Dragon Age: Origins was described as ‘the spiritual successor to Baldur’s Gate’.
This, admittedly, is a difficult phrase to place. ‘Spiritual successor’ treads the dangerous boundary between merely acknowledging a source of inspiration and setting out to essentially make the same game differently. I don’t believe Dragon Age: Origins veers to either of these extremes, but in the good, old-fashioned way of analysing gaming, let’s break it down into three main elements: the world, the characters, and the story.
The Dragon Age World
The world of Dragon Age is a rich and detailed one, with many hundreds of years of history that you can glimpse through old ruins, NPC conversations, and codex entries. Similar to Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age: Origins only introduces you to one main area, Ferelden, while also mentioning countries like Orlais and Antiva that broaden the world and also sound suspiciously based off countries like France and Spain. Just like Kara-Tur and Maztica (Japan and Aztec/Inca/Mayan inspired, respectively).
More generally though, Dragon Age: Origins goes beyond the conventions of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy by including a complex interweaving of social and class issues amongst the generic races of human, elf, and dwarf. This was done wonderfully well in terms of the way different races and cultures had a different place in the story.
While this did make each area more homogenous than the great, believable, and exciting diversity one saw in cities like Baldur’s Gate and Athkatla, the environments and their consequences were still rich and well thought out. In this aspect, I believe that the Dragon Age series can definitely claim it has recaptured some of the rich elements from Baldur’s Gate, even as it strikes out on a bold new path of Bioware’s own creation.
Nevertheless, I will admit I still prefer the world of Baldur’s Gate – without the focus of creating ‘adult’ fantasy, Baldur’s Gate managed to have a world full of darkness, murder, torture, and slavery while still retaining a sense of beauty, light, and hope.
Dragon Age Characters
Dragon Age: Origins introduces you to hundreds of new characters as well as several well-rounded, enjoyable NPCs. And in this aspect, I will definitely say that Dragon Age: Origins fulfilled its claim of spiritual successorship. Although the characterisation of some NPCs was noticeably stronger than others, the same is true of the original set of Baldur’s Gate NPCs. What Dragon Age: Origins did beautifully was take the focus on characters and party banter and expand it again to another new level.
While the Baldur’s Gate NPCs probably still remain the closest to my heart, I can certainly appreciate the humour and depth that went into weaving characters like Morrigan and Alistair, each with their own signature strengths, flaws, and lovability, and I believe that character depth and strength remains the most powerful attraction of both series.
Dragon Age Story
Admittedly, this is the part where Dragon Age: Origins fell short for me. Although the six different origins at the beginning are wonderful for flavour, and certainly beat (in terms of diversity) the single origin you are proffered in Baldur’s Gate, the rest of it seems more distant and unreachable.
The Baldur’s Gate series offered several motivations for following its story line from the beginning, ones that directly tugged at the heart of your Protagonist’s characterisation. You could follow the mysterious armoured man or the horribly disfigured mage out of revenge, curiosity, the love of a childhood friend… or even not at all. You could just be investigating different issues in the area and get pulled in.
On the other hand, Dragon Age: Origins took a step back from personal motivations and made it more abstract. The Blight is a pretty bad thing, yes, and you probably do want to either save a lot of people’s lives or at least make sure that you stay alive. Don’t forget that being the last of the Grey Wardens means it’s your sworn duty to stop it. And most people might have also wanted revenge against a certain character whose actions predisposed him to righteous player punishment.
But I felt something was lost in the narrative. For me, there was no heart to the Grey Warden in the end. The story felt depersonalised.
Yet there is a lot of hope that the new format of Dragon Age II will address this problem. With Dragon Age II centering on the main character ‘Hawke’, the Champion of Kirkwall, the very least that the game promises is a personalised story, similar to that of Commander Shepard in Bioware’s renowned Mass Effect series. And if Dragon Age II keeps up all the strengths of Dragon Age: Origins while also moving ahead and discovering new strengths, then perhaps one day the Dragon Age series will be truly deserving of the title ‘Spiritual Successor to Baldur’s Gate’, and all that title implies.
How to find the Champion armor set in Dragon Age II
Looking for the best set of armor money can’t buy? Then you need to know how to find the Champion armor set in Dragon Age II. Learn how within!
As the newly-minted Champion of Kirkwall in Act III of Dragon Age II, your Hawke probably looks quite impressive. You’ve got a lot of shiny gear, a battle-stained visage, a cool weapon… but you’re still lacking one thing: that awesome set of armor from the game’s intro.
Do you want it? You can get it in Act III. It’s known as the Champion armor set for all three classes, Warrior, Rogue and Mage, and all three can find the four pieces in the same ways. Look below to find out how.
The Gauntlets/Gloves of the Champion
The first element of the outfit you’ll receive covers your hands, and fortunately you’ll get them automatically when you begin Act III. Put them on immediately, as they’re better than whatever you already have, with few exceptions.
The Boots of the Champion
The second part of the Champion armor set can be found in the quest On The Loose. You’ll be tasked with chasing down three potential Blood Mages in the streets of Kirkwall, and when you take on Huon, an elf who has gone on the lamb, you can find the boots on his corpse.
The Helmet/Hood of the Champion
Third on your list is the headpiece. Again part of a compulsory quest, this Champion item appears at the end of the Best Served Cold quest. You can loot it from Grace’s body after killing her in her Abomination form. Make sure you have a lot of area of effect moves and spells ready, as there are lots of combatants in this brawl.
The Warplate/Arms/Robe of the Champion
The armor itself is the only part of the outfit that won’t show up in a main story line quest. Instead, the armor is found in the quest Mine Massacre, received from Hubert, the Bone Pit mine owner in the Hightown Bazaar.
The catch? You have to get the armor from a dragon. A High Dragon, no less, one of the most difficult opponents in the game. And the beast is joined by dozens of Dragonlings and a few normal Dragons.
When facing the High Dragon you’ll want a healer, at least one tank and one or two ranged combatants, as the High Dragon can remove itself from close range damage and hide on a nearby cliff. Let your ranged attacks assault the High Dragon from afar while your melee characters take out the smaller dragons, then mob the High Dragon when it comes down to attack. Try to stay out of its line of site or you’ll get roasted by fire or picked up and chomped.
After you kill the High Dragon, you can loot the armor – and a bunch of other nifty items – from its corpse.
Each full Champion armor set bestows different advantages on its bearer. The Warrior Hawke will get strength and damage bonuses. The Rogue Hawke receives an improved dexterity and greater chances to land critical hits. The Mage Hawke will get big mana boosts and improved spell power. Regardless of your class, having all of the Champion pieces equipped is extremely advantageous, and once you possess the whole thing there’s little reason to wear any other pieces of armor.