A Closer Look at Dragon Age 2: Warrior Abilities

Thanks to Bioware Social member Naitaka's listing of talents, we can postulate on how the various classes play out. In this post, we'll be discussing changes to the warrior class that you'll find transitioning from Origins to Dragon Age 2 and offering up build ideas for the various roles it plays in a party.

Warrior Talents (Interactive Display)

Weapon and Shield abilities

Weapon and Shield Shield Defense Shield Wall Perception Safeguard Scatter Disperse Shield Bash Pummel Assault Battery
  1. Weapon and Shield

    Warriors who specialize in the shield trade damage for protection. Attacks made with one-handed weapons hit a smaller arc than two-handed weapons, although shield users have the perfect tool at hand for knocking foes around the battlefield.

  2. Shield Defense

    Requires: Level 3
    Requires: Shield

    The warrior assumes a defensive stance, reducing damage taken from the front. However, the warrior inflects less damage against enemies and sacrifices the ability to make closing attacks.

    Damage: -25%
    Damage resistance +25% vs. frontal attacks

    Reserved: 15% of stamina
    Cooldown: 5s

    Type: Sustained mode

  3. Shield Wall

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Shield Defense
    Points required in Weapon and Shield: 4

    Shield Defense now reduces the damage from all attacks, rather than just the front. Additionally, the warrior's shiield deflects some regular strikes, shrugging off most of the damage.

    Damage resistance: +50% vs. rear attacks
    Effect: 20% chance that normal hits against the warrior become glancing blows

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Perception

    Requires: Level 4
    Requires: Shield Defense
    Requires: Shield

    The warrior maintains constant awareness of the battlefield. So long as the warrior has a shield equipped, enemies receive no bonus for attacking from behind.

    Effect: Immune to flanking

    Type: Passive ability

  5. Safeguard

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Scatter
    Requires: Perception
    Points required in Weapon and Shield: 4
    Requires: Shield

    While a shield is equipped, the warrior shrugs off the extra damage from critical hits.

    Effect: Immune to critical hits

    Type: Passive ability

  6. Scatter

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Shield Bash
    Requires: Shield Defense
    Points required in Weapon and Shield: 2
    Requires: Shield

    The warrior clears a forward arc, throwing enemies back.

    Physical damage: 24
    Physical force: 4x

    Cost: 30 stamina
    Cooldown: 25s

    Type: Activated ability

  7. Disperse

    Requires: Level 10
    Requires: Scatter

    Scatter now forces back even large creatures, and is particularly punishing against enemies whose defenses a rogue has lowered.

    Physical damage: +12
    Physical damage: 300% vs DISORIENTED targets
    Physical force: +2x

    Type: Upgrade

  8. Shield Bash

    Requires: Level 2
    Requires Shield

    The warrior's shield arcs out, striking foes like a battering ram.

    Physical damage: 10
    Physical force: 12x

    Cost: 10 stamina
    Cooldown: 15s

    Type: Activated ability

  9. Pummel

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Shield Bash

    Shield Bash can be used more frequently, and enemies slammed by the warrior's shield are STAGGERED.

    STAGGER chance: 100%

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  10. Assault

    Requires: Level 5
    Requires: Shield Bash
    Requires: Shield

    The warrior spins into a vicious assault that inflicts significant damage and often throws enemies back.

    Physical damage: 10 (x3 hits)
    Physical force: 2x (x3 hits)
    Cost: 20 stamina
    Cooldown: 20s

    Type: Activated ability

  11. Battery

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Assault
    Points required in Weapon and Shield: 3

    Assault can now be used more frequently. Is is also much more effective, particularly against enemies a rogue has left in a vulnerable state.

    Physical damage: +5 (x3 hits)
    Physical damage: 400% vs. DISORIENTED targets on final hit

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

Weapon and Shield abilities

Two-Handed Mighty Blow Shattering Blow Killer Blow Scythe Reaper Giant's Reach Whirlwind Tornado Cyclone Sunder
  1. Two-Handed

    Warriors who wield two-handed weapons can reap tremendous damage through wide arcs of enemy flesh, although they forgo the protective benefits of a shield.

