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Same Old Grub: Warriors in Thedas
There isn’t much to say about the warrior class, nor is it any different in Thedas (the Dragon Age world) than in any other point-buy system which features fighters. The main foci here are death by butchery, sheer strength, HP and good armour; the latter will ideally provide some kind of bonus to your warrior – like stamina points or magic-warding – apart from just protecting your hide.
It’s hard to deny that warriors are the simplest build in any game, be it one with a complex rule-system like Drakensang or the bulk-fighters of Phantasie or Everquest. As a result there is little to think about apart for strength and constitution; however, DA does offer some interesting options particularly in point distribution.
Enough rambling then, let’s move onto basic skills, talents and some build-ideas for the “Dragon Age: Origins" PC game: at ease Wardens!
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In previous articles it was mentioned that many skills in DA are present to add flavour to your character, whilst not serving any particularly useful purposes. For warriors however, the “Combat Training" tree is essential as it will allow you to access top-tier weapon abilities.
Once you can choose the Human and Dwarf Noble storylines you will already have access to two ranks in the above skill-tree, but it is still imperative that you continue to “Expert" and “Master Combat Training" to get something like “Shield Master + Assault."
Anything else is up to you, though I would recommend the “Coercion" tree which, working with your strength, will determine your ability to intimidate in conversations.
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Talents and Point Attribution: Pure Damage Vs Pure Defence
Essentially there are two effective ways you can build here, which will determine where you will put your experience-points and what talent-tree you need to go with. One is the traditional warrior, often called "tank," while another is the dual-wielding fighter.
You can go the route of a Dual-wielder, which is praised as the best for DPS (damage-per-second), but criticised due to weak defences. You won’t have the same utility as a Rogue (i.e. no lockpicking, no stealth) and lack the “backstabbing" ability, but you’ll dish out much more in terms of damage.
I recommend “Dual Weapon Mastery" in the “Dual Training" tree, so you can wield big weapons, giving all your points to STR. You of course need at least DEX 36 for these talents so make sure you have that. Also consider “Punisher" in the “Dual Striking" tree and some talents in the “Dual Weapon Sweep" tree, like “Momentum" and “Whirlwind" while wearing Wade’s superior armour or the Stormchaser set. The idea with this is to do as much damage as possible while getting some stamina-regen bonus (due to stamina-sucking talents).
For pure defence builds you just need to stick to the Weapon and Shield trees which will give you everything you need. Go for the right amount of strength to wear the armor you prefer (best sets listed above) or at least 38 strength to wield the “Chasind Great Maul." You can use rings and other gear to get your strength up like the “Dwarven Warrior" or “Ornate leather" belts, some easier to find than others.
The reason for giving points to dexterity rather than strength in the tank-build, is simply to avoid damage.
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Build Breakdown: The Champion
The champion is part of the traditional line of warriors, using refined techniques like shield-bashing or a combination of attacks to cripple and defeat opponents. Most importantly this character is hard to beat down and, despite numerous enemy attempts, may still flash a toothy-grin, likely bloody, with a few missing teeth.
Still build as described above, dumping points in dexterity and getting your strength up to 38/39 for good armour. In this case I’d recommend 39 STR for the “Knight Commander’s Plate" and also getting the “Spellward" for a combined spell resistance of 70% and other hefty bonuses. For a shield try get your hands on “Eamon's Shield" which is easier to get than “Howe’s shield."
You can use any weapon you like, but for effectiveness you should equip a dagger since your build is based on evasion and dexterity. I personally don’t like this look – a champion with a dagger is as ridiculous as a gunslinger armed with a Deringer – and still use a long-sword purely for effect which does decent damage.
Get all the talents in W&S (weapon and shield) and warrior talent-trees, particularly paying attention to “Taunt/Threaten" in the “Powerful/Precise Striking" trees, “Shield Defense" in the tree by the same name and you can also opt for some two-handed talents like “Pommel Strike" and “Critical Strike" in the “Pommel Strike" tree.
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Build Breakdown: Double-Wielding Craziness
Expanding upon the suggestions given above, dump your points into STR for maximum damage and wearing the armour you want, and get your DEX up to 36 to get the “Dual Wielding" talents. Pay some attention to WIL for stamina, though this can be overcome with equipping the “Stormchaser," "Superior Dragonbone" armour or other stat-bonus gear.
Recommended specializations are either Reaver or Beserker, both equally as good but for different purposes; the first for damage, the second for utility. Alternatively you can go the “Beserker" way and choose a second specialization, like "Champion" for "Superiority" or "Templar" for "Holy Smite" which is as deadly as a Blood Mage's ability. Consider switching party-members depending on how you are set-up.
Consider equipping long-swords in both hands, like “Starfang," “Keening Blade" or the mighty “Vigilance" which gives a +1 bonus to all attributes. You can also wield axes, like “Vaisheles" or “Backbiter."
Always remember to try out new things; meanwhile, enjoy our tips on warrior-madness in the "Dragon Age: Origins" PC game
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References and Images:
Dragon Age Wiki - http://dragonage.wikia.com/
Bioware "Dragon Age: Origins" Forum - http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/subindex/7
Gamefaq's: John Say Dual Wielding Guide - http://www.gamefaqs.com/pc/920668-dragon-age-origins/faqs/58960
Writer's own playing