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Dragon Age: Origins



by Tonberry66

Game   : Dragon Age: Origins (PS3)
Title  : 2H-Weapon Rogue
Author : Tonberry66
Version: 1.0
E-Mail : [email protected] 

Table of Contents - For quick Navigation use Ctrl+F and use the Part Number

Part 1
- 1.1 Introduction 
- 1.2 Authorized Sites
- 1.3 Copyright Information
- 1.4 Contact Information
- 1.5 Thanks

Part 2
- 2.1 Why Shapeshifter?
- 2.2 The Forms and You.
- 2.3 Attributes 
- 2.4 Talents 
- 2.5 Ideal Equipment
- 2.6 Secondary Specialization
- 2.7 Shapeshifter for Spellslingers

Part 3
- 3.1 In-battle Tactics
- 3.2 Enchantment
- 3.3 Party Members

Part 4
-4.1 FAQ
-4.2 Additional Sources

                                       Part 1 

Part 1.1 Introduction
Hey everyone!  This is my first guide, so it might be slightly flawed.  I 
decided to play as a shapeshifter one day because I got bored and thought,
"Hey, why not play as a Strength Mage, it will be like my 2H rogue!".  This is
a normal thought process for me, and has led me to become incredibly creative, 
and in trouble a lot.  I made this guide to share my findings on shapeshifter
with everyone, since it is usually cast off as a useless build.  By endgame,
you will be dealing 70-110 damage a hit, have great crowd control, and can root
even a dragon.

There is my little corny-ish intro; I like being corny so bear with me.

Part 1.2 Authorized Sites

If you want to host my FAQ contact me. If you are reading this one a site that
is not GameFAQs please contact me.

Part 1.3 Copyright Information

Written by Tonberry66. Use is free. You may not post this without my consent.

Part 1.4 Contact Information

[email protected]

Do not contact me until you have consulted the message boards at GameFAQs.
Unless you want to contribute, of course.

Part 1.5 Thanks

- Thanks to Ripstrawberry for info and suggestions that influenced 
  the build.

- Thanks to Pang Tong  letting me use his template.

- Thank you Reader for reading this FAQ.  It would be pointless without you.

                                      Part 2

Part 2.1 Why Shapeshifter?

Go onto any DA:O board, and they will tell you, "Don't use shapeshifter, it is
broken.  Not in the good way."  or something to that extent.  I thought to try
to make a good build using shapeshifter and have come up with a pro and cons

Interesting because of shifts.
Tactically useful in battle.
DPS that can tank if your tank dies.
Several great roots.

Can not sling a damaging spell, ever.
Annoying to fight dragons with.
The most inaccurate of any build. (I had 75%.)
Exits shapeshift every conversation/cutscene.

Just another pro, there is nothing more badass then crushing a head in with a 
hammer, slinging a spell behind your back, then turning around and mauling a
darkspawn as a bereskarn.

Part 2.2 The Forms and You.

NOTE: When shapeshifting, your armor rating is carried over.  Also, you cannot
use health poultices while shifted.

This is the part where you learn about the shapeshifts.  It will be an exciting
time for you and everyone around you.  There are 3 forms, and upgrades to them.

**Spider Shape***
Besides being creepy, the spider is powerful and fast.  Capable of dealing 70
to 80 damage per hit by endgame and attacking with great speed, the spider is
more than a small threat.  In its unboosted form, it has 2 skills.  Poison
spit shoots poison at an enemy (Duh.) and does 14-19 damage per second for a 
few seconds.  Web ensnares an enemy for a few seconds, preventing attacks, 
movement, and decreasing evasion of enemies.  

In its upgraded form, the spider earns the abilty Overwhelm and becomes a
corrupted spider.  This nifty little skill lets you deal constant damage to an 
enemy while knocking them down.  It only works on some enemies though.  A nice
tool for taking out mages, or using stall tactics in a battle.  Also, the 
damage of its normal attack is slightly higher.

Entering Spider Shape gives you a boost to maximum health. 90s cooldown.