  2. Mighty Blow

    Requires: level 2

    The warrior leaps into the air, crashing down on foes with tremendous force.

    Physical damage: 24
    Physical force: 2x
    Cost: 20 stamina
    Cooldown:20s

    Type: Activated ability

  3. Shattering Blow

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Mighty Blow
    Points required in Two-Handed: 2

    Mighty Blow now crushes enemies who a mage has made BRITTLE.

    Physical damage: 300% vs. BRITTLE targets
    Physical force: 200% vs. BRITTLE targets

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Killer Blow

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Mighty Blow

    Mighty Blow becomes considerably more punishing.

    Physical damage: +12

    Type: Upgrade

  5. Scythe

    Requires: Level 5
    Requires: Mighty Blow
    Points required in Two-Handed: 2

    The warrior charges through enemy lines, felling combatants in the way.

    Physical damage: 18

    Type: Activated ability

  6. Reaper

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Scythe

    Scythe inflicts a great deal more pain, particularly against enemies a mage has made BRITTLE.

    Physical damage: +9
    Physical damage: 200% vs. BRITTLE targets
    Physical force: +1x
    Physical force: 200% vs BRITTLE targets

    Type: Upgrade

  7. Giant's Reach

    Requires: Level 3
    Points required in Two-Handed: 1

    The warrior's two-handed attack rip through the air with such power that each generates a shockwave past the point of impact, effectively extending the weapon's reach. The affects basic attacks, Whirlwind, Mighty BLow, and Scythe.

    Size: +1m for two-handed attacks

    Type: Passive ability

  8. Whirlwind

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Mighty Blow
    Requires: Giant's Reach
    Points required in Two-Handed: 3

    The warrior cuts through foes, hitting all targets within melee range with a single sweeping arc.

    Physical damage: 18
    Physical force: 2x
    Size: 6m

    Cost: 30 stamina
    Cooldown: 30s

    Type: Activated ability

  9. Tornado

    Requires: Level 13
    Requires: Whirlwind
    Points required in Two-Handed: 6

    Whirlwind now lands a critical hit with nearly every swing.

    Critical chance: 100%

    Type: Upgrade

  10. Cyclone

    Requires: level 11
    Requires: Whirlwind

    Whirlwind becomes murderously effective and can be used more frequently

    Physical damage: +6

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  11. Sunder

    Requires: Level 4
    Points required in Two-Handed: 1

    The warrior's strikes carry such weight that critical hits gain a chance to STAGGER the victim.

    Critical chance: +10%
    STAGGER chance: 50% vs. normal enemies on a critical hit

    Type: Passive ability

Vanguard abilities

  1. Vanguard

    A vanguard believes that a good offense is the best defense. Their powerful strikes are matched with ruthless technique.

  2. Control

    Requires: Level 3

    The warrior fights with discipline, not anger, making every swing count. (This mode cannot be used at the same time as Might.)

    Attack: +10%
    Reserved: 15% of stamina
    Cooldown: 5s

    Type: Sustained mode

  3. Command

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Control
    Points required in Vanguard: 2

    Control results in even more focused attacks. which increases the warrior's chance to land a critical hit.

    Critical chance: +10%

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Destroyer

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Control
    Points required in Vanguard: 3

    The warrior is now an elite combatant, so experienced in battle that enemies suffer more pain when fighting the warrior than they would when fighting anyone else.

    Enemy damage resistance: 90% vs. warrior's basic attacks
    Enemy damage resistance: 50% vs. warrior's critical hits

    Type: Passive ability

  5. Cleave

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Control
    Requires: Might
    Points required in Vanguard: 2

    For a short time, the warrior's damage output increases tremendously.

    Damage: +100%
    Duration: 10s

    Cost: 20 stamina
    Cooldown: 20s

    Type: Activated ability

  6. Claymore

    Requires: Level 10
    Requires: Cleave
    Points required in Vanguard: 4

    The warrior now retains the damge bonus from Cleave for longer and leaves some opponents off-balance, ready for further exploitation by a mage or rogue.

    STAGGER chance: 40% vs. normal enemies
    Stun chance: 100% vs. BRITTLE targets
    Duration: +5s

    Type: Upgrade

  7. Massacre

    Requires: Level 12
    Requires: Cleave
    Points required in Vanguard: 4

    The warrior culls the weak. In most cases, when an enemy falls below a certain health threshold, the next hit is fatal.

