Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne

It just occurred to me, probably because I just posted about A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV, that 30 years seems like it might be a standard flashback or prequel time frame. Star Wars: Episode One does the roughly-30-years-thing, too. That’s not really relevant to any of what’s to come, just something I noticed as I was about to type out the first sentence of this post.

Anyway. Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne. Takes place an ever-convenient 30-ish years before the opening of Dragon Age: Origins, the actual introduction many if not most of us at this point had to the series. Where each of the games in the series can more or less be experienced without the other installments first, this book needs Origins and vice-versa. I’d played both Origins and Awakening before reading either book, and without the game I wouldn’t have been able to place myself in the text as well as is really fair. But it works much the same the other way around: there is so much about the game that I didn’t really appreciate until reading this book well after the fact.

The book, of course, is all about how the then-exiled-Prince Maric reclaims Ferelden from Orlais. Going into my first read of the book, that’s literally all I had to go on. Looking back before starting my re-read, the biggest impression it left on me was my entire view of Loghain. From almost the first moment, he was actually relatable; completely unlike how he’s presented to us in the main game without any meta knowledge from this book or any other sources. We get to see him as a human, instead of the has-been Hero of River Dane of the game; it’s just one thing that could have/should have been part of the game itself, if not for pacing and resource budgets.

The second biggest thing I remember is being confused by the geography mentioned throughout. It doesn’t help that the map used in the book is an earlier version of Ferelden’s map, one that was changed before the final game was released. Even Redcliffe is in a different position than it is on the games’ maps. But between the book’s map’s differences and the book mentioning Very Important Events happening in places I’d never heard of, it was all very confusing. But in the time since I last read this I’ve done some tinkering with all the versions of all the maps that I think will help me out this time.

And so? Into the book I go. I don’t plan on pushing myself through this process at a rate that’s going to burn me out, so I only have the post formats I plan on using set up and not a schedule. Book posts, at least, will cover whatever meaningful chunks of content I’ve reached by the time of the post. That could be a chapter or chapters, it could be a day’s or week’s worth of reading, or it could be something else entirely. It’ll all depend on that moment. Game posts, later, I have a little more structure for, but as I said–that’s later.

A King’s Tale: Final Fantasy XV

I’m pretty sure most of us know of A King’s Tale already, since it was one of the pre-order bonuses for FFXV–in the U.S. it was the one for GameStop, unfortunately. I don’t like GameStop. So all I’ve had to content myself with was this trailer:

Now then, I’ve had plenty of time since November 29th (lol Squeenix pushed dates again, but what’s a two month delay after 10 years?) where I could have either watched a video of a playthrough, or even tried to Share Play it through a friend (something we’d discussed briefly but never got around to trying) but I didn’t really want to do either of those. I wanted to actually get my hands on the game.

And then? Then Squeenix announced the game would be out March 1st! For free! Until yesterday actually came around, I thought it would be as an add-on for those already with the game, at least in order to get it for free. But nope, everyone can get it for free, and everyone with even the slightest interest in FFXV and/or beat-em-ups really should.

It’s not long, so you don’t have to worry about some huge investment. I played an hour and a half last night (including not only dying a few times but also a few unfortunate distractions; without those the session would probably have been an hour, max), and I think I have one, maybe two maps left. Random YouTube video titles that I’ve seen imply that there might be multiple endings, but I don’t know about that myself and won’t for a while, since I’m only playing through it the once right now.

I’ll be back on Twitch for the second half of the game this afternoon or tonight, but if you want to see last night’s play, you can watch that here. Probably the best “bedtime story” Easter egg I’ve seen pretty much ever can be found near the end of last night’s vid; I don’t know if it triggers on any playthrough or only if you have a habit of dying like I do, but that one scene alone would have been enough for me to spend a few bucks on this quick little game if it wasn’t already free.

TL;DR: I didn’t think a beat-em-up, even an FF one, would be this much fun anymore. If I do have only two maps left, like I think I do, I’m going to be kind of sad that there’s not more to play.

Bren’s 2017 Dragon Age Re-Everything Official Introduction!

