Game Breaker: Dragon Age
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Dragon Age: Origins
- Long story short, there's a reason why, In-Universe, Magic Users ruled the world and tried to take on the Maker.
- The Arcane Warrior is pretty much totally invincible once you have Shimmering Shield. You barely need a party on the hardest difficulty with this spec, even the hardest bosses can be easily worn down by yourself.
- The Mage spell Mana Clash drains enemy demon, abomination, or spellcasters' mana pools, and does Spirit elemental damage (which few enemies have a resistance to) in proportion to the mana it drains. It is entirely possible to one shot even the strongest of enemy mages with this spell, especially when empowered by its prerequisite Spell Might. It can usually take out entire rooms full of opponents in a single shot, which basically allows you to walk through the Circle Tower quest (where about 90% of your opponents will be vulnerable to it). It also does more damage to the victim if they have larger mana reserves, which means it allows you to make mincemeat of magic-wielding bosses (sometimes you can even kill them with a single shot if you use the aforementioned Spell Might). A lot of missions in the game become much, much easier if you bring along a Mage who can cast Mana Clash.
- Crushing Prison stuns enemies while dealing damage (and you're free to deal plenty more from your next attack).
- The room-clearing Storm of the Century (a combination of AOE's Tempest and Blizzard). Combine Tempest, Inferno, Blizzard and Earthquake and you'll see why you are just overdoing it.
- The Blood Magic spell Blood Wound, which boils the blood of all nearby enemies, as well as paralyzing them for the duration of the spell. Yup, another room-clearer, and one that makes all other damage spells parlor tricks in comparison. Some strategy guides actually advise against spells like this, since they turn pretty much every battle into walks in the park. The only limit is that enemies without blood are not affected, but there aren't enough of those to push it out of gamebreaker status. Also? This spell has no friendly fire.
- There's some even more devious spells that the game knows go together in a Game Breaking fashion, and even mention it in the spell descriptions. There's Sleep, Horror and Waking Nightmare, Horror causing damage to enemies if they fail a resistance check, and Waking Nightmare causing, among other things, enemies to stop attacking you at least (whether through a fear effect or a temporary alignment change), and turning on each other at worst, also requiring a resistance check. However, if you successfully cast the Sleep on them first, they automatically fail the resistance check. At this point, your choices are, kill them immediately, or sit back and watch them turn on each other. Pass the Popcorn, please.
- Force Field. Basically you get a tank character (some warrior, Alistair or Shale usually), get them to spam aggro generating abilities (as well as use aggro "aura" effects such as Threaten and Stoneheart) and once they have the unbreakable attention of every enemy on the screen, put Force Field on them to make them invincible. So, while 10 skeletons beat on your invincible tank character, your party is free to proceed as they please with no resistance to speak of.
- Death Hex and Death Cloud, when combined, change from "Critical Hits For Others" or "Damage Over Time" to "Die Bitch".
- Mass Paralysis is a powerful crowd control spell that, unlike blood wound, has no restrictions on enemy type, leaving large groups of enemies sitting ducks for the entire party to slaughter. One of its prerequisite spells, Paralyze, is also extremely useful for freezing a powerful single enemy. A mage with high enough spellpower can even paralyze a High Dragon. Mass Paralysis does have the limit of requiring a charge period, but that is easily solved with...
- The Fireball spell. The damage is nice, but the real power is that it can knock down all but the largest enemies. An enemy that has been knocked down takes just long enough to pull themselves up that the mage can cast a spell with a long charge time, such as Inferno or Mass Paralysis, without having to worry about interruptions.
- Once you have acquired the Dalish Elves' assistance, they ask for you to donate basic crafting ingredients. Like all donations to your forces, you get 10 xp for every item you donate. One of the items you can donate is elfroot, which you should already have plenty of and can get lots of for cheap at many merchants...but what makes this not only useful but ridiculous is the fact that there is a single merchant in the base game that can sell you unlimited amounts of elfroot, in stacks of 99 (990 xp), for a pittance. It's Valathorn, the merchant...in the Dalish Elf camp. "You do not talk about Grey Warden Camp", anyone?
"We were giving the treehumpers' own stinking weeds back to them, and for it they made us gods."
