I finished my first play-through of Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin the other day and have been thinking a lot about the experience. I hadn’t picked up Dragon Age 2 in a long time and it was fun re-familiarizing myself with my old character. Combat was intuitive, but I had forgotten all my skills and combinations. It took a few minutes of playing around before I got reoriented but I soon found that my previous opinion of the game held true. Even still, it was great returning to the world and catching up with the old group.
But I’m not here to review Mark of the Assassin. It was a fun bit of DLC that kept me thoroughly entertained for an evening and it is worth the eight bucks I spent on it. But that isn’t what has kept me thinking about the game even days after completing it. What struck me about Mark of the Assassin was its star, Felicia Day, who takes on the role of Tallis, a Qunari assassin. The character is modeled to look remarkably like Felicia herself, which I’ll admit was a little strange for me at first. I’ve never been one for celebrity chasing and to actually be able to control one felt odd, like some strangely voyeuristic puppeteer. Needless to say, I stuck to playing Hawke and only possessed Tallis to force a potion down her throat (turns out Felicia Day has a poorly developed sense of self-preservation).
It wasn’t the writing, or the voice acting or even the Felicia-shaped Tallis that impressed me most about Felicia’s appearance in Mark of the Assassin. It was that she was in it at all, and more importantly, that we gamers actually care. We care more than if Tallis were instead voiced by some A-list actress like Jennifer Connolly or (shudder) Angelina Jolie. We care because, while Felicia Day is an actress, she was a gamer first, and when we play Mark of the Assassins we see Felicia and say, “Look, she’s one of us and she made it!”
She stands as inspiration to us gamers with a bit of talent and the ambition to take our passion beyond the pastime. She is proof that it can be done. Sure, it takes hard work, but so does anything worth doing. Felicia didn’t get the Guild produced on her first attempt. She had to work hard to turn her passion into a profession. The single greatest achievement Mark of the Assassin unlocked in me was the desire to put down the controller and get to work.