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Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening + Prima Official Strategy Guide

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to UK Christmas bonanza – Day 8: Win a 16-game EA Store bundle">



There's only one thing better than a huge bundle of great games, and that's a free bundle of great games. You know what's even better than that? Five free bundles of great games. By stunning coincidence that's exactly the number of EA Store game bundles we have to give away today. There's more than £1700 worth of games up for grabs, so read on for a chance to get your hands on Battlefield: Bad Company 2, the Dragon Age 2 Digital Deluxe Edition, both Mass Effect games, Crysis, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and more.



Five lucky winners will scoop a copy of each of the following games, courtesy of the EA Store.



Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Digital Deluxe Edition



The huge, destructible battlefields of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 play host to some of the most frantic and explosive multiplayer scraps on the PC. As well as a wide range of tanks, helicopters and attack drones, there are tons of unlockable weapons for each of the game's four classes, so you can customise your load out every time you go to war. You'll also get a copy of the recently released Vietnam expansion which adds four new maps and a collection of new weapons and vehicles to fight with.



Dead Space

Dead Space is a third person survival horror set on board a spaceship infested with aliens. The key to taking these creepy beasties out lies with Dead Space's arsenal of surgical weapons that let you clip the limbs off your foes one by one until all that's left is a wobbling torso. Disgusting? Yes. Satisfying? Even more so.



Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition

Whether you start out begging for scraps in the Elven slums or fighting rebellion in your castle as a human noble, in Dragon Age: Origins you're ultimately destined to become a hero of Ferelden, one of the Grey Wardens responsible for putting down the menace of the Darkspawn uprising. You'll also get Dragon Age: Awakenings, an expansion set after the events of the main adventure of the first game, and a copy of the Dragon Age: Origins Ultimate Edition which comes with all of the game's nine content packs, adding extra armour and quests to the game.



Mass Effect

If you've ever wanted to command your own spaceship and save the universe, Mass Effect will let you do exactly that. There are few better lead characters than the charismatic and occasionally violent Commander Shephard. Spend your career through the universe punching out reporters and shooting suspects, or play it cool and become the saintly saviour of the cosmos.



Mass Effect 2

Commander Shephard returns to once more take on the galaxy's greatest foes. Mass Effect 2 builds on almost every aspect of the first game, adding even more characters, more spectacular locations and a brace of satisfying new combat abilities.



Crysis



It's been out for more than three years now, but Crysis is still one of the best looking games you can buy. The sandy beaches of the game's massive island are a beautiful setting for the game's superhuman firefights. Your character's nanosuit lets you tear up your enemies with invisibility, super strength and super speed.



Crysis: Warhead

Crysis: Warhead explores the emotional range of Psycho, one of the background characters from the first game. He even sheds a tear at one point. Then he pulls himself together, leaps onto a gatling gun and mows down an alien invasion singlehandedly.



The Sims 3

The best soap opera sim in the world, The Sims 3 lets you create your own family and control every aspect of their lives. Help them find a better job, true love and happiness, or just trap them all in a windowless room and watch the fireworks. You'll also get three expansion packs. The Sims 3: World Adventures lets you take your sim adventuring abroad and hunt for treasure among famous monuments. Ambitions lets you control your sim on the job, letting them become a firefighter, private investigator, doctor and even a ghost hunter. The Sims 3: Late Night takes the game to the nightclubs, letting you take charge of your sim's big nights out.



FIFA Manager 11

Take command of your favourite football team and lead them to victory in FIFA Manager 11. You'll have to manage every aspect of your team, from their finances to player signings, to your tactics on the pitch if you want to have a chance of taking home football's finest silverware.



FIFA 11

If you'd rather be scoring goals than managing your strikers, you won't find a footballing sim better than Fifa 11. The revamped engine means even more realistic ball control than ever before, and a sublime animation system adds extra crunch to every tackle.



Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit



In Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit it doesn't matter if you're a crook or a cop, you'll always be behind the wheel of a steaming supercar. As a cop you'll be enforcing the law at 200 miles per hour, ramming boy racers off the highways of Seacrest County. As a criminal your job is to beat your fellow racers while evading capture, earning rep and buying new cars as you go.



If you fancy entering, there are a few terms and conditions. The offer is valid in the UK on www.eastore.co.uk, and is valid for PC Download only, and that no pre-orders, points packs or time cards are included and that offer can not be redeemed in conjunction with any other offer.