So there’s this thing I’ve been babbling about for a few months, you might have heard about it? You know, where I’m going to re-do everything Dragon Age? Turns out, that’s actually a thing after all, in spite of how much of a distraction Final Fantasy XV’s been the last few months.

Other than getting FFXV somewhat out of the way, I’ve been struggling with tweaking little things that I wanted just right before starting this. The worst of them was getting my reading set-up back, by which I mean my tablet functioning again with its Kindle app. In between struggling with that I’ve tested out the formats and such for these types of posts, so now that the tablet is fixed (as of about four hours ago) my wonderfully-intentioned, horribly-overwhelming dive back into Thedas’s questionable geography can begin.

First up: The Stolen Throne. I’ll introduce it properly in my next post, but chronologically, this novel is the first taste of Thedas in general, Ferelden specifically, and the Theirin bloodline very specifically that there is, so that’s where we’re starting: the middle of Ferelden and the middle of a war.

*Note: I’ll be posting links to each piece of media as I go along, as I have above. I don’t have any sort of affiliate status with Amazon or anyone else.

Final Fantasy: All The Bravest..?

I’ve “played” this “game” enough that I’ve apparently finished it with the fight against Ex-Death or Neo Ex-Death or whichever it was, but I still don’t get it.


(Pictured: Not Neo Ex-Death, cause I didn’t get a picture of him. Have a Tiamat instead.)

I mean, I understand how to play the game as the tutorial teaches you to. Tap a character, they hit enemy. Character gets hit, they’re out. Fine. But that’s… literally it? And once I ended up with more than maybe 5 characters (which happened really damned early) I wasn’t tapping characters anymore so much as just constantly swiping at my screen to make sure a character is attacking as soon as it was active again. And… that’s it. That’s the whole game.

And I played until the end, and I’m still not entirely sure why.

The game has premium characters and items and stuff. For you to buy. With money. Have people actually paid for them? Why? There’s no where in the game to take them. So far as I can tell, you don’t get extra levels for unlocking premium characters. And even if you did, it’s more than a little dumb.

Also, why in god’s name is there a social function? I barely want to type out this post admitting that I played this game through to the end. I’m only doing it because I’m that confused by the game and the fact that I continued to play it. I sure as hell didn’t want to brag about it while playing.

IDK. I’m not going to understand ATB. I’m just going to go back to Record Keeper. I’m currently on the last fight of Castle Fynn from FFII, which I guess is about a third through the currently-available Realm dungeons, and it’s keeping me far more entertained than most mobile games. And at least it is a game, especially compared to ATB.

Post-Birthday and Games

I thought I’d get back here sooner than this, but having four days off for my birthday actually turned into doing things instead of just being at home with time to spare. Not any sort of big things; just lunch out, going to the mall to get more Pop!s with a gift card and roaming town in general, then dinner out the day of. Then random errands and Cake Night the rest of the weekend. But still, more time out than home, which means more time not on FFXV than on it.

Right now? I’m trudging through all the hunts as of Chapter 3. Even though I know this time that if I leave and come back, they’ll be there when I do, I can’t help but to clear up as many of them as possible before moving on. That means doing everything available before entering the Leville and meeting Iris, otherwise Noct’s headaches will start and the Plot will be Advanced. Which I can’t let happen, because I’m doing hunts. I need to let Brian play some anyway, though, so maybe I’ll have him do that and put off some of my game for him to have time with it instead. I’ve been trying to find stuff like the Cosmogony books and other lore online that I can drip feed him as he goes without spoiling anything; that way when he gets to Those Parts of the Game, he’ll have some background for what the hell is going on. I was able to send him most of the “ancient” history stuff without worrying about spoilers. Two of the sections needed removing, but the rest was fine. He went through those, and I’m pretty sure he has questions but doesn’t know what to ask that I won’t freeze up on and accidentally spoil by how I do or don’t answer.

Another thing that can work out if I pass the game to Brian is starting on the DA Re-Everything. The first two parts of that are books so I won’t need the game room for it, and/or I can sit with Brian and read while he plays. And, if I decide to include Gleam’s comic, that’s a third part that I can do that isn’t a game. This is probably how I should and probably will work this project out, so now I just need to figure out what kind of post format to use for it and get started. I’m going to work on that, then get a start on The Stolen Throne.

