Having success in Dragon Age 2 can depend on how you build your party. If your companions aren’t fighting at their optimal capacity, you just might find things a lot tougher (well, depending on difficulty). While Hawke can have two specializations, choose his/her armour, your companions are a bit more set into specific roles. Good party harmony will make your life a lot easier, while dungeon crawling. The original article can be found over at Greywardens.com. I’ll place a little ‘menu’ at the bottom of each page, that’ll help you navigate the article better and get to those companions you care the most about.
We’ll start off with the two least important companions (Courtesy of no specialization and being unavailable for large parts of the game), in your siblings Bethany and Carver.
If you’re playing as a warrior or rogue, Bethany will be the first character you get and the first mage you get until you recruit either Anders or Merrill. However, she’ll only be a temporary companion, making your choice to build her somewhat irrelevant for the majority of the game. However, we’ll indulge.
Bethany, in the early game, probably best serves you as a straight up damage dealer. She doesn’t have a specialization to worry about so you can just pour all her point directly into a skill tree. Since she starts with Fireball, you’ve got a head start in the Elemental tree so that’s probably where you’ll want to stay.
In the early game (probably with your first level up), you should invest in Heal, for obvious reasons. Until you get Anders, she’ll be your only option to heal. And unless you rush ahead and nab Anders as the first quest you take on in Act I, this will be able to help you out.
Nab Winter’s Grasp, Cone of Cold, Firestorm and Pyromancer, all in the Elemental Tree with the goal of working your way up to Elemental Mastery.
In the middle if you need to grab an outside skill (due to level restrictions), some quick support choices will add some extra oomph to your party. One-and-done skills like Elemental Weapons or Heroic Aura will suffice, or grab another attack spell in Spirit Bolt in the Spirit tree.
You probably won’t get too many more skill points with her than that before she’s unavailable for you to use. If/when she comes back later and if you really want to use her for old times’ sake, depending on your party makeup you may want to grab a couple disabling spells in the Entropy Tree, or focus on more support-type roles with Creation Spells or Arcane. Or you can go even further into the realm of pure damage by nabbing some primal spells too. But really, that late in the game, your supporting cast should greatly outshine Bethany.
Carver, like Bethany, is temporary for your party and only if you’re a mage. Also, like Bethany, he is best used by focusing on raw damage-dealing early.
Start Carver out immediately in the Two-hand tree, nabbing your early skills like Mighty Blow, Giant’s Reach and Sunder. You’ll eventually want to get Scythe and Whirlwind too when they become available and then probably stick to upgrading those skills as they become available.
If you plan on using only Carver as your warrior early, get Taunt, a necessity to help him control threat on the battlefield. If you want to branch out a bit into other trees the best option is probably the Vanguard Tree. By picking up Might and Control (which are unfortunately mutually exclusive) you can unlock Cleave, which will double his damage output. Or, you can stick in the Warmonger tree and pick up other skills like the sustainable Bravery to increase his power in crowds or go toward Tremor for some AOE knockdown.
However, since he’s unavailable most of the game, your best bet is to just pump up his two-handed skills as far as you can while you have him. If/when he comes back later in the game, that would be at time to branch out especially into the Vanguard Tree where he can pick strong passive skills like Destroyer and Massacre to really add up his killing power.