by: Rob Kentworth
; edited by: Michael Hartman
; updated: 5/2/2012
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A guide to the Rogue class in Dragon Age 2. An introduction to the class is provided, alongside details on what the various attributes do for the class. In addition, the various skill trees are detailed and what the skills do is also described.
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Dragon Age 2 Rogue Guide: Introduction to the Class
The Rogue class is as essential as the other classes are. The skills that the Rogue possesses enable it to essentially fill three roles. One of the roles is the role of a damage dealer. Another is one of crowd control and the other is 'lock-picker'.
Hawke, as a Rogue, has access to ranged weaponry and also daggers. Other characters are limited to one or the other. To compliment the weapons and the Rogue's role of damage dealer, he or she has access to an Archery skill tree, alongside a Dual Wield one. While playing, you'll probably want to focus on one or the other.
As far as crowd control abilities are concerned, the Sabotage skill tree contains quite a few abilities that enable you to take enemies out of the equation for a short while or debuff them.
There are also some defensive abilities that the Rogue has that can protect the entire party. However, some abilities only help to protect the Rogue as well.
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Dragon Age 2 Rogue Guide: Useful Attributes
The Rogue, like the other two classes, has several useful attributes. As with the other classes, you will need to determine what attributes you want to boost, as you won't be able to boost everything to a satisfactory level.
Basically, the most essential attributes for the Rogue are dexterity and cunning. You'll have to decide which attribute you want to focus on the most or yes, you can try to focus on both. Cunning is required to open the locks on chests though and while the bonus to defense from cunning shouldn't matter too much for a Rogue (compared to a Warrior), it boosts critical damage. Dexterity on the other hand boosts a Rogue's critical hit chance and also boosts their damage. Keep in mind that you'll have to get cunning to 40 if you want to open all of the locked chests.
Now then, if you only focus on cunning and dexterity, then you'll find that your health and stamina will be low when you approach the end of the game because you don't gain stamina and health upon levelling anymore. So, you'll also want to put some points into constitution and willpower.
With the introduction and attributes covered, the skill trees for the Rogue class are covered on the next few pages.
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A Guide to the Rogue Class in Dragon Age 2: Dual Weapon Skill Tree
The Dual Weapon skill is most likely one of the main ones you'll want to invest in, unless you decide to use ranged weaponry. The skills are detailed below.
Unforgiving Chain: This is a passive ability that increases your ability to deal damage. Basically, as you attack, you'll increase your critical hit chance until you hit a 20% bonus or you use another ability. It's a highly recommended ability.
Backstab: This skill is much improved when compared to the Backstab ability in Dragon Age: Origins. There's no shuffle anymore and activating the ability teleports you behind the enemy to attack them for some nice damage. With the upgrades, the cooldown time is decreased and Backstab can gain a 100% chance to critically hit enemies. It's definitely recommended.
Lacerate: This is a sustainable skill that gives each attack a chance to cause extra damage over time. When upgraded, it will automatically deal damage against staggered targets. Like the other skills, it's pretty nice.
Explosive Strike: This ability can take advantage of Unforgiving Chain, with Unforgiving Chain boosting its effect. It deals damage to the enemy and also makes you hit with increased force. With the upgrade, it will critically hit enemies every time and also deal extra damage against staggered enemies.
Twin Fangs: Another ability that deals damage, but it hits twice for a large amount of damage and it also causes critical hits every strike. The upgrade decreases the ability's cooldown.
All in all, all of the skills in the tree are quite good.
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A Guide to the Rogue Class in Dragon Age 2: Archery Skill Tree
The Archery skill tree is basically the damage dealing tree for Rogues who use weapons, just like the Dual Wield tree is the damage dealing skill tree for melee rogues.
Bursting Arrow: Bursting Arrow is an area of effect attack that deals fire damage to enemies. It can be upgraded to deal more damage against brittle targets and also have a reduced cooldown. However, it can also be upgraded to serve a defensive purpose, which sees allies obscured making it difficult for enemies to damage them.
Pinning Shot: Pinning Shot basically holds a single enemy in place, though it's not guaranteed to work all of the time. It does cause some damage as well as have a physical force modifier. With upgrades, it can last longer and have a reduced cooldown, alongside deal extra damage and disorient targets. While it would be nice for it to affect multiple enemies, it'd perhaps be a bit overpowered if it did.
Hail of Arrows: This is an area of effect attack that deals damage over time. If you're not playing on nightmare, then you're best using it when the enemies are crowding around your characters. However, with an upgrade, you can reduce the attack and movement speed of enemies, so it isn't as necessary to do that when you have the upgrade. Overall, it's an ability I really like.
