[Story] The Winter Veil Ball – Ordinicus

There were never any parties in Shadowmoon. I think I’m still getting used to the idea, though we’re far removed from the city still, it’s a lot different than how I lived before. I imagine if I’d never left for Outland, I’d be an expert at these sort of things by now. I don’t regret anything though, I enjoy the work we’re doing and I like the other guys I work with. Hethurin is all right to work for too, he’s a bit picky sometimes but he doesn’t treat us badly like the guests used to. I think about how they are doing back at the inn sometimes, whether it’s even still running. I’d guess it’s probably not; we were barely holding on even back then. And that was before they discovered the new portal. Kestrae says a lot of people have gone through that one. Does the same inn exist there? Are there still holes in the roof? I don’t know. I think she’d like to go and find out, some day. I’d like to go with her, but there’s still so much to do here. It seems the more we finish, the more people want to hire us. Which isn’t a bad problem to have, really. I’ll be able to save up more than enough if we decide to move somewhere else.

There are still several houses on the Academy grounds to fix up, then I overheard the ranger captain talking to Hethurin about having some cabins added on to the ranger site. Even if he were to wait until spring, we’ll likely still be busy then as that’s when everyone wants to start building. I thought about going over but I didn’t, mostly because I don’t want to cause any problems between him and Kestrae. I think things are mostly smoothed over, and he seems like a reasonable enough guy, but it’s probably better that I don’t interfere. Anyway, he said he might have them work on it themselves if we’re not available. I wonder what Kestrae would think if I was working on the rangers’ site. They must be getting a lot of new people if they are needing to add on already. That got Kes to talking about children again. It doesn’t help that seemingly every woman around here is expecting. I never know what to say about it, I mean, I still don’t feel we’re secure enough to be ready for something like that. Being here still feels a little temporary, and I admit that I still have a few doubts about her research. I think as long as she took precautions it would be okay but it does worry me a bit. I haven’t the first clue how to take care of one, either. I’m not sure if I’m prepared for that, but then again maybe no one is. Thankfully she didn’t press the subject too much but I know it’ll come up again, probably sooner than later.

We took home a whole plate of food. I hope Tik made a lot of extra, because I think everyone else did too. They sure went all out for this party. I hope they at least had some time to enjoy it.


[OOC] Dragon Age: Inquisition – 20 Hours In

Right, well I know I said I wasn’t buying this game, but flush with Christmas money and at 33% off, I decided that it was worth $40. Plus, if you buy it through Origin (as I did), it comes with a 7-day refund policy. Good enough.

So here are my impressions from the roughly 20-hour mark. I’m well aware that they could change later on, so I’ll probably update again then. But I’ll address the points I brought up in my last post:

This is my Inquisitor. She always has this baffled and/or pissed off look.

This is my Inquisitor. She always has this baffled and/or pissed off look.

The controls. Oh god, the controls. You can’t click to move to things, there’s no area looting (so you have to scoot into range of everything in order to pick it up). The tactical camera is terrible. The menus are awkward and take ages to navigate. I don’t really know how to describe it other than clunky. A UI should be intuitive and unobtrusive. As of right now, it’s not. Hopefully some of this stuff is patched in later. And this is just me, but I miss the space bar to pause. I could re-bind the keys, but meh.

Mindlessly wandering around the wilderness. I get it, exploring is fun — to a degree. But a lot of the quests feel like pointless busywork. Collect 10 of this flower, bring it back to some healer. Your “power” goes up by one. What does that mean? I have no idea. It’s an arbitrary gating mechanic to keep you from doing the main storyline quests whenever you want to.

The story feels contrived and “gamey”. I kind of touched on this in the last point, but it just really feels like you’re doing things for game purposes rather than story purposes. Especially in the case of my Inquisitor, who happens to be a Dalish elf and a mage. At one point, her advisors tell her to go and meet with someone to sway them over to their cause. For some reason, a Dalish elf who’s probably had zero contact with any humans until this point, and a MAGE who is hated and feared by just about everyone — is considered the best choice for this task. I have a feeling that the story probably works a bit better if you play as a human, but that’s really no excuse. DA:O was able to pull off the different stories and tie them in together.

