Dragon Age: Inquisition - Varric - Skill Guide
Dragon Age: Inquisition is a hefty game. There's tons of stuff to organize. What characters are you taking? What equipment do you need? These character guides aim to give you a rough idea how you can build each character, playing to their strengths and giving them a robust set of options in combat, hopefully making your time playing through the game more fun.
Obviously these aren't meant to be "the best" ways to build each character. Leave a comment if you feel a particular strategy has been neglected and we can all benefit from it.
Varric is the first rogue you meet in Dragon Age: Inquisition. Combat-wise, rogues like Varric can leave a lot to be desired, but that's because it isn't their primary role. With long-range, bow-armed rogues, you want to focus more on support based abilities, and those that help control the battlefield.
In fact, Varric's unique skill tree helps in this regard, providing the entire party with passive bonuses to improve their overall performance. He's never going to be your chief damage dealer (not with this build) but he will play an important role in many groups.
Archery - Skills
Giving Varric some decent skills is a good start. There's nothing bad in the Archery tree; it's self-explanatory, and improves the character combat abilities at long range. For that reason I'd recommend picking everything up here, without touching any of the upgrades. Whilst the skills are solid, the upgrades are incredibly mediocre in many instances, hardly improving the base skill.
The most important here are Leaping Shot, enabling Varric to get out of enemy range, as well as Strafing Shots, which ensures that he can keep pouring fire onto the enemy even whilst he's backing up, in getting into a better spot. Also, Pincushion is handy in longer fights, or against any bonuses by steadily racking up more and more damage the more times you've shot at a target.
Sabotage - Skills
Caltrops are handy for someone like Varric. Not only does he have a unique ability that interacts with traps, but they help emphasize his role as a supporting rogue character, controlling the battlefield from a distance and keeping dangerous targets where you want them. The upgrade is a decent pick up as well.
It's up to your how much further you want to progress down this tree. Getting Look Like It Hurt so that you can pick up Cheap Shot might be worth it, especially if you're going up against tougher enemies.
Subterfuge - Skills
Dipping into the Subterfuge tree is also worth it if you're finding Varric is taking too many hits in combat. You don't need to spend many points here, but it'll usually pay off. Stealth is the obligatory first skill, and while it's not as useful on Varric as it would be on a close-combat rogue, it's still not a bad skill to have, it's probably not worth upgrading for someone like Varric mind.
After that you want Easy To Miss. This is essentially Peaceful Aura but for rogues. It grants a standard -25% threat generation but this increased to -100% if Varric is flanking the enemy. This is well worth getting hold of early on, before you start sinking skill points into his more powerful abilities.
Artificer - Skills
This is Varric's unique skill-tree and, just like him, it's a bit all over the place. There's a few moves that boost traps (namely Caltrops), a few attacking skills, and then a few passive bonuses that provide boosts to the entire party. In general, I'd recommend getting hold of whatever you feel Varric is lacking in at this point.
For example, if you want him to have a bit more combat presence, then you can't go wrong with Elemental Mines and Throw Everything. Meanwhile, if you're wanting to keep Varric out of combat more, Fallback Plan is a decent skill to have. Just don't bother with the upgrade for this skill, it pulls the enemy pack with you which defeats the entire purpose of taking this move.
The "safest" upgrades to focus on are those passive skills at the end of the tree: And Take Them Down and Tricks Of The Trade. They might not look like much, but when you consider the effects are doled out to the entire party, they become a lot more impressive.
Just like bards in old RPGs, Varric is the quintessential all-rounder: a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. You're best thinking of him as a problem solver, whatever aspect your party is lacking; targeted damage, crowd control, support, Varric brings something to the table. Just make sure your other characters are pulling their weight.
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