ossobuco: Legion from Mass Effect 2 (lyna sun)
[personal profile] ossobuco

When we last left our heroes, we were desecrating graves and collecting armor in the Brecilian forest, when all of a sudden the game decided that none of us has had quite enough hearbreak and tragedy in our lives and revealed to us that Tamlen had become a darkspawn. ;____; On top of it all, Alistair's and my dreams confirm that the Blight is real, and that time is running short.

So, naturally, we continue to faff around in the Brecilian forest, to continue getting the pieces of this armor that we've been finding on the Revenants at all of these gravestones. We go back into the ruins, find a tablet that describes what we need to do with the altar and the spring, and break into a tomb where the rest of the armor is contained. There's an elvish ghost who yells at us a lot. IF ONLY I COULD UNDERSTAND YOU. Tangentially, the wiki is not as useful as I would have hoped for deconstructing the Elvish phrases in the game; it seems more like people's best guesses based on very, very flimsy assumptions about how the language works. Of course, because it's a constructed language and I don't know what the people who made it were thinking (mostly, what rules they were using about the phonetics and morphology and so on), I have no basis on which to say that I think these translations are crap. They could be right, for all I know. It's just that they seem to take too many liberties with how the individual units of meaning are constructed, but nobody wants to hear me rant about this, so I will move on.

Anyway, once that's done, back to camp. Alistair asks me if I'll miss the battles and tragedy and the brushes with death when this is all over. Hey, there will always be battles to fight, won't there? Well, yes, he says, but we might not always be fighting them together.

D: Alistair, stop it. He goes on to say that he cares a lot about me, and asks me if I might ever feel the same, and I (Tracy) am like... wait a minute, haven't we been over this? And then he kisses me, and afterward asks, hesitantly, “that wasn't too soon, was it?”

… um, I've kissed you like four times, now. Goddamnit, Bioware! This is a bug! My immersion just went POOF! I hope you know this!

I do my usual round of chatting with everybody in camp, giving gifts, et cetera. Wynne wants to talk about where I think things are going with Alistair, commenting on the “doe-eyed looks” he gives me when he thinks nobody is watching, and promptly crushes my tiny Elvish heart by lecturing me on our duties and responsibilities and that basically we'll only end up hurting each other because of them, and on many levels, Wynne, you are probably right. Our duties as Wardens (and—uff—Alistair's possible duties as king, Creators forbid) have to take precedence over our feelings for each other. What got me here was that the conversation options were pretty much divided between “no, I don't want to make that choice/I won't ever leave him” and “You're right, I should dump the bastard”, and TOTALLY LACKING what I should think would be an obvious choice for the kind of character who has gotten this far through these situations at all (and for anybody who knows Alistair and his sense of duty), which is, you know, if the time should come for either of us to make that choice, we both know what our duty is and we're aware of the possibility. I am pretty sure that if it should ever come down to a choice between his life (or his lover's life) and the greater good, Alistair would choose the greater good every time and we would both know that such a choice would be the correct one. He's not stupid and he's not a coward, and neither am I, thank you very much.

Maybe I'm reading too much into these characters and their relationship, but seriously, we are not idealistic starry-eyed teenagers. We know fully well what we've gotten ourselves into.

I also chat with Sten, who compliments me in an exceptionally roundabout way by telling me that I am not as callow as he thought I was. Uh, thanks. He also says that the only thing he likes about Ferelden is cookies. Well, I guess I can't blame him, because Ferelden's kind of crap right now, and cookies are pretty good.

Zevran tells me a bit about his mother, a Dalish elf who fell in love with a city elf and was forced into prostitution when he died. He goes on a bit about his childhood, and then tries to convince me that we're not all that different, because we've both experienced a lot of tragedy. Excuse me? My upbringing was fantastic, thank you very much, and also, fuck you, I'm Dalish.

(Lyna is, unfortunately, a terrible bigot when it comes to city elves. This is a shame because I think that she and Zevran could learn a lot from each other if she would let herself see him as somebody worthy of consideration. She has a tendency to assume, first, that his lack of morality and his lasciviousness are due to his being brought up in human civilization, and second, that because he is an elf, he could have chosen to be better. Obviously, both of these things are patently untrue (though his morality certainly has a good deal to do with the specific subset of humans with which he grew up, i.e. the most bloodthirsty group of assassins in the world), but Lyna is too much of a jerk to have thought about it.)

Anyway, uh, oh, yeah! Leliana's former mentor (who recently sent assassins after us, lovely), Marjolaine, is probably in Denerim. We should go check that out. So, we go, and we find her house, and we talk to her—which is pretty good, because she is fantastically paranoid and egotistical, thinking that Leliana has spent all of this time hatching some plot for revenge, and then trying to convince me that Leliana is just manipulating me—and then she leaves? And we loot her house? And that's it?

