January 29, 2010

Fight! For your Right! To wear whatever armor you want...

I've been playing Dragon Age A TON recently - partly because I love it, and partly because I have an ever-growing list of games that I need to play as soon as this one is finished. I appreciate the fact that BioWare put so much effort into this game, especially since Mass Effect 2 just came out (so soon after Dragon Age was released) and we all know how everybody looooooves that game :-) Not like they'd put out a less-than-awesome title anyway. However, there are certain things about the xbox 360 version that really bug me...

The first issue can be summed up in one word: menus. Menus, menus, menus. And not very user-friendly menus at that. There are consistency problems with the buttons - mainly what the right and left bumper/triggers do for what menu screen. Plus, the radial menu is a killer if you don't know what something is labeled under...not to mention the fact that you have to hold down the left trigger to keep the menu up. Don't game developers understand that holding down a button means exerting continual effort? Sheesh ;-)

My main issue, however, has nothing to do with the game mechanics or with Dragon Age at all. Just like every other fantasy game, Dragon Age follows the "rule" that dissuades magic-using characters from wearing heavy armor. My big question is: why? Why can't my cleric wear plate mail? Why can't my heavy damage dealing mage wear studded leather? I can understand the concept: claiming that it's too easy to let any character wear or use whatever items they'd like, or trying to add new dynamics to the game by making the player think before equipping. I can understand the imagery behind it - the battle-weary mage casting a spell as his robes sway and billow in the wind...trust me, I'm a sucker for that just like everyone else. However, my practical side screams "this is wrong!" I mean, if I were the leader of an adventuring group, I'd do my best to make sure that everyone went out and returned with minimal damage - and that means wearing serious armor.

This "rule" has been around for...a long, long time. It's probably not about to change soon either. Which is fine, except that when I decide to change it for my adventuring party or my game - let me. I'm not about to let my healer, the one person who can make or break my team, run out into battle wearing a snuggie (although that image does crack me up). And the argument of how "cloth armor has better stats for mages" can't hold true either - they're called enchantments :-D

Any who agree or disagree?


  1. If you wanna wear armor and cast, go Chaos.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I also hated that dilemma, which is why I tend to stick with martial powered characters. But I also love swordmage/spellsword/battle mages. Decent armor, magical attacks, and blade melee weapons.


    Bummer you got stuck with the Xbox 360 version of DA. I am throughly enjoying it on the PC, despite Mass Effect 2 taking up ALL MY TIME.

  4. I just feel like they use armor to make new class types...but perhaps that's the only way we can figure out how to do that at this time...

    Also, I heard that the PC version of Dragon Age is terrible interface-wise. You have to click on the ground ahead of you, not just somewhere in front of you, to get your party to move. Is it true that you can't just use the arrows/wasd buttons??? That's ridiculous.

  5. I have Dragon Age for the PC, and I thought the interface was pretty decent. I also didn't really have a chance to play it on the 360, so I don't really have much to compare it too. :3

    I can kinda understand why they wouldn't want to get most Mage classes heavy armor.. I've always considered it a decent way to keep most games balanced. Why would you make something so strong.. stronger? :D Plus.. billowing does make lovely imagery!

    BTW! I'm Sunie, I found you on the Frag Doll Forums.. :D

  6. Thanks for posting Sunie!

    I've been on the Frag Doll forums a ton recently as I'm so nervous about the application - but you're sending yours in as well, right? Good luck to us both!

    I understand the reasons why they do the armor thing as well..but give me leather armor to put my mages in - at least! I'm glad that Dragon Age allows for that (to some extent) but games like WoW certainly don't. Sometimes, game mechanics can be so cut and dry...

  7. Good luck to you as well! After reading a bit of your blog, I'm sure you'll get it! You seem very charming! :3 I will "will" us into the draw, np!

    I wish they were being a bit more extensive on the application.. and I sure do hate the random draw thing! T_T!!

    I'm so used to games like Warcraft 3 where I don't have to worry about something not working because of class! I just have to worry about not stacking stuff, keke! :D

  8. I think it really stems from D&D tradition where spellcasters are stupidly good (particularly in 3/3.5), and if they could wear heavy armor, there wouldn't be a compelling reason to ever use non-casters. Which is an adequate argument, I suppose; of course, it kind of falls apart in D&D thanks to the existence of things like Mage Armor. But I can see the logic behind the decision. Casters don't need to be better than they already are in this sort of game.

  9. You don't have to hold the left trigger down for radial menu - it tells you that a lot in the load screens. YOu can set it so that all you have to do is tap left trigger. Also, I got really good with the menu scrolling and stuff, I think it's just because you play it in smaller increments then I did, though.

    Second - I wasn't hating on you for your choice to put Wynne in armor, I was just letting you know stat-wise, it's unwise. If you really want her to wear armor armor, there is the option to make her a arcane warrior (they wear heavy armor.) Therefore, the developers do have it there to choose. However, I'm all about the mages wearing cloth...it just feels right to me, but I already told you that. I think this all stems from your need to play characters that run straight into shit and not standing back. :)


  10. So I might be wrong because I've never used it, but in the options menu I saw an option for the radial menu that might allow you to keep it open without holding down the trigger. I didn't test it, but it might help.

    Agree with the whole menus thing though; I try to use them as little as possible because of their design.

  11. Hmmm...didn't know you could set that to tap...I'll look into that right now!

    And to be honest, it feels "right" to me to when mages wear cloth...but times are a'changin'! That, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm totally the Run n' Gun type. That'll probably never change :D

    Eureka! In the options menu, you can set it to toggle open/close the Radial Menu! Praise Andraste...

  12. To point back to the original reason for mages only wearing cloth it has to do with the somatic portions of spell casting. The thinking was always that, especially with higher level spells, anything other than a free flowing robe would be to constricting for a mage and might cause the spell to go wrong. Bad things happen here. While this is a bad reason to keep mages in cloth, especially these days were most mages don't have any hand movements, traditions rarely change. =)