Arcane warrior, though you don't get activated sword tactics with it. It allows you to use the magic stat rather than strength to equip.
Any mage can sort of use low-level swords, shields and daggers, though. Be wary of sticking them in Morrigan's or Wynne's second weapons slots (in an attempt to free up your inventory space) because either of them might switch to them if they are being attacked by a melee fighter.
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Can you start mage and go to Arcane Warrior or do you have to start warrior for that?
Start as a mage. Build them the same as you would a mage. Pure magic. Maybe some dex for daggers. Your spells will be your defense.
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Aight. Sounds good.
Building an AW the same way you build a normal mage is a pretty bad idea.
AWs are defined by their unique tree, which consists 3 very strong talents and 1 so-so talent.
The most important is the first talent--Combat Magic. This gives you a significant buff to your attack stat, among other things (and allows you to use Magic to meet strength requirements on gear). Because you need to actually HIT the enemy for a sword-wielder to be effective, Combat Magic should always be on. Without it, you won't be hitting. And, even if you do, you won't use the spellpower stat to calculate damage so you'll do next to nothing.
Thing is, it increases fatigue by FIFTY PERCENT. That means every spell you cast will take 50% more mana. And don't forget that it reserves 50 mana for itself. Plus, casting most spells requires you to sheath your sword first, which increases cast time and reduces your auto-attack damage.
The result is that you'd need to put way more points into Willpower to allow you to cast, which reduces the number of points you can put in Magic (or Dexterity), reducing your damage with both spells and weapons. You'd just be gimping yourself for the sake of using a sword, instead of properly speccing yourself into what is easily the strongest Mage.
The passive buff talents in the AW tree give you a bonus to both offense and defense, with defense being buffed considerably more. That, plus the fact that you can wear the best armor in the game, means that you'll actually be a far more resilient tank than any warrior.
To that end, you will pick up the defensive sustainables--Rock Armor and Arcane Shield. This makes you WAY more fortified than you could possibly make Alistair. Picking up Miasma just makes that even better.
But you now have your Magic stat at least to 42, and your Dex is probably around 17-18. Being a tank, it wouldn't hurt to toss 4-5 points into Con (but that's not really needed at lower levels).
Your sustainables have made you incredibly strong, but they (along with your heavy armor) have skyrocketed your fatigue. Casting spells is no longer an option.
So what do you do? Maximize your sword damage, of course.
Pick up Fiery Weapons, to add a good 6-8 damage to your auto attack. I like to go down the road to Haste as well, and double-apply it to my AW.
Buff you willpower just to the point where you can maintain all of those spells, and maybe toss out a mind blast or something if necessary. The best tactic is to get enough to open a fight with a Fireball, to grab aggro. But properly establishing your party's tactics to only attack you, and making sure they aren't wearing heavy armor, will usually be enough.
There you go. You are nearly invincible, because your sustainables keep just about everything from even hitting you. Your armor makes sure everything that DOES hit you does so for practically nothing. You swing super fast, do great dps with the sword alone, and can bypass armor or add elemental damage with each attack. You're also debuffing everything near you with Miasma.
You can solo the hardest difficulty with this form of AW, and it won't even be hard. No joke.
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^ That was interesting stuff, if i cant do golem of amgarrak with my current mage built i may try what you said.
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Yep, arcane warriors are pretty fun. To really play them, you won't be able to be both a mage and a warrior at the same time. Your arcane sustained spells and mana spells really put a dent in your spell casting ability, you'll be lucky to get off 1 fireball or mindblast before needing to chug potions, but since potions are basically free once you learn to make them that might not be bad.
You won't have the offensive power of a pure mage, but you will have the ability to switch between warrior and mage mode when you want. You'll carry a set of warrior armor/weapons for your arcane warrior mode, and backup mage armor/staff for when you need that extra magic power in some areas. Sadly you won't really be doing both at once, you'll have to be either 1 or the other.
Its good to be a spiritual healer along with arcane warrior, to have that nice cleansing aura healing spell. You'll want just enough magic to get your highest spells, and the rest will go into willpower. Having your sustained spells up (shield, rock armor, haste, arcane mode, flaming weapon (or cold, or AP) will take a chunk of mana, and in battle your 2 main mana spells (cleansing aura/shimmering shield) will drain mana very fast. But while you are up and running, you will be a god hehe. amazing elemental resists, higher armor/dodging than your warriors, the only downside is you'll have less hps than them, which won't matter much since you won't take much damage, plus you'll be helping the party out with haste/cleansing aura.
You usually can't cast other than that though because your mana will drain very fast, even with tons of willpower/mana. But you aren't playing a casting mage, your playing an arcane warrior who is going to be slicing and dicing with weapons/heavy armor, not spells. Plus the good side is, you can easly switch back to a regular mage if you wish by just switching out your armor/weapons and clicking off your arcane warrior spells if needed.
Once you get familiar with playing one, you'll be able to do better with your mana by turning off powers you don't need. You won't need shimmering shield up all the time, its your main defensive spell, drains mana fast, and sometimes you don't need that extra defense, thus giving you a few more regular spells you can cast.