I was expecting a little more than that. Well, I could have attacked, or encouraged Leliana to attack, but it was the sort of situation where... I wasn't going to do something like that unless Leliana was clearly already wanting to kill her, and she seemed content to let her go with the promise that she wouldn't come back. So... okay. A bit anticlimactic, but okay.

When we go back to camp, I talk to Leliana a bit to see how she's doing. She is understandably worried that she might end up being a terrible person just like Marjolaine, and grapples with her purpose in life, her reasons for joining the Chantry (and then leaving to come with me), and so on. I tell her that she can choose who she is and what she does, and although she seems uncertain, we part for the time being.

The next time I talk to her, she starts asking me how Alistair is in bed.

Okay, hold on, wait, just a second, I haven't slept with him yet! And I don't even have a conversation option to say that I haven't slept with him yet. Damnit! Bioware! Why is my happy fun romance path full of bugs!? Like, seriously, I consider this a moderately serious bug because, one, again, my immersion has been vaporized, and two, this would have been a completely fantastic conversation if I could have only played it honestly. Arrrrghhhhh.

Well. Moving right along. Because I'm an addict and I will do lots of things to prolong this game, I finally put in this code that came with my disc for the Stone Prisoner DLC. To be brutally honest, I think if I had paid the $15 that it would have cost to buy, I would have been a little mad, because the adventure itself was just... dull. Shale, it seems, is awesome, but the quest to get him (her? it?) was so lackluster. Okay, we get the golem control rod from some guy, and we go to this village, and we beat down some darkspawn in a series of way-too-easy battles, and the golem's creator's son tells us that his daughter is trapped in his father's laboratory, so we go and rescue her from a demon who has possessed a cat, which they could have done so much withbut all it was was one pretty easy mechanical puzzle and one even easier fight, and... now I have Shale.

Let me reiterate that I think Shale is great. I love the voice, I love the mannerisms, I love playing with the bound servant trope, and I really look forward to what this character will bring. But... I... why did the adventure to get him have to be so short and dull? It seriously took me about twenty minutes, and that includes quitting and going back to an earlier save because I made a stupid choice with the cat-demon. I dunno. I feel a vast amount of unused potential.

One part that I am torn about is the golem calling me “it”. I like it. I like the notion that Shale, after having spent so long being treated like an object, would choose to do the same to others. However... I cannot shake the feeling that this choice came first because they didn't want to bother with the extra work of implementing the two possible genders of PCs, and second as a character choice.

But maybe I'm being too hard on Bioware for this. I don't know. Maybe playing Return to Ostagar first has made it impossible for me to like any other DLC ever, because it was so awesome.

Maybe I am just a merciless fucking snob.

More than likely it's a little of both. But anyway, getting on with our lives. At some point or another, we go to Soldier's Peak again to chat with Levi Dryden and leave some stuff in our shiny new party storage chest. Hey, now those five million pieces of unique armor that are too heavy for us to wear yet can hang out somewhere safe, and I'll have more room for stuff. Go back to camp, chat up people as usual.

I go and talk with Leliana, and then, ah, suddenly, she is in love with me, and we are in a relationship—gah! No, I thought we'd been over this! Our relationship was “friendly”! As in, as opposed to “adores”, which is what Alistair's and my relationship is, and it's the same number! What is going on? Why, Leliana, are you full of bugs? And I go to talk to Alistair next, and he's all sad and nervous about it, and noooo. What is wrooong. I reload an earlier save because this is not right at all, and I guess... I will just, like, not talk to Leliana again, ever? I don't know what's going on. D: Goddamnit, Bioware. D:

That's where I leave off.

Man, all I have done is complain, and that is kind of upsetting. I don't want it to seem like I suddenly hate this game, because I don't. I still adore it and probably always will. The thing about testing games for a living is that it's pretty much done two things: one, I have a tendency to break games down into nothing but their bugs when I play them, and two, I have a pretty good amount of forgiveness for the fact that the bugs exist (even if they really fuck with my game experience) because I know that testers aren't perfect, and I also know that even the very best team of supergenius testers can report every goddamn bug and the developers may still not fix a lot of them, due to time constraints, budget constraints, who knows what. This is a cliched expression, but watching games be made is an awful lot like watching sausage be made, in that once you've watched it happen a couple times, you look at ordinary old sausage at the grocery store, and you start to be able to identify all of the ingredients and the processes that went into it. I guess the metaphor starts to break down there because with games, you start to realize the reasons that they are full of gunk and you forgive them a little, whereas with sausage, you might just never want to eat sausage again.

What I'm trying to say is that I criticize out of love. It's in my nature. I'm a snob—a terrible, ruthless, know-it-all snob—and I know that very well. I'm that way about everything that I like, from food to games to photography to writing to plenty of the things that I fill my time with, and I would not complain about a thing's flaws if I were not ultimately invested in its success.

Can we still be friends, Dragon Age? <3 Good.

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