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Gaming Boards => RPG Games => Dragon Age Series => Topic started by: Starfox on February 22, 2011, 01:17:05 PM

Title: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 22, 2011, 01:17:05 PM
True to their words Bioware released today the demo of Dragon Age II

Available from the official site (http://dragonage.bioware.com/da2/demo/) (1.9 GB -- why am I not surprised?)
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: bobdog on February 22, 2011, 03:02:12 PM
And ... if they get 1 Million downloads of the demo, they'll release two new items to the community:

The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall - Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems describes her dreams of a new start in Kirkwall, the city across the sea. Readers will surely be enriched by her insights. (Gives money when read.)

Lothering's Lament - Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems contains touching reminiscences of all she had to leave behind. Readers will surely benefit from her experience. (Gives XP boost when read.)


Nice viral means of ensuring their stuff gets played.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 22, 2011, 06:14:58 PM
Well a few points (but we'll need the final release to confirm these)

- Combat dynamic has been increased (especially for mages)
- Combat difficulty was decreased (at least apparently or maybe it's just because I played DA:O too many times)
- In the demo you can't switch to high quality graphics if you don't have Vista with DX11 installed  or Windows 7 (which comes with DX11 included) and a graphic card DX10 compatible (but despite meeting those conditions I couldn't switch to high anyway, clicking on high was producing no result). Additionally for very high quality graphics you not only need DX11 but a DX11 capable graphic card. No way to be sure if those restrictions will be in the final release but in the demo XP users are definitely stuck with Medium quality as they can't install DX11 anyway. (Silver is pissed -- He didn't tell me but I can hear him swearing from 8,000 miles away  :lol: )
- All the customization features for your character are turned off in the demo so we can't test that.

What else can I say... Well it seems that the whole thing is a cross between Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 (they must have packed them both in a tiny room and waited for a spawn). The interface is very different (and I can't stress enough different which depending on the taste may be a good or a bad thing... I didn't even decide which side to go yet.

There are other changes pertaining to gameplay this time. They rearrange the attributes for example so now cunning serves to calculate your defense while dexterity (previously used to calculate your defense) serves to calculate the chance of a critical hit. So we'll have to re-learn again how to develop a character class without screwing it up.

Oh and I won my special weapon for completing the demo which appeared in my entitlements page on the BIoware site... so great  ::)  :lol: It's a blade anyway and I intend to play my favorite class... mage (which by the way seems to be your typical DA mage... overpowered in range -- but weak in melee).

Sorry I don't have any screenshot (forgot to trigger FRAPS when playing). I'll see that later.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Silver Sorrow on February 23, 2011, 02:32:29 AM
That probably was me screaming, yes.  :lol:

Besides the medium quality settings debacle, I've had two crashes: one was probably my fault, and the other wasn't. In my first attempt (female mage), crash #1 occured when I alt-tabbed to desktop so as to fiddle with gamma settings -- the game is confoundingly dark -- and it crashed when I tried to tab back to it. Okay, fine. Start over, as nothing was saved.  The second time I tried out a female rogue and was in the middle of the first fight when, for some reason, my UPS chirped and there was a reboot...

Not too happy about that. I'll try again tomorrow...I mean, later today. You know what I mean. But I did get a screenshot:

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-001.jpg)

Hawke's sister is a brick haaay-owse, btw.

I'll be back later with more upbeat impressions. ::)  This is Mr. Blue Sky, signing off.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 23, 2011, 03:21:57 AM
Quote
That probably was me screaming, yes.  :lol:

I thought I heard a faint squeak of despair across the ocean  :biglaugh:

Well, I looked at the Bioware social network to see what people were thinking about the demo and -- this is not surprising -- consoles players seem to be mostly over-enthusiastic about it while PC players are mostly pissed.

