Rogue Guide - Guide for Dragon Age II

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DRAGON AGE 2                                  ,....,. 
ROGUE/ASSASSIN/SHADOW GUIDE  v1.0         ..''   .' 
                                       .'"       | 
written by Ozgur Emrah Kocak        .''          \ 
mail:[email protected]  .''              \. 
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I finished my first playthrough as a rogue and I found it quite amazing class 
through the end,when you had essential skills to make an unstoppable machine
of dead. This guide may not be perfect, and there can be errors. Please 
correct me on something if I am wrong or feel free to add comments. The aim 
of this guide is to help players and solving some game issues and mechanics 
together. You can contribute by e-mailing me as you like (I encourage so :))

I played the game at hard setting except two bosses on nightmare unpaused to 
test my skills ( I was pretty influenced by those unpaused nightmare 
domination videos and wanted to make one myself). If you ask me nightmare is
waste of time. And not because of any amazing ultra tactic required bosses 
(there is none :)). Because of game imbalances and most of all, FRIENDLY 
FIRE! I was not dying because mobs hit much. I was dying from Fenris's auto 
attacks if I accidentally go near him, or some misplaced bursting shot from 
Varric, or a corpse explosion can wipe your entire party. What is the point 
the in having the talents if all your party can only auto attack. Or you had
to kite most of the game if you try to solo and it is not epic or anything. 
The important point is having fun, so play on any setting you want. If you 
are getting one shotted by enemy assassins whose stealth are NOT breaking 
even when they enter aoe's such as tempest, whirlwind, rain of arrows 
opposite to what says on game tooltips then go on normal or easy setting. I 
remember one combat in which a qunari mage wiping my party instantly when he 
spawns. I had to spent lots of tries on that combat. If enemy one shots your
party it begins to be tiresome. We are heroes right, which hero you can kill 
in one shot?  

Nightmare High Dragon: 
Nightmare Hybris: 
Hard Ending Part 1: 
Hard Ending Part 2: 

I recorded the ending because I loved the story, and you can see some normal 
rogue combat.

:              ATTRIBUTES                  :

Increases your fortitude. Fortitude is the measure for resistance to 
knockbacks or set aflame. Since we won't have 70's of fortitude we will 
depend on items for not getting knockbacked. Key attribute for warriors, we 
can skip this. 

First key attribute for rogues.  Dexterity increases your attack rating, 
damage and critical strike chance. Give enough points on dexterity to wield 
best daggers (41 dex for Finesse and Carta's daggers, 42 for Lowblade 
(Exiled Prince DLC)). You can also rely on stat gear to wield them. Rune of 
Valiance gives +7 stat on chest armor, and there are some trinkets that give 
stat bonuses as well. I don't want to rely on gear to wield items so I put 
solid 41 on dex. Attack rating is important as well because most of the 
damage is based on normal hits. But it is a personal choice. 

Increases magical resistance. We will skip this.

Second but most important attribute for rogue.  Since we will go assassin 
spec each cunning increase your critical damage by 2% (thanks to Devious 
Harm) and you will beginning to crit with every hit  so it is roughly 2% 
overall damage increase per point (I had like 87% crit chance in the end 
without unforgiving chain, so you are 100% crit chance with it). The most 
rewarding attribute.

Increases stamina pool. Put a few points in this. Remember you need 115 (135 
if you use backstab) stamina for full burst. 20 (Chameleon's Breath or 
Stealth if you have Shadow Veil) + 25 (Mark of Death) + 40 (Assassinate) 
+ 30 (Twin Strikes) = 115 (+20 = 135 if you start with backstab). After this 
opening you will regen 10% of your stamina before you hit explosive strike 
with Follow Through. If you don't want that talent use stamina pot :) This 
is my basic opener on bosses or lituenants anyway, for normal mobs you don't 
need willpower since you will regen 5% of your stamina  upon enemy death 
with Bloodlust.

Increases health pool. A stat of choice but more health is never enough. 
There are some good amulets through the end that give +20 and +40 health 
respectively. Put a few points. Definitely increases survivability :)

My naked end game attributes are:

Strength 10
Dexterity 41
Magic 10
Cunning 58
Willpower 14
Constitution 17  

:                STATS                     :
Attack Score
Lowers glancing blow chance on normal hits. Abilities always hit maximum 
potency, but on normal attacks you have glancing blow chance which lowers 
the damage for that attack (there is no misses, only glancing blows). I don't 
know the exact damage reduce percentage but we don't want our attacks to be 
glancing blows. So either use +attack items or invest some points on 
dexterity if you are low on attack score because rogue's stable dps comes 
from auto attacks. Certain abilities increases this score like Precision 
mode from Specialist Tree, or heroic aura from mages (which is a must for 
party) by a direct percentage. To clarify how these work, a increase in 
attack, for example +%10 attack, means your attack score does not increased 
by +%10 but that percentage is added directly to your hit chance.  Lets say 
your attack score is 1000 and you have 80 hit chance against bosses. When 
you get a buff of +%10 attack, your attack score stays same (not increased 
to 1100 or whatever) but your that percentage is added to your hit chance 
directly, so you have now 80+10 = %90 hit chance against bosses. Still, 
choose items at your discretion, 10% low on hit doesnt mean that your damage 
is 10% low. Abilities like assassinate still fully hits, so +%damage or 
+%critical damage items are better then +attack items.

