The Exalted Plains

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The Exalted Plains of the Dales are characterized by equal measures of beauty and strife. It was here, centuries ago, that the elven nation met its bitter end. On these fields, the holdouts of the elven army faced the forces of the human Chantry and died, defending their promised land to the last breath. This legacy of conflict has endured, and battle once again rages in the Dales.

The Exalted Plains are now a contested battleground in the Orlesian civil war, and soldiers fight and die here in vast numbers. As the boundaries of reality weaken across Thedas, the memory of injustices past and present draws the attention of restless spirits who rise to possess the dead and stalk the living across the blood-steeped earth.

Introduction to Vivienne

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Referred to as Madame de Fer, “the Lady of Iron”, Vivienne lives up to her title. A leader among the mages and official enchanter to the Imperial court, she is renowned as a fearsome woman who achieved her position through guile and deft political maneuvering. Vivienne allows nothing to stand in the way of what she desires—not those who claim she is a social climber, not those who seek to restrict her power, not even her fellow mages who would conscript her into a rebellion with which she disagrees. Vivienne fights to restore order in a world gone mad…so long as that leaves her among those left standing, once all is said and done.

Check back Wednesday for the next update on Vivienne!

Do you cosplay? Take a look at Vivienne’s character guide here.

Discover the Dragon Age

When we started Dragon Age: Inquisition, one of our earliest goals was to bring the world to life and let you decide who you want to be in this vast and complex world. We accomplished this by using the Frostbite engine, which supports massive areas, destruction, and the most advanced next-gen technology we’ve ever seen.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is BioWare’s first next-gen game. It’s also our most ambitious game to date! Nowhere is this more visible than in the incredible size and diversity of locations, life, and hidden places you’ll discover on your journey.

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Our new “Discover the Dragon Age” video highlights only some of the locations you can choose to visit during your adventure. Each area in the video has its own realistic ecosystem with predators, prey, factions, and opportunities to expand your Inquisition.

The world’s population is based on an emergent system that adjusts what you’ll encounter based on how your actions tip the balance in the area. You’ll see towns attacked by bandits, deer fleeing from wolves, giants feeding on bears, and countless other scenarios.

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The artists, designers, programmers, animators, audio and VFX specialists and many others are the most talented I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They are the people bringing the world of Dragon Age to life for you to discover. They’ve built incredible graphics systems like weather that creates naturally-formed puddles, spider webs that blow in the wind, and huge amounts of various materials that look more realistic than anything we’ve ever created in a BioWare game!

We are very proud of the work being done to create Dragon Age: Inquisition and we hope you’ll enjoy the new video. As always, we look forward to reading your comments on the BioWare forums, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, so be sure to tell us what you think!

Cameron Lee
Producer

Announcing “the BioWare Forum”

We envision this as a symposium of minds where players can share, exchange, and discuss perspectives with each other as well as with BioWare employees about Edmonton and Montreal game universes and products in the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises, not to mention our legacy titles.

Welcome to “the BioWare Forum!”

One of my favorite moments at a convention is one that you guys never see– it’s the moment right before we open the doors. After months of planning — and shortly after inhaling coffee that’s just a bit too hot –we’re ready to let you in and see what we’ve been up to.

Today, we’re sharing another one of those moments with you. We’re launching the BioWare Forum, which I believe will be an exciting addition to our online space.

Before we get into details, this is not the discussed community destination site currently still in development. That site—which builds on fan and employee surveys, interviews, and other feedback—is still to come, and we can’t wait to share details as we continue working towards this. However, this reveal is part of the roadmap to get us there, and brings us one step closer to the promise to both ourselves and fans to continue rebuilding a positive, constructive community.

The BioWare Forum replaces the old discussion forums, adding new features designed to foster an entertaining, educational, and safe space for developers and players to engage one another. Among the improvements is updated technology that allows for much more robust moderation, along with a new set of guidelines with more clearly enforceable rules. A new design lightens the look and feel of the site while keeping the tone of the modern BioWare brand. Other notable features and changes include:

  • Mobile skinning and functionality for the first time ever
  • Converting posts from the (now “legacy”) BioWare Social Network over to conserve pre-existing threads
  • Rebranding social.bioware.com as a new landing page to guide players to our key online spaces including Dragon Age Keep, the BioWare Forum, N7HQ, and EA Answer HQ
  • Curating Legacy BSN as a Read-Only web portal available as a link at the bottom right-hand corner of the new social.bioware.com

