Dragon Age Inquistion players: How do you feel Bioware handled Dorian’s sexual orientation?

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So, by now, many are familiar with Dorian Pavus being an exclusive romance to male inquisitors and his gay orientation. To the uninitiated, Dorian Pavus is a romance option for only male inquisitors and will not be romancable with female. This stirred a lot of controversy with some video game commentators applauding this decision. Other video game commentators, such as MundaneMatt, question why Dorian was advertised as a gay character to begin with and whether it should matter at all.

Before, many video game commentators raise the question of whether the presence of homosexuals should even be raised as an issue. Many say that "you should write gay characters; you should write great characters who happen to be gay." Indeed, homosexuality or bisexuality doesn't even become an issue when romancing Iron Bull, Sera or Josephine. However, what happens when the character's homosexuality is integral or makes up a large part of the character, such as Dorian?

Do you believe Bioware made a good representation of gay characters when they wrote Dorian? Was it forced? Was it heavy-handed? Was it too on the nose? What are your thoughts?

Forced as fuck, but not without its merits.

Nobody in Dragon Age world has ever seemed to give a flying fuck about gay characters, why start now and ruin that great trend?

The only part that I thought was good is that his issue with his father wasn't that his lifestyle was disapproved of, it was that he tried to use Blood Magic to change him. I like that that's what upset him so much.

Regardless I hated that being gay was the big secret and issue with Dorians family. He was such a fucking good character to me that I was cut as fuck that the problem wasn't something else. Not because I don't think it'd be a problem, but because as I said Dragon Age has never had this *hate teh geys* that the real world has, so it just felt fucking weird.

Regardless, he's still one of the best written and voiced characters in the game, and even though I cringed when that scene played, I was still amazed at how GOOD the scene was. If they made the fathers voice better that could have rivalled any oscar winning drama, because the scene afterwards was great. I was playing a bastard Inquisitor trying to make the Inquisition as powerful as possible, but loyal as fuck to all his friends and always willing to help. So when I said "Dorian, are you okay?" and he goes "Not really, no", then we had a conversation and he cheered up a little it made me feel good.

Even though I started out by saying how forced his orientation is, I only REALLY mean his personal quest, because otherwise the fact that he's gay is handled perfectly.

Great character let down by a slightly mediocre personal quest line, which is mostly saved by him being the best character actor in the game imo.

I liked Dorian when I really was afraid his whole character was going to end up being a forced "YEA IM GAY SO WHAT" or something of the sort.

Maybe because I liked his Teventir aspects. Had he been from Orlais he would not have been as interesting.

That said, I did not like his side quest, but that more had to do with YET ANOTHER BIOWARE TRADEMARKED DADDY ISSUE CHARACTER. (Seriously thats like what, 5 now?) The fact that I finished it asap by going "Nah fuck this lets go." as soon as I found out what was going on helped.

So as a character, I had no problem with him being gay. His sidequest however was pretty bad because it focused on the whole "daddy issue + he hates how I'm gay (or rather can't make perfect genetic mage baby)."

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

It was a bit heavy handed but, overall, I think it was handled very well. His sexual orientation did actually feel like both an issue and a non-issue whenever it was appropriate. I also liked very much that you could still flirt with him regardless instead of him just being locked off as "Gay dude, no female attention!"

And I don't think it's necessarily the case that your character's gender had nothing to do with the other optional same-sex relationships in the game. I can't speak explicitly for anyone but Josephine, but the fact that my female inquisitor and her were a couple and how that would be perceived did come up several times. It wasn't a focus, sure, but it definitely wasn't something that passed without mention.

Thorn14:

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

Thank goodness. I thought I was going crazy or something given how many people seem to like her. I couldn't stand her for even a second. She was just grating beyond any measure I could come up with.

I liked Dorian as a character but I didn't like the gay romance angle. It wasn't particularly interesting, the story was very generic. I loved his personality and character but the side quest was just another Dad problem and it was something we'd seen a thousand times before.

StriderShinryu:

Thorn14:

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

Thank goodness. I thought I was going crazy or something given how many people seem to like her. I couldn't stand her for even a second. She was just grating beyond any measure I could come up with.

