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A Little Work
Okay, we're now at our first real city. This giant military camp has a little bit of everything for us. You'll get to meet the king on the way. Talk to him for a bit until Duncan gives you your next task. After this, you're fairly free. You can explore a lot of the camp if you want. There's not a ton of stuff to see, but there are a lot of people to talk to and learn a bit of the background. When you're ready to move on, you need to bring Alistair over to Duncan by the bonfire. You aren't kicked out of the camp, so don't feel like you have to look at everything just yet.
After you've explored a bit, talk to the quartermaster to see if you need any supplies. A man called Daveth is also here, so go ahead and talk to him. He's a fellow recruit, so talk to him for an early introduction. If you're ready, then walk past the quartermaster and up the ramp into the fancy church-like building. Move on over to the right to see Alistair talking to a mage. Walk over and talk to your new friend. He'll join the party.
Head on over to Duncan. You actually passed him after you walked across the bridge. Talk to him and tell him that you're readying for The Joining
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Gathering Some Blood
Okay. Our mission is pretty clear. We need to take our little party out into the Wilds and gather 3 vials of blood and some treaties. Let's take a look at the party though. Alistair is a strong swordsman and he's quite effective on the “defender" tactic that the tutorial makes you put him on. Jory is really tough. He's a true tank. He actually seems to do as well, if not better, than Alistair in combat. Daveth is a rogue. He can use a bow or dual wield. His tricks, like Dirty Fighting, come in real handy.
So, let's get started. There's a wolf pack near the entrance to the level. You should be able to wipe them out with sheer numbers on this one. Advance a bit further down this path to the spot of the ambush. There should be one survivor left in the mess. Talk to him and offer him some bandages to help him out. There's a little crisis of confidence in your party. Feel free to pick any side you want.
We need to go a little further and actually find the darkspawn. Keep going straight ahead to meet your first hurlock. These guys aren't bad at all. You should be able to take them out with Alistair and Jory. There will be a few archers on the ridge. Have an archer keep them pinned while the other 3 charge straight at them.
Once you've wiped out this group, you just need to search the bodies to hopefully get a few vials of blood. While you're up here, look for a log near the edge of the cliff. There should be a Wilds Flower on top of it. Pick it to get the medicine you need for the dog handler. Then move back down. Now, we could take a right at that intersection by the ambush, but that would take us to a large darkspawn camp that we might not be ready for just yet. I suggest you go under the hanging bodies to encounter another group just ahead.
It's about the same strength, so you shouldn't have any trouble with them. This actually should give you enough vials of blood. If it doesn't then follow the river to the ruins. There should be some more darkspawn fighting wolves by a dead man called Rigsby. He's a whole different quest. You can still collect the blood from the darkspawn though.
Once you have 3 vials, you can go ahead and move south. I suggest exploring the rest of the Wilds though. The experience is very important and the equipment to be found through the side quests isn't bad. The next part also really hurts if you're not well leveled.
When you're ready, get to the bridge at the far south. You should autosave when you get there. This is a warning, that the next few fights are tough. Be ready for some losses and challenges.
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The bridge is guarded by a Hurlock Emissary. He's a decent mage, so be careful. His fireball spell will basically kill your whole part if they're caught in it, so split up at first. Go ahead and charge him. He should run back into the camp. Take a minute and take out the 3 rogues in front of the bridge. Once you cross the bridge, split up. Have one guy attack the hurlock archer on the left. Have another hit the archer on the right. 2 need to charge the mage. This should keep your party safe from one crippling blow while also disrupting all of the enemies in the camp.
There's another group in the little offshoot camp. There should be 2 hurlocks near the outside and 4 rogues on the inside. They're actually the last challenge for the Signs of the Chasind quest. They will probably get triggered by the fight though. So kill them if you have to do it.
Charge forward to the archives. You might want to go ahead and save, although there should be an autosave. There's just one more fight. There's a hurlock alpha along with 4 other darkspawn. I had good luck by attacking the hurlocks first, then ganging up on the alpha. He's suspectible to shield bash, so make sure Alistair is on him. Then take out the last archer. If you survive this one, then you're good to go. Move inside the archives and activate the Warden's Box to trigger the next scene.
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Well, you now how the treaties and documents, even if it took an interesting conversation. We still have a little more to do though. Move on up. Note that The Joining is a point of no return, so finish up the Mabari Hound and Hungry Deserter quests before you talk to Duncan. Your party will also be split up a bit, so get any unique gear back from Daveth and Jory, if you gave them anything.
Once you're ready, hand over the scrolls and blood and get ready for the joining. It seems like that went a little different than expected. Well, head on down with Duncan to the strategy table with the King and Loghain. It seems pretty simple and we're naturally given a non-combat role. If you assume that that means the next part is easy though, then you haven't been paying attention to the game. We've got a whole battle ahead of us.