What Dragon Age Might Look Like As An MMO (Part Three)

…or If The Darkspawn Are A Damn Race, Who The Hell Am I Fighting?!

Driving around yesterday running errands, I contemplated something pretty crucial to my whole setup for a Dragon Age MMO.  The question was this: If the Darkspawn are a playable character race in the game, and they are the main protagonists in the RPG, who the heck are the good guys gonna fight before they get to the Darkspawn PvP fights?!

Clearly, Darkspawn/Grey Warden fights are what could eventually be a huge part of the end game for this MMO, but let us not forget the struggles the Templars/Chantry have had with the Mages/Circle.  It is this conflict which is at the center of Dragon Age II, with few Darkspawn to be found at all (save for your trip into the Deep Roads for lewt, lewt and more lewt).  I think it’s very possible (and quite good actually) that you have two types of end-game conflict in the game.

So with that said, you have to then consider who or what players will fight as NPCs in the game.  I think you could probably have abominations and various beasts available for the good guys to vanquish, but this might get a little tedious.  As for the bad guys, I think the easiest thing to do would be to have groups of humans, elves or dwarves trying to “reclaim” places the Darkspawn are inhabiting.  As I indicated, this game will take place shortly after the “enlightening” of the Darkspawn at the hands of the Architect, so having semi-intelligent Darkspawn would definitely fit the lore.

That being said, there are surely going to be some groups of people in Ferelden that don’t take too kindly to having packs of Darkspawn, sentient or no, living nearby.  And there’s nothing to say that Darkspawn wouldn’t want to kill a few pigs and wolves themselves.  All of this would also apply to the Qunari, but with their homeland being so far from Ferelden itself, it might prove to be a bit more problematic for them.

I would create a level cap of say, 50 levels, and let Level 35 be the point where anyone on the good guy side could begin the ritual of becoming a Grey Warden.  The only problem with building this into the game is that it only seems fair to do the same type of change for the bad guys…I just don’t know what you could do though.  The guys at Bioware would probably be able to answer that more readily, but there would need to be some sort of equivalent to the Grey Warden ritual for Darkspawn and Qunari (not becoming a Grey Warden though).

The only other option would be to do what I suggest you not do in the first part of this series, which is make Grey Warden a playable race from the start of the game.  This would allow anyone to become one right off the bat.  But it would alleviate the need to create something for the bad guys to call their own on that level.

As there is literally tons of lands with which to work with, I think the thing to do as end-game approaches is to open up new areas of the map, and let the higher players fight it out for control of those cities.  This could be handled in much the same way other games handle PvP-type content, with battlegrounds set up and maybe have specific spots on the map up for grabs.  Each side would be able to control the map and therefore gain advantages to having control that the other side would not have.

What could really be cool is if the Darkspawn ever gained control of enough of the map, they could perhaps initiate a Blight, calling forth a NPC-controlled Archdemon that would then have to be wiped out before the Blight was over.  I don’t know if this is something that would play out frequently, as there have only been 5 Blights in the history of Ferelden (a long time presumably), but as far as end-game content goes, you don’t get much better than a Blight.

What Dragon Age Might Look Like As An MMO (Part Two)

…or Where The Hell Are We Starting This Thing At?!

So having decided what the races and classes will be for this game, it’s time now to look at the storyline.  The first two games (Origins and II) fall fairly close together, although the span of the second game is long (some years).  So I would propose that it would be best from a lore standpoint to have the MMO start sometime after the Champion’s rise to power, but sometime before the fall of Kirkwall.  I think the first thing to do on this post would be to pick the starting areas for each race.

Human – Denerim
The capital city in Ferelden, and to me, it makes the most sense as the starting area for the human race.

Dwarf – Orzammar
Again, the last city in the Dwarven empire, it makes the most sense that any dwarf start his journey here.

Elf – City in Brecilian Forest (TBD)
The Elves are mostly nomadic in nature, surviving in the wilds and in poor districts in the larger cities.  To keep the population down in the starter cities, I say create a town or city in the forest for the Elves to begin their journey.

Darkspawn – Dragonbone Wastes
Create a city-like atmosphere here, and let the storyline be that the Darkspawn that survived with the Architect put their roots down in this area of the world.

Qunari – Par Vollen
Pretty easy here…this is the homeland of the Qunari, and as yet, has not been ‘revealed’ in any Dragon Age game.  Probably makes this race one of the more desirable ones to play.