Not healing. This is still stupid. Healing is replaced by barrier spam, which is effectively the same thing. I really don’t understand this change at all. The 8 potion limit is annoying, too.

Not a fan of most of the characters. This will likely change as I get further in and get more opportunity to interact with them, but I pretty much can’t stand any of my actual party members. The ones I like are my council or advisors or whatever they are: Cullen, Josephine, Cassandra and Leliana. Why can’t they go out with me! (I mean, Cassandra can, but the others.) My poor Inquisitor is just rolling her eyes at the others all of the time, although Dorian is kind of amusing. If I ever do another play-through I’ll have to be a guy so I can flirt with him. The character I expected to like — the elf, because me and elves — comes off as creepy and insufferable to my Inquisitor. I still hate Varric, if you wondered.

Did my choices even matter? Sure, Hawke shows up but there’s been hardly a word of my Warden. Leliana mentions him once very briefly in passing, but she’s more upset over another character’s death than his. Why don’t other mages ever mention him? He did save the world, after all. Even dead, I feel like he should have a bit more influence than he does. Hopefully there’s more later on.

Missions. Like I don’t get enough of this crap in WoW? Follower missions aren’t fun there, and they aren’t fun here either. Seriously. Waiting 3 hours for someone to do a task for me is not compelling gameplay.

Now for the stuff I do kinda like:

Scenery. The world looks great, I love the swaying trees, rain, and the ocean. Which is good as you see a lot of the world while you wander aimlessly around.

Skyhold. It’s a big castle to run around in, and you can actually customize it to a degree. You can find materials to upgrade parts (I made a garden), change the flags, the furniture in your room, etc. It’s funny that I can play house more here than I can in my WoW garrison. Even though I can’t actually invite anyone over.

Storyline. The story that I have got so far is interesting enough to make me want to see what’s next. I just wish it took past choices and my race more into account. But who knows, maybe it will later on. I do like seeing and recognizing characters and things from the other games, such as Connor in Redcliffe. I just recently initiated a romance (woo!) so that’s always fun to follow as well.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – Letter to Nessna

My dearest kitten,

I hope you don’t mind that I wrote you a letter, I’m never very good at saying things even when I’ve practiced them over and over in my head. Besides, this way you can save it and read it later if you like. Maybe if I’ve done something stupid and you need to be reminded why you put up with me.

It’s hard to believe how much can change in a year. I guess you might not remember it very well; you had so much going on then. We’d both just returned from Kalimdor, and you were still quite badly injured. I remember that Lani wouldn’t even let you out of bed to walk around the garden. I can’t imagine what it would be like to come back alone as you did, and trying to adjust to everything again. For me, it was the first time I’d been even close to Silvermoon in more than two years. I’d spent them alone, away from everyone — even my family — by my own choosing. I think it helped, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t lonely. At last year’s ball though, I was only concerned with making sure the party was safe and no one came who wasn’t supposed to. I was worried about getting the ranger quarters built and finding enough people to help out. Your offer was a great relief and gave me some hope that maybe it would work out after all.

Of course it didn’t take very long for me to notice all of the other things about you, but I was certain it was far too early for you to even consider that. I know you must miss him still sometimes, and probably always will. I just hope he knows that you and Rylad are being looked after and he wouldn’t be too upset. If you ever talk to him, make sure he knows that. If I was in his place, I’d have done the same without a moment’s hesitation. Hopefully he knows that too.

While I was away all that time, I often thought I’d never really be happy again. There were times I thought I should just stay away forever, forgotten out in the wilds. I’m glad that I didn’t. I still find it hard to believe that you’d be interested in me. I’m not perfect and I make mistakes sometimes, a lot of times if you ask certain people. I don’t know if I deserve someone as good as you and Rylad, but I try my best to prove that I do.

I could hardly believe my ears when you asked about Rylad being a brother last night. You did say that, right? If you feel it’s the right time then I am ready too. I’ll even take your patrols if you need me to, you know, if you need me to. Not that I don’t think you can do it, but it might be hard to carry your bow or something.

Love always,

PS – The chair is the best gift I’ve ever got. It’s perfect. I feel like a king when I sit on it! Did Rylad’s grandfather make it? If so, I hope that means he doesn’t dislike me anymore.

