Gaming: How I Bulldozed Dragon Age: Origins

By James

Dragon Age: Origins is one of my favourite games of all time, as you might have seen, and so when it was one of the ‘Games with Gold’ the other week, it prompted me to re-live the awesomeness. In order to, basically, understand this article, I strongly recommend you play the game first… In fact, you need to play the game first. Apologies for those who haven’t but, to be honest, you’re missing out and should have by now.

Now, I’ve played this game from start to finish as a plethora of classes and races. From an unhinged, blood-sucking, human murder-machine to a dwarven prince clad in armour plating; from a semi-permanently invisible, Dalish rogue to (the topic of this post) a God - a partly-ethereal, indestructible, herculean mega-mage. Despite his glitched eye-balls floating around in the centre of his blurry cranium, the dude was invincible: Able to butcher several ogres at once, without breaking a sweat, single-handedly slay shifty Flemeth and, all on his lonesome, provide enough of an army to take on the Arch-demon. With golems, mages, werewolves and the like at the ready, they were not needed... Not once.

I mean, who needs sentient rock monsters with the strength of ten men? Not this guy. Who needs savage, lycanthropic monster-men? Don’t think so. Who needs a small mage army of lyrium-infused Gandalfs? Not I, for I am mighty.

But I digress. Now that I have successfully relayed how supreme this mage is, with funky sounding adjectives and awe-inspiring feats of power, I will let you into the secrets of his superiority.

So, with this build, you could walk the game blindfolded. It’s that game breaking (Bill would say boring but only boring people get bored... Either that or spending 20 hours playing a game with literally no challenge involved is actually immensely boring… especially for people more interesting than I).

You don’t necessarily need all the incredible tat and trinkets that increase your stats but if you’re going to do this, you may as well whole-ass it, not half-ass it.

I’ll split the rest of the article into two; shizz that I bought and shizz that I learnt.

1. Shizz that I bought:

Helm of Honnleath
Reaper’s Vestements
Elementalist’s Grap
Magus War Boots

Andruil’s Blessing
Spellward
Ring of Ages
Lifegiver

Spellweaver

Toque of the Oblivious
Spellminder
Oven Mitts
Winter Boots

Sash of Power
Ring of Mastery

Vigilance (Longsword)

2. Shizz that I learnt:

Arcane Shield
Flaming Weapons/ Telekinetic Weapons
Rock Armour
Death Syphon
Combat Magic

Shimmering Shield
Spell Shield

Spell Might
Death Magic
Miasma

Elemental Mastery
Draining Aura

Crushing Prison
Drain Life
Chain Lightening
Fireball
Mind Blast
Winter’s Grasp

It is worth mentioning that I only had The Stone Prisoner and Awakening DLC so there may be more items in other DLC I haven’t picked up. That being said, you don’t need it.

So, in the above lists, you have black and green. Black is from the vanilla, base game and green is from the DLC. When it comes to the kit, this is fairly self-explanatory. Once you come across it, buy it if you can and equip it. If you can’t afford it, then get lyrium potion farming... Once you reach Awakening the green items are to be equipped in place of the original pieces.

Now, the magic...

This is where the fun begins (or at least, it does in my opinion). The top 5 spells are to be applied and left on. You can even keep them out of your hotkey slots as they’ll sit in the background and keep on dishing out perks. You’ll need specialisations and tedious things like that but once you have them, get cracking. The most difficult thing about this build is the start of the game. It takes a while for this build to warm up. A healer with tactics set to healing you is key, as is a good tank. Shale was my weapon of choice. So, put your points in spells that get you to the sustains as quickly as possible. If you have slots available and offensive spells going unused, use them! At least until you can afford one from the list.

So, Shimmering Shield and Spell Shield. These two are very useful. Their buffs are great, but they need managing. If your mana runs too low, these will turn off, so you’ll need to reactivate them. The following 3 are optional. If you have spare points to spend then grab them but they’re not essential – they replace other spells in the list as they can’t all be activated at once (I guess they had to draw the line somewhere...). Unlike the gear, the green spells can be used in addition to the base game spells; the more the merrier, but use draining aura with caution. Whilst it is very good, it will burn through your mana faster than a Brit on holiday.

Lastly, we have the cheeky list of 6 at the end. I found myself with spare points towards the end of my reign of terror and so I decided to pick up some of my favourite offensive spells. Now, you don’t have much mana, but you have enough to use a couple of these before hacking away with your sword again whilst it recharges. The sustained spells take care of themselves so all you have to worry about is not running too low on the magical blue juice.

Now, for the biggest obstacle. Gold... You’re going to need a lot of it. There are several ways to get this mammoth task done. Firstly, you should accumulate a good 300 sovereigns by just playing the game, looting EVERYTHING and completing any and all quests. So, how do you get the rest? Well, farming potent lyrium potions is a tedious but steady way to make money. Do it right and you can make all the money you’ll ever need – there are guides online far better than any I’d be able to explain.

So, there it is: Uber-death form. I don’t know why, but I love feeling so hugely overpowered, even at the expense of interesting or challenging game play. It pays off most when that cocky, arrogant character you have never liked -- you might even have come to loathe -- is giving it the yakkety-yak about how great he is and you end that naive little bastard in a gory, mutilated, screaming mess of severed organs... Teach you for betraying me you little elf nobody... Zevran...

But yeah, give it a whirl. Even if you don’t enjoy it for very long, it’s a good gig whilst it lasts. I enjoyed it very much and I hope you do too. Just keep your eye on that sneaky sneaker…

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