In addition, we’re taking a strong stance in our standards for online behaviors. Through more structured categories and moderation, our Forum is enforcing discussion surrounding our games, studios, and BioWare culture, which is why we’ve changed the name from “BioWare Social Network” to “the BioWare Forum.” The primary focus here is not on socialization, but rather on-topic content related discussion. If you browse the site, you’ll notice we’ve also added a section called “Our Philosophy.” This mission statement further underscores the inclusive environment we’re cultivating as forum users passionately discuss everything Dragon Age, Mass Effect, and the foundational games that made BioWare what it is today. We’d love for you to go ahead and take a look at Our Philosophy now:

Welcome to the BioWare Forum. We envision this space as a symposium of minds where players can share, exchange, and discuss perspectives on BioWare Edmonton and Montreal game universes and products in the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises as well as our legacy titles. This place is important to us, and we hope it becomes a bustling hub for our fans. We believe in constructive discussion and productive debate that end with handshakes. Developers work together to create our products; creative clashes happen once in a while, but sharing the same space means working through issues together. In this, our shared virtual space, we expect the same from our players. While we welcome a diverse influx of ideas and opinions, we have core beliefs about what it means to interact with one another.

Please respect this space, our developers, fellow players, and above all else, yourself. If you see behavior that you deem unacceptable, report it and help us keep this forum constructive. We welcome fans from all backgrounds and want this to be a safe space for everyone, so please give us any input that will allow us to prevent online harassment and trolling. Our team will be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who makes another player or an employee feel harassed. If you wouldn’t treat a stranger that way in person, please don’t treat them that way online.

When we open the doors at each convention, I’m overwhelmed by the number of different people and personalities I get to meet – familiar and new. We’re building our virtual spaces with those same personalities in mind. Whether you’re here to listen to a developer talk about game features, discuss your favorite character with friends who live all over the globe, or trade strategy tips with someone you’ve never met before, this is your space.

This is everyone’s space. It has been the work of countless individuals, and I’m proud to stand beside them and see their work shine. Please come in, take a seat, and join the conversation. We’re happy to have you here.

We've rebranded social.bioware.com as a new landing page to guide players to our key online spaces including Dragon Age Keep, the BioWare Forum, N7HQ, and EA Answer HQ!

We’ve also rebranded social.bioware.com as a new landing page to guide players to our key online spaces including Dragon Age Keep, the BioWare Forum, N7HQ, and EA Answer HQ!

A Reaper is Born!

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The build took copious amounts of foam, paint, and additional odds and ends, but after four weeks of extensive labor and craftsmanship, a Reaper model was born. Best we can tell, no colonies were harvested during its construction.

Meet Daniel and Justina of Denmark, creators of this awesome Reaper. Together, they are Roses and Boltshells, a prop-and-costume-building duo performing all manner of miracles in their home workshop. Their creations, showcased in their [online portfolio], are fueled by a mutual love of video games, movies, and art.

Can you tell us about yourself and what you do?

Daniel: My name is Daniel and I primarily work as a welfare and education assistant. In this role, I often get to work with roleplaying and arts and crafts. In my spare time, I like to think of myself as a prop builder, though sometimes I would even classify myself as a freelance artist. My passion is to create and build costumes and props from video games, movies, and known franchises. I often visit expos and conventions in our country with my fiancée Justina, with whom I share Roses and Boltshells, our creative outlet and possible future hobby business.

Justina:  My name is Justina, and I am interested in all sorts of geeky things, but mostly video games, sci-fi literature, and cosplay/costuming, which I have been into for five years and counting. I am also an eager convention-goer, whenever I can afford it.

We are a couple, who met each other precisely through these lovely hobbies and then decided to create a page where both of us could share our artistic expression.

How many are you and how often do you work together? Is it a hobby or a business?

Daniel: RnB consists of Justina and I. We live together and use much of our spare time creating new things. While it is primarily a hobby, it can often feel like a full-time job. In the future, it would be nice if we could make a profit off some of our work.

Justina:  We almost always work together, even when we are busy with different projects. I have learned a lot from Daniel. He has been into the whole costuming thing for longer than I have. What we do is a hobby; it is done for our own enjoyment. As delightful as it might be to think that Roses and Boltshells would one day be producing props for movies or games, I think only a very select few ever get that privilege.

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Recently you finished your Mass Effect Reaper project. What started the whole thing?

Daniel: For a long period of time, Justina insisted that I play the Mass Effect games. I had never played any of the games before, but after some Renegade persuasion, I finally played the first game. Naturally, I had to complete the whole trilogy and play many hours of multiplayer afterwards, not to mention study up on the universe, read the comics, books, etc. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with many great aspects of the universe. As I’ve always been a sucker for merchandise, it’s only natural that I went searching for a mini Reaper! Sadly, the only thing I found was both too pricey and too small. So I thought to myself: why not just build one? Four weeks later, I had a model that, size-wise, fit most popular tabletop war games.

