Let's Reinvent The Wheel, By Destroying It

Dragon Age 2 details have been released, one being that DA2 will use the same “conversation wheel” that Mass Effect uses.

I was excited for DA2 when it was announced, really excited. This news, however, put a bit of damper on that. One of the things that was responsible for growing my DA fanaticism was the conversations.

When you play ME, there is really no thought process involved in the conversations–though admittedly, they are entertaining, Personally, I don’t really pay attention unless it’s a story-driven event. Blue for good, red for bad, white for something neutral, and if you’re charming enough maybe you can twist somebody’s arm. That’s not the case in Dragon Age Origins.

There are times in Origins when you choose one of 6 dialog options. They are listed in numerical order and they aren’t colour-coded. So how do you know which response to give? Well, you’ve just got to use your brain. All you have to go by, is the context of the conversation and your comprehension skills to deduce what your answer could be. It is really challenging, what you pick might not always be what you thought it was, and you find out later in the conversation as it pans out. I will give you an example.

Leliana: “And…that is the reason I am here. The real reason. No more lies between us, at least in this.”

Response (no colour coding wheel, listed in the same text that is used for subtitles):

1. Is having you here a threat to us?

2. Thank you for trusting me with this.

3. Your past is going to catch up to you eventually.

4. You will be safe in my company.

So…there is no EVIL or GOOD answer here. This is a point in a conversation with one of your party members when she is telling you a very deep and emotional personal travesty. You have to take into account how the character Leliana will react to each answer. In other words, you have to understand people and party members enough so you know HOW to be a dick to them.

For plot-advancing things, this is hard on your first time because…well, not everybody has people-reading skills, or enough skill to pick up on the inflections and tone of people’s voices, the manner in which they’re speaking.

To be a dick to Leliana, you have to pick number 1. I THINK, I’m not sure. ITS NOT COLOUR CODED. She might react neutrally, or what you think might be an insult they might just laugh off.

That makes it both tricky and entertaining, a wrong response might end up making you curse at the TV or start laughing. The mystery and comprehension requirement of the conversation options doesn’t exist with a colour-coded system. I lament the loss of brainpower-related skills in any game, and that it is happening to my most favourite franchise.