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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Weapons
The Sorrow"s of Arlathan
The best bow in the game, available after you finish The Witch Hunt DLC.
Has two rune slots and also provides the largest bonus to damage out of all daggers
Has rapid aim bonus. Can be found in Brecilian Ruins by killing a small dragon and looting its hoard
Provides ranged critical chance. Can be found in haven"s Village storage chest
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.
The Long Sight
Gives +5% to ranged critical chance. Use it if you are going to maximize the number of critical hits
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
Gives +2 dexterity and ranged critical chance, best boots for an archer.
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.
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.
Similar to Red Jenny Seekers, however, gives only +10% to backstab and critical damage
Wade’s Superior Drakeskin Gloves
Give"s +1 to Dexterity.
Good early gloves give +1 Dexterity
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.
Pearl of the Anointed
+1 to all attributes, good all-around amulet
The best belt in the game provides a large boost to all stats
Cinch of Skillful Maneuvering
You get this belt after you finish Witch Hunt DLC. So it may not be accessible to everyone.
Can buy in the camp, gives +2% to ranged critical chance
Gives +3 Cunning. Available early in the game through DLC.
Can be bought in Denerim. Gives armor penetration
Key to the City
|Provides +2 to all attributes, found in Orzammar.|
The Wicked Oath
|One of the best rings available to a Rogue|
|Decreases Strength by one, however, gives Cunning +3|
Harvest Festival Ring
|Obtained in Stone Prisoner DLC.|
The Lucky Stone
|Gives +1 to all attributes, available early in the game.|
The tactics are fairly simple for Archer build - target enemies in further ranks. This way you can take out fast other archers or mages.
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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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!