- The ingredients for making Potent Lyrium Potions are much cheaper than what you can sell them for, making this an extremely easy way to make money. Even better is that you can buy infinite amounts of three of the four ingredients from a single vendor. After working up a nice nest egg using this, you can use the above-mentioned elfroot donations...or you can just donate to the Arl's knights directly, saving yourself the trouble of traveling back and forth, which would be the only inconvenience, since money has lost all meaning.
- From the Feastday Gifts DLC we have the Qunari Prayers for the Dead: an item that can be used over and over so long as Sten in your party and conscious. It's effect? Bringing any fallen party members back to life. Very handy in some of the tougher boss fights. The real game breaking element is that you're invincible during the cutscene, and if you watch it all, the party is restored to max health and mana, so as long as Sten is alive, your party is essentially immortal. This can be cheesed to astonishing effect.
- It's quite easy, with the right build, for a Rogue to obtain a 95% chance to dodge. This is just as overpowered as it sounds, and makes most non-Mage enemies a joke.
Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening
- In Awakening characters can choose a third specialization at level 22. This is unbelievably broken, given the fact that on the second playthrough...you can get two of the new (incredibly overpowered) specializations. (Even Keeper, which doesn't match up to Battlemage, the other new specialization, isn't bad when a player knows how to use it.)
- If you get through enough of the DLC to get level 33, you get a fourth specialization. If you thought the Arcane Warrior was broken before, imaging an Arcane Warrior/Spirit Healer/ Blood Mage/ Battle Mage.
- The Hand of Winter spell for the Battlemage tree. Imagine Cone of Cold (already useful), except cast in every direction simultaneously, without the friendly fire that made the various AOE spells tricky. The cooldown is small enough that you can open every fight by running headlong into a group of enemies and freezing them solid, turning every battle into wailing on defenseless enemies.
- You can buy a paint job for your shield with the emblem of the Legion of the Dead. Not particularly nice looking, but it gives a whopping +20 to all attributes. (This is apparently a bug that has remained unfixed except by unofficial mods, as every other heraldry adds only +3.) That's even more than it sounds. As a comparison, the Legion of the Dead heraldry adds a total of 120 ability points. If you max out your level at 35, you will get a total of 102 ability points from leveling up.
- Accuracy coupled with Aim, high dexterity and some rapid aim gear turns archery from the inferior rogue build (and rogues aren't that great to begin with) into having a crit rate of over 100% and tripling the damage you did before. What does this mean? You're oneshotting mooks at max attack speed with autoattack and are essentially untouchable. This allows you to even solo the hardest encounter in the game (The Harvester on Nightmare) with minimal difficulty. Which is good considering your allies for that mission are terrible and built wrong.
- Sword and shield is also extremely powerful when stacked with dexterity, dodge + % and defense+ items. Making the tank nearly impossible to hit, add spell resistance from Templar, enchantments, auto-health regen as well as awakening's broken carapace skill (First 15 sec of skill makes you immune to damage, the second half absorbs a percentage of damage that actually manages to land). For even more fun, give the tank a good dagger to take advantage of that high dexterity. Even without maxed out dexterity it's still a massively overpowered build option if you focused on maxing out your armor. It's possible to solo the Harvester on Nightmare difficulty because you're just so tough that it can only inflict Scratch Damage.
Dragon Age II
- The Gravitic Sphere spell is fun to abuse. It will cause all foes within its wide range to move at a snail's pace, allowing you and your companions to pile blow after blow on them without fear of serious retaliation. Foes at the epicenter of the spell are so slow that they might as well be paralyzed. The spell turns almost any boss fight into a Curb-Stomp Battle. For extra fun, you can clump all your foes at the center of Gravitic Sphere using Pull of the Abyss, and take advantage of their inability to spread out from one another by finishing them all off with an area of effect attack, like Firestorm or Cone of Cold.
- Dual Weapon Rogue -> Assassin specialization -> Assassinate -> Overkill -> amped-up Cunning = one-shot just about anything that isn't a full-fledged boss. The Assassin specialization also gets Pinpoint Strikes, which turns every attack into a critical hit, and a passive ability that doubles the critical bonus granted by Cunning. Anything that survives Assassinate can be cut down by Pinpoint Strikes in seconds. And then you can have Anders or Bethany cast Haste, and Hawke will be hitting enemies so fast that their health bar will be glowing white from all the critical hits. Adding to this is the Duelist specialization, which works to essentially make Hawke nearly untouchable in combat and able to tear down single opponents in seconds. Specc'd properly, a Dual Weapon Rogue Hawke with Assassin and Duelist specializations can tank and inflict horrific amounts of damage by him/herself, becoming an almost literal One-Man Army.
