Dragon Age II Walkthrough

2. General hints and tips

Gameplay

Alright, so as a general outline our party will be two tanks and a selection of rogue/mage characters depending on things like achievements and available party members. You always want two tanks because they can learn the taunt skill to take enemies' attention away from your rogues/mages and (rather obviously) tank bosses. In my opinion your ideal party is two warriors, a rogue, and a mage and I do my best to maintain this setup when possible. You can do just fine with two mages or two rogues though, I just think a rogue/mage combo synergize really well.

The game goes over basic controls in the prologue, so I won't cover them here. There are three separate classes, and every character that is a certain class (like Warrior) will have the same 4-5 skill trees. Each character has their own special skill tree aside from class-specific ones except for Hawke, who gets 3 specializations he/she can choose from instead. I'll list what I used for attributes/skills.

Hawke

I play Hawke as a fighter. Tankier than everyone but Fenris, but can still do good damage. Attributes split between strength and constitution. Every level up you get 3 attribute points, I would go 2 in strength and 1 in constitution.

Warmonger tree – Get everything. Taunt allows you to divert enemy aggression from mages/rogues. Pommel Strike stuns making it great for stunning bosses or canceling enemy attacks or spells. Tremor is basically AoE damage and a knockback, perfect for groups. Bravery is a sustained skill that increases your stats for every enemy nearby. All great stuff.

Two-Handed tree – Spend the rest of your points here. You'll get passive abilities that increase your attack range and critical chance, two AoE attacks and Scythe, which has great single target damage.

For Hawke I chose the Reaver and Berserker specializations, I didn't really like either. However, the Reaver tree has Devour, which drains life from an enemy and heals you, and Blood Frenzy, which increases your damage the more you are hurt. The rest of Reaver and all of Berserk aren't worth it though. Templar is better, but a lot of it is rendered obsolete when mages get Dispel Magic very quickly and in most battles it isn't even necessary. Templar is mostly just canceling magic.

Fenris

Fenris is the tank. He won't do as much damage as everyone else but can hold enemies' attention long enough for everyone else to kill them. 1 strength and 2 constitution for him. However, you'll eventually reach a point where he doesn't have the strength to wear the weapons you are getting, at this point you can put 2 in strength every level up if you like.

Warmonger tree – Get everything. Taunt allows you to divert enemy aggression from mages/rogues. Pommel Strike stuns making it great for stunning bosses or canceling enemy attacks or spells. Tremor is basically AoE damage and a knockback, perfect for groups. Bravery is a sustained skill that increases your stats for every enemy nearby. All great stuff.

For Fenris, his special tree is mostly just a bunch of passive defense abilities, and he gets a sustained skill that adds to his defense. Since he is intended to be the tank, I'd get everything in this tree except Spirit Pulse. I'd skill it after Warmonger but before Two-Handed.

Two-Handed tree – Spend the rest of your points here. You'll get passive abilities that increase your attack range and critical chance, two AoE attacks and Scythe, which has great single target damage.

Aveline

I rarely use Aveline, but when I do I build her the same way as Fenris. You'll only need to use her a couple time during this walkthrough, and never for long.

Warmonger tree – Get everything. Taunt allows you to divert enemy aggression from mages/rogues. Pommel Strike stuns making it great for stunning bosses or canceling enemy attacks or spells. Tremor is basically AoE damage and a knockback, perfect for groups. Bravery is a sustained skill that increases your stats for every enemy nearby. All great stuff.

For Aveline her special tree is basically the same premise as Fenris, a load of defensive stuff. As with Fenris, take it after Warmonger but before Two-Handed

Isabela

Isabela is a Rogue, and as a result has different trees from the Warriors. Rogues have a special interaction with the cunning attribute; at certain numbers (every 10 points) they can unlock chests with better locks. You get experience for unlocking chests, so it is nice to have, but to unlock every chest you'll need to dump a lot of points into cunning. 30 is enough for most chests, dump the rest in dexterity. Played right you aren't taking much damage, so constitution isn't really necessary.

