The main problem I have with archery is that it is not particularly interesting to use for a PC.
I'd like to know which random dragons people are saying they've encountered. I've fought wyrmlings, a drake in the werewolf/elf caves, and two high dragons (the one outside the temple of the ashen urn, and then Flemeth). Other than that, no other dragons in my playthrough.
And, yeah, the Fort Drakon fights were rough, especially the area where you get jumped by archers flanking you and about 4-5 yellow alphas coming down the steps along with the drakeling. Had to call in the dwarf warrior squad. I'm now at the end of level 2, so not sure if there's a level 3 or I come out on the roof to fight the archdaemon. Got about 70-80 good health and mana potions, so team Alistair, Morrigan, and Shale are ready. I want to see the game's ending, but at the same time I don't. . .which is a weird emotion very few games pull out of me. I'm at about 42 hours play time and I don't want it to end.
The main problem I have with archery is that it is not particularly interesting to use for a PC.
Could we try to be a bit more obscure about locations and identities of enemies in these fights? I mean, for the tactical situation, it's probably enough to say that you're fighting two revenants at once, or whatever, or ran into a dragon where you weren't expecting one.
I'm kind of irritated by how restrictive the ability to switch characters in your active party is. I can understand not letting me hot-swap character in and out, say, in the middle of a fight, but it was super-frustrating to have cleared out the mage tower of enemies, yet still have to walk ALL THE FREAKING WAY BACK DOWN 7,351 FLIGHTS OF STAIRS (footnote 1) and row a fucking boat across the lake in order to get Leliana to come pick some locks (footnote 2).
Footnote 1: Whoever designed the mage tower, with its complete lack of shortcuts of any kind, must be smacked.
Footnote 2: So now I take Leliana with me everywhere so that I don't have to walk through every freaking area twice.
Thanks for the suggestions on the Zevran fight. I managed to get it done, though I'm not sure how to be honest. I think maybe I was overthinking it, because I gave it a shot with my main, Alistair, Morrigan, and Zevran and managed to win the thing by largely letting the AI tactics take over. I think what happened was that Alistair fired off enough of his taunts that it made the archers go after him and that allowed the rest to focus on the other enemies.
Now I'm to the whole prison sequence. Kind of annoying, as I can't seem to figure out the escape route that doesn't involve Alistair and my main fighting everyone to get out.
Yeah John you should edit your post. Those fights are the highlight of the game but it seems like most people have reached that point so the details start to come out more and more from the peanut gallery. This is pretty much a spoiler thread, but leave something for the new players!
I hope one day mods will fix this problem, but archery will need significant retuning to be even close to level with dual wielding. Ranged backstabbing and poison arrows are a must. Probably allowing rapid shot to critical hit as well so you don't need to find a rapid aim item.
My warrior play through is going quite well on nightmare. My warrior is dual wielding, using a starfang (very good sword) and the edge (very good dlc dagger i got from the thread linked to in the mod thread). He has done around 64% of my party's damage, can solo most elites and is fairly resilient to physical damage since he wears dragon armor. He has pushed my party through every encounter so far, devastating enemies with high single target damage and pretty good aoe damage too. Now that he has the master dual wielding talent he can use more abilities too.
alister tanks the adds pretty well, but he can't really hold the big guys from my player warrior for obvious reasons. hopefully getting the better shield attacks will help, but it hasn't been a problem so far because my warrior wears massive armor too.
Wynne has done a great job of supporting my party. She is mostly healing focused, but she has the sleep line too in order to disable enemies. I don't have her attack at all to save mana.
Leilanna is the only problem. She is dual wielding, but her damage is extremely low for some reason (zhevran did WAY more damage in my last play through). One of the main problems is that she is 2nd in equipment priority to my dual wield warrior so he gets things like the edge dagger and that nice critical dlc ring. Hopefully once i get a 2nd mainhand for my player and give her the edge dagger it will up her damage. She is my next project as her current damage is unacceptable. I may have to take a slight damage hit on my player to spread the equipment love, but i don't want a one trick party. Zhevran was a huge asset to my mage and i expect leilanna to be the close to the same.
Anyway, if anyone knows of any heavy duty archer mods that make it competitive in any form, be sure to post them!
I found that archery kicks ass just fine on it's own, so long as you stay out of melee range and base your strategy around it. Relying upon it to do as much DPS as melee doesn't work well, nor does it work well if any of the rest of your party is in melee.
Anyway, I found quite a few encounters were made easier with Archery, as you can often knock off foes without exposing yourself too all foes at once. It's especially nice combined with spells like Earthquake or Blizzard.