    Effect: Deathblow vs. normal enemeis below 20% health
    Effect: Deathblow vs. lieutenants below 10% health

    Type: Passive ability

  8. Might

    Requires: Level 3

    The warrior focuses on heavy swings that cleave through foes. (This mode cannot be used at the same time as Control.)

    Damage: +10%

    Reserved: 20% of stamina
    Cooldown: 5s

    Type: Sustained mode

  9. Muscle

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Might
    Points required in Vanguard: 2

    While Might is active, the warrior's critical hits are more likely to be fatal.

    Critical damage: +25%

    Type: Upgrade

  10. Assail

    Requires: Level 5
    Requires: Might
    Points required in Vanguard: 3

    For a short time, the warrior throws more weight into each swing, significantly inceasing the force of any attack, as well as boosting the damage output.

    Damage: +10%
    Physical force: 3x
    Elemental force: 3x

    Duration: 15s
    Cost: 20 stamina
    Cooldown: 30s

    Type: Activated ability

  11. Besiege

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Assail
    Points required in Vanguard: 4

    When the warrior is using Assail, every attack now slams into other foes near the intended target.

    Physical damage: 6 per hit vs. all nearby enemies

    Type: Upgrade

Defender abilities

  1. Defender

    Defenders specialize in survivability, taking everything the enemy throws at them and walking away unscathed.

  2. Stonewall

    The warrior braces for impact, shrugging off damage for a brief moment and pushing back against any foe who
    attacks.

    Physical force: 2x vs. attacking enemies
    Damage resistance: +50%

    Duration: 5s
    Cost: 20 stamina
    Cooldown: 15s

    Type: Activated ability

  3. Bulwark

    Requires: Level 3
    Requires: Stonewall

    Stonewall now protects the warrior further, increasing the resistance to damage and making the warrior temporarily immune to the effects of force. The warrior's strikes against attacking foe now inflict damage as well.

    Damage resistance: +50%
    Knockback resistance: 100%
    Knockdown resistance: 100%

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Adamant

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Stonewall
    Requires: Turn the Blade
    Points required in Defender: 3

    The warrior's deep knowledge of the defensive arts grants a permanent resilience against damage of all type.

    Damage resistance: +5%

    Type: Passive ability

  5. Turn the Blade

    Requires: Level 3

    While many warriors choose to endure their foe's hits, some prefer to deflect the damage instead. (This mode
    cannot be used at the same time as Elemental Aegis.)

    Defense: +10%

    Reserved: 20% of stamina
    Cooldown: 5s

    Type: Sustained mode

  6. Raise the Guard

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Turn the Blade
    Points required in Defender: 2

    Further training in defensive tactics increase the effectiveness of Turn the Blade.

    Defense: +5%

    Type: Upgrade

  7. Steady the Foot

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Turn the Blade

    The warrior holds ground, becoming remarkably resilient against forceful attacks.

    Fortitude: +20

    Type: Upgrade

  8. Resilience

    Requires: Level 5
    Requires: Turn the Blade
    Requires: Elemental Aegis
    Points required in Defender: 2

    Warriors trained in resilience have learned not to flinch from wounds, making it almost impossible to break their attacks, push them backwards, or distract them with elemental effects like mild immolation. The warrior will only be interrupted by attacks that deal so much force as to knock the warrior completely down or that cause lengthy elemental effects.

    Knockback resistance: 100%

    Type: Passive ability

  9. Elemental Aegis

    Requires: Level 3

    The secret to warding off the elements is to rely on your armor, keeping it between you and the blast. The warrior has learned this lesson well, and can anticipate magical attacks. *This mode cannot be used at the same time as Turn the Blade.)

    Fire resistance: +40%
    Cold resistance: +40%
    Electricity resistance: +40%
    Nature resistance: +40%
    Spirit resistance: +40%

    Reserved: 15% of stamina
    Cooldown: 5s

    Type: Sustained mode

  10. Elemental Shroud

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Elemental Aegis
    Points required in Defender: 2

    The warrior has grown increasingly adept at resisting elemental attacks.

