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MOVED

This forum page originally started as a regular article, but was moved to a forum post due to style concerns. Those concerns have been addressed and the page has moved back to an article, which can be found here: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Dragon_Age:_Origins_General_Tips

As the page's primary author, I will try to take any new information added to this page and move it to the main article, but contributors could save me a good bit of time and headache by simply posting to the main article.

Thanks!

Servius 11:34, November 18, 2009 (UTC)

Purpose

The purpose of this page is to collect player thoughts and tips learned during play. Depending on how this page evolves, it may be a main page that gets subdivided over time as more thoughts/tips are added and patterns start emerging for making sub-sections. Alternatively, the contents may eventually get pasted to other pages on individual topics. For now though, it could be useful to have a single repository for potentially unrelated, but useful, insights.

General Observations & Tips

Advantages of Mages over Warriors and Rogues

  • Many (if not most) of the fights you'll get into will be against groups that outnumber your party. On Normal difficulty, these groups are capable of overcoming the party of a player new to this series or genre. Thus, players may find Area-of-Effect (AoE) Crowd Control (CC) and Direct Damage (DD) spells/abilities VERY useful.
  • Dragon Age has 3 classes: Warrior, Rogue, and Mage. The Talents of Warriors and Rogues tend to focus almost exclusively on single-target combat. Very few are AoE abilities. Warriors, particularly through the Shield tree, do have several CC stun abilities, but again, they are usually single-target only. Mages, on the other hand, seem to have a great deal of AoE spells, CC spells, and best of all, AOE CC spells. Examples include:
  • Unfortunately, most of the aforementioned Mage spells can do Friendly Fire (FF), which means they can hurt your party members as well as your enemies. Usually, this means that only allies standing pretty close to enemies will be in danger. Guess what kind of ally stands next to enemies...Warriors and Rogues. This point is mooted somewhat by the fact that, of course, without the warriors and rogues, the mages would be 'standing next to enemies' anyway, due to there being nobody else for them to attack.

Conclusion: The player will primarily face groups, who can pose a significant threat to the party. The best way to defeat groups is to divide and conquer, which usually means CC abilities that neutralize parts of the group so that the party only needs to focus on a smaller portion at a time. Mages have ~85% of the kinds of abilities that are best at dealing with groups (AoE and CC spells). In addition, Mages are usually not in danger of suffering FF from these abilities because they usually aren't physically near the targets. Warriors and Rogues likely excel at taking out bosses, which are tough, single targets. However, since you don't seem to fight those anywhere near as often as you will fight groups of lesser enemies, Mages appear to be the better option for combat-focused parties.

Crafting for money is a bad idea

The sale value of potions, poisons, etc. is less than the cost to buy the ingredients exclusively obtainable from merchants (flasks, distilation agent, etc.). Thus, it's more cost effective to sell the raw ingredients rather than make the items and sell those.

There is, however, a single exception; a potent lyricum potion's non-dust ingredients, if purchased at the Inn in Denerim, end up giving you a 21-silver profit per potion.

Bioware wants Rogues to be melee backstabbers

  • When you make a Rogue, you are provided with two daggers and no bow. (The exception is the Dalish elf origin which equips the PC rogue with a shortbow and two daggers.)
  • The damage potential of archery talents just doesn't compare to duel wielding or 2-handed weapons. If you want an additional ranged unit, another mage is far better.
  • When you look at the Rogue Talents, 1/2 of them are primarily or only focused on DW, melee, and/or backstabing (3/4 if you count the Stealth ones, which archers would need less than backstabbers).
  • 3/4 of the Specialization options focus on melee combat.
  • The majority of weapons that drop are melee weapons.
  • Special arrows are pretty expensive to buy (~15-40 silver / arrow).

This doesn't mean the player cannot be a ranged-focused Rogue, it just means the vast majority of Talents you have access to won't be of much use to you.

Rogues do make great Player Characters (PCs) though. They get Skill points every 2 levels while Mages and Warriors get them every 3. This is important because only the PC can learn Coercion, which requires up to 4 extra skill points to max out. Additionally, having a Rogue as your starting character means you always have the Lock-Picking Skill, which means the PC will be able to open the early locked chests and such, though ones further on in the game will require higher levesl of the skill and Cunning in the upper 20's to 30's. Rogues also start with 1 point in Poison-Making, which is beneficial even if the PC doesn't intend to max that skill, as only 1 point is needed to apply poisons to your weapons.