Dual Weapon tree – Has a bunch of damage abilities, take them all. Backstab can be used to disappear for a quick second, which is sometimes enough to get enemies to stop attacking you. The rest are straight DPS.

Subterfuge tree – This tree has two skills that help you get enemy attention off of you, and some passives that serve the same purpose. You are built for damage, so you can't really afford to take enemy attacks. Rogues also do more damage from behind, so having enemies attacking someone else increases your damage greatly. This tree combined with Warriors that can taunt and such make it very easy to go crazy with the Rogue's attacks.

Varric

Varric is also a Rogue, but he is different in that he wields a bow, not daggers. So his setup is a bit different. Since you'll be using him alongside Isabela for a lot of the game you could go straight dexterity with him and just give Isabela cunning (she'll be in your party 99% of the game anyway) for chests. Either way he should be sitting back hitting enemies with his crossbow, he shouldn't need constitution either.

Varric has two unique trees, Bianca and Marksmen. Max both, but take the sustained ability Speed from the Specialist tree. Giving him Speed and Bianca's Song from Marksmen and Well-Oiled along with the Haste ability from a mage gives him obnoxious attack speed, and great damage as a result. Other trees are less important. Since he isn't melee he doesn't need evasion abilities as bad, and being ranged means it is harder to maneuver around people to backstab them. Don't bother.

Anders

Anders is a mage. Mages get off easy when it comes to attributes, Magic increases their damage, Willpower gives them more mana. Honestly I never put a point in Willpower and never felt like I was gimping myself, I just put everything into Magic.

You'll want Winter's Blast and Cone of Cold from the Elemental tree, and Heal, Heroic Aura, and Haste from the Creation tree. You'll also want Dispel Magic from the Spirit tree.

Anders special tree is made up of two sustained skills. Panacea gives you better healing ability, but removes your ability to use offensive spells. Vengeance provides very strong offense, but makes him weaker and he can't be healed. Panacea gives passive healing regeneration to everyone and provides a way to revive dead people AND allows you to heal everyone with one spell. I take it, but don't depend on it. It's a last resort when things are going downhill fast. You can use Panacea and then turn it off and use offensive spells, but the cooldown isn't short, so it has to be used intelligently if you use it at all.

After you have everything above, you can drop the points in whatever.

Merril

Merril doesn't have any of the Creation tree and she doesn't have Dispel Magic. In my opinion all other mages are better as a result. Put her points in Elemental and Primal when you have to use her and dump her attribute points in magic.

Bethany

Same as Anders, dump everything into magic and get Heal, Heroic Aura, and Haste from Creation. Dispel Magic from Spirit. Fist of the Maker from her special Force Mage tree isn't bad. Make sure she has Cone of Cold and Winter's Blast. Put the rest wherever you want.

Missables

Dragon Age 2 has quite a few missable achievements, so there's a lot of things you'll need to keep in mind while you play. The walkthrough details them as they come, but I'll give a quick overview here as well.

Importing a Dragon Age Origins save

If you have an Origins save (you can actually import one as early as just having finished your character's origin story, it doesn't need to be a finished game save) then you can follow this walkthrough with no problems and get the Epic achievement. If not I'm afraid you are in for two playthroughs. Since you can import a save so early, buying DA:O or renting it for a day will save you quite a bit of time, do it if at all possible. Most origin stories can be done in an hour or less.

Friendships/Rivalry

For the first act we will be using very specific party members, this is because there is an achievement for having one person at max friendship, and four. The intent is to get this out of the way as fast as possible for two reasons. The first is that this gives you a bit of freedom with your party for 99% of act 2, and all of act 3. The second is in case you mess up. Obviously the best case scenario is reloading a save, but just in case you can't, there is plenty of friendship points to get in act 2/3 so you can still get the achievement. You'll have to deviate from the walkthrough though, so avoid this at all costs. If you follow this walkthrough getting the achievement for 4 will be one of the first things you do in act 2.

