Sekkou Boys | Мюзикл | Michael C. Hall

Dragon Age: Origins [Walkthrough]

Dragon Age: Origins

===================
Dragon Age: Origins
Class Guide - v 0.5
by Marc Seguin aka Asmiroth
[email protected]
Copyright 2009 Marc Seguin
====================

-----------------
TABLE OF CONTENTS
-----------------
Introduction 	(DAO:1)

Class Basics 	(DAO:2)
- Warrior  	(DAO:2.1)
- Rogue    	(DAO:2.2)
- Mage 	    	(DAO:2.3)

Group Makeup 	(DAO:3)
- Typical Group (DAO:3.1)
- Better Group  (DAO:3.2)
- Best Group 	(DAO:3.3)

Characters 	(DAO:4)
- Alistair	(DAO:4.1)
- Dog		(DAO:4.2)
- Leliana	(DAO:4.3)
- Secret	(DAO:4.4)
- Morrigan	(DAO:4.5)
- Oghren	(DAO:4.6)
- Shale		(DAO:4.7)
- Sten		(DAO:4.8)
- Wynne		(DAO:4.9)
- Zevran	(DAO:4.10)

Warrior 	(DAO:5)
- Tank		(DAO:5.1)
-- Attributes	(DAO:5.1.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:5.1.2)
-- Build	(DAO:5.1.3)
-- Summary 	(DAO:5.1.4)
- Melee		(DAO:5.2)
-- Attributes	(DAO:5.2.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:5.2.2)
-- Build	(DAO:5.2.3)
-- Summary	(DAO:5.2.4)

Rogue	 	(DAO:6)
- Melee		(DAO:6.1)
-- Attributes	(DAO:6.1.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:6.1.2)
-- Build	(DAO:6.1.3)
-- Summary 	(DAO:6.1.4)
- Ranged	(DAO:6.2)
-- Attributes	(DAO:6.2.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:6.2.2)
-- Build	(DAO:6.2.3)
-- Summary	(DAO:6.2.4)

Mage	 	(DAO:7)
- Tank		(DAO:7.1)
-- Attributes	(DAO:7.1.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:7.1.2)
-- Build	(DAO:7.1.3)
-- Summary 	(DAO:7.1.4)
- Caster	(DAO:7.2)
-- Attributes	(DAO:7.2.1)
-- Abilities	(DAO:7.2.2)
-- Build	(DAO:7.2.3)
-- Summary	(DAO:7.2.4)
-------
VERSION
-------
Jan 18, 2009 - 0.5 - More fixes
Dec 02, 2009 - 0.4 - More build fixes, and typos corrected
Nov 28, 2009 - 0.3 - Fixed some errors in build sections
Nov 27, 2009 - 0.2 - Added builds, modified Rogue section, clean-up
Nov 20, 2009 - 0.1 - First Version

------------
INTRODUCTION (DAO:1)
------------
Dragon Age:Origins is the sequel in pricinple of the Baldur"s Gate, Icewind 
Dale and Neverwinter Nights line of games.  Though DA:O doesn"t necessarily
follow the Dungeons & Dragons method of gameplay, many similarities exist.
What we find instead is a mix of D&D with multiplayer online games, such as
World of Warcraft.  All in all, this makes the game much more accessible to a
wider group of people than your standard pen and paper RPG.
And yes, there are spoilers abound.

------------
CLASS BASICS (DAO:2)
------------
If you"ve ever played any RPG in the past, you"re probably familiar with the 
roles required to succeed in the long run.  Where some games require only brute
force and others exceedingly tedious strategy, DA:O tends to favor the latter.
In only a brief amount of situations will sending in your group blindly 
succeed.  You will find yourself pausing the game, issuing commands and 
probably reloading a few times along the way.  Due to this requirement of 
strategy, it"s a good idea to understand the basics of class makeup.

Warrior (DAO:2.1)
-------
Warriors are your typical grunt force trauma.  They wade in, take a beating and
dish one out in kind.  These are the characters that get deep and dirty in
combat, so they require a slightly less hands-on approach.  With the right
tactics set-up (the default scrapper is usually good), sending a warrior to 
attack and forgetting about him for a few seconds will not kill you.
One of the key features of a warrior is their heavy armor and weapons.  The
former makes them quite effective at absorbing damage, if they can maintain the
enemies" focus for long enough.  Threaten and Taunt are key abilities for this
type of combatant.  When a character"s main role is to absorb damage, they are
referred to as a tank.
Looking at the other side of the warrior coin, damage dealing.  Warriors are
huge brutes swinging massive weapons.  In the later stages of the game, they
can also attack a group of enemies with a single swing, making them quite 
useful for group attacks.  Characters that focus on dealing damage to enemies
at close range are referred to as melee damage-dealers, or melee for short.

Rogue (DAO:2.2)
-----
Rogues are your typical silent stalker.  Residing in the shadows, they are the
masters of ranged physical attacks, backstabs and poisons.  Not to mention the
other utility skills such as picking pockets and locks.  Similar to the
warrior, rogues focus on dealing maximum damage but while taking the least
amount possible.  If they can"t kill the enemy quickly, they will use
additional skills to further disable it.  Typically, a rogue does not deal well
with multiple enemies at once but excels at single target combat.
There are really two key areas of focus for rogues in DA:O, damage up close and
damage from range with a bow or crossbow.  This has an impact in attribute
allocation and even more so with abilities.  A fully powered rogue at range is
by far the deadliest character in the game.  Ranged attackers are called ranged
damage-dealers, or ranged for short.

Mage (DAO:2.3)
----
The mystical mage.  There really isn"t much that a mage doesn"t do, if only
limited by their mana pool and abilities selected.  A mage can fight up close,
they can cast from the back, the can control groups of enemies, they can heal,
they can even transform into other beasts.
At the most basic level, a mage is the type of character the needs the most
finesse.  Just leaving them to cast whatever spell whenever is not the best
way to win a fight and in some cases, will kill you outright.  In part due to
the large amount of spells they can choose from, you have a lot to consider in
every battle you enter.
Though the ability to heal is a very important one, it is never going to be the
primary role of a mage.  They are your ace in pocket, casting a clever spell to
trick or trap the enemy making life easier for every other character.
Of very interesting note is that with the proper specialization, the mage can
fill in perfectly as a tank.  So where you might find your options lacking in
your party members you can also make your own true jack of all trades.

------------
GROUP MAKEUP (DAO:3)
------------
Though you could try to play the game alone if you wanted to, DA:O allows you
and 3 party members to form a group.  By the time you finish Lotherian, you"ll
potentially have 6 members to choose from, which is more than enough for the
rest of the game.  Over the course of the entire game, you will encounter 6
warriors, 2 rogues and 2 mages.  Combined with the class you"ve selected, you
can certainly form any type of team you would like.
On easy and normal, it"s very possible to play the entire game without any
mages to cast healing spells.  You could have 4 warriors, use potions and
poisons and get through 99% of the game with relative ease, if you pay
attention. On the hardest level however, you cannot forgo a mage for 2 main
reasons.  The first is their ability to heal members, which is more effective
than potions alone.  The second is their ability to stun/control enemies in
combat.  Many times you will encounter 2-4 ranked enemies who can easily tear
your group apart.  A well-timed Petrify or Crushing Prison is a lifesaver in
those cases.

