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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.











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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.

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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

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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.

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Announcement - Valve
Visit Steam every day this week for big savings on a different EA game.

Today only, save 33% off Dragon Age: Origins or Dragon Age: Origins Digital Deluxe Edition and 25% off the expansion Dragon Age: Origins Awakening. Plus, buy them together and save even more!

Please visit www.steampowered.com for more information.

Offer ends at 10am Pacific time.
Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
BioWare has somewhat mysteriously announced in near-silence a new batch of Dragon Age: Origins downloadable content amidst the hubbub of E3.

Titled 'Leilana's Song,' the $7 (560 Microsoft Points) downloadable content is due out on July 6 and will casts players as Leliana, "a young bard involved in a criminal ring that deals in political secrets." What little BioWare is willing to say for now follows below.

Assume the role of Leliana, a young bard involved in a criminal ring that deals in political secrets. Accompanying her mentor Marjolaine on a high-risk mission, Leliana soon finds herself entangled in a game of intrigue that she cannot escape with just her beauty, charm, or stealth. The only way out of this game is to kill or be killed.

Features:

  • Explore Leliana's dangerous past and why she joined the Chantry
  • Fully voiced cinematic experience brings the characters to life
  • Unlock a unique reward that transfers into your Awakening and Origins campaign

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Shacknews - Alice O'Connor
BioWare's fantasy RPG franchise Dragon Age is to be adapted into an anime feature film, the developer announced today, created with anime distributor FUNimation.

"Anime is a great medium for us to continue the robust Dragon Age story," said Dragon Age franchise executive producer Mark Darrah in the announcement. Over on the FUNimation side of the partnership, CEO Gen Fukunaga promises "We are going to be bringing the classic visual and storytelling techniques found in anime to create a film that will extend the narrative of the world BioWare has created."

The first instalment in the franchise--2009's Dragon Age: Origins.

Darrah and BioWare creative director Mike Laidlaw will executive-produce the film, as will Fukunaga and FUNimation director of original entertainment Chris Moujaes.

Production was slated to begin in May, while the finished product will be released for "home video" at an unspecified point in 2011. An unnamed Dragon Age title is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2011 while an unknown something is due on February 1, 2011. The anime's release could well tie into--or be--one of these.

The movie rights to BioWare's sci-fi RPG series Mass Effect were recently picked up by the production company behind the movie adaptations of '300' and 'Watchmen.' 'I Am Legend' screenwriter Mark Protosevich is reportedly in talks to write the screenplay.

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