    Fire resistance: +20%
    Cold resistance: +20%
    Electricity resistance: +20%
    Nature resistance: +20%
    Spirit resistance: +20%

    Type: Upgrade

  11. Resolute

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Elemental Aegis
    Points required in Defender: 4

    The warrior has faced more mages in battle than most denizens of Thedas even see in a lifetime. This experience has built a mental fortitude that any templar would envy.

    Magic resistance: +10%

    Type: Passive ability

Warmonger abilities

  1. Warmonger

    The warmonger is a confident adversary, well-versed in taunting foes, cutting through them, and sending them to the dirt in a bloody heap. Warmongers are also experts in controlling enemy aggression, possessing abilities that draw foes toward them and that, through stun effects, cause enemies to forget who they were fighting.

  2. Pommel Strike

    Instead of leading with the fatal attack an enemy expects, the warrior strikes out with a weapon's blunt end to stun the opponent.

    Stun chance: 100% vs. normal enemies

    Duration: 5s
    Cost: 10 stamina
    Cooldown: 15s

    Type: Activated ability

  3. Pommel Blow

    Requires: Level 3
    Requires: Pommel Strike

    Pommel Strike now stuns enemies for longer and sends them reeling.

    STAGGER chance: 100% vs. stunned targets

    Duration: +3s
    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Tremor

    Requires: Level 5

    Push a warrior and prepare to be pushed back. Nearby enemies are knocked back as the warrior slams a weapon into the ground.

    Physical force: 8x
    Size: 6m

    Cost: 30 stamina
    Cooldown:20s

    Type: Activated ability

  5. Quake

    Requires: Level 11
    Requires: Tremor
    Points required in Warmonger: 3

    The warrior can push back a larger crowd of enemies, and those thrown to the ground are now stunned.

    Stun chance: 100% vs. knocked-down targets
    Size 10m

    Type: Upgrade

  6. Aftershock

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Tremor

    Tremor can be used more frequently and now has a chance to send enemies reeling.

    STAGGER chance: 40% vs. normal enemies

    Cooldown: -5s

    Type: Upgrade

  7. Taunt

    Requires: Level 3

    A mocking cry catches the attention of nearby foes, causing them to immediately abandon attacks on other allies to concentrate on the warrior instead.

    Threat transfer: 100% from companions to warrior
    Size: 10m

    Cost: 30 stamina
    Cooldown: 20s

    Type: Activated ability

  8. Bellow

    Requires: Level 7
    Requires: Taunt
    Points required in Warmonger: 2

    Taunt now effects enemies in a larger area, drawing them away from allies and to the warrior.

    Size: 16m

    Type: Upgrade

  9. Bravery

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Taunt

    The warrior's unwavering courage grants bonuses that increase proportionally to the number of enemies the warrior is engaging. (This mode cannot be used at the same time as Battle Synergy.)

    Attack: +10% per naerby enemy, after the first
    Critical chance: 3% per nearby enemy, after the first
    Size: 10m

    Reserved: 30% of stamina
    Cooldown: 10s

    Type: Sustained mode

  10. Bravado

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Bravery

    Bravery now draws more enemies toward the warrior, thus further increasing the mode's bonuses.

    Threat generation: +50% per nearby enemy, after the first

    Type: Upgrade

  11. Bravura

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Bravery
    Points required in Warmonger: 3

    Every enemy who swarms the warrior while Bravery is active now increases the warrior's damage further.

    Damage: +5% per nearby enemy, after the first

    Type: Upgrade

Battlemaster abilities

  1. Battlemaster

    When fighting solo, a battlemaster is an efficient killing machine. When fighting alongside allies, the warrior becomes a seasoned leader who can rally others to turn the tide of combat.

  2. Rally

    Requires: Level 4

    The warrior rallies fellow combatants, briefly boosting other party members' mana or stamina regeneration rates and lending them the benefits of Might, Control, Turn the Blade, or Elemental Aegis if the warrior currently has one of those sustained modes active.

