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Shapeshifter - Surgical Room

Hollowness September 11, 2011 User blog:Hollowness

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Phase 1


Good Points
Opinion Based or generally may want to be removed
My notes and some compiled info

Shapeshifting Mechanics

When the caster assumes a new form his strength, dexterity and constitution attributes are replaced by those of his chosen forms, which in turn are determined by his total spellpower. If any of the caster's attributes were originally higher than those of his chosen forms these will be left unchanged. Bonuses from items that improve any of the mage's attributes (including bonuses to armor, armor penetration, defense, damage and others) are calculated after changing forms.

Strategies

Second specializations

  • Arcane Warrior: While Arcane Warrior trumps Shapeshifter in general melee combat, access to skills like Overwhelm and the different form bonuses/immunities makes Arcane Warrior a viable second specialization for players who merely view the Shapeshifter talents as a "bag-of-tricks".
  • Blood Mage: The Blood Mage is, by default, a high risk-high gain specialization. Blood Mage talents can and will partially mitigate some of the survivability granted by shapeshifting, although the combination results in a pretty deadly caster with access to powerful offensive skills.
  • Spirit Healer: The Shapeshifter/Spirit Healer is an (not necessarily the) ideal support character, in the sense that this combo can effectively combines offense and support into one neat package. Access to Spirit Healer talents grants Shapeshifters means to bring their parties back from brink, while the Shapeshifter's versatility enhances the Spirit Healer's focus on defense quite nicely - since shifting back to human form is instant, and most Spirit Healer talents are instant-cast, they complement each other. A Shapeshifter/Spirit Healer with focus on primal can nuke enemies silly, killing off weaker enemy units, and then Shapeshift into Bear/Spider to deal with elites and bosses. At any point a Shapeshifter/Spirit Healer can shift out, throw a Heal or Group Heal, and then resume nuking or shift into another form - this entire sequence can be done seamlessly with practice.

Its not uncommon for shape shifters to get lost in the forms and stay out of human form all together. in this case there arent any good spells to really get into except AoE spells inferno/tempest/blizzard etc. this can be good for lower dificulties but on nightmare or hard renders the mage almost useless. the mage usually will cast their AoE spell then form to ensure damage from melee and elemental damage.

Spirit Healer Needs a bit of excess opinionated info and a little tidy


Form strategies

  • Spider Form is the most versatile of the Shapeshifter forms. It comes with its own debuff, its own attack skill and Master Shapeshifter grants it the powerful Overwhelm skill. It's also the only form that makes use of both its strength (normal attack) and dexterity (Poison Spit, defense) attributes in combat. The Spider Form's attributes scale the slowest with increasing spellpower, however, making it the weakest form for magic-based Shapeshifters.
  • Bear Form is useful for blocking doorways and providing melee combat support. It is the toughest of the forms, and also the most physically damaging. Its attacks are much slower than Spider Form's however so switching to a staff (for auto-hit and armor penetration) is recommended before changing into Bear Form, especially at lower levels. Bear Form scales faster than Spider Form with increasing spellpower, and can remain useful throughout the game.
  • The Flying Swarm's damage-over-time attack does not harm allies and is capable of doing higher tick damage than most damage over time spells, especially if the mage's spellpower is very high. It is the fastest of the forms and is the only one that does not improve any of the mage's main attributes. Instead, Flying Swarm improves the mage's base missile deflection stat, making it particularly useful for form-centric Shapeshifters.


Mage strategies

  • There are generally two types of Shapeshifters: those that focus on nuking and only using the Shapeshifter talents as a "bag-of-tricks", and those that focus on improving their forms.
    • The former does not invest at all in the strength and dexterity attributes. They only shift forms when they wish to surprise their enemies or tank specific bosses (as the forms are immune to powerful boss abilities like grab and knockback).
    • The latter invests on all the necessary attributes to improve their forms: strength, dexterity and magic. These Shapeshifters are warrior-mages who can be as devastating in melee as they can be with their magic.