The silver line and that's clear as soon as you start the demo: DA:O felt like a true PC game; DA2 feels like a console port. Still can't decide myself if the interface and gameplay changes are a good or a bad thing. But now the warrior is able to swing a two handed sword like if it was a butter knife. I wished in DA:O that warriors would be able to swing their 2H swords faster but there? Well it's Bioware (they already did it for Mass Effect 2) they go full left or full right they never seem able to find a middle spot to land on.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 23, 2011, 07:20:50 AM
I finally managed to activate the high quality mode (I was too tired when trying out the demo and just forgot to turn on the DX11 renderer). So here are a few screens of what the game looks like in high quality. As I don't have a DX11 card, I can't test the "very high" quality. All these screen have been downsized so most users can see them with ease (originals were 1920x1080). Just click on the thumbs.

(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high001.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high001.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high002.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high002.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high003.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high003.jpg)
(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high004.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high004.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high005.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high005.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high013.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high013.jpg)
(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high008.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high008.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high009.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high009.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high010.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high010.jpg)
(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high011.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high011.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high012.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high012.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high014.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high014.jpg)
(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high015.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high015.jpg)(http://forums.starfoxweb.com/vault/albums/da2demo/thumb_da2demo-dx11-high016.jpg) (http://foxhole.starfoxweb.com/foxviewj.php?type=copper&folder=da2demo&name=da2demo-dx11-high016.jpg)

Oh and the old woman with the big horns is Flemeth (for those who'd wondered -- still voiced by Kate Mulgrew by the way).
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Silver Sorrow on February 23, 2011, 11:28:53 AM
I finally got the thing to play all the way to the end without a crash. Turning off AA probably helped. ::)   Still, it looked pretty good even at medium quality, but I'm still interested in seeing high quailty on my own system...

A few things:

- Default female Hawke looks like Morrigan (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-004.jpg).

- Flemeth is hot.

- So is Isabela. But, strangely enough, not as hot as Flemeth. I think it's the horn-hair. (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-002.jpg) Yow.  :heavym:

- I foresee a ton of NPC tweak mods.

- Mage, again, is probably the best way to go.

- Combat seems more fluid, although the AI is as dumb as ever. (Example: enemy archers running up to my vantage point where I'm blasting the crap out of their boss, and ignoring me to fire at my allies.)

- The menus will likely take some adjustment time on my part; I like the skill tree thing, though. It's all not as rigid as DAO.

- For some reason, all of the main dialog is coming from my center speaker. Makes it hard to hear what people are saying.

- Flemeth is still hot.

- I think there may be something new wrong with me, or at least a new twist on some pre-existing wrongness. Maybe it's a side effect of my Meredith Vieira (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/Meredith-Vieira.jpg) thing.

- Smart management of my homies meant that I had to run through the "real" ogre battle just twice. First time? Dumb clicking on my part. Carver never made it through either time, so to hell with his lame ass.

- Running around in circles not only gets you out of the way of hurled rocks and charging ogres, it's also fun to pretend you're at the front of a fast, tenacious parade.

- Isabela looked really terrible on medium quality. Thankfully, I didn't have to look at her face, as Bioware provided two fun pendular globular alternatives (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-003.jpg) to her face.

- That might seem like a sexist remark, but I maintain: bite me. I know what I like in her wardrobe.

- There are no savegames, so making it all the way through the demo is a needlessly nerve-wracking ordeal.

- I have to go to the store now -- I'm running low on rat droppings -- so until I can stagger back to my keyboard, I bid thee adieu.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 23, 2011, 12:09:04 PM
Quote
Still, it looked pretty good even at medium quality, but I'm still interested in seeing high quailty on my own system...

As far as I can tell the real change between Medium and High quality is regarding FX. Magic FX in particular are more refined. The lighting and faces seem to look a tad better too. But the biggest change is about the world textures. I guess they turned on anisotropic only in high and very high. It's difficult to see in the screenshots of course.

Quote
So is Isabela. But, strangely enough, not as hot as Flemeth.

Isabela is certainly hotter than she was in DA:O (remember her, she was the girl who could teach would the duelist specialization in Denerim -- and that you could bed with Zevran too, easier 7 points of appreciations I got from him... 7! dammit I 'm worth at least 25  :lol:). I guess that finally she took her ship and escaped the Blight.

About Flemeth... no comments... Wait, just one: you're weird  :biglaugh:
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: The Rogue Wolf on February 23, 2011, 05:29:13 PM
I suppose this means I'm going to have to eventually finish DA:O, huh? ::)
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 23, 2011, 07:02:51 PM
Quote
I suppose this means I'm going to have to eventually finish DA:O, huh?

