A Plea For Balance: Hey Bioware, Maybe Think About Chilling on Cullen a Bit

Like fish in an enthusiastic aquarium, fans are gobbling up the small flakes of information on Dragon Age 4 showing up on the surface of the internet. While most things remain, understandably, under metaphorical lock and key, one of these claims disrupted the community more than others. According to Daily Sun Knoxville, one of the most integral playable characters in DA4 would be none other than the templar Cullen. It’s important to note that Daily Sun Knoxville may not be an entirely reputable source—I mean, if this was a typical leak, it’s weird that no other news outlets appear to have the same information, especially big gaming outlets like Polygon or Kotaku. The legitimacy of the rumor aside, it did spark a discussion worth having within the community. From where I stand, it only makes sense that Cullen found his way from minor NPC to party member over the course of the four games. However, like many other fans, I find the emphasis on Cullen to be worrisome, especially given the narrative’s unsympathetic treatment of the fantastical minorities in Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition Cullen

Please… please no. (via Giphy)

Continue reading

I Will Face God and Walk Backwards into Hell: Bioware Games and Their Unfortunate Relationship with Mainstream Religion

As someone who isn’t very religious and who’s had very few positive interactions with religion, I always get a little bit worried when it takes a significant role in the media I consume. That same worry filled me in Mass Effect: Andromeda when I began speaking with one of my crewmates, namely the science officer aboard the Tempest, Dr. Suvi Anwar. As I continued interacting with her, I was pleased to find that her character wasn’t limited to being “the religious one”, and that she found joy in the fact that she and my Ryder both had differing opinions on spirituality and the prevalence of religion—a mindset that is often sadly lacking in real life. I left my first Andromeda experience feeling like Bioware really stepped up the nuance in their conversations concerning religion and spirituality, but as the game’s plot twists ruminated in my mind, I came to the conclusion that Bioware and their stories still have a huge problem with avoiding exploring and accepting other religions outside of the Christianity “norm”.

Spoilers for Mass Effect: Andromeda and Dragon Age: Inquisition beneath the cut.

Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: Bellus et Bestia by CandidCantrix

Though it shames me a little to admit it, I am a little bit filthy, and while I’m plenty picky about quality writing and good story, it’s very rare that I take the time to read a fic that has no sex in it at all. A recent exception has been Bellus et Bestia by CandidCantrix on AO3. The story is a Dragon Age: Inquisition AU about Dorian and The Iron Bull that takes place before the game’s story. It really delves into Qunari culture and Iron Bull’s mental state, as well as taking a slightly different approach to Dorian’s past. It is very, very loosely based on the story of Beauty and the Beast, but instead of taking the obvious tack and making the eight-foot-tall horned Qunari the “beast” character, Iron Bull is actually the one who gets captured and held captive by Dorian, who is rather horrifically less pretty in this AU than in the game.

seheron dragon age

Named “least desirable vacation destination” by Tevinter Lifestyles Magazine

Continue reading

Fanfiction Fridays: Looking Glass by Feynite

She wakes to the sight of a woman staring down at her.

Tall and beautiful and elvhen, with golden hair that cascades in rivers down her shoulders, and eyes the colour of the sun. She is clad in silver and cerulean and rich, emerald green, and when she moves she is whisper-silent, her expression wide with surprise.

The sky is blue behind the woman’s head.

That arrests her attention even more than the woman herself. It has been so long since she’s seen a blue sky.

The woman asks her something in elvish. Lyrical and lilting. A question. When she doesn’t immediately respond, it gets repeated to her.

She has learned enough of the ancient language in her quest against Solas that she can gather the gist of it.

“What are you? Where did you come from?”

Her eyes turn over blue skies, and leafy trees, clear air and the feeling of magic on her skin, so close it’s like she just fell into a rune trap. But there’s no sign of any spells being cast around her. The woman’s face is unfamiliar, but she’s seen those kinds of eyes before; peering out at her from an old human woman’s visage. From beneath Morrigan’s brows.

“Mythal?” she guesses.

“This is I, yes,” the woman confirms. “What are you? Some sort of… construct of flesh?”

What a promising reception.

“I am a person,” she says, with the firmness that can only come from meeting those who would deny that claim. It is a phrase she has memorized in the ancient tongue.

Mythal looks her over. Deliberates a while. Then she gestures to something behind herself.

“You are damaged,” the evanuris informs her. “We will repair you, and then we shall see of that claim.”

The ending of Dragon Age: Inquisition’s “Trespasser” DLC seemed to bring up as many questions—if not more—as it answered. Unfortunately, many of those questions will not be answered for what I can only assume will be years. While I and many others of the fandom await the announcement of Dragon Age 4, it’s nice to know that fanfic has always got our back. Even if the future that fanfic presents us with isn’t exactly nice.

Spoilers for everything under the cut.

Continue reading

Rin Plays: “Trespasser” DLC

Before my hiatus, I managed to play the latest and last DLC from Dragon Age: Inquisition (which is more like saying I sat in front of my computer reloading the downloads until I could purchase it on the day it released). “Trespasser” was advertised not only as answering one of the bigger questions that the ending of the main game lef, but also finally showing the player some of the political, and otherwise, ramifications of their inquisition. Was “Trespasser” everything the player-base was wishing for? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s exactly what I was wishing for.

Dragon Age Inquisition Trespasser BannerSpoilers for Inquisition and “Trespasser” under the cut.

