#1
Old 01-09-2010, 05:52 PM
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Dragon Age Tactics.

I've just started playing this game and although I found the initial fights pretty easy it has been getting more and more difficult. I feel that I'm not using the tactics page well enough because I don't really understand it. I understand the basics of it, describe a scenario and tell the character what you want it to do in that scenario, but I'm unsure of exactly how the AI goes through the list of tactics in order. Some of my tactics errors have been quite comical. I once noticed that Alistair wasn't doing any fighting he was just standing there changing to melee weapons back to ranged back to melee ad-infinitum. Turns out that's what happens if you have him set to change to ranged weapons for an enemy at long range and to melee weapons for an enemy at short range when he has both long range and short range enemies attacking him.

I've also tried to set Alistair to take a health potion when his health gets below 50% but he never seems to do it.

So has anyone mastered this aspect of fighting? Any tips to share? Any tips about fighting in general? I'm finding that sometimes my characters just get swamped by enemies and it quickly becomes confused and with each character surrounded, death comes quickly.

So far my overall tactic is to standoff and engage with ranged weapons while they rush my position, once they arrive I change to melee weapons and have at it. But the enemy often has one or two archers standing off at range, should I be sending one or two of my own characters forward to engage these guys with melee weapons?

I also try to entice small groups of enemies away from the larger group so the numbers aren't so far in their favour.

Edit: I don't have the game manual with me as I'm away from home.

Edit2: It's the Xbox 360 version.

Last edited by Richard Pearse; 01-09-2010 at 05:54 PM.
#2
Old 01-09-2010, 06:28 PM
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You seem to have the right sort of ideas. Do you have your mage set up with stun spells? It's vital you pin down as many as you can. Your melee types should all be using their stun type abilities as well (though you should keep one stun ability in reserve for mage protection more below).

Focus fire is important if you're not the pause and play type a tactic like 'attack target of my main character' is vital. If you run with a lot of melee types you probably want one to tank the biggest threat while the rest of your group kills all the DPS's around. Also you should set up some mage protection tactics. Such as have your mage cast winter's grasp on anyone attacking them and have say Alistair do a shield bash on anyone targeting your mage.

I'm a little confused why the health potion tactic isn't working. Do you have it set to drink a specific type you're running out of or something?
#3
Old 01-09-2010, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkhold View Post
You seem to have the right sort of ideas. Do you have your mage set up with stun spells? It's vital you pin down as many as you can. Your melee types should all be using their stun type abilities as well (though you should keep one stun ability in reserve for mage protection more below).
This is probably a big part of my problem. When I get a new character I don't take the time to find out exactly what talents, spells etc they have and what they do. This is partly because I don't have the manual handy. So I haven't been utilising my mage's spells at all really. I guess I'll have to sharpen up.
#4
Old 01-09-2010, 10:33 PM
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I'm on PC and I'm playing my second run on nightmare mode (played my first time through in hard).

I don't know how viable this is on the console, but on the PC, I find that on harder difficulty levels I need to micromanage. I need to have absolute control over where the characters are, whom they are attacking, and what abilities to use, and when to use them. The tactics screen is just far too simplistic to trust, except in easy encounters.

What ends up happening, is that your character uses up a key ability and when you actually need it, you won't be able to deploy it. Or they will attack the wrong individual, drawing aggro, or leaving a teammate vulnerable.

Also, us the terrain. In nightmare mode, ALWAYS. You're caught in the open fighting against a bunch of warriors and are outnumbered 3 to 1? You will lose if you fight them in the open. Every time. But cast a mass stun ability and then run past them and unto the platform behind them and suddenly the fight is winnable.

I was going to suggest a really cool mod that changed the way I played the game. It replaces the entries for all the spells and abilities to something, you know, useful. It gives you specifics about what does what, for how long, etc. Instead of the vagueness that are the default descriptions - "increases the chance of avoiding missile attacks" ??? BY HOW MUCH BIOWARE!

