DA: The Awakening - Preview Roundup
Here's a handful of Awakening previews from some major sites. First, TeamXbox, who are just a little wobbly with their history. Anyway, apparently Awakening has been in development for a year:
"A lot of games are made with the goal of thinking and wondering where you can take it," says Melo. "Dragon Age is the reverse of that in a lot of respects. We have a lot of stories to tell, and Awakening is the next book." This comment resonates quite a bit, given BioWare's history with the Forgotten Realms universe with Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights, each of which makes heavy reference to the rich fiction established by hundreds of novels.
In case it's not obvious yet, Awakening is not DLC. This is an expansion in the classic sense of the word, in the grand BioWare tradition. Development on Awakening has been underway for more than a year, concurrent with the final development phase of Origins. With the tech and tools already well in place, a side team has been able to create a pretty substantial amount of new content for players when it launches in March.
Here's a bit from 1Up about additional character abilities:
Along the way though, I check out some of the new abilities for each class. Most Dragon Age fans will remember how out of whack the balance was in favor of the mages, who can clear an entire room with a fireball while warriors and rogues struggle to even stay upright. BioWare admits as much.
"I think, particularly with the new specializations, we've been able to make warriors and rogues cool again," Melo tells me. He follows up, "One of the nice things is something like [character specializations] Shadow or Legionnaire Scout will give you a lot more close-quarters sustainability. So you can actually become a proper secondary fighter, whereas in Origins I remember it kind of suffered a bit, unless you really started to expend points toward a strength-based build, or something like that."
1Up on the "book" analogy, which you'll see in a few of these articles:
How much content can you expect in Awakening? It seems like everything is getting an upgrade. You'll find new class specializations, new skills, an increased level cap, plenty of new items, and obviously new quests, enemies to kill, and areas to explore. It's also firmly rooted in the fiction of the game world, as Fernando Melo, online producer for Dragon Age, explained. "We spent a lot of years developing the world of Dragon Age, and Awakening has a very defined place of what it's trying to reveal both geographically but also in terms of storytelling and timeline it fits into. Awakening is something that is a massive way to add not just a chapter to the story, but a volume, like a new book to the world. But each of the downloadable content types, even down to the really small items, will usually be very rich with lore or they'll foreshadow other things that are to come. Eventually these things converge and paint a much bigger picture."
...and getting away from previews just for a minute, you may be aware that your existing DLC won't transfer to Awakenings. Here's Chris Priestly's underwhelming explanation on the Bioboards:
Dragon Age: Origins DLC (from DAO or other prior DLC) is not available in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening as we've already said.
While I know some fans are not happy with this, the main reason is, due to the advanced level of Awakening, the items you want to bring in would be rapidly less effective than the materials you start with or find early on in the game. Yes, in DA:O Starfang (or similar) are very powerful, but since you can reach level 30+ in Awakening, they would be ineffectual.
Trust me, there are heaps of cool new armors, weapons, spells, etc that you will want to use in Awakening that you will quickly learn to appreciate even more than your DLC items from DAO.
I think my character might end up naked when I import him.
Information aboutDA: Awakening