Game of Thrones Ascent - what is your allegiance?
Some friends on Facebook kept posting achievements and invitations from the RPG Game of Thrones Ascent....I was bored because the bookstore didn't have the next volume of the series - A Dance with Dragons, so I thought, why not fill in the gap playing a game?
(I have heard that there may be volumes beyond A Dance with Dragons, so it seems safe to say that interest in the Game of Thrones world will continue for some time.)
What does the game offer?
Game of Thrones Ascent is not 3 dimensional and I normally lose patience quickly with point and click, however the complexity of the menus and quests available in the game managed to keep my interest.
You create a character, either using a personalised name of your choice or a randomised name the game can generate for you. The randomised options are pretty good, I actually used a first name the computer suggested for me and paired it with the surname of the house that most fascinates me.
The basic background to play is a picture of your keep. I assumed this was just flat, but as you hover the mouse across the page buildings glow and are click-able. I believe they also appear as you build them making your picture more complex as time goes on.
The buildings are also accessible using the menu that runs along the bottom of the page. There are over 55, some important ones being the Counting house where you accumulate money and the Keep which houses your sworn swords.
Who do you love?
I was playing to immerse myself further into the Games of Thrones universe, as seen on the HBO television series and in the series of books written by George R.R. Martin, so choice of allegiance was important to me.
The houses available to choose were: Stark, Lannister, Greyjoy, Baratheon and Targaryen.
Most of us started the journey loving the Starks. The tale commenced in the Stark home which made us identify with that household. All the children have mysterious connections to their direwolves, which is a fantastic ability we hope to see explored more further down the track. And they appear vaguely aware of the threat of the White Walkers while the rest of Westeros is consuming itself instead of stocking for winter.
- The steadfast and honourable Eddard (Ned) appeared to be a moral thermometer for the tale. His execution was a tragedy which only further attuned our sympathies to the house.
- The lively Bran whose climbing revealed the depth of depravity of the Lannister household, and who survived the fall against all odds, even to learn to ride a horse again remains a favourite..
- Sansa, however is not quite so appealing. Her gullibility and attraction to the frivolity of life in King's Landing led her to play a role in the downfall of her father.
- Catelyn Stark appears to view life through a twisted glass. She captures Tyrion Lannister without adequate proof he was behind the assassination attempt upon her son Bran. A dagger can change ownership or even get lost... from there she just seems to continue doing silly things which make it harder for her husband, while living, and then her son Robb to manage their fiefdom. And she was a Tully. The house Tully appears to be rotten at the core with Lisa Tully dropping into madness and the young son Robert afflicted with the shaking sickness.
- Robb seemed a likely young prince, he was unbeatable in battle and carried the loyalty of the readers for his father's sake. However, he broke the marriage contract Catelyn made with Walder Frey to gain passage over the bridge without even going back to check out the selection of daughters Walder had on offer. In fact Robb is so romantically conflicted and insipid that he marries a different female in the TV series to the books!
The Lannisters are the bad guys, the ones we are meant to hate. Rich and powerful they have almost achieved full power through the marriage of the scheming and unfaithful Cersi to King Robert Baratheon.
- Jamie Lannister killed the former king and although Aerys Targaryen was mad, this means Jamie wears the traitor's badge of kingslayer all his life. At the beginning he is the best swordsman in the country and he seems unstoppable. Something must be done about him, and something is - he has his hand cut off by thugs. Strangely enough though, Jamie starts seeing the light and his promise to restore the Stark daughters to their mother appears genuine although it was initially bartered for his freedom.
- Tywin Lannister is a good battle-master and even gives grudging respect to an unbeatable enemy such as Robb Stark. If he was fairer towards his children and not so inclined to use and abandon Tyrion he would be almost likeable.
- Cersi Lannister is full of ungovernable desires and as time progresses, we find she has many grudges and fears. Spurned by the Targaryens as a match for Prince Rhaegar, she was married to Robert Baratheon after the rebellion. Robert however was in love with the sister of Eddard Stark and filled the gap in his heart with womanising and drinking. Of course Cersi had her own forbidden affair producing illegitimate heirs to the throne.