***Bear Shape***
Slow but steady wins the race, right? ....Right?  The Bear Shape has the 
potental to deal immense amounts of damage in a short amount of time.  It also
has the slowest movement speed and the slowest attack speed.  Unboosted, it
has the skills Slam and Rage.  Slam knocks the target over and deals above
average damage.  Rage increases attack and accuracy, while lowering defense.
The damage of your auto attack will be the same as the spiders when not under
the effects of Rage.  Slam can break the 100 damage threshold later in the game
without Rage.

In its upgraded form, the bear earns the ability Overwhelm and becomes a 
bereskarn.  The bereskarn's Overwhelm trumps that of the spiders, dealing much
more damage.  It is pretty much a free kill every battle.  Just remember,
you can never be too angry (Rage).

Entering Bear Shape gives you a boost to maximum health. 90s cooldown.

***Flying Swarm***
If Bear is the tortoise, then Swarm is the hare.  This shape trades power for
speed.  Dealing reduced nature damage (13-25) it isn't exactly DPS material.
Even though you deal little damage, you generate a lot of aggro and attack an
enemy just by being near them, you don't even have to press X or stop moving!
You can not miss.

Swarm has an interesting ability in that it takes damage from Mana instead of
Health.  It only gets one skill, being Divide the Swarm.  This ability uses
a bit of your mana to disorient and stun an enemy.  It is a very good root.  
The Swarm is immune to normal projectiles (like arrows).  Just be careful near
fire, it hurts...a lot.  You can not be knocked down in swarm due to the way
it does damage, but you can be rooted by something like Crushing Prison.

In its upgraded form, the Swarm gains the ability to get Health back when it
does damage.  That is it, but it is a useful ability.

Entering Swarm Shape does not give you a boost to maximum health. 60s cooldown.

Part 2.3 Attributes

NOTE: For the maximum magic build, scroll down.

"Hey wait, I'm a mage right?  I should be pumping magic, magic, and more magic,

No, that is a terrible idea.  There is a glitch in Dragon Age that makes it so
your damage when shapeshifted is determined by strength instead of spellpower.
Your spells have minimum magic requirements so follow the following advice:

Bring your magic stat to 32 or 36.  32 magic will get you Waking Nightmare,
while 36 Magic will get you Death Hex.  Death Hex will make your shapeshifts
crit, along with your other party members.  If you are an elven mage, this
will only take about 4 or 5 levels.  I personally go to 32 because I only care
for Misdirection Hex.

After that, pump your strength stat and only your strength stat.  This will 
help the damage in your shapeshifts and let you wear better armor/weapons.
There is one issue though; since you are a mage, spellpower will be shown where
the attack icon should be shown.  Instead, you want to look below that at the
damage icon.  This will tell you your minimum damage, which will change between
being an elf and a shapeshift.

Part 2.4 Talents

I am not a fan of telling you "Get this at this level."  so I will just tell 
you the spells you should be getting in order of priority.

Spider Shape
Bear Shape
Flying Swarm
Master Shapeshifter

Waking Nightmare
Misdirection Hex
Death Hex (Optional)

Mind Blast
Force Field
Mass Rejuvination
Heroic Offense
Glyph of Warding

Glyph of Paralysis
Glyph of Repulsion
Mass Paralyze

As long as you get the spells in the "GET ASAP****" and "IMPORTANT****" 
sections, you should do perfectly fine.

Part 2.5 Ideal Equipment

Everything has an ideal set of equipment.  Here is yours:

Helm:  Juggernaut Helm
Armor: Juggernaut Plate Armor
Gloves: Juggernaut Plate Gloves
Boots: Juggernaut Plate Boots
Belt: Andruil's Blessing
Necklace: The Spellward
Rings:  Lifegiver, Ring of Ages
Weapon: Chasind Great Maul (With a Grandmaster Hale Rune, Two Dweomer Runes)

This set will give you an armor rating of 32, 68 Physical Resistance, 37 Mental
Resistance, 40% resistance to all elements, and 75% resistance to nature 
damage.  Not too shabby, since only dragons and insanely powerful knockdowns
will affect you now.  The runes on Chasind Great Maul also give you an 18%-20%
chance to resist a magic attack.