Justina: I am a longtime fan of Mass Effect. Problem was, Daniel didn’t find the game attractive! It took a fair bit of convincing and some multiplayer, but he came around. On an occasional visit to a geek store, he suddenly came up to me with The Art of Mass Effect Universe book. He particularly admired the Reaper design, and he wanted a nice, small, creative project. That’s how the Reaper Destroyer model project was born.

How long did it take to plan, build, and assemble the Reaper?

Daniel: I started by researching the drawings and artwork as shown in the book The Art of the Mass Effect Universe. It’s a fantastic book with plenty of inspiration for model constructors, prop builders, and costume creators. After that, I made a few, rough sketches in order to segment the various parts of the model. The research and planning probably took a few days, while the building itself took close to four weeks.  

Justina: …and some painting still was literally done the night before its debut. But that’s what happens with artistic projects on deadline. You’re always sitting up late the night before.

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Can you go into detail about how the Reaper was built and what materials you used?

Daniel: When I work with costumes and props, I usually work with various kinds of foam. There was no need to change that with the Reaper. I went and bought a few supplies from our local crafts stores. I used EVA foam, cold foam, and thin yet dense craft foam. I also used a few bits and pieces I had laying around, such as paint canisters, tubing, mesh, etc. I started with the head shield, as it’s a very iconic part, and I usually need something iconic to keep my motivation going. After that, it was the more laborious task of getting the body right, with inner structures made from cold foam, outer shell made from EVA, and all the details made in craft foam. The legs are still in need of some love, but as with many costumes and props, usage means wear and tear, which in turn means further repairs. Overall, construction, paint, electronics, and effects took roughly four weeks.

Will you be adding a Normandy to keep your Reaper company?

Daniel: It would be a very nice challenge at some point, but there are already several near-perfect Normandy scale-models out there with both lights and interior detailing. It would be hard to try and outshine such awesome work, but as always, we’re up for the challenge. Though if it needs to fit scale-wise with the Reaper, I’m not quite sure our workshop (a.k.a. our living room) is big enough!

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What are your favorite characters from BioWare games and why?

Daniel: Renegade Shepard from the Mass Effect trilogy, because despite his simple methods and brutish cruelty, he often symbolizes what the oppressed, weak, and frail wish they could do. He’s a powerhouse and the ultimate badass, which is also represented by Mark Meer’s wonderful voice acting. I was also a keen fan of MDK2 back in the day. That whole trio of characters just made me smile.

Justina: Though I am planning to soon investigate Dragon Age, Mass Effect is so far the only BioWare game I have played. My favorite single player team is usually Liara and Garrus. My favorite multiplayer race is Turians—Sentinels and Infiltrators in particular.

My favorite characters in Mass Effect are Garrus and Tali, with Thane being a close third. Out of all the girls, Tali is my favorite because I can relate to her a lot. I also love the quarian suit design, which was one of the reasons Tali was my cosplay choice.

How does the future look for Roses and Boltshells? What projects do you plan to begin or finish in 2014?

Daniel: We’re currently planning Mass Effect costumes and props. We’re also making sure to plan ahead for expos and cons. If we’re lucky with local competitions, and only if, then we could win a chance to go to London MCM Expo. It never hurts to dream big 😉

Justina: I will certainly complete my Tali costume in 2014. I want to make this costume as accurate and neat as possible. I would also love to visit a few conventions as I really miss the cheerful con surroundings and meeting new, likeminded people.

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If any of our fans would like to talk about cosplay, props, or any of the other fascinating things you’ve worked with, where might they reach you?

Daniel: You can always find us online! Sadly we don’t have a real location for a workshop that you can visit, but we try to inform our friends and followers about any and all events we’re participating in. If you do spot us at a convention, never be afraid to come up and say hi. We love to meet new people and chances are we’ll talk long about some common interest. We usually visit anime expos, as those are the most frequent in Denmark. But we have plans for other events too, including the Scandinavian Sci-fi, Game & Film Convention. We’re also always open to suggestions and invitations, as long as they’re somewhat realistically priced or sponsored.

Justina:  What Daniel said. Please, if you see Roses and Boltshells somewhere: don’t be shy, come say hi! I know personally that costumers sometimes seem unapproachable, but we are a crazy fun bunch and we love likeminded people and our followers.

 

This interview has been translated from Danish. Special thanks to the BioWare Nordics community team, Tomas Hartvig and Lion Martinez.