So almost everyone in my inner circle is unhappy about SOMETHING. Dorian wants a book that’s missing from the library (okay, send someone to go get that at the map in the War Room); Cole wants an amulet (map, again); Varric needs me to go with him to the Deep Roads (quest); Blackwall is missing (quest); Leliana needs my help finding something (quest); Vivienne needs a snowy wyvern heart (quest).
Vivienne’s quest simply requires killing a snowy wyvern, although I can lie to her and give her a normal one, but (so says the internet) the end result is the same either way, she’s just madder if I lie to her. So whatever. I’ll help her out. Even though her personality irritates me to no end.
Leliana’s fetch quest is an artifact left for her by Justinia, which basically tells her to stop beating herself up and live her life. It also takes about five minutes. The big choice in that quest is whether or not to let Leliana kill a chantry spy, which she is okay with, but is happy if you keep her from doing it.
Dorian’s quest is simple – send someone (I picked Josephine) to get a book. The end.
Cole’s requires an amulet, but then instigates a short quest once the amulet is obtained because Solas can’t actually charge it with magic. It turns out that Cole is a spirit who assumed the form of an apostate who died of starvation after being imprisoned by some Templars, and he tries to get revenge on the Templar who imprisoned him and then left him there. For some reason, the quest mandates Cole, Solas, and Varric, who really wants Cole to become more of a person. The Inquisitor has to decide whether to encourage Cole to become more human and work through his emotions, or more spirit and forgive the Templar. I went with forgiveness, which makes Cole and Solas happy, but makes Varric depressed for some reason. Not really clear on why Varric so desperately wants Cole to be human… Varric is a bit emo in this game, most likely because of the events explained in his quest, which is up next.
Varric’s quest involves following Bianca (a person, not the crossbow, although they’re connected) into the Deep Roads in the Hinterlands in order to seal the entrance to an area infected by red lyrium. She explains that red lyrium is lyrium with the blight, which means that it’s alive somehow – okay, that’s weird and will likely come back to bite us at some point. This is also when we learn that she told a Warden named Larius about the lyrium… and Larius was the half-crazy Warden wandering around the Deep Roads in DA2 when Hawke and Varric discovered and (supposedly) killed Corypheus. Oh, and in DA2 Larius wasn’t a mage, but Bianca says that he is one now. Which explains that creepy last scene from the DLC in which Larius makes weird Corypheus noises – since clearly Corypheus possessed him and then took over his form. Or something like it.
But Blackwall’s is the crazy one. As it turns out, Blackwall isn’t Blackwall, he’s some guy named Thom Rainier who betrayed the Orlesian Empire and ordered the death of a nobleman (and – accidentally – the nobleman’s family). So Blackwall/Rainier interrupts someone’s execution to take responsibility for the murder and ends up in prison. It’s up to me to decide whether to leave him there, exile him, or force him to join the Inquisition. I decide to save him, then I tell him it’s up to him what he does. He’s actually horrified, to his credit, and pledges his life to the Inquisition. Okay, cool. But what really surprised me was that the next time I went out, I took Dorian and Blackwall/Rainier (and Varric) with me, and Dorian gave a lengthy apology to Blackwall about how he respected Blackwall’s attempt to atone for his past. It was oddly touching.
And now… Now I’m not sure what to do. I feel like I’m nearing the end of plot missions (although the internet assures me that I have about three left), and I’m quite literally out of other missions to do, but my War Table is FULL of things that just eat up time.
In part, this is my own fault. I like to get all the things done ahead of time, so I did most of the minor missions when I had already completed the earlier table missions. For my next playthrough, I will not make this mistake again. Yet it let me do it – so I’d recommend to a design team that if you have both time-sink and playable quests, make sure your balance them so that you have enough playable quests open up at the same time as your time-sink quests so that someone doesn’t seriously have to consider reading a novel while time passes to finish the time-sink quests because they have nothing else to do.
My other problem is that two of the collection quests I literally can’t complete. In the Exalted Plains, there’s an “area” that is apparently bugged (at least on the 360, according to the Forums) and won’t tick over, even though I have actually been in all 21 areas. The other one is the Fall Mosaic quest – there are twelve pieces. According to all the walkthroughs and forums, only eleven of them can be collected, and one of those eleven requires deliberately using a mount to fall through the back of the world (yes, I got that one). It really bothers me that I have these two quests incomplete. (Note: Since the writing of this post BioWare has patched both, and I completed them in a second play-through.)
I wasn’t planning on killing all of the dragons, I really wasn’t. The dragon in the Hissing Wastes and the third dragon in the Emprise du Lion are both sleeping. I can walk up to them. I can walk around them. I can actually jump on their faces. They don’t wake up. Now this isn’t a bug – if I attack them, they will wake up (I did this once, then reloaded a save just to make sure). But I make a general rule when I play games that if something doesn’t attack me and I don’t need to attack it for a good reason (I killed goats to feed refugees in the Hinterlands, for instance), I won’t. These two last dragons aren’t hurting anyone, and they aren’t attacking me first (unlike the other eight). I really had every intention of leaving them alone… but I got too bored trying to get all the War Table missions done, so I killed them anyway. (I’m not sure that’s a good life lesson…)
There are only so many times I can have the exact same conversation with all my companions in the desperate hope that one of them will have something new to say to me (they don’t). Even Sera’s rooftop poetry is on repeat. I did decide to take a few hours and go farm out Requisition quests, but hanging out outside the Ancient Baths in the Exalted Plains and constantly killing the respawning bandits got old fast (they had Orlesian Tomes, and that was the only remaining Requisition quest that was possible to complete – as, for instance, the guys who drop Ferelden locks die out pretty early into the game).
But I’ve committed to the War Table now, and I’m going to complete it, dammit.