If you can not afford those accessories and weapon for any reason, use this

Helm: Helm of the Legion
Armor: Armor of the Legion
Gloves: Gloves of the Legion
Boots: Boots of the Legion

With accessories and weapons of your choosing.  I would recommend a 2H weapon
with rune slots though.

Part 2.6 Secondary Specialization

Being only a shapeshifter would be silly, you want a second specialization that
will complement your shapeshifting.  Here are your three choices at level 14:

***Spirit Healer***
A fine choice for a mage, this is the best specialization for a shapeshifter.
Since you can not heal yourself while shifted, you can use Lifeward as a little
"mini-heal".  Also, it never hurts to be able to take over if your main healer
dies.  Alternatively, you could revive your healer.  Because Cleansing Aura
is a sustain, it isn't as good, but still useful.  If you use the recommended
set I listed above, then your mana regen will break even with the mana drain of
Cleansing Aura, effectively freezing your mana in place.

***Arcane Warrior***
Some would say this is the "obvious choice" as a secondary, they would be right
and wrong.  While Combat Magic is just like another shapeshift, it has yet to 
be tested whether magic will take over for damage even if your strength is 
higher.  I would save before I took this and test it to make sure it works.
If it still uses strength, then use Combat Magic as if it were another 
shapeshift.  Bear and Spider on cooldown against a dragon?  Use Combat Magic.
If it doesn't work, then reload the save and become a spirit healer.

***Blood Mage***
Blood Mage is the worst specialization for complementing a shapeshifter.  Blood
magic is a sustain (bad), Blood Sacrifice is pointless because you take low 
damage anyways, Blood Wound is a nice root, but uses spellpower for its damage,
and Blood Control is somewhat decent.  It is not worth getting Blood Mage just
for the benefits of using Blood Control.

Overall it is personal preference though.

Part 2.7 Shapeshifter for Spellslingers

Oh, so you only want to dabble in shapeshifting and use it as a secondary spec?
This is how:

***Blood Mages***
Cap your magic at 56 and get ~20 con, and then start pumping strength.  56 
Magic will provide you with sufficient power to rain down painful spells.  The
strength will sadly not be enough for spider and bear, but swarm will be 
insanely useful you.  Swarm, with enough mana regen+ gear, will let you walk
right into your own AoE and break even with the damage to your mana.  In its
upgraded form, you can also gain back your health if you can't otherwise for
any reason.  Divide the Swarm will also help if Blood Wound misses an enemy.

***Spirit Healer***
Spirit Healer complements shapeshifter, but it is only one-way.  Shapeshifter
is the worst secondary specialization for a spirit healer.  Just don't do it.

***Arcane Warrior***
Once again, not too useful.  Although if you use an Arcane Warrior as a tank,
then Swarm is once again useful.  Using Swarm can generate a lot of aggro.
Think of it as your own little mage version of threaten.  If you use an Arcane
Warrior for DPS, then bear form can help you.  Turn into a bear, use Rage, 
then exit bear form.  You will now have a nice little attack buff for the next
15 seconds. (Or around that many seconds.)  Then just activate something
like Shimmering Shield, and you turn into a complete beast.

***No Specialization***
Take the advice from the Blood Mage section, except put the points from CON 
into Magic.  With the proper Mana Regen+ gear, you can walk into your own AOE
with Swarm and break even.

Just remember, avoid fire if you are using swarm.  It will end very badly

                                      Part 3

Part 3.1 In-battle Tactics

The tactics section will be in parts.  Spider, Bear, Swarm, and Unshifted.

The spider is best at DPS.  Flanking an enemy increases your accuracy, so when
possible, get behind something.  It plays similarly to a backstabber.  If
the enemy is facing you, Web is useful for rooting the enemy and increasing
your accuracy on that enemy.  You can hold your own against multiple enemies, 
so don't worry if you pull too much aggro and start getting mobbed.