[Story] Fairsong Academy – The Winter Veil Ball

Hethurin hated his gift. He wouldn’t even take it. He kept saying that it wasn’t important to him and I should keep it. But that’s the reason I wanted him to have it, because it does mean a lot to me. By giving it to him I’m telling him how important he is, and besides, I’d still kind of have it then. It also means I won’t leave so he could stop worrying about that. But he wouldn’t take it, so now I don’t know, and now he doesn’t have a present at all.

Everything was good up until then, although he did drink a lot of wine. I wish he wouldn’t do that, because it makes me worry about him falling asleep downstairs. Or having a really bad headache the next day. Luckily this time he was upstairs before he fell asleep, but I still thought about saying something. I thought it would just make things worse though. He said he hosted the balls for everyone else — the rangers and students and friends. I thought that was a little weird, like shouldn’t he have them because he likes it? I don’t know. Everyone did look like they were having a good time though. Pretty much everyone was either dancing or sitting with someone. Tik told me about a plant you can hang up and people are supposed to kiss you if you stand under it, I put that around in different places. I’m not sure if people noticed but there was definitely kissing going on. I put some all around our room too, but of course there wasn’t really any kissing after he didn’t want my present.

Tik made the spinach rolls, he also made some that had smoked fish inside. I thought that sounded a bit weird, but he was right — they turned out really good. Everyone loved the cake I think, I made a whole miniature one just for Hethurin. I don’t know if he was very excited about that either. I thought for sure he’d love his gift. I don’t know what to think now that I know he doesn’t. Hurt I guess mostly. He got me a lot of things, he paid the rent for my mother’s house and he got me a set of fancy baking pans with gold. I asked him what he wants me to make and he said cake. There was also some little fancy glasses for drinking with. And now I didn’t get him anything at all. It was the best gift I could think of and he didn’t even want it.

Maybe I should go talk to the Confessor, even if he’s married to Hethurin’s sister I don’t think he would tell anyone about it. I’m just worried I’ll cry if I try to talk to someone about it, I was doing my best not to last night but Hethurin might have noticed. I couldn’t tell. Then he wanted to sleep on the couch and that’s worse, I didn’t want him not wanting to be with me after he didn’t want my present. I don’t even know what I’ll do with it now. I guess I could give it back to my mother, but I don’t know how I’ll explain that.

[Story] The Ghostclaw – The Winter Veil Ball

The ball was nice. I can’t really compare it to last year’s, because I didn’t go. Speaking of that, Gael was there too, with his mage. I don’t think he noticed me at all though, he definitely didn’t say anything. But even compared to the other balls I’ve been to, it was nice. I really should have bought a new dress though. Everyone else’s looked so nice, even Im was wearing a robe! I hadn’t really thought about it until the day of, and by then it was too late of course. I only really have three dresses, and I thought this one would be the most appropriate because it was red and gold. But everything was decorated in blue and silver, so I didn’t match at all. Des had a really nice dress. She and Pero are going for a little trip soon, and it’s all that he can talk about. I can’t blame him for being excited about it, though.

Sunashe couldn’t bring my gift along to the ball, because he said it was too big. I made him try to guess what his gift was, I told him it was something useful. So he guessed things like lizard food and bowstring wax. He said that he always needed that, so then I thought that maybe he’d just bought me a giant box of wax. I wasn’t in too big of a hurry to get back and see my gift in that case. I think he liked the watch, he said he’d never had anything so nice before. I never did figure out what to put on it, I thought maybe my initials or something, but I don’t know. This way I can add something later on if I ever decide. There weren’t any with lizards, but I did find one with a dragon engraved on the front, that’s close enough I hope. There’s also a little place where he could put a picture if he likes. I said we could read the book while we went camping. I guess Nessna was right, I could have just gone camping with him and I think he’d have been happy with that, but it didn’t feel enough like a gift. I wanted to get him an actual thing he could keep.

We stayed for a while, the food was all really delicious and the cake was amazing too. I thought the snowflakes were just decorations but they were made of sugar and you could actually eat them! I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to make those. We danced for a while too, he’s quite a good dancer which I guess I didn’t expect. I mean, we’ve danced before but it always surprises me a little, I don’t know why. He’s always polite and says that I am too, even though I know I’m terrible. The Matron made us take lessons but they were very rare and I think we mostly forgot everything in between anyway. I should write her and tell her they’ve gone to good use, at least.

