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    Arcane Warrior Guide by Sajber

    Version: 1.03 | Updated: 12/08/09 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Dragon Age Origins (PC):
    Arcane Warrior Guide, by 
    Erik Fasterius, erik.fasterius@hotmail.com
    Copyright 2009 Erik Fasterius
           Just smalltalk before we get to the good bits...
              1.1 What is the Arcane Warrior?
              1.2 How to use this guide
       2.0 ATTRIBUTES
           What you need and how to allocate your points.
              2.1 Strength
              2.2 Dexterity
              2.3 Willpower
              2.4 Cunning
              2.5 Magic
              2.6 Constitution
              2.7 Allocation
       3.0 SKILLS
           Character fluff and optionals.
       4.0 SPELLS
           Ah, now we're talking! The meat of the guide.
              4.1 Arcane
              4.2 Primal
              4.3 Creation
              4.4 Spirit
              4.5 Entropy
              4.6 Arcane Warrior Spells
           A choice of two: Blood Mage or Spirit Healer.
              5.1 Blood Mage
              5.2 Spirit Healer
              5.3 Shapeshifter (and why it's worthless)
       6.0 COMPANIONS
           The tactical aspects - trying to keep it spoiler free.
       7.0 COMBAT & TACTICS
           You've got your build, but how do you use it?
              7.1 Using spells efficiently
              7.2 Weapons
              7.3 General Combat
           What does YOUR Arcane Warrior look like?
       9.0 SPOILERS
           If you don't want the story ruined, don't read this.
              9.1 Unlocking Arcane Warrior
              9.2 Unlocking Blood Mage
              9.3 Unlocking Spirit Healer and Ranger
              9.4 Items
              9.5 The Mage Tower
              9.6 Tome Locations
      10.0 SOLOING
           Nightmare too easy? (includes some spoilers)
             10.1 Background
             10.2 Build
             10.3 Tactics
           The boring bits...
             11.1 Credit where credit is due
             11.2 Who can use this guide?
             11.3 Version History
    Alright, welcome to the guide! I'm Erik, just some guy from Sweden spending
    perhaps too much time playing games when he should be studying... I enjoy making
    guides, I've made a couple, mostly these type of character building guides. It's
    my way to give back to the community, where I lurk from time to time. You'll
    rarely, if ever, see me post anything in the forums, but sometimes a guide like
    this pops up from nowhere.
    1.1 What is the Arcane Warrior?
    Remeber seeing that specialization for the first time? "A mage, using armour and
    wielding weapons? Yeah, that's not right..." And you quickly dismissed it for 
    being utterly useless. Well, let me tell you, it's far from useless! The Arcane
    Warrior is THE best fortified class in the game, easily surpassing warriors and
    other mages alike in terms of pure survivability. It has tons of armour, defense
    and all types of resistances! And don't forget the spells...
    The Arcane Warrior is an interesting combination of concepts. It blends, quite
    seamlessly, the spells of a mage and the survivability of a warrior. Massive
    armour, damage from both spells and melee prowess and utility abilities makes
    the Arcane Warrior one of the most versatile classes in Dragon Age: Origins 
    (henceforth DA:O). It does require some careful planning and tinkering for it
    to work, though, and that's what this guide is for!
    1.2 How to use this guide
    This is a guide. Not a step-by-step build, set in stone. Not a walkthrough. A
    guide to help you build your OWN Arcane Warrior, not someone else's. This is a
    collection of thoughts and ideas on the class from my points of view, and I'm
    pretty sure there are a bunch of other, equally valid views, other than mine.
    Keep this in mind when you're reading!
    I'll gladly accept any other tips and tricks you might know that I don't! Feel
    free to send me a mail with anything you think might be added to what's already
    written here. Praise and constructive critisism isn't also most welcome. But, 
    please, DO NOT ask me about the story, some quest, choice or "How do I find X?",
    pretty please! This is NOT a walkthrough! There are the forums for that... You 
    can find my email at the top of this page.
    You can easily search through this guide by using CTRL+F and a search word. All
    the sections have numbers associated with them, for easier reference.
    One last note before we get into the guide itself is that I'm playing on a PC. 
    If there are variations from the PC and XBOX/PS3, then what you play on and what
    I've written here might not coincide. Let me know if there ARE such differences.
    With all that said, let's just straight in!
    Ok, you've just started your character, how do you allocate your attributes? 
    Well, an Arcane Warrior can, depending on second specialization, need a bit of
    it all...
    2.1 Strength
    You don't need ANY strength! Not one point. This is one of the beauties of the
    Arcane Warrior; your first specialization skill gives you a passive ability to
    use your Magic stat instead of Strength for determining whether or not you can
    equip your armour or weapons. So, no points here!
    2.2 Dexterity
    This is a bit trickier. One of the drawbacks of an Arcane Warrior is your hit-
    rate. You'll find yourself missing your enemies quite alot in the beginning, as
    Magic won't contribute to your attack stat as for strength would for normal
    melee classes. However, with all the buffs and goodies you'll have later on you
    will probably get by quite alright without putting any points into Dexterity. 
    Still, a few points might be just what you need if you feel your hit-rate really
    lacking. Get a feel for your character, and wait until you've got most of your
    sustainables before you start putting points here.
    2.3 Willpower
    Ah, the great balancing act of mana and sustainables, this is where it's all at.
    The Arcane Warrior fights with his sustainable spells rather than throwing lots
    of spells around all the time, which means his effective mana pool will be more
    like a mana puddle, regardless of how much Willpower he has. What you need to
    consider here is how many sustainables you will be using regularly and how much
    mana to spare you want in terms of utility and *oh, crap!*-effectiveness. 
    For a Blood Mage, however, you won't need this as much, since you can cast your
    spells from your hit points instead of from your mana (more on this later). Make
    sure you can use all the sustainables you want, and that's it. For those that
    aren't Blood Mages having a bit more Willpower can never be a bad thing. Don't
    neglect this stat, or you'll find yourself not only not being able to cast any
    spell, but you won't even be able to activate your sustainables!
    A Blood Mage might end up with around 20-30 Willpower, and other mages somewhere
    above that. There are items in the game that increases your mana, however, and
    these are CRITICAL for the Arcane Warrior. You can read about some of these down
    in the Spoilers section.
    2.4 Cunning
    You won't need this at all, leave it to the rogues. The only reason to have any
    points here at all would be the Coercion skill, and for that you'll not need
    2.5 Magic
    This is your Strength. With enough Magic you can equip any armour and weapon in
    the game without having to use Strength at all. Magic is also needed to be able
    to learn most of the spells. The biggest and best armours require 42 Magic.
