Guide to Solo Play in Dragon Age: Origins
Have you ever thought of playing Dragon Age Origins solo? This is a great challenge if you have already experienced the game from beginning to end with a full team of characters. In part 1 of this PS3 game guide are the general rules, strategy, spell combos and other tips you will need to succeed.
Why Play Solo?
Dragon Age Origins is designed for multiple game play possibilities. You can play a variety of characters from different backgrounds, skills, abilities and difficulty levels. Even if you have completed the game at “nightmare" level (which is the most challenging), you still had the benefit of other characters assisting you. Playing on your own provides you with a new set of challenges and makes you rethink the way situations are handled.
This game can be completed playing solo with an Arcane Warrior. The strategy and guidelines described are what was needed to succeed.
General Strategy and Tips
You cannot avoid being pounced on by spiders, werewolves or ogres. Therefore, a high armor rating becomes key to your Dragon Age Origins solo strategy. High armor ratings reduce most pouncing damage to 1. Also, high armor helps in just about every battle. This requirement leads us to the Arcane Warrior that can wear heavy armor and cast several armor enhancing spells. Although armor is most important, we will not ignore defense.
The Rock Salve and Incense of Awareness help boost armor and defense further and are important items in the beginning parts of the game. Pick up any you can find in your travels. Purchase the recipes in Lothering. The Rock Salve will require 2 Deep Mushrooms and a distillation agent. For the Incense of Awareness you will need Lyrium, Deep Mushroom and a Distillation Agent. You will be able to make these potions once you reach level 2 in Herbalism.
Heavy armor increases fatigue for activated spells (e.g. healing, fireball, etc), but NOT sustained spells. Therefore, there is a lot of focus on sustained spells in this strategy (see spell list below).
Sustained spells are also great to cast after casting a few activated spells (like Fireball). Since sustained spells affect your maximum mana, but doesn’t cost anything, you effectively get the sustained spell for free. However, since casting a spell takes a few seconds, it is good to keep a few sustained spells on all the time. The best choices are - Rock Armor, Arcane Shield, Shimmering Shield and possibly Miasma. Then cast Death Syphon and/or Combat Magic in the middle of the battle if needed.
Lesser healing potions are a cheap and fast way to replenish health. Later in the game, casting Heal (or other healing spells) will cost too much mana since the fatigue will be high.
Two levels of combat training is useful to prevent spell interruption and for some mana regeneration.
When you are playing Dragon Age Origins solo, you should do as many side quests as you can for experience and gold.
First, it is important that you have played Dragon Age Origins and finished the game at least once with a full party of characters. Playing at “nightmare" level is also preferable.
The Arcane Warrior specialization must be unlocked. If not, load a previously saved game where you were in the Brecilian Forest. This class can be unlocked by freeing an ancient arcane warrior. Look for a phylactery in the Lower Ruins area. Once unlocked, it will be available in any future game you will play automatically.
Play as an elf mage character and set the PS3 game settings to “nightmare" level. When creating your character put at least three of your skill points into magic.
You don’t want any other characters to help you with your quest. When you are forced to play with additional characters, you will need to disable them by shutting off their tactics. The only exceptions are the NPCs that you will not have control over and in one section towards the end of the game. With your PS3 controller, turn off the tactics by pressing the “select" button and then the R2 button to reach the tactics/stats menu. Press the triangle button to get into the tactics screen. Press the triangle button to disable the tactics and close the screen with the circle button. During battles, you may also want to put the characters on hold.
Don’t use any of the other character’s abilities (including building potions or salves) to help with your attacks etc. Your mage will be self sufficient.
Dragon Age Origins - Useful Combos for Solo Play
Note: Use the following combos to help you successfully defeat enemies while playing solo as an Dragon Age Origins Arcane Warrior.
- Walking/Virulent Bomb (on enemy), then cast Force Field on yourself.
- If enemies are surrounding you - cast Fireball (or Inferno) around yourself if you have high fire protection from Wade’s armor or Shimmering Shield.
- Vulnerability Hex + Staff damage (assuming the staff does elemental damage such as fire or cold) – Effective combo for damaging any creature/boss
I n the beginning, battling enemies will be difficult. You will need to keep your distance. Arcane bolt, Fireball and staff damage will be your weapons of choice in the beginning parts of the game. For groups of enemies, try to lure individuals away by running away from them. If you’re lucky, one or two will follow, making it easier to divide and conquer. Once you gain a few levels, it will be easier to take on enemies at closer ranges.
The sustained spell Shimmering Shield is a great spell, but drains mana quickly. Wade’s Superior Dragonbone Plate armor not only provides great armor, but also provides mana and mana regeneration (even though it says that it provides stamina regeneration, it also works for mana). There are several other items that also help offset Shimmering Shield’s mana drain (see Major Items to Purchase section below).
Important Items to Purchase/Locate
Note: Soloing as a Dragon Age Origins Arcane Warrior has variety of interesting challenges. Purchase the following items to coincide with the solo strategies provided in this guide.
Items to Purchase
- Obtain the Lifegiver Ring as soon as possible. This should be the first big item you should purchase if you are playing a solo Arcane Warrior in Dragon Age Origins. It not only helps regenerate health, but gives +50 health, which a mage needs desperately. It is located in a shop in Orzammar. Costs about 87 sovereigns. It also gives you +10 in constitution, +6 health regeneration in combat, +3 armor, 20% to healing effects received and +10 to health regeneration while exploring.
- Next, when you have enough gold, buy the Andruil’s Blessing belt from the Quartermaster in the Circle Tower. This will give you +2 to all attributes, 20% nature resistance, +2 mana/stamina regeneration in combat and +10 to physical resistance.
- Next, buy The Spellward amulet from Bodahn Feddic in camp. For 87 sovereigns it will give you +5 willpower, +2 exploration health, +30% chance to ignore hostile magic, +10% change to dodge attacks and a chance to dodge missile attacks.
- Last, buy the Staff of the Magister Lord from the Quartermaster in the Circle Tower for 128 sovereigns. It has +6 willpower, +4 mana generation in combat, +6 spell power, 10% fire/spirit damage.
Items to Locate
The Juggernaught armor is the first major set that you can find. Three of the pieces are located in the Brecilian Forest. You will need to disturb the gravestone wards and fight a Reverent and minions. The 4th piece is inside the Ruins (located in the center of the Brecilian Forest). Keep in mind that you will need to have a magic point level of 38 to wear it. (The Arcane Warrior allows you to use your magic points in substitution for strength).
- You will want the Dragonbone armor later in the game. In order to get it, you will need to do the following:
- Pay Wade (10 sovereigns) in Denerim to make Drake scale armor for you. (You will first need to get the scales from Haven). You will also need him to create a second set of Drake scale armor (which will cost you 20 sovereigns). After he has created the Drake armors for you, it will unlock his ability to create Dragonbone armor.
- The scales needed for the Dragonbone armor are from High Dragon. He is located near Haven, nearby the Ruined Temple. Once you get the scales, Wade can create the armor. Also, you will need a 42 in magic to wear the armor.
- Strategy based on game play by Christopher F. Robinson.
Screenshot images used for the Dragon Age Origins Guide to solo play as an Arcane Warrior were created by Sheila Robinson.
Playing Dragon Age Origins Solo
Ever thought of playing Dragon Age Origins solo? In this series are the strategy, tips and guidelines you will need to successfully play and complete the game on your own.
- Guide to Solo Play in Dragon Age: Origins
- Dragon Age Origins Solo - Arcane Warrior Game Guide for PS3 - Part 2