Many players enjoy playing as an archer. This class can greatly shine in Dragon Age Origins. Here I will cover a build that I think will be enjoyable for new and veteran players.

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You have few companion options, however, their stats are not perfectly aligned and that could mean that for those that want to min-max, having your main character as an archer will result in OP build.

As always you can expect gear, attributes, talents, and tactics recommendations to have the best archer build on your playthrough.

So let’s get into the details

Some details and tips before starting

To best utilize your build here are a few things that apply to most of the builds that I suggest:

Character Creation

It is fairly important what Race you choose for your build. Although all races can be archers some of them excel better at it.

The Human Rogue has the largest starting attributes 15 dexterity and Cunning. Dwarves and elves fall behind a little. However, in the long run, the difference is minusculeHere is how I pick skills. If you start as a Human or Dwarf Noble get Pickpocketing This will later unlock some additional side quests with large gold rewards. Dwarf Commoner, City Elf, and Dalish Elf should get Combat Training to unlock offensive talents.

Did you forget about Skills?

As you progress through the game you will obtain more skill points. I recommend investing 3 points into Coercion if you are a Rogue.

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Combat Training to unlock better Archery talents and increase some of your offensive stats.

As mentioned before I also recommend getting one point into Pickpocketing for the main character. This will unlock additional side quests.

Tactics – is optional and you will not have too many abilities. Still have at least 1 point will benefit greatly if you will micro-manage your companions.

Progressing through the game

You are free to choose whatever way you want to progress through the story. However, for the maximum value I recommend these priorities:

Circle of Tower quest – you will get a passive boost to your attributes. For example +4 to strength. This will mean that you will need to invest less into it to wear the good gear

Maximizing your group potential

If your main character is an archer probably you will want to maximize all of its damage-related stats. Due to this, it is important to have Shale in the party.

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Shale has Rock Mastery aura. This buff provides +5% to ranged critical chance. Moreover, when shale uses Rock Barrage the bonus is increase to +10% ranged critical chance.

That is not all. If you use Hurl Rock party aim speed also increases in total by -2 seconds.

So having Shale in the party will maximize everyone’s offensive capabilities especially if they are an archer. Of course, if you are the only ranged class in the party, feel free to test out if it fits your party composition.

Archer bugs

before playing an archer you need to know about a major bug. Contrary to what abilities say: Haste and Swift Salve decrease the attack speed of bow users. To fix this use the mod found here

Archer rogue build – Cunning based

This is an archer build that is probably the most overpowered. The idea is to have as large a ranged critical chance as possible so that your normal attack would constantly deal critical hits.

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Unfortunately, some of the talents that archer has may seem important and strong, in reality, they are a waste of points, but we will get to that later.

Attributes

For Rogue based archer builds, you have these three main attributes:

Strength – you will need minimal investment into this attribute, for wearing better gear. My recommendation is 18 points (including Fade Quest +4 bonus). For some of the best armors in the game, you will need 20, but you will be getting at least +2 from the gear that you equip.Dexterity 30 points. This is the minimum amount, you will 34 to wear some of the bows, but you should be getting at least +4 from gear. Otherwise, invest more based on the situation.Cunning – this is the most important attribute for this archer build. It gives armor penetration, bonuses to lockpicking, higher damage, etc. Everything this type of build needs.

Specializations

Here you have a few options. The main recommendation is to get Bard specialization (if you do not have another companion like Leliana in the group).

The second recommended specialization is Duelist. Although its talents are not important, it provides +2 Dexterity and +1 damage.

The third specialization (if you did not pick Bard) is Assassin. Unfortunately, the critical chance bonus is only for melee.

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I personally do not recommend Ranger specialization. Why is that? The pet can deal decent additional DPS, however, it requires some micromanaging (as it does not use skills by itself)

Talents

As with most of the builds, the cornerstone of it is the talents that you choose. I will go through each tree and write a short description of why you should select those abilities.

Rogue Tree

The idea is to get Lethality as soon as possible. However, before that, you still have some options.

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I personally avoid Evasion (it interrupts your attacks). Stealth is optional and I personally do not use it as an archer.

Lockpicking (Deft Hands) is a great talent to put a few points. Of course, if you have other characters who already have an investment in it you are free to skip it.

Archery Tree

This tree is a fairly mixed bag. I recommend these abilities: Aim, Master Archer, and Scattershot

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Aim will increase your critical chance. Master Archer boosts all your talents and allows you to wear heavy armor (without penalty). Scattershot is AOE stun, especially great for crowd control.

You also have Arrow of Slaying. This is presented as top tier ability for Archer. Unfortunately, it has quite a long animation and with correct buffs, you can out damage this ability using normal attacks.

Of course, feel free to pick any other Archery talents, however, I recommend using them on Lieutenant or higher tier enemies.

Duelist Tree

I recommend investing in this tree when you have everything else covered. The most worthwhile buff you get is from specialization passive points.

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You can also get Dueling and activate it. It will buff your attack counteracting the medium investment to dexterity in the late game.