    Magic also affects how much Spellpower you get. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I
    believe that Spellpower is calculated as [Magic - 10]. This means that when 
    increasing Magic by one, you will also increase Spellpower by one. Spellpower is
    important to you as it'll increase both your damage with spells (and their 
    general effectiveness as well) AND your melee damage. 
    You should aim for somewhere around 40-50 in the Magic attribute. 
    2.6 Constitution
    The effectiveness of this attribute is greatly dependent on your second choice
    of specialization. (You can read about the other specializations below). Blood
    Mages need this attribute quite alot, as it powers their spellcasting, but
    Spirit Healers will have enough healing to be able to have less hit points to
    play around with. Still, any character will want SOME Constitution, or they 
    won't survive long enough to get a heal.
    Blood Mages should pour everything into Constitution that they don't need for
    their other attributes. Plan ahead!
    2.7 Allocation
    So, you know how much of the attributes you need, but WHEN do you need them? 
    Well, keep in mind that for at least the first 7 levels, you are a normal mage.
    You'll be using a staff and casting spells like any other mage. This means that
    you need Magic and Willpower. You probably want to spike your Magic the first
    few levels to gain access to the spells you want and add a sprinkle of Willpower
    at the same time. You should leave the rest of the attributes until later.
    As you gain levels, continue to add points into Magic and Willpower until you
    reach your goal. If you need more +attack, add some Dexterity, but don't do this
    until you've got all your sustainables, so you know whether or not you actually
    NEED the +attack, or if it was just because you lacked a level or two.
    If you're going the Blood Mage route you really don't need to start to add any
    points to Constitution until level 10+, as you won't use it much until then. You
    should, however, add a few points in the early levels for all characters, just
    for added general survivability. 
    If you're going to be using the Coercion skill, only add Cunning to those levels
    where you get a skill point. You might consider going to the Circle of Mages as
    your first (or second, depending on what you have unlocked) stop after Lothering
    just for the attribute increases for this reason, so you won't have to add any
    more Cunning than you need.
    3.0 SKILLS
    Ok, this is the shortest section of the guide, simply because skills aren't that
    big of a deal in DA:O. They're the "other" stuff of your character, some skills
    that you can do on the side of your normal combat skills. Mages only get one
    skill per three levels, meaning you can max about two of them.
    Now, the Combat Training skills will give you some small amount of mana regen
    (rank 2) and decreased chance of loosing a spell from being hit while casting.
    This is semi-useful, having a spell fizzle really is annoying, especially when
    you don't cast that many spells to begin with.
    Poison Making is the only other skill that's actually very good for your Arcane
    Warrior. You can throw some splash-damage around, plus having more damage on
    your weapons can't be bad, can it? 
    As for the rest of the skills, they're all kind of *meh*. Coercion is good if
    you want those extra dialogue options, although I have to say that the skill
    disappointed me in not doing as much for DA:O as similar skill does for other
    Stealing, Survival, Herbalism, Trap-making and Combat Tactics are even more of
    *meh*. An Arcane Warrior don't need more Tactic slots, you're just going to be
    auto-attacking anyway, and when you need to do something other than auto-attack,
    you really shouldn't do it via tactics, but rather do it manually. Herbalism and
    Trap-making you can leave to some companion, the same goes for Stealing. I don't
    really get survival, to be honest. It seems so redundant, I never had a problem
    seeing the enemies on my minimap. And it's not as if you'll need the extra
    resistance you get from the last rank...
    Basicly, pick whatever you like, the differences are marginal.
    4.0 SPELLS
    This is not a list of ALL the spells in DA:O, just those that I feel are in some
    way or another useful for an Arcane Warrior. There are of course different play-
    styles other than my own, and so I've tried my best to include them as well, to
    the best of my ability. If your favourite spell isn't in this list, feel free to
    send me a mail and explain to me what a numbskull I am for not using it! And,
    please, tell me WHY it's your favourite spell! I also try to include some 
    explanation why I don't like some of the spells that might seem good.
    The key to playing an Arcane Warrior is sustained spells. Since you'll be using
    the heaviest of the heavy armour and weapons, you'll fatigue will be through the
    roof, meaning less spells to cast. The best way to counter this is to not use
    your mana actively, but rather through the sustained spells. You'll have so many
    buffs, so much armour and defense that you'll rarely get hit and take quit small
    amounts of damage when you do. Your resistances will be at the top as well - in
    short, you're the perfect tank. You're still quite proficient at dealing damage,
    and you can pop the occasional spell when the need arise. Think of the Arcane
    Warrior as a utility-tank with excellent damage capabilites. Your biggest 
    problem will be to hold aggro - more on this later.
    There have been quite a few mails asking about using the Arcane Warrior as a 
    "normal" mage, meaning casting more spells and dealing destruction with magic
    rather than your sword. Well, sure you CAN, but why would you want to? If you
    want a pure spellcaster, just go with a Blood Mage/Spirit Healer, that'll be 
    MUCH better for those purposes than an Arcane Warrior could ever be. Not using
    the Arcane Warrior to the limits of the class' potential seems a bit wasteful. 
    Keep in mind that starting a fight with all your sustainables activated might
    not be the brightest idea, you will want to cast what spells you can BEFORE
    activating them (more on this in the Tactics section).
    Keep in mind that you can only have a sustained spell on if you have enough mana
    to activate it in the first place. This means than you probably won't be able to
    have ALL of your sustainables activated all the time. Some you'll have activated
    all the time, some varies from fight to fight, and some will be very situational
    indeed. Don't be afraid to switch in the middle of a fight!
    One thing that an Arcane Warrior has to keep in mind when choosing spells, and
    this is quite important, is if the spell in question requires you to sheathe
    your weapons to cast it or not. This is one of the things the normal, staff-
    wielding mages don't need to worry about, as it doesn't apply to staffs. You, on
    the  other hand, might have to sheathe your weapons when you want to use certain
    spells. This may or may not be a big issue for you, depending on your playstyle.
    Spells with a * next to their name CAN NOT be caster with your weapons drawn.
    A quick note on Weapon Enhancements: you can only have one activated at a time, 
    but you can benefit from several if you aren't the only mage in the party.
    4.1 Arcane Spells
    This is quite a small tree - only four spells. 
        Arcane Bolt       - You'll get this one for free at level one. It's a cheap
                            spell, mana-wise, and very good for those levels before
                            you actually get the Arcane Warrior Specialization. This
                            is one of the spells that DOESN'T require you to sheathe
                            your weapons to use, which is very nice. You can use it
                            as a way to pull more enemies to you, while you hack 
                            away at those in front of you.
        Arcane Shield     - This is going to be one of your bread-and-butter spells,
                            once you get the AW specialization. More defense = not
                            being hit so often = good. Relatively cheap upkeep and
                            quick cast time. 