Typical Group (DAO:3.1)
-------------
Your typical group in combat will contain one tank, one mage and 2 damage
dealers.  In the early stages of the game and on easier difficulties you can 
choose to have all of them in melee range if you wish.  The downside is that
you are grouping up your characters, which can put them all at risk of area
effect spells and abilities.  This also means that your characters need to run
around in order to engage enemies at a distance.  Any time you are not swinging
your weapon at an enemy and they are is time where you are losing.

Better Group (DAO:3.2)
------------
A tank, a mage and 2 ranged attackers are an improvement over the typical
group.  While your tank runs in and engages the enemy, their role is not to 
deal damage but to absorb it, so there is no time lost.  In the meantime, all
your ranged attackers can focus on and eliminate enemy targets with relative
ease.  A possible hiccup here is that enemies will start to run towards your
ranged attackers, meaning the tank will be running around a whole lot and
you"ll need to really manage your team.  Still, from a damage dealing 
perspective, this group is a very solid make-up.

Best Group (DAO:3.3)
----------
Obviously using the word best is subjective.  Everyone will have their own
opinion about this but in my experience, this is the easiest way to move 
through the game without continual reloading.  As mentioned in the previous
section, ranged combat is preferable to melee since you"re dealing damage the 
entire time rather than running around.  It also ensures that you"re using the
most powerful class in the game to their maximum potential.
The best group is made up of a tank and 3 mages.  I"m sure you"re thinking, wow
it"s hard enough to manage a single mage, how can I handle 3?  That"s the 
beauty about it, you only really need to manage a single one.  Put the other 
two on tactics that attack whomever you are targetting and let the computer
cast away. I can guarantee that 3 mages casting Blizzard, Inferno and Tempest
will destroy any group of enemies you encounter.  Even more so if they all have
access to Force Field to protect your tank and each other.  If you"re running
with an Arcane Mage, you could potentially have Frost, Fire and Telekenetic
Weapon spells all active at the same time!
There are many ways to build your group and in the end it"s up to you to decide
which formation works best for you.

----------
CHARACTERS (DAO:4)
----------
Throughout the game you"ll encounter a wide variety of characters.  I briefly
mentioned the fact that you"ll encounter a total of 10 throughout but keeping
them all with you at the same time can be a challenge.
An important note when characters join your group: they will typically join at
your level or +/- 1.  If you find Wynne when your character is level 17, then 
she will be level 17 and already have all her attributes and spells selected.
So if you want to have the ultimate control on your group"s characters, find
them early.
All characters are optional, except for perhaps Alistair in a short part of the
game.

Alistair (DAO:4.1)
--------
Location Found: Ostagar
Role: Alistair comes with 2 abilities already in the Shield tree, so it"s a 
good idea to keep him there and build him to become a tank.

Dog (DAO:4.2)
---
Location Found: Road between Ostagar and Lotherian (if you did the quest in
Ostagar)
Role: Being a dog, it"s role is purely offensive and similar to a melee 
character but without weapons.  You can equip him with a collar and some paint
to enhance him but for the most part, it"s a pet that you point to a target and
he"ll bite til they die.

Leliana (DAO:4.3)
-------
Location Found: Lotherian
Role: Leliana comes with some archery abilities already selected but being
early in the game, you can move her to another role if you wish.  I prefer 
keeping her at range though and focusing entirely on dexterity.  At the end of
the game, she is the dealiest character on your team.

Loghain (DAO:4.4)
-------
Location Found: Denerim, late in the game
Role: He comes in very late in the game as a warrior.  Odds are you won"t level
him more than 1-2 levels and his role is purely that of a 2 handed warrior.

Morrigan (DAO:4.5)
--------
Location Found: Wilds after Ostagar
Role: The "evil" mage in the game, since you collect her early you can focus
her on whatever role you wish.  I personally don"t like the Shapeshifter spells
since you lose access to all other mage spells but it"s your preference.

Oghren (DAO:4.6)
------
Location Found: Orzammar
Role: He"s set up as a beserker and for 2 handed weapon damage.  This is a
great role to keep him in, especially if you catch him early in the game.

Shale (DAO:4.7)
-----
Location Found: Honnleath - DLC
Role: Shale is a golem you can collect through downloadable content.  Being a
golem, you would think he would focus on damage dealing but in fact by the end
of the game, you"ll have maxed out every skill of his.  Combined with the gems
he uses to augment his body, it"s up to you to decide if you want him to be a
tank or a damage dealer.  Be warned that he does area of effect damage, so if
the rest of the group is near him, they will get damaged as well.

Sten (DAO:4.8)
----
Location Found: Lotherian
Role: You find Sten very early in the game but he still has a couple points
into 2 handed weapons.  Since you already have Alistair in tank-mode, keep Sten
in melee mode.  Statisically, he will be stronger than Ogren because you can 
give him 2 specializations - though odds are one will be beserker anyhow.

Wynne (DAO:4.9)
-----
Location Found: Circle of Mages
Role: Wynne comes in already lined up to be a Sprit Healer, having a group heal
and revival lined up.  Being a mage, these are two good spells and even the
entire tree is good later in the game.  Try to collect her early so that you 
can maximize her attribute distribution and move her either into Arcane Mage or
Blood Mage.

Zevran (DAO:4.10)
------
Location Found: Random event after clearing 1 major quest.
Role: Zevran is a melee rogue but depending on when you collect him, he can be
very weak statistically.  This is a tough call since you will most likely 
finish the first major quest at level 9-10 and really only need 1 rogue in the
group.  Leliana is a better choice so Zevran really takes a backseat in the
game.  Too bad, he"s an interesting one at that.

-------
WARRIOR (DAO:5)
-------
Tank (DAO:5.1)
----
The tank"s main role is to absorb damage and keep enemy attention.  To that
end, they will be focusing on defensive items and abilities.
Attributes (DAO:5.1.1)
----------
Strength: 	42
Dex: 		MAX
Willpower: 	n/a
Magic: 		n/a
Cunning: 	n/a
Constitution: 	20
Since the best armor in the game requires 42 strength, that"s what you"re going
to be aiming for.  Past that point, strength"s only purpose is to increase
melee damage, which is not a goal for this role.  Constitution at 20 is more
than enough, especially if you pick up the Life Giver ring in Orzammar.
There"s nothing wrong with more hitpoints but the difference between 15 and 20
constituion is only 25 hit points.  Dexterity should be maxed as much as
possible for a few reasons.  First, it increases your chance to hit.  Second
it decreases your chance to be hit, which is of great benefit to your healer.

Abilities (DAO:5.1.2)
--------------
Your main focus will be on the Warrior tree, the Shield tree and the
specialization trees.  Dual Wield and Two Hand remove the ability to
use a shield, which is bad so avoid them.  If your main character is
a warrior, you can also acquire 2 new skills in the Warden"s Keep quest.