Stats

Gatekeeper Stats (those that determine access to Skills, Talents, Armor, Weapons, etc.)

  • Strength, Dexterity, and Magic play nearly identical roles for Warriors, Rogues, and Mages, respectively. The stat increases damage of the class's primary weapons/attacks and controls access to the class' primary Talents.
    • Strength Primary stat for Warriors.
      • Crossbow damage modified by Strength
      • 2 handed weapons talents require massive amounts of strength.
      • Destroyer requires 40 Strength.
      • Armor and most weapons also have Strength requirements. Tier 7 Massive Armor requires 42 strength to equip.
    • Dexterity Primary stat for Rogues.
      • Daggers, and bows require Dexterity to equip.
      • 36 points of dexterity are required for Dual Weapon Mastery
      • Warriors require 18 dexterity for Disengage.
      • Some talents in the weapon and shield tree also require Dexterity
    • Magic Primary stat for Mages.
      • Death Hex has the highest magic requirement (36).
      • Staffs have a Magic requirement to equip
    • Cunning Determines access to higher level Skills and the effectiveness of the Rogue Talents Lock-Picking and Stealth.
      • Non-Rogues require 16 points max for Combat Tactics, Coersion, Stealing, and Survival. The Rogue Talents of Lockpicking and Stealth require 22 Cunning at rank 4. Rogues can either choose to stop leveling cunning after 22 to focus exclusively on Dexterity and Strength, or, with the Lethality Talent, they can choose to maintain only enough Strength to equip their current weapons and armor.
        • (I'm not sure if 22 Cunning is high enough to pass every Coersion and Lock-picking check in the game or not
          • (Chests have a difficulty attribute of 10 to 70; The way your lockpicking skill is calculated is: (Cunning -10) + (Lockpicking Skill Level *4)So far as I know, it requires 35 Cunning to unlock every chest currently in the game if you have maxed Lockpicking)
            • If that information is correct, then you'd need a Cunning of 64 to unlock every chest. Something must be wrong. Either you don't need anywhere near 70 to open every box, or the equation is wrong, or the meaning of "Lockpicking Skill Level" is not clear.
              • I believe I was mistaken on the formula, and apologize. Either way, locks do have a difficulty of 10 to 70 and it requires 4 Lockpicking + 35 Cunning to open level 70 locks. If the formula is simply Cunning + Lockpicking, then each point of Lockpicking has a value of 9. If the formula is correct, then each point of Lockpicking holds a value of 11.5.

Resource Stats

  • Willpower provides the energy (Stamina for Warriors and Rogues; Mana for Mages) that powers non-passive Talents.
  • Constitution determines HP for all classes.
    • Shale's armor has a constitution requirement

Equipment

The stat requirements of weapons and armor goes up as the tier of the item goes up. For example...

  • tier 1 (Iron) weapons and armor requires X stats to equip.
  • Tier 2 (Grey Iron) weapons and armor requires X+2 Stats
  • Tier 3 (Steel) weapons and armor requires X+4 Stats
  • Tier 4 (Veridium) weapons and armor requires X+8 Stats
  • Tier 5 (Red Steel) weapons and armor requires X+16 Stats
  • Tier 6 (Silverite) weapons and armor requires X+18 Stats
  • Tier 7 (Dragonbone) weapons and armor requires X+20 Stats

