Dragon Age II Live Demo Chat with Mike Laidlaw

“As with many other things in Dragon Age 2, the Chanters Board is now on fire.” – Mike Laidlaw

Friday at 11am PST, Bioware held a live demo chat session with Mike Laidlaw, lead designer for Dragon Age II. The video was about an hour long, but very informative.


The graphics do look pretty good. I was one of those DA fans worried that the new graphics would make the world look cartoony and drab. This demo has eased all that worry. The characters and the environments don’t look that different, just brighter and less blocky.

Lady Hawke moves like she’s trying to make you embarrass yourself in front of all your friends. I think the video summed it up with the very accurate, “Lady Hawke can melt butter from across the room”.

I really like the new rigs for female and male characters. They add a surprising amount of dimension to the game, just seeing women move like women and men move like men makes it more important when a man or woman moves differently.

I also like that all female character bodies are not the same. You will not see a naked old mage with the exact same body as a young rogue girl (looking at you, Wynne and Leiliana). For example, mage Lady Hawke has a slimmer body with smaller breasts than the luscious and ample rogue, Isabella (they definitely upgraded her sexy, lol).

(I would just like to say here that I have seen some people posting that Lady Hawke and Isabella don’t look good (in the face). I think the still pictures floating around just don’t do them justice)


Nothing wrong here. A lot of people have referred to Dragon Age 2 as the Mass Effecting of Dragon Age. This is mostly due to the new dialogue wheel, in my opinion. I personally don’t see anything wrong with not having to read paragraphs of text to decide what I want to say. It also makes the dialogue more interesting because you don’t know exactly what your character is going to say, which can lead to surprised bursts of laughter (if you don’t like those, then this and its predecessor are bad games for you, lol).

Snarky is probably going to be the word for my Lady Hawke; I can already tell that I’m going to choose sarcasm most of the time.

The icons give you an idea of the intention behind what you say.


Isabella is a little stereotypical so far. Hot, sexy, kick-ass, no-nonsense, sneaky pirate girl. Seems like the type who will betray you and get you into trouble, but you’ll forgive her because of the P-power. And I think (IMO) she will be romanceable by both sexes of Hawke, because she was very flirtatious with Lady Hawke. Despite her stereotypes, I find myself in love with her character for being so good at being bad. πŸ™‚

Varric is hilarious, warning Isabella that “I don’t like this” is right up there with “What’s the worst that can happen,” which is a nice poke at the seriousness of the story itself. Also surprisingly useful, as I will explain in the combat section.

Say hello to my lil friend


Hard to see in this video, but the main adventure screen looks pretty different. It actually looks a little more like the screen on Dragon Age Journeys with everything at the bottom. I didn’t see the familiar triangle of three at the bottom right of the screen, unless they have been switched out for those tiny, tiny new icons (the video had disabled full screen, so I couldn’t make out any of the symbols). Rock armor is back for mages for any of you fans out there. PS: the mage doesn’t just stand there and shoot beams from a stick anymore. They do it with wonderful twists and turns that are reminiscent of Jedis with their lightsabers instead of old wizards, lol.

Although in all the previous videos we have seen examples of how the party members now work in tandem with each other, I didn’t get a huge sense of that in this video. It seemed very quick-paced, although it could still be paused to line up moves for the different party members. Varric has some sweet moves, and players will probably keep his weapon and keep him as a ranged fighter because he looks very useful with his…crossbow of doom?

The leveling up and skills have also changed. Skill sets are now in trees instead of linear. I am very excited about this, because the linear mode of leveling up useless talents to get to good ones was really annoying.

Much better. πŸ™‚

The blood spatter is still there (YAY!) after combat. πŸ™‚


From the demo, it appears to be full of the kind of quests you need to complete to get to other stages. I love quests, so this is no problem. Having to find such and such to get such and such to take you here, but the person you need needs something else, etc., etc. Leading to lots of looping quests.

They have also, already, linked a plot line from Dragon Age: Origins to the plot in DAII.

At this point of the game, you already have six companions, including Isabella. What is interesting is that you do not have Merrill or Fenris, so there must be more party members available than in DA: Origins.

Other stuff

  • A part of me doesn’t like that they are telling me so much of the story. Another part of me can’t stop digging for as much info as possible. Ah well.
  • Your party members walk with you through town. I really liked seeing my posse.
  • Effects will only show up during combat. For example, your character will no longer walk around raining rocks if you have rock armor enabled (although that no longer looks the same anyway).
  • You can control whether or not your character’s helmet is visible. I love this so much I don’t even know how to express myself.

Everything in general just looks cooler. I’m more excited (and less worried) than ever! Hurry up, March 8th!

I shall leave you with: SUPER COOL FAN ART! (if anyone knows who this belongs to, let me know so I can credit her/him).

3 thoughts on “Dragon Age II Live Demo Chat with Mike Laidlaw

  1. Pingback: Dragon Age 2 Demo Review « SarahTheRebel

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