Warrior abilities:
-----------------
Powerful:  	This one is a necessity for any warrior.  Reduced fatigue and
		increased hit points is all good.
Threaten: 	Again, a requirement for a tank.  Every swing you take increases
		enemy hostility towards you.  It should always be active and 
		your tank should be hitting more than one enemy to keep them all
		on him.
Bravery: 	Passive increase to defensive and offensive statistics if you
		have more than 2 enemies attacking the tank.  This happens in 
		90% of all battles, so there"s a definite benefit to be had.
Death Blow: 	If your warrior strikes the final blow, he regains some 
		stamina. This will only happen until you reach level 8-9, 
		afterwards your other characters are doing the killing.  Since
		you can only get this at 12, avoid it altogether.
Precise Striking: A sustained ability than increases your chance to hit.
		  Combined with Threaten this ensures you"re hitting the enemy 
		  and getting their attention, which is a good thing.  Keep it
		  on.
Taunt: 		Ahh, the meat and potatoes of engagement at the higher end.  
		Send your warrior into the thick of things, cast this skill and
		watch everyone target him.  In combat with 6 or more enemies, 
		this can kill your warrior outright, so your healers need to be
		on their toes.  Combined with Force Field on the tank this 
		allows you to Taunt, Force Field, then cast as many area effect
		skills as you want with no risk to the tank.
Disengage: 	This goes against the idea of a tank so there"s no reason to use
		it.
Perfect Striking: Practically ensures every swing is a hit, which sounds good
		  in theory but it"s 2 skill points you can put elsewhere for 
		  more benefit.

Warden"s Keep abilities:
-----------------------
Blood Thirst: 	More damage output but you take more damage too.  As a sustained
		ability, you should avoid using this as a tank.  Thankfully you
		get it for free.
Blood Fury: 	Another bad tradeoff for a tank.  Losing hitpoints is never a
		good thing and there"s no reason to use this ability as a tank.

Shield Tree abilities:
---------------------
Shield Bash: 	Knocking enemies down is good.  On top of that, if every another
		party member gets grasped or jumped on, this attack will break 
		the hold. Great livesaver.
Shield Pummel: 	Stunning attacks are great as they set up the enemy for more
		damage.  Alternating between Bash and Pummel will keep most 
		enemies out of combat until they die or you run out of stamina.
Overpower: 	Another knockdown attack, this time costing a bit more stamina.
		I personally prefer Bash because of the cost.  You"re really not
		aiming for damage but in a pinch it can free a party member from
		a grasp/jump.
Assault: 	A shield damage attack.  Again, your goal is to take damage and
		prevent it from hitting other party members, so you really don"t
		need this.
Shield Defense: This should be on at all times until you get Shield Wall.
		Increased chance to avoid missles is gold when you"re surrounded
		by enemies.
Shield Balance: Improves shield defense, nothing bad here.
Shield Wall: 	You do less damage but take a whole lot less yourself.  This 
		ability should always be active once you have acquired it.
		Always.
Shield Expertise: Being immune to knockdown is a huge benefit and should be
		  the ability to select at level 12. A tank that"s standing is
		  a tank that"s keeping all the enemies on him.
Shield Block:	Flanking reduces your defense to zero, meaning you can"t avoid
		damage and therfore take more.  This passive ability removes
		flanks from the front, which is a good 50% of all attacks.
Shield Cover: 	Great for avoiding missles but Shield Wall is better.
Shield Tactics: Now you"re immune from all flanking attacks.  You"ll notice
		the change as soon as you acquire it.
Shield Mastery: Improves nearly every shield ability you have, a great
		investment.

Beserker Specialization:
-----------------------
An interesting choice, since the attribute gain does not match up with the
specialization abilities.  A beserker trades stamina for more overall damage.
Again, since the tank"s main goal is to avoid taking damage and reduce the
effect on others, there"s not a whole lot to gain from taking this path,
other than the 2 strength and 10 hitpoints taken by selecting it on the level
up screen.

Templar Specialization:
----------------------
The focus of a Templar is against mages. In many combat situations, there will
be mages attacking you but your ranged attackers should be focused on them.
The abilities of a templar are all in melee range and really don"t affect 
regular enemies and therefore do not have any noticeable benefit to the tank
or the group.
Righteous Strike: Mana drain is good but there are poisons that do this more
		  effectively.
Clease Area: 	I"ve yet to see a huge benefit here, except for healing group
		members of dealy curses.
Mental Fortress: Significant increase to mental defense, which really only
		 stops Crushing Prison attacks.
Holy Smite: 	Interesting attack that hits your target and others nearby for
		spirit and fire damage.  The real benefit is the group stun and
		knockback attack that accompanies it.

Champion Specialization:
-----------------------
Now this is a tanking specialization.  Increase attributes on your team and 
reduce the enemy"s ability to hit you.  Great!
War Cry: 	A cry that reduces the enemy chance to hit is great for a tank.
		If you select Superiority later on, this can also knockdown all
		enemies around you.
Rally: 		Gives your entire group a bonus to attack and defense.  Nothing
		wrong with that at all.
Motivate: 	Increases the bonuses from Rally.  On its own, not that great
		since the upkeep cost is rather high.
Superiority: 	Makes War Cry knock down a group of enemies.  Very worthwhile
		when you have the stamina to spare.

Reaver Specialization:
---------------------
Some good and some bad here.  The ability to heal from corpses and be more 
effective with Taunt and Threaten is good but taking damage to do more damage
is definitely bad.
Devour: 	Essentially a heal based on the amount of corpses around you. I
		had problems getting this to work consistently so it might be 
		buggy.  In theory though, very useful.
Frightening Appearance: Works just like a stun on a single target.  However the
			side benefit is that Threaten and Taunt are much more
			effective, so it"s very useful to have.
Aura of Pain: 	Give damage to take damage.  It"s sort of like you always being
		inside a Tempest or Inferno.  Sure, everyone takes damage and 
		thereby hits you more often but you also are losing hit points.
		This is a good ability to use if Taunt isn"t working out or is
		on cooldown, just don"t keep it active too long.
Blood Frenzy: 	You no longer regenerate health and you do more damage 
		proportionately to the amount of health you"ve lost.  I 
		personally feel the upkeep cost is too high here and your goal
		is not to do more damage.  Not on my list of abilities to use.
Suggested Build (DAO:5.1.3)
---------------
Attributes: 	Focus on increasing strength to 42 early, so you can equip the 
		best armor.  Add to dexterity to use the shield abilities as
		they become available.  Try to get Constitution around 20 when
		you have the points to spare.
Abilities:	I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and one
		at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can 
		acquire more points from books and quests.  Warriors get a
		free skill at level 1, depending on their origin story.  As a
		tank, you want Shield Bash preferably, so a Human or a Dwarf
		Noble are the best races in that regard.
1) 	Powerful + Precise Striking
2) 	Shield Defense
3) 	Shield Block
4) 	Taunt
5) 	Threaten + Shield Pummel
6) 	Shield Cover (DEX 16)
7) 	War Cry
8) 	Shield Balance
9) 	Shield Tactics (DEX 20)
10) 	Shield Wall
11) 	Shield Mastery
12)	Shield Expertise
13)	Rally
14)	Motivate
15) 	Devour
16) 	Superiority
17) 	Overpower
18)	Assault
19)	Your Choice
20) 	Your Choice

Summary (DAO:5.1.4)
-------
The warrior tank is one of the more solid options as a character, if only
because the variations are small.
- Enough strength to equip massive armor (42)
- Enough constituion to take a few hits (20)
- Everything else goes into dexterity to increase defense
- Focus on Weapon and Shield ability tree
- The goal is not to do damage but absorb it
- Invest in Threaten and Taunt early
- Champion is your best bet as a specilization
- Reaver is a decent second specialization if you can

Melee (DAO:5.2)
-----
Your role here is simply to do as much damage as possible, to as many enemies
as possible.  Since you can use heavy armor you can also jump in and take a few
hits if ever required.  Remember, the more armor you have, the less stamina you
can use, so you might end up at the end with light or medium armor instead.
Dual Wielding is an option for a warrior but does less overall damage when
compared to a two handed warrior.  This is due almost entirely over the need for
a significant investment in Dexterity compared to putting all those points into
Strength.  If you want to Dual Wield, a Rogue is a much better option.