    Effect: Might, Control, Turn the Blade or Elemental Aegis apply to companions if active
    Mana/stamina regeneration rate: +200 for companions

    Duration: 10s
    Cost: 15 stamina
    Cooldown: 30s

    Type: Activated ability

  3. Unite

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Rally
    Point required in Battlemaster: 2

    Other allies now gain the benefits of the upgrades to Might, Control, Turn the Blade, or Elemental Aegis if the warrior currently has one of those sustained modes active, and party members regenerate mana or stamina even more quickly.

    Effect: Upgrades for Might, Control, Turn the Blade or Elemental Aegis apply to companions if active
    Mana/stamina regeneration rate: +400 for companions

    Type: Upgrade

  4. Battle Synergy

    Requires: Level 5
    Requires: Rally

    While this mode is active, the warrior and other party members within range fight as a cohesive unit that is deadlier than the sum of its parts. (This mode cannot be used at the same time as Bravery.)

    Defense: +5% per companion, for all party members
    Damage reduction: +3% per companion, for all party members
    Size: 10m

    Reserved: 30% of stamina
    Cooldown: 10s

    Type: Sustained mode

  5. Fearless Synergy

    Requires: Level 9
    Requires: Battle Synergy
    Points required in Battlemaster: 2

    The warrior now taunts nearby enemies while Battle Synergy is active, drawing the foes' attention away from party members.

    Threat transfer: +50% from companions to warrior

    Type: Upgrade

  6. Hero's Synergy

    Requires: Level 11
    Requires: Battle Synergy
    Points required in Battlemaster: 2

    The warrior now makes sacrifices on behalf of other party members, voluntarily suffering damage that the allies would otherwise have suffered themselves.

    Damage transfer: +25% from companions to warrior

    Type: Upgrade

  7. Bolster

    Requires: Level 3

    Steeling for battle, the warrior takes a deep breath to regain some stamina.

    Stamina regeneration: 5%

    Type: Activated ability

  8. Second Wind

    Requires: Level 8
    Requires: Bolster

    Long years of training grant access to deep reserves of vigor, instantly restoring the warrior's stamina.

    Stamina regeneration: 100%

    Cooldown: 60s

    Type: Activated ability

  9. Last Push

    Requires: Level 14
    Requires: Second Wind

    The warrior quickly recuperates from recent exertion.

    Effect: Talents currently in cooldown become available more quickly

    Type: Upgrade

  10. Deep Breath

    Requires: Level 12
    Requires: Second Wind

    Second Wind can be used more frequently.

    Cooldown: -15s

    Type: Upgrade

  11. Deep Reserves

    Requires: Level 6
    Requires: Bolster

    The warrior's extensive combat experience grants great fortitude in battle.

    Mana/stamina regeneration rate: +10

    Type: Passive ability

Reaver specialization abilities

  1. Reaver

    A true reaver has tasted the ritually prepared blood of a dragon. It is more than a state of mind. These fearsome warriors revel in death, regaining energy from the suffering of their foes.

    Reaver must be purchased using a specialization point before any talents may be taken from this tree. Specialization points are granted at levels 7 and 14.

    Physical damage: +5%
    Fire damage: +5%
    Cold damage: +5%
    Electricity damage: +5%
    Nature damage: +5%
    Spirit damage: +5%

Templar specialization abilities

  1. Templar

    The strong arm of the Chantry, templars serve as guardians of the Circles of Magi, hunters of apostates and maleficarum, and, rarely, as a standing army at the command of the Divine. Through ingestion of carefully prepared lyrium, templars gain resistance to magic, including the ability to interrupt spells. Though the Chantry controls the lyrium trade, those with the right connections can acquire enough to emulate the abilities of these vigilant warriors.

    Templar must be purchased using a specialization point before any talents may be taken from this tree. Specialization points are granted at levels 7 and 14.

    Damage: +10% vs. spellcasters and Fade creatures

Templar specialization abilities

  1. Berserker

    The Berserker controls the pace of combat, setting a standard that the enemy can’t match. In turn, they can be sustained by the mayhem they produce, and find new energy in every fallen foe. While they stand, while stamina remains, they have no match, but they can’t stand back and let battle unfold. For the Berserker, battle always ends in glory, win or lose.

    Berserker must be purchased using a specialization point before any talents may be taken from this tree. Specialization points are granted at levels 7 and 14.

