Originally Posted by Tysyacha
Quests are the bread-and-butter of role-playing games (RPG's), whether they be the chief storyline or simple missions that allow you to become acquainted with the game's fantasy world and characters. A quest that is truly worthy of this name, even on the most basic level, has three essential ingredients: 1) a quest giver; 2) a goal or objective, and 3) an outcome. "Talk to Merrill" is NOT a quest;
You have never talked to companions in any RPG you’ve ever played? Did you talk to Bastila and/or Carth when you were in the Ebon Hawk? Well guess what those were quest as they moved the story along. Without talking to your companions you could not set off the trigger that set off looking for Bastila’s father, Carth’s son or Mission’s brother. The only difference between DA2 and KotOR in that department is DA2 hits you over the head telling you that Hawke needs to talk to the companion. So just like KotOR and most other RPG type games companion quest are usually depended on talking to the companion. If you follow through with the talking then you get to move on to the next branch and finally the real objective and then you have an outcome. Fail to see how anyone can be critical of something almost every other RPG does. Now if you are just upset it is a document quest instead of an undocumented quest, then I can understand that. Don't see why it is a big deal, but can understand it.
As to your example:
1. Quest Giver
2. A Goal or Objective
friendship/love interest or even rivalry
3. An Outcome
Merrill sticks with Hawke through thick and thin no matter his/her decisions or she leaves Hawke when those decisions conflict with her own
I mostly agree with your assessment that some other quests were kind of stupid, but not all the quest were emotionless drivel. For the most part I thought the companion quest had some emotional content to them. I also still believe All That Remains
is one of the best quest I’ve played since I Remember Me
in Mass Effect.
I will also agree with you about the choices. After first completing Dragon Age II, I thought it was a really good game. After playing the second time making largely different choices (still on the good side of things) I was left with about the same outcome. Only real difference was Hawke romanced Isabela instead of Merrill , but siding with the templars over the mages only seemed to shuffle some of the fighting order.
I will say the options you are given with Anders towards the end of the game did allow me forgive some of the other shortcoming I had with DA2.