Attributes (DAO:5.2.1)
----------
Strength: 	MAX
Dexterity: 	18
Willpower: 	25
Magic: 		n/a
cunning: 	n/a
Constitution: 	n/a
For a warrior in melee the role is rather simple, smash things.  You should
focus primarily on raising strength to do more damage and use better weapons.
Dexterity is at 18 simply to acquire Disengage.  If you don"t plan on taking
that ability, you don"t need to put a single point here.  Willpower has a
direct effect on stamina and that has an effect on how many abilities you can
use in combat.  I find that 25 is sufficient for the most part but you can put
more if you find the need.  If you reach level 20, you"ll have 60 points to 
allocate as you wish between essentially two attributes.

Abilities (DAO:5.2.2)
--------------
As a melee you have two main options, dual weapon and two-handed.  Since you 
require dexterity for many of the dual weapon abilities and only strength for
the two-handed ones, I highly suggest you go the latter route. If your main
character is a warrior, they can acquire 2 skills for free in the Warden"s
Keep.

Warrior abilities:
-----------------
Powerful:	This one is a necessity for any warrior.  Reduced fatigue and
		increased hit points is all good.  It allows you to use heavier
		armor with less penalty to ability usage.
Threaten: 	This is a tank ability, so you should not have it active unless
		you want to get hit.
Bravery: 	You shouldn"t have any enemies attacking you so this ability does
		not incur any real benefit.
Death Blow: 	If your warrior strikes the final blow, he regains some stamina.
		This will happen frequently as your warrior gets stronger but you
		have to go through 2 useless abilities to get here.  I would 
		avoid it until you"ve maxed other abilities first.
Precise Striking: A sustained ability than increases your chance to hit. You
		  need this on pretty much constantly at the beginning and much
		  less as your strength hits the 40s.  It does get overshadowed
		  by Indomitable though.
Taunt: 		Never use this unless you want to take a nap.  Because you have
		no defensive attributes or abilities, odds are you will die in
		just a few seconds.
Disengage: 	Great if you find yourself suddenly the target of an enemy.
		With proper planning, this shouldn"t happen very much.
Perfect Striking: Practically ensures every swing is a hit, which sounds good
		  in theory but it"s 2 skill points you can put elsewhere for
		  more benefit.  The same rule as with Death Blow applies here.

Warden"s Keep abilities:
-----------------------
Blood Thirst: 	Since you"re not getting hit, this isn"t a big problem to have
		active.  Indomitable gives a similar benefit with no risk 
		though.
Blood Fury: 	There are times where you need to knockback an enemy and have 
		the hitpoints to spare.  I would use this in rare cases but 
		since the ability is free, that"s not a problem when assigning
		points.

Two-Handed abilities:
--------------------
Pommel Strike: 	A basic knock down attack.  Very useful against tough enemies
		and casters.  Will also break grasp attacks.
Indomitable: 	An increase to damage and attack while being immune to knockdown.
		This is slight improvement over Precise Striking and I would 
		suggest this be active instead.
Stunning Blow: 	A passive chance to stun opponents.  Sure, the number isn"t huge
		but a stun at any time is a great thing.  Even more so if you 
		put paralyzing runes into your weapons.
Critical Strike: Almost a guaranteed critical hit and with two handed weapons,
		 we"re talking big damage.  Used against ranked enemies (yellow
		 and red) this can have a significant effect on their hit 
		 points.
Sunder Arms: 	Two strikes and reduces the target"s chance to attack.  A very 
		powerful ability for such a low cost.
Shattering Blows: More damage against golems and constructs.  I think I fought
		  10 golems total in the entire game, not much here to look at.
		  Maybe in future content.
Sunder Armor: 	Two strikes and reduces the target"s armor.  Golden ability 
		against ranked enemies, where you double your damage and make 
		the enemy weaker.
Destroyer: 	I generally love passive abilities and this one is significant.  
		Each attack effectively lowers the enemy"s armor but it doesn"t
		stack together. Still, combined with Telekenetic Weapons and 
		other skills, this turns a heavy armored foe to paper.  Ogres 
		come quickly to mind.
Mighty Blow:  	Similar to Critical Strike but somehow does less damage.  Still
		quite useful.
Poweful Swings: More damage in each attack but you lower your attack and
		defense scores.  I personally prefer Indomitable here.
Two-Handed Strength: Improves powerful swings by reducing the penalties.  This
		     is good but since Indomitable never had penalties to start,
		     makes you wonder why it"s an option at all.
Two-Handed Sweep: Finally an area attack ability.  I suggest you get this at
		  level 10 since it will make a big difference in your damage 
		  output. It keeps its usefulness all the way until the end of 
		  the game.

Beserker Specialization:
-----------------------
Beserkers focus on dealing damage, straigth in line with what we want to do.
Sure, there is an increased cost in stamina but with a bit more points into
Willpower this isn"t a big concern overall.
Beserk: 	You do more damage but have a significant penalty to stamina
		regeneration.  Further abilities along this tree reduce the 
		penalty and that makes this a great ability to have active.
Resilience: 	Nature resistance and smaller stamina penalty for beserk.  
		Great.
Constraint: 	Reduces the stamina penalty to almost nothing, which is nothing
		to sneeze at.
Final Blow: 	Trade all your stamina for a single attack.  Huge risk here 
		since you can miss the attack and end up with no stamina.  You 
		can also start combat with this and deal rediculous damage, 
		probably the easiest way to get the 250 damage in a single 
		attack achievement.  Still, having no stamina 2 seconds into
		combat is not a good thing but with potions can be very useful.

Templar Specialization:
----------------------
The focus here is to kill mages.  You will encounter your fair share along the
trip but never enough to make any abilities here worthwhile.  Poisons give
nearly the same effect overall.  There are no real offensive abilities to speak
of. 

Champion Specialization:
-----------------------
These abilities are mostly oriented towards improving your group and disabling
the enemy, which is the role of the tank.  There are better specializations for
you to invest in.

Reaver Specialization:
---------------------
A mixed bag as before.  The focus is more on defensive side of things than 
offense but there are some possibilities to look at.
Devour: 	Essentially a heal based on the amount of corpses around you. I 
		had  problems getting this to work consistently so it might be 
		buggy.  In theory though, very useful.
Frightening Appearance: Single target stun is good.  Benefits to Taunt and
			Threaten are not useful to you since you don"t use those 			
			abilities.
Aura of Pain: 	Area effect damage is bad when you don"t want to get hit.  There
		are good odds that you"ll incur the hate of many enemies if you 
		use this and the tank is not prepared.
Blood Frenzy: 	More damage as your health decreases.  First off, you 
		shouldn"t be getting hit, second you increase your risk of dying
		the longer this is active.  Next please.

Suggested Build (DAO:5.2.3)
---------------
Attributes: 	Increase Strength every level unless you need to increase
		Dexterity to access a new ability, which I don"t think you"ll
		require.  Increase Willpower when you start having stamina 
		issues.