Continue reading

Comic Review: Dragon Age, Now with Bonus Feels

Between late 2012 and early 2014, in what was undoubtedly one of the best ideas ever (right up there with Kinder Surprise Eggs and the bendy straw), the Bioware gods saw fit to create an original Dragon Age comic series. The three-part comic miniseries stars characters from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, as well as several original supporting characters, and follows King Alistair of Ferelden and a few new friends of his on a quest to find his father, who is missing and had been presumed dead.

Accompanying Alistair (who featured prominently in Origins) are Varric Tethras and Isabela, who were companions/party members in Dragon Age II. The trio follows a trail of clues through Thedas to help Alistair in his quest, becoming caught up in the centuries-old Tevinter-Qunari conflict and getting trapped in the magical limbo known as the Fade. In addition to the familiar characters and settings, the series introduces several new people and places and expands on the world already established in the games. While the plot and characters are definitely more appealing to someone who is already at least somewhat familiar with Dragon Age, the storytelling and art are solid, and it is not strictly necessary to have played all the games or played all of them in their entirety to follow the plot.

*points* Art.

*points* Art.

Spoilers for the whole Dragon Age comic series under the jump!

Continue reading

Magical Mondays: Mage Rights!

As literally anyone who knows me in any capacity will have heard (ad nauseum) by now, I have spent a lot of time lately playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. Like, a lot of time. Throughout the game and as I devoured peripheral media afterward, I found that the universe in which Dragon Age takes place is delightfully meaty, full of complex themes, metaphors, and social commentary. Particularly interesting and expansive were Bioware’s concepts about magic — how it works, its limitations, and its effects on society. Varied public opinions on magic mean that magic-users are given drastically different treatment in different regions of Thedas. Not only is magic and the control thereof a major source of political tension, the various in-universe religions, especially the Chantry, have strong and vocal opinions on the matter that help to shape public sentiment, leading to constant disputes about mage rights.

Just as interesting as the social consequences of magic is the concept of the Fade: the physical source from which magic flows. Though it is observable, the Fade is very mercurial and very different from the material world, and is fairly poorly understood by the denizens of Thedas. For mages, who are born with innate abilities to channel magic, the Fade is the source of their power, but for everyone else, it is the source of dreams and (according to some) desires and temptations.

Why's it gotta be wet down here?

Why’s it gotta be wet down here?

Continue reading

Rin Plays: “The Descent” DLC

Dragon Age Inquisition The Descent“I’m leaving with more questions than answers.”

This is one of the last lines uttered by the Inquisitor at the end of Bioware’s newest DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, “The Descent”. Where last time’s DLC took us to the high cliffs of the Frostback Mountains, this time the Inquisitor and crew head deep, deep underground to Orzammar’s Deep Roads—the place where all the darkspawn hang out and where Grey Wardens go to die, if you remember from the first game. After playing through the I-don’t-know-how-long DLC (probably around four hours if you’re sticking to story missions) I, too, have more questions than answers, least of all being “why doesn’t Bioware know how to make good DLC anymore?”

Spoilers for the entire DLC under the cut.

Continue reading

Sexualized Saturdays: Wait, Are You Saying I Accidentally Bestiality?

Late to the party as usual, I recently started playing a little game called Dragon Age: Inquisition, a stellar endeavor in videogame storytelling, and a goddamn work of art as far as I’m concerned. Also, it has butts. In my play through I opted to romance Dorian, the gay necromancer from Tevinter, but I then learned to my delight that had I not opted to romance Dorian, he would have begun a background romance storyline with a massive, intimidating Qunari mercenary called the Iron Bull. I found this aspect of the story both hilarious and charming, but after discussing it with my lunchtime friend, Dillon from Goldburgers, he remarked blithely, “that is definitely some kind of bestiality.”

This statement perplexed me a bit. Sure, Qunari aren’t human and have some distinctly un-human features, but they’re far from the first or the most exotic humanoid fictional race to acceptably get it on with humans. Even people who have never seen Star Trek know that Captain James T. Kirk has banged no shortage of space babes. In virtually every high fantasy novel, some human or other gets into it with some elf or other. Why does no one think of these human/non-human relationships as bestiality? In the context of non-human but sentient races, what defines bestiality, and does the concept even apply? Which people may we acceptably bang and why may we bang those people and not others? These are the real questions.

Is "fearousal" the word for this? I feel like that's the word for this.

Is “fearousal” the word for this? I feel like that’s the word for this.

Continue reading

Rin Plays: The Jaws of Hakkon DLC (First Impression)

Though not the fan-anticipated “Egg Hunt”, Bioware surprised players of Dragon Age: Inquisition this week by releasing the game’s first DLC, The Jaws of Hakkon, on Tuesday for Xbox One and PC (sorry, other systems!). What makes this release surprising is that Hakkon was released with absolutely no promotion, save for a teaser image that came out one day before its release. I’m not exactly sure why Bioware chose to do this, but the buzz and hype this move created seems to have been worth it: I doubt there’s a DA fan out there who isn’t aware by this point. However, people have been speculating on the quality of the DLC itself, which bears a fifteen dollar price tag. Personally, I think this speculation is deserved. Within both the Dragon Age and Mass Effect franchises, some DLCs just haven’t necessarily met the bar on the price they asked for. Fifteen dollars is a lot to be asking for on a DLC that no one knows anything about outside of an image and, as of this morning, a trailer.

This doesn’t answer the question of whether or not the DLC is worth the price of admission. Well, for some it might. As for my opinions on it, whether or not to buy it lies solely in what drives you as a player.

Spoilers for The Jaws of Hakkon and DA:I under the cut.

Continue reading