The bear can DPS or Tank.  To DPS, flank an enemy and let your tank take the
brunt of the enemy force.  You can go behind and wreck them one by one.
Alternatively, you can get a lot of aggro through other means, turn into a bear
and tank it out with the enemy.  The Bear Shape has stellar defense and attack.
You can't go wrong with it as long as you are not dead or idling.

Swarm is not good at DPSing or Tanking.  It is all utility.  It moves 
incredibly fast and does damage every second whether you want it to or not.
It is immune to normal projectiles and outspeed every melee enemy.  You want to
use this to your advantage.  You will get the aggro of a lot of enemies if you
play this right.  Just keep circling around them and flying by them.  They will
rarely be able to attack you, and will take damage every time you fly by.  
If you see an enemy going for a squishy member of your team, run over and
Divide the Swarm on them.  Swarm can also be used to gain aggro for your bear.

When not in a shapeshift, you have at your disposal many dangerous spells.
Sleep + Waking Nightmare is a deadly combo that will create utter chaos on the
battlefield.  Sleep+Horror is nice for single target damage.  Arcane Bolt can
be use to cancel the animation of a 2H Swing, letting you do more damage in 
less time.  Misdirection Hex is a godsend, letting you kill dangerous enemies
at an early level.  (Such as Revanents.)  Force Field will protect an ally or
buy you time with an enemy.  Mind Blast, Sleep, and Glyph of Repulsion can all
buy you time to shapeshift, since it takes around 2 seconds to cast.

Part 3.2 Enchantment

When shapeshifted, the only runes that carry over are resistance runes.

For this reason, enchant your weapon with: (For 3 Slot Weapons)
1 Grandmaster Hale Rune
2 Grandmaster Dweomer Runes.

If you cannot get two Grandmaster Dweomer Runes, use 1 GM and 1 Master rune.
This will help immensely against mages and attacks that knock you down.

Short Section, but it was needed.  *Shrugs*

Part 3.3 Party Members

A shapeshifter is most complemented by three types of parties.
Here they are:

Shale (Tank)
Dog (DPS)
You (Shapeshifter DPS/Off tank)
Wynne (Awesome-tastic healer)

This party is virtually grabless, you needn't worry about a grab from a dragon,
the Broodmother, or an Ogre.  There are no rogues though, so don't expect to be
opening any locked chests.

Alistair/Shale (Tank)
Leliana (Ranged DPS)
You (Shapeshifter Melee DPS)
Wynne (Awesome-tastic Healer)

This is a balanced build, not too many melee party members.  A rogue for doors
and chests.  A healer already built to heal.  And a melee tank and DPS.

Alistair/Shale (Tank)
Morrigan (DPS Mage)
You (Shapeshifter Melee DPS)
Wynne (Healer/DPS)

I call this godmode because you have three mages.  In general, you aren't
afraid of walking right into an AoE on nightmare if your own party member cast
it.  You can wreck pretty much anything, as long as they don't break off from
you or your tank.  Only issue is no rogue.  Just don't walk into an AoE with
Spider, or an Inferno with Swarm.  Neither will end well.  (Although I wouldn't
recommend purposely hurting yourself either.)

                                       Part 4

Part 4.1 FAQ

Q: Wtf, why would you ever even try Shapeshifter?
A: I was bored and on my 14th Playthrough. (What...that isn't normal?)

Q: Can I contribute?
A: Sure, just shoot me an email, and if it is good stuff, I might add it.

Q: Can I use this on my site?
A: If you ask me first and give me credit.  Otherwise just link to here.

Q: You are crazy.
A: That wasn't a question.

Q: Thanks, this guide was helpful!  Where can I find you for more questions?
A: On the Dragon Age: Origins (PS3) Boards.

Q: This guide was terrible, didn't help at all.  Why?
A: Not everyone will find it helpful, but if I help at least 1 Person then I 
   can fall asleep at night. :P

Part 4.2 Additional Sources

Along with the actual game, I used this source:

                               Copyright 2010  -  Tonberry66