Why you should use the DA:O Fixpack even if it’s your first time playing the game

This bit from the Readme was written 7 years ago, in version 1.0. The example I give about Lothering seems dated now, since “everyone knows” what happens to Lothering, but back then when the game was just released, everyone was new and a lot of people really did think it was a bug:

“Note that my intent here is to fix the game, not tweak it to my liking. I only change something if I believe the game’s behavior in any given instance was more than likely -not intended- by the developers. In other words, I try to fix bugs. Actual bugs. As opposed to, “I forgot to talk to the guy in the Lothering tavern for the Blackstone Irregulars and now I can’t get back to him, that’s a bug, fix it!”. No. That was actually intended, as is clear if you read the completed failed entry for that quest.”

My last fix to version 3.2 before release (and now one of my favorite fixes) is this:

LO3219: Lothering: A helpful location based party bark where your party members advise you that you should do everything you can in Lothering before leaving because the Darkspawn are coming was interrupted 99% of the time by Sten’s first line from his cage (the triggers were only a couple of steps apart, you have to inch past the Chasind very, very slowly in the vanilla game to hear it.). I have moved this trigger closer to the actual exit of the area where it should no longer be interrupted.

THIS is the reason everyone thought it was a bug back then. The intent was that new players should receive this warning from your followers, but because the warning almost always went unheard, getting cut off from the quests seemed patently unfair to the player. And I believe this is the proper fix: restore the warning so that, if new players do leave Lothering without finishing things up, at least they were warned and chose to ignore the warning.

It is because of fixes of this nature that I recommend even first time players use the Fixpack, despite the conventional wisdom of “always play without mods the first time”. As I do only fixes and restorations, not tweaks, I’d suggest following the conventional wisdom in this case is unnecessarily masochistic. I really don’t think there’s anything in the vanilla game that one would miss by playing with this Fixpack (except maybe for those who like deliberately exploiting bugs, but I have little sympathy for that), but the reverse is certainly true – you will run into many annoying issues and miss out on what was intended, necessary information in vanilla that you will not have to deal with if the Fixpack is installed your first time through.