But you're on the console, so I won't

Last edited by Kinthalis; 01-09-2010 at 10:37 PM.
#5
Old 01-10-2010, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920s Style "Death Ray" View Post
This is probably a big part of my problem. When I get a new character I don't take the time to find out exactly what talents, spells etc they have and what they do. This is partly because I don't have the manual handy. So I haven't been utilising my mage's spells at all really. I guess I'll have to sharpen up.
Mages are insanely overpowered....if you micro them at all. My easiest playthrough was with a mage character. Cone of Cold will lock down 2-3 enemies the whole fight if used correctly (they did nerf that in the latest patch for the PC I don't know about X-Box). Mana Clash instantly kills any spellcasters that are against you. Crushing Prison locks down any non-boss for an absurd length of time and usually kills them. Many people talk up Storm of the Century but I never bothered with that.

I didn't mention this because you specifically asked about tactics but how are you building your characters? General advice is to ignore creating a balanced character and instead focus on the stats you need to unlock the correct skills first then go back and worry about the other stats. For instance 3 points in constitution is pretty worthless as it's only 15hp overall when you can be putting 3 points in Magic/Dex/Str and unlock the next tier ability. I've seen people suggest completely ignoring constitution (unless you're making a blood mage) and any other secondary stat. I mildly disagree with that as it feels a little too min/max to me but it's definitely a good idea to treat them as an afterthought.
#6
Old 01-10-2010, 02:12 AM
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Try putting the health potion command near the top, they run them from the top down. Health potions can be made for super cheap (something like 2s or 3s for lesser which is good for early - mid game) in unlimited amounts, so just stock up on 99 or 198 (they stack to 99) and let them chug away as needed. I use health below 50%, which seems to work well, though it's cheap enough you could go below 75% without too much worry. Add that tactic to everyone and combat becomes much, much easier.

If you have the blood dragon armor, try and save up for that early on - it's fairly cheapish and the set bonus + high armor makes the early game MUCH easier.

Try and get taunt for your 'tank' and put him on defender (or customize it so he uses it) along with the taunt stance (forget the name). This will make most of the enemies attack him so it's not a confusing mess anymore, and with enough defense he won't die too fast.

Darkhold is right about not making balanced characters. The stat system is really kind of broken - you only get 5 points of life per point of constitution so there's little reason to put points in it ever (especially when you consider super cheap potions). If you really want to make a tank, get enough str to wear good armor then stack dex for the defense bonus, but you don't even really need a dedicated tank (especially if you run two+ warriors) though it does make it a bit easier.
#7
Old 01-10-2010, 08:52 AM
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One of the most important things in the game is crowd control. Especially later in the game, the thought is that if your tanks aren't the ones taking 90% of the damage, you're doing it wrong.

The best way to control this is to tell your secondary DPS characters (damage dealers - rogues, archers and mages) to always attack the same character your tank is attacking. This can be scripted - to a certain degree - in the tactics, but it's easiest if your tank is your PC. Threat-generating abilities should be enabled and set to launch in tactics.

If you're playing on the hardest difficulty, then AOE attacks - like Fireball and Storm - should be manually targeted once combat is initiated. That lets you evade the damage done to your own characters as well as target your enemy for max effects. Optimally you should hold off on them until your enemies are weak enough to take out with one or two AOE attacks, or you'll run the risk of pulling the tank's aggro.

The only thing I haven't set satisfactorily with the tactics is the healing. Most of my chars rely on potions, which isn't really ideal, especially against the strongest enemies. (Remnants.) Anyone got any input on that?
#8
Old 01-10-2010, 08:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses guys. I played the game last night until 3:00am and had a lot of fun. One thing that made it a whole lot better was that I figured out how to move the characters into set positions without having them follow me around all over the place. Yeah I'd known about the Hold Position order from day one, but didn't realise you could use it while individually placing each member of your party. I'm making my way through Redcliff Castle at the moment and having a much better time of it.

