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Dragon Age Arcane Warrior Guide
An Arcane Warrior? What's that?
Welcome to my in depth guide for one of my favorite although overpowered classes of any computer RPG game: the Arcane Warrior. The Arcane Warrior is a specialization of the Mage class available in Dragon Age: Origins that is focused on melee combat and tanking, being able to wear almost any armor or weapon in the game as well as having access to all of the mage spells like a normal squishy mage.
How to unlock Arcane Warrior
To be able to choose this specialization, like any other specialization in the game for that matter, you must first unlock it. Unfortunately you won't be able to find this one in a training book and it's not really that easy to unlock either. The NPC you can learn it from is an ancient Arcane Warrior Spirit trapped in a phylactery in the Lower Ruins of the Brecilian Ruins. The Brecilian Ruins themselves are located after the Dalish camp in the Brecilian Forest, and the lower levels are pretty much where the whole specific quest line for enlisting the elves' help against the darkspawn will end.
Tip: While you can go do the Brecilian Forest quest line right from the beginning, it is highly recommended that you do the Lake Calenhand Docks / Circle Tower quest line first as the extra stats gained from that line of quests, specifically the extra dexterity and strength will greatly help your build.
The power of Shimmering Shield
Arcane Warrior Spells
Like any other specialization, Arcane Warrior also offers four specific spells or talents that have a really profound impact on your gameplay. Going from a squishy mage that is always standing in the back throwing out spells and trying not to get hit to an almost indestructible heavily armored behemoth that is actually trying to get every single monster he can pissed at him and then laughs in their face at the pathetic damage they do to him can be really fun! But in order to do that you first have to know and master these skills:
Combat Magic - adds 50% fatigue and has 50 upkeep when activate. Passively it allows you to use your Magic stat instead of strength or dexterity when determining if you can equip items. When activated it gives an attack bonus and a damage bonus dependent on your magic stat.
Aura of Might - passively increases the bonuses received when activating combat magic
Shimmering Shield - 5% fatigue and 40 upkeep when active. Grants huge bonuses to resistances and armor. Bonuses are granted to both elemental resistances and physical and mental resistance checks so it pretty much makes you nigh immune to any spell effect that can be resisted or to any damage from these spells.
Fade Shroud - improves Combat Magic even more, giving you an increased chance to doge attacks and a mana regeneration bonus when Combat Magic is active.
- Shimmering Shield has a constant mana drain besides the upkeep cost so don't think you'll be able to keep it always on
- While Fade Shroud is an awesome skill, it makes you semi-transparent which I think is just stupid. Luckily there are fan mods out there to eliminate that effect!
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General tips regarding the Arcane Warrior
- Your only means of getting aggro is through a few spells you can cast and simple attacks, that means you have to be really careful so that no-one out damages you and steals your aggro, therefore...
- The Arcane Warrior needs dexterity, even though you are a mage tank, you will need to actually be able to hit anything to gain aggro so at least 20-25 unmodified dexterity is a must! Besides that it is recommended to get the spell Miasma and have it on all of the time as it makes hitting things much easier. If you don't have enough dexterity to actually hit anything don't even think about putting on that big ass armor and unsheathing your sword, stay cloth and staff a little longer.
- Combat Magic isn't like thieves use magic device in D&D, even with it you cannot equip any "Rogue only" or "Warrior only" items so the best +attack and +damage rings might be out of reach, however...
- Even though you're a melee class now you should concentrate on stacking +mana regeneration and +stamina regeneration items (the +stamina regeneration will give you mana regeneration as well) so you can keep your sustained spells on all of the time because...
- You rely on sustained spells like arcane shield, flaming weapons, miasma, shimmering shield and haste to deal your damage and resist or avoid damage from monsters or bosses
- Without shimmering shield on your physical resistance check is going to be weak so expect to get knocked down a lot
- Try to get as many of the sustained mage spells as you can, but don't try to keep them on all at once! Flaming, Frost and Telekinetic Weapons are all nice but they are situational depending on who you are fighting. Haste and Spell Shield as well!
- Your fatigue will be huge, averaging at about 100% which means you'll need to pay double the mana to cast any spell, that's why the other specialization that is recommended with Arcane Warrior is Blood Mage. If you want to cast more you can also either put more points into Willpower or choose to wear lighter armor.
- You can equip anything, that means that you can play a dual wielding sword and dagger mage in heavy plate, sword and shield tank or two handed weapon user or even use leather armor and a staff, it's your choice but as far as I'm concerned the most effective way of playing is as a tank with spellcasting ability.