BioWare fans, rejoice: the demo release date for the upcoming Dragon Age II has been revealed, and it is February 23, 2011… At least, if you’re playing on PC. In an e-mail sent to GameStop employees earlier this week, it was announced that PC players would be able to step into the world of Ferelden once again on February 23rd — unfortunately, without any references for those waiting to play on their Xbox 360 or PS3 systems.

That’s not all, either. Staff at GameStop will be able to access the demo from February 11, in order to help them “become a key source of knowledge for GameStop customers and BioWare fans.” Now, whether you think that’s fair or not, the question is simple: are you looking forward to Dragon Age II? If the answer is “Yes,” I’d recommend trawling through your list of Facebook friends, find that one GameStop employee you met a party three years ago, and begin wooing them, subtly hinting about the perks of their video-game-selling career.

While BioWare has yet to make an official statement about the availability of the Dragon Age II demo, they were willing to talk about the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system for the upcoming title. Posting over on the BioWare Social Network, Community Co-ordinator Chris Priestly had this to say on the subject of DRM:

Steam versions use Steam DRM, no other DRM is added.

Non-Steam versions (digital or retail disc) are as follows:
– No disc check, you do not need the disc in drive to play.
– No limit on the total number of PCs you can install and play the game on.
– There is a limit to the number of unique/different PCs that can start/play the game within a time window [5 PCs in 24hrs].
– Each install requires logging in to your EA account to verify game ownership and if you are a member of these forums, you have an EA account.
– You can play offline but the game will require a login check after a select period of days.

Release Control (does not use securom)
. It does not install anything to the PC.
. Sole purpose is to check with a server to validate whether the game release date has passed or not.
. It completely removes itself after the game release date has passed.
. You will not be able to play until that date has passed.
. Dates & times are set to the retail street date per country.

To be honest, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal in relative terms to other DRM measures we’ve seen lately. I know that many PC gamers would love to have a DRM-free world, but that simply isn’t possible; as unfortunate as it is, piracy exists. When you know that EA could have chosen to use an Assassin’s Creed II style DRM system, the Dragon Age II system of “You’ll have to ping us every so often, just to double-check” could be an awful lot worse. Also, if anyone complains about the ‘5 PCs in 24 Hours’ rule, that’s just being silly. How many of us actively use 5 computers on a daily basis?

And now, for the final piece of Dragon Age related news:

Dragon Age Legends

EA has revealed that the closed beta for Dragon Age: Legends is now live, allowing those who signed up over at the official website to take part. As we reported back in November last year, Legends is a Facebook-exclusive strategy title, where gamers assume the role of an ally to the Viscount of Kaiten, Ravi. Something has happened to Elton, Ravi’s son, and the player is trusted to save him. Legends promises to have players battling against demons and darkspawn through the land of Thedas as they pursue Elton and ultimately bring him to safety. You can find out more by checking out the announcement post.

Wow, that’s a lot of Dragon Age related news for one post! Personally, the more I hear about Dragon Age II, the more intrigued I get. Especially with the recent Developer Diaries focusing specifically on storytelling and narrative, something we love, I can’t help but feel tempted.

Are you excited for Dragon Age II? Will you need to play the demo before you decide to purchase the full game? Will you play Legends as a little bit of fun-on-the-side? Let us know in the comments below.

Dragon Age II will be available on March 8, 2011 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Source: Kotaku; BioWare Social Network; Dragon Age Legends

[Update: BioWare and EA have officially confirmed that a playable demo of Dragon Age 2 will be coming to all consoles on February 22. Not only will players get a chance to see the game’s graphics, story, and character classes, but a bonus weapon will be unlocked for the game’s retail release:

“In the demo, players will venture through the game’s prologue, choosing from three different character classes…They’ll also learn more about Hawke and hone their skills and abilities that will make them the ultimate hero.

“After finishing the prologue, players will enter a key new location in the world of Dragon Age, Kirkwall, befriending Isabela, a romantic interest in the game who is also a deadly smuggler.

“Upon completion of the demo, players will unlock a special weapon, Hayder’s Razor, an ancient dwarven blade which increases health, mana, and combat abilities, in the full release of Dragon Age II.”

Looks like the completionists out there will have to overcome any apprehensions about getting an early look at the game, because it’s impossible to resist bonus content, no matter how mysterious. On the bright side, BioWare will likely give players just a taste of what’s to come, and seeing how closely the game follows Mass Effect‘s lead could ignite all new levels of anticipation.

Source: CVG]

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