The best thing about the space-borne survival horror, Dead Space is the array of ridiculous weapons you can use to cut up your alien enemies. To win, post in the comments below with a weapon capable of dicing the toughest monster. Tell us what it is, what it does, and give it a name. You must live in the UK to enter. The five entries that make us laugh the most will take home a bundle.



Come back tomorrow for another great giveaway. The gift giving will continue all the way up to Christmas day.



Winners!



JamesG



tomo123456



talon03



MrCazzah



Faceinstien



I will get in touch with the instructions on how to claim your lovely prizes. Huzzah!
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Devs explain Dragon Age 2 changes in video diary">



A new developer diary for Dragon Age 2 delves into the origins of the new ideas behind the game. We get to see clips of an initial animation the team put together to test ideas for the game, and the developers themselves give us some insight into the reasons behind the changes they're making for the sequel. The video is embedded below.



For more on the game, head over to the official Dragon Age 2 site. Alternatively, check out our preview, and our first look at the Rogue pirate captain Isabella. The game's due out on March 8th 2011 in the US and March 11th in Europe.







PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dragon Age 2 preview: the Hero of Kirkwall">



Cassandra, a tall warrior from Orlais, is shouting at a dwarven king. She wants answers. “Don’t lie to me! You knew him before he became the champion!” She wants to know about you. You’re Hawke, the Hero of Kirkwall, and she wants to know if she can trust you, if you’re a good fit for what she has in mind.







In Dragon Age 2, you’re not trying to save the world and be back in time for tea – you’re re-enacting the story of how your world-saving resumé got to be so impressive to begin with. But you never know: it might turn out to have a surprise “go on, save the world” ending after all. But before you get to the end, you’ve got a world to explore, and bit by bit, BioWare are revealing what it’ll be like. In issue 217 we knew you were the Hero of Kirkwall. Now we know what Kirkwall is: it’s a port city that controls sea traffic with a giant chain net it can pull up over the mouth of the port, strung between two gigantic statues. It lets the city’s ruling body nickel and dime the living daylights out of ship captains. As a result, Kirkwall’s rulers are overthrown, bought out, or outright murdered regularly so that a new fat-cat can wrest control of this lucrative business for himself.



It’s still not clear what Hawke does to become the champion of Kirkwall, though. We asked Dragon Age 2’s creative director Mike Laidlaw why Cassandra is after Hawke, and he was artfully vague.“War is about to erupt and something has happened to the Chantry . What we’ve learned really early on is that Hawke was there at very key moments of the events that have led to this state of the world. Cassandra is trying to find and understand the Champion of Kirkwall so that she can glean what she can from the events that led to her world state. I’ve likened it to if Hawke was there at the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, which is in lot of ways what people consider a catalyst moment for World War I. Cassandra is like the historian trying to understand all of the events that led up to that, in the hopes of either fixing it, or having history not repeat itself.”







If you’re new to the series, the Chantry have these evil towers where they imprison all mages from a young age, force them to fight demons, magically lobotomise the stupid ones, and keep the guards addicted to a magical drug so that they don’t go on strike or side with the prisoners. It’s no wonder some Orlesian badass lady needs to interrogate a King to find out why the Chantry is in peril – I’d send Sherlock Holmes.



Speaking of the Tower of Magi, your sister, Bethany Hawke, is an escapee from there – an Apostate mage. The early section of the game details your flight from Ferelden to the Free Marches, andBethany will be with you, making fun of you, criticising your decisions, and magically freezing your beard even though Mum said to stop it.







From Dragon Age: Origins, you might remember a lady called Isabella. She played a card game with you and taught you how to be a duellist if you were quick enough to catch her cheating. Now she’s a pirate captain and will join your crew as a romanceable rogue with twin daggers.



And rogues, by the way, are looking much more fun. Whereas a rogue walled in by Darkspawn in Origins would be screwed, someone like Isabela can just backflip out of there. With the right abilities, she could even drop a smoke bomb as she does so. Voila! A tight cluster of stunned Darkspawn, just waiting for a perfectly placed fireball or twelve.







Adeline is another of your new companions. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a female, tough-as-nails warrior,” Mike claims. She’s from Ferelden too, flees with you and your sister in the opening section, and eventually becomes a member of the city guard in Kirkwall.