There is also an achievement for having max rivalry with one person. In truth, you could get this in your first playthrough, but doing so would require a fancy balancing act. Say you want friendship with person #1, and rivalry with person #2. A decision gets you rivalry with person #2, but also #1. Now you have a problem. The walkthrough is built around a party where very few of these conflicts exist, so getting 4 friends is as painless as possible. After finishing the game we start up a new game and play with a sibling that starts at 50% rivalry and then get the achievement in less than 30 minutes. It is much easier than trying to play a balancing act throughout act 1 to make sure friends stay friends and rivals stay rivals, I can assure you. I originally tried writing this walkthrough doing exactly that, it was quite a minefield.

Ingredients

You can make potions, runes and poisons with ingredients found all over the place. The crafting system is a bit unique in that you need X amount of certain ingredients to make something, but they aren't used up when you create the item. Your only obstacle in creating as much as you want is having the money. You'll need to collect every ingredient in the game for an achievement. The vast majority are found in the overworld and in towns and dungeons, though a few are earned by cutting down powerful enemies. The walkthrough details these items when they appear, and pictures are included to make finding them easier.

I've read that you can get the free Black Emporium DLC and buy the ingredients you miss and still get the achievement, but this doesn't seem to work for everyone. As a result you should not depend on the BE, simply make sure you pick everything up when the walkthrough mentions them. The walkthrough details how much of each ingredient you should have before you end each act, make sure your count matches up.

Romance

As with most Bioware games, there is an achievement for romancing someone. The person this walkthrough romances is Isabela. Besides being very attractive, her presence is required for a few ingredients in act 3, and as a result required for an achievement. Most party members have a crisis event where they can leave permanently, and Isabela is no exception. I'm not going to spoil it, all I'm going to tell you is that romancing her 100% guarantees she doesn't leave, which is why this walkthrough does it. It seems merely getting 50% friendship is supposed to do it, but I've seen a lot of reports from people that don't have her show up even with it. Better safe than sorry, I say.

Mages/Templar

Assuming you didn't play Origins, the Mages and Templar are two sides in a sort of conflict. I'm not going into details to avoid spoilers, but just know they don't see eye to eye. You are presented with multiple events in the game where you can choose to side with either the Mages or the Templar. There is an achievement for siding with each 5 times, and there aren't enough decisions to get both in one playthrough. Your partial playthrough will involve getting the achievement you didn't get it. The walkthrough is structured so your partial playthrough only involves starting from the very end of act 2, and going a few quests into act 3.

Note that if you cannot import a DA:O save you should ignore the partial playthrough and simply choose the options for the faction you didn't do on the first playthrough. If you have to go down this path, use the wiki to pick options for the other side: http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Mage_Hunter_and_Arcane_Defen...

The guide gets the mage achievement (Arcane Defender) in the first playthrough, so you'll need to pick the Templar choices if you have to do a second playthrough and followed the guide.

Miscellaneous

There are four other achievements that span the entire game. These are for the History of the Chantry books, secret messages, armor upgrades and potion recipes. There are four History of the Chantry books. The walkthrough details where they are with pictures, simply make sure you read the books when they are mentioned. There are 4 secret messages in every act, and you need to read at least 3 in each act for the achievement. Every companion can get armor upgrades, and getting all of them nets you an achievement. They are gathered from chests or bought from shops. You need to craft 1 of every item in one of the three item types for an achievement, and potions is the smallest list, so this walkthrough makes the potions. The walkthrough details where the recipes are, make sure to get them when specified. Note that you won't be able to make all the potions until late in act 3, when you'll have all the ingredients.

All the other missables are specific to a certain act or area, and are detailed in the walkthrough when the time comes. I wrote this walkthrough while doing the US version, then proofread it and used it for the JP version. I got every achievement when the walkthrough indicated, so I'm rather confident that if you follow this walkthrough to the letter, you will have no problems at all, despite all the missables.

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