Abilities:	I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and one at
		level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can acquire
		more points from books and quests.  Note about starting skills:
Human:		Shield Bash
Dalish Elf:	Pinning Shot
City Elf:	Dual Weapon Sweep
Common Dwarf:	Dual Weapon Sweep
Noble Dwarf: 	Shield Bash
		As you can see, none are really targetted towards the melee build.

1) 	Powerful & Precise Striking
2) 	Sunder Arms
3) 	Mighty Blow
4) 	Powerful Swings
5) 	Pommel Strike & Indomitable
6) 	Stunning Blows
7) 	Beserk
8) 	Resilience
9) 	Stunning Blows
10) 	Constraint
11) 	Two-Handed Strength
12) 	Two-Handed Sweep
13)	Critical Strike
14)	Devour
15)	Frightening Appearance
16)	Shattering Blows
17) 	Sunder Armor
18) 	Destroyer
19) 	Final Blow
20)	Your Choice

Summary (DAO:5.2.4)
-------
The melee warrior gives a lot more freedom of choice when it comes to 
abilities.  You can go dual-wield but it requires more investment in 
dexterity.  You can go archery for even more dexterity.  You can go into two
handed weapons for a strength focus.  You can specialize into almost any tree.
My personal preference for maximum damage is two-handed weapons as you simplify
all these questions down to a single path.
- Enough willpower to use your skills
- Enough dexterity to hit the enemy (20)
- Everything else into strength to maximize the damage
- Make sure Taunt/Threaten are disabled
- Beserker is very powerful if you avoid using Killing Blow all the time
- Reaver is a great second choice as a specialization

-----
ROGUE (DAO:6)
-----
A special note about rogues.  This class has the ability to backstab any
opponent that can be flanked.  Stand in the dark area on the targetting circle
and you will have a new animation when attacking.  This is a backstab that 
deals additional damage to the enemy.  Many abilities further enhance backstabs
and can make a very big difference in your play style.

Melee (DAO:6.1)
-----
A melee"s role is to get up close and personal to take out the enemy.  With
this comes increased risk of taking damage but more control on the overall
outcome of the battle.  Always make sure your rogue is on the backs of your
enemies to ensure maximum use of backstabs.

Quick Theorycrafting for you - Strength vs Cunning for dual wielding.
---------------------------------------------------------------------
First off, read this post
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/66/index/223777
There"s a lot of information that"s a little too complicated for this guide.
Basically, it states that dual daggers and full Cunning is the way to go.

Attributes (DAO:6.1.1)
----------
Strength:	20
Dexterity: 	32/36
Willpower: 	20
Magic: 		n/a
Cunning: 	MAX
Constitution: 	n/a
Attributes are a very strange thing for rogues.  Dexterity is a prerequisite
for a whole pile of abilities.  If you plan on going with swords/axes, you"ll
need to invest into Dual Weapon Mastery at 36 dexterity, otherwise 32 will be
enough to get all the abilities.  Strength is useful for acquring the best
armor.  If you plan on going with Swords/Axes, then further investment into 
strength is a good idea.  For maximum damage, cunning is the way to go.

Abilities (DAO:6.1.2)
---------
This is a melee rogue, so we"re going down the Dual Weapon ability tree.  If
your main character is a Rogue, you can unlock two more abilities in the 
Warden"s Keep quest.

Rogue Abilities:
---------------
Dirty Fighting: No damage but the target is stunned.  Typically this gives
		time for the rogue to move into backstab range but combined 
		with another ability, it allows backstabs from the front.  I 
		use this all the time.
Combat Movement: Increases the backstab range by nearly 100%.  Makes 
		 positioning in combat a whole lot easier.
Coup de Grace: 	Stunned and paralyzed targets get backstabbed.  This ability
		makes melee rogues extremely deadly if you know how to manage 
		your stuns. With proper planning a rogue can take out an ogre 
		alone because of this.
Feign Death: 	Drop to your feet and pretend your dead.  Sure, this makes the
		enemy target something else but you have enough abilities to 
		stay alive toe to toe with any enemy to make this something of 
		a point waster.
Below the Belt: Defense penalties are good, meaning everyone has a better
		chance of hitting the target.  Especially good on yellow and 
		red enemies.
Deadly Strike: 	Increased armor penetration is fine but you get a better effect
		from Telekenetic Weapons or even just points in cunning.
Lethality: 	Actually, after having done some more number crunching, this
		ability has a significant impact on damage output.
Evasion: 	One in five chance seems high but when you figure you already 
		have that chance with 32 dexterity, who cares?  Enemies 
		shouldn"t be hitting you in the first place.
Deft Hands: 	Chest require Cunnin-10 to unlock. 1 Point in this skill is 10
		more points in Cunning.  4 points here gives 40 Cunning and the
		hardest chests need 70 to unlock.  30 Cunning is all you"ll 
		need to be able to unlock everything.
Stealth:  	The first level lets you walk around.  The second lets you 
		disable traps, which is very powerful later on.  The third lets
		you stealth in combat, which oddly enough doesn"t work super 
		well until you get the fourth rank. Stealth in combat 
		essentially guarantees a critical hit, which is good but I 
		found myself getting by without it.

Warden"s Keep abilities:
-----------------------
Dark Passage: 	Passive ability that increases movement speed and defense while
		in stealth. What"s there not to love about this?
The Tainted Blade: You lose health but do more damage.  Honestly, just coat 
		   your weapon with a poison for the same benefit and no 
		   downside.

Dual-Weapon abilities:
---------------------
Dual-Weapon Training: You deal near normal damage with the offhand weapon. 
		      There really isn"t a choice here, take this ability.
Dual-Weapon Finesse: A bonus to attack and defense is what makes you a better
		     killer. Again, a required ability.
Dual-Weapon Expert: Increased critical chance and the chance to make the target
		    bleed.  Don"t you just love passive abilities?  Take this 
		    one.
Dual-Weapon Mastery: Now you can use axes and swords and maces in the offhand.
		     Does have a big impact on damage output if you"re going
		     down the strength route.
Dual Striking: 	Use this ability when you can"t get into backstab range.  One
		on one fights, mage kills come to mind.  It isn"t used often 
		but can make a difference.
Riposte: 	Stun plus critical hit.  Combined with Dirty Fighting, this is
		your mage killing ability.  Very powerful.
Cripple: 	Critical hit plus penalties to defense and attack on the target.
		You should use this ability in every fight and especially 
		against yellow and red enemies.
Punisher: 	Can you say crazy?  Does four hits with the last being both
		weapons at once for two critical hits.  Did I mention it also
		adds penalties to attack and defense with the chance of a 
		knockdown?  Very powerful.
Dual-Weapon Sweep: Interesting area of attack ability that does more than 
		   normal damage.  Great for group attacks but backstab seems
		   to do more damage.
Flurry: 	Three normal damage hits.  Nothing wrong with more damage and
		timed critically can make a big dent in enemy hit points.
Momentum: 	Increased attack speed at the cost of a big drain on stamina.
		You basically turn into a chainsaw, with the same effect as 
		Haste from the mage tree.  It"s good but costly.
Whirlwind: 	Hits every nearby enemy with both weapons for normal damage.  I
		rarely find myself surrounded by enemies with a rogue, that"s a
		tank"s job. You kind of expect something more powerful from a 
		skill with this name.

