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Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

April 10, 2011 16:27:55.658

The Hawke Files

Now that I'm well into my second playthrough of Dragon Age 2 on both on both my Mac and the XBox, I have a few more thoughts on the game

First, I should address some of the complaints about the game I heard on The Dragon Age Podcast. I had a long talk with my daughter about the podcast while we listened to it (she's a big fan of the game as well) - I should have recorded the conversation :) Basically, I have to say this: the guy who complained so much about the combat wasn't paying attention. Why do I say that? Well, his primary complaint seemed to be that lots of the battles involve endless waves of lower level foes. That's only true if you don't find the boss and kill him. Each of the big battles has a boss; the waves of reinforcements keep coming until you deal with that boss. How have I been dealing with that boss?

  • Keep two tanks in the party, one mage with healing, and one rogue
  • Focus the tanks on the boss, peeling one off if the mage gets attacked directly
  • Have the mage heal - especially with "Aid Allies" - often
  • Buy lots of elfroot potions to fill in the cooldown gaps with healing
  • Keep hammering the boss until he or she dies

There's exactly one battle in the game where I had to kite (on normal difficulty) - the duel against the Arashok at the end of act 2. I was playing a mage in that battle, so kiting would be expected. Heck though, you can avoid that dual and just fight the room (and that ends up being easier, as you have your whole party).

Ultimately, it sounds like the host wanted to play a rogue like he was able to play one in DAO. In DAO, you could level a rogue's dexterity up high enough to make them effectively unhittable, and basically play the rogue as a tank. You can't do that in DA2 - you have to run your battles more tactically, and make use of one or two warriors. By the same token, I found warriors to be really hard to play in DAO (underpowered compared to rogues and mages), while in DA2, they are on an equal footing. Yes, the map reuse is annoying. But if you hate the combats, I strongly suspect that you're doing it wrong.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

[Mike Brazinski] April 11, 2011 7:56:20.364

It's funny, I use almost the exact opposite strategy. I like to have one tank, one close combat rogue, one ranged rogue and one mage. When it comes to the boss battles, I move everyone's focus off the boss and onto the reinforcements. Once the reinforcements are dead, focus goes back to the boss. In each battle, there are only three or four waves of reinforcements. Otherwise, you'd be able to get near infinite experience pretty quickly. I find the "death of a thousand paper cuts" occurs more often than the boss defeating me.

In the current game I'm playing, I'm playing a rogue. I'm pondering siding against the mages so I could end up the endgame without a healer. I think it's doable with the right potions. We'll see.

Re: Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

[James Robertson] April 11, 2011 10:35:50.321

You can get Bethany back at the end a couple of ways:

-- Leave her home - she's in the circle, returns at the end of act 3

-- Take her into the Deep Roads, but also bring Anders. She then becomes a Gray Warden, again returning at the end of Act 3

Re: Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

[James Robertson] April 11, 2011 10:42:21.651

Also, I find that most battles wrap up a lot faster if I kill the boss quickly. The one exception to that were two battles in the "Forbidden Knowledge" quest. There I had to do the classic Dungeons and Dragons move:

-- have everyone hold position, with the rogue (Varric) and mage in the back

-- put the tanks in the door

-- enter the room to trigger the battle, then get back in the door

-- beat everything down one by one

Re: Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

[Mike Brazinski] April 11, 2011 17:18:54.958

I call the last move the "Seven Samurai" move. In that movie, they off the enemies one-by-one pretty much that way. I found it very usual in the ancient thaig right after you're betrayed. The shades will kill you otherwise.

I brought Bethany on that adventure without Anders. So, I've lost her. I don't think she'd side with me if I backed the Templars at the endgame anyways.

The problem of wrapping up the battles fast is that you don't get every point of experience possible. I've had my characters up to level 25 the first time through.

Re: Dragon Age 2: More Thoughts

[HolgerK] April 11, 2011 17:46:22.508

Most fights went like this:

- Warrior (Aveline) attacked Boss

- Me (mage) casted firestorm to get rid of the cannon fodder

- DDs (most of the time Varric & Isabela, sometimes Merill) helped depleting the first wave, then attacked the boss

- Heal, handle additonal minions with fireball/firestorm/seals

Almost no tactics were necessary, unlike in DAO. I won the final fight at the first attempt.

The later boss fights in DAO were almost impossible to win, even on normal level, without proper tactics. Defeating a boss in DAO gave a sense of accomplishment. In DA 2 it was just business as usual.

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