And that’s one of the most exciting parts of Dragon Age 2: your followers have their own lives. Cassandra, the Orlesian who’s interrogating the narrating King Varic, just wants the important details. It means you’ll be skipping the boring periods, like “and then he spent a year working out and styling his hair.” After these sabbaticals, you’ll find that the world has changed. This way, you can see how your actions have impacted the world around you without waiting for the end cinematic.







They’re also ditching the approval system. You won’t be trying to lobby your companions by saving kittens in front of them; now they’ll agree with you completely, or just stick around as a ‘rival’. A rival respects your power and the role you play in the world, but thinks you’re kind of a dick. As a side effect of that, you can’t have an outright evil champion. You’ll have to settle for being ruthless in the pursuit of your ideals.



Dragon Age 2 is looking over Mass Effect’s shoulder and taking some serious notes. That’s definitely a good thing.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to New Dragon Age 2 character revealed">



Bioware have unveiled the first images and details on Aveline Vallen, a sword and shield wielding warrior devoted to defending her home city of Kirkwall. Read on for more details and the first screens of the latest addition to the Dragon Age 2 roster.



The daughter of a knight, Aveline was trained in the art of "chivalrous combat", but never took up her father's profession because she was "raised in the shadow of a lost life and will not lose another for the sake of honor". You'll find more details on Aveline on the Dragon Age 2 site. You'll find the first shots of Aveline below.











PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 18 essential Dragon Age mods">



Brace yourself, and venture forth to a horrifying alternate reality. Imagine a world so like our own, less observant visitors might never know the difference at all. Here, in this awful den of deception lurks an unimaginable truth--Dragon Age DLC is, at best, mediocre! Ah, you're starting to catch on. This isn't an alternate reality at all. We never left our world, silly. Mwahahaha! Hush now, don't cry. We'll suffer not this treacherous DLC. We'll protest, we'll riot, we'll download mods! Butterfly sword be damned!

1 Essential Tool for 18 Essential Mods

The DAModder is essential for anyone dealing with more than a few mods. The easy to use interface makes installs/uninstalls hassle-free. Just download a mod, unpack it, and drop the file into the DAModder window. Simply click install and away you go. Remember, you should still consult the readme for specific install instructions. You could be sparing yourself a huge headache. Link.





1. JBtextures

Let's face it, DA is not a pretty game. That's why the first mod you should install is JBtextures--mostly because the install process overwrites your overwrite folder, thereby potentially messing up any other mods you have installed. Done right, there's no risk, and the addition of HD textures makes the game much easier on the eyes. Link.





2. Improved Atmosphere

A top-to-bottom reinvigoration of Ferelden life (and death), Improved Atmoshpere touches just about every aspect of the game in some subtle way. The mod not only squashes a few bugs and alters starting loot for various companions, but also tweaks the origin stories, adds new weapons to the fray, modifies certain boss encounters, and prevents dead bodies from fading into the, well, Fade. Did I mention it adds squirrels? Link.





3. Dragon Age Redesigned

Lore masters rejoice! This sweeping mod redesigns the appearance of almost five-hundred NPCs as well as all of your party members in an effort to more accurately convey various character types. It doesn't make the game play any differently, and environments still look the same, but the hundreds of subtle changes yield an overall, more enjoyable experience. You know that Alienage beggar who seems pleased as punch to be an alienage beggar? This mod takes those wide, hopeful eyes, and plunges them into a bucket of abysmal world weariness--it's lovely. Link.





4. Forced Deathblows

As you slay, scorch, annihilate, and chit-chat your way through DA, you may find yourself hankering for an even more obnoxious amount of blood than is already in the game. If this is the case with you, look no further than Forced Deathblows. The package includes four files (one at a time please) that let you dictate how often you get to see those wicked pummel-ponce-knife-to-face animations that come only rarely in the vanilla game. Merry stabbing! Link.





5. Skip the Fade

Every game has its flaws, not every game has a fix. While Skip the Fade may be a bit cynical, you can't deny the convenience. I can't count the number of times I've wanted to start a new campaign and stopped when I remembered that awful slog through the ether after Jowan goes ballistic. Not only does this mod allow you to circumvent the games most annoying sequence, you still reap the same attribute points, codex entries, and XP as if you had completed it. Link.





