Dragon Age is probably Bioware’s most acclaimed and important franchise, right along with Mass Effect.
The excellent storytelling, interwoven with character development and fantastic worldbuilding, is masterfully delivered in every entry. This has undoubtedly helped catapul Dragon Age to its current worldwide popularity.
With the release of Dragon Age 4 still beyond the horizon, playing through the previous games is probably a great way to spend some time.
If you’re about to start a new playthrough of Dragon Age: Origins, then you can’t miss the chance to try modding it for a more unique experience.
30. Realistic Worldmap
Dragon Age: Origins’ world map does many things right in its attempt to look like a real medieval map, but it isn’t perfect.
This simple mod is meant to increase its historical accuracy and all-around realism by making it less colorful and more like actual parchment paper.
Among other things, it makes the paper less yellowish – as it hasn’t aged yet – and changes the blood marks from red to brown, like real bloodstains look after a while.
It’s available in several languages, so there’s no reason to pass it by!
29. Personal Annoyance Remover
While the colorful map might have been considered unrealistic to some, I’m sure having a flaming sword on your back and receiving no damage whatsoever is considerably worse.
This simple mod changes a good amount of personal aura and weapon effects to be less long-lived. After sheathing your elemental sword or casting a protective spell, its visual effects will fade away in an instant.
Arcane Might, Death Magic, Rally, and Shimmering Shield are only some of the many spells affected by this change.
If you don’t like your battlefield looking like a carnival, this is a sensible choice.
28. Drakes N Dragons Resized
After experiencing the towering beasts that are the High Dragons in Dragon Age: Inquisition, it’s hard not to look at DA:O’s run-of-the-mill drakes and dragons and not think they’re missing some pounds.
This mod endeavors to make these scaled creatures much more menacing by increasing their size. With it, they’ll stand a full 25% taller, and they’ll be that much intimidating.
They may not reach the size of a High Dragon, but it’s much better and lore-friendly. After all, these are supposed to be incredibly powerful creatures.
You could probably make them even bigger, but they’d probably start clipping through the environment.
27. Auto Loot
A Quality-of-Life improvement that’s useful in almost every single RPG is Auto Loot, meant to save you a lot of time whenever you’re cutting down hordes of enemies.
With this mod installed, any items found on a dying enemy will be automatically added to your inventory – as long as there’s room for it.
It can be wonky with a couple of missions that require you to loot specific items from fallen foes, but other than that, this is a must-have.
It’ll make your playthroughs much faster without you having to dash through the dialogue.
26. Starting Armors
Most games that allow you to choose your race, class, or social station also give you some relevant starting equipment to help you feel immersed in your role from the very first second.
Starting Armors will do the same for you in DA:O, outfitting Rogues with elven armor, dressing human nobles in haughty clothes, and much more. If you want, you can even change the mod’s configuration easily and choose which armor goes to which character type.
25. Sten of the Beresaad
DA:O’s Sten was one of the first Qunari to appear in the series, back when their design and backstory weren’t as defined as they are now.
The Sten of the Beresaad mod changes his meshes and morph to look considerably more like a “modern” Qunari.
It also makes him look more like he does in promotional material, like the Sacred Ashes trailer.
If you’re beautifying your Dragon Age experience, you have to give the gray muscleman a facelift.
24. Universal Dye Kit
Letting you re-color your equipment is one of the oldest tricks in the book to give players more variety when it comes to customizing their playable character – and their companions!
The Universal Dye Kit expands the somewhat limited vanilla possibilities by letting you use custom tints fabricated through the Online Tint Creator.
Once everything is set-up, you can buy an unlimited-use potion from several in-game vendors that’ll let you paint everything you have equipped with the aforementioned custom tint.
It’s a bit unwieldy, but it’ll get the job done.
23. Boob Patches Begone
If we’re nitpicking, I think a lot of the female armor in DA:O looks pretty bad – and no item is as immersion-breaking as vanilla female mage armor.
While I’m not against highlighting a character’s proportions with some smart costume design, the weird leather vest thing under this armor’s chest area makes no sense.
With Boob Patches Begone, this little detail is removed to let the fabric flow down to the waist in a more natural manner. It looks much better.
22. DAO Mod Manager
If you’re going to be modding Dragon Age: Origins, most modders would recommend the DAO Mod Manager to help you in the process.
Not only is it a requisite for some particular mods, but it’ll make your life much more comfortable in general.
Especially if you plan to install a whole bunch of mods here.
With this, you can install and enable mods, disable and uninstall them, and even control your mod load order without that much trouble.
21. No Helmet Hack
One of the oldest conundrums RPG lovers have to face is whether to choose their equipment for its looks or stats.
Helmets are especially troublesome, as they’ll generally cover the face and features you spent so much time customizing.
As its name suggests, the No Helmet Hack helps you keep your team’s faces visible by removing the helmet from view. It’s still equipped and will provide both its stats and set bonuses, but from the invisible “cloak” equipment slot.