I'm probably not a normal RPG player in that I'm not a stats type person, so my eyes glaze over a little when it comes to building a character (and so far I've been auto-leveling the other characters.) I do tend to just build on the primary attributes for the character rather than going for balance, but I didn't realise constitution was so weak.
#9
Old 01-11-2010, 12:08 AM
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Don't use autolevel!! the computer designs characters VERY VERY poorly, This is probably part of the reason you are having trouble!

Quick rules to do it yourself:

For 'tank' warriors get enough STR for the armor you want them to use, then slap it all in dex. Fill out the shield tree, set them to defender, and they do well. The line with shield wall in it is probably the best to go for after you've gotten taunt/taunt stance.

For DPS warriors get the minimum dex for dual wield talents, and dump every other point in str. 2-handers get every single point in str from the start, you don't need anything else.

Rogues get enough dex for dual wield then dump the rest in cunning and pick up the lethality talent. the AI won't make them backstab so you probably better drive them yourself in combat for best results.

Mages need enough willpower to run whatever constant buffs you want without having to chug potions every single spell (25 - 30 is enough, can probably squeak by with 20) then every point in magic. Most spells are at least decent so it's hard to screw up too badly, some highlights are mana clash (the rest of the line kind of sucks, but mana clash is so good it's worth 4 points alone) cone of cold, the whole line starting with mind blast, and the line that has sleep in it.

Edit: if you're playing on easy or normal (no friendly fire or half friendly fire respectively) then walking bomb/virulent walking bomb are also excellent picks

Archers... I'm not sure, I was quite unimpressed so I never made one. Probably pump everything in dex and use a shortbow (latest patch made them use 100% dex IIRC).

If you care about chests (generally speaking they don't ever have anything good in them, though there are a few quest items here and there) you need 30 cunning + all the lockpick skills to open every chest. more cunning means less skill points needed, with 100 you don't need any skill points in lockpicking.

Last edited by badlyburnttoast; 01-11-2010 at 12:10 AM.
#10
Old 01-11-2010, 12:13 AM
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What does DPS stand for?
#11
Old 01-11-2010, 12:24 AM
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Anything spell or talent that can slow them down like stun, paralysis, or ice spells will be your best friend. I myself am a big fan of the sleep spell and it's wide range. It takes the guys a long time to wake up (don't hit them or else they wake up) and from there you can use Horror, which takes a big chunk out of one person's health, or Walking Nightmare, which has them usually fight each other for a good span of time.
#12
Old 01-11-2010, 12:47 AM
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Alistair is a good tank char. Here's a simple program for him, which works most of the time:

Self any: activate shield wall
Self any: activate threaten
Self health < 50% (or whatever): use pot
Ally being attacked by melee or ranged: taunt
enemy nearest visible: attack

Since the tactics run top to bottom every time, he will first activate his talents -- since they are on forever, it won't try to activate again. Then he will check his health and pot if needed.

Next he starts tanking by kicking out a taunt and then he starts attacking. You can put in a shield bash or overpower or whatever damage talent you want but it has to be right before the attack line -- anything below the attack command will never work because attack nearest visible is always true.

Your healer tactics are the next important ones:

alistair any: heroic defense (or whatever sustained buff)
self health < 25%: heal self
alistair healh < 50%: heal alistair
ally health < 25%: mass heal
alistair health < 75%: regeneration

Then attack mages if everyone is ok:
enemy nearest visible mage: petrify
enemy nearest visible mage: stonefist

Then pot if needed and attack with staff shots:
self mana < 10%: drink lyrium pot
enemy target of alistair: attack

You can, of course, mix up the healing to your preferences, but remember it executes from the top down, so most important things first.

Everyone else should have something like this:
self any: activate buff talent
self health < 25%: pot
enemy nearest visible mage: spell for mages, arrow of slaying for archers, etc
enemy nearest visible mage: attack
enemy target of alistair: talent (such as lightning bolt, crit strike, whatever)
enemy target of alistair: talent (repeat as needed)
enemy target of alistair: attack


If you want to put some other stuff in for protection, that's easy to. Put it at the top right after the health check (healing is always priority one).

