Dragon Age: Origins – An Overview of Classes and Specializations

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The release date of BioWare's Dragon Age: Origins is just over a month away and gamers around the globe can't wait. Whether you're itching to play it on a PC or console (PS3 owners will have to wait a couple of extra weeks), one thing is for certain. The class you choose will play an important role in how you view yourself within the world of Thedas. As you level your character up, you'll have the opportunity to unlock specializations within your chosen class which will in turn open up even more abilities. Not all the details we would want to know have been released yet, but here's what we know so far.

The Mage

Intense training and discipline make up the foundation of a mage. Without either one, the magic would rule the mage, rather than the other way around. The mages of Thedas are distrusted by many and feared by nearly all. All mages wishing to pursue studies of more powerful magics must undergo a mysterious ritual called The Harrowing. Those that choose to follow the paths of magic and gain control of the forces within them make valuable allies and fearsome enemies.

Restrictions: Due to their natural resistance to magic, dwarves are unable to cast spells. Because of this, dwarves cannot be mages.

Class Benefits: +5 Magic, +4 Willpower, +1 Cunning

Specializations: Shapeshifter, Spirit Healer

The Shapeshifter

Despite what the Circle of Magi would like to believe, the art of shifting one's form is very much alive. Passed down from generation to generation, the skill of changing into animal form has survived the ages. Shapeshifters must master one form at a time. Bears, wildcats, spiders, and birds are the most common forms taken, while legend states that some shifters have been known to take on more fantastical forms. The mastery of their own bodies provides the Shapeshifter with some added protection, even in their human forms.

Specializations Bonus: +2 Constitution, +1 Armor

Spider Form

The Spirit Healer

Details concerning the Spirit Master are currently scarce, but rumors abound about the powers this specialization will allow the mage that chooses it. Will they be able to cast protective shields over their comrades, heal their wounds, or perhaps even rescue their friends from the cold hands of death? Only time will tell.

Spirit Master Perhaps?

The Rogue

Able to pick the sturdiest of locks and spot insidious traps, the rogue is an invaluable asset to any party. And if you want to be able to explore every nook and cranny of the game, you're going to need one with you at all times, for you never know when their unique skills will come in handy. They may not be the best choice for your frontline defense, but they're deadly adversaries when allowed to sneak up on an opponent.

Class Benefits: +4 Dexterity, +2 Willpower, +4 Cunning

Specializations: Assassin, Bard

The Assassin

Masters of stealth and poisons, the assassin is the living embodiment of death incarnate. No one ever said life is fair, and neither are these silent and efficient killers. Poisons are their weapon of choice and in the trained hands of these hitmen, they are used to devastating effect. Born out of a need to remove a despicable noble from lands to the north of Treviso, an order of monks from the Chantry used the herbs grown in the gardens of their abbey to concoct a potion to be rid of him. Over the course of time, the knowledge they gleaned from those plants and more has brought many a man to an early demise, including those of the nobility.

Specializations Bonus: +2 Dexterity, +2.5% Critical Chance


The Bard

It's said that music soothes the soul of the most savage beast. That may be true, but only if it comes from the talented hands of a bard. Their musical talents go far beyond merely entertaining the nobility for which they most often play. They are able to bring out the best in their comrades, pushing them on to greater heights and skill than they knew possible, while at the same time destroying the morale of the enemies surrounding them. Plying their trade from town to town, bards are also often spies for nobles of their own, trading secrets between kingdoms. It's a dangerous game, but the nobles of the lands cant resist it, and by the time they discover their nightly entertainment has been provided by a true bard rather than a traveling minstrel, it's often far too late.

Specializations Bonus: +2 Willpower, +1 Cunning

The Warrior

Every game needs a true tank and the warrior fits that role perfectly. Designed to both dish out and absorb massive amounts of damage, the warrior is the perfect companion to any adventurer. Their stalwart nature and skill with weapons and armor has saved the hide of their comrades more times than anyone could count. Masters of tactics and strategy, no party can afford to be without one.

Class Benefits: +4 Strength, +3 Dexterity, +3 Constitution

Specializations: Berserker, Templar

The Berserker

The berserker is happiest when buried knee deep in the blood and guts of his fallen foes. Traditional warriors preach that giving in to anger is giving an advantage to your foe. Passed down from the dwarves, the skills of the berserker rely on giving in to the pure rage and fear of the battlefield and turning it back upon your enemies. There is little more fearsome in the world of Thedas than a raging berserker. Much like a tiger, it's best to use a three pronged blade against them, for if you stab them in the heart with a sword, a berserker will continue to run up the blade to kill you.

Specialization Bonus: +2 Strength, +10 Health


The Templar

Templars are the feared servants of the Chantry, charged with controlling magic and its use. While many view them as the most pious of warriors, the Chantry chooses candidates more for their skill in battle and unwavering loyalty than the strength of their moral core. Driven by their religious fervor, they are incredibly focused warriors. Once they have been assigned a duty by the Chantry, nothing will stop them in their pursuit of completing that task. Able to resist and dispel magic, the Templars are incredibly effective foes against the forces of magic.

Specialization Bonus: +2 Magic, +3 Mental Resistance


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