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Editorial Atheism in Dragon Age: Origins

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jun 29, 2010.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: BioWare; Dragon Age

    <p>Urgent news: Blogger at bit-tech <a href="http://www.bit-tech.net/blog/2010/06/28/atheism-in-dragon-age-origins" target="_blank">upset about the lack of atheist dialogue options</a> in Dragon Age!</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p>This mediation is typical of most interactions with the Chantry throughout <em>Dragon Age</em>, I realised. Occasionally you get a chance to speak out against Chantry methods (such as the regulation of mages), but you&rsquo;re never really given a chance to tackle the underlying theology. It's always a choice of choosing to say either "Praise the Maker!" or "The Maker exists, but I don't want to praise him right now." I want the third option which says flatly "Actually, I don't believe in the Maker and would prefer it if you just told me how many Deep Mushrooms you want me to collect and spared me the rhetoric, thanks."</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Just pick Mystra as your deity, most atheists are doing that or so I heard.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/98513-atheism-in-dragon-age-origins.html">GB</a></p>
     
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  2. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I am very upset about the lack of democratic elections in the Warhammer 40K setting.

    Seriously, DA is a lousy game, but it's not lousy because of the lack of useless Atheist fluff dialogue. How will this reply influence the game? What is the use of adding this particular mode of reply? How much interaction is there with the Chantry anyway? Is there so much of it that it actually warrants a serious work in regards of theological debate? The simple answer is no, there isn't. So get the hell out of here, stalker, nobody gives a damn.

    Stupid butthurt tards.
     
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  3. JrK Cipher

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    They should allow the option, only to have an army of inquisitors (preferably with invulnerability cheat) stomping your ass as a consequence. Can't have an influential figure spreading heretical teachings...
     
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  4. Moray Scholar

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    Incidentally, if I recall correctly, there is at least one "atheistic" dialogue option: if you play the human noble origin, there's a chapel of sorts in the starting area with a priest you can talk to; one of the responses to her is something to the effect of "I've told you before I don't believe in the Maker."
     
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  5. Clockwork Knight Arcane

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    ^That's correct. She'll get pissed and tell you to go away because she is occupied with the believers.

    This is a really retarded thing to complain about, though. BAW MY ROLEPLAYAN IS AFFECTED BECAUSE I CAN'T BE AN ATHEIST IN A SETTING WHERE PEOPLE CAN ASK THEIR GODS FOR DIVINE HELP
     
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  6. Begriffenfeldt Educated

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    I wonder if he refused to speak to ghosts.
     
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  7. SuicideBunny (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Torment: Tides of Numenera
    apples and oranges.

    replies ideally mirror something the player might have been inclined to say in the given context. da is particularly bad in that regard, unless its target demographic are complete morons.

    it's not just interaction with the chantry. nearly every character bubbles on about maker this, maker that, maker bless you, maker help us, maker my ass, 'cept for the dwarves and elves, iirc.
    as a dwarf you can rarely say you don't believe in the maker in a given dialogue, but it is pretty much inconsistent and far in between.

    it also doesn't allow you to tell people what a gargantuan asshole the maker must be if he exists, even though that's pretty much an obvious one.
     
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  8. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Not really. The setting dictates a certain way of things - atheists holding any sort of power in the DA setting are not exactly appreciated to say the least. This is portrayed, though very poorly, and as such, I don't see how you can be an atheist in a setting where the local Inquisition will come and crush your balls. Similarly, WH40K's setting dictates lack of democracy. Same thing.

    Yes, this is true - however, as such, DA is already an abomination of writing and setting mismanagement - piling in atheism would just add more to the seething mess. The problem isn't so much that the player doesn't get a choice to pick an atheist reply, it's rather the lack of a reason behind not being able to do so which makes the case shitty. It's like Oblivion's "urgency" - you're told it's urgent, but nothing supports it, similarly, you're told that the Chantry and its inquisition are powerful and oppressive, but the game never makes you feel this, thus cementing the feel that you have the option to go atheist.

