The Dragon Age 2 demo is now available on Xbox LIVE, and it will be available for download on the PSN and PC platforms tomorrow. The demo lets players play as Hawke, access a new weapon and explore a key location.
Even more than that, the demo comes with a challenge for the community that rewards users with game content. EA has become a fan of this method of encouraging play recently. One other attempt to garner mass gameplay that I can think of was the Battlefield 1943 kill race. When players hit a certain number of kills, EA and DICE released a new map. The community responded exceptionally well on both the PS3 and 360, and the new map was available quickly.
For Dragon Age 2, if the demo is downloaded 1,000,000 times, EA will give fans access to two unique in game items: Lothering’s Lament and The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall. BioWare’s call-to-arms details each item with a summary and explanation of affects on the user:
The Far Cliffs of Kirkwall – Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems describes her dreams of a new start in Kirkwall, the city across the sea. Readers will surely be enriched by her insights. (Gives money when read.)
Lothering’s Lament – Written by a Fereldan refugee as she fled the Blight, this book of poems contains touching reminiscences of all she had to leave behind. Readers will surely benefit from her experience. (Gives XP boost when read.)
BioWare’s intention with Dragon Age 2 is a lot like their intention with Mass Effect 2; streamline the experience and make the entire title more enjoyable for the user. Mass Effect 2 saw a complete tear down and rebuild of inventory systems, character management and entire gameplay organization. And while hardcore RPG enthusiasts saw these tweaks as setbacks, the end result was a game that was infinitely more playable and more about story and characters than organizing your loot. Most loved it, some hated it.
Given the changes, I find myself extremely excited for Dragon Age 2.