    Bonuses Unknown.

Big thanks to my partner-in-crime, Razorfish, for putting together this template showcasing the different trees and abilities. The tooltips seem to be based on Level 1 characters, so we don't know all the numbers behind the abilities. In other words, you theorycrafters may want to hold off until we have more data on how these talents scale.

The warrior as a class has had some big changes made to it from Origins to DA2. The most noticeable is how it's lost two possible weapon choices. Previously the most versatile class, the warrior now has only two choices - equipping either a one handed weapon and shield or a two-handed weapon. However, with the loss of the archery and dual-weapon trees comes four trees that will benefit any warrior.

Many of the warrior's single-target abilities have also been swapped out for multi-target ones. This is in-line with the developer's vision for the warrior - focusing on group damage over single-target DPS by using a big weapon to cut through groups of bad guys.

Before we cut into the heart of the matter, we should state some caveat emptors:

  • The tooltips stated in the above graphics are based on a media demo build, and may differ from the retail build that will ship in March.
  • We don't know how many talent points a player will have to spend, but Bioware guy Peter Thomas stated that a Nightmare difficulty playthrough gave him enough levels to fill out 4 ability chains (including specialization chains).
  • Based on this fuzzy estimation on how many talent points we have access to, we'll be assuming that three base trees and one specialization, with an additional specialization point to spend for stat boosts, will be the way to go in terms of point allotment. Keep in mind that these ideas may change as we learn more about the specialization trees.
  • We know that the level cap of ~50 should be theoretically unreachable in the core game.
  • When we reference abilities from Dragon Age: Origins, we'll be linking to the ability's page on the Dragon Age Wiki to give some context. Otherwise, if the ability is in bold, we'll be referring to the Dragon Age 2 ability - which you will find in detail in the above graphic.

That said, we're assuming that, for each role, there are three trees into which a player can afford to invest a substantial number of points. Also, without more information on specializations, we won't be focusing on them for now, but we will update our information once it becomes available.

Shield Tank (Weapon and Shield, Defender, Warmonger)

Shield-wielding tanks in Origins weren't very fun. Most of the talents in the Sword and Shield tree were damage mitigators, and the usable abilities were all single-target attacks, with the exception of a taunt. This made holding onto multiple targets -the key role of a tank- an issue. The Awakening additions helped with multi-target threat a little bit, with an additional taunt and a new ability that turned the warrior into a walking thumper.

With the new warrior talents, a shield-bearing warrior will be a force. The Weapon and Shield tree provides some survivability bonuses, with Perception making the warrior immune to flanking attacks and Safeguard making the tank immune to critical hit damage (a necessity for tanks). Furthermore, the useable abilities provide a few powerful multi-target attacks, with Shield Bash and Assault being changed to affect an arc in front of the tank and the new ability Scatter.

A tanking warrior will also focus on the Defender tree for unparalleled survivability. The crux of this tree is two switchable Modes - Turn the Blade for increased defense (decreasing the tank's chance of being hit by physical attacks) and Elemental Aegis for increased elemental resistance (absorbing damage from magic attacks). Since you can't use both modes at once, part of the tactics for a tank will be deciding which mode to activate based on the enemies you're facing. Defender also gives you the active ability Stonewall - a temporary ability that halves damage received. This ability will be a huge deal, especially with the upgrade, Bulwark, that will make the tank fully immune to damage and knockbacks for a short time.

Warmonger will help the tanking warrior with threat as well. Any warrior will want to pick up Taunt, which will draw enemies within a certain area to them (tanks will want the upgrade which increases Taunt's range). But go a little further, with an upgraded Bravery, and the warrior gains a multi-target Threaten - increasing threat generation with every enemy nearby.

2H Tank (Two-Handed, Defender, Battlemaster)

A warrior with a two-handed weapon trades some survivability for threat generation. In Origins, 2H warrior tanks had the advantages of early knockdown immunity in Indomitable and an additional multi-target ability in Two-Handed Sweep, though it needed to rely on gear and external buffs for survivability. With the changes in DA2, however, a tank with a two-hander can enjoy some of the survivablity of a shield-bearing warrior while still tearing through their enemies with a giant-friggin'-weapon.