Skills

  • Coercion
    • This skill buffs your ability to be successful with Persuasion and Intimidate options in conversations. In addition to the power granted by the Skill, Strength buffs Intimidate and Cunning buffs Persuasion.
  • Stealing
    • Highest amount of coin recieved (of reports thusfar) was 96 silver from a begger in Orzammar. (Yes a begger!)(Riordan in the Arl's estate has around 4 Sovereigns, many white mobs also have 1 Sovereign)
    • Some named NPC's might carry weapons/shields and other valuable items. Tip: try pickpocket vareg (who speaks on behalf of blehen) and the lord of the house you can meet in the first parts of the deep roads.
  • Trap-Making
    • Allows the PC to build, place, detect, and disarm traps. Disarming traps grants experience.
  • Survival
    • With this skill, the PC can detect enemies sooner on the mini map. With higher levels, not only does it show the red dots, it also labels the creature type. If the PC prefers tactical advantage and not falling into ambush, max this skill out. If the PC likes surprises, leave it alone.
    • It adds nature and physical resistance.
    • The higher the level of this skill, the higher the level of creatures detectable.
    • also 1 ( or more ) survival point is needed to succeed in the sick halla quest in the dalish camp !
    • Herbalism
    • Useful for making Health Poultrice, Lyrium Potion, and other offensive or defensive buffs. See below for list of vendors with infinite supply of herbalism materials.
    • Morrigan starts with Herbalism
    • It can be hard to find enough room in your combat party's skillset for Herbalism. Since most crafted Herbalism items don't require the skill, you can have a secondary character (one that stays at the party camp) focus on this skill.
  • Poison-Making
    • Only useful for party members who have the skill. If a character has level 1, they can apply poison to their melee weapons. One character may want to focus on it in order to make higher level poisons. This is another example of a skill that can be the focus of a party member who stays at the camp.
    • Meant for melee classes, since poisons only work on melee weapons
    • Zevran and Leliana start with Poison-Making
  • Combat Training
    • Determines access to more powerful Talents.
  • Combat Tactics
    • Levels 1 and 2 grant 1 additional line in that character's Tactics list
    • Levels 3 and 4 grant 2 additional lines (each)

Loot

When possible, sell your loot at either the Party Camp or Warden's Keep, as these two merchants never go anywhere. Though the buyback list is cleared when the PC exits the merchant's window, they will keep what was sold to them. This means that the PC can still buy it back, albeit at a higher price than through the buyback window. They appear to remember items you have sold them indefinitely.

Major Quest Lines that require a specific NPC to be in the party

  • Oghren - Must be in party once you reach the Anvil of the Void.
  • Wynne - Must be in the party for the Broken Circle Quest.
  • Leilana - Keep her in party while traveling overland after discussing her past and Marjoline. Note that this is only necessary to trigger and complete Leliana's companion quest. Leliana herself is never required to be in the party for major quest purposes. All NPCs must/should be present in your active party when you complete their personal companion quests. In personal experience, I have been able to complete most of Sten's companion quest without having him in the active party, but will usually move him into the active party when I collect the sword - not sure if you can actually collect the sword without him though (you can). Whereas Wynne's personal quest cannot be completed at all if she is not in your active party when you reach the Brecilian Forest.

Magic Types

Vulnerable/Resistant

Some enemy types are very vulnerable to certain forms of magic and/or resistant to others. Knowing your enemies' strengths and weaknesses can help you choose which spells to use and which not to.

Type Good vs. Bad vs.
Fire Most Dragons
Frost Ash Wraiths
Anything for spells, even immune enemies can be frozen.
Undead
Lightning Reavers
Spirit Armor Spirits
Nature Golems
Werewolves
Poison ? undead

Combinations

Some spells clip

Some of the very large AoE spells (Earthquake, Blizzard, Inferno, etc) will clip through doors and most walls. While it can be "gamey", this has an important tactical implication:

  • First, the PC can aggro entire groups (or sometimes pieces of them) without having to visually expose yourself and enter combat mode, thus allowing most encounters to be treated as an *ambush* rather than a real pisser of a battle. In conjunction with the survival skill, the PC can identify an enemy group location, pick the best spot for an ambush (positioning partymembers, etc), then cast an AoE spell on the door (the spell will usually "lock" onto the door as a valid target for the spell) or suitable ground location. When comfortable with this tactic, it is possible to cast two or three large AoE spells, kill a majority of the group, and never get hit.
  • It should also be noted that using Blizzard is a great first spell, as it will usually "freeze" the entire group in its tracks, allowing for a few seconds of party-wide target practice.