For example:
self surrounded by 3 or more enemies: mind blast
self under melee attack: stone armor
self under melee attack: dirty fighting
morrigan,wynn,player if mage under melee attack: arrow of slaying, taunt, shield bash (kills an enemy attacking your mage, though it's best not to have the main tank do this as he moves the fight toward your mage, have another character deal with it)

you can also throw in something like this:
enemies clustered 3 or more: talent sleep (avoid using this for spells that can do FF unless on normal or casual)
enemy status sleeping: talent waking nightmare

Or something like this:
enemy status immobilized/can't attack: any attack that causes crits (chance to shatter or whatever)

Anyway, all of these special things should go between self healing/defense and the set of commands that are "attack alistair's target". Properly set up, the tank grabs most of the mobs, the other party members take out mages, then they focus down alistair's targets, and maybe take advantage of special circumstances like petrified enemies or whatever.

One super important thing when fighting dragons is that they have a grab attack that is nasty. A line you can add that is great (and it needs to go at the top):
ally status grabbed: talent force field

Having lots of tactics slots for mages is important. Less so for rogues/archers/warrior dps. Tank doesn't need a lot, he just hits the nearest guy and keeps taunting when needed. If you make sure he has the big armor, he'll keep threat most of the time.

ETA: oh yes, take mages off of "default" and put them in ranged mode, same with archers. You can experiment with other characters.

Last edited by ivn1188; 01-11-2010 at 12:49 AM.
#13
Old 01-11-2010, 12:57 AM
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Btw, I forgot to add how the tactics work.

Each one from top to bottom is evaluated every time the character is ready to do another action. The first one it finds that is true, it does.

So a simple program:
self health < 50%: use pot
ally under melee attack: use taunt
nearest enemy: shield bash
nearest enemy attack

Alistair is at 100% health. So it goes to the next line. No one is being attacked yet, next. Alistair shield bashes the nearest enemy.

After the bash, it starts over:
Health still over 50%, no one being attacked. Alistair will try to shield bash, but it's still on cooldown. So alistair attacks the nearest enemy. Start over.

Alistair has taken some hits, and his health is 48%. He takes a pot. Start over.
Alistair is at 100%, next. Morrigan has pissed off an enemy and is being attacked, so taunt. Start over.

Etc.
#14
Old 01-11-2010, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivn1188 View Post
Btw, I forgot to add how the tactics work.

Each one from top to bottom is evaluated every time the character is ready to do another action. The first one it finds that is true, it does.
Cool thanks. Thats the part that I really wasn't understanding, just how the tactics "program" runs.
#15
Old 01-11-2010, 01:59 AM
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Hmm, I seem to have utterly mis-built my mage, but I'm far enough (9ish hours) along to not really want to restart. Is there, by chance, a handy console command or other contrivance through which I could redistribute my skill and stat points?
#16
Old 01-11-2010, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920s Style "Death Ray" View Post
Cool thanks. Thats the part that I really wasn't understanding, just how the tactics "program" runs.
Yeah, I was having trouble with some fights -- it's a little harder to micromanage on the xbox, so I sat down and figured out what worked well and didn't. It's tempting to have your healer go nuts on the healing, but I found if I added too much, she'll run out of mana.

Once I got some good tactics set up, though, fights got a lot more manageable and structured.

It would also be nice to have a way to make the AI wait for aggro, but that might have to wait for DLC.
#17
Old 01-11-2010, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920s Style "Death Ray" View Post
What does DPS stand for?
Damage per second. In this context it means characters who are designed around doing lots of damage to the enemies, rather then taking hits or supporting your teammates or anything else. In case you don't know, Tank means a character layered with as much armor and defense as possible who's job is to make everything attack him since it does less damage to him then anyone else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omi no Kami
Hmm, I seem to have utterly mis-built my mage, but I'm far enough (9ish hours) along to not really want to restart. Is there, by chance, a handy console command or other contrivance through which I could redistribute my skill and stat points?
The game is easy enough (especially on easy/normal) that you can probably finish it without too much trouble no matter what you've done.