The Two-Handed tree is focused exclusively on damage, so you'll miss out on the defense boosting talents of the Weapon and Shield tree. However, with the higher damage output, you'll have no issues with threat generation. A 2H-bearer can use Mighty Blow and Scythe to charge right into battle, giving an edge of being in the thick of battle quickly to build enemy hatred. These abilities, coupled with Whirlwind, give the two-handed warrior unparalleled threat generation against a multitude of targets.

A 2H-tank will require Defender moreso than a shield-carrying tank, since he's missing the flanking- and critical damage immunity of the Weapon and Shield tree.

And because of this need for defense, we're thinking Battlemaster may be a more suitable third tree for a 2H tank than Warmonger, though you'll want at least one point in Warmonger for Taunt. While Rally will give your party members a temporary benefit of your defense boosters, Battle Synergy will give you and your companions a defense boost for each member in range. Furthermore, by upgrading this mode, you can add a threat generator in Fearless Synergy, and you can use Hero's Synergy to transfer a companion's damage to yourself, allowing the squishier companions to stay alive and do their jobs.

DPS (Two-Handed, Vanguard, Battlemaster/Warmonger)

If your warrior is just looking to hurt things, then he'll need a big weapon. As the archery and dual-weapon trees are no longer available to the warrior, the Two-Handed tree is the only damage-centric tree remaining to the class. The Two-Handed talent tree in Origins focused mostly on powerful strikes and some bonuses to damage, though the Awakening talents placed more focus on multi-target damage. In DA2, the two-hander talents focus on big swings that will cut through multiple enemies.

A damage-focused warrior will focus on the Two-Handed tree to add to his mighty swings that are the heart of a warrior's damage. Mighty Blow, Scythe, and Whirling are all big, multi-target abilities that can be upgraded to truly destroy one's enemies. Furthermore, with the added benefits from these upgrades, such as Reaper and Shattering Blow's added damage against BRITTLE targets, a 2H warrior can lay the pain down on several targets, especially when a mage works his magic as well. The passive abilities allow a warrior to increase his critical damage and range as well.

The Vanguard tree gives more damage output to a warrior. Like Defender, this tree focuses on one of two selectable modes. In this case, a warrior can choose between Control, which gives an increase to attack, or Might, which gives an increase to damage. The Vanguard tree has several bonuses that increases the warrior's damage as well, including a passive that increases the warrior's chances of making a fatal attack in Massacre.

As for the third tree, it's mostly up to personal preference as both Warmonger and Battlemaster feature bonuses that will help a damage-focused warrior. By selecting Warmonger, a 2H warrior gains the benefit of some control over the battlefield, including Pommel Strike to knock down a particular foe and Tremor to add an AOE knockback to their repertoire. Furthermore, with bravery, a warmongering warrior gains a bonus to attack and critical strike chance.

Meanwhile, with Battlemaster, a warrior can buff his companions while increasing his stamina to lay more hurt onto his enemies. Particularly, with Rally, the warrior can give his party members the benefit of Might or Control, and can use Bolster and Second Wind to increase his own stamina and use his own abilities more frequently. Without more specifics, we can't say for sure if one tree is better suited than the other, so for now we're saying that you can decide for yourself which one is more in line with your style.

  • Razorfish

    You challenged me to whip up a presentation for the different talents, so hopefully I rose to the challenge :-p I took some preliminary ideas I had for a Dragon Age 2 talent calculator, which I'll probably actually start working on with some seriousness after this…

    I apologize for the lack of Specializations info at this time. There was nothing I could find about it online, except for some blurry screencaps from low res videos. This situation will most likely change when the demo is released in a couple of days.

  • Razorfish

    The talent trees featured in Bioware's Warrior Week and in the Tokyo Game Show are a bit different from the ones in the demo, hrmmm…

  • dneill

    Thank you for this guide, its great! I respeced my tank the second I finished reading it.
    I look forward to your Mage and Rouge guides so I can round out my party and not feel like I'm missing something. Which I do.

  • DaKuban

    Thanks for this mate. I actually needed to know what are the best skills for a warrior using 1h sword and shield, I wanna be a damager, but at the same time tank. Can that be possible ? which skills do you recommend me mate ? Thanks