6. Alley of Murders

This quest is one of the best fan-made adventures out there. You can access the alley murder-mystery in the Denerim market district at a new signpost right in front of the Chantry. The fully voiced, sixty minute quest sends you down a seedy Denerim alley with the task of cracking a series of murders thought to be linked with what's going on in the Alienage. Link.





7. Castle Cousland

If you're familiar with the human noble origin story, this quest will be near and dear to your heart. Found at a new location in the north, Cousland Wilds, the castle is still occupied by Howe's treacherous men. An escaped servant outside the castle will task you with taking it back. The quest is electronically voiced, so everyone sounds like a female Speak & Spell, which is hilarious when you encounter Howe's butt-face son. Once you've rescued the castle, you'll gain access to the entire facility including guards, storage, and a merchant that sells every item in the game. Link.





8. Emissary

Found in "Other Campaigns" in the main menu, this mod puts you in the boots of a darkspawn emissary, leading a small squad near the border of the Tevinter Imperium. Complete with cutscenes, challenging combat, and a trippy camera filter, this is a DA experience you can't get anywhere else. Link.





9. Classic Week

Hands down, the only thing more hilarious than Classic Week is the infamous darkspawn boob monster of Dragon Age proper. Within the mod's fiction, the real-world year is 2020, and you're one of the few loyal players of Dragon Age: Online, for whom BioWare keeps one last server running. You and three friends (AI companions) have logged-in during classic week to meet one of your online friends, Shiva. What follows is a six hour meta-MMO commentary full of witty quips and huge skeleton armies. Here's a conversation I had with my buddies after speaking with a quest giver:



Guanyin: Did he seriously just call you "adventurer"?

Poopface (Me): What else was he going to say?

Invictus: BioWare didn't want to make every PC a Grey Warden for the MMO. I suppose that entailed a few compromises.

Medea: I expect the comprimise was having the interns write breadcrumb quest text while the veteran writers pushed Mass Effect Online out the door.

Poopface: This is just a breadcrumb then?



You'll find the mod listed in "Other Campaigns". Link.





10. Temple of Vulak

This combat heavy temple sits in the waters southeast of Denerim, which can be accessed from Flemeth's Hut. What the area lacks in narrative, it makes up for in high level loot and a big challenge for end-game characters. If you're discounting the challenge, keep in mind that the dragon below is the first enemy you encounter. Link.





11. Camp Storage Chest

Previously you could only access storage chests through DLC. These enormously useful chests give you a place to keep all of your party's spare loot. This simple mod plonks a storage chest right in your party's camp, so you never have to worry about running out of storage space again. Link.

12. Metagame Items

This mod adds a series of potions to the game that allow you to customise the characters in your party. You'll be able to reattribute all of their skill points by simply feeding these potions to your followers. Want to roll with a party of mages? Use the Typecaster potion and reset their class. Want to give Morrigan more strength? Give her the Ring of Rebirth and reshuffle her stats There are also an array of potions that will let you control the romances in the game without having to go to all the effort of wooing a partner. Link.





13. Advanced Tactics

Advanced Tactics tidies up the tactics system, fixing bugs and adding a number of new parameters to allow you to better modify the behaviour of your companions in battle. Useful new commands let your party recognise when a member is dead, so you can enter a command into the tactics system that will have your healer revive fallen part members automatically. On top of this the mod makes a few changes to the behaviour of different classes, so characters equipped with ranged weapons will do more to avoid a close quarters scrap. Link.





14. Combat Tweaks

This comprehensive balancing mod seeks to fine tune the Dragon Age combat system without straying too far from Bioware's original vision for the game. Almost every ability has had their damage and cooldown values evaluated and tweaked to ensure that every skill is useful, and that nothing is overpowered. Link.





15. Lock Bash

Ever come across a locked chest deep in a dungeon somewhere, only to realise that you didn't bring a rogue to pick the lock? Ever felt the frustration of walking away from a chest knowing that you'll never find out what treasures lie within? Never fear, the lock bash mod is here. This mod lets you solve the tricky lock problem with brute force, giving warriors the option to punch locks to death, and mages the option to vapourise them. It's not a risk free ability, though, there's always a chance you'll damage some of the precious loot you find within. Link.





16. FtG UI mod

This is a great mod if you're sick of squinting at Dragon Age's tiny text. The UI in conversations in particular can take some effort to quickly read. This mod updates the UI throughout the game, altering text size and colour to make everything clearer. The mod even comes with a utility that will let you change the text in the game to your own tastes. Link.





