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The time has come! Whether you’re a fan of Origins, Bioware, or Action RPGs in general, odds are you’re looking to check out Dragon Age II. Throughout my two playthroughs, I’ve come across some tips that will be invaluable to those who are looking to complete the game on a higher difficulty, or those who just don’t want to miss anything.

While Dragon Age II isn’t too difficult, feel free to leaf through the below tips if you’re looking to gain an edge on the denizens of Kirkwall.

Tame non-story spoilers incoming – this post will be similar to VERY quick tips for Demon’s Souls

Game Tips

  • If you have a rogue in your party, always put one point per level into cunning so you can access locked chests. The minimum of one point per level ensures you will eventually crescendo alongside of the chest difficulty as the game progresses.
  • Make sure you double check your party member’s tactics screen, and select a sub-role from the list, if you don’t feel like configuring them manually (ie Defensive Tank, for Aveline)
  • In my opinion, the easiest character to play with is the Rogue, then the Mage, then the Warrior. The Rogue does massive damage at the very start of the game with basic attacks and never lets up. If you want to min-max damage, go Duelist when you get a specialization point at level 7, and up your dexterity often.
  • If you start a Mage, get cone of cold! I can’t stress how valuable this spell is, considering half the encounters in the game are AOE fights where it will decimate thugs.
  • Make sure you select the correct tree for your spec. For instance, Aveline would benefit from the Defender tree – of course, make sure you survey your options, as the Warmonger tree’s “taunt” is necessary for a tank.
  • While you cannot buy your party new armor, you can upgrade it. Mostly starting with Act 2, vendors in Lowtown will start selling upgrades, so check often.
  • If you do not like your helmet’s look, you can go to options, interface, and turn it off. Your helmet will always be off during cutscenes regardless of what you choose.
  • If you’re looking for the option to turn on auto-attack, it was taken out of the console version at the last second due to a bug. Wait for a patch, and don’t worry about trying to find the option to use it.
  • As of launch week, there are numerous reports of Origin import saves either not working at all (such as myself), or, providing different information than you actually created; so don’t worry if your import is wrong. However, you may benefit from selecting one of the three predefined options that is closest to yours.

Story Character Tips

  • Non Mandatory Character: If you want Fenris, make sure you grab the quest “Bait and Switch” from your home in Act 1 and complete it before you take the plunge into the deeproads. Fenris hates mages, so be aware of that. Additionally, if you play your cards right, he can be your tank even though he uses a two-hander.
  • Non Mandatory Character: If you have the Signature Edition, or bought Sebastian, you need to do the quest called “Duty”, after you find him outside the Chantry in Hightown in Act 1, and then do “Repentance” in Act 2 to get him. He will constantly clash with Anders, so be weary if you have both in your party.
  • Non Mandatory Character: If you want Isabela, do the quest Fools Rush In in Act 2. NOTE – Isabela can leave you a number of times throughout the game. Make sure you are cordial with her, and don’t rely on her too much – if you want to keep her for most of the game you will have to romance her. This next bit isn’t a tip as much as a fun fact, but Isabela was in Origins - she was at the bar “The Pearl” in Denerim, and taught you the Duelist specialization.
  • Aveline, Sebastian and Merrill will only leave you at the very end of the game. Fenris, Isabela, and Anders can leave you depending on your choices, so be weary of that. Varric will never leave you.
  • If you choose to go into the deep roads with your sibling at the end of Act 1- bring Anders – trust me.
  • The five companions that can be romanced are: Isabela, Merrill, Anders, Fenris, and Sebastian. Sebastian is the only romance that must be heterosexual.

