Dragon Age 2 Companion Approval Guide

Dragon Age 2 has an approval system that stands out within the franchise. Rather than simply rewarding the player for becoming friends with all of the companions, the game rewards players for either friendship or rivalry.

This friendship/rivalry system encouraged players to feel more freedom with their role-playing decisions. Rather than striving to please all the characters, they can strive for just maxing out a type of relationship with that character. Even rivaled characters can be romanced.

What players do not want is to be stuck in the middle between friendship and rivalry, as that can make the character far less loyal and more likely to not be around at the end game. Also, unlike in Origins, a player cannot solely rely on gifts to form a relationship with that character.

Luckily, most of the characters in Dragon Age 2 like to make their opinions and feelings known to the player.

Anders Guide

Anders is easy to get friendly with if the player is pro-mage, but difficult if the player is pro-Chantry and Templar. Choose wisely when it comes to what missions to take him on, as many of them are mage, Chantry, and Templar related.

Easiest ways to gain Anders’ friendship:

  • Make pro-mage choices.
  • Be anti-Chantry.
  • Fight/confront blood mages and demons.
  • Be agreeable when talking to him.

Easiest ways to gain Anders’ rivalry:

  • Make pro-Templar choices.
  • Be pro-Chantry.
  • Do not aid the oppressed.
  • Be friendly and make deals with blood mages and/or demons.

Fenris Guide

Fenris has strong opinions due to his difficult life. Gaining his friendship as a mage and/or pro-mage Hawke can be quite difficult. Players often get the friendship of Anders or Fenris while rivaling the other since they have such opposite opinions. However, rivaling or being friends with both of them is doable as long as you take them on the right quests.

Easiest ways to gain Fenris’ friendship:

  • Be kind to innocents, notably elves and slaves.
  • Make anti-mage choices.
  • Don’t coddle him when he talks about his problems, just be understanding.
  • Be merciless to slavers.

Easiest ways to gain Fenris’ rivalry:

  • Make pro-mage choices.
  • Do not kill slavers.
  • Be a mage class and tell him you “seek power” during his recruitment quest.
  • Support Merrill’s blood magic.

Isabela Guide

Isabela is all about fun and living in the moment. She does not mind Hawke being a little selfish. In fact, being too selfless will definitely get rivalry points from her.

She is a particularly tricky character because if her rivalry or friendship is not high enough at the end of Act Two, then she will leave and never return. So players who want her to stick around need to make sure either her friendship or rivalry points are in the blue or red by the end of Act Two.

Easiest ways to get Isabela’s friendship:

  • Put freedom above all else (this means not giving mages to the Circle).
  • Demand payment for work.
  • Make sarcastic choices.
  • Value other people’s privacy and choices.

Easiest ways to get Isabela’s rivalry:

  • Doing good acts for free.
  • Enforce the law on her and others.
  • Tell her to give the stolen relic back to the Qunari.

Merrill Guide

Merrill is a unique character due to her Dalish origin as well as her rebellious position of being a Blood Mage. She is the only companion in the game that approves of making deals with demons and the practice of blood magic.

Easiest ways to gain Merrill’s friendship:

  • Support her in her quest to fix the mirror.
  • Make pro-mage choices.
  • Be open-minded about demons and blood magic.
  • Be kind and helpful to others.

Easiest ways to gain Merrill’s rivalry:

  • Make pro-Templar and pro-Circle choices.
  • Dissuade her about fixing the mirror at every chance.
  • Be anti-blood magic and against consorting with demons.

Varric Guide

Varric tends to be a character all players want to be friends with, which is good because getting his friendship is pretty easy. He loves wit and solving issues through any kind of talk, from regular old diplomacy to trickery. To rival him, players need to be bloodthirsty, making their Hawke value brute strength and having zero interest in stories.

Easiest ways to get Varric’s friendship:

  • Pick sarcastic and diplomatic options.
  • Solve issues with talking more often than fighting.
  • Be the hero he would want to write and talk to others about.

Easiest ways to get Varric’s rivalry:

  • Choose aggressive dialogue options.
  • Be cruel to others.
  • Show little interest in others or in Kirkwall.

Aveline Guide

Being a guardsman, Aveline values a Hawke that is diplomatic and lawful, and rivals one that commits crimes. However, in terms of the mages and Templars, Aveline is not as clear-cut as other characters. She is more complex, believing mages should be watched, but that the Gallows of Kirkwall do sometimes take things too far.

Easiest ways to get Aveline’s friendship:

  • Choosing diplomatic and lawful good options.
  • Only disobeying the law to protect personal loved ones (like family or other companions).
  • Not hurting Templars or mages when they can.
  • Being kind to others.

Easiest ways to get Isabella’s rivalry:

  • Doing unlawful actions (this includes blackmail, approving of blood magic, murder of non-hostiles, framing others for murder, and letting other companions do the same).
  • Ignoring certain quests, notably the ones that would help other people.
  • Letting Templars be cruel to mages and vice versa.

Carver Guide

Hawke’s little brother is one of the easiest characters to rival in the game. He is insecure about his role in the family and despises being in Hawke’s shadow. Of course, he is only a companion for players that take on the mage class.

Easiest ways to get Carver’s friendship:

  • Avoid attracting Templar attention.
  • Give him chances to prove his worth.
  • Help other Fereldans.
  • When given the chance, side with Templars and the Chantry.
  • Take him with you on the Deep Roads (bring Anders to make him a Grey Warden, or else he will die).

Easiest ways to get Carver’s rivalry:

  • Be a troublemaker and attract a lot of attention.
  • Challenge the Chantry.
  • Make Carver feel inferior (jokes and aggressive dialogue choices can do this).
  • Always side with mages.
  • Do not take him to the Deep Roads (this will make him become a Templar).

*Note: since Carver is not always around after the games’ first act, it is recommended to take him in the Legacy DLC content to rank up his friendship or rivalry.

Bethany Guide

Players that choose to be a rogue or warrior class will have Bethany survive the trip to Kirkwall instead of Carver. A major part of her that makes her different from her twin brother is that she is a mage. She also is far less argumentative with her older siblings, as she does not have Carver’s insecurity.

Easiest ways to gain Bethany’s friendship:

  • Show general kindness to others.
  • Make pro-mage choices.
  • Make any efforts to support the family.
  • Fight against and renounce demons and blood magic.

Easiest ways to gain Bethany’s rivalry:

  • Make aggressive choices.
  • Be anti-mage.
  • Exploit other Fereldans.

Sebastian Guide

Sebastian is not a character every Dragon Age 2 player is familiar with, as he is a DLC character (like Shale in Origins). But unlike Shale, he is a romanceable character. However, players do get less time with him than they do with other companions, as he cannot become a true companion until Act Two.

Easiest ways to get Sebastian’s friendship:

  • Be helpful to people in need.
  • Make pro-Chantry choices.
  • Be pro-Templar.
  • Support him staying in the Chantry.

Easiest ways to get Sebastian’s rivalry:

  • Push him to retake his role as Prince of Starkhaven.
  • Be anti-Chantry.
  • Make aggressive choices.
  • Be pro-mage freedom.

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