  • When picking spells note that Spider Form and the Flying Swarm both rely on dealing nature damage, to which certain creatures are immune (eg, undead and constructs). It might be wise to pick spells which do alternative types of damage.
  • Some forms are very effective at "kiting" enemies while party members attack with ranged weapons.
  • Since Form-centric Shapeshifters will have a lower magic attribute than most mages picking spells that require mental/resistance checks to work (mostly from the Entropy spell tree) is not ideal. When choosing spells for a form-centric Shapeshifter it usually best to pick from the primal spells tree. This is because most of the primal spells are nukes and should a particular target successfully makes a mental/physical resistance check against them, he/she will still take damage from the spell unless he/she resists the spell outright. The spirit and creation spells trees do have a few spells that might be useful for the Shapeshifter, though, in particular the Glyph and Telekinesis line.
Can be condensed opinion heavy info removed and information elsewhere added here.

Nuker Shapeshifter combos

** Fireball → Earthquake → Blizzard/Chain Lightning/Tempest/Inferno → Shapeshift:Spider. Web + Poison Spit enemies who try to escape the AoE and Overwhelm those who succeed. Bear Form may also be used.

    • Fireball → Earthquake → Chain Lightning/Cone of Cold (optional) → Shapeshift:Bear/Flying Swarm. This setup is useful for for disabling mages and archers and bringing down key targets.
  • Form-centric Shapeshifter tips:
    • Spend several points on the strength and dexterity attributes early on to improve damage and increase defense. Rely on defense gear and only switch to heavy armor if you plan on using Bear Form. A dedicated healer is very useful if you want to tank elite and boss type enemies.
    • Since shapeshifting prevents the caster from using potions, use items like Lifegiver to boost the healing effects you receive from allies.
      Note: Unfortunately, +X% to healing effects received modifier is bugged. Please refer to +X Healing Received Bug for details.
This all can be removed I believe but the combo can be mentioned the the above mage strategies.

Notes

  • Casters generally do not have access to potions and other items while in an alternative form.
  • A mage using a staff prior to shifting w perform critical hits, however.
  • A mage using any other weapon (including bare fists) can miss while shifted, but will be able to perform critical hits.
  • Temporary boosts to spellpower like those from sustained spells like Spell Wisp are ignored when shapeshifting.
  • Most defensive bonuses (physical or mental resistance bonuses, elemental resistance bonuses) from items like weapons,armor and shields are carried over when shifting.
  • Most offensive bonuses (+x damage, +x elemental damage, +x damage to undead) from items like weapons, armor and shields are not carried over when shifting.
  • All forms are generally faster than humanoids.
  • The mage gains several resistances and immunities that are unique to Shapeshifter specialization when changing forms. Among those known are increased nature resistance, increased physical resistance (uncommon for a mage), knockback (like the Champion's War Cry) immunity and grab immunity (like the High Dragon's grab attack).
  • Combat Training bonuses works normally while shapeshifted.
  • Sustained spells are automatically deactivated when shapeshifting.
  • Changing back to human form happens instantly, and can be done while the game is paused.
  • The armor rating for the Spider and Bear Forms are taken from either a default, fixed value or from the mage's base armor, whichever is higher. If the mage's armor is higher than the Bear Form's base armor, he/she also gets a +10 bonus to armor.
  • Only armor penetration is currently known to be based on the mage's equipped weapon.
  • The mage can not achieve the next level while shapeshifted. Experience will appear to halt when the maximum for that level is reached.
    • The mage must change back to its natural form and earn some experience to level. Any experience you had earned while maxed for that level will then be awarded retroactively.
Notes generally good a bit overlaping and not needed to mention but over all goof info and just a tidy.

Phase 2

Shapeshifting Mechanics

When the caster assumes a new form his strength, dexterity and constitution attributes are replaced by those of his chosen forms, which in turn are determined by his total spellpower. If any of the caster's attributes were originally higher than those of his chosen forms these will be left unchanged. Bonuses from items that improve any of the mage's attributes (including bonuses to armor, armor penetration, defense, damage and others) are calculated after changing forms.

