Thursday, 5 August 2010

Dragon Age Romance

So it probably won't surprise readers that I'm pursuing Leliana as a romance. It may surprise you more to know that she's not who I actually want to be romancing, even though I think our characters are cute together.

I would rather be pursuing Alistair. (PLEASE NO SPOILERS) I'm not doing that because I screwed it up with him early on and decided to play the ball where it lay rather than try to fix that. But I feel much more connected to him as a character, partly because his story is actually woven into the game (and therefore into my own PC's story). You can't avoid having him around at least a bit and sharing certain experiences with him, and a big chunk of his story is likely to come out naturally while you're going about your business. His backstory involves people you will be interacting with as part of the main plot. It all feels connected. You have opinions on these players other than just what he's told you, and other people have their own opinions about him.

Leliana... I'm fairly sure she's a completely optional character and you can go the whole game without even meeting her. Learning anything about her requires KNOWING that the game has romance mechanics and then intentionally bombarding her with gifts and questions, until eventually you meet some people from "her past" that only show up if you're pursuing this, and then immediately vanish to never be seen again. Her story is not, so far, important to ANYTHING. It's hard to have much of an opinion about her, because she never really does anything other than a bit of chatter about religion, clothing, or generally supporting good. It doesn't look likely that the plot is going to move to a location where her past would be relevant, either. She certainly has potential to be a full character... if we were going to Orlais. But I don't think we are. I'm pursuing her in order to have a romance, not because I'm actually interested in her as a person.

Maybe I should have just dug in and gone questing for stupid trinkets to make Alistair forget the thing I did (A mechanic which sounds dumber the more you think about it).


Anonymous said...

Actually, all of the characters are optional save Morrigan and Alistair (and you can get rid of them later on, if you choose).

My first playthrough (Human Male Noble Fighter), I had no idea what I was doing. I had planned on romancing Morrigan, because...well, she's voiced by Claudia Black. I mean, come on!

But as I played through it, Morrigan kept getting on my nerves. She bitched about everything. Instead, I found myself growing to like Leliana more and more. I actually found the relationship with her to be very touching, especially when it reached the highpoint (Approval 100). It was very sweet, and to this day, Leliana is my favorite romance option.

Whiner said...

Zevran turned up on his own; I didn't have to take him into the party but I don't think I could avoid meeting him? Wynne as well, you're pretty much guaranteed to bump into. (And Wynne might qualify as a backstory that's worked into the game, but she's not a romance option, and by the time I encountered her I was pretty set on my "standard party" so I've only used her for the Tower.)

I comment on Leliana's optionalness specifically because some walkthrough/sites mention that you can miss her intro easily if you're not poking around in Lothering enough and then you never get the chance to go back so she's lost forever. (Rather like the dog, which I missed out on because I didn't realise I needed to finish that quest RIGHT AWAY.)

She's a nice girl and I can see a meaningful story being written between her and my character concept... it's just not going to be this game. (I'm sure her intrigue skills would be helpful in leading the multiple rebellions my hero-of-the-downtrodden City Elf would like to!)

I didn't realise at first that Morrigan was straight-only so I had vague ideas of romancing her when I first met her, but the complaining and the evil tendencies soon turned me off that plan (sadly a bit too late... I think I did some dumb things trying to get her approval and that helped cause my Alistair problem).

Anonymous said...

Oh, I see what you mean. Then in that case, yes, you can totally miss Leliana, Sten, and Dog. I was lucky and got them all in my first playthrough (although if you play Noble origin, you get the Dog right away), but my roommate completely missed Sten her first time.

Zevran, Wynne, and Oghren you have to meet, but don't have to recruit--and you can even kill the first two.

Shale is totally optional, too, especially if you don't have the DLC.

You have to recruit Morrigan, but you can tell her to get lost in camp, if you want. (You can do this with every character, save Dog and Alistair). You also have to recruit Alistair, but there is a single action you can take in the game toward the end that will make him quit the party forever. I don't want to spoil, though. You do get another character to replace him with, though.

I found the best way to earn Morrigan's approval without being 'kick-the-dog' evil is to leave her at camp or bribe her with gifts. Morrigan loves jewelry, and I think she has more gifts in the game than any other character. So despite my LG Paladin style character, I still had her at 100 Approval by the end of the game.

Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I'm a random commenter, and I just saw that you have a couple of Dragon Age posts, which I basically fangirl over, right after my beloved otome games, so, uh.

Actually, truth to be told, I was a bit turned off by Leliana, because of her religiousness. Most of the time (=always) I just left her at the camp and ignored her. Especially, since, as far as I remember, she's a bard which I wanted to be, and I was too lazy to pursue her to teach me, so I just bought the book instead.

Whiner said...

Hello! Yes, I'm still in the slightly obsessive stage, although feeding most of my curiosity by just watching bits on youtube rather than playing it again. :)

I don't mind Leli's religion because she's devout without being a zealot, which is nice. She *has* faith and it's clearly important to her, but she's not a huge bitch about it, she accepts that the church structure can be confining and sometimes wrong, and she's willing to listen to other people's perspectives. It's nice to have a religious character who's actually NICE. (And also gay!)

Of course if you follow her plot enough she's not entirely sure how religious she is or should be, and how much she's just hiding from her past.

All the more reason I think the thing I suggested in the other post regarding her in the main plot SHOULD actually happen. Would be a reasonable surprise for players who'd just left her stuck in camp and never spoken to her. :)