Archer's Lance: Archer's Lance has the ability to hit more than one target if they're in the way of the enemy you've targeted. It deals quite nice damage, can knock enemies down and it is guaranteed to hit the targeted enemy critically. It can also be upgraded to deal extra damage, especially against brittle targets. It also has increased force and it can automatically kill weaker enemies.
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Dragon Age 2 Class Guide: Sabotage Skill Tree
The Sabotage skill tree can be used to debuff enemies and also for crowd control purposes, while it also has one ability that deals damage. So, with it giving you crowd control options and debuffing capabilities, it's quite handy. The skills are detailed below.
Rush: Rush sees the Rogue dash forward and knock down any enemies in his or her way. With upgrades, it can also deal damage and your Rogue can rush forward even further.
Miasmic Flask: Miasmic Flask is an ability you have to take as you start with it, unless you respec (I haven't respected however, so it may still be assigned to you). However, the ability is quite useful, which is good. Basically, it stuns the enemies in the radius you specify. So, it's a nice crowd control ability and with upgrades, they are stunned longer plus the cooldown is shortened.
Fatiguing Fog: This skill debuffs enemies by reducing their attack and movement speed. With upgrades, it can help prevent enemies from damaging your characters thanks to it obscuring them and it can also disorient enemies. Again, it's another useful ability.
Confusion: Confusion has a 50% chance to confuse nearby enemies, therefore making them fight amongst themselves. Again, it's another good crowd control ability. With an upgrade, Confusion lasts longer and it disorients targets.
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Dragon Age 2 Class Guide: Rogue's Specialist Skill Tree
The Specialist skill tree has no activated abilities, so all of the skills are sutainable ones with the exception of one passive skill. Now, you will want to spend a few points in this tree but you possibly won't want to spend too many, because the skills can't be activated at the same time as each other. So, this somewhat lessens the value of the skill tree.
Speed: This sustainable skill increases your Rogue's attack speed. With upgrades, attacks become even quicker and cooldowns for all talents when it's active are reduced.
Precision: This sustainable ability increases your attack rating, making you more likely to hit enemies and it also increases your critical hit chance. Upgrades further boost attack and critical hit chance.
Power: This sustainable ability gives your Rogue a chance to stun enemies with each attack. Depending on the character, you may not attack very quickly though. So, it may or may not be useful. With upgrades, the chance to stun is increased and it can cause damage over time when opponents are stunned.
Harmony: This is the ultimate ability of the tree and it's passive. It basically boosts the effect of whichever sustained ability from the tree you have active. It doesn't require many points spent in the tree at all either.
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Rogue Guide for Dragon Age 2: The Scoundrel Skill Tree
The Scoundrel skill tree is a bit different from the others. It has skills that can reduce threat and help them move around the battlefield. In addition, it has some skills that help with dealing damage. The Scoundrel skills are detailed below.
Armistice: Armistice allows the Rogue to transfer someone's threat to another character. It's not as useful as it could be though, because it may not give the character's threat to the Warrior. The upgrade only lowers the cooldown as well. However, you'll want to get it for Goad.
Goad: The Goad ability allows you to redirect an the attention of enemies within a radius to the chosen ally, so it's very useful. It can also compliment other abilities and with the upgrade, it affects enemies in a greater radius.
Blindside: This is a really nice ability because as long as you're attacking an enemy that's busy with another character, you'll have a 20% damage bonus. It's passive as well.
Twist the Knife: Another nice ability because it enables you to critically hit enemies automatically that are stunned and again, it's another passive ability.
Follow-Through: This is handy for the more drawn out fights or if your Rogue has a low stamina pool. Basically, this passive ability enables the Rogue to gain a bonus to stamina regeneration for each ordinary attack.
Back-To-Back: This activated ability allows the Rogue to move across the battlefield to a party member's side. While it's handy on all difficulties, it'll be particularly handy on nightmare difficulty due to friendly fire.
Brand: Another activated ability which allows the Rogue to target an enemy and when said enemy is targeted, Warriors and Mages will enjoy an increased chance to critically hit that particular enemy.
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Rogue Guide for Dragon Age 2: The Subterfuge Skill Tree
The Subterfuge skill tree gives the Rogue stealth capabilities and also enables them to jump out of harm's way. Skills from the tree can also be used to protect party members, give the Rogue a greater chance to cause critical hits when stealthed and also lower the threat they generate.