Still, you can download a respec mod here: http://social.bioware.com/project/469/ . Download the second file (WRK_RESPEC_MOD_16.dazip ) put it in your \Dragon Age\bin_ship folder, then run daupdater.exe and add it to the list. It will add a raven to your party camp nearish the exit (hold tab to find it easier) that dispenses a potion, drink it to reset your character (also works on your companions, you can get unlimited potions but iirc only one at a time). I've never had any problems with it and you can still unlock achievements while using it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ivn1188
It's tempting to have your healer go nuts on the healing, but I found if I added too much, she'll run out of mana.
Lesser lyrium pots are super cheap to make in unlimited amounts, just like healing pots. Make a stack or two of them and set the AI to chug one at 25% mana and you don't ever have to worry about running out again.
#18
Old 08-02-2010, 12:24 PM
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Glad I found this thread. Couple of questions.

Is it best to setup tactics and play the PC, or setup tactics and manually control each party member in a fight?

Is Wynne necessary? My current PC is a mage. I was planning on having him DPS and CC, with a few heals thrown in. Eventually make one of his specializations Spirit Healer, so he could heal towards end game?

Thanks!
#19
Old 08-02-2010, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badlyburnttoast View Post
Archers... I'm not sure, I was quite unimpressed so I never made one. Probably pump everything in dex and use a shortbow (latest patch made them use 100% dex IIRC).
Archers can do monster damage, even more than Mages, but it's apparently more of an up/down thing from hit to hit. Theyre supposedly incredibly awesome against bosses.
#20
Old 08-02-2010, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
Glad I found this thread. Couple of questions.

Is it best to setup tactics and play the PC, or setup tactics and manually control each party member in a fight?
Depends on the difficulty of the fight I think and also the quality of your tactics. I'm happy to just play my character on easy to medium fights but on harder ones it's necessary for me to micromanage. Sometimes though I can just play who ever is most important at the time. I may want my Dwarf to be doing something in particular so I'll play him and then I might want to focus some magic somewhere so I'll switch to Morrigan for a bit.

Quote:
Is Wynne necessary? My current PC is a mage. I was planning on having him DPS and CC, with a few heals thrown in. Eventually make one of his specializations Spirit Healer, so he could heal towards end game?

Thanks!
It sounds like Wynne isn't necessary in your party.

I haven't actually played this game for ages. I got stuck fighting spiders in a cavern somewhere with little success and also had some internet problems which prevented me from playing the game--it seems that if you are playing the Xbox version and have downloadable content it won't let you play if it can't contact the servers.
#21
Old 08-04-2010, 09:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
Is Wynne necessary? My current PC is a mage. I was planning on having him DPS and CC, with a few heals thrown in. Eventually make one of his specializations Spirit Healer, so he could heal towards end game?
IMO, the more mages the better, since mages are ridiculously overpowered. I think Wynne's special story-unlocked ability is extremely good and can help with tough fights. I always beeline to the mage circle for her, no matter what class my PC is -- the earlier you get her, the more you can tailor her to your group's needs. If you really want to heal with your PC then you can give Wynne more CC/DPS options, but I always found it more fun personally to have my character as a CC/DPS mage and keep Wynne backing me up and throwing the occasional CoC/Stonefist shatter combo to help out in a pinch.

But, I do have a soft spot for grandmotherly types, so maybe I'm just biased
#22
Old 08-04-2010, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddypants View Post
Glad I found this thread. Couple of questions.

Is it best to setup tactics and play the PC, or setup tactics and manually control each party member in a fight?
It's up to you, really. I'm a micro fanatic who's obsessed about optimizing everything, so letting people follow a dumb script is anathema to me. Then again, once you've figured out how the game, aggro and more importantly, the scripts themselves work, you can let the thing play on autopilot and win most fights.