- Tyrion Lannister is introduced in the HBO TV series as a drunkard and lecher, but we find out very quickly he has a brilliant mind. His friendship with Jon Snow is forged upon a visit to the wall and he is protective and considerate towards his young wife Sansa Stark. If only she had appreciated the gift he extended her! Constantly rejected by his father, and hounded by the rest of the family he must flee for his life. We hope there are better things in the future for the lovable Imp.
House Baratheon has the appeal of the status quo, at least at first.
- Robert Baratheon was the king, a man's man who inspired loyalty in his friends. Successful in battle, he enjoyed hunting, drinking and the company of women. That is, until he was killed by the weak catspaw of his scheming wife.
- Stannis Baratheon appeared to be the rightful heir. The elder brother who was upright and straight laced. Hang on there -- why does he need the red witch Melisande to fight his battles for him? We already have king's landing being ruled by one witch (Queen Cersis who is a witch in the personality sense, if not necessarily the magical sense) so why would we need another?
- Renly Baratheon the gentle homosexual younger brother mistakenly claimed the kingship and gathered troops against his brother, but there was no way he deserved to be murdered.
- Gendry may be Robert's bastard son, but when is he going to doing anything significant to the plot? Should we even count him?
House Taragaryen were the mad magical kings of yester year, but who and what do they have to offer today?
- Daenerys Targaryen is beautiful and clueless. However, she has dragons and always seems to come out of conflict on top and smelling like roses, no matter how high the price she pays in the blood of her loved ones.
- Aemon Targaryen is ancient, noble and forgotten. An incredibly romantic figure we are sad to see die.
- A Mysterious ash blonde youth is seen briefly by Arya Stark on her adventures - is he another surviving Targaryen or not?
I might be missing something here, but I was surprised to see Greyjoy as an option. I had the impression that the Iron Isles weren't actually part of Westeros. They are certainly busy attacking the mainland regardless of the houses to which their victims belong.
- Theon Greyjoy appeared to be a nice young man who was brought up with the Starks and considered them his brothers and sisters. However, faced with rejection from his father he turns against Winterfell sacking it in the most unchivalrous fashion.
- Asha Greyjoy is a woman who would like to rule like a man and may be as capable.
- Victorian Greyjoy has reasons to be bitter and seems to be fair to his men.
- Euron Greyjoy is violent, bloodthirsty and the seducer of his brother's wife. Not a good candidate even for his own people.
Record your allegiance here:
If you lived in Westeros, which house would have your allegiance?
I had created my character to suit a different house - that of the Tyrelles who fascinate me.The Tyrelles are opportunistic, taking advantage of allegiance through marriage with the major houses, first Baratheon and then Lannister. To do so they have to be more than clever. Moreover the Tyrelles also seem relatively good hearted despite their over-riding ambition.
- Olenna the Queen of Thorns attempted to arrange a match for Sansa Stark with Willas Tyrelle, which would have removed Sansa from the dangers of King's landing even though it had the side benefit of securing Sansa's claim to the northern region of the kingdom.
- Margaery's influence over young Tommen could make him into a better king than his brother Joffrey - if she survives the jealousy of her mother-in-law Cersi, who fears her because of the prophecy a "more beautiful Queen" will come to replace her. We suspect that queen is really Daenerys but who is to say at this stage?
- Loras, the knight of flowers is the perfect knight and Sansa Stark's crush. He is also gay and was Renly Baratheon's lover. A loyal family member, we hope he will somehow survive the terrible injuries inflicted upon him in battle.
As there was no Tyrelle choice, I am having to survive under the banners of house Lannister, just like the character's in the book. How interesting!
* Since this hub was published the makers of Game of Thrones Ascent have added house Tyrelle and a selection of additional quests. I am still happy to play as a Lannister, being a big Tyrion fan!
* Reading the books, it appears house Martell also has a significant part to play.