    Again, I'd say that this isn't the issue of lacking an option but rather poor work with establishing the setting. You have theocracy of sorts, where the church controls the mages - that's a helluva lot of power, really, but do you feel the Templar being any kind of power? Is the Chantry anything but a bunch of impotent balding men and women that go on hissy fits and ask Grey Wardens to bring them mushrooms?

    This is the problem here - utter lack of believability of certain factions' powers and inability to work with their own setting. Yeah, the character would likely always hail Andraste, but not necessarily out of reverence - just out of fear of being crucified by the balls. Grimdark, my ass.
     
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  9. punchz Novice

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    Utterly retarded. Just like people thinking that they are owed more homosexual options in an RPG. Motherfuckers, RPG does not mean that you can live your life the way you really want to but didn't, it means, more often than not, that you take on the role of a fictional character in a different universe. With different upbringing, beliefs, attitude, strengths, weaknesses, even a different profession. It is *not* the developers duty to cater to your niche, it is your fault for not being able to play the roles you are offered. Atheism is just not as feasible in most fantasy settings as it is with our world. There's fucking magic and holy ashes. If you complain about a lack of atheism, complain about the parts of the game where all you have are heroic choices, because, most likely, real-world-you wouldn't pick any of those in real life. Those don't bother anyone.
     
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  10. Gay-Lussac Arcane

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    :lol:

    Seems the militant atheists want to preach to digital characters too.
     
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  11. The Feral Kid Erudite

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    Atheism: As deep as Morrigan's character.
     
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  12. Overweight Manatee Scholar

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    Bioware could revolutionize the RPG genre if they allowed the player to type their responses into a text box for roleplaying reasons. Then the NPC would ignore whatever the player may or may not have said and continue with what they were going to do anyway.
     
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  13. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

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    Awesome! They could have even a list of keywords ala Wizardry and the NPC would react accordingly if the keyword appears in the response of the player. And only then they'd continue with what they were going to do anyway
     
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  14. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Hm, that would appeal to oldschool gamers as well!
     
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  15. SuicideBunny (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

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    yes, really, it isn't the same thing.
    atheistic responses are governed by the character's personality, democratic elections on the other hand are part of the setting itself.
    nothing stops a given character in 40k from complaining about the lack of democratic elections or declaring the emperor a false god (the character just has to live through the consequences). likewise, the article doesn't demand the maker in da to be actually non-existent.
    the only power you hold in da is due to the wardens being outside the system by some ancient bullshit treaty, and a human peasant background where you are branded a heretic for either being an outspoken atheist or criticizing the maker for making something as fucked up as the darkspawn due to some dent in his pride and are saved by duncan just like in nearly all the other backgrounds would have been perfectly fine and in tune with the setting. never mind that you get at two or so human heretics as party members, such freedom for the player character would be just too much.

    the problem isn't believability of the setting but a lack of imagination and attention to details on part of bioware's writers, the believability is just one of the symptoms.
     
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  16. Clockwork Knight Arcane

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    That's assuming the average player would know/remember these words.

    I predict lots of "Karth Unassi keeps saying he doesn't understand what 'lets fuk' means! Help me!" threads.
     
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  17. Shannow Waster of Time

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    Why can't I demand democratic elections at the Landsmeet?
    Loghain is a backstabbing, betraying usurper while whatshisnameagain is a whiny wimp unfit to rule. Clearly that's the perfect time to move away from the ancient tradition of blindly following incest-retards who do nothing but live like parasites off of the peasantry and institute a form of government where the peasants decide every 5 years or so who is most fit to rule them. To prevent single persons or groups acquiring too much power a system of checks and balances will be implemented... Oh, this is just a video game? A story-driven "RPG" you say? Ah well, then I assume I can live with whatever non-democratic crap Bioware writes. It's not as if they actually had any good dialogue-options, political or not... Just as long as they mock Mohammed or Jesus.
     
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  18. piydek Cipher

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    Isn't the whole premise of Fade, Black city, darkspawn and many other real things you directly interact with in DA that the Maker exists?

    It's not an unmanifested deity and it would be silly to be an "atheist" in that regard. This funny moaning is typical of someone who looks at DA through christian eyeglasses.
     
