Tactics enable you to dictate how your characters respond to certain situations. In Dragon Age II, the maximum number of tactics slots is 20.
As opposed to Dragon Age: Origins, the amount of tactics slots is no longer based on attributes or abilities -- they are based solely on character level:
- +5 tactics slots at level 1.
- +3 tactics slots every three levels up to level 16 (4, 7, 10, 13, 16).
The following tactics triggers are new as compared to Origins:
Party Health checks how many party members' health has fallen below 50%. The trigger options read, "At least [two, three, four] party members below 50% health" and is available for 'Self'.
This trigger is most useful for group healing spells and effects, such as:
[Most, All] enemies using attack type
[Most, All] enemies using attack type checks the type of attack either the majority of or all of your enemies are using against the party. This trigger uses the six standard attack type options "melee", "ranged", "magic", "melee or ranged", "melee or magic", "ranged or magic". This trigger is available for 'Self'.
This trigger is useful when choosing between defensive abilities, such as:
At least X [enemies, allies] are alive
At least X [enemies, allies] are alive verifies how many enemies or allies remain alive. This trigger is available for 'Self' and 'Enemy'.
The following actions are new as compared to Origins:
Use current condition for next tactic
Use current condition for next tactic applies the current trigger to the next tactical trigger -- essentially combining multiple triggers to a single action. When using this trigger, the next tactic may not be triggered independently (i.e., the next tactic is always skipped if this first check fails).
This action allows great depth to tactics and is extremely useful. Some particular useful scenarios include:
- Condition attack for a different party member's target (e.g., focus-firing crowd control).
- Verify a party member with low health is under attack before using Heal or Barrier.
- Verify an enemy has low health and is clustered before casting Walking Bomb.
Skip tactics skips over all tactics below this command and will restart checking conditions from the top of the tactics list.
Below are some examples of useful tactics as well as examples of how to use tactics more effectively:
This example makes use of the new action "Use current condition for next tactic" to trigger Twin Fangs only when stamina is high (>= 90%) and only on Elite mobs:
(Any triggers and actions may be used; this is just an example of the functionality.)
- Self: Mana or stamina >= 90% -->> Use current condition for next tactic
- Enemy Target rank is Elite -->> Twin Fangs
Preserve healer mana
In this setup, offensive spells are organized at the top in tactics 2-10. However, the character will skip those tactics when mana drops below 50%:
- (1) Self: Mana or stamina < 50% -->> Jump to: 11
- (2-10) any action to be taken according to the level set in #1 (i.e., offensive spells)
- (11-20) any action to be taken regardless of mana (i.e., defensive/healing spells)
Use Telekinetic Burst like Mind Blast
- Self: Being attacked by a melee attack -->> Telekinetic Burst
An addition to Dragon Age II is Cross-Class Combos. (In DA:O, combos were only available to mages as Spell Combinations) To make the most of them, create triggers for any upgraded abilities which can exploit them, such as (but not limited to):
- (1) Enemy: BRITTLE --> Mighty Blow
- (1) Enemy: BRITTLE --> Bursting Arrow
- (1) Enemy: DISORIENTED --> Scatter
- (1) Enemy: DISORIENTED --> Spirit Bolt
- (1) Enemy: STAGGERED --> Explosive Strike
- (1) Enemy: STAGGERED --> Chain Lightning
This type of trigger should be very high on the tactics list, since the hindrances to exploit are temporary and short-lived.
Watch each others backs
In Dragon Age II, it's much easier for rogues and mages to have their abilities interrupted, so relying on your companions to get themselves out of trouble doesn't always work too well -- especially if they pull aggro from a group of mobs. To prevent your "squishies" from getting overwhelmed, use other companions' high-force and impairing abilities to help control the situation. For example:
- (1) Enemy: Attacking _whoever_ --> Stonefist
- (1) Enemy: Attacking _whoever_ --> Kickback
- (1) Enemy: Attacking _whoever_ --> Winter's Grasp
- (1) Enemy: Attacking _whoever_ --> Horror
Especially if you don't (but even if you do, really) have any crowd-control type spells, you can still add the following tactic to each member's tactics for each of your particularly squishy companions:
- (1) Enemy: Attacking _whoever_ --> Attack
- (2) Enemy: Attacking _whoeverElse_ --> Attack
- Put these tactics high in the list, so they trigger as soon as your companions come under attack.
Focus-fire & kick 'em when they're down
To reduce the amount of enemies your high DPS party members pull off the tank with "aggro", have your party focus on one opponent at a time. Do this by using a "Target of _____" trigger at the bottom of your tactics list. (Fill the blank with whoever your tank is.)
- (20) Enemy: Target of _whoever_ --> Attack
-- OR --
- (20) Enemy: Target of controlled party member --> Attack
- If you are fighting a battle with many normal mobs as well as elite or a boss, be sure your tank focuses on the adds, too, and not just the boss.
It's very likely as you cycle targets and apply AoE damage that some enemies not directly targeted will still get low on health. To make the most of the situation when this happens, add this tactic just above your "focus-fire" tactic:
- (19) Enemy: Health < 25% --> Attack
- When not using the "Custom" preset, the default presets (Defender, Scrapper, Controller, Healer, Damager) automatically update as new abilities are learned.
- Once a tactical action is triggered, the list restarts parsing from tactic #1. So, if Self: Any -->> Wait is tactic #1, the character will do only the default Behaviour without player direction.