Bard Tree

Getting Bard specialization will unlock Song of Courage. This is all offensive sustained ability, increasing critical chance, damage, and attack – all you need for maximum DPS.

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Try to get Song of Courage as soon as possible, recommended at level 10, when it first becomes available.

Assassin Tree

The only important skill here would be Mark of Death.

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The other talents are only useful for backstabbing melee builds.

Power of Blood Tree

You unlock this tree in Warden’s Keep DLC. You will need to drink Alchemical Concoction. This vial is found in Solder’s Peak during the quest.

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You will then unlock Tainted Blade active talent. This is an extremely powerful ability. It will boost your damage based on the Cunning that you have. To maximize its effectiveness you can create a separate set that you use to cast this ability.

Unfortunately, Tainted Blade will be removed during dialogues and cut scenes, so have that in mind.

Equipment

As with almost all builds that I suggest the priority is damage. We already know what attributes and talents we need, so let’s get into the equipment details.

WeaponsItemDetails

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The Sorrow"s of Arlathan

The best bow in the game, available after you finish The Witch Hunt DLC.

Far Song

Has two rune slots and also provides the largest bonus to damage out of all daggers

Falon"Din"s Reach

Has rapid aim bonus. Can be found in Brecilian Ruins by killing a small dragon and looting its hoard

Mage"s Eye

Provides ranged critical chance. Can be found in haven"s Village storage chest

ArmorItemDetails

The Felon’s Coat

Boosts dexterity, increasing your damage. It will also increase stamina regeneration, allowing to sustain Momentum for much longer.

Battledress of the Provocateur

Gives less dexterity, but increases base stamina. Moreover, provides a bonus to stamina regeneration

Wade’s Superior Drakeskin Leather Armor

I recommend taking this armor only if you will equip other set items: gloves and boots

Shadow of the Empire

Not as good as the others, because provides only +2 dexterity. Moreover, it gives additional strength that may not be as useful for this build.

HelmItemDetails

The Long Sight

Gives +5% to ranged critical chance. Use it if you are going to maximize the number of critical hits

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Helm of Honnleath

Overall best helm, provides +5 to all attributes.

Quicksilver Arming Cap

Gives +2 to Cunning. Your main stat that boosts damage.

Free Scout Arming Cap

Gives +2 to Dexterity. Not as good as the above ones, however, still useful to wear

BootsItemDetails

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Cadash Stompers

Gives +2 dexterity and ranged critical chance, best boots for an archer.

Silverhammer’s Tackmasters

Gives +2 to Dexterity. Best boots for the Rogue in terms of damage. However, has low armor

Wade’s Superior Drakeskin Boots

You can also wear them without the set as they give bonus Dexterity.

GlovesItemDetails

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Repeater Gloves

These gloves minimize your attack animations to the lowest value. Use them to have extremely fast shots even with Aim activated. Can be found in Return to Ostagar DLC

Red Jenny Seekers

Gives +15% to critical and backstab damage.

Backhands

Similar to Red Jenny Seekers, however, gives only +10% to backstab and critical damage

Wade’s Superior Drakeskin Gloves

Give"s +1 to Dexterity.

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Dalish Gloves

Good early gloves give +1 Dexterity

AmuletsItemDetails

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The High Regard of House Dace

You could call this overpowered amulet. It gives a lot of cunning, stamina, stamina regeneration, etc. However, to get it you need to finish Golems of Amgarrak DLC.

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Pearl of the Anointed

+1 to all attributes, good all-around amulet

BeltsItemDetails

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Andruil’s Blessing

The best belt in the game provides a large boost to all stats

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Cinch of Skillful Maneuvering

You get this belt after you finish Witch Hunt DLC. So it may not be accessible to everyone.

Longbowman"s Belt

Can buy in the camp, gives +2% to ranged critical chance

Guildmaster"s Belt

Gives +3 Cunning. Available early in the game through DLC.

Sword Belt

Can be bought in Denerim. Gives armor penetration

RingsItemDetails
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Key to the City
Provides +2 to all attributes, found in Orzammar.
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The Wicked Oath
One of the best rings available to a Rogue
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Dusk Ring
Decreases Strength by one, however, gives Cunning +3
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Harvest Festival Ring
Obtained in Stone Prisoner DLC.
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The Lucky Stone
Gives +1 to all attributes, available early in the game.

Tactics

The tactics are fairly simple for Archer build - target enemies in further ranks. This way you can take out fast other archers or mages.

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So always have these abilities active: Aim and Song of Courage. Duelist is optional.

Use Scattershot whenever it is not on cooldown. Shattering Shot should be used if the enemy is higher tier.

Also, use Tainted Blade whenever possible, however, it can drain your HP fast.

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Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed reading about this build and it will help you make your Dragon Age Origins playthrough enjoyable.

The build concentrates on keeping distance, maximizing critical hit chance, and dealing as much damage as it can. This is perfect for your main character

If you find any discrepancies or want to suggest an improvement feel free to leave a comment below!