17. Spell School Divine

This mod adds a whole new class of learnable magic spells. Named the Divine class, these abilities will add extra healing and protection spells, but also has a line of offensive abilities specifically designed to do extra damage to Darkspawn enemies. Link.





18. Auto Loot

If you're on the middle of a dungeon and you're on a roll, constantly having to loot everything can be a frustrating momentum killer. Auto loot makes stealing from the bodies of your enemies that much faster by removing the annoying inventory pop up box you get when you loot something. Now, when you loot a body or a chest, you'll automatically take all the items, and a list of your gains will appear on screen. The mod also lets you order your followers to go around automatically looting everything for you, further reducing the downtime spent going through dead mens' pockets. Link.



Shacknews - Xav de Matos
After releasing over $100 worth of downloadable content and expansions for Dragon Age: Origins, BioWare has announced a bundled "Ultimate Edition" will launch later this year [via Kotaku].

The Dragon Age Ultimate Edition includes all seven previously released DLC packs as well as the "Awakening" expansion.

The once rumored package will release on October 26, for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Read More

Shacknews - Xav de Matos
If an OFLC listing is to be believed, Dragon Age: Origins will receive a much needed "Ultimate Edition," which will presumably bundle the role-playing game with its mountain of downloadable content.

Discovered by Joystiq, the listing by the Australian ratings board is the second hint that Dragon Age would see a retail re-release. Earlier this month, GameStop.com listed (and then quickly removed) a Dragon Age: Origins "Ultimate Edition" for release on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. Although the listing did not detail the disc's contents, it dated the release for October 12 with a $60 price-point.

The second slip-up comes hot off the heels of new DLC for the game, which is set to conclude the tale woven in Origins. With Dragon Age 2 due out in March 2011, it seems like the perfect time to get a DLC-packed re-release out on store shelves.

Shacknews has contacted EA for comment on a possible "Ultimate Edition" but we suspect the company will remain mum until the new "Witch Hunt" DLC has been released.

Read More

Shacknews - Xav de Matos
The mysterious tale of Morrigan will come to close, very soon, as BioWare has announced new DLC featuring the brash witch is inbound for Dragon Age: Origins.

"Witch Hunt" will be made available on September 7 on the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $7 (560 Microsoft/BioWare Points). The content will delve into Morrigan's true motives and give players insight into certain choices she made during the course of the original adventure. (We're trying to keep it spoiler free!)

Dragon Age: Origins DLC "Witch Hunt"

"Whether you seek answers, revenge, or reconciliation with your lost love," BioWare revealed, "you may find more than you bargained for." The Witch Hunt DLC will allow players to roll a new, high-level character or to import heroes from Origins and the Awakening expansion.

September 7 also marks the release of new downloadable content for BioWare's other role-playing adventure, Mass Effect 2, which is also set to solve some unanswered questions.

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Shacknews - Xav de Matos
Today, BioWare has released patch version 1.04 that fixes issues for both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening.

PC players can download the patch now on FileShack, while Xbox 360 and PS3 users will have to wait until the update passes certification.

Unfortunately, some of the errors persistent in Awakening cannot be corrected. According to the detailed patch notes, BioWare outlines three specific issues that cannot be corrected. The problems include entering the Silvermite Mine too early, problems with Sentinel Armor and the Vigilance Sword on consoles as well as the Blackblade Armor on all platforms and locking a party in place in the Arl of Denerim's Estate prior to a guard encounter.

Details and workarounds for the Awakening issues can be found on the BioWare Forum.
    General Fixes
  • Daggers will now properly assign the dexterity-based damage bonus
  • Achievement images and messages will now display properly.
  • Resolved some

    Read More

Shacknews - Brian Leahy
BioWare will be making an announcement, the company revealed via Twitter: "2morrow will be a great day for BioWare fans. Just sayin'"

The horrendous use of "2morrow" might be a clue and not just Internet-speak. Besides, there was plenty of room left in that 140 character-limited tweet. With Mass Effect ready to move on to number 3, that leaves Dragon Age ready for number 2.

Further backing up a major announcement, though completely speculation on my part at this time, is the fact that Game Informer is scheduled to reveal a cover tomorrow.

Shacknews will update you on both BioWare's announcement and Game Informer's cover tomorrow. Who knows, maybe we'll only have to write one story.

Read More

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