Assassin specialization:
-----------------------
A focus on killing from this tree.  All about doing more damage, which is fine
by me.
Mark of Death: 	Mark the target for about 15 seconds where they now take more 
		damage than normal.  You need to be in melee range to use this
		skill but it"s very powerful, especially on dragons and 
		revenants. 
Exploit Weakness: Backstab does more damage the more cunning you have.  I do
		  believe it"s cunning-10, so even if you never put a point 
		  into cunning it"s a damage increase.  With 30 cunning, it"s
		  20 more damage, very nice.
Lacerate: 	You put a continual damage on the enemy with a successful 
		backstab. I know it says "enough damage" but I"ve yet to see 
		what the number actually is.
Feast of the Fallen: If you kill someone with a backstab you regain stamina.
		     Given the fact that you should be backstabing 90% of the
		     time and providing killing blows too, this is a worthwhile
			 investment.

Bard specialization:
-------------------
All songs here are affected by cunning scores, so if you don"t plan on 
investing down that attribute, avoid this specialization.  Only the last song
requires you to be in melee range.
Song of Valor: 	Increase mana and stamina regeneration, which is beneficial to
		the entire group.  Keep it active.
Distraction: 	Good way to get an enemy off your back but there are better 
		abilities to use for the same effect.
Song of Courage: Grants bonus to attack, defense and critical chance for the
		 group.  This is useful at the start of the game but near the
		 end mana and stamina are a bigger concern.
Captivating Song: Stuns nearby enemies but the bard can"t move or attack. This
		  is a niche ability, where its only use is in large group 
		  areas where you need to keep everyone under control.  Sadly,
		  the range is very small.

Ranger specialization:
---------------------
This specialization focuses on summoning pets to help the attacker. As a melee
there are benefits to having more enemies attacking.  Having 3 rangers is 
really impressive from a damage perspective.
Summon Wolf:  	The basic wolf casts howl that reduces enemy defense.  The 
		upgraded wolf can Shred, which is a 100% critical hit.
Summon Bear: 	Basic bear can maul which knocks back the enemy.  The upgraded 
		bear has rage which increases damage output and can Overwhelm.
Summon Spider: 	Basic spider has web which immobilizes an enemy while the 
		upgraded one has a poison spit for continual damage.
Master Ranger: 	Gives you access to the upgraded anmials.

Duelist specialization:
----------------------
Duelists are more of an extension of the Rogue class than a true 
specialization.  The abilities are improvements to existing ones or simply an
overall upgrade to the basic class.
Dueling: 	An sustained ability that increases your attack rating.  Keen
		Defense will also increase defense while this is active.  I 
		personally keep this one on all the time as more hits mean more
		damage.
Upset Balance: 	No damage but decreases enemy defense rating.  The Rogue has
		many other similar skills so this can be used when the others
		are on cooldown.
Keen Defense: 	A passive increase to defense. Since your dexterity is already 
		pretty high, this doesn"t make a big difference in the grand
		picture.
Pinpoint Strike: For about 20 seconds, every hit is a critical hit.  Combined
		 with Haste/Flurry, +Attack and -Defense skills, the Rogue is
		 basically a killing machine.  The only downside here is the 
		 cooldown of 3 minutes.
Suggested Build (DAO:6.1.3)
---------------
Attributes: 	Increase strength to 20 to wear the best armor.  Dexterity is
		increased as you need to get new skills.  Every other point is
		pretty much allocated to cunning.

Abilities:	I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and one
		at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can
		acquire more points from books and quests.  Rogues
		automatically get Dirty Fighting for free at level 1.
1) 	Dual Weapon Sweep + Below the Belt 
2) 	Dual Striking 
3) 	Dual Weapon Training 
4) 	Flurry 
5) 	Deadly Strike + Dual Weapon Finesse 
6) 	Combat Movement 
7) 	Mark of Death 
8) 	Lethality 
9) 	Dual Weapon Expert
10) 	Coup de Grace 
11) 	Momentum 
12) 	Exploit Weakness 
13)	Riposte 
14)	Lacerate 
15)	Dueling 
16) 	Cripple 
17) 	Punisher 
18) 	Feast of the Fallen 
19)	Your choice
20)	Your Choice


Summary (DAO:6.1.4)
-------
The melee rogue is the do-it-all character.  You have a wide assortment of
tricks up your sleeve, are a great way to make extra money and can kill a 
ranked enemy whenever you want.  Not the best idea to let the rogue play on
their own though, or you"ll end up with no stamina left.
- Enough dexterity for the dual-wield abilities (32)
- Strength to get the best light armor (20)
- Cunning to the max
- Assassination is the best specialization since it maximizes backstabs
- Duelist will increase your damage potential
- If you have stealth, use it!

Ranged (DAO:6.2)
------
The beauty of this rogue is that you will rarely get hit by anything and have 
the discretion to kill whatever you want, when you want.  You also have very 
little need for melee range skills, giving you additional freedom in ability
selection.
If you find your ranged attacker is frequently swapping to melee weapons, you
might have Dirty Fighting enabled in your tactics.  Also note that if you are
in melee range for too long (say 3 attacks) there"s a strong chance you"ll go
into melee mode.  No idea why.

Attributes (DAO:6.2.1)
----------
Strength:	n/a
Dexterity: 	MAX
Willpower: 	30
Magic: 		n/a
Cunning:	30
Constitution: 	n/a
The only reason you would need strength is to equip better armor but better
armor means more fatigue and you should not be getting hit in the first place.
Willpower will give you the stamina required to use all your abilities but you
may find you need more or less, depending on your style.  Cunning, again, is
required only if you wish to unlock doors and chests or invest in the Bard
tree.  Maximum dexterity means that you will be doing crazy damage with your
bow, critical hits through the roof and near 100% hit rate.  I assure you, a
ranged rogue is the deadliest single character in the game.

Abilities (DAO:6.2.2)
---------
The ranged rogue will evidently be focusing on the Archery ability tree. Dual
Wield options don"t present any benefits to this role and even the 
specialization trees offer little in terms of pure benefits.  If your main
character is a rogue, you can acquire 2 free abilities in the Warden"s Keep.

Rogue Abilities:
---------------
Dirty Fighting: No damage but the target is stunned.  This is still a great
		ability even if you are attacking from range.  Let"s say 
		someone walks up to you, use this and you can get in a few 
		free shots and give time for the tank to pick them up off you.
Combat Movement: Since you won"t be backstabbing, not much point here.
Coup de Grace: 	Again, no backstabs, no benefit.
Feign Death: 	Drop to your feet and pretend your dead.  This could be 
		beneficial if you find yourself getting attacked a lot but
		in the larger picture you have much better options elsewhere.
Below the Belt: A melee range attack, which you being ranged won"t be using.
Deadly Strike: 	Another melee attack, no use here.
Lethality: 	Odds are your cunning will be higher than your strength and 
		additional damage is always good.  Increased critical chance is
		sugar on top.  I"m not sure if this stacks though.
Evasion: 	Your dexterity is going to be in the 50s at least, where enemies
		will miss you all the time anyhow.  Not worth the investment.
Deft Hands: 	If you plan on investing in cunning to 30, always select this
		ability when it becomes available.  Otherwise, just leave it 
		alone.
Stealth:  	The first level lets you walk around.  The second lets you 
		disable traps, which is very powerful later on.  The third 
		lets you stealth in combat, which oddly enough doesn"t work
		super well until you get the fourth rank. This is a very useful
		ability for a ranged attacker, especially at maximum rank.  Use
		it whenever you can to break enemies chasing you or to increase
		your damage output.

