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The QueueJun 21, 2024 12:00 pm CT

The Queue: Is it nap time yet?

That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always ready for a nap.



Gosh, that Dragon Age sale is so good that even I can afford it. Which game should I start with?

Dragon Age: Inquisition is my recommendation. It’s the most modern-feeling of the lot, with a more action-oriented style that looks to be quite similar to Dragon Age: The Veilguard. (Though you can still drop into a turn-based combat mode, which I very much recommend for tackling Nightmare difficulty.) It has a tremendous cast of characters to get to know (and romance, if you’re into that), which is the game’s greatest strength. The story is not the best of the lot, though it has some stunning settings and a some fantastic quests — though I think the overall story is the weakest of the trilogy. Most Dragon Age games are only loosely connected, stories with different protagonists in a shared world. More than the rest, Inquisition (and particularly the Trespasser DLC) seems to lead directly into Veilguard.

Important note: If you play Inquisition, leave the Hinterlands zone as soon as possible. It is a boring introductory zone and it will make you think you are playing a bland generic fantasy game. Stay as long as you need to get the game mechanics down and earn a few levels and then get out. I don’t care how much of a completionist you are: leave this place as soon as possible. Anywhere else you choose to go will be more interesting.

However, there are some things in the world you’ll miss if you don’t play earlier games. Inquisition features several characters from Dragon Age 2, including Varric, the indisputable best character of the franchise. The protagonist in this game is also the iconic Hawke, whose sarcastic nature holds dear to my heart. And, though this is an oddly minor point, it introduces the primary villain for Inquisition in a fairly unmemorable DLC called Legacy. (This villain is neither a particularly interesting part of Dragon Age 2 or Inquisition, so you’re welcome to skip it or just read the wiki page instead of playing it.)

But Dragon Age 2 has the best story of the trilogy, as you find yourself caught up in events far bigger than you that you try your best to fight against. The gameplay, however, feels a little rough, and it is fairly criticized for having every fight take place in one of three caves. (Okay, there are also at least a couple of alleys fights can take place in.) But you’re not playing for unique locations; you’re playing for the main narrative.

Dragon Age Origins sets the stage for the rest, and gives backstory that sets up the world. (It also has a couple of characters that can show up in Inquisition, in ways that can be very important, depending on how you play the game.) It has a strong story as well, though not as strong as Dragon Age 2, but I don’t consider it an essential play because the gameplay feels very dated. It leans into the classic, D&D-based RPG style, and playing well can involve some frustrating (at least to me) companion management. Still, it has great characters and a solid story, so if a more plodding RPG style doesn’t bother you, jump on it.

But use a walkthrough for the Fade. You’ll thank me later.


Q4tQ: the heat index is near 100°F right now, so why am I craving a piping hot bowl of ramen?

What a silly question. Ramen is delicious. What more reason do you ned?


I play Diablo without following any builds. I like to figure things out myself and pick the skills and glyphs and stuff that I find fun. So far, it has been working very well.

Q4TQ: do you follow builds? How much do you adhere to them? Are there ever times when you prefer to do your own thing and other times when you feel like you “have” to follow a guide, or do you mostly stick to one style?

I frequently use builds as a starting point. For Diablo I often watch creator videos for ideas, and later in the game I’ll look up builds for specific help or advice. I’ve never followed them completely, though; not every skill feels good to press, not every build clicks.

In WoW I similarly tend to start with a build, and then as I get some experience, I’ll tweak it in ways that make sense for how I play. For alts, I don’t usually play in enough depth to get that kind of experience, so I’ll usually start with a build and then lean more into passives than is optimal for gameplay.

It’s not scripture, it’s a starting point.


QftQ: What’s your favorite cheese-based recipe?

Beer cheese soup. Flan posted a recipe on the site a while back and it is very tasty, though like many recipes that include bacon you should just double the bacon. Don’t mess around; add more bacon.


Q4tQ: What have you been watching recently? I’ve been making my way through Seinfeld, but also keeping up with the new season of The Boys and Star Wars

I have been catching up on Critical Role, and find I’m enjoying the more recent episodes. It’s an exceptionally chaotic party and it the group didn’t stick with me for quite a while, so I’d watch a few episodes and put it down, watch a few and put it down. But I’m caught up to live now and really enjoying it

With the length of an episode of Critical Role, you can imagine that eats up most of my viewing time. But I also started Dead Boy Detectives, which is fun; I feel like the story treads some predictable paths, and it hasn’t done much that’s surprised me, but the characters have charm and they (and the world they inhabit) are built quite deftly.

I’m also on a military history kick lately, and I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube from Battleship New Jersey and Drachinifel. YouTube is a real rabbit hole, and sometimes I’ll sit and hop from video to video rather than really focusing on anything. Some content on YouTube is excellent, though, and getting a random recommendation for a single video from Battleship New Jersey sent me down a rabbit hole that is now a half dozen library books deep. (Currently reading about the Battle of Leyte Gulf, but reading takes more effort than scrolling through YouTube… but also it’s due back to the library in a couple of weeks so I’d better get going.)


Q4tQ: With art for the new 2024 Player’s Handbook giving us Wild West Orcs, what other D&D species would you like to wildly reimagine in this way?


This is what’s great about roleplaying games… at least the ones that haven’t hard coded away all chance of uniqueness. Any character or race should be able to be from the Wild West. Or the moon. Or an ancient underwater civilization. Or running cozy farms in the heartland. There’s no reason we can’t have elves who are miners and dwarves who are archers. There’s no reason we can’t have nerdy orc wizards and brawny handling warriors. In games like this, we’re only limited by our own imagination and we should take advantage of that.

Be as weird, wild, and wonderful as you can, and run with it.

And that’s all I have for you today my friends. I hope you’re all having a good Friday (which hopefully includes nap time) and a great weekend to come. Stay cool everybody, and I’ll see you next week!

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