    Staff Focus is useless to you, since you wont' be using staffs. Arcane Mastery,
    on the other hand, might be useful. +5 Spellpower is +5 Spellpower, but is it
    worth the two points needed to get it? No, not in my opinion. However, if you
    find yourself without any spells you want when you've got all the other spells
    you want at high level, this might be a place to spend them.
    4.2 Primal Spells
    This is the more obvious damage-tree of the mages' spells. Quite a few Area of
    Effect spells (AoE from here on) plus some weapon enhancements and miscellaneous
    utility spells makes it a quite well-rounded tree.
        Flaming Weapons   - This would be the most powerful weapon enhancement in 
                            terms of pure damage. At higher levels you'll see damage
                            well above 10 for each hit, which isn't something to
                            sneeze at. You'll probably find yourself having this on
                            all the time - I know I can't live without it!
        Fireball *        - This is one of those spells I can't decide on. It's a 
                            big AoE spell with knockdown and good damage, but it'll
                            require you to sheathe your weapon. One of the things 
                            Arcane Warriors lack is ways of grabbing and keeping
                            threat on enemies and Fireball is a great way to do just
                            that. There are, however, better spells for this later
                            on, especially if you decide to become a Blood Mage. If
                            you got points to spare, this is a good pick anyday.
        Rock Armour       - Another bread-and-butter spell: more armour makes you 
                            take less damage when you get hit. 
        Stone Fist *      - Some like to use this spell on frozen targets for the
                            possibility of a shatter, which seems to work well. One
                            thing, though, is that you won't have mana to use this
                            spell consistently, and is thus better used on your 
                            other mages, should you want to.
        Frost Weapons     - Another weapon enhancement spell. While not doing as 
                            much damage as the fire version, this is still a very
                            handy spell to have. Quite alot of enemies are either
                            immune or resistant to fire, so having some frost to
                            balance it out is a good idea, especially on one of your
                            companions. Frost Weapons also slows enemies hit, but
                            not by much. You'll have Miasma, so this is a minor
                            point, but worth mentioning nevertheless.
        Cone of Cold *    - Another AoE spell, with the same problems as with the
                            Fireball spell. Cone of Cold has a lesser area of effect
                            but in turn freezes your targets, which may in turn
                            shatter the enemies on potential critical hits. A good
                            pick, if you have points to spare.
    The rest of the spells in this tree is either pure damage, utility or some mix
    of them both. You, however, won't have the mana to take advantage of either, so
    save them for your companions.
    4.3 Creation Spells
    This is more of a support-and-utility tree with a good mix of spells. While only
    a few are useful for an Arcane Warrior, some of the other spells are certainly
    worthwhile to have on one or two of your companions!
        Heal              - This is the first healing spell in the game, and quite
                            useful. You won't have enough mana to consistently heal,
                            but you'll find yourself in moments when you sigh in
                            relief in taking the spell as a single, well-places heal
                            saves the life of the party. This is one of the things 
                            the Arcane Warrior excells at: emergency healing and
                            utility. A must-have. In fact, every mage in your party
                            should have it!
        Haste             - This is a tricky one... Haste is one of the better 
                            spells out there in terms of just increasing your auto-
                            attack damage (even with the attack penality), but it
                            costs four points to get, three of them more or less
                            useless and at best very situational spells! However, it
                            is quite beneficial to let one of your companions use 
                            Haste instead of yourself. Maybe one of your companions
                            starts with one or two of the prerequisite spells...?
                            One thing to consider, though, is that Haste stacks up
                            to two instances, meaning that if you only have two
                            mages in your group (including you) it's a very good
                            pick, still.
        Glyph of Warding  - This is quite an awesome spell for those hard-hitting
                            bosses, or for when your tank it surrounded by alot of
                            enemies. While it's radius is quite small, it'll give
                            you a whooping +30 defense while inside! This means you
                            will survive the first onslaught of enemies and thin 
                            their numbers enough so that when the spell's duration
                            is up you won't have any problem with the remaining 
        Glyph of Repulsion - This is an excellent spell all on it's own, but it can
                            also synergize with Glyph of Paralysis, the first spell
                            in the Glyph line. While casting one on top of the other
                            it'll create a big AoE stun. This can be really good
                            in keeping all those pesky archers at bay. An even 
                            better tactic is to throw up a Repulsion Glyph (giving
                            enemies a hard time to move through it), wait for it's
                            duration to almost end, and THEN throw a Glyph of 
                            Paralysis on top of it. This is a VERY good crowd
                            controlling combo.
                            already known? Hm...
        Spell Wisp        - More spellpower is never a bad thing, and this comes
                            quite cheap as well. I haven't used this much myself,
                            as the balance of mana and sustainables is quite a hard
                            to maintain. This'll become much more useful if you
                            become a Blood Mage as your second specialization.
    The rest of the healing spells are good, but not your for, you won't have the 
    mana to use them. I highly recommend having at least one of your companions have
    them all, though, they'll get you through some of the harder fights. I haven't
    used the Glyph spells much myself, so I can't really give any advice on them,
    other than that you (yet again) won't have the mana to use them. Feel free to
    email me if feel you got something to contribute to this!
    4.4 Spirit Spells
    This is one of the more useful trees, if not only because it's got Crusing
    Prison and Force Field in it, but also a bunch of really good utility spells.
        Mind Blast *      - This is both an excellent "Oh, crap!"-spell and a great
                            aggro spell. While it won't distract already engaged
                            enemies all too well, it's a great way to grab that 
                            initial threat. You will need to sheathe your weapons, 
                            though. All mages should have this spell!
        Force Field       - Wow! This is the second best spell in the game! This 
                            spell will make an impossible fight into a cake-walk. 
                            Since all your mages already has Mind Blast (right? =P),
                            they might as well get this one as well.
        Telekinetic Weapons - The last of the wapon enhancements, this one doesn't
                            add any "pure" damage, but rather increases it by 
                            increasing your armour penetration. One of your mages
                            must have this for the many heavily-armoured enemies
                            you'll find in DA:O.
        Crushing Prison   - Yup, this is the best spell in the game. It's like Force
                            Field, except it does damage as well! Your Arcane 
                            Warrior really should have the whole Mind Blast line 
                            just for this, it's that good. Often you'll just start
                            a fight by throwing Crushing Prison on the most powerful
                            enemy in sight, Force Field on another, and then hack
                            away. Another excellent feature of Crushing Prison is 
                            that it'll generate additional threat. You might even
                            want this on your companion mages as well.
    At first glance, Death Syphon might seem useful. Think about it, though. You'll
    start fights by using the spells you want, activate all your sustainables, and
    your mana pool will barely be a puddle. What use is there to replenish what 
    little mana you have? You won't be able to cast any spells consistently anyway.