But you are massively micromanaging your entire party in order to do less damage than if said rogue was used dual wielding.
Melee seems to have more utility, more survivability and MUCH MUCH MUCH more damage. in most fights the archer gets a mere few seconds head start before everyone is bashing heads in melee. Something has to give, there needs to be an advantage to archery.
In specific situations archer could help i suppose, shooting people through doors with your archer while aoeing the area and having the rest of your people wait. Of course, what advantage would that have compared to aoeing the area, hiding behind cover so you don't get hit with return fire, waiting until they come to you and then doing 3 times the damage...
Paralysis Bomb - This spell is seriously awesome. It paralyzes Orange bosses as well and the duration is much longer than any other stun spell.
Sleep + Nightmare
Cone of Cold
Yeah, even though I never actively picked any archery skill, I found myself switching to bows every now and then to try to single out enemies without exposing my entire party, which does work, occasionally.
Damage per se can be a bit disappointing, but many of the setpiece encounters are hard enough as it is, I don't want to imagine how it'd be if those ten archers on the ridge did double or thrice the amount of damage...
Also, when's the last time an arrow did as much damage as a longsword through your gut?
It would be one thing if melee only did like 10% more damage, then only the biggest power gamers would care. In the case of DA, if you have a party of 3 archers and one melee character, the meleer will likely do as much, or more, damage than the rest of the party. At least that has been my experience.
I'm a little bitter about archery though because i tried to get it to work a few times and it failed to compare to dual wielding at all.
also you vastly underrated the killing power of arrows. I'm no medieval scholar, but i believe they were one of the more deadly weapons around that time. arrows did tend to go right through most armor where as a sword might be deflected or blocked by it. Not to mention arrows could be fired from range and in masses to rain death from above down on poor infantry.
I've found bows as secondary weapons extremely useful to pull mobs and take out those pesky archers and mages without having to run up to them. Melee and magic are superior for raw damage, though.
But if you're going to insist on realism like that, I hope you'd be happy to have shortbows do no damage at all to armored targets (they were mere hunting weapons!), or wait half a minute until a crossbow is reloaded... and how about those endless standard arrows? Totally unrealistic, an archer should only carry 24 arrows and go pick up spent arrows from the field before he can continue shooting!
Maybe a bit fewer endgame spoilers here, John? If you want a complete list of specific encounters that should go to the dedicated spoiler thread. This one's about combat tactics and read by many people who are just starting out.
***** SPOILERS *****
I'm gonna toss in my 2 coppers here and say, curiousity can be a very bad thing.
I was in the mage tower, ( after leaving, leveling up and coming back) and found something that I'd missed the first time I paraded through.
Fucking with an object summoned a Revenant.
Revenant rev-uh-NANT. n Death on a stick. Death with a big-assed sword. Death that can teleport you back to it if you try to run away.
Death in 31derful flavors.
I was level 10 warrior and Wynne was level 9 or something.
I mention this cause we were the only 2 left standing at the end, and that was after I'd been revived by Wynne.
Leliani and Morrigan elected to nap this one out.
Mr Rev was red to me even at 10, so I'm pretty sure that had I run into it the first time at level 8 or so, I'd been lookin at a full wipe instead of a "brutality marathon"
My main character was a rogue archer, and I didn't run into most of the issues that Murbella talks about simply because I micromanaged each character in each and every battle. Maybe on the consoles you tend to let the battles play out while controlling only one or two people, but I had complete control over every single moment in combat, with liberal use of the pause key.
I won't say that archers are balanced, I agree they aren't - but I had a lot of fun managing the character as a ranged attacker with arrows and grenades. I admit that for the parts where you have to go solo I was a little worried about my livelihood, but I survived. The arrow of slaying skill is incredibly powerful, and very handy for bosses.
Anyone got any specific advice for the following fight? I keep getting creamed with Al, Shale, Wynne and my Primal/Blood mage (Fire and Earth in Primal, no ice or shock), all lvl 16 or 17:
Code:SPOILERS for hateable spoiler babies........................................................................................................................................................................................It's the Flemeth-as-dragon fight. Got the quest from Morrigan quite early and have been back to Flemeth's hut three times since then, at lvl 10, 14 and 16 and I don't seem to do much better even when my mans are tougher. The only dragon I've been able to kill is the one squatting in the Brecilian forest temple on the way to twat the werewolves.
It's very easy to miss, and you can't carry it out after there is a King. I missed it as well in my (so far) only complete playthrough.
It's one of those quests where you have to read through codex entries to figure out that it exists (one of those where you pick up clues all over the place); it's called "Caged in Stone".