He didn’t get me wax though, back at the ranger building he got me a vase with flowers, and a whole set of dishes. I can tell that they must have cost a lot, they’re made of good porcelain and very delicate. The best part is that they have little moths on them; around the edges of the plates and on the mugs and saucers. I’ve never seen a set with moths on them so he must have had them custom made. I can’t imagine how much he must have spent on them! Even to get flowers this time of year is very expensive, because they have to be brought in from other places or grown in a greenhouse. They feel way too fancy for here, and I wasn’t sure when I’d ever be able to use them, then he told me that the captain is building some cabins and we could stay in them. We, as in us living together. He didn’t even really ask, it was just sort of decided. I’m not sure if I want that just yet, I tried to say it was too soon but he said we’re practically living together already. Except we’re not, because I can always go back to my bed if I want to, or if things don’t work out. Living together is a lot different and we’d see each other all the time, good and bad. I’m afraid of getting too involved and having something bad happen, it’s happened plenty of times before. He says he wouldn’t do that but I don’t think anyone ever plans for something like that to happen. I agreed to at least give it a try, because they haven’t even been built yet, it probably wouldn’t even be ready until the spring. Maybe by then I’ll feel better about it. I wish there was a way to know if everything will be all right.

[Screenshots] Vicious Warsaber

One of my goals in Warlords was to do more PVP, and this mount was one of the reasons for that! After about 3 weeks of  pain we are finally done. As much as I enjoy large scale PVP like Ashran, arena is a whole different animal. It’s a lot more stressful! I never want to see another frost death knight, discipline priest, or feral druid again. (No offense if anyone plays one — I don’t even blame the players, blame the developers for the awful balance.)



[Story] Winter Veil Postcards – Imralion

“Aeramin?” Imralion knocked on the door of the bathroom again, but there was no answer. “At least say something so I know you’re still in there.”

“I’m fine,” Aeramin answered through the door. “I’ll just be a few minutes.” Imralion knew that neither of those things were probably true; for one, Aeramin had been in the bathroom since that morning when the package had been delivered on their doorstep. For another, it was from his father. Though it was obviously a sword from the shape of the package, it wasn’t just any sword. It was a family heirloom, one that had been passed down through many generations of Firewinds and had now finally been given to Aeramin. Imralion couldn’t remember him having ever mentioned it before, but judging from his father’s note, it was important to him once. Imralion couldn’t think of what to say that could help. He didn’t know his own father, knew nothing about him other than his surname — which wasn’t much help either, as it was extremely common. All of his interactions with Arancon had left him with a very bad opinion of the man, and he could only imagine what Aeramin had endured growing up. Now he thought he could make all that go away with a present? It was a nice gesture, maybe, but it wasn’t really enough.

Imralion hadn’t even given Aeramin his gift yet, and he was worried that he wouldn’t be in the mood for getting them now anyway. He’d had a difficult time choosing a gift. They had been together almost two years now, long enough that shopping for each other should be simple. Last year Aeramin had got him a ring, but he hadn’t really been ready for anything like that. Imralion felt that this year he was, but he couldn’t give Aeramin the same gift again. It would be tacky. In the city he’d bought a set of high quality cookware, because Aeramin cooked for them often and really seemed to enjoy it. There was also a stack of books of varying subjects, some of which he’d chosen because he thought Aeramin would find them interesting, and others they’d have to keep in the bookshelf in their room. Last year he’d bought Aeramin a set of paints, but he wasn’t sure if he really liked them or if they reminded him too much of his mother. But Imralion did buy a large box of fancy chocolates, as well. Maybe he could get the ring in the spring.

Lin wasn’t easy to buy for either. He’d ended up getting her a new pair of boots, very similar to her old pair. It was a pretty boring gift, but at least it would be useful and her feet would be warm on patrol. If she was still seeing that ranger, he ought to get her something nice — hopefully not another pair of boots.

Imralion put his ear to the door again. Aeramin hadn’t teleported out; he could still hear him in there, though he was very quiet. He went and got a pillow to sit on while he waited.