    Your mana should be saved for those sink-or-swim moments when you really need
    it, and you won't need to replenish it, it'll do that for itself. Besides, the
    Fade Shroud (last of the Arcane Warrior spells) gives you enough mana for your
    regenerative needs.
    4.5 Entropy Spells
    This is a utility-heavy tree, mixed with some potentially very damaging combos.
    While not many spells are useful for your Arcane Warrior, some might be quite
    the pick for your companions.
        Miasma            - Another excellent sustained spell. Less attack means 
                            that both you and your party will get hit less and less
                            defense means that you'll hit your enemies more often!
                            The possible movement penalities are just the icing on
                            the cake. It's well worth the high mana cost!
        Death Hex *       - This spells totally depends on your party configuration.
                            If you have a lot of people hitting your enemies with
                            physical attacks, it's a death sentance for whomever you
                            put it on, but if you've got more mages in your group it
                            might be a waste. You alone hitting on a monster is not
                            enough to warrent use of this spell. The prerequisites
                            aren't horrible, but is more suited for a companion.
                            Something to think about, at least.
        Drain Life *      - This is a handy spell to have for those moments when you
                            really need it, and it's very useful in the beginning of
                            the game.
        Death Magic       - Another sustained, this one a bit more situational. It's
                            quite useful when you're surrounded but alot of enemies
                            hitting away at you as it'll increase your survivability
                            and reduce the need for healing, but it really needs
                            quite alot of corpses to be of real use. 
        Sleep *           - Another excellent crowd control spell, as if we needed
                            any more! There's quite alot of enemies in the game that
                            it won't affect, however, so it's more situational than
                            most spells. Synergized very well with Horror.
        Horror *          - This is only useful on targets that are already affected
                            by the Sleep spell, but when hit on such a target, it
                            really does shine with a huge amount of damage. This is
                            an excellent combo to take out enemy mages with. You
                            should probably save these for one of your companions,
                            though, you have other, more important spells to cast.
    4.6 Arcane Warrior Spells
    You'll max this tree, there's nothing more to it. Grab the next spell in line as
    soon as you can, they are too excellent to wait for! As for passive bonuses, the
    Arcane Warrior will get +5 to hit and +1 to Dexterity.
        Combat Magic      - Ok, so except from making the Magic attribute your new
                            Strength, this spell will increase your attack and
                            damage and is the thing that allows you to melee. What
                            Did you choose this specialisation for? Combat Magic.
                            You might not want to jump straight into armour and
                            sword as soon as you get this spell, however, as your
                            attack and threat generation might still be lacking. 
                            Try it out and get a feeling for wether you should wait
                            or start using it straight away.
        Aura of Might     - Combat Magic gains more bonuses? Great!
        Shimmering Shield - You're now a powerhouse. This should be active at ALL
                            times. Armour, damage resistance AND all the other
                            resistances tied together into one, neat spell. What's
                            not to love?
        Fade Shroud       - More bonuses for Combat Magic? Yup. The increased mana
                            regeneration is marginally useful for you and your mana
                            puddle, but the increased chance to avoid attacks makes
                            your already nigh-unhittable ass even more solid.
    A quick note on the 1.02 patch: Shimmering Shield now deactivates when you've
    depleted your mana. This is not a nerf, this is a bugfix: Shimmering Shield is
    the only spell that required mana to use and DIDN'T deactivate when you went to
    zero mana. The Arcane Warrior is as powerful as ever, you'll just need a bit 
    different tactics as to when and where to use Shimmering Shield. With the right
    equipment you can still have it active more or less all the time.
    Well, obviously you'll pick the Arcane Warrior as your first specialization, but
    what about the second? There really are only two to pick from, as Shapeshifter
    is totally useless. Blood Mage is more offensive and synergizes well with your
    mana puddle while Spirit Healer gives you more healing capabilities and general
    5.1 Blood Mage
    This is, in my opinion, the best specialization for an Arcane Warrior, as it
    perfecly offsets all it's drawbacks, namely it's mana. With Blood magic, you
    won't have to worry about mana, you can cast any spell you want, as long as you
    have the hit points to do it. While this setup certainly is very powerful, it
    really does require some careful use and micromanagement. You'll be healed for
    less, which can be a problem, but you can fix that by going in and out of Blood
    Magic. This actually works, seeing as the cooldown is only 10 seconds. Passive
    bonuses are +2 to Constitution and Spellpower. 
    One thing to note about the higher difficulties is that the AW/BM combo starts 
    to lose ground to the it's Spirit Healer brothers just because of the sheer 
    amount of damage that will be served to you on a silver platter. I still think 
    that Blood Mage is the better specialization in terms of perfectly synergizing 
    with the Arcane Warrior, but I've found, along with others, that it's 
    survivability does lack that extra *oompfh* needed for Nightmare difficulty, 
    unless you REALLY micromanage every single little move and don't use tactics 
    at all...
        Blood Magic        - This ability alone is reason enough to take the Blood
                             Mage, as explained above. Careful micromanagement and
                             planning is the key here.
        Blood Sacrifice    - This is both a great and horrible ability. You can
                             never get enough healing, but at what cost? If you take
                             hit points from one of your companions, won't somebody
                             have to heal them instead of you? However... This can
                             be circumvented. You know that rogue specialization, 
                             Ranger, that you never thought anything about because
                             all the others seemed to much better? Well, a for a
                             Blood Mage, a Ranger is actually an excellent choice of
                             companion second specialization! The Ranger can summon
                             animals to fight for you... Which you can steal health
                             from without any real penality! This is a very good
                             synergy for a Blood Mage, I highly recommend it!
        Blood Wound        - Did I say Crushing Prison was the best spell in the 
                             game? Well, yes, it is. But, this is better! It's 
                             basicly the same spell as and AoE! Watch as an entire 
                             horde of enemies halt in their progress and start to
                             take damage. Did I mention it generates additional 
                             threat as well? So, those enemies who do survive the
                             Blood Wound spell will most likely run straight towards
                             you, which is exactly what you want. THIS is the best
                             spell in the game!
        Blood Control      - Take control of a powerful enemy and watch it tear
                             through it's former allies, priceless. Even if it
                             resists the spell, it'll still take damage from it. Oh,
                             and extra threat. 
    A Blood Mage won't need as much Willpower as other mages, because of his use of
    Blood Magic. Keep this in mind when allocating your attributes, just remember
    that you still need enough mana to be able to activate your sustainables. As a
    Blood Mage you will, however, need quite alot of more Constitution if you don't
    want to end up in micromanagement-death. 
    5.2 Spirit Healer
    This is for you that want a less offensive Arcane Warrior, but all the more
    survivable. You'll get more healing, and the best healing ability in the game, a
    sustainable healing spell! Suits you perfectly... Passive bonuses are +2 to
    Magic and minor health regeneration in combat.