Go play an arcane warrior, its pretty darn fun, and takes more thinking than just being a shield warrior tank.
A great party is
1 arcane warrior in warrior mode (has haste going plus fire weapons)
1 mage healer (has also haste going and cold weapons or AP telekinetic)
1 dual weapon using rogue /bard with song, for chests and traps
and 4th character of your choice, usually another fighter, rogue.
you pretty much slice and dice most things fast, with dual hastes, dual weapon auras, and a bard song or 2. pretty nice.
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For reference, people are severely overestimating the inability of Arcane Warriors to use spells. You do not need to sit and pump Willpower. Maybe throw a couple points into it, but that's true of normal Mage builds anyways, so that's hardly new.
All Arcane Warrior ends up doing is emphasizing that spells like Fireball are overpriced for what they actually do. If you stick with spells, like Mana Clash, Crushing Prison, Death Hex, etc, which are far more effective in the right situations then Fireball ever could be, you aren't going to feel like you have mana issues. If your mana pool is too low (which might be the case around level 10 or so), drop buffs instead of pumping Willpower. Rock Armor and Arcane Shield are nice, but hardly necessary. Combat Magic is also good to drop when casting. Yes, you are only going to cast a few spells per battle as an Arcane Warrior. However, that should be because everything is dead by that point, not mana issues.
Using Shimmering Shield and/or Cleansing Aura is also begging for trouble. Shimmering Shield is, to put it bluntly, basically worthless in actual use. Physical attacks are not a threat and Mana Clash and/or Crushing Prison should take care of anything that attacks the other resistances. If you truly need to raise resistances, then use equipment. Cleansing Aura does not heal the caster. If the rest of your party is taking enough damage to justify its ludicrous mana cost, then you have much bigger problems. Otherwise, just chug potions and/or use Heal, Group Heal, and Regeneration.
Arcane Warriors can easily be casters and they don't need to sit there and pump Willpower. The only difference is that the difference between good spells, mediocre spells, and bad spells becomes more noticeable for them due to the higher fatigue rate. So, instead of spamming something that is actually pretty underwhelming, like Fireball, an Arcane Warrior would go, throw out Mana Clash (assuming things have mana), maybe a Crushing Prison, and bash anything not dead at that point with a sword. Also keep in mind, you can turn off the melee buffs, so pumping Willpower actually gimps you if you want to have your character focus on casting spells for some fights.
Sorry but not correct. If you want to chuck out spells, you don't play an arcane warrior. Sorry, its like saying i want to build a shield tank, and use my bow. If you want to whip out spells, make a mage and get high magic and blast stuff. If you want to play an arcane warrior, you don't do that.
I've played through the game with a few builds of arcane warrior. There are 2 types..
1) Offensive warrior. With this build, you are focusing on weapon damage over mana draining spells. You will have just enough mana to keep your basic sustained spells up and going (rock armor, arcane shield, haste, miasma, spell wisp, combat magic, sword aura). You won't have much mana to cast much, but because your spell power is high, your weapon damage is going to be insane. You just won't have the added boost of mana draining spells like cleansing aura/shimmering shield. This build is fine in Origins, but not really recommend in Awakenings which has many more mana draining spells you want.
My arcane mage when running about had 58 armor, 101 dodging, 149 spellpower and 153 weapon damage rating. But only a small mana pool.
2) Spell arcane mage. This is a much better build, and even more awesome in Awakenings due to many more mana draining buffs and added mana pool size. Instead of pumping magic, you'll get enough magic to get all your spells, and the rest goes into Willpower for a much larger mana pool, easily 2x as much. You'll be able to throw up sustained shimmering shields and cleansing aura with ease except for the long fights. Plus the extra spell pool comes in handy when throwing out that occasional fireball or mindblast in foes. My basic battle consisted of me throwing out the initial fireball to knock down enemies/set them on fire, then into battle we go. In Awakenings, you get many more aura spells that drain mana that are awesome with your arcane warrior, I.E. the Battlemage, etc. This 2nd build just flows with ease at that point.
My 2nd version with the high willpower/mana pool only has 88 weapon rating compared to the first 153, but easily 2x the mana pool size, thus allowing nice damaging auras up to wipe out group foes easier and faster.
But like i said, once you get playing one, you'll learn that you won't need every spell on at all the time. Shimmering shield really makes you into a resistant tank, but its not needed for the average fight. Cleansing aura healing your allies isn't needed if your mass producing high end healing potions and isn't needed in regular fights. But you have it if you need it. Having played both types the 2nd is much easier and more fun to play. if i wanted high magic i would just skip the arcane warrior totally and just make a blasting mage with max magic, fire boosting items, and just burn everything to the ground fast. I want to play an arcane warrior that is in the thick of battle and is boosting both himself and the other party members without worrying about dying in a couple hits. you'll still have plenty of mana to chuck out fireballs, firestorms, mind blasts, or what ever you like to throw for crowd control without having to manage your mana every second.
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