Warden"s Keep abilities:
Dark Passage: 	Passive ability that increases movement speed and defense. 
		What"s there not to love about this?
The Tainted Blade: You lose health but do more damage.  This only seems to
		   affect melee damage, so no real benefit.

Archery abilities:
-----------------
Melee Archer: 	No longer breaks ranged attacks if you get hit.  Excellent
		ability.
Aim: 		You might shoot a bit slower but the overall damage seems to
		increase if only because of the increase to attack.  At about
		level 10 this loses its luster as you will be hitting almost 
		100% of the time.
Defensive Fire: Increasing defense and slower rate of fire does not mean more
		damage.  I would not use this.
Master Archer:  Increases the function of nearly every other ability and allows
		you to use heavy armor without a speed penalty.  This isn"t a
		bad skill, it just shouldn"t be the first thing you try to 
		acquire.
Pinning Shot: 	It either slows them down or disables them for about 10 
		seconds. A great tool to have fighting a group of enemies.
Crippling Shot: Reduces the enemy"s attack and defense, which is perfect 
		against red and yellow enemies.  No need to use against regular
		enemies.
Critical Shot: 	Since this also has the benefit or armor penetration, you"re 
		going to see a big number here when it hits.  Dragons, 
		revenants and bosses will make you chain cast this ability.
Arrow of Slaying: A single massive damage attack that can potentially kill
		  the enemy in a single blow.  Yes it"s powerful but the cost
		  is disproportionate to the damage when you compare it to 
		  Critical Shot.
Rapid Shot: 	You shoot about 10% faster but can"t get a critical hit.  The
		only  time this is a problem is when your critical chance with
		a bow is above 15%. Otherwise, keep this active at all times.
		Note that a bow with the Rapid Aim skill does the same thing
		as this and they do not stack.
Shattering Shot: Normal damage but reduces enemy armor for a time.  Has a huge
		 impact on high armor bosses, especially when combined with 
		 telekenetic weapons (for melee).  Also knocks down enemies.
Suppressing Fire: Every attack further reduces the enemy"s ability to attack.
		  While this is certainly beneficial against some enemies most
		  of the ones where you would think this to be great have other
		  attacks that hit 100% of the time. This only appears to 
		  affect regular attacks to any great amount.
Scattershot: 	Crazy powerful ability here.  You will stun an entire group of 
		enemies about 99% of the time, it is so rarely resisted.  A 
		great way to line up a group in order to send a few area of 
		effect spells their way.

Assassin specialization:
-----------------------
Since this specialization focuses nearly entirely on backstabs and you won"t
be using that skill at all, there is really no need to go down this path.

Bard specialization:
-------------------
All songs here are affected by cunning scores, so if you don"t plan on 
investing down that attribute, avoid this specialization.  Only the last song
requires you to be in melee range.
Song of Valor: 	Increase mana and stamina regeneration, which is beneficial to
		the entire group.  Keep it active.
Distraction: 	Good way to get an enemy off your back but there are better 
		abilities to use for the same effect.
Song of Courage: Grants bonus to attack, defense and critical chance for the
		 group.  This is useful at the start of the game but near the
		 end mana and stamina are a bigger concern.
Captivating Song: Sure an area effect stun is nice but the range is small and
		  you have to be in melee.  Hard to use as a ranged attacker.

Ranger specialization:
---------------------
As a ranged attacker a ranger works incredbily well.  You keep the pet active
and send them in while you snipe from far away.  It"s almost like having a 
fifth party member.
Summon Wolf:  	The basic wolf casts howl that reduces enemy defense.  The 
		upgraded wolf can Shred, which is a 100% critical hit.
Summon Bear: 	Basic bear can maul which knocks back the enemy.  The upgraded 
		bear has rage which increases damage output.
Summon Spider: 	Basic spider has web which immobilizes an enemy while the 
		upgraded one has a poison spit for continual damage.
Master Ranger: 	Gives you access to the upgraded anmials.

Duelist specialization:
----------------------
The duelist focuses on melee attacks for the most part but there are some
potential benefits in the long run.
Dueling: 	A sustained ability that increases your attack rating.  Keen 
		Defense will also increase defense while this is active.  If
		you find yourself missing a lot, then there"s a benefit.
Upset Balance:	No damage but decreases enemy defense rating.  This requires
		melee range so you won"t be using it.
Keen Defense: 	A passive increase to defense. Since your dexterity is already 
		pretty high, this doesn"t make a big difference in the grand
		picture.
Pinpoint Strike: For about 20 seconds, every hit is a critical hit.  Combined
		 with Haste/Flurry, +Attack and -Defense skills, the Rogue is 
		 basically a killing machine.  The only downside here is the 
		 cooldown of 3 minutes.  You can pretty much kill 3 ogres with
		 this ability active.
Suggested Build (DAO:6.2.3)
---------------
Attributes: 	Increase strength to 20 to wear the best armor.  Dexterity is
		where you put every other point, unless you plan on 
		lockpicking.  30 points and 3 ranks of deft hands are enough.

Abilities:	I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and one
		at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can
		acquire more points from books and quests.  Rogues
		automatically get Dirty Fighting for free at level 1.
1) 	Deft Hands + Rapid Shot
2) 	Shattering Shot
3) 	Pinning Shot
4) 	Crippling Shot
5) 	Suppressing Fire + Improved Tools
6) 	Critical Shot
7) 	Summon Wolf
8) 	Summon Bear
9) 	Scattershot
10) 	Summon Spider
11) 	Melee Archer
12)	Arrow of Slaying
13)	Master Ranger
14)	Song of Valor
15)	Aim
16) 	Defensive Fire
17) 	Master Archer
18) 	Your Choice
19)	Your Choice
20)	Your Choice

Summary (DAO:6.2.4)
-------
The ranged rogue is the single deadliest character in the game.  It has one 
job and it does it very well.  Since you only need to focus on a single
attribute, your options are narrower and you therefore become a stronger
killer.
- Enough cunning to open doors/chest, if you want (30)
- Everything else into dexterity for maximum damage with a bow
- Ranger is by far the best option as a specialization
- Bard gives more benefit for less investment than Duelist
- Use stealth if you have it!

----
MAGE (DAO:7)
----
The mage is an interesting class.  You can"t really pigeonhole them into a
particular role as they can do pretty much whatever you want.  Need healing?
Need single target damage?  Group damage?  Crowd Control?  Buffs and debuffs?
Heck, mages even make incredibly good tanks.  For these reasons and many more I
won"t break down the mage into particular roles just yet, there are simply too
many options to consider.  Instead, I"ll break it down into tank and caster, 
the two core concepts behind mages.

Tank (DAO:7.1)
----
The mage tank has specific requirements moving forward.  First off, you must
have access to the Arcane Warrior specialization.  This can be acquired almost
as soon as you leave Ostagar.  With this specialization and its first ability,
you will be able to use your magic attribute in place of strength when it comes
to equiping weapons and armor.  Without massive armor and good melee weapons
you"ll be lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood very quickly.
Also worth mentioning that because you are the tank and using sustained 
abilities you won"t have the liberty to cast any spell any time.  You will 
require additional party members to pick up the casting slack.  Due to the
sheer number of available spells to the tank I will only discuss the ones I
think the tank should acquire.  I will discuss all the mage spells in the
caster section in 7.3.