- One of the most effective ways to neutralize high-powered enemies as a Warrior - invest in the Templar talent that gives a 10% chance to silence them. Whoever Warrior!Hawke is attacking will never be able to use a single ability.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Much like Arcane Warrior before it, the Knight-Enchanter specialization for mages is hilariously broken. Videos of Knight-Enchanters easily solo-ing High Dragons on Nightmare Difficulty with the rest of the party dead appeared very quickly. On their own, the Knight Enchanter's abilities are simply powerful. What really destroys the game's difficulty is the synergy with spells of every other school, with not a single combination precluding another aside from limited skill points.
- The Knight Enchanter's Fade Shield passive is the big one in the spec itself. Every time the Knight Enchanter causes damage, they gain some barrier. With a strong enough weapon, the Knight Enchanter can keep the barrier up permanently, and enemies can not damage health as long as a barrier is up.
- Spirit Blade behaves like a standard melee attack that costs mana and is three times as strong as a mage's normal staff attack. It's also spirit elemental, making it very safe to use. It causes more damage to guard and barrier, which are normally difficult to get through, and this extra damage translates into even more barrier from Fade Shield, so the mage becomes a tank that is especially adept at killing other tanks. When upgraded, it gains the ability to reflect projectile attacks, covering ranged enemies.
- Fade Cloak makes it very easy to avoid telegraphed attacks from bosses, but the upgrade allows the Knight Enchanter to Tele-Frag any enemy they're standing inside when the effect ends. This causes a very large amount of damage, which translates to a very large amount of barrier from Fade Shield for when the Knight Enchanter is visible again. Fade Cloak also provides an instant wakeup from those annoying knockdown attacks used by enemies such as Terror Demons.
- The Close Combat passive improves mana regeneration by fifty percent when in melee range, ensuring that the Knight Enchanter always has mana for Spirit Blade. Veiled Riposte causes damage to any enemy that hits the Knight Enchanter's perma-barrier. Knight Protector decreases the degeneration rate of all barriers cast by the Knight Enchanter, on any target.
- The Knight Enchanter's Focus Spell is Resurgence: the ultimate full-party heal. In a game that otherwise has no healing spells, this is even more powerful than it already sounds.
- Rejuvenating Barrier in the Spirit Tree increases mana regeneration by thirty-five percent whenever the user has a barrier active, which for a Knight Enchanter is all the time. This stacks with Close Combat for a total of eighty-five percent faster mana regeneration. Very helpful since Knight Enchanters can struggle with mana management when using other spells.
- No standard passive ability breaks the game more in the hands of a Knight Enchanter than Clean Burn. Every time a mage with Clean Burn casts a spell, all active cooldowns are reduced by one second. Combined with Spirit Blade, which has no cooldown, a Knight Enchanter can rapidly speed through the cooldown period of all of its other spells. That means an enormous increase in damage and crowd control. A sufficiently skilled Knight Enchanter can even negate the need for a sword and shield warrior because it becomes possible to keep a permanent barrier on the entire party.
- A mage that has Clean Burn also has Flashpoint. Every time the user gets a critical hit, one spell can be used with no cooldown. Two upgraded Fade Cloaks in a row...
- Chaotic Focus is normally very risky for mages, since the user's barrier is cut in half to increase a fire spell's damage. With Fade Shield, a Knight Enchanter automatically gets back a significant chunk of the barrier they lose when Chaotic Focus activates.
- Mana Surge allows a mage to cast one spell for zero mana cost every time the user's active barrier depletes. With Fade Shield, a Knight Enchanter can use a single attack to gain a small amount of barrier, let that deplete, and then get the effect. This can be done very frequently and is great for expensive spells like Winter's Grasp and Lightning Cage that Knight Enchanters normally struggle to use effectively. The AOE freeze effect that is supposed to be Mana Surge's main draw is just gravy.
- Ice Armor is considered near-useless for most mages, but an ice focused Knight Enchanter will spend most of their time near frozen enemies, ensuring they remain hard to kill even if they somehow find themselves without a barrier.