You can even choose whose helmets are visible and whose aren’t from the mod’s settings.
Thank god this is a vanilla feature in Dragon Age: Inquisition.
20. Lock Bash
So, you’re telling me that my team of overpowered mages, rogues, and warriors don’t have the combined strength to bust open a simple lock?
Come on! That’s not immersive at all.
Luckily for us, the Lock Bash mod is here to set things straight. It introduces a lock-bashing option where your character’s strength determines whether you can bash open a door, and how many items will be lost by destroying a locked chest.
You can also get it with a 100% guaranteed success rate if that’s what you’re looking for.
19. FTG Quickbar – Center and Multirows
If you’ve been playing MMOs like World of Warcraft for a while, you’re probably used to having a nigh-unlimited amount of slots on your quickbar to easily access skills, items, and the like.
FollowTheGourd’s Quickbar mod makes the vanilla quickbar in DA:O more user-friendly, giving you more centering options and multiple rows that’ll let you have up to fifty available slots for your quick-access needs.
It also fixes a couple of bugs users had found with extra-wide displays, which are much more common now than in 2008 when DA:O first came out.
18. Morrigan Restoration Patch
The not-so-friendly Witch of the Wilds had a lot more planned for her than what can be found in the vanilla game, and this Restoration Patch will let you experience it firsthand.
It restores several malfunctioning and cut scenes involving Morrigan to the game.
This includes events, dialogue, and other interactions.
Some of these are even fully voiced, which makes it a real shame they weren’t accessible without mods in the first place.
If you’re looking for the ideal DA:O experience, you need to get this.
17. The Phoenix Armory (Female)
Among my favorite things you can add to an RPG has to be custom armor.
And The Phoenix Armory is probably the most appealing for females in DA:O.
This mod adds a full set of armor and weapons for female rogues, inspired by the Fiery Phoenix of the East, which the author describes as “a counterpart to the Dragon.”
Each armor piece comes in four tiers, including recruit, scout, battle-maiden, and matriarch. The Twin Phoenix Claw Daggers also have improved versions, and there is also a custom Phoenix bow and arrow combo.
They’re stylish, intimidating, and a little bit sexy – everything a rogue needs.
16. Kirkwall Exports
Another handy mod for a more varied wardrobe is Kirkwall Exports, which brings the best armor pieces from DA2 into DA:O.
Among them, you’ll find the Champion Rogue Armor, the Templar Commander Armor, the Robes of the Apostate, and much more.
There’s something for all races, genders, and classes – except the Mabari, for self-evident reasons.
I think Bioware improved the game a lot aesthetically with the release of DA2, so this is a godsend.
15. White Teeth
In the late medieval times that inspire the Dragon Age universe, hygiene and specifically teeth-care weren’t something the common folk had much knowledge of.
Because of this, it may seem more immersive to give every character dirty, brownish teeth… which is what Bioware ultimately did.
But in a world where dragons, demi-human races, and magic are commonplace, couldn’t they have developed some easy teeth-whitening spell?
Whatever the case, this simple mod will let you replace the horrible yellowish teeth from the vanilla game with a new set of white teeth for every single character.
14. Dragon Age Class and Specialization Pack
If you feel restricted by the base game’s available classes and specializations, I have a mod that’ll significantly improve your experience.
This Class and Specialization Pack adds a wide range of new routes your Warden can take on the road to power.
They can now be a Ritualist or a Warlock if they so choose, for example, and each class has several new specializations – including Arcane Archer, Daggerspell Caster, Invisible Blade, and other exciting possibilities.
Of course, these new classes come with unique talents and spells to try out.
13. Character Respecialization
Maybe you’re in the middle of a playthrough and don’t want to begin anew to try out your new talents, classes, or specializations.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to.
Thanks to the Character Respecialization mod, you can reset the attributes, specialization, spells, and skill points for all party members. That includes, of course, the Hero of Ferelden.
Just install the mod and head to your camp. There you’ll find a new and somewhat suspicious crow that’ll let you access the mod’s features.
12. Change Your Hero Anywhere
Character creation is tricky.
Sometimes, you’re several hours into your playthrough when you realize your Warden is hideous, and there’s nothing you can do but suck it up and plow through if you don’t want to restart your game.
Thanks to the Change Your Hero Anywhere tool, there’s hope for all of you nitpicking character creators.
With it, you can change your character’s looks at any time!
First, you have to create a new character from scratch by starting a new game.
You’ll then use this nifty tool to port that character to your main save file, and voila.
11. Theta HD
While most of the game looks perfectly fine, some textures in vanilla DA:O are hilariously terrible – especially when it comes to large surfaces like rocks and mountainsides.
The Theta HD mod changes every one of these low-quality textures for better ones. These are double the size, and they’re up to par with the rest of the game’s graphics.
It also fixes some graphical inconsistencies and visual bugs by restoring missing or poorly applied textures.
While any mod improving graphics is bound to have an impact on your performance, this one will most likely be imperceptible in most systems.