Quote:
Is Wynne necessary? My current PC is a mage. I was planning on having him DPS and CC, with a few heals thrown in. Eventually make one of his specializations Spirit Healer, so he could heal towards end game?
I've never tried playing without at least one character in the group as a dedicated healer. Big mobs and boss fights just drain the life out of you, and potions don't cut it - in fact, potions+healer sometimes don't cut it either. Besides, potions are expensive, scripted characters will gobble them up like candy, and they share the same timer so you can't even double up on them like you can with heal spells.

Besides, if your PC is a mage, you should get at least the basic heal ASAP on general principle alone. It costs nothing, and it will save your bacon time and again.

Whether or not you go beyond that as a healer is a toss-up. On the one hand, crowd control is absurdly powerful in this game, as is the Taunt+Telekynetic Bubble combo. So if you're good at keeping every critter in line, healing will be secondary to not needed.
On the other hand, the undead and most bosses are immune to most crowd control options, and the latter will fuck you up. In those situations, doubling up on healers might be advisable, and Wynne's special ability lets her do her job for frickin' ever, giving you ample time to lay the smackdown.
On the gripping hand, Wynne is a damn boring character. Gimme Morrigan any day*.


*Morrigan disapproves of this comment (-5)
#23
Old 08-05-2010, 02:12 AM
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I never messed with the tactics menu and micormanaged the team through the whole game every time I played it. I like to use a lot of ambushes, where I set up traps and leave the majority of the party behind them while my rogue character sneaks up on the boss (or mage), hits him in the back and then runs runs runs back to the party and through the traps. I don't know why I find this tactic satisfying, but I love a good ambush.
#24
Old 08-05-2010, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Pearse View Post
I haven't actually played this game for ages. I got stuck fighting spiders in a cavern somewhere with little success and also had some internet problems which prevented me from playing the game--it seems that if you are playing the Xbox version and have downloadable content it won't let you play if it can't contact the servers.
Funny how these things go. I'd struggled for ages getting through this particular bunch of spiders and eventually given up. Now the revival of this thread prompted me to have another go and I breezed through first try, I'm really not sure what was so difficult before.
#25
Old 08-05-2010, 06:43 AM
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I LOVE Dragon Age: Origins. I'm playing on the 360 so micromanaging isn't as easy as it is for you PC players. I make heavy use of tactics slots. For one of the characters I've beaten the game with, I used a party of my main character (a warrior), Wynne, Alistair and Leliana. I sort of treated my main character like the quarterback- the party's tactics are based on his behavior. He's set to target the enemies with the highest health while everyone else is set to target enemies who are attacking him. But I've also got high-priority tactics for Leliana and Wynne in case they take heat (nothing is more hilarious than Wynne using Stone Fist to knock down a hurlock who's charging at her).

In every game I play every single person has [Self: Health <50% - Use Health Poultice: least powerful] set. It's also a useful tip to have people's modes set as the very first on the list (example: Wynne always has [Self: Any - Activate mode: Frost Weapons] set). With the way that party was set up, I only ever had to control the main character and everyone else would do their job on their own.

Edit: Also, about mages. A mage PC + Wynne + Morrigan + Alistair/Oghren/Sten = Easy Button

Last edited by AClockworkMelon; 08-05-2010 at 06:47 AM.
#26
Old 08-05-2010, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AClockworkMelon View Post

Edit: Also, about mages. A mage PC + Wynne + Morrigan + Alistair/Oghren/Sten = Easy Button
Too easy. I'm firmly dedicated to the "one mage to a party" proposition, partly for that reason, partly because it offends my sense of party aesthetics .

I also don't think a dedicated healer/Wynne is necessary at all. It does make things easier and I usually go that route if I'm playing a non-mage. But if I'm playing the mage myself I usually go with a full-time nuker, secondary healer.

Last edited by Tamerlane; 08-05-2010 at 02:32 PM.
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