Defense Score
Increases your chance to evade incoming attacks. A high defence means you 
will most likely evade incoming attacks. The cap is 80% against normal 
enemies. I also encountered a strange issue. Without heroic aura I have 80% 
vs normal, %60 vs lieutenant, 40% vs boss defense values at 4146 defense 
score. When I remove a few items and drop the defense to 2440 it is still 
same. So these values must be cap. But when I open heroic aura that gives 
+%8 defense, I have  80% vs normal, %67 vs lieutenant, 47% vs boss. I don't 
fully get %8 bonus but it enabled me to go over cap values. Strange. You will 
easily reach these values with high cunning anyway.

:               ABILITIES                  :

We want to have Twin Fangs. So take Backstab, Unforgiving Chain, Explosive 
Strike and Lacerate. DO NOT  take any upgrades on these except lacerate 
upgrade (Maim, and still it is not that essential, you can safely leave it 
to high levels), they are waste of points. We will have 100% crit through 
the end of the game with heroic aura and unforgiving chain (through the 
middle 80%, and with pinpoint strikes 100% for every 10sec in 30sec). 
Backstab can be useful in some situations, when boss is aoe attacking in 
front of it ,or using charge or something, you can immediately teleport to 
the back of the boss and safely continue attacking. It also has physical 
force which can interrupt enemy casters. Else, not really useful. For Twin 
Fangs upgrade (Reversed Grip) that gives -10 sec  cooldown, its usefulness 
is debatable. I use Twin Fangs in burst combo, combined with mark of death 
and assassinate. -10 sec cooldown just breaks that cycle. No lieutenant can 
survive that 2 amazing hits combined with mark of death. It is useful a 
talent but there are other talents that we need to take first.

There are two useful talents here (especially Blindside is very good). First 
is Blindside which gives you +%20 damage bonus when your target engaged in 
other friendlies. If you are soloing of course don't take this,but else for 
any build (if you are not tanking :P) this talent shines. Other is Follow 
Through that gives you 1% stamina for every basic attack. Since we are 
already attacking very fast, your stamina will fill very quickly. This talent 
shines on boss fights where you don't encounter much creep to fill your 
stamina with Bloodlust. You will see a huge difference in your stamina pool.
If you don't like using stamina draughts like me take it. But don't forget 
you had to waste 1 more talent on another skill which you won't use 
(Back-to-Back) in order to get Follow Through. If you are thinking to get 
Twist the Knife (%100 crit on stunned targets), don't. As I said over and 
over again, we will be playing with 100% crit chance anyway.

Literally take everything except Relentless Strikes (+10sec to Pinpoint 
Strikes). Especially fully upgrade Assasinate and you will see 25k crits on 
bosses (if they turn to brittle by chance) :) . On normal mobs people are 
talking about 30-40k crits (which is way overkill :)). Do not upgrade (like 
I wrongly do :(, and I had Black Emperium in the middle of act 3) Pintpoint 
strikes, because you will only use that ability only a brief time in act 2 
and 10 sec is more then enough. Through the end of Act 2 we will already 
have 80%-90% crit chance with unforgiving chain and heroic aura. Twin Fangs 
and Assassinate always crit anyway. Mark of Death (with upgrades) is pretty 
good on lieutenants and bosses. Since bosses have less debuff times, you will 
only have brief moment to get the effect of the mark, so time upgrade 
(Enduring Mark) is also good.

The only useful talent here is chameleon's breath. Also take the duration 
upgrade, so we will be obscured half of the time (a must for disorienting 
criticals , +%25 critical damage, meaning +%25 overall damage :)). Take 
stealth if you want, but you will only need obscure effect from this tree. 
It can be combined later with shadow veil in order to have a longer obscured 
state duration. Do not take ambush, lingering shroud. Ambush is literally 
useless, and we do not want our obscure effect to be lost, which lingering 
shroud breaks!

Take Pinpoint Precision (+%25 critical damage, means what? +%25 overall 
damage :p), and Disorienting Criticals (+%25 critical damage and 
disorienting effect on critical hits, pretty cool huh). The purpose of the 
shadow is to stay obscured. We will have that effect with chameleon's breath 
or upgraded fog. Varric's explosive shot will also give you obscure effect 
for some time but let's do our job ourselves.  Predator is again a useless 
talent. If you have access point you can try to take Shadow Veil, and Decoy 
on the road. Decoy can save your ass against enemy assassins. And if you 
have shadow veil each of your stealth effect obscures you also. So you will 
have obscure effect all the time.