DLC Tips

  • If you pre-ordered the game, use the Fadeshear Sword for any one handed sword class, as it scales with your level.
  • If you have the Black Emporium DLC, you can not only change the appearance of your character at will, but you can also buy valuable respec potions, which really come in handy if you go down a wrong skill tree.
  • If you want to use Ser Isaac’s armor from the Dead Space 2 DLC offer, make sure you make a Rogue, as you need 19 Dexterity and 19 Cunning to use it, and it can only be used by Hawke.
  • If you want to use the Blood Dragon Armor, make sure you make a Warrior, as you need 19 Strength and 19 Constitution to use it, and it can only be used by Hawke. However, you may find some leeway in that both the Mage and Rogue can benefit from a high Constitution statline, and from there, you’ll only need to pump around 7 points into Strength.
  • If you want all the free DLC you can get – create a Bioware account and sign up for the newsletter; complete the DA2 demo while signed in; then go to this link and click “get my belt”.

If you own Dragon Age II and have any tips for newcomers, feel free to leave them below. I will update this as time goes on.

This post is entirely for people who want to enjoy their playthrough of Dragon Age II – you can discuss the quality of the game in our review.

  1. - Make sure to keep the Dwarf character in your party at all times, as his crossbow looks freaking epic.

    Great post Chris, I’ll keep it in mind when I pick my copy up on Friday. Especially the one point of cunning per level idea.

  2. Thanks for the tips. I hate missing out on characters and stuff like that. I’m playing as a Warrior right now. I’m putting points into the Vanguard and Reaver trees. I’m fine with the whole glass cannon going for damage over survivability thing.

    Thanks for the tips! I got to remember to specialize the tactics. I keep forgetting to do that.

  3. I just added some more – make sure you check out the last tip for some free DLC, if you haven’t already.

    • I got tons of DLC stuff when I started playing. I really want the Blood Dragon Armor, but I played ME 2 with all the DLC on my 360, but I’m playing DA2 on my PS3.

      Too bad there isn’t a way for me to get it.

    • avatar Naina

      The question is, are the cgnehas so significant that would be enough to make the game better or worthy of new reviews? Doubt it. I was surprised to see the patch notes in the Steam News tab, honestly. It’s not like they sell the game there anymore.

  4. My advice if you do play warrior, go two handed. With the right points from the two handed and vanguard trees you have a huge attack range and will be able to kill multiple enemies in one hit with late tree aoe’s. It makes combat alot faster and feels considerably more satisfying than being a tank, especially since if you use Aveline it would be redundant to be one.

  5. avatar Nyterage

    my tip would probably be to get the entire champions armor set, most of it you will get through the main story without any real effort, but the chest piece comes from the high dragon in the quest mine massacre in high town, act 3. he also drops upgrades for a few members armor, a good 2h and a few other things. at least in my play through he did.

  6. avatar Tantrum

    Not sure if cone of cold is that necessary for a mage. You could as easily say “You MUST get and upgrade mind blast”, since that is a spell that shakes the scrappers off brilliantly, while cone of cold can miss iif you don’t time it right. Otherwise good stuff. Thanks for that Chris.

  7. avatar Tantrum

    You might also add ridiculous advice: like: “if you want a real challenge, take off your armour and run around in your underwear”but that’s just me!

    • avatar Lyndon

      Right now, after having “fixed” my bug, I’m pynliag as Bruce Wayne. I’m beating up Penguin’s thugs and I break out of my cuffs. Before, I never saw any of this. It was just Catwoman stopping some Two-Face thugs stealing a safe. It was unrelated to anything from the opening cinema. So I still think it’s a bug.

  8. avatar Tantrum

    Or you can say: “The most important tip for this game is Don’t Buy it, wait for Skyrim ” (LOL I’m just kidding…………sort of)

  9. avatar Christian

    My mate reckons if you take it apart and take out the wire cneioctnng the yellow LED to the motherboard it will work again. Only thing is, you need a soldering iron or something hot like that to melt it off. All of the other LEDs (red and green) are connected to the power supply and the yellow to the motherboard. This is supposed to be what causes it. So if you take out the wire with the yellow LED it should hopefully work. This is only what i have heard so I cannot guarantee anything. But what have you got to lose.

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