Attributes (DAO:7.1.1)
----------
Strength: 	n/a
Dexterity: 	20
Willpower: 	30 or 40
Magic: 		MAX
Cunning: 	n/a
Constitution: 	n/a or 20
With the proper skill allocation you shouldn"t need any points into strength.
Cunning is only useful for the Coercion skill on your main character but only
very little.  A run through the Mage"s Circle should suffice in regards to stat
boosting.  The distribution of stats depends on it you take a second 
specialization or not and which one that is.  If you go Blood Mage, you"ll need
more constitution and less willpower.  Any other form will require a higher
investment in willpower.
Important to remember is that while the warrior and rogue still do tremendous
damage when they are out of stamina a mage can only rely on a staff for what
seems pitiful amounts of damage.  If you find yourself always going out of mana
feel free to put more points into willpower. 

Abilities (DAO:7.1.2)
--------
If your main character is a mage you will have the option of not only selecting
two specializations but also possibly acquire two extra spells through the
Warden"s Keep quest.

Mage spells:
-----------
Arcane Bolt: 	Simple spirit damage, nothing complicated though a bow would
		have more overall utility.  This is simply a pre-requisite 
		for the next spell.
Arcane Shield: 	A sustained shield that increases defense, meaning you will 
		avoid incoming damage.  This should always be active.
Rock Armor:	Provides an increase to armor so the hits you do take do less
		damage.
Winter"s Grasp: Single target ice spell that has a good chance of freezing the
		opponent.  Great setup for a shatter attack, which means an
		instant kill if there"s a critical physical attack on them.
Frost Weapons:  Every swing does cold damage.  It"s a sustained ability that I
		don"t think the tank should be using.
Cone of Cold: 	Very powerful spell that has a great chance of freezing
		whomever it connects with.  This should be used in almost every
		group encounter.
Heal: 		For when you need a quick jolt of hit points.  This spell is
		never wasted.
Mind Blast: 	A wide area stun which reduces threat levels.  Not to zero
		though, so you still need someone else to attack the stunned
		enemies to get them off your mage.
Force Field: 	This will save lives, plain and simple.  Instant cast to either
		remove an enemy from combat or save a group member from death.  
		Great tool for use against dragons.
Telekenetic Weapons: This spell ensures every weapon hit does extra damage 
		     against armored foes.  Think ogres, dragons and revenants.
		     Very powerful.
Crushing Prison: The golden spell of a mage.  Not only does this last as long
		 as Force Field but it also does damage to the enemy.  It gets
		 resisted from time to time but every mage in your party should
		 have this spell.  Imagine three mages with this and Force 
		 Field.  You could keep the entire battle to one on one fights.
		 Insane.
Miasma:		If you have the mana, this is a good spell to keep sustained as
		it decreases enemy attack and defense with a fairly good range.
		
Disorient: 	Single target spell that reduces attack and defense.  More of a 
		pre-requisite for others down this line.
Horror: 	Interesting spell where a single target is immobilized.  If they
		are asleep when this is cast, a bug chunk of life is taken away.
Sleep: 		Area attack that puts all enemies to sleep and they wake if 
		they are hit.  This is a very powerful crowd control spell 
		and combined with Horror can do significant damage to a single
		target with no risk to the caster.
Waking Nightmare: Beauty of a spell in group combat.  Not many enemies have
		  mental resistance, especially the weaker ones.  Expect to 
		  see a bunch of people just randomly moving around, sometimes
		  hitting their own party.  Great way to keep enemies off the 
		  tank while doing group damage to them, especially when 
		  combined with Sleep.
Death Magic: 	Keeping this active is a good way to keep healing your tank
		during combat.

Warden"s Keep spells:
--------------------
Dark Sustenance: Lose a bit of health, gain a good portion of mana.  You would
		 think this is a bad tradeoff but you actually gain in the long
		 run, especially if you use an easily acquired healing potion 
		 or heal spell right after.  Blood mages get even more benefit 
		 here.
Bloody Grasp: 	Lose life to do damage.  There is less benefit here since you
		can do damage better with regular spells than this ability.

Shapeshifter specialization:
---------------------------
Basically you turn into an animal and lose access to all your spells while
gaining access to a few abilities.  This is by far the weakest of all the
specializations in the game and should be ignored.

Spirit Healer specialization:
----------------------------
This spell line provides you with many ways to heal your group and your tank.
Very powerful on the more difficult levels and even more so if you don"t have
another mage in the group.
Group Heal: 	Heals the entire group for a significant amount.  Combined with
		Heal this is what keeps groups alive when there are no healt 
		potions.
Revival: 	I find if I am using this something has gone drastically wrong 
		in the fight.
Lifeward:	Keep it active on the tank and you save a few heals in the long
		run.
Cleansing Aura:	Beautiful spell if you have other melee in the group as the 
		aura isn"t terribly large.  However it is a significant mana 
		drain.

Blood Mage specialization:
-------------------------
A very interesting combination of spells where you trade hit points for mana
or damage.  If you pay attention to combat, this can be a devastating option.
Blood Magic: 	You use hit points to cast spells.  One of the reasons a blood
		mage requires a significant hit point pool instead of mana.  
		Can be powerful if you plan ahead.
Blood Sacrifice: On its own, why would you potentially kill a teammate to heal
		 yourself?  Well, if that someone is a Ranger pet then there"s
 		 no real problem at all!
Blood Wound: 	Enemies with blood (everything but a golem pretty much) take 
		big damage throughout the area.  This is a great equivalent to
		Taunt and perfect for a tank.
Blood Control: 	If they have blood they become the mage"s pet, else they take
		significant damage.  More damage is great.  Possessing an 
		Emissary is even better.

Arcane Warrior specialization:
-----------------------------
The core specialization behind a mage tank.  With this build you acquire the
abilities to tank, equip what you want and be practically immune to damage.
Combat Magic: 	Just selecting this ability means you can equip any item by
		swapping the strength requirement for magic.  Massive plate 
		here we come. On top of that, with it active you have a higher
		attack stat and use spellpower for damage, which with a high 
		magic stat should be very large indeed.
Aura of Might: 	Improved Combat Magic.  Yes please.
Shimmering Shield: Blocks damage and increases armor and resistance but costs
		   a chunk of mana to keep up.  Combined with crafty mana 
		   management this really isn"t a huge problem.  Another 
		   mainstay of your sustained spells.
	
Fade Shroud: 	This really is the icing on the cake.  Better mana regen and
		even a better chance to avoid attacks.  Very powerful and 
		passive!

Suggested Build (DAO:7.1.3)
---------------
Attributes: 	You have a fair amount of choice, depending if you go down the
		blood mage or spirit healer specialization.  Dexterity at 20
		will let you hit the enemy most of the time, constitution at
		about 20 is fine for spirit healer but 30 is better for a blood
		mage.  Get willpower to where you have enough mana to keep your
		spells active and the rest goes into Magic.
Abilities:	I will only list 1 ability per level (2 for the first and one
		at level 5 when you become a Grey Warden) even though you can
		acquire more points from books and quests.  M

Dragon Age: Origins [Walkthrough]
Download links:



Related News:


Add comments

Your Name:
Your E-Mail:

Enter the words shown in captcha:


Attention!!! Comments moderated and will not appear immediately. Do not post a comment twice.