an arranged marriage on the same day as Soltris, my cousin. The arl’s son Vaughan crashes the wedding and kidnaps all the lady folk. Luckily my cousin finds us and together we fight our way through the castle. After finding Vaughan and refusing to take his bribe and leave, we are forced to kill him.
Once escaping, the guards come down and ask who is responsible for the massacre in the castle. I keep silent, hoping they would go away and then the village girl who was jealous of my marriage match rats us out. I get conscripted to the Grey Wardens, and my cousin gets taken for execution. If only I’d known not taking credit for my crimes would have consequences…
I’m also playing as a rogue because I wanted a challenge. Too often in RPGs, I play as a mage so that I can spam spells and set everyone on fire. Easy peasy. Rogues are typically thieves, archers, and assassins. I wanted to try playing more strategically, but I didn’t realize strategy was already forced down my throat. I knew the game had party members, but I didn’t realize I had control over them all. Of course I haven’t gotten to experiment too much because fighting with me is a kiss of death.
Now to keep going on with my most ambitious series yet. Let’s hope I don’t pull all of my hair out by the end.