What’s Next

The Ardwulf clan bought me a shiny new copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition for Christmas, and I’ve spent about an hour playing it so far. Coming directly from Dragon Age: Origins it’s a significant shift; the controls are just different enough to create confusion in the easily confused (i.e. me.) But it has jumping, which I appreciate.

From the various holiday sales I also acquired Dragon Age II and Mass Effect 3, so there may be LPs of those coming. I’ve fooled about a bit with DAII so far and like it quite a bit. I would also like to pick up Banner Saga if it comes up for a Daily Deal on Steam before the sale ends; otherwise I don’t have quite enough in my Steam wallet to afford it. I’d also like to grab the latest Crusader Kings II expansion, Way of Life,” which is new enough that it almost certainly will not be discounted.

The Dragon Age: Origins will continue, of course. The candidates for the next Let’s Play that are already in my library are:

  • Crusader Kings II, up through the Charlemagne expansion.
  • Dragon Age; Inquisition, if I can get the fucking video to come out.
  • Europa Universalis IV, with all expansions enabled.
  • Mass Effect Trilogy, a mega-LP of all three games with the same Commander Shepard.
  • If you have an opinion on which of these you would like to see, speak up in the comments!

    Ardwulf Plays: Dragon Age Origins 14 – Cursed Magic

    In Episode 14 of our Dragon Age: Origins Let’s Play, we continue ascending the Circle Tower. On the Circle Tower. Nearing the summit, we encounter our old friend, the Sloth Demon, who sends us back into the Fade.

    Stay tuned for episode 15, due tomorrow!

    Ardwulf Plays: Dragon Age Origins Episode 13 – Climbing the Tower

    Merry Christmas! Today we have Episode 13 of our Dragon Age: Origins Let’s Play, in which we venture onto the third floor of the Circle Tower, continuing to clear the various Darkspawn, Blood Magi and abominations from the place.

    Stay tuned in for Episode 13, up tomorrow!

    Ardwulf Plays: Dragon Age Origins Episode 12 – The Tower Under Siege

    In Episode 12 of our Dragon Age: Origins Let’s Play, we continue clearing out the Circle Tower. We hear of an unfamiliar Mage, Niall, who may have played a part in unleashing demons, blood magic and abominations upon the Tower. One the second level we encounter a pack of Blood Magi, who we defeat. I elect not to show mercy to the lone survivor.

    We encounter a powerful Revenant that costs us a large portion of our potion supply to defeat. From First Enchanter Irving’s quarters we recover the Black Grimoire, which we will later gift to Morrigan as part of her character quest line.

    There is a lot of DA:O left to play, so this is a game I’ll be sticking with for the time being. But you’ll see the next one before too long; very early in the new year I plan to start a second concurrent playthrough, but exactly what that will be depends on a couple of different things. I may have something to say about that by the end of the week.

    Stay tuned in for Episode 13, due tomorrow!

    Ardwulf Plays: Dragon Age Origins Episode 11 – Trouble on the Docks

    In Episode 11 of our Dragon Age: Origins playthrough, we travel to the Tower of the Magi, to gain their aid against Loghain and the Blight. On the docks on Lake Calenhad, we learn that there is trouble in the Tower.

    After talking our way into the Tower, we find that the Magi have been compromised. Demons and abominations have taken control, and the Templars control only part of the first floor. Seeing no other alternative, Knight-Commander Gregoir has called for the Rite of Annulment, which will eradicate everyting in the tower, Magi and demons alike. It’s not completely clear whether this is a ritual or a mere decree of some kind.

    Wishing the Magi’s support in the crusade against the Blight, we agree to clear out the tower and salvage the situation. But the doors will be sealed behind us, with no escape until we fail or succeed. After seeing the quartermaster to clear space in our inventory, we venture inside.

    Within, we find a group of Magi and your apprentices holding out, including Wynne, a senior Mage who was at Ostagar but who survived the slaughter. She will (must, in fact,) join us for the remainder of our work in the Tower, destroying the abominations and saving the First Enchanter.

    With this episode we begin the main, branching part of the Dragon Age: Origins story. In principle we can do eacxh of the four paths in any order, but it turns out that they aren’t really tuned that way; the Magi questline in generally held (so I’ve read) to be the one you want to do first, since it’s alleged to be the easiest (but perhaps the longest, as you’ll see,) and it unlocks Wynne, the only healer companion, as a party member. Plus, my character is a Mage, so it seemed appropriate to do their questline first.

    Stay tuned in for Episode 12, due tomorrow!

    How One Story Ends

    In 2009 I began to emabark on a personal journey — to go back to school. My desire to do so dated from my departure in 1991, but it was only with the unflagging support of Mrs. Ardwulf that it was finally made to happen. I have been taking classes since 2010 and it was a very long, slow road, filled with potholes and faceplants along the way.

    There were times that I didn’t think I would finish. One of those times was just before the start of the Autumn 2014 semester, when my financial aid was abruptly cut off. Just like that, it looked like I was done, two semesters away from graduating. Thankfully there was help. Arrangements were made, but in order to pull it off I had to pack everything that I needed into one semester. The university did their part by giving me a final-term grant so I could finish, and a family member lent me the rest until I could pull the money together. It was harrowing — at one point I was actually disenrolled.

    The semester itself was backbreaking, bearing in mind that I have worked full time or more the whole time, at a real grownup job rather than at a part-time student gig. Sleep was often an unaffordable luxury; sometimes I didn’t have time to eat. I developed a variety of stress-fueled ailments. My beleaguered wife had to deal with me having very little time or energy to spend with her.

    As the pieces started to fall into place in the autumn I kept my distance from the graduation. The paperwork was all done, and as the end of the semester loomed so did due dates and projects. I just didn’t trust that everything wouldn’t fall apart through some bitter mischance. I breathed sighs of relief as the grades came in, one by one, with room to spare. I got nervous when I got my line assignment. It’s not real yet, I’d tell myself. I kept on thinking that as I walked into the Schottenstein Center on Sunday morning, only to find my name on the list. But that still wasn’t surety, that I wouldn’t get a crushing letter in my envelope instead of a diploma, informing me that I didn’t qualify and would have to do more to graduate — which could not have happened. When I saw my name in the program I was still in a quantum state of believing and not believing.

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    When they handed me this, I believed. And there it is. After 25 years, with an 18-year break and five more years that felt even longer, it is accomplished. I look forward to having my life back.

    Ardwulf Plays; Dragon Age: Origins Epsiode 10 -­ Tales of Old Ferelden

    My apologies for having no episode yesterday there simply wasn’t the time.
    A full explanation will be forthcoming in a separate post later today.

    Meanwhile, we have Episode 10 today! Herein we finish exploring the wilderness near Lothering, and finally depart. In our party camp, after a harrowing nightmare of the Archdemon, we encounter the Dwarven merchants once again and have much conversation with our party members, including some old tales from Morrigan about the mysterious Flemeth.

    We’ll have episodes daily from here on out. Number 11 is due tomorrow!