Jump to Content
Mages are the most powerful class in the game. Two mages (one for healing, one for damage) would be ideal, but some may opt for only one mage. If you don’t have at least one mage, then Dragon Age is extremely difficult, if not impossible to beat.
As a corollary to “mages are great,” enemy mages are incredibly dangerous. Always target and kill them first, ideally from a distance. They are weak enough that they will go down fast if every character focuses on them with arrows and magic.
If you don’t have a rogue in your party, you will miss a lot of treasure due to your inability to pick locks. It’s not strictly necessary, but it’s something to consider when building your party.
Certain stats benefit certain characters. For a tank, focus on strength and constitution. Mages will want magic, willpower and cunning. Anyone who uses archery or dual wields will love dexterity, and that goes double for Rogues. Many weapons require a certain stat to be able to wield properly, so make sure to take note of that and distribute your numbers accordingly.
The characters who join your party all have certain specializations built in. Sten and Oghren are two-handed damage dealers, while Alistair is naturally a tank. Morrigan is a damage dealing mage, while Wynne heals. It’s possible to shift their specializations somewhat and follow other skill trees, but you may find yourself with a weak, watered-down character.
Develop a plan for your character and stick with it. Review each skill tree, and jot down the ones that fit the best with your particularl strategy for that character. For instance, tanks will taunt, while mages will want spells that restore mana or unleash healing for the entire party. If you’re aware of these abilities, you are less apt to make poor choices when building up.
Have a plan for your character and write down the skills you want to develop ahead of time
Try to build a balanced party. Three warriors with the same abilities don’t really complement each other and will have a tough time in battle. Ideally, every party will have a healing mage, two damage dealers (DPS, or damage per second) and a tank to keep the bad guys busy while everyone else attacks.
Persuasion is incredibly useful. With a high enough cunning stat, and enough talent points in Coercion, you can avoid many fights and help yourself out a great deal. As an early example, enough cunning and persuasion will actually convince the brigands in Lothering to pay you, rather than the other other way around.
Try to get recipes for things like lyium and health poultices early. You can find the lyrium recipe in the mage tower, and all the flasks you need from your camp vendor. Simply purchasing the curatives you need will get expensive fast.
If an enemy’s name is white, they are weak and susceptible to things like being frozen and shattered. If their name is yellow, they are a ranked leader, and much more resistant to various spells and abilities. Alphas are the strongest of the darkspawn mooks, and should be focused upon last. As a general rule, target the guys with the white names first.
Exceptions to the “target the weaker guys first” rule: Golems, Drakes, Dragons and Ogres are insanely dangerous, and will decimate your party if left alone. If you can’t freeze them or keep them occupied with a tank, then focus fire on them to get them out of the way.
When fighting a horde, learn to lock down the strongest enemy characters. There are a variety of ways to do that — Abilities Pommel Strike, Riposte and Dirty Fighting and spells like Winter’s Grasp, Cone of Cold and Force Field all work very well. Without a powerful Alpha (or even a boss) in your hair, you’re free to take down the lesser bad guys.
If you can, always try to lure small groups of foes at you so that you can pick them off. If you rush at a bad guy, there’s an excellent chance that many more enemies will appear all around you, and that you will die. Harrassing bad guys and luring them in, or “aggro,” ensures that you won’t flanked, which is the worst possible situation in Dragon Age.
Occasionally, two groups of enemies will suddenly appear and rush from either side. At that point, find a wall or a corner as fast as posssible so that they can’t attack from behind. This will enable you to direct spells and melee attacks much better, and keep them from overwhelming you. This is particularly important when facing rogues and assassins, both of whom are capable of dealing massive damage by sneaking up behind your characters and backstabbing them.
Area of Effect (“AoE”) spells like Blizzard, Inferno, Cone of Cold and Fireball are your best friends. Fireball will knock everyone down and set them on fire, and deals devastating damage to archers in the rear (which are quite annoying in the later portions of the game). Blizzard freezes a massive group of bad guys and keeps them off-balance for a long period of time. Inferno does the same, but with fire.
Cone of Cold is the best of them though. It will freeze any enemy (even the Archdemon!) for a period of time, and it makes unranked bad guys susceptible to being shattered with powerful attacks like Punisher and Assault or spells like Stone Fist. It can also be used to constantly lock down a powerful boss, allowing your characters to hammer on them while they can’t move, or to focus on other bad guys. Best of all, it’s recharge time is extremely quick!
One spell tree that isn’t quite as helpful are the earth-based spells. Most foes resist Earthquake, and spells like Rock Armor only help the caster. Stone Fist is a good spell to have, but you’re much better off focusing on fire and ice. Besides, Wynne — who will probably be your main healing mage — starts off with Stone Fist.
If you don’t have reliable AoE spells, then it can be beneficial to set up a “gauntlet.” Even without specific archery abilities, focus firing on bad guys as they approach using bows and normal attacks can severely injure or even kill them on approach. If you have Cone of Cold, try to set it up so the bad guy will be filled with arrows as they approach, then frozen and possibly shattered when they get too close. Obviously, it doesn’t work if you’re suddenly surrounded, but if you see a large crowd of bad guys at a distance, it’s best to try and snipe them down first.
In general, you’re free to do the main quests in which you recruit the armies in any order you’d like. However, leave Orzammar for last or second to last. It’s not only incredibly long, it features two of the toughest boss battles in the game. In fact, the final boss battle in Orzammar is even tougher than the final battle with the Archdemon, even with good spells and abilities to back you up.