10. FTG UI Mod – More Readable Fonts and UI
Nowadays, you don’t usually have to worry about cumbersome or hard-to-read UIs, but DA:O came out in 2008, and things weren’t as reliable back then.
This mod by FollowTheGourd successfully improves comfort by making fonts more readable in most modern displays.
This includes text in cut-scenes, the quest journal, the Codex, tool-tips, and various menus.
Menus, tool-tips, and even subtitles – among others – have their own individual settings, giving you a high degree of control over the mod’s effects.
9. Origins Faster Combat
Something DA2 did better than the original was combat. It’s faster, more visceral, and profoundly enjoyable, whereas combat in DA:O sometimes feels like a hassle.
The Origins Faster Combat mod goes a long way toward improving DA:O combat by speeding it up considerably. This doesn’t only make gameplay faster, but most animations look much more natural too.
It comes in several versions with varying speed-up levels, including one that makes your character walk 20% faster outside of combat, and one that’ll make archers more deadly (like in DA2).
8. Forced Deathblows
Some mods improve our gameplay, others make the game look better – and some just let us have more simple fun.
Forced Deathblows belongs to the latter, as it can turn your Hero of Ferelden into a flashy killing machine that’ll violently execute their enemies on every chance they get.
This mod comes in various versions featuring different deathblow frequency.
I recommend getting the Lieutenant one, which guarantees a deathblow against every lieutenant-level enemy.
7. Mabari Madness
If there’s something the original Dragon Age did better than its successors, it was including a mabari war hound as a full-fledged party member.
The Mabari Madness mod celebrates and improves the feature by introducing several lore-friendly breeds of mabari to the game.
You’ll get to choose which breed you get when you first meet your new best friend, and the dogs out in the world are very varied now.
Not only that, but it adds new armor pieces and accessories for your trusty companion. That’s right: it’s armored mabari time.
6. Extra Dog Slot
One of the most significant drawbacks to bringing your mabari with you on adventures is that you’ll have one less slot in your party for the rest of your more humanoid allies.
For this reason, most people leave the mabari behind early on in the game.
With the Extra Dog Slot mod, you never need to leave your trusty canine ally behind again. Once installed, your mabari will spawn along with your other three party members without occupying a slot.
You can now use the Dog Whistle item from your inventory to summon and banish the dog at any time.
Just keep in mind that having four full-fledged allies fighting alongside you might be a bit imbalance on lower difficulties.
5. Dragon Age Rules Fixpack
Just like most extensive & deep RPGs, Dragon Age: Origins isn’t without its fair share of bugs.
The Dragon Age rules Fixpack addresses a long list of these issues, and even goes so far as to improve non-broken parts of the game subtly.
This means it won’t only avoid crashes, but also let you loot corpses automatically and make your helmet invisible if you want.
What makes the DAR Fixpack shine over other options is its modular nature, which helps keep it compatible with many mods.
4. Qwinn’s Ultimate DAO Fixpack
Another excellent option is Qwinn’s Ultimate DAO Fixpack, which addresses almost every bug in the vanilla game.
Even if you haven’t experienced any bugs so far, you will eventually, so I suggest you get this mod right now.
Not only will it prevent crashes, but it restores plenty of cut content and broken dialogue, codex entries, and even entire missing scenes with essential characters like Zevran, Leliana, and Morrigan.
3. Equal Love
Limiting who you can romance in a game like Dragon Age based on your gender can negatively impact a player’s freedom when creating a character they like.
None of us should have to settle for lesser life companions just because of what character we thought would look the best, and thanks to the Equal Love mod, we don’t have to.
With it, female Wardens can romance Gheyna, Anora, Morrigan, Kaitlyn, and Bella without issue.
Inversely, male Wardens can now woo Cammen and Alistair too. Equality!
2. Dragon Age Redesigned
After 10+ years, it’s only natural that Dragon Age: Origin’s graphics look dated and somewhat lackluster.
A great way to improve this and bring the game a bit closer to current times is the Dragon Age Redesigned mod.
It changes most NPCs from the base game and the DLC to be more appealing and lore-friendly. Easier to look at for sure.
Changes have been made to over 1240 characters, including re-aligning their teeth, giving them facial expressions that match their personality, and much more.
The mod comes in three versions:
One prioritizes aesthetics, another focuses on lore-accuracy, and the third features the “recommended” settings, an efficient middle ground.
1. Improved Atmosphere
The single most recommended and meaningful mod you can get to make your Dragon Age: Origins feel renewed and alive is Improved Atmosphere.
The mod touches almost every part of the game.
This includes making NPCs behave more immersive rather than just standing around, recreating cut content, and adding many new color tints for vanilla armor.
On top of that, it adds several new items that can be worn by NPCs, but that also give you more customization options while managing your equipment.
I’d say my favorite improvement here is the increased party banter frequency.
Maybe I’ll finally manage to listen to all of it in a single playthrough!