This. Bioware have been having real problems with party member comedy IMO; Oghren, Shale, and occasionally Morrigan from DA:O had some great party banter, but outside of Cassandra's personal quest(which is mainly funny because of her rather than Varrick, who remains an insufferable twat that thinks he's far wittier than he actually is), most of what I think is intended as humour in DA:I has fallen flat for me. Sera's insufferable "lulz I r quirky *raspberry*" routine being so bad it transcends "unfunny" to become screen-punchingly cringe-inducing.

It's a sad day when you have to include Varrick in your party because he's the less annoying and wankerish of the available ranged-Rogue party members.

While a bit on the cliche side - he's practically Freddy Mercury's more magically-inclined twin - at least he didn't talk with a lisp. There's the tragedy in that his prior love was dying/had died, but beyond that, his charms, mannerisms, don't seem so much gay-atypical as it is typical of nobility, similar to how Vivienne simply assumes she's better than everyone else. I'm pursuing the female options on the romance angle so haven't involved myself too deeply in his affairs.

Currently I'm only halfway through the game, if that, and though I like certain characters better than others, none have yet to truly annoy me and I enjoy mixing up my group in odd ways just to see the interactions. Sera falls somewhere between a soccer hooligan with a bow and a grownup Tiny Tina, always blunt about introducing people to the pointy end of her arrows, not to mention her crisis of faith over having to fight something she's only read about in really old books. On books, Varrick has to be the J.R.R. Martin of Ferelden. Loved that personal quest - the urge to crack wise was stroooooong!

I found it fine. I never saw him being gay as his only defining trait. In fact, outside of his quest, I never really would have known. I think he's actually one of the stronger written characters in the game.

On a side note, I didn't take away that his father was upset about him being gay. I took away that his father was upset about the bloodline being left to die. Everything in Tevinter is based around a family's bloodline. Dorian, as well as countless texts that you find, all say this. Mages are bred to be perfect, and the stronger a mage's bloodline, the more pull they have in the country. With Dorian being gay, all of his family's power is about to go down the drain. This is a terrible thing to happen in Tevinter, as it means generations of careful planning and breeding are wasted. If it was possible for a man to get pregnant in Thedas, I don't think his father would have cared in the slightest.
You even come across a book that says that sexuality is not really a 'thing' in Thedas. Everyone can do what, and who, they want without worry--unless it causes a scandal that doesn't have to do with actual wants, but politics and such.

PlayerDos:
Even though I started out by saying how forced his orientation is, I only REALLY mean his personal quest, because otherwise the fact that he's gay is handled perfectly.

Yeah, does come across as forced. Hell, the entire issue could have been written as Dorian refusing any arranged marriage not because of his sexuality (nobles having a bit on the side is common enough in the game) but because of all the shit caused by his own parents' arranged marriage. "I've seen how it made my parents despise each other!" is a much more involving reason than "Vaginas? No thanks!", especially when you take sexual mores of the game world into account.

I mean, come on... are you telling me no one in Thedas or Tevinter or where-the-fuck-ever has invented the turkey baster yet? XD

Ark of the Covetor:

StriderShinryu:

Thorn14:

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

Thank goodness. I thought I was going crazy or something given how many people seem to like her. I couldn't stand her for even a second. She was just grating beyond any measure I could come up with.

This. Bioware have been having real problems with party member comedy IMO; Oghren, Shale, and occasionally Morrigan from DA:O had some great party banter, but outside of Cassandra's personal quest(which is mainly funny because of her rather than Varrick, who remains an insufferable twat that thinks he's far wittier than he actually is), most of what I think is intended as humour in DA:I has fallen flat for me. Sera's insufferable "lulz I r quirky *raspberry*" routine being so bad it transcends "unfunny" to become screen-punchingly cringe-inducing.

It's a sad day when you have to include Varrick in your party because he's the less annoying and wankerish of the available ranged-Rogue party members.

Bioware is great at dry humor. Shale, Sten, Javik, etc.

Its the "wacky" characters who are not only bad, but painfully so.

