"For centuries, the Grey Wardens—the ancient order of guardians, sworn to unite and defend the lands—have been battling the darkspawn forces. Legend spoke that slaying the Archdemon would have put an end to the darkspawn threat for centuries to come, but somehow they remain."
Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is the only expansion for Dragon Age: Origins. It was released for Windows, PS3 and Xbox 360 on March 16, 2010 in the US, March 18, 2010 in Europe, and March 19, 2010 in the UK. There are both retail disc and downloadable editions available. However, the PS3 version is not available at retail in Europe and can only be acquired via the PlayStation network (unless you buy the Ultimate Edition). Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening was released for Mac OS X on August 31, 2010.
The events of Awakening begin six months after the conclusion of Dragon Age: Origins, specifically on the seventeenth of Ferventis. The player takes on the role of a Grey Warden commander, who is either an imported character from Origins or a new Warden from Orlais. The Orlesian Warden is treated differently because of the history between Orlais and Ferelden—and because an imported Warden will be renowned to begin with, having killed an archdemon almost single-handedly in Origins.
While rebuilding the Grey Wardens and establishing Vigil's Keep, a fortress given to the Grey Wardens at the end of Origins, as a new base of operations, the Warden-Commander is faced with a new challenge. It is revealed that despite the defeat of the archdemon, the darkspawn have not returned underground and a new variety of sapient, speaking darkspawn have been discovered. Two entities, named the Architect and the Mother, appear to be involved and the Warden may have to deal with them. Once this mission is complete, the world will have changed dramatically.
Herren and Wade return to sell new goods at Vigil's Keep. Wade will craft special items for the Warden if provided with new "fantastical" materials: eldest dragonbone, heartwood, and golem shell. After finding such materials, Wade will announce a list of further materials he needs to construct the special items.
Anders is a human mage who has escaped the Circle of Magi seven times, but always seems to get caught. A female templar claims that Anders is a murderer and is not to be trusted, blaming him for the death of the templars who were guarding him at Vigil's Keep when the darkspawn attacked.
Mhairi is a human warrior who admires the two Wardens who defeated the archdemon "single-handedly" and jumps at the opportunity to help rebuild the order. Mhairi is a Grey Warden prospect. Her companionship is only temporary due to her dying during the Joining.
Oghren is involved regardless of the Warden's choices. He will start at 0 approval regardless of his interactions with the Warden in Origins, and gifts given to him in Awakening continue to receive diminishing returns if the Warden has given him gifts in Origins.
Velanna is a Dalish elf mage who was exiled from her clan. When The Warden meets her, she is hunting the human merchants whom she thinks took her sister, and attacks the Warden as a result. Her sister was kidnapped by the darkspawn. She is found in the Wending Wood.
Amaranthine: Rendon Howe's previous property estate, with lots of fishing going on.
Blackmarsh: Former bustling village abandoned into a gloomy, desolate marsh. The Veil is thin and torn here.
Kal'Hirol: The dwarven fortress long known as a center of learning for the smith caste.
Knotwood Hills: An area of inhospitable and barren hills to the west of Amaranthine.
Vigil's Keep: An ancient fortress in Amaranthine. Base of operations for the Grey Wardens.
There are 2 new tiers of material. Heavy Armor gains White Steel (Tier 8) and Volcanic Aurum (Tier 9), Light Armor gains Dragonwing (Tier 8) and High Dragon Hide (Tier 9), and Wood gains Vhenadahl (Tier 8) and Ancestral Heartwood (Tier 9).
Merchants are not likely to have high-end runes (like Masterpiece or Grandmaster) in stock; most sell the low to medium-end runes and the crafting materials. This way you will be able to craft your own runes and use them on armor or weapons. Runes that are in stock cost significantly less than in Origins.
You have the ability to re-spec your character without losing plot decisions made in Origins through an unlimited number of Manual of Focus tomes, sold for 6 each.
Most promotional and DLC items cannot be transferred into Awakening. However, items received during Return to Ostagar and the Memory Band can be. If you had any other promotional items equipped on your last savegame in Origins and you import that savegame into Awakening then you will start off in your undergarments. There is a fix for this for PC users, it can be found here.
Inside the Vigil's Keep - Throne Room (to the right after entering the room) there is a personal chest where you can store all of your items.
You level up and gain money at a much faster rate in Awakening compared to Origins.
A higher level cap of 35.
All characters (with the exception of Justice) can be recruited and put through the Joining to be made a Warden. (Characters will have to be put through the ritual before ending their area's quest if done last.)
Crafting cannot be exploited nearly as easily to make money, due to the increased prices of crafting materials. This is offset by the large amounts of money received during normal gameplay, however.
There is no merchant in Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening that has an unlimited supply of Deathroot or Deep Mushroom. If you plan to make poisons, salves, or traps that require Deathroot or Deep Mushroom, it is recommended you stock up on it in Dragon Age: Origins before you import your game.
You can no longer initiate dialogue with companions at any time, like in Origins, instead they will initiate dialogue when interacting with specific landmarks.
Importing an Origins Warden versus creating an Orlesian Warden
The people of Amaranthine will treat a Fereldan Warden with respect, as opposed to suspicion towards an Orlesian Warden.
An imported Warden starts at the level imported or at level 18, whichever is higher. Orlesian Wardens start at level 18. All companions tier to an imported Warden's level.
An imported Warden will retain the weapons, armor and accessories that the Warden had equipped when imported, as well as any unassigned weapons, armor, accessories and all basic items in the inventory. Your Origins companions' equipment will be lost unless you unequip it and keep it in your inventory. ps3xbox360It is possible to load the "Epilogue"-autosave after end credits. Then you can access the Party Camp and remove gear from party members that will be carried over to Awakening.
Imported Wardens retain the stat, talent, and skill gains garnered from Lost in Dreams and tomes.
Imported Wardens equipped with any of the gear from DLCs other than Return to Ostagar and Leliana's Song will appear "naked" with all of those items removed from the game. However the stats of those items, like fatigue or health, are still present on your character (confirmed to be fixed for the PC as of patch 1.04. Imported Warden will be equipped with the Grey Warden Armor set).