Is the combat system in Dragon Age: Origins bad, or am I just bad?
Rhetorical question in case that wasn’t clear.
Honestly I know I’m bad. Besides making sure all of my party members use the Cautious tactic, and making them all fight as Archers, I don’t know how to keep them alive. I finished playing through the sidequest of “The Urn of Sacred Ashes,” and, in a fit of pure frustration, played half of it on Casual mode. Worse—I still died repeatedly. I went in and read the descriptions for the different modes and found out what might be my problem. This is what I found:
- Casual difficulty is best suited to players who are new to role-playing games or expect to play combat in real-time, rather than pausing often to plan tactics.
I’m used to the blurb for Casual, or Easy, modes basically saying it is meant for people who new to games in general. I went into this game feeling I was prepared for the genre, and that has turned out to be far from the truth. For all of this time, I have not really thought about how this game’s combat is not in real time. Out of habit, I even furiously right-click to attack even though it has zero effect. It is so unlike anything I have ever played before, and the game does not do much in terms of teaching you how to take advantage of the fighting style. I do not get how to utilize the Combat Tactics slots or any customization. I only trust my party members if I am the one controlling them. Otherwise they run off into battle and don’t bother to protect or heal themselves.
The fighting has so much to do with positioning, and that is not my forte. I don’t know if you would consider it an RTS-style of battle, but the fact is resembles it in any way might be my problem. I have played my fair share of turn-based strategy and real-time tower defense games but none from the RTS genre. At least now I understand why this game has a Pause option outside of pulling up one of the ten or so possible menus; you can dish out commands while paused, something I never thought to do until it popped up as advice on a load screen.
Sidenote: this game’s load screens are the most helpful I have ever encountered. Sometimes it is a bit of repetition about the same piece of lore, but often it mentions small tidbits that passed me by. For example, I either was never told or forgot (my money’s on forgot) that I could equip two different weapons for each character; it suggests one melee weapon and one ranged. I was practically rolling around on the ground in excitement for the space this cleared in my inventory. Another time I saw how I can adjust the game’s difficulty temporarily which–in case you couldn’t tell—has saved me quite a few times now.
But no matter the convenience, I hate the feeling playing on Easy. After each battle I beat this way, I go and create a new save file, hoping I will eventually go back and beat it on Normal for the sake of my conscience and my ego. Hence my desire for research and improvement considering how much more of this game I have left to go. I already picked up on obsessively saving through trial and error, but that is not working for how to be a good fighter.
Mainly, I need to look into:
- Combat Tactics
- Customizable styles
- Automated Healing
I will look into this and let you know what I find tomorrow. Stay tuned.
P.S. I am participating in Blogging 101 and am psychic. I would love to rewrite a post I have already done stating what my blog is about, but, well, I’m lazy. You can find my already-existing post that fits the prompt here. I hope to meet lots of you through this!