Curiously...no. I mean it's better if you have the full story from the first game to understand the general background of the series and recognize some of the characters but other than that it's hardly a sequel. Yeah sure you can import your DA:O saves into DA2 but I really can't even imagine what would be the benefit -- aside from setting some very basic world elements (it's definitely nothing like the involving progression of your character through the Mass Effect games). The character is brand new and has no link whatsoever with the grey wardens. The only bit of the action that take place in Ferelden seems to be Lothering during the darkspawn invasion (and it could be anywhere else really because it has nothing to do with the Lothering from DA:O).

There's a reason why most gaming sites called DA2 a "good starting point for anyone new to the series".  What you don't know because you didn't play DA:O someone in the game will eventually explain it to you sooner or later.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: bobdog on February 24, 2011, 09:44:42 AM
So you can't import your character from DAO, right? I was thinking of saving my character somehow, but looks like you can't, or that it wouldn't make a difference.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 24, 2011, 10:33:22 AM
You CAN import your DAO savegame in DA2 (but not in the demo obviously, there's a wide array of things that the demo doesn't allow like accessing your inventory  ::) ). But what it will change are mostly background things -- who you got on the throne, how your playthrough ended, possibly a bit about Morrigan and Flemeth... I imagine that how you solved the situation in Orzammar will be raised at some point, as well as how you dealt with the Dalish... So definitely the background should be modified.

What I meant however I that your character doesn't really care about all that because he/she's not the one who created those background elements. As the player you created them but as far as your character goes there's no "empathy" toward that. It's not like Shepard in ME2 who is greeted like a hero or like a vile sub-product of humanity by a turian shopkeeper depending on how he dealt with the Council problem. Hawke is quite neutral because completely new to all of this. The only link he/she personally has in common with DAO is that his/her mother is a parent of the Grey Warden (and that is only if your Grey Warden was a mage; doesn't work if they were a Cousland or another race) and that he/she fought at Ostagar -- if you choose to be a warrior/rogue (if you choose a mage you're an apostate so you couldn't be at Ostagar but your brother was).

Spoiling example
Spoiler
At one point you'll have to go meet the Keeper Marethari (deducing it from the demo because it's the task Flemeth sets you in the demo) from the Dalish and as you may remember Marethari was the Grey Warden's keeper -- if you chose to be Dalish in DAO. So I imagine that there will be some interesting bits at this point if you played DAO as a Dalish.


But hang on to your save anyway... I know I'll use mines, if only to try to spot the differences  :lol:
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: bobdog on February 24, 2011, 06:24:50 PM
Okay, so then the question is, how do I keep the character and import into DA2, without having to keep the full 11GB DAO set?
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on February 24, 2011, 06:53:15 PM
C:\users\your_username\My documents\bioware\dragon age\characters\your_character folder (on Vista/7)

That's where are stored the files and savegames for the character you played. You just have to backup this folder.

I don't know yet what the game will look for when importing a character so it's better to keep all the files that are within the folder. Normally the game should search for the last autosave made (which is the most recent savegame.das that the game automatically creates at the very end of the DAO campaign when you quit the throne room for your little parading -- or after your character's burial if you chose the *other* option or any other ending you might have come up with depending on your choices).

Normally uninstalling the game should not delete your saves but it doesn't hurt to perform a backup just in case  ;)

Further explanation: if it's anything like ME2 then you'd just have to set in the DA2 configuration utility the location of your savegame(s) and the game should perform a little trick on them to extract the essential data. You'd just have then to choose the savegame you want to be used to set the DA2 universe.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Silver Sorrow on February 27, 2011, 10:24:19 AM
About Flemeth... no comments... Wait, just one: you're weird  :biglaugh:

No disagreement here.  :lol:

I forgot to mention one astounding concession to the fans' frequent-requestery:

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-005.jpg)

Hope they do that with ME3.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Fanghawk on March 01, 2011, 06:12:21 PM
Greg Tito had an interview with Bioware's Mike Laidlaw that will be published in chunks on The Escapist (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/108141-BioWare-Dev-Explains-Why-Dragon-Age-II-Is-Easier-Than-Origins), and one of them reminded me of Starfox's earlier point on the demo's difficulty:

Quote
Many people who've played the demo or previewed the first few hours of Dragon Age II have noticed that the combat doesn't seem as punishing as its predecessor. Mike Laidlaw, lead designer of the game at BioWare, explained that he thought that the default Origins was too hard, and he adjusted the difficulty to compensate.

