Bad Gamer: What Happens If You Play Through Dragon Age: Inquisition Like A Total Jerk?
Bad Gamer is a new series following one woman as she tries to play her way through RPGs as the biggest asshole possible. Mild spoilers for the first few hours of DAI follow.
Here’s the deal with RPGs and me: just like in life, I try to make the more rational, kinder choices as much as possible. I try to protect my friends and loved ones. I try to do what’s best for them.
The challenge here? To do precisely the opposite. To fuck up Thedas as much as possible, and to force my companions to do things they do not want or should not do for the “benefit” of all Thedas and the Inquisition.
The trick here is to leave my comfort zone, and avoid as many instances as possible to reaffirm my place in Thedas as a good one. To push the people around me away as much as I can. To become as much of a tyrant as I can and to relish in it. To not shy away from it.
So, here’s Emone:
She’s a Dalish Elf mage with a chip on her shoulder. She’s coming into the worst possible world state I could create via the Dragon Age Keep, and I’m both nervous and excited to see not only the differences in the world itself, but also the differences in the way I play.
Like most other people, I dislike how I’m treated like a criminal in the beginning. The people are fickle—they’ll only turn to support me after I’ve proven myself innocent—and only after I can do something for them.
There’s something strange about Cassandra this time—like she’s only a hair’s breadth away from strangling me at any given moment. If it seems different than my first playthrough, it might only be due to the lack of time between playthroughs—Cassandra was my friend and companion, and it’s hard to see her treat me as anything else. It might also be because I’m sassing her at every possible opportunity.
When I’m presented with the choice to either travel through the temple where the scouts went missing or charge with the soldiers, I choose the opposite to my first playthrough—I charge with the soldiers. While I am saddened that I’m unable to save the scouts, I only have knowledge of them because of my first playthrough, so it is only with hindsight that I’ll feel like a villain?
And, despite my reluctance to help, or through lack of choice, I still manage to become their hero. So, do my choices really have much of an impact beyond the way I’m interpreting what’s happening on screen?
When I wake, I demand to know where I am. You can’t really blame me when I’ve been imprisoned and accused of something I’m pretty sure I didn’t do. Hearing I’ve become a hero—a symbol—while I slept? It’s almost incredulous. I’m a pawn in their little game without having any choice in the matter .
It’s almost comforting to hear the Lord Chancellor still wanting me in chains, otherwise I’d start to think I were in an alternate timeline or something. Still, I wouldn’t mind chaining him up.
And it’s wonderful to hear he’s already a suspect now, though this bull about me being sent by the Maker? As if. Emone senses some opportunity here, but her anger is more overwhelming than anything else.
When Cassandra announces the formation of the Inquisition, Emone doesn’t make a lasting vow—her response can only be a tentative “we will see” because they’ve treated her so differently over the last few days, and how is she to know where she really stands or feels about any of this? What choice does she have? My first Inquisitor, Brynn, was full of pep and enthusiasm for the Inquisition, but Emone is decidedly guarded.
My conversation with Solas only offers a few choices to piss him off, including basically telling him I don’t give a shit about his fear of mage circles. You want to stay along for the ride, Solas? Shut up and enjoy it, then. I don’t have much of a choice either—in fact, even less then you do. Again, perhaps my past playthrough is bleeding through here, but it’s actually delightful to annoy him.
My first hour or so of time with Emone has revealed her to be emotional but guarded; bit like me when I’m without coffee and getting cranky, and to be honest I’m already pretty embarrassed by my behavior. The choices in dialogue I avoided to begin with because they were slightly non-committal are actually also full of reasoned logical points: like worrying about ambushes, for example. Playing with an Inquisitor who is more on guard also makes me feel less like I’m utterly naive about everything. I’m really looking forward to pushing forward with Emone, and I wonder what kind of trouble I’m going to end up in before I’m through.
Emma Fissenden is a writer of all trades. When she’s not pushing through her next rewrite, she’s playing too many games and editing fiction at @noblegasqrtly. You can find her on Twitter @efissenden, or check out her other series for TMS, Game Changer.