It honestly didn’t occur to me to play as anything other than human the first time I fired up DAO. I’d like to think this is because I opted for familiarity when playing an unfamiliar genre of game, and not because I’m a fantasy race racist.
In due course I played all the origin stories (completionist, remember?) and I thoroughly enjoyed each of them; in fact the Aeducan origin is probably my favourite. My problems began when my dwarf wardens left Orzammar – I just can’t cope with how the height difference between my warden and the npcs looks on screen, and sadly I’ve never finished a dwarf playthrough. Then there’s the fact that I’d rather play as a female warden and the female dwarfs just look wrong somehow; perhaps I’ve been reading too much Terry Pratchett?*
The elves were a different matter. I’m pretty steeped in Tolkien’s elven lore so the Dragon Age elves made an interesting change. The difference in how your elven warden is treated, and the options for addressing and discussing that treatment, adds replayability and helps to differentiate my elven wardens: some are ok with humans, some most definitely not.
As my canon Cousland and Hawke are both human rogues (a trend I expect to continue), I wasn’t overly bothered when DAI was announced as human protagonist only. I am excited that the delayed release afforded them time to add different protagonist races to the game though, and look forward to playing as an elf again. BioWare have said that the different races will lead to different treatment for the Inquisitor depending on npc prejudices, and I believe have intimated that this will close off certain quest options. While I’m concerned that a Qunari Inquisitor will give me similar problems to a Dwarf protagonist, I’m tempted to give both a go in order to see what’s different.
*I should explain for those unfamiliar with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld that its male and female dwarfs are usually indistinguishable as both wear beards, several layers of chainmail, and are referred to using male pronouns.