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Less than a day until the official release of Dragon Age 2, so here’s a quick recap on the three mages who can join your party – Bethany, Anders and Merrill.

Bethany Hawke

Bethany Hawke
Available:
Lothering Escape
“Well, the Maker has a sense of humor.”

Bethany is Hawke’s younger sister and fraternal twin to Carver. Gifted (or cursed?) with magic, she, like her father and Hawke (if a mage) was raised as an apostate. Like the rest of the Hawke family, she’s available immediately in the game as the family attempts to escape Lothering as the darkspawn pursue.

Bethany is only available later in the game if you play as a warrior or rogue, otherwise you’ll be saying goodbye to her early. Otherwise she’ll be heading to Kirkwall with the rest of you. With Kirkwall being a city swarming with Templars, Bethany will really have to watch her back. She’ll be the anti-templar voice in your party there for a while. There is some question as to her permanency as a companion – but we’ll just let you experience that on your own.

Bethany opens the game with a variety of elemental spells, so she’ll already on the path to being a damage-dealer, as opposed to other companions. Since she’ll probably be your only mage early on, you’ll probably want to pick up the ever-important heal and then continue to build her as you like.

Anders

Anders
Available:
Early Kirkwall?
“I have made this place a sanctum of healing and salvation.”

Anders is back, and if you’ve played Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening, you already know some of his backstory. Anders was a notorious tower-escaper in Ferelden and may or may not have entered the Grey Wardens after being conscripted by the Warden Commander. No matter the outcome of Awakening, it appears that Anders has since joined with a Spirit of Justice and is now running a clinic in Kirkwall’s poor sector.

If you know Anders at all, you know he has no love for the Templars. He’s all about freedom for mages. But now that he’s joined with a spirit, there’s a sense that the goof-off Anders of Awakening may be replaced with a more serious-minded personality. And, as to be expected, he still doesn’t really care for Templars. Expect the spirit and its influence inside him to take his personal story in some new directions. Will Justice remain inside him or will Anders again need or want to be freed?

Like Awakening, Anders is a Spirit Healer, which means he’ll be your best choice for the healing and protective duties of your party. If you’re only taking one mage with you, definitely take Anders for his abilities – otherwise you’ll probably need to burn a couple skill points on other mages to help them support your party.

Merril

Merrill
Available:
Sundermount
“It doesn’t look Elvish, does it, Keeper? Tevinter, maybe?”

Merrill is another minor Origins character back for Dragon Age 2, this time as your companion. After the events of the Dalish Origin, Keeper Marethari decided to move her clan to the north. Merrill, as the keeper’s first, went with them. The clan eventually halted on Sundermount to the north of Kirkwall. These ancient peaks – which are purportedly haunted by the undead and demons, are where you will first meet Merrill.

Of all the companions revealed in Dragon Age 2, the list amount of information seems to be available about Merrill. From Origins, we know that she is a curious learner, one who wants to absorb all she can about ancient history. She is Dalish and a mage, which means in the eyes of the Chantry she is an apostate, which could lead to some definite friction with the Templars in Kirkwall. Merrill leaves her clan to travel with Hawke, but the circumstances are unclear as to why at this point. Otherwise Merrill is known to be a love interest in DA2, leaving a lot about her character to be explored.

Merrill’s skill set isn’t exactly clear, but the limited information available suggests that, like Bethany, she’s originally built to be a damage-dealer. A mix of damage and disables might work well if used in combination with Anders or a main character with healing talents, otherwise you’ll probably want to pick up some support spells for her if she’s going to be your only mage.

[Source] : Greywardens.com

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