Take Speed. It gives you +10% attack speed that means +10% damage except 
special abilities like assassinate. Upgrade it if you have lots of excess 
talent points (which I doubt that). Because you had to waste lots of points 
on skills you won't use in order to upgrade speed. Precision and Power are 
not very useful except if you are having attack and critical score problem 
you can take precision instead of speed, but I doubt that. 

A really optional tree if you ask me. You start with default Miasmic Flask 
anyway( if you don't have Black Emperium like me, leave it that way) and 
spending more points in this tree will be a waste of talents unless you have 
all the essential talents from other trees. Rush can be used to close the 
distance fast against ranged attackers and casters, and fatiguing fog can be 
used to have a 100% obscure stat all the time. Confusion seems usable but 
normal enemies can't hit you anyway (with high defense you will get hit by 
only 20% of the attacks, obscure will also increase attacker's miss chance 
but is it additive with defense,or goes over the 80% cap, I do not know), 
and they are dead meat in seconds. Anway leave this tree to the last.

:               EQUIPMENT                  :

What stats we want? +%damage depending on the damage type of your weapons 
(if your daggers deal spirit damage then you need +%spirit damage, not 
+%physical damage, be careful on these values) and +%crit damage gives a 
solid damage boost. Bonus stats area always good, remember each point in 
cunning gives +2% critical damage (thanks to, and if an item gives +3 
cunning then you can consider it like a +6% damage boost. If you are low on 
hit you can equip +attack items. Attack speed is also a very good stat, 
boosting the damage of your normal attacks. I didn't even used the primeval 
rune and saved it for expansion (+%23 attack speed is no joke, and wasting it 
for a dagger in act 3 can be a regretful action when the expansion comes). 
Some useful equipment;

Finesse: Given to you by Zevran at Act 3. Requires 41 dexterity to use.

The Low Blade: Highest dps dagger in game, (Exiled Prince DLC, you get the 
drop on act 3 during Sebastian's quest). Requires 42 dexterity to use.
Optionally, you can use Carta's Right Hand or Left Hand (left hand is looted 
from Hanker during the Kind of Want quest. Kill followers of she in low-town 
night on act 3 and you get directions to their base. Right Hand is sold by 
Bonny' Lem) depending either you have knockback immunity from Etched Ring of 
the Twins or not. Left Hand gives you knockback immunity which pretty handy 
since we don't have much fortitude. But even if you have knockback immunity 
you will still be knocked down by massive attacks from dragons or monstrous 
spiders. Knockback and Knockdown are not the same. Knockback prevents you 
from loosing your attack and being unable to act for a few seconds after you 
get hit.

The Belt of Promise: An amazing belt from Black Emporium. Costs 99 gold or 
something but worth every penny. +3 cunning +3 dex +%10 damage resistance 
+10% magic resistance +1% XP gain. Everything you need.

Ring of No Wishes: Immunity to crit, Immunity to stun. +1 all attributes. 
Pretty good ring for decent price (28g or something). Again from Black 

Etched Ring of Twins: +2 Str, +%4 crit chance, +%9 crit damage,+15% healing 
to this character, Immunity to Knockback. Well either buy this or get the 
left hand of carta for knockback immunity if you get hit much and suffer 
from knockback effect. If not reserve your money for more awesome items. 
This is sold by Nexus Golem deep in the Abandoned Thaig accessed by entering 
the "Recently Opened Passage"" on Sundermount during Act 2 for 84g.

Jewel of the Ether: +1 willpower +42 health +%9 magic resistance. Pretty 
decent amulet, +42 health is like 1/3 of your normal health. Definitely made 
for survivability. From Exiled Prince DLC I think. 

Champion Armor all the way. It is pretty good, and set bonus gives you +3 
cunning and +%5 dodge (I don't know if it stack with evasion from defense 
score or calculated seperately). It got decent sockets, which you can put 
armor runes (don't put defense runes,since you will reach cap without them) 
and a rune of valiance. There is one boot at black emperium which is way overp
owered. It is called Shadow Boots or something and gives you +24% critical 
damage and have some other bonuses as well. It was 90 g or something and I 
was really pissed of when I don't have money to buy it. From experience, 
reserve your money and buy this boots as well as any stat or talent 
book/elixir. Permament stat or talent bonuses are always better, you can 
switch equipment at later expansions but stats are always with you. I bought 
some crappy ring at act 2 for 90 g (remember, my first playthrough and I 
don't have any knowledge on items :(  ) and then devastated when I saw these 
boots. If you have black emporium just buy the boots, ring of no wishes and 
the belt of promise, you won't regret it. 

My final character stats with heroic aura is:
83% crit chance
27% magic resistance
263% crit damage
190 Stamina
242 health
10% damage reduce
Hit values are 100 vs normal, 87 vs lieutenant, 72 vs boss

With chain you hit 100% crit, only thing I should boost is a bit more hit, 
but still I deal tons of damage already.

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