Author Topic: Dragon Age II demo available  (Read 6480 times)

Offline Fanghawk

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #15 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, and one of them reminded me of Starfox's earlier point on the demo's difficulty:

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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!

Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #16 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.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2011, 08:29:58 PM by Starfox »


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #17 on: March 03, 2011, 01:58:43 AM »
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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.  I wasn't going for anything elaborate here, but I did manage to do something less glowy-blue-eyed:



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



...(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:



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:





That's all for the moment. Talk amongst yourselves.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 02:11:40 AM by Silver Sorrow »
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Offline Starfox

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Re: Dragon Age II demo available
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2011, 07:53:25 AM »
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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!)


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

 

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