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Codex entry: Dragon Age

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The team behind Bioware gives PC gamer the inside scoop on which origin story is their favorite - and which one might be right for you.

  • Who am I? Mike Laidlaw, Lead Designer
  • My favorite origin: Dwarf Commoner
  • Why you should pick it: Why stride the halls of power when you can see how the lowest of the low eke out their existence? For me, it all begins with the brand burnt into my character's face: Knowing you're marked as one of the casteless at birth means that you start at the lowest possible point in your life. In other words, there's nowhere to go but up. As a commoner, i got propelled into Origins not so much with a sense of my place, but a fierce determination to change my status while the entire dwarven society does all it can to keep me down.

  • Who am I? Ferret Baudoin, Dragon Age PRC Lead Designer
  • My favorite origin: Dwarf Noble
  • Why you should pick it: Dwarf Noble hits a number of high notes for me. Perhaps most importantly, it's that throughout the origin I had a firm sense of who I was in the social order-and it's good to be the prince. Also; the dwarven culture in Orzammar is familiar enough to be instantly understandable yet different enough to be fascinating. It's one of the few times in any RPG that I've felt like actual royalty. Power, intrigue, politics-what's not to like?

  • Who am I? David Gaider, Lead Writer
  • My favorite origin: Mage
  • Why you should pick it: It's so seldom in games that you get to see how your magic-user becomes a magic-user. Finally you get a glimpse into what life is like for Mages inside their secluded towers. They're distrusted by everyone, and here you get to see why. I'm also a sucker for the Fade, the dream realm where a good portion of the Mage origin takes place. I like the idea that Demons battle over physical real estate and their desire to possess a mage's soul comes purely from a place of envy.

  • Who am I? Alain Baxter, Producer
  • My favorite origin: Dalish Elf
  • Why you should pick it: Dalish looks like the most traditional of the origin stories: You're an Elf, you live in the woods and you're a hunter. Yep, all true to form. Yet, your very first encounter shatters that impression as you end up holding at arrow point a group of "shemlen" (elven for humans) who have stumbled too close to your camp. From there, the origin is an unfolding tale of decay. You see glimpses of an elven history that was grand, yet for all the Dalish elves have done to keep their culture alive, all they have now are fragments.

  • Who am I? Geoff Loken, Quality Assurance
  • My favorite origin: City Elf
  • Why you should pick it: My first taste of Dragon Age was the Elf Commoner Origin, and to this day it's some of my favorite content in the game. I'm no fan of elves, but these aren't your typical prancing forest elves; they're more like something you'd expect to find in Dickens versus Tolkien. There's no better place to start if you want to spend the entire game hell bent on seeking revenge, or if you seek to rise from rags and chains to your inevitable awesomeness.

  • Who am I? Mark Darrah, Project Director
  • My favorite origin: Human Noble
  • Why you should pick it: Revenge and betrayal always motivates me to play a game, and the Human Noble propels me into the role of Grey Warden in a state i can only call "out for blood." The thing is, even further into the game, the human noble has options open to it that no one else has. While other characters have to deal with the stigma of being an elf, mage or dwarf, my character descended from the second most power family in the land, opening up doors that aren't available to anyone else once i start dealing with other nobles. Revenge can be so very, very sweet.

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