Stealth: Stealth allows the Rogue to fade from sight, even when in combat. It does reduce movement speed however and you cannot attack without revealing the Rogue's location. The upgrades reduce the movement penalty and also the cooldown, alongside making Stealth last longer. It's a pretty nice ability at the end of the day if your Rogur is nearly dead. Also, while you cannot attack without breaking stealth, you can at least ensure other abilities are guaranteed to critically hit when used from Stealth when the Ambush ability has been taken.
Evade: This skill enables the Rogue to leap backwards in an effort to avoid enemy attacks and it also reduces the Rogue's threat somewhat. The upgrade also allows the Rogue to stun enemies.
Chameleon's Breath: This skill allows the Rogue to obscure party members within a given radius, making it difficult for enemies to hit them. With the upgrade, the radius for the skill is increased, as well as the skill's duration.
Ambush: As mentioned above, this passive ability guarantees that abilities such as Hail of Arrows always critically hit when they're used from stealth. It's a nice ability to take.
Lingering Shroud: The Lingering Shroud ability enables the Rogue to use an ability without breaking stealth, as long as they're obscured. Once an ability is used, the obscure effect will be lost, so the Rogue is back to not being able to make any attack without breaking stealth.
Subtlety This passive ability is highly recommended because it reduces the threat that your Rogue causes by a flat 25%. So, you should really think about taking the ability.
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Dragon Age 2 Rogue Specialization Guide: Shadow Specialization Skill Tree
The Shadow specialization has an ability that reduces your threat, alongside how much you generate for a short period of time. There's also an ability that puts you in stealth mode and creates a decoy for enemies to focus on. There are also some abilities that help you to deal more damage.
Pinpoint Precision: This is a passive ability that increases your critical damage damage by 25%. It's a nice skill to take.
Inconspicuous: When activated, your active threat will be reduced to zero and it'll also reduce the threat your attacks generate by 50% while the ability's active. The upgrades increase the ability's duration and further decrease the amount of threat generated by your attacks. It's a really nice ability.
Disorienting Criticals: In order to take advantage of this passive ability, you will need to have your Rogue obscured. It boosts your critical damage and allows you to disorient enemies upon inflicting a critical hit.
Decoy: This ability creates a duplicate of your character with half your health. It also enters you into stealth mode. Upgrades increase the duplicate's health and the ability's duration, plus allow the duplicate to dea AoE damage upon death.
Predator: This passive ability ensures that every attack made from an enemy's flank will be a critical hit.
Shadow Veil: This allows you to become obscured whenever you enter stealth mode.
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Dragon Age 2 Rogue Specialization Guide: Duelist Specialization Skill Tree
The Duelist specialization tree contains an ability that allows you to taunt a single foe and there are other abilities that enable you to be more effective in melee combat, both offensively and defensively.
Parry: Parry is a sustainable ability that increases your defense. In order to make the most of it, you'll need to use the Throw the Gauntlet ability because it boosts Parry's effects. In addition, upgrades increase your attack and make you more likely to critically hit enemies.
Throw the Gauntlet: It's best used in conjunction with Parry. It's essentially a single target taunt. Upgrades allow you to keep the enemy's attention more easily and reduce its damage, alongside defense.
Sure Strikes: A passive ability that increases your attack, making you more likely to hit enemies.
Vendetta: This ability is similar to Backstab, except it deals greater damage and doesn't have to be used when close to an enemy. The cooldown is longer though. The upgrade decreases the cooldown time and allows you to deal greater damage staggered foes.
Evasive Maneuvers: Another passive ability, but it increases your defense.
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Dragon Age 2 Rogue Specialization Guide: Assassin Specialization Skill Tree
The Assassin specialization is basically all about helping you to deal more damage. It's especially nice when combined with a filled out Dual Weapon tree. It's a nice specialization at the end of the day.
Mark of Death: This ability allows you to single out a target to receive extra damage from allies for a short while. The upgrades further increase its duration and the damage the enemy receives.
Bloodlust: This passive ability enables you to regain stamina upon an enemy's death. It's a nice ability to have.
Pinpoint Strikes: This ability basically ensures every hit will be a critical for a short while. The upgrade increases its duration from 10 seconds to 20 seconds.
Assassinate: This ability deals heavy damage and it is guaranteed to critically hit enemies each time. Upgrades make it deal extra damage to brittle foes and also increase the ability's normal damage.
Devious Harm: If you've pumped plenty of points into cunning, you'll definitely want this ability. It's passive and boosts your critical hit damage per point of cunning.