        Group Heal         - This is an excellent spell for those times when you're
                             in a pinch with several of your party members in need
                             of a heal. A lifesaver, at times!
        Revival            - I generally find that if you need to use this spell,
                             you've already lost the fight, at least on the higher
                             difficulties. Still, it's a prerequisite.
        Lifeward           - Another healing spell, but quite situational. It's very
                             for when you know that you'll be taking heavy damage
                             very soon, but you'll need to plan it out ahead of
                             time. You CAN use it for normal healing if all your
                             other heals are on cooldown, however.
        Cleansing Aura     - This is the reason the Spirit Healer specialization is
                             an option to Blood Mage. It's a sustainable that heals.
                             You'll be a walking health-dispenser, and you'll become
                             the hardest thing to kill in the world. Keep in mind 
                             that this thing drains mana, and coupled with other
                             sustainables (Shimmering Shield in particular) you'll
                             more often than not find yourself out of mana quickly,
                             if you haven't invested heavily into Willpower. The
                             Cleansing Aura will deactivate when you've depleted
                             your mana, so keep chugging those potions!
    A spirit Healer needs more Willpower than a Blood Mage if he wants to be able to
    cast any spells at all. Still, you probably won't need any Constitution, so it's
    not hard to allocate those spare points into Willpower.
    5.3 Shapeshifter
    Yeah... You can't use any of your other spells in any of the animal forms. There
    isn't really anything else to say about this specialization, it's completely and
    utterly useless.  
    You are not alone... Having a good set of companions that complement you in your
    abilities and skills is another tactical aspect of DA:O. There are quite a few
    to choose from, and I'll try to give some insight into each of them in this
    section without giving too much away. But first, what does a good party with an
    Arcane Warrior look like?
    Well, there's you, the Arcane Warrior. What is your role? You are mainly a tank.
    You have some utility spells, and you can throw in the occoasional heal, should
    the need arise. As a Blood Mage you can do devastating damage, but require more
    support from your companions. As a Spirit Healer you have more of a supporting
    role yourself, not doing as much damage while being unparallelled at mitigating
    How do you complement to that? Well, you'll probably be wanting somebody that 
    can heal on a more regular basis, which means another mage. You should probably
    throw lots of support spells on this mage as well, and not focus on dealing
    damage with her - the healer aggroing the enemies is never a good thing. 
    You'll probably want a rogue as well, if only for the Lockpicking. I myself hate
    it when I pass a chest and can't open it, I always feel like I'm missing some
    good loot... A rogue is an even better choice if you go the Blood Mage route,
    because of the Ranger specialization. 
    So, that's you, a mage and a rogue. The last spot? Well, that's up to you. 
    Another rogue is kind of useless, another warrior or mage brings more to the
    table. A warrior will add more general survivability to the party in terms of
    taking more enemies. Warriors are also quite competent at dealing damage, so you
    won't go wrong with one. Which one you pick will largely depend on what type of
    Arcane Warrior you are.
    Another mage adds more Crushing Prisons, more Force Fields, more Heals and more
    weapon enhancements. They might be squishier than a warrior, and you'll find
    yourself fighting them for the threat quite alot of the time, but it's well 
    worth it. This is probably the best option if you go the Blood Mage route, as
    you'll be needing the extra support that another mage supplies.
    A warrior can add more damage and more damage soaking, which is always good for
    the general survivability of the party. You might even opt for a second tank, 
    so as yo spread the damage between the two of you and make the healer's day
    easier. This is an excellent option if you went with Spirit Healer, as you can
    probably supply enough heals that you won't need a full-time healer mage for 
    the job, but rather spreading the healing out between the two of you. This works
    wonders with the Cleansing Aura of the Spirit Healer.
    There's always the Roleplaying aspect as well, you might not really want to
    bring a certain character because you think he or she is totally bonkers for
    one or two reasons.
    Personally, my first Arcane Warrior/Blood Mage used the Hag, the Bitch and the
    Annoying Accent Girl, all fighting at range with me in the melee fray. My 
    current Arcane Warrior/Spirit Healer uses the Bitch, the Huge Boulder and the
    Annoying Accent Girl, yet again.
    How does an Arcane Warrior fight? How does he use his companions? What spells,
    and when? Here I'll lay out some examples, but you really should try to get a
    feel for your own character and play in the way you like best.
    7.1 Using spells efficiently
    Ok, you have your spells and you have your sustainables. How to you utilize them
    to their full potential? Well, starting a fight with all your sustainables
    activated is not the best tactic. The other extreme, having NONE of your
    sustainables active is equally bad! 
    When you activate a sustained spell or ability (be it on your mage or your other
    companions) you drain the mana listed as "Upkeep". Most sustainables cost around
    30-60 in upkeep. So, if you have full mana and activate a sustainable, your new
    effective maximum mana will be modified. This means that you might just have 
    wasted 60 mana! What you do is you FIRST cast a spell (Blood Wound, Crushing
    Prison and Force Field are clear winners) and THEN you activate any of the
    sustainables you deem appropriete for the fight at hand. Even Blood Mages should
    start fights like this, there's no need to waste hit points on spells when you
    can just as easily cast them for free with your mana.
    As an Arcane Warrior, you will want to find a balance between sustainables and
    mana. You do want SOME mana free to be able to cast the occasional heal or 
    utility spell for when you really need them, so having ALL your sustainables
    active at all times probably isn't a good idea. This is less of a problem for
    Blood Mages, of course. How much free mana you want is up to you, play around 
    and find what works for you.
    When it comes to the spells that require you to sheathe your weapons you will of
    course want to cast them before you start fighting, as a general rule. However,
    sometimes you just need to get that Mind Blast off, and then there's not much 
    to do other than to just cast it. If you start to cast a spell right the second
    you when you need it, however, you might find that the sheathing cost you too
    much time, and now you're dead. Try to plan ahead, see where the fight is going
    and parry it accordingly.
    Different spells are best suited for different types of fights and different
    enemies - learn them all. Some spells are excellent for general crowd control
    (the Glyph spells, Crushing Prison, Force Field, Cone of Cold, Blood Wound...), 
    some are better for pure DPS (Death Hex, Fireball...) and some are best used in
    a combination of spells and/or talents (freezing targets, Stone Fist, Horror...)
    You won't be using ALL the spells listed above, but try to find your own play
    style, what works for YOU. Try the different spells out before you decide which
    ones are good and which you can leave behind!
    7.2 Weapons
    You have NO weapon talents at all - you'll be relying solely on auto-attack. So,
    what weapons do you use? Well, you have the three alternatives any other melee
    character has: sword & shield, two handed weapons or dual wielding. 
    The sword and shield approach is good because you gain even more survivability
    to you already huge pile of defense, armour and sustainables. Another great pro
    of using a sword and shield is that you have two spots for added stats, since
    both the shield and the sword more than likely have stats of their own. You can,
    of course, use a mace instead of a sword, if you prefer.