Dorian?
I enjoy the character quite a bit. I wouldn't exactly call his story "subtle" - the Bioware's message behind him is very loud and clear. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I prefer my characters a bit more difficult to read (Sten, anyone?).

Oh, and in regards to Sera - I enjoy her in moderate doses. She was written to be a polarizing character. So, negative reactions to her are quite natural, I recon.
By and large, I found something to enjoy in every character.

I haven't even clicked on his flirt at all..he never did passes at me.

If I didn't read gaming media apart from one dialogue that was woven good in his personal quest about his sexuality I would had never known he was actually gay.

And the irony here is that I hate how Anders was handled in DA2 with my male Hawke and in this game Dorian is one of my favorite characters..fancy that.

Honestly, I didn't even know Dorian was gay until the big reveal during his quest, and then once the quest was over it was never really something that came up again. Honestly; aside from the on the nose presentation of the quest itself, I'd say Dorian's sexuality was really rather subtle throughout.

Also; everyone seems to have so much hate for Sera. After failed relationships with Blackwall and Josephine, I romanced her right to the end and regret nothing.

I thought he was an ok character but the whole plot thread about his dad trying to change his sexuality felt like a really blunt attempt to draw parallels to those stereotypical Jesus camp kind of stories. Other than that, he's a bit flamboyant for my liking but other than that he's fine. Not sure why so many people on here thought he was subtle here, he was about as subtle as Zevran in most regards (i.e. not very).

Remus:
There's the tragedy in that his prior love was dying/had died, but beyond that, his charms, mannerisms, don't seem so much gay-atypical as it is typical of nobility, similar to how Vivienne simply assumes she's better than everyone else.

Actually, Felix (who I'm assuming is the one you're talking about since he's the only one that Dorian knows in the game that is dying) wasn't romantically involved with Dorian. He actually makes this clear if you ask him and he explains that it would be kind of a dick move towards Alexius since he was basically living under his roof at the time and he really respected him.

I'll also jump on the Sera hate bandwagon, I nearly rejected her outright after I found the "breeches" item in her recruitment quest. Her attempts at "humor" were nothing but the ramblings of a 5 year old and her face looked like she had Downe Syndrome. It was extremely satisfying to reject her after building up her approval and watch her pout, it was almost worth recruiting her.

Nods Respectfully Towards You:
I thought he was an ok character but the whole plot thread about his dad trying to change his sexuality felt like a really blunt attempt to draw parallels to those stereotypical Jesus camp kind of stories. Other than that, he's a bit flamboyant for my liking but other than that he's fine. Not sure why so many people on here thought he was subtle here, he was about as subtle as Zevran in most regards (i.e. not very).

Remus:
There's the tragedy in that his prior love was dying/had died, but beyond that, his charms, mannerisms, don't seem so much gay-atypical as it is typical of nobility, similar to how Vivienne simply assumes she's better than everyone else.

Actually, Felix (who I'm assuming is the one you're talking about since he's the only one that Dorian knows in the game that is dying) wasn't romantically involved with Dorian. He actually makes this clear if you ask him and he explains that it would be kind of a dick move towards Alexius since he was basically living under his roof at the time and he really respected him.

I'll also jump on the Sera hate bandwagon, I nearly rejected her outright after I found the "breeches" item in her recruitment quest. Her attempts at "humor" were nothing but the ramblings of a 5 year old and her face looked like she had Downe Syndrome. It was extremely satisfying to reject her after building up her approval and watch her pout, it was almost worth recruiting her.

Sera was the only Bioware character I've ever decided to kick out of the party because she was so annoying. She was horribly written, so zany and childish and looks like she was created by a focus group of 14 year old left wing Pewdiepie viewers. Kicking her out was incredibly satisfying because she has a go at you and swears a lot then cries and bawls like a child.

I thought he was a well written character, but some of the daddy issue/"I'm gay" stuff was ham-fisted. Bioware/EA's kinda been that way regarding LGBT characters for ages now.

