The Queue: Voice acting is my favorite part of video games
There’s just something about voice acting that’s always fascinated me. I read an interview with the famously Lorenzo Music before the internet was a thing, and the idea of being simultaneously very famous yet anonymous was really intriguing, as was the idea that you could play almost anyone, even a lasagna-eating cat. When we repeat lines that are voice acted, we also mimic the inflection — an illusion! What are you hiding!
I know that not everyone is as excited by this aspect of games production as I am, but at the same time I know one of the main highlights of the next expansion for me is going to be whoever Deva Marie is cast to play.
This is The Queue, where a few of you were kind enough to ask me about a lowkey interest of mine and I tried to not go too overboard. Let’s A some Qs!
Is Dragon Age: Origins worth sinking any time into? I’ve tried playing it, and it just seems so slow to me. Is there a good payoff into the game that makes it worth sticking it out?
Dragon Age: Origins has a really good, character-driven story which you get quite a bit of control over. For instance in my first playthrough I really could’ve used a Cleric. Imagine my surprise when I googled it later and as it turns out I could’ve had one but I chose the wrong party member to accompany me, we got in a fight because of it, and the Cleric was pushing up daisies. Whoops!
Each character has a ton of nuance to both their stories and their actions. They feel like real people, and the voice acting is truly superb even for a game this vintage. Steve Valentine’s signature snark laid over the archetypal honorable knight Alistair made for one of my favorite characters of all time, both to chat up around the campfire and between the sheets. If you listen closely you’ll hear a whole bunch of voice actors you might recognize, from Soldier:76 to Captain Janeway to Winnie the Pooh to Phil & Lil from Rugrats. They got Tim Freaking Curry to do a voice for this game, and if that’s not gonna sell you I just don’t even know how else to proceed.
But, as you discovered, the gameplay itself leaves quite a bit to be desired. The options where you almost program the game and write your own ‘behaviors’ in addition to directly commanding each character to act gives you the best outcomes I’ve found, but it’s still fairly clunky.
Dragon Age: Origins is one of the few games where I eventually just threw in the towel and went easy mode. I would love a mode where combat is played out as a short cut scene and then I’m back to chatting at camp honestly, but slogging through it as quickly as possible will have to do.
Bird Watcher’s Digest has way more articles than BirdWatching and is cheaper. I don’t quite understand.
I’ll probably still subscribe to both.
I’ve been subscribing to Birds and Blooms for a while, but it’s not quite as hardcore as either Bird Watcher’s Digest or Bird Watching. Very “hey, did you know you can put out grape jelly for orioles?” but still a fun read. It’s not intended for kids but my kids love it, because it’s just a wall-to-wall catalog of birds in different colors. There’s a really odd contradictory undercurrent in the push-pull between beautiful but not at all local plants they sometimes recommend in contrast to the preservation of indigenous bird habitats, which is part of why I like it too. It’s almost literature, and they don’t even know it.
Incidentally, “Bird and Bloom” would make an amazing hipster bar name.
QftQ: I missed a lot of news in the last six months or so, so please help me out here. Is anything known yet about who’ll be voicing the characters in Warcraft 3 reforged? For example, in the original game Chris Metzen voiced Voljin, but I have to say I adore Dave Fennoy as Voljin and have got used to his voice over the past several expansions. What are they going to do there?
From the trailer they originally showed at BlizzCon, it looks like Arthas’ most recent voice actor Patrick Seitz will be involved in some way, but Jaina’s voice actor in the clip isn’t Laura Bailey. I’ve seen some conjecture that they’ll make a toggle to choose either the remastered old vocal performance or a newer one with their current actors, but I can’t find clear sourcing on that information.
However, one thing I’ve seen several good sources on is the fact that they’re smoothing over some of the narrative rough edges of the original, trying to make everything fit together a bit closer to the current storyline. This means they’ll either be Frankensteining together some old VO, getting the original actors back into the booth, or just continuing to use the actors they currently have contracts with in additional sessions. The purist in me would like the older stuff, but I’d totally get it if they just ask Laura to tack on a couple “Arthas, I can’t watch you do this” reads onto a session for Demon Hunter lines or whatever.
Another note on the revamp is that they’re taking out a few of the on-click interactions which seem dated. At first I was a little sad about this, but then I looked through all the interactions they had. While those Monty Python references are clearly timeless, some of the others haven’t aged as well — and yes, that is my… final answer.
Overwatch QftQ: So, I, like many people, have complained a bit about how long Ashe’s reload time is. And then I realized: You can fire while she’s reloading. Try it out. Run out of bullets, load 3 or 4, and you can shoot immediately those 3-4 bullets.
Is there any other character that allows for this? She’s the only one, right?
Yep! This is a feature of Ashe. If you’re in the middle of an intense firefight you can plink an extra bullet or two in the chamber and come back for more. If you burn through your whole clip and you’re in a quiet moment, you can sit there and reload the full thing.
Q4tQ: In the case of Blizzard lifting the faction restriction for grouping in dungeons and raids, do you think that we’ll see people recruiting with racial restrictions?
I doubt it, just because it’s so easy to be prejudicial based on ilevel and all that already. If Blizzard got rid of all gear tomorrow… well, actually if they got rid of gear, people would probably filter based on achievements. Without gear and achievements they might look at your talents on the armory instead. If talents were then homogenized, then maybe race would become a serious factor.
It’s all about perception, really. As the playing field is leveled out, people will still find a way to exclude others. In our scenario, without Race people will suddenly swear that gnomes with green hair are way better than gnomes with pinkish-red hair and only gnomes with green hair can go.
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