    Two-handed weapons do more damage, but hit slower. They also have better armour
    penetration. Hitting slowly isn't really all that good for an Arcane Warrior,
    seeing as you want out as much as you can get from your different weapon 
    enhancement spells. Hitting faster means more damage, in this instance. Another
    reason to not use two-handed weapons is that the best weapon in the game, hands
    down, for an Arcane Warrior, is a one-handed sword.
    Dual wielding will arguably do more damage, but without the talents that other
    melee characters get you will probably find it lacking.
    So, sword and shield is probably the best way to go, with dual wielding a close
    second. Stay away from two-handed weapons!
    7.3 General Combat
    Some fights you need all the micromanagement you can possible get, others you
    just breeze through with a yawn. For the latter, you might even want to go in
    with most, if not all your sustainables activated. This is mostly applicable to
    the lower difficulties, as when things get tougher, you find yourself using the
    pause button more and more often. 
    When it comes to boss battles or just general baddies you'll want to utilize all
    the mana you can before activating you sustainables. Find a balance of how many
    you can keep offline in the beginning of the fight for more spells to cast 
    before going into the fray. Keep in mind that activating a sustainable isn't
    instant, you need to stand still and actually wait for it to activate first.
    If you have six sustainables to activate while the boss is running towards you,
    you might be a goner already!
    Threat management! Oh, how this can be hard at times. You might even want your
    companions to just wait for a few seconds, doing nothing, while you grab aggro
    from the enemies, just so they don't start chopping away at your companions the
    first thing they do. This gets even more important if you have a squishy-heavy
    party with lots of mages and rogues. Aoe-spells can really save your day in this
    aspect. Blood Wound will handle things marvelously, and you can even throw a
    Fireball or a Crushing Prison on top of that for even more control and threat.
    Keep in mind that while weapon enhancements are really good for your damage, you
    might not want to go into a hard fight them activated on your companions for
    the same reasons listed above. Since your companions will more likely only have
    one or two sustainables it's far more efficient for them to only activate them
    once they've used a spell or two first. You can live without the damage for a
    few seconds!
    As with any tactical RPG, planning is key. What monster is most dangerous? Which
    one should you disable, and which one should you focus all your damage on? It's
    a good bet to try to disable the casters (i.e. mages) as quickly as you can,
    Force Field is an excellent spell for this, especially if you have it on more 
    than one character, as you can keep it out of the fight almost indefinitely. 
    Use Crushing Prison on the thing you want to kill quickly and use Blood Wound
    for total battlefield devastation. Know what spells and abilities you have and
    when to use them and you'll be fine.
    As I said in the introduction, this is not a guide for the end all-be all of
    Arcane Warriors, this is a collection of my thoughts on the class as a whole.
    In the end, what type of character you want to create is totally up to you. 
    There is no Ultimate Build, only the build which suits you best!
    The biggest decision you need to make is wether you want an offensive or a 
    defensive Arcane Warrior and pick your specialization (Blood Mage and Spirit
    Healer, respectively) accordingly. This will affect your attribute allocation as
    well as your spell choices. Which companions do you want? Are you using a shield
    or a dagger in your off-hand?
    One thing that I've found helpful when trying to decide on a build (for any 
    game) is that a try to imagine the character and what I want to do with it and
    build it after that image. It might help to read through some sections of this
    guide again and try to pick parts that you like and put them together to form
    some sort of complete image of the puzzle that is character building. 
    Use this guide as just that, a GUIDE, not some sort of infallible writ! I'm 
    pretty sure I've missed some spells and tactics that are the bread-and-butter of
    some other player out there! Maybe it's you? Feel free to send me a mail and 
    tell me why I should try it your way!
                                     9.0 SPOILERS
    Please don't send me mails about "How do I find X, Y and Z?". This is NOT a 
    walkthrough! Use the forum search, it's a good function.
    A note on unlocking specializations... They transfer between characters. This
    means that if you've unlocked a specialization on one character, all others will
    have access to it from the go, without having to go and do the related quest or
    buy the manual themselves. You can even save your game, buy a manual, and reload
    the game and STILL have the specialization unlocked! A good trick to know...
    9.1 Unlocking Arcane Warrior
    During the Dalish Elves quest chain you'll find yourself in some ruins in the
    middle of a forest. The Arcane Warrior specialization is taught by a spirit 
    trapped in a gem in a room in the Lower Ruins. It'll "speak" to you and tell you
    that it wants to be released from the anguish it has endured by lying around for
    centuries. You can opt to help the spirit by destroying the gem, but make sure
    you have it teach you the Arcane Warrior specialization first!
    Actually finding the gem can be quite troublesome, seeing as it's quite small 
    and very easy to miss. What you want to do is to make sure you hold TAB (or
    whatever button it is on the XBOX and PS3) to highlight all the usables/items 
    before you leave any room in the ruins. Do this, look around in each room, and
    you'll eventually find the gem.
    9.2 Unlocking Blood Mage
    At the end of the Redcliffe questline you'll have a choice of killing a young
    child possessed by a demon or to go into the Fade and try to kill the demon it-
    self. You'll want to go into the Fade. Inside, you'll eventually come face to
    face with the demon, and you can make a deal with it. It'll leave the boy for
    the moment, and you get to choose one of several "awards", granted by the demon,
    one of which is the Blood Mage specialization. Another reward is a book which 
    gives you one more spell or talent to pick, so make sure you save before picking
    your reward. Make sure you yourself is the one entering the Fade, as if anybody
    else does so, they won't have the option to make any deal at all with the Demon.
    Getting into the Fade itself can be a bit of a bother as well - you have two
    alternatives. Either Jowan performes the ritual (killing Isolde) or you, having
    already gone to the Mage Tower, can enlist Irving and some mages in helping you.
    Performing the ritual will lose you quite a bit of approval, especially with
    Alistair (he's apparently againts ritualistic sacrifice for some reason...), but
    getting the mages won't make any fuss.
    There is also a way to unlock the Blood Mage completely unrelated to the 
    Redcliffe questline, namely the Elven Alianage. When you (eventually) get to the
    bottom of the quarantine of the alianage, you'll find that the person that's
    responsible is in fact a Blood Mage. He'll beg and grovel for this life, and you
    can actually get him to teach you the Blood Mage specialization this way. Note
    that most party member's won't like this one bit, and you'll lose some approval,
    as opposed to the method above (if you do it right, that is).
    9.3 Unlocking Spirit Healer and Ranger
    These are by far the easiest of the Unlockables, they can both be bought by a
    shopkeeper. You can find the Spirit Healer Manual in the Wonders of Thedas in
    Denerim, and the Ranger Manual is sold by the dwarf in your camp.