I think he is a fantastic character and one of the better written in the game. I do agree that the conflict with his family was handled in a rather "ham-fisted" way, and it sort of lost impact a bit when he confronted his father. It was however much better handled than the scene with the Chargers soldier (The Iron Bull's friend of undetermined sex) whose name I keep forgetting. That whole scene felt so extremely forced and heavy handed I cringed a bit. I think they could have handled that one much better than they did.

I didn't play the game, so I won't speak at great lengths, but I take issue with characters being advertised as "gay". If a character's most prominent trait is their sexual orientation, that is the sign of poor writing, in my opinion.

subskipper:
I think he is a fantastic character and one of the better written in the game. I do agree that the conflict with his family was handled in a rather "ham-fisted" way, and it sort of lost impact a bit when he confronted his father. It was however much better handled than the scene with the Chargers soldier (The Iron Bull's friend of undetermined sex) whose name I keep forgetting. That whole scene felt so extremely forced and heavy handed I cringed a bit. I think they could have handled that one much better than they did.

I believe you are referring to Krem, voiced none other than Jennifer Hale herself.

Burnouts3s3:

subskipper:
I think he is a fantastic character and one of the better written in the game. I do agree that the conflict with his family was handled in a rather "ham-fisted" way, and it sort of lost impact a bit when he confronted his father. It was however much better handled than the scene with the Chargers soldier (The Iron Bull's friend of undetermined sex) whose name I keep forgetting. That whole scene felt so extremely forced and heavy handed I cringed a bit. I think they could have handled that one much better than they did.

I believe you are referring to Krem, voiced none other than Jennifer Hale herself.

[SNIP]

Indeed it was. I think I spoke to Krem once (other than in the scene with the Chargers). Great voice acting though!

I love Dorian and the additional insight into Tevinter culture he provides, including how his sexuality plays into their tradition of arranged marriage/breeding.

MundaneMatt, meanwhile, is best ignored.

I cottoned on to his sexuality long before his side quest, but was completely fine with it - It was most definitely better and far more tasteful than Anders in DA2. I didn't romance him in my single playthrough, but we were bros.

I loved his quips and sense of humour.

The thing I actually found annoying for all the romance options was having an option in the dialogue of "Start romance with X", but in hindsight that transparency sort of helps, albeit rather bluntly.

I didn't really care about it - I'm not gay so I never really explore that side of the game, the character didn't seem overly flamboyant or incapable or anything so it wasn't an issue.

I think that's pretty much job done from Bioware, it mirrored real life, I wasn't aware when I met the person, when I found out I was completely disinterested, not my business or area of interest.

Edit - sorry for short first post, phone cut out.

I should really say this, because it's a common misconception despite having no basis in reality.

Dorian was never "advertised" by BioWare as gay. The first time Dorian's sexuality was revealed was in his character interview with David Gaider, who wrote Dorian. There was no highlight on Gaider's words regarding Dorian's sexuality; it was others who emphasized Dorian's homosexuality.

I've recently done Dorian's personal quest, and to be honest...I like the heavy-handed aspect of it, given that it's something that actually happens to gay people in real life. While I like how the average person in the Dragon Age world doesn't view non-heterosexuals negatively, it's still interesting to see the topic tackled in the game.

As for Dorian himself, he's easily my favourite mage in terms of personality. (It's like having David Gaider himself in my party, in magnificent gay mage form.)

StriderShinryu:

Thorn14:

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

Thank goodness. I thought I was going crazy or something given how many people seem to like her. I couldn't stand her for even a second. She was just grating beyond any measure I could come up with.

At one point I got so tired of her shit (and a bit miffed when it dawned on me that she doesn't dig the dong) that I stopped taking her seriously altogether. Any time there is dialogue with her I choose the snarkiest reply possible, or just outright hostility.

Her replies to getting it dished right back out to her is pretty satisfying.

Party Member Tier list

Great Tier
-Cassandra
-Dorian
-Solas

Good Tier
-Bull
-Blackwall
-Varric
-Cole

Bad Tier
-Vivienne

Kicked out of Inquisition Tier
-Sera

A number of people have mentioned that they felt it was "ham-fisted", or "forced", or something similar. I haven't played the game, so I don't know personally.

