Dragon Age getting DLC expansion on day one

All-new Warden's Keep add-on will launch alongside dark fantasy RPG Nov. 3; Stone Prisoner and Blood Armor also available immediately; first trailers inside.

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With Dragon Age: Origins' November 3 launch less than a month away, developer BioWare has unveiled its initial downloadable content plans for the game. Unlike with the role-playing game developer's previous project, the acclaimed sci-fi adventure Mass Effect, players won't have to wait long to expand the upcoming dark fantasy.

They won't have to wait at all, in fact.

BioWare today announced that Dragon Age: Origins will get its first downloadable expansion on day one. Called the Warden's Keep, the DLC will add a dungeon-based quest to the game along with six new abilities, a variety of items, and a base where players can trade with merchants. It will feature a supernatural storyline set in an ancient--and possibly haunted--fortress once used as a redoubt by the Grey Wardens, the ancient order at the center of Origins' main storyline. (A magic suit of Grey Warden armor will be one of the items in the add-on.)

The Warden's Keep will be available for MSP 560 ($7) on Xbox Live Marketplace and $7 on the PC on November 3. It will cost the same price on the PlayStation Store when the PlayStation 3 version of Dragon Age goes on sale later in November. It is not included with the regular or Collector's Edition of Dragon Age: Origins, although it is included in the Deluxe Digital Edition offered by online retailers. For a sneak peek, peruse the trailer below:

Besides revealing the Warden's Keep, BioWare announced that two pieces of previously announced DLC will also be available when Dragon Age: Origins goes on sale. First up is the $15 (1,200 MSP) add-on The Stone Prisoner, which is free to anyone who has preordered or buys any edition of Dragon Age new. (It will be included with digital PC editions, with retail copies coming with a download code.) As seen in the video below, the pack will add a stone golem character to the player's party from the beginning of the game, unlocking numerous story options.

"The way that the character works in Dragon Age is they're along in your party, they're interjecting throughout the game, they're talking with other characters in your party, they're commenting on areas as you visit them," executive producer Mark Darrah told GameSpot. "So, in one way, it's 60 hours or 70 hours of content because if you put this character in your party right away, it's going to enrich it and affect your experience throughout the entire game."

Dragon Age: Origins' last piece of day-one DLC is the previously announced Blood Armor, which is also included at no cost with new copies of the game. As shown in the video below, it will provide upgraded protection for players wishing to deflect the swords and missiles of opponents in the game. As an added bonus, it will also be wearable in Mass Effect 2, due out early next year.

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