    9.4 Items
    As an Arcane Warrior, what type of items do you need? Well, it depends a bit on
    what second specialization you took, but most items are universally good for all
    Arcane Warriors. Firstly, the heavier the armour, the better. You'll be tanking,
    and aggro in (partly) calculated based on what type of armour you're wearing,
    heavier meaning more threat. More armour also means you take less damage, which
    is good. You might want to start a fight out with some caster gear equipped
    (meaning a robe, a staff, etc...) before you activate your sustainables, that 
    way you'll get the most out of the spells you cast.
    Items that give more defense is also good to keep an eye out for. You're most
    likely going to want to find some items with +attack as well, depending on how
    good you feel you hit your enemies. This will be more important at lower levels.
    Another stat, perhaps even more important, is mana. You'll need alot of it to be
    able to cast all the sustainables you want, regardless if you're a Blood Mage or
    a Spirit Healer. More mana also means you'll have more room for those utility 
    spells (Heals, for example) when you really need them.
    Blood Mages does need items that give you more hit points, if you can find them.
    For them, hit points = mana, so you'll need just enough mana to cast all your
    sustainables and add as many hit points you can from there. 
    Items that give you bonuses to attributes are also good, but shouldn't really be
    prioritized over the above types.
    Items that increase fire and frost damage are also quite good, as they DO 
    increase the damage on your weapon enhancement spells. You'll probably be using
    the fire version, so give the frost items to some other character.
    When it comes to items in general, try to use your sense of balance in what you
    need for the items. Missing too often? Use attack-boosting items. Too little
    mana? Get more mana. Dying too easily of big-damage spells? Get more hit points.
    You get the picture. There are no real "bestest item EVAH!", just items that
    suits special play styles and works differently for different builds. Pick those
    that suits YOUR build best.
    One item to mention, however, is the Spellweaver. This is one of those items 
    that really IS the "bestest item EVAH!", few though they may be. It's a very
    good longsword specifically for the Arcane Warrior (who are the only ones who
    can equip it). It increases your Magic attritbute by five, among other bonuses,
    and has two slots for runes. It's found in the caves along the Sacred Urn
    questline, guarded by a Cultist Overseer (a mage), some Reavers and a bunch of
    Drakes of different sizes. The part of the cave you're looking for is the
    north-eastern part. If you do you the quest and always head north-northeast you
    will find it, sooner or later.
    9.5 The Mage Tower
    This is a very good area to do quickly, if not first, after you've left the
    village of Lothering, the reason being the Fade portion of the quest and the
    permanent increases in stats inside it. 
    You'll start at the bottom of the Tower, and work your way up to the fourth 
    floor, doing whatever you want to do on your way there. A Sloth Demon will then
    forcibly take you into the Fade, where you have to do your best to get out.
    Scattered around the different "Island" of this part of the Fade are several
    stat-dispensers. Some you can grab straight on, some are blocked by a Massive
    door or a wall of fire and yet more require you to use the Spirit Form to be
    able to touch them. These are the number of stat increases you can gain:
                     Strength:  4                Magic:       2
                     Dexterity: 4                Cunning:     5
                     Willpower: 4                Costitution: 2
    Make sure you grab them all, because even if you don't really need strength for
    anything, it still adds to your attack, and since it's free it's really too good
    to pass up. You will need to do some backtracking to get them all, since you 
    won't have all the necessary Forms the first time around an Island. I usually
    write down stuff that I can't get at the moment, for easier reference when I'm
    backtracking later on.
    If you want to use the Coercion line of Skills, I HIGHLY recommend you do the
    Mage Tower as soon as possible, since you'll only need to invest a single point
    in Cunning with all the bonuses you'll get from the Tower.
    9.6 Tome Locations
    There are a bunch of them, but where can they be found? Here's a short list of
    the ones that you can get out in the world, not including the ones which spawn
    in your inventory if you've got the Collector's Edition.
       Tome of Arcane Technique    - Circle Tower, Quartermaster
                                   - Denerim, Wonders of Thedas, after Landsmeet
                                   - Party Camp, Bodahn Feddic
       Tome of Skill and Sundry    - Dalish Camp, Varathorn
                                   - Elven Alienage, Alarith's Store
                                   - Random world encounter, Old Tegrin
    There are also a bunch of quests that'll give you another point to spell on a
    spell just by completing them, you won't have to do anything special for this.
    One, however, you need to complete in a special way - the Redcliffe Desire 
    Demon (read above in the Unlocking Blood Mage section). When you get the option
    to make a deal with the demon, simply pick the one that says "something to
    increase my talents". When you come out of the Fade, you'll have a "book" in 
    your inventory that'll give you one talent point to spend.
    10.0 SOLOING
    Alright. This is for you who thought that Nightmare was too easy, you've already
    beaten the game at least once, and you want a real challange. You will use the
    quicksave and quickload functions alot since you will die... ALOT. You'll more
    than likely become very frustrated by this. If this seems like a good tradeoff 
    for being able to say that you've solo'd the game, then read on!
    10.1 Background
    I believe that the Arcane Warrior is one of the very few, if not only, class and
    build that can actually solo this game with any sort of consistency. There are
    a few problems that you'll encounter as a solo character which wasn't such a
    big problem when there were four of you, all these problems perfectly parried by
    the Arcane Warrior:
     1) Stuns           - Yeah. This is the reason why a wolf pack can be the most
                          deadly enemy you'll even encounter in the game. You'll be
                          on the recieving end of Overwhelm after Overwhelm, pinning
                          you to the ground, unable to do anything, often for more
                          than 10 seconds in a row. You'll need armour and alot of
                          hit points to be able to survive the different stuns that
                          the game throws at you.
     2) Numbers         - Can your character handle being beaten on by 20 mobs at 
                          the same time, some of whom are in melee, others firing
                          arrows and yet more casting spells? Resistances, defense,
                          armour and hit points, all factor in.
     3) Durability      - Can you still fight with your mana or stamina drained? Do
                          you need to keep drinking potions, or can you actually do
                          something useful without your energy?
    Of course, the Arcane Warrior brushes all these problems aside. Depending on 
    which difficulty you're trying to solo on you might still be brushing or rather
    elbowing your way through them, though... An Arcane Warrior will, in the end,
    have all the neccesary armour, hit points, defense, resistances you could ever
    think of. Hit points? Well, a Blood Mage can utilize hit points quite well, so
    if you pump constitution... And, of course, the Arcane Warrior doesn't need any
    mana after the first 10 seconds of a fight, releasing all his spells as needed.