I'd like someone to tell me in a little more detail what they mean by this, though. Is it just "ham-fisted" because it's unambiguous? How is it more so than straight characters' interest in the opposite sex?

Woah, what's with all the Sera hate? What'd she do? I haven't played the game yet, but she did look kinda annoying...

Advertised as gay? was he? because I don't think bioware are the ones who made a big deal out of it.

As for "you shouldn't write gay characters; you should write great characters who happen to be gay", it's nice to have a gay character who is just gay and no big deal is made of it. You don't need to have an excuse for a character to be something other than straight. Starting from the same mold and then just tweaking things to fill roles and move the plot is a poor way to make characters.

It is also fine to have character who is gay where that actually is a big part of their story and that effects other things. I know people in real life who have been kicked out home, attacked because of it, had authority figures try to screw them over, or who spent years hiding the fact that were gay because they knew it would cause issues and they could lose friends over it. It is still a big deal for many people. Why not have plot centred around struggles bought on by sexuality in a game?

Of course people will still consider it "forced", "ham-fisted" and "in their face" regardless of how it's presented. Hell you get that even when character isn't actually gay but just matches a few stereotypes though at least that is funny to watch.

They handled it well, and it was nice to see that they did have a quest that dealt with the stigma of homosexuality (and how it can come from parents). Besides, we already had a straight sexuality story in Dragon Age II (Aveline and her 'Help me I'm awkward and want to bone this guardsman silly' quest), so a gay story that deals with problems faced by real-life homosexuals makes sense to me.

Saetha:
Woah, what's with all the Sera hate? What'd she do? I haven't played the game yet, but she did look kinda annoying...

She's basically 'Lol so Quirky look internet meme buttz!'.

In other words, a pretty shitty character.

subskipper:

Burnouts3s3:

subskipper:
I think he is a fantastic character and one of the better written in the game. I do agree that the conflict with his family was handled in a rather "ham-fisted" way, and it sort of lost impact a bit when he confronted his father. It was however much better handled than the scene with the Chargers soldier (The Iron Bull's friend of undetermined sex) whose name I keep forgetting. That whole scene felt so extremely forced and heavy handed I cringed a bit. I think they could have handled that one much better than they did.

I believe you are referring to Krem, voiced none other than Jennifer Hale herself.

[SNIP]

Indeed it was. I think I spoke to Krem once (other than in the scene with the Chargers). Great voice acting though!

As a trans woman, the writing in that scene bugged the crap out of me. It's nice to see trans characters in games, without them just existing for something the player is meant to mock and laugh at, but as you said, the dialog was very heavy handed. What bugged me the most was using a cis female to play a trans character

Silvanus:
Is it just "ham-fisted" because it's unambiguous?

More or less. I think a lot of people just don't like being confronted with this kind of thing in it's unabashed, unashamed, FABULOUS glory.

Saetha:
Woah, what's with all the Sera hate? What'd she do? I haven't played the game yet, but she did look kinda annoying...

People will talk about how OMG QUIRKY or annoying she is. The latter comes down to personal preference. The former is pure ignorance.

Kaulen Fuhs:

Silvanus:
Is it just "ham-fisted" because it's unambiguous?

More or less. I think a lot of people just don't like being confronted with this kind of thing in it's unabashed, unashamed, FABULOUS glory.

Saetha:
Woah, what's with all the Sera hate? What'd she do? I haven't played the game yet, but she did look kinda annoying...

People will talk about how OMG QUIRKY or annoying she is. The latter comes down to personal preference. The former is pure ignorance.

Ignorance? How so?

StriderShinryu:

Thorn14:

But he's a million times better than the other "pure gay" character, Sera, who was just terrible in every single way.

Thank goodness. I thought I was going crazy or something given how many people seem to like her. I couldn't stand her for even a second. She was just grating beyond any measure I could come up with.

Sad fact: I work with people with neuropsychiatric disorders, such as autism and ADHD, and Sera to me felt like all the worst aspects of those patients mixed with an unhealthy dose of "spoiled baby syndrome". There wasn't a single redeeming aspect to the character that I could find.

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