Form strategies

Spider

Spider Form is the most versatile of the Shapeshifter forms. It comes with its own debuff, its own attack skill and Master Shapeshifter grants it the powerful Overwhelm skill. It's also the only form that makes use of both its strength (normal attack) and dexterity (Poison Spit, defense) attributes in combat. The Spider Form's attributes scale the slowest with increasing spellpower, however, making it the weakest form for magic-based Shapeshifters.

Bear

Bear Form is useful for blocking doorways and providing melee combat support. It is the toughest of the forms, and also the most physically damaging. Its attacks are much slower than Spider Form's however so switching to a staff (for auto-hit and armor penetration) is recommended before changing into Bear Form, especially at lower levels. Bear Form scales faster than Spider Form with increasing spellpower, and can remain useful throughout the game.

Flying Swarm

The Flying Swarm's damage-over-time attack does not harm allies and is capable of doing higher tick damage than most damage over time spells, especially if the mage's spellpower is very high. It is the fastest of the forms and is the only one that does not improve any of the mage's main attributes. Instead, Flying Swarm improves the mage's base missile deflection stat, making it particularly useful for form-centric Shapeshifters.

Mage strategies

There are generally two types of Shapeshifters: those that focus on nuking and only using the Shapeshifter talents as a "bag-of-tricks", and those that focus on improving their forms.

The former does not invest at all in the strength and dexterity attributes. They only shift forms when they wish to surprise their enemies or tank specific bosses (as the forms are immune to powerful boss abilities like grab and knockback). The latter invests on all the necessary attributes to improve their forms: strength, dexterity and magic. These Shapeshifters are warrior-mages who can be as devastating in melee as they can be with their magic.

Second specializations

If you plan on being in form for the majority of the time picking up a second specialization is less utilized than any other combo and play style. Choosing the passive abilities of a specialization maybe what should be looked into and/or for if and when you are in human form get the most benefit.

Arcane Warrior

Arcane Warrior passively in form would give the flexibility to equip strength items. Otherwise playing in human form Shapshifter would be considered more of the second or third specialization when in combination with Arcane Warrior and using Shapeshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability.

Blood Mage

The Blood Mage is, by default, a high risk-high gain specialization. Blood Mage talents can and will partially mitigate some of the survivability granted by shapeshifting, although the combination results in a pretty deadly caster with access to powerful offensive skills.

Spirit Healer

The Spirit Healer enables the mage while in human form to act as a supporter/healer. Access to Spirit Healer talents grants Shapeshifters means to bring their parties back from brink, while the Shapeshifter's versatility enhances the Spirit Healer's focus on defense quite nicely - since shifting back to human form is instant, and most Spirit Healer talents are instant-cast, they complement each other.

Battlemage

Battlemage enables a mage while in human form to inflict high AOE damage and using Shapshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability. Of course this can be reversed as well staying in Shapeshifted until the need to use the abilities that require human form.

Keeper

Keeper enables a mage while in human form to inflict damage, heal and crowd control using Shapeshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability. Of course this can be reversed as well staying Shapeshifted until the need to use the abilities that require human form.

Notes

  • Casters generally do not have access to potions and other items while in an alternative form.
  • Weapons equipped while Shapeshifted will determine armor penetration and if hits will not be critical (in the case of a staff).
  • Sustained spells are automatically deactivated when shapeshifting.
  • Most defensive bonuses (physical or mental resistance bonuses, elemental resistance bonuses) from items like weapons,armor and shields are carried over when shifting.
  • While Shapeshifted there is an increase in nature resistance and physical resistance as well as immunities to knockback and grab.
  • The armor rating for the Spider and Bear Forms are taken from either a default, fixed value or from the mage's base armor, whichever is higher. If the mage's armor is higher than the Bear Form's base armor, he/she also gets a +10 bonus to armor.
  • The mage can not achieve the next level while shapeshifted. Experience will appear to halt when the maximum for that level is reached. The mage must change back to its natural form and earn some experience to level. Any experience you had earned while maxed for that level will then be awarded retroactively.

Recovery Room

Shapeshifting Mechanics

When the caster assumes a new form his strength, dexterity and constitution attributes are replaced by those of his chosen forms, which in turn are determined by his total spellpower. If any of the caster's attributes were originally higher than those of his chosen forms these will be left unchanged. Bonuses from items that improve any of the mage's attributes (including bonuses to armor, armor penetration, defense, damage and others) are calculated after changing forms.