    A note on the 1.02 patch, which fixed Shimmering Shield (which now correctly
    deactivates on reaching zero mana) and changed Cone of Cold, Blizzard, Force
    Field and Crushing Prison. These are all key spells for a solo Arcane Warrior,
    and for those of you who've tried soloing before and after the patch it might
    seem harsh. That Shimmering Shield didn't deactivate was a big and needed to be
    fixed, but it's still one of the best spells in the game, you just need to be a
    bit more careful when and how to use it. Planning is more key than ever. As for
    the other changed spells, they're more or less numerical changes, increasing
    cooldown and/or decreasing duration. You CAN still solo with an Arcane Warrior!
    10.2 Build
    You've seen the general outline above, now for the details. Obviously, you're an
    Arcane Warrior, and you'll pick Blood Mage as a second specialization. Why not
    Spirit Healer? Well, while the Spirit Healer certainly has a quite formidable
    survivability, it's not well equipped to deal with large trains of enemies by
    itself, the Blood Mage is much better at that. And seeing as you'll be solo the
    entire game, you will need that utility.
    What about attributes? Well, it's quite easy as well: 42 Magic, MAYBE some into
    Willpower (to be able to cast all the sustainables you want) and the rest into
    Constitution. Get to 42 Magic as soon as you can, preferably around level 8-9,
    and then start pumping Constitution. 
    Spells, I hear you ask... well, that's trickier. Seeing as you're alone on this
    one, you'll need to be able to do everything you want to do yourself. This will
    put a bit of a strain on your spell choices, as you'll need a better spread 
    between AoE, utility and sustainables than a "normal" Arcane Warrior would need.
    You might be tempted to go mass AoE just for the heck of it, seeing as you only
    need to look out for number one, but I'd advice against it. Even with Storm of
    the Century you'll find yourself lacking in other departments. 
    Walking Bomb and Virulent Walking Bomb are two excellent damage spells. Cast one
    or the other on a mob, cast some other damaging spells on the same mob, and see
    the whole pack go down.
    The ice spells are quite important for a solo run, as they provice much needed
    crowd control, Cone of Cold being the most important one, with Blizzard a close
    When it comes to sustainables, it's prioritizing that'll win the day. Arcane
    Shiled, Rock Armour, Miasma, Combat Magic and Shimmering Shield are still must-
    haves, but what about the rest? You'll probably want to skip the entire Fire
    tree and use the Frost Weapons enhancement for when you want it. Haste is as
    good as ever, but is it worth it? Maybe, it depends on whether you want more
    spells to cast or not. Spell Wisp is right out, that mana needed for it could be
    better used on more points in Constitution. Telekinetic weapons are good to have
    for those fights when you need it, and the road there is still quite good. 
    Crushing Prison is still a good spell, but only if you get Telekinetic weapons.
    The Blood Mage spells really do shine through in a solo run, especially Blood
    Wound. Take that, coupled with a Blizzard and Virulent Walking Bomb and the
    entire room will be cleared before you know it. Blood Control is also very good.
    Heal is still a must-have. Still at level 1.
    You'll get by with these spells. The rest I recommend you pick for yourself, 
    depending on what you like. Frost, Bombs, Blood and sustainables will get you
    throught most any situation, everything else is just icing on the cake.
    10.3 Tactics
    Have you ever solo'd a game before? If you have, you know that the hardest part
    of any solo game is the first few levels when you haven't gotten the abilities
    that define your character yet, and DA:O is no different. I recommend grabbing
    Heal and Cone of Cold as soon as you can, quickly followed by Virulent Walking
    Bomb. At level 7 you'll get Arcane Warrior, try to have at least 38 Magic by
    then so you can wear the Blood Dragon Armour. You DO have that, right? It's the
    best armour in the game for this type of character, except maybe some Warden's
    Keep armour, depending on situation.
    As for those parts of the game where you can't solo (ie. the game forces you to
    have at least one companion), don't worry, just hit H (or whatever button it is
    on the consoles) to plant your companions at the beginning of the map. You can
    also disable all their tactics.
    The Tower of Ishal can be a bother, especially the troll at the end. Walking
    Bomb and running in circles might be your only chance this early in the game.
    You'll start having an easier time when you get to Lothering and beyond. In
    fact, when you're done with Lothering, I'd recommend trying to finish as many
    side-quests as you can, before beginning any of the major plot quests. The
    Mages' Collective, Chanter's Boards, Blackstone Irregulars, etc. Alot of those
    quests are quite easy and only require you to travel around alot. You could also
    resque Shale, as that quest is really easy, even at lower level. You might want
    to leave some of the harder quests for now, as the Back Alley Justice in Denerim
    for example. 
    When you're done with side-quests I'd say head over to the Circle Tower. Quite
    a large portion of that is MADE for soloing, anyway, and you're probably enough
    level by now (read: 9 or 10) to be able to handle the rest of the fights in
    there. After that, just go whereever you fancy, the game only get easier from
    now on.
    When you hit level 14 you really start to shine. Blood Wound will be your
    favourite spell, if it wasn't already. Make sure you've saved up enought spell
    points so that you can go that far up into the Blood Mage tree the moment you
    grab the specialization. 
    At this points you're pretty much unstoppable, even in Nightmare difficulty. The
    big bosses shouldn't be much of a problem either, you can just outlast them. You
    should still be using the Spellweaver and a shield to go with, but keep a caster
    gear for those big fights when you need the most out of your spells before
    activating your sustainables. 
    Oh, and don't tear your hair to pieces just because you can't get past those
    wolves, quickload is your friend! ^^
                                     END SPOILERS
    That's all, folks! Hopefully you found this guide an interesting read and good
    help for making your very own Arcane Warrior. If you have any questions, 
    comments, criticism or praise concerning the guide, please send me a mail. You
    can find my email on the top of this page.
    11.1 Credit where credit is due
    Big thanks to all of you who have sent me mails with either new ideas or just
    general critique, it's what makes this guide grow! A SPECIAL thanks to all of
    you who have in some way contributed to the guide! Here they are:
    Tim Rhodes
    Dekklin Jager
    Eev Schurink
    Duck of Doom
    Walther Pesce
    11.2 Who can use this guide?
    Anybody can use this guide for their own, personal use. Other than that, these
    are the sites that have permission to host this guide:
    11.3 Version History
    ver. 1.03, 8th of December, 2009
         - Added the Soloing section
         - Minor additions throughout the guide
    ver. 1.02, 19th of November, 2009
         - Added the Mage Tower in the spoilers section
         - Added Tome locations in the spoilers section
         - Added the Items chapter in the spoilers section
         - Expanded several chapters in the spoilers section
         - Minor changes throughout the guide
    ver. 1.01, 14th of November, 2009
         - Added the Stone Fist spell
         - Added sheathed/drawn options for all spells
         - Added some more discussion on party configurations
    ver. 1.00, 13th of November, 2009
         - Initial release.
    Thank you, Bioware, for yet ANOTHER great game!

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