IGN's Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening Must Have List

IGN has cranked out a list of ten features that they'd like to see incorporated in BioWare's upcoming Awakening expansion pack for Dragon Age: Origins.  A couple that I agree with:
Tone down the mages' powers.

In Origins, players are constantly hearing that magic users wield too much power. Whether it's the paranoia of the templars or the seemingly unfounded fears of the peasantry, mages are portrayed as walking nuclear bombs a situation that only gets worse toward the end of the game. You can understand why: mages always hit their targets with their staffs, and as they gain more levels, they cause lots more damage. Their area of effect spells are brutal against most enemies, so it's possible to weaken or destroy almost any threat against your party. Worst of all, these wizards can beat the Arch-demon in half the time that it takes other classes because of their ranged advantages and abilities.

If these characters aren't controlled, they will become gods by the time they reach the expansion pack's level cap. They'll be able to smite anything in their path without actually needing the help of a party. I'm not saying they need to be totally nerfed to balance the three classes, but there has to be some kind of limitation placed on mages. Slow down the refresh rate on certain abilities or limit the times and locations in which a player can use some of the most powerful spells. A few reasonable restrictions will ensure these spell casters won't fly through the expansion's content in half the time it takes the Warrior and Rogue classes.


Make non-party members impact the story

This is a big issue with all RPGs, because most players stick with the same set of characters unless the game forces them to switch. These unused members magically collect experience while you and your three selected companions hack your way through Darkspawn, undead creatures and random abominations pulled from the Fade. Can't we put these characters to work?

Since the story of Awakening centers around rebuilding the Grey Wardens, make the characters who aren't fighting golems or dragons do something useful. Order them to train prospective recruits or secure the territory that you've acquired. Send them on quests to quell monster infestations or search for items that your entire party can use. But don't give them experience just for sitting around the fire getting drunk. Even better, give them specific skills or experience that we desperately need at one point in the story, so we have to swap party members.