DA:I maximum feels playthrough part 7: bring it on

Cut for wall-o’-pics and spoilers for Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Well here we are, awaiting the DLC I took a day off work to play. (Thank you, flexible work hours!) I have the maximum feels playthrough just about ready to go–all I have to do is actually finish the main story, which I’ve been delaying in order to wander around with Dorian and Iron Bull as much as possible in order to see their relationship develop–which I haven’t had the chance to do before.

In fact there are a lot of things I’ve done this time I haven’t done before, including:

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1.) Actually finish the Jaws of Hakkon storyline. Holy shit Ameridan, you’re an elf! And you have no idea how badly your bro’s people failed to stay true to your people. Ammar and Rodrigo, anyone? (An aside: oh damn, a quick google for an appropriate link revealed that–of course–there is sweet, sweet slash of those two. I’m going to save that for a particularly bad day but it’s good to know it’s out there. I imagine this is is how potheads feel when they find a giant bag of weed hidden under a floorboard in their uncle’s house or something.) In addition to this revelation, no one told me it turns to night when you finish that quest. It’s beautiful! The only visual day-night turnover aside from Haven. That moonlight! Those lanterns! Who knew the avvar were such huge fans of lanterns? This hill looks like Hobbiton. Really a lovely surprise.

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2.) Killed all the dragons–the second-to-last in Emprise du Lion with 2 potions, and the last with zero potions. Just drop that reaver circle and dragon rage, dragon rage, dragon rage, with an occasional devour to skirt death. Even so, this leaves you perpetually on the edge of demise, which is really kind of thrilling. I probably cheated a bit by filling out both Dorian’s and Solas’ spirit trees, but I was stacking Dorian up for Solas’ unceremonious departure (unlike my first game where I was screwed once he left), so I have my reasons. Plus, it was fun.

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3.) Completed The Knight’s Tomb. Lots of interesting lore in there. Also appreciated the poetic justice of the Red Fields debacle having been caused by the misapprehension of a love affair from both sides. In this game it’s very appropriate, and reads like the flash of the sword causing the end of the stalemate between Arthur and Lancelot’s armies. The total inability of each side to come to regard the halla as we naively hoped they would was apt, too.

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4.) Got the Ardent Blossom. Man, that is some old-school easter-egging right there.

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5.) Captured Suledin Keep. Hey, cut me some slack: it was snowing when I started playing this game and through my first two playthroughs, too. I had had enough of snow and played the Emprise as little as possible.

6.) Finished Lost Temple of Dirthamen. Again with the lore–wonder if it’s just flavor or if it will come into play…

7.) Activated all the elven devices and measured the veil, completing What Lies Dormant. Was really hoping for a cutscene but maybe its hypothetical contents was remastered for this last DLC? 

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Okay Trespasser, bring it. I am ready! For the feels! First will be Solas of course but then I have the other two playthroughs lined up where Dorian and Cullen, respectively, were my mates of choice. Things they could do:

1.) Differentiate between Cullen-who-quit-lyrium and Cullen-who-didn’t-quit-lyrium (no consequences if he goes off it in the vanilla game, but if we flash forward and he has, say, early-onset Alzheimer’s if he stays on it, I will be a mess. A mess. You see now why I took a day off work.)

2.) Differentiate between Bull-the-Charger and Bull-the-Qunari-Asshole. I went for asshole on my Solas playthrough (out of curiosity) and it seems to make him tons happier than when you went the more compassionate route. Bull is way too…bullish to pull at my heartstrings, but seeing him turn on us would kind of suck.

3.) Differentiate between Solas-girlfriend-who-drank-the-well-of-sorrows vs. Solas-girlfriend-who-didn’t-drink-the-well-of-sorrows. Now this they won’t do in this specific way because it would correctly and deservedly cause a crescendo of criticism but…you know someone will write it if they haven’t already. “I expect you have questions.” An argument ensues because duh, Inquisitor stalks away–just pissed off, fondness long since crusted over by wrath and resentment–and Solas, with Mythal’s layer cake of souls and their marionettes, says to stop, and the Inquisitor has to because Well of Sorrows, and then with her rooted there Solas can, *cough*, maybe kiss her one last time before…*buries head in sand* Yes, well. Morally corrupt, I know, I know. But we didn’t drink that well for nothing. Make it count! Make it hurt. If you didn’t drink the well he could order Morrigan to do something but the heartstrings would be ripe for the plucking here. Even if they only lead to more fury directed at Solas.

4.) Dorian heartbreak? No way. Dorian has to take us to Tevinter! Or at least be there. And don’t even whisper to me about an inter-franchise easter egg. Hell to the no. I worried about that when I saw that “modern age” Inquisitor hoodie pop up in the Bioware merch store, but honestly…please no. Take your spaceships and lasers and phasers and what have you and stuff them. Keep this pseudo-historical lens where it is. It works. Look at Guy Gavriel Kay if you don’t believe me. His pseudo-histories are masterful! But the Fionavar Tapestry, where he tried to pull all the worlds together into one meta-narrative? Blech. Meta is meta because it’s too big to put into an actual stand-alone title. When you try, it inevitably falls short. Don’t do it.

5.) People likely to die: Alistair/Hawke (whoever’s alive; no one cares about  Stroud), Leliana/Cassandra (whoever is Divine; no one cares about Vivienne), Cullen (of course I don’t want him to but…he has had so much character growth that he’s ripe for the harvesting, alas…), Bull (if he stays all Qun-y and if you don’t forgive him for it…), Varric. Yes, Varric. Nothing screams loss and desolation like the prospect of relinquishing the moral compass and Rick Castle-esque dad of the party to the abyss. I don’t think this is entirely likely because you already have the Solas issue here; seems wiser to save the agony of Varric’s loss until the next game. But depending on how far in the future that is, he might not last that long, so. I’d worry about him just in case.

So, let’s get on with this already! Once more into the breach!

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