- Fade Step makes it significantly easier to get in range to use Spirit Blade.
- Stormbringer is a free nuke every fifteen seconds to a random enemy within twenty-five meters of the user. The Knight Enchanter's fighting style ensures that they will always be in range.
- Static Charge is an extra line of defense for most mages. For the Knight Enchanter, who will likely be hit while spamming Spirit Blade, it's even more damage on top of Veiled Riposte.
- Add a Masterwork armor with Fade-Touched Silverite (which grants 5 Guard on hit), and you have another level of defense that you don't have to micromanage. At this point even on Nightmare difficulty, the only things that can possibly get past your defenses are the various rogues that appear in the DLC (backstabbers and rapid fire archers deal so much damage in a single strike it's basically an insta-kill).
- To sum up: when the Inquisitor tells fellow Knight Enchanter Vivienne that they are the finest mages in Thedas, it is Not Hyperbole.
- Some fade-touched materials allow for the masterwork ability "gain X guard on hit". Give this to a dual-wielding Rogue, and you end up with a nigh-invulnerable storm of knives. Fade Touched Silverite for example can be randomly found in Emprise du Lion giving players 5 Guard on hit which the player doesn't have access to until two-thirds of the game. Fade-Touched Obsidian does the same, if a bit less in numbers, and can be found waaay earlier.
- Speaking of Silverite, it's a Tier 3 metal that's special even in common form: armors made of it don't have class restrictions. Want to make that rogue even more powerful? Give him silverite heavy armor with that Guard Gain masterwork bonus. Or better yet, give it to a Knight Enchanter. Combine that with a staff that heals your HP by a fixed % on hit, and you have a tank that gains Health, Guard and Barrier with each hit. Hell, you might just ditch the Health restoration and go for something offensive, it's not like this Magic Knight needs it.
- The Tempest specialization for rogues has an ability called Flask of Fire which allows the Rogue to use all abilities with no cost or cooldown for 5 seconds. Normally that wouldn't be too impressive except that this effect also applies to Focus abilities, which are designed to be extremely powerful with the trade off of having to build the Focus resource in order to use them. With the only drawback removed they are exactly as overpowered as one might think. The Tempest's own Thousand Cuts ability with full tier 3 Focus can take off about 30% of a High Dragon's health in 2 seconds and it can be used whenever Flask of Fire is itself off cooldown, which is every 30 seconds. If the player is really quick, it is possible to it is possible to use Thousand Cuts twice per each Flask of Fire.
- There's also the Archery skill Full Draw, a devastating blow at the beginning of an battle: When used on an enemy at full health, it hits for a whopping 1600% weapon damage, making it the single most massive attack bonus in the game. Flask of Fire means that you can do this multiple times, allowing you to land multiple devastating blows over the course of the five second duration. This can quickly thin the enemy ranks at the beginning of a fight, and at the end, you can use Stealth, and be hidden for 30 of the 32 second cooldown for Flask Of Fire. While the attack may lose some of its sting after the first hit, it is still one of the strongest attacks an archer can use, with an 800% damage bonus. When upgraded, it puts enemies to sleep, allowing Mages or Warriors to do very nasty things to the target.
- The Necromancer (both the single-player specialization and the multiplayer character) has a passive ability called Simulacrum, which causes a spirit doppelganger of the Necromancer to rise when the Necromancer is knocked out. Said spirit can be controlled like the character themselves and casts spells without mana cost. The Game Breaker comes when the Necromancer is equipped with a Heal on Hit/Kill passive. The Simulacrum's attacks can trigger these passives, restoring the Necromancer's health even while they are knocked outóresulting in the Necromancer instantly reviving once the Simulacrum ends. A Necromancer can charge into battle, get their head smashed in, nuke everything in ghost form, and the push themselves out from underneath the pile of bodies.
- The Assassin's Mark of Death ability. When it goes off (and can be triggered early for more damage), it deals damage proportional to the amount of damage the target received during its duration. Couple it with massive-damage abilities like Mark of the Rift or the aforementioned Thousand Cuts (or both), and it can tear down dragons in mere seconds.
- The Descent DLC adds a quartermaster to your first camp in the Deep Roads who buys items for several times what any other merchant will. You can set up this camp shortly after reaching Skyhold, and money problems become a thing of the past.