So now that we have the starting areas covered, let’s talk about game play.  Clearly, as an MMO, each class would have a set of skills they could ‘purchase’ as they level up.  Each starting area would have it’s own bevy of merchants, skill trainers, etc.  PvP would be by player-decision only (by flag), and there would also be PvP-only areas (undiscovered areas of the Deep Roads come to mind here).  I think there would need to be crafting (armor, weapons, etc.) as well as things like herbology and the like for those interested in that.  You could be a cook as well.

The cool thing about games like Rift are the “live events” that take place randomly throughout the game.  I think this could be accomplished in this game with raids done by either side to the other’s home cities, as well as skirmishes in the game map.

I’ll pick this up with Part Three, talking about Grey Wardens and how they fit into the mix.

What Dragon Age Might Look Like As An MMO (Part One)

Having finished up Dragon Age II the other day, and having thought about it for a really long time (like 10 minutes), I think it might be a good idea to throw together the foundation of what might be a Dragon Age MMO.

I know what you’re thinking…no way! Don’t mess with a great game and set-up just to serve your WoW-loving cronies out there who want to raid and pillage and plunder.  But wait a tick, and hear me out.

Clearly, with the additional content that Bioware put out for Dragon Age: Origins, there are (at least) two sides to world of Dragon Age.  You’ve got the humans, and the Darkspawn.  I say make the Darkspawn an actual race.  In fact, here’s how I would break down the races within the game:

Good Guys

Bad Guys

I think you could also eventually bring in additional races per the lore (maybe werewolves?) and figure out what you need to figure out there, but to start…5 races.  Now let’s talk about classes.  In most cases, you see four main classes in any MMO: warrior, rogue/hunter, mage, healer/bard/cleric.  I think the game sets up beautifully for this type of structure, as follows:

Good Guy Classes

Warrior Class
Templar (Since so much of the storyline revolves around the Chantry and it’s battle with mages, Templars have to be in the game, probably picture a Paladin if you need some clarification as to their abilities and such)
Champion (While the role of the Champion in Dragon Age II is not limited to a warrior class, I think it is best suited for it)

Assassin (There are several characters in the game that would fit this role, Zevran for one…great melee class with awesome tactical abilities)
Treasure Hunter (I just sort of pulled this one down out of thin air, but you could easily change this to whatever you want, I had Varric in mind when I thought of this class)

Apostate (those mages not under the Chantry, like Bethany, they would be given some abilities Mages wouldn’t have)
Mage (those mages that are under the Chantry, and as a counter to Apostates, Mages would have some abilities that Apostates wouldn’t have)

Minstrel (Stealing this somewhat from LOTRO, I like the thought of a “singer” who could “inspire” in this game…it would add to the game’s depth I think)
Cleric (I think having a class represented in the Chantry is a good idea since clearly they play such a big part, so this is the non-warrior side of that, with Templars being the warrior side)

Bad Guy Classes

Warrior Class
Hurlock (The front lines you’re always cutting down first)
Beresaad (The Vanguard, or greatest warriors, in the Qunari)

Genlock (Ranged fighters in the Darkspawn)
Ashaad (Qunari word for an infantry scout)

Emissary (Usually the spell-casting group of Darkspawn in the game)
Saarebas (Qunari word for “mage”, but looked upon as servants only in the Qunari fold)

Alpha (I’m working on this one…there has to be a Darkspawn cleric/bard though…)
Ashkaari (Qunari word for “one who seeks”, referring to scientists, philosophers, etc.)

I also toyed with the idea of making Grey Warden a class, but considering the lore of the game, I don’t think it would be wise to create that as a playable class, at least not at first.  I think it’s something you could definitely add along the way, maybe a year or two into the game, and you wouldn’t have to be a specific class to be a Grey Warden.  I guess it would be weird to be a minstrel Grey Warden or a cleric Grey Warden, but I don’t think it would be fair to limit it to three groups of classes and leave out the fourth.

So perhaps there would only be two evil races to start…I don’t know.  You’d like there to be balance, but I can’t think of another race that would fit in.  I think I’ll stop right there, as you can see this is a good start.  Thoughts?

There’s no party like a Dragon Age II party cuz a Dragon Age II party don’t stop

There comes a time in every gamer’s life when they realize what they are as it relates to their hobby. Are you a console or PC gamer? Are you a fan of RPGs? MMOs? FPSs? Do you like hot women and bare-chested men? Ahem…

I just finished up with my first go-round with Dragon Age II, and I must say, it was quite the ride.  For those of you who are still playing through your first go, I encourage you to stop reading this now…I’ll give you a break in the action just to be fair… Continue reading