"I did feel Origins 'normal' [difficulty] was pushing too hard on the high side and no one wants to set their game to 'casual' unless they're comfortable being here just for the story, and that's fine. But as a player, I don't feel I should be able to pick what's arguably the default difficulty and get my ass handed to me again and again," Laidlaw said.

In response to that perception, Laidlaw's team created a system of rules for how they would judge the difficulty of the game. "We used an approach where we tried to develop essentially rules for the players, in terms of what our expectations were. So when we threw quality assurance and testers and focus tests at it, we knew what our expectation was," Laidlaw told me in a phone interview today.

"Our goal with the game for 'normal' is that you, as a player, should be playing one character optimally, whether that be Hawke or you focus on one of your followers. You've got one character that you've buffed up, got the right combination spells, you're playing them well. You shouldn't see huge instances of party wipes. You might lose a person or two, and there's certain boss encounters where it might take you a couple of tries to figure out the tricks," he said. "To me, that's a fair expectation for 'normal,' it presents the player with difficulty to keep them interested but without it being frustrating and fist punching our controllers."

For the more hardcore players, Laidlaw provided the higher difficulties. "For 'hard' and 'nightmare,' our expectation is the
 player will be playing the whole party effectively. You've been building your talents to work together and so on and so forth. As a result, the game for 'hard' becomes quite a bit more challenging because we're expecting you to be, not at 4 times efficiency, but quite a bit more efficient."
I probably won’t get into Dragon Age 2 for a while yet until I’ve played the first, even if the stories are disconnected. My playthrough of The Witcher took nearly three weeks, and I get the feeling that Origins would take even longer to work through. But what I’ve seen does look good so far!
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on March 01, 2011, 08:09:45 PM
Well, that confirms what I've found during my playthroughs of the demo (and boys a lot of fanboys are pissed about that kind of things) the difficulty was decreased.

Beating the second ogre of the demo (meaning the one that you fight while being low-level and not the first one you fight while being high level and overpowered) was surprisingly easy -- compared to DA:O standards. it doesn't even require a whole lot of convoluted tactics. It has also been confirmed that Friendly Fire for spells and abilities is turned off except on nightmare (previously it was only turned off on casual) so now you can pretty much cast all the fireballs you want your companions won't be affected. There are however some things that were not in DA:O and that are in DA2 that seem to balance that:

a) there's now a potion cooldown and it applies to all potions (meaning for example that if you take a health potion not only you have the cooldown time on the health potion but it also extends to the stamina or lyrium potions so you can't drink one of those just after having swallowed a health one and the other way around)

b) the cooldown time on the healing spell for mages have been increased from 5 seconds to an insane 60 seconds.

As a result even if the combat is not as difficult as it was (at least for all difficulties below hardcore and nightmare) you still have to watch the use of your healing spell and potions so you use them at the appropriate time and not whenever you want. But other than that I would say that the game on normal is much more manageable than DA:O

Bobdog will be pleased, he won't have to use a trainer this time around  :lol:

Seriously the overall difficulty of DA:O even on normal difficulty was the main complaint that bobdog, Rogue Wolf, SIlver and me shared so it's a good thing that Bioware redesigned it. I mean when fine people as ourselves (and unpaid game reviewers now and then) complain about the same thing something has to be very wrong with it  :biglaugh:

And I guess we were far from being the only ones to complain anyway. Even Laidlaw complained (and his logic is good, let normal gamers play the good way and let hyper-masochists die and die and die again if they want; it's their taste and their right to be masochists but it's no reason to make everyone share their fate.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Silver Sorrow on March 03, 2011, 01:58:43 AM
Quote
Well, that confirms what I've found during my playthroughs of the demo (and boys a lot of fanboys are pissed about that kind of things) the difficulty was decreased.