Birthday, Pillowfort, Games

My birthday’s tomorrow!  And I have a ton of time off work for it, too! Other than Cake Night on Saturday (which c’mon, that’s the important part) I’m not sure specifically how I’m going to spend the time. Games? Yep. Movie(s)? Maybe. Naps? Definitely. The only problem is that I have the massive problem of still not knowing what theme I want for my cake. Brian’s likely to kill me if I don’t pick something soon, so I’ve got to figure something out on that front. We do have new Fairy Tail to watch for my bday, though! Technically not new, but the Collection… 6? set, which is the last two eps of Tenrou, X791, and I think the start of the Grand Magic Games. We’re still catching up on re-watching the last sets though, so we might not watch the new ones right away. We’re about halfway through Oracion Seis as of last night.

Otherwise, in Bren-gaming-news, FFXV Hell is still the Thing. I’m working on general hunts and side quests in chapter 3 before I head into Lestallum with my #PrinceSpaceman New Game+. Brian’s only a little bit behind me on his save (also chapter 3, but not as many side quests done yet), which is nice, because I don’t want to get too far ahead of him as he plays. Ideally, I wouldn’t get ahead of him at all, but the only way to guarantee that is to not play at all until he finishes each chapter. And, well, I don’t want to wait.

am, however, getting closer to picking up the previously-postponed New Year Dragon Age Re-Everything. I had a dream that was kind of about my Ria Hawke last night, and so with her calling to me I think it might be time to force myself away from FF at last. Well, at least from FFXV. I’ve started playing FF Record Keeper on my phone finally, after god-knows how many times I’ve meant to play it and just never did, and I’m hooked. It’s super generous for a F2P game, and it’s absolutely adorable. Then again, give me FF6 style sprites on almost anything, and you’ll sell me on it.

…And now I’ve just had the horrible and not-affordable idea of commissioning that style pixel art of my Dragon Age girls (at least the main 4 of Warden Elissa, Ria Hawke, Mika Trevelyan, and my Inquisition Agent Vrania Amell; possibly also of my Surana as well, because while she’s not from of my canon world state, I adore her almost as much as do the others). Maybe if people don’t listen to me* and give me like, gift cards or something for my bday that I can trade for art services, I can see if any pixel artists would want a trade like that. *I’ve actually told one friend to contact all our other friends who may come by to override Brian in reference to Cake Night invitations, to tell them that if Brian said “birthday” that I don’t want people to bring stuff. I just want people to eat cake and play a few specific games with. I won’t be rude and turn things away, but presents aren’t what I’m going for. Also, when I saw most of those same friends last week I deliberately called this Saturday Cake Night and not “for my bday” so hopefully that’ll stick.

Oh! I finally got my email from pillowfort.io that their beta’s going live this week! I still don’t know how the site’s going to work overall (and a lot of that is going to depend on the dedication of the community it does or doesn’t build–it’s not all on them), but from the demos I’m hopeful for it as a tumblr/LJ kind of replacement community. I looked today and their sign-up/sign-in splash page is already live, but since it won’t officially open until Friday around 3pm EST we won’t be getting our beta keys until then. That said, I will have four extra keys, in addition to the one for myself, so if anyone’s interested just DM me on Twitter. Mutuals from Twitter and/or Tumblr who don’t already have keys get 1st priority on my extra keys, then if all four haven’t been taken then others will be up for grabs to anybody. (You can go ahead and DM me now if you’d like, but I won’t have the keys to pass along until Pillowfort emails them out to me on Friday itself.)

Once pillowfort is opened, and if the site works how I hope it will, I’ll be putting any super-fandom posts over there, with links to them here. That means fanfic, if I ever get focused enough to write it again; that means fanart both commissioned of my characters and that I just really, really adore; that means mega-meta and what-if commentaries on games. Probably/mostly Dragon Age, because FFXV Hell can’t last forever. The NYDARe-Everything will be the opposite, though, with primary posts coming here and the cross-post links going over there.