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  19. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    That's not quite the case. Remember, we're discussing Dragon Age, a supposedly Dark Fantasy setting with the Chantry and their Templar pals being a direct reference to the Inquisition. Imagine someone telling "Yeah, screw you and your god" to a member of clergy in, say, Spain of the period of rabid religious fanaticism - what would you think you would get for this? As this thread mentions, there is a moment where you can mention not believing in the Maker in the Human Noble origin - but keep in mind that in that version, you're talking to what basically is your own pet priest, not a random member of the Church. Remember what was going on in the name of Andraste according to the in-game lore? Yeah, that's religious fanatics to you. So while religion and politics are in the modern world a different thing, historically, the situation is very, very different, and Bioware tries to look smart by making allusions.

    What I'm basically saying is, they likely tried to make the dialogue to sound as though it was "medieval" and purposefully avoided the character getting into a confrontation with the Templar and the Chantry, but they forgot to make it credible. I don't believe that the Templar would be able to do anything against the PC - you don't either, and neither does the author of the article - while Bio would want you to believe the opposite.


    If we go digging further, yes. If we don't, the surface problem with this particular scenario is believability - there's nothing to believe unless you've just climbed out of the crib.


    tl;dr: Article is stupid because it wishes for atheism in an oppressive theocratic setting. Setting is stupid because it fails to deliver on being oppressive and theocratic.


    Also, what would the atheist approach accomplish, anyway? If I wanted atheist approach to the game, I'd want to have an actual gameplay distinction of some sort - being denied assistance by the clergy, being hunted by the Templar and being helped to by the Apostates etc, for example, off the top of my head. If there would be an option to be an atheist in the game that's centered around setting's theology half the time, I want it to matter.
     
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  20. Overweight Manatee Scholar

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    I haven't delved too much into DA lore, but IIRC isn't the Maker absent from the world? I believe the only thing the Maker actually did was create the initial worlds and species. He doesn't actually interact in the world in any way shape or form. So effectively, he is no different from any god in real life. The only reason to believe he exists is to believe he created the universe 10 billion years ago then stopped doing anything.
     
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  21. Shannow Waster of Time

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    Are you saying the very core premise of MotB is silly?
    Burn the heretic.
     
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  22. Black Arcane

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    Man, homosexuality, atheism, songs, romances.
    I guess DA really is deep, maybe even too DEEP for me :(
     
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  23. Azrael the cat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Not to mention that it makes an absurdly common error: complaining that a work doesn't tick every box in the equal opportunity spectrum.

    Now I quite fervently believe that narratives in games SHOULD cater to both genders, different skin colours and ethnicities, different sexualities and so on. But that doesn't mean that EVERY game should cater to EVERY audience. Do that and you'll end up with something utterly vanilla.

    If their complaint was 'games in general are all too religious; why aren't their any games that cater to atheists?' then they'd be more on track. Although it would then reveal how stupid their complaint is: if you take gaming as a whole, most games have absolutely nothing to do with religion and plenty seem to assume an atheist perspective. To pick on one of the few games that doesn't is retarded.

    Similarly, people shouldn't demand male designers to provide equal space to female perspectives in every game. Instead, they should be asking for DIFFERENT games with female perspectives, while the male ones remain as is. You know, variety and different things for different people - all that stuff. It's the difference between having diversity in games (or tv or films etc) and having every game telling the same tick-all-the-boxes story.
     
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  24. CrimsonAngel Prophet

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    Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Now i am an atheist in the sense that i think burning down churches is a good start.

    Her is my view.

    Shut the fuck up.
     
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  25. AdmiralHugbunny Educated

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    I disagree. The entity that some people in real life refer to as "God", according to common belief, actually does interact with our world and more specifically, with the people living in it. People believe that he directs the forces of nature and physics in their benefit or otherwise. People believe that he will pass judgement on them when they die and send them to heaven or hell based on that judgement. Essentially, people believe in god because it concerns their well-being directly. Otherwise, they wouldn't be interested in religion and religion would not have such influence over people.

    While I have not delved into DA lore either, I want to point out that if the "Maker" entity in DA is indeed as you describe, it is not equivalent to god. However, I agree with the conclusion that "believing" in this "Maker" is inconsequential.
     
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