Hopefully, the outrage will kill them. Anything that rockets a fanboy into the everlasting embrace of sweet, sweet Death is perfectly okay by me. :evil1:

Anyway, Laidlaw is showing some common sense...which makes me curious -- almost morbidly so -- if there's some other facet of the game which will make absolutely no sense at all. In fact, I'm counting on it... :P

I'm still astounded to see that devs are actually paying attention to the non-hardcore sector now; it seems that they were becoming the prime mover of how games were designed of late: the game's too easy, I'm not suffering enough, waaaaaah, etc...change it!  So this means that Casual will actually be casual, I hope...still, I'm not used to such largesse...

On another note, if you can't wait a few days for the full game's release to customize your Hawke, try this thread: gibbed mods 1+2: CC, inventory, maps and difficulty selection in demo (http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/141/index/6289395/1).  I wasn't going for anything elaborate here, but I did manage to do something less glowy-blue-eyed:

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-009a.jpg)


From what I gather, the game will attempt to match your family to your appearance...

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-010.jpg)


...(which makes me wonder what the results of a custom morph will look like) but the demo isn't meant to do *everything*, right? For example, your sister's bodice seems somewhat pale:

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-011.jpg)


While I'm not all that interested in an extensive redesign of my Hawke for a friggin' DEMO like some other people seem to be, it *is* something to do. Like organizing my gall bladder collection by taste, for example.

Also, I tried out a rogue archer build, which...well, it was very impressive near the end of the demo.  :ok:

And now for another delightful gallery that shows how easily distracted I am by large breasts:

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-006.jpg)

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-007.jpg)

(http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y144/silversorrow/zzda2-008.jpg)


That's all for the moment. Talk amongst yourselves.
Title: Re: Dragon Age II demo available
Post by: Starfox on March 04, 2011, 07:53:25 AM
Quote
Hopefully, the outrage will kill them. Anything that rockets a fanboy into the everlasting embrace of sweet, sweet Death is perfectly okay by me. :evil1:

Spending an hour on Bioware forums really does make you one step closer to banging your head against the closest wall. And why does almost everyone over there keep spelling "Rogue" like "red" in French? I think they also misunderstand the meaning of "spam". What they do call spam I would call amusing (albeit stupid) duplication of thoughts.

Oh, BTW, there are two Market retailers on Amazon.com who are selling copies of the PC signature edition of DA2 for $249 and $259 respectively; the one who sells at $259 also has copies for the PS3 and Xbox360, about the same price... Any taker?  :biglaugh: At the same time there is curiously enough a sudden shortage of Signature Editions along with a lot of  pre-order cancellations from various retailers. But how can both be connected? Can't be, right?  :purplelaugh:

Advice for today: to people who would really consider falling for a $259 game, buy the standard DA edition and with the difference get a brand new graphic card. In the long term, you'll be the winner.

Back on topic... I'm not a big fan of modding in a demo. I prefer to have the full game before abusing it at leisure  :evil1: Then the mod gave people another room to complain... "Oh no! The import savegame feature (the one that Silver gracefully masked with a spoiler warning) is broken. Doesn't work! What a shame!" and blah blah... this is a demo people, and the feature was officially locked for obvious reasons -- not ready for prime-time! And then the mod is at your own risks and certainly not supported by Bioware. I don't mind having some fun with a demo mod but I do find people complaining after that for missing or broken features ridiculous. Wait for the full game, and if it still doesn't work right then feel free to kick Bioware in the balls.

It's like all those people that complained in DAO that a patch would solve nothing but at the same time had a gazillion third party mods installed that were overriding the patch. Well Bioware was partly responsible for that, I admit. They allowed modifications to override all of the game features, including the patches fixes; that was not a brilliant move... And as DA2 runs on the same engine with possibly the same modification system that hasn't changed since the old days of Neverwinter Nights I guess we'll have another round of that in the coming year.

But now I fear what my family will look like with my custom Hawke  :biglaugh: (Yuck! My sister is Britney Spears!)