Okay, finally I do want to mention a small thing that’s not going to be part of this blog’s actual theme or primary content, but that isn’t going to be entirely invisible so I’ll mention it the once: US Politics. This sort of thing won’t be posted directly to this page unless there are some major items that I feel like I can’t not post, but the copy of my Twitter feed on the right side of the page will have quite a bit of politics mixed in with my usual posts of cats, games, and random stream-of-consciousness blather. You’ve been warned, or something like that.

*Fake edit: Coworkers have gotten me presents for my bday tomorrow. D4 got me a $25 Think Geek certificate, which I’m probably going to take to the local store of to dig through their Pop! wall. Manager got me a cute Hello Kitty top-and-shorts PJ set. They both did this after asking what I was getting, and after I answered that I wasn’t “getting” anything cause I told people not to get stuff. They don’t follow directions very well. :p

[Fandom & Personal Post] Games, Medical, Housekeeping, BIRTHDAY!

  1. Games: I’m still fully in Final Fantasy XV hell, and I don’t see myself coming out of it any time soon. The Chocobo-Moogle Carnival/January Update came out this past week, and while I do have some pictures of #PrinceSpaceMan‘s adventure through the festival I’m still working on how I want pictures formatted here. I need to find out if I can link external images into a “gallery” format post or if I have to host them locally. If it has to be local, well, we’ve got some problems. More on that later, though.
    1. I’ve also gotten kind of hooked on Final Fantasy Record Keeper, something I don’t know how I haven’t played before now. I’ve even downloaded it multiple times in the past, and when I never got around to it I would uninstall it again. It’s so much fun though, and so cute.
    2. Twitch streaming of FFXV will pick up again when I get my PrinceSpaceMan NG+ caught up to where the original save’s streams left off. I think that’s chapter 6, but I’m not sure. I need to dig through my previous clips and figure out where I was. It won’t have the fun of first-time reactions that the original save had, but at least I won’t be wandering quite so blindly.
  2. Medical: If you follow me on Twitter, then you know that this week especially I’ve been going through some of the worst migraines I’ve had in years. They’re getting in the way of a lot of things right now, and I’m trying to push through them, but damn it’s been hard. They’ve been cutting into everything, both Serious Life Stuff and Fun Relaxing Stuff. So when I have the energy, I might be whining about that a bit. If I’m not whining, I’m either sleeping or feel well enough to watch movies or play games or something.
  3. Housekeeping: Like I said above, I’m still working out some kinks of how I want to make gallery posts here. Storage on my free account is… lacking… but I’m not in a spot to upgrade that right now. So, if gallery images have to be hosted locally? That’s a problem. But if I can link them from anywhere else we’ll definitely be in business. Maybe it’ll let me host thumbnails and link those to full sized images off-site? That might be a happy medium, if necessary and allowed.
  4. BIRTHDAY! The countdown is less than a week now, and my manager gave me a 4-day weekend for it. (I was only asking for the day itself because the month-end/month-start transition is so busy, but she says she can cover it.) They aren’t free days off, of course, but my allowed time off can afford it, even with being sick this week. More importantly than birthday, though, is Cake Day. Yeah, I capitalized that. It’s an event. I told Brian to tell anyone he invites over for that the cake is all I’m worried about, and to just bring games to play and not other stuff. I have enough things that I can’t keep up with as it is.
    1. There is one birthday thing I’m getting Brian to get me: the next Fairy Tail Blu-Ray collection. It’s one of the few anime that I can’t watch in Japanese, and all of the streams for the show are only subbed now. So that means buying it, and buying it as collections instead of “Parts” gets me more episodes at a time, but I have to wait longer for them. Even though the eps are already dubbed. Funimation is dumb sometimes. (For the record the next set, the one that came out last week, should be the last episode of Tenrou Island and the start of the Grand Magic Games. After that, I have to find an excuse in March for the collection after that. It shouldn’t be too hard to justify as a single splurge that month, especially since Brian isn’t caught up to as much as I am from the manga leaks.)
    2. I’m still trying to figure out what to ask for for my cake, though. I normally have this decided months in advance for something mildly ridiculous, but this month all I can really think of are stars or the color purple. A far cry from the rainbow dinosaur cake from a few years ago, but I’m cutting it really close time-wise so I’ll take what I can get.