Form strategies

Spider

Spider Form is the most versatile of the Shapeshifter forms. It comes with its own debuff, its own attack skill and Master Shapeshifter grants it the powerful Overwhelm skill. It's also the only form that makes use of both its strength (normal attack) and dexterity (Poison Spit, defense) attributes in combat. The Spider Form's attributes scale the slowest with increasing spellpower, however, making it the weakest form for magic-based Shapeshifters.

Bear

Bear Form is the toughest of the forms, and also the most physically damaging. Its attacks are much slower than Spider Form's however so switching to a staff (for auto-hit and armor penetration) is recommended before changing into Bear Form, especially at lower levels. Bear Form scales faster than Spider Form with increasing spellpower, and can remain useful throughout the game.

Flying Swarm

The Flying Swarm's damage-over-time attack does not harm allies and is capable of doing higher tick damage than most damage over time spells, especially if the mage's spellpower is very high. It is the fastest of the forms and is the only one that does not improve any of the mage's main attributes. Instead, Flying Swarm improves the mage's base missile deflection stat, making it particularly useful for form-centric Shapeshifters.

Mage strategies

There are generally two types of Shapeshifters: those that focus on nuking and only using the Shapeshifter talents for a specific use of an ability/form or after the depletion of mana, and those that focus on improving their forms.

The human form player does not invest at all in the strength and dexterity attributes. They only shift forms when they wish to surprise their enemies or tank specific bosses (as the forms are immune to powerful boss abilities like grab and knockback). The former invests on all the necessary attributes to improve their forms: strength, dexterity and magic.

Second specializations

If you plan on being in form for the majority of the time picking up a second specialization is less utilized than any other combo and play style. Choosing the passive abilities of a specialization maybe what should be looked into and/or for if and when you are in human form get the most benefit.

Arcane Warrior

Arcane Warrior passively in form would give the flexibility to equip strength items. Otherwise playing in human form Shapshifter would be considered more of the second or third specialization when in combination with Arcane Warrior and using Shapeshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability.

Blood Mage

The Blood Mage is, a high risk-high gain specialization. Blood Mage talents can and will partially mitigate some of the survivability granted by shapeshifting, although the combination results in a pretty deadly caster with access to powerful offensive skills.

Spirit Healer

The Spirit Healer enables the mage while in human form to act as a supporter/healer. Access to Spirit Healer talents grants Shapeshifters means to bring their parties back from brink, while the Shapeshifter's versatility enhances the Spirit Healer's focus on defense since shifting back to human form is instant, and most Spirit Healer talents are instant-cast.

Battlemage

Battlemage enables a mage while in human form to inflict high AOE damage and using Shapshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability. Of course this can be reversed as well staying in Shapeshifted until the need to use the abilities that require human form.

Keeper

Keeper enables a mage while in human form to inflict damage, heal and crowd control using Shapeshifting after the depletion of mana or when needing to use a form ability. Of course this can be reversed as well staying Shapeshifted until the need to use the abilities that require human form.

Notes

  • Casters generally do not have access to potions and other items while in an alternative form.
  • Weapons equipped while Shapeshifted will determine armor penetration and if hits will not be critical (in the case of a staff).
  • Sustained spells are automatically deactivated when shapeshifting.
  • Most defensive bonuses (physical or mental resistance bonuses, elemental resistance bonuses) from items like weapons,armor and shields are carried over when shifting.
  • While Shapeshifted there is an increase in nature resistance and physical resistance as well as immunities to knockback and grab.
  • The armor rating for the Spider and Bear Forms are taken from either a default, fixed value or from the mage's base armor, whichever is higher. If the mage's armor is higher than the Bear Form's base armor, he/she also gets a +10 bonus to armor.
  • The mage can not achieve the next level while shapeshifted. Experience will appear to halt when the maximum for that level is reached. The mage must change back to its natural form and earn some experience to level. Any experience you had earned while maxed for that level will then be awarded retroactively.

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