Cover

Dragon Age incorporates a system of cover. In general, if the target's lower half or more is obstructed from view, the PC will be unable to hit it with bows, crossbows, and some magical attacks as well. On magical attacks, the bolt Mages shoot from their staves will be blocked. Some/all actual spells (like the first level frost attack) will still land though.

Cover only affects ranged combat. However, if the PC is facing multiple enemy archers or other ranged attackers, the PC can sometimes use the terrain advantageously. Move the party behind horse carts, or stand to the side of, instead of in front of, an open doorway.

An example of this tactic would be when used against mages, as they can really mess up the party if trying to cross a large distance to attack them. Instead, consider the game from the AI's perspective: it is programmed to seek out the party and engage it in combat. Thus, if it can't "seek them out", it can't engage them. So, use cover to force that annoying mage (or whatever) to walk right up to the party, then use Shield Bash or what not.

Combat Tips

Tactics

The current understanding is that the Tactics lines are a series of linked segments in a IF/THEN equation. The AI looks at the list from the top down. So, the AI will see if the condition in the first line is met. If it is, the AI will execute the action associated with the condition in line 1. If the condition in line 1 is not met, then the AI will look at the condition in line 2 and see if it is met.

There is still a question about whether the AI returns to Line 1 each time it takes an action or if the AI simply continues down the list until it checks the last line before returning to the top. The current assumption is that it returns to Line 1 after every action and will only reach the bottom of the list if no earlier conditions were met.

Swords/Axes/Maces/Daggers

  • Swords have the best crit, mid armor pen, and lowest str ratio.
  • Maces best armor pen, mid str ratio, lowest crit.
  • Axes have highest str ratio, mid crit, and lowest armor pen.
    • The higher the str, the better the axe will be.

Light/Medium/Heavy/Massive Armor

The heavier the armor, the greater the armor factor but also the fatigue penalty. Armor can be negated/bypassed with armor-penetrating attacks (arrows, bolts, axes, maces, daggers?, etc.), which means it won't always be of much use. The fatigue penalty can be large, upwards of 20% or more, which limits the use of active and sustained talents.

Managing Enemy Aggression (Aggro)

  • According to the in-game tips, characters wearing heavier armor draw more hate.
  • Warriors also have 1 active and 1 sustained talent that generate aggro.
    • Threaten, the Sustained Talent, only works on the warrior's target
    • Taunt, the Active Talent, is an AoE taunt.

Fatigue

  • How to handle fatigue is determined by the PC's playstyle. Some PCs prefer the use of passive or sustainsed Talents, so that there is less to manage. Other PCs prefer active talents might require more micro-management but can be more effective if used carefully. The former PC-type might not care much about fatigue, unless they desire to have mutliple sustained talents running at the same time. The latter PC-type should take care with the weight of armor their party members wear as that is often the major source of fatigue.
  • The problems caused by fatigue can be somewhat mitigated by high Willpower and/or gear that adds stamina or mana.
  • Wearing gloves, chest, and boots of the same armor style (not material, but style, ie. studded, chainmail, splintmail, etc.) will significantly reduce the fatigue penality.

See the Discussion page for more on Fatigue.

Rogues

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Backstab

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Light vs. Medium Armor

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Melee vs. Ranged vs. Melee+Ranged

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Warriors

Sword & Board vs. 2-Handed vs. Dual Wield

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Mages

See Discussion page for questions that need answering, then place answers here.

Synergies

There are many ways where two or more different classes can use talents that compliment each other. For example, Mages with frost spells can freeze enemies, which your Warriors and Rogues can then kill in one hit (so long as that his is a critical hit). Mages only have the Stone Fist talent that grants an auto crits, which is why this tactic can be best performed with a mixed party.

Unlimited Stocks

Name Location Item(s) Note
Varathorn Dalish Camp

Elfroot, Deathroot, Toxin Extract

Bodahn Feddic Party Camp Corruptor Agent, Distillation Agent, Flask
Quartermaster Circle of Magi Tower Lyrium Dust
Ruck Deep Roads: Ortan Thaig Deep Mushroom
Bartender Gnawed Noble Tavern Corruptor Agent, Distillation Agent, Flask Lower prices than at Bodahn
Inkeeper The Spoiled Princess Flask
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