Originally Posted by comment on combat difficulty
Yes, probably -- try it on the default setting and go down if you find it too difficult (which has friendly fire, although that makes less of a difference than it would in NWN2 for instance). I think you can adjust it while playing, in case you get stuck or are just annoyed at replaying a battle, but I'll confirm that. I've stuck on "normal" and have spent a long time on some battles to develop better strategies (and, occasionally, relying on BG1-type kiting).
Originally Posted by On classes and Mages
Classes are distinct - you can't turn a Mage into a fighter-mage, for instance. You'll have to opt for a fighter, rogue or mage - they all play very differently despite some overlap in powers. Skills can be chosen by any character, even though in other games you'd typically associate them with specific classes (like herbalism, for making potions; stealing; trapmaking -- those aren't confined to mages, rogues, etc. as you might intuitively expect).
Mages are also extremely powerful, but vulnerable, almost to the extent of the older editions of D&D. They're also very customizable - one mage will play very differently from another based upon the wide range of available spells (you can try to be a jack of all trades, but at high cost, since you could instead progress in the 4 ranks of spells to choose from in each specialization.
But mages are uber-dangerous, which also fits well with the background lore of the setting. While in most D&D games typically one of the easiest ways to blast through the storyline is to have a band of fighter types, that wouldn't work as well in Dragon Age, where combat is really tough without a mage's AOE damage and crowd control spells and healing (no clerics, so mages fill that role too).
In my primary playthrough, for most of the game I ended up using 2 mages, a warrior and a rogue (my main), which is a mix that I don't think I ever used in a D&D game.
Originally Posted by On choice making in DA:O
Hey, as I mentioned in my review, BioWare games usually have 3 choices - good/bad/petulant teenager-nobody-ever-chooses-option.
While I definitely think that's a legitimate criticism (which I share) of past games, it's not true of Dragon Age generally, which does a better job of providing choices that seem varied and reasonably viable than almost any RPG. Dragon Age is a significant improvement in that respect. To be honest, it's the first BioWare game that (at least) matched the style of Troika/Obsidian, old Black Isle games in that respect - BioWare games have always had good stories and generally solid dialogue, but their method of storytelling has been simpler. There's an amazing amount of choice in Dragon Age.
Sure there are some quest instances where you have to elect to help, or not, but even when there's only two end results in those circumstances, there's different ways to arrive at those endings - the bottom line is, the choices just feel more "natural", less like you're gaming, and are more ambiguous and intriguing, so you're more likely to choose a personalized path based upon the character you're roleplaying instead of just "gaming" the result you think you want to have.
I think you'll also like the way magic is handled in Dragon Age, then. Mages are fucking dangerous and treated as such. They're lobotomized, hunted down, forced into training, or executed.
People aren't using light spells to walk their dogs - the clergy have no magic (and are opposed to it, for possibly legitimate reasons) it's a relatively low magic setting. It's a testament to the quality of the writing that reactions seem alternately sensible and atrocious, but always plausible.
It's the way stuff like that is handled that makes Dragon Age the "mature" RPG that I really enjoy - not the animated puppet sex.