How To Install Dragon Age: Origins Mods

If you’re like us, the impending release of Dragon Age 2 has you foaming at the mouth; the end of official DLC packs for Origins only makes the wait even worse. Now would be the perfect time to branch out into user created content, and thank the maker, we’ll make it easy and fast by showing you how to install Dragon Age: Origins Mods.

If you’ve played Dragon Age all the way through, you know it’s a sprawling, wonderful mess of a game, and its mods reflect that. It may seem like a large undertaking, but follow this guide, and you’ll be spicing up your vanilla copy of Dragon Age: Origins in no time. After that, we’ll share some of our favorites with you.

Ready? Set? Let’s go.

Difficulty: Beginner

Table Of Contents

Prerequisites

DA Modder

Installing A Mod

Shapeshifting Mods

Weapons Mods

Alley Of Murders

Additional Resources

Prerequisites

To install Dragon Age mods, you’ll obviously need a copy of Dragon Age: Origins for Mac or PC. Better make sure your computer is up to the job.

System Requirements:

MAC

* OS: Mac OSX 10.6.2 Leopard or higher

* CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo processor

* Memory: 2 GB

* Hard drive space: 17 GB

*Graphics: ATI X1600 or NVIDIA 7300 or greater

Windows:

* OS: Windows XP with Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Service Pack 1, or Windows 7

* CPU: Minimum – Intel Core 2 Solo 1.6 GHz, (XP) or 1.8 GHz (Vista/Win 7), AMD Athlon 64 X2 (or equivalent) running at 1.8 GHz, (XP) or 2.2 GHz, (Vista/Win 7) processor; Reccomended – Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor or equivalent, AMD Phenom II X2 Dual-Core 2.7 GHz or greater

* Memory: Minimum – 1 GB (XP), 1.5 GB (Vista/Win 7); Reccomended – 2 GB (XP), 3 GB (Vista/Win 7)

* Hard drive space: 20 GB

* Graphics: Minimum – ATI Radeon X850 128MB or greater, NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT 128MB or greater (XP), ATI Radeon X1550 256MB or greater, NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB or greater, Intel x4500HD or greater (Vista/Win 7); Reccomended – ATI Radeon HD 3850 512 MB or greater, NVIDIA 8800GTS 512 MB or greater.

Now that you’ve got everything settled, (and here’s hoping it didn’t cost you too much), let’s actually learn how to Install Dragon Age: Origin Mods

DA Modder

Unlike some other games we could mention, Bioware hasn’t tried to impede their modders. Subsequently the Dragon Age community has really stepped up in a huge way, and there are a lot of easy options available for you to cram delicious mods into your game. The absolute easiest of them all is the DAmodder.

Released last December, the DA Modder is freeware created to replace the clunky, frequently malfunctioning DAUpdater. It is easy to use, relatively stable, and remains the most frequently recommended option.

DAmodder offers a huge variety of functions for both players and modders, streamlining the process of installing official updates, and making it very easy to install 3rd party mods of any type (and for modders to distribute their original content as widely as possible.)

Download the latest version here.

Got it? Getting started couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is unzip the file (make sure it’s on the same harddrive as your copy of Dragon Age) and click the DAmodder.exe.

Now that you’ve got this out the way, let’s hurry up and install some Dragon Age mods already.

Installing A Mod

So now you’ve successfully added DAmodder. Assuming you’ve already found a mod you like and have downloaded, open DAmodder up. You’ll see something like this:

At this point, you have two options. You can simply drag and drop the mod file directly into the DAmodder window, or click the “Select Mod” button.

If you choose “select”, you’ll likely see something like this:

At this point, you’ll need to account for the type of file you’re attempting to install in order to make sure everything goes smoothly. There are two basic types of Dragon Age mods you’ll be installing:

* A Standard Dragon Age origins mod. These are created using the Dragon Age tool set and saved as a .DAZIP file. This includes not only true, fan created mods, but official “mods”, AKA the numerous DLC expansion packs.

Whether you’ve chosen the .DAZIP file from the “select mod” menu, or you’ve dragged and dropped it into the DAModder window, when you click “Install Mod”, DAModder will “stage” the file (extracting it into a temporary directory). A pop up window will prompt you to enter the name, version, and author information for that particular mod. You’ll also be asked to confirm installation.

(Spoiler alert: Click yes).

* A Core Override mod. Core Overrides differ from standard mods in that they are collections of files that override core game files, thus producing different behavior in game. Since they weren’t created using the Dragon Age tool set, they will be saved as .zip files.

As before, you’ve either clicked “Select Mod” and chosen the .ZIP file, or dragged and dropped it into the DAModder window. As before, the mod will be “staged”, but this time, when you click “Install Mod”, instead of a pop up window prompting you to enter certain information, the mod’s contents will be reviewed.

This is where it’s going to get a little tricky. Because they weren’t created with Dragon Age tools (and technically aren’t true modules), they will only come with name, version, or author information if the mod author created the mod as a DAModder Compatible Package. If they did so, then installation will proceed just like a Standard Mod. Click yes!

If it is not a compatible package, name, version, or author information won’t be provided to DAModder. It will try to evaluate the file and divulge what data it can – typically this will be the mod’s unique identifier. You could OK whatever default values are filled in, but it’s strongly suggested that you take a few minutes to fill in as much information as you can. Doing so will make it easier to do things like, you know, find it later.

Once you’re ready, it’s time, yet again, to click yes.

One last thing to keep in mind when you’re installing Dragon Age: Origin mods: DAModder only works with .ZIP files, and .DAZIP file. If you’re trying to import something else, like .RAR or .7z files, DAModder will not work. This is easy to get around though.

1) Extract the file manually – Mac users can probably rely on Stuffit Expander; PC users can grab WinRAR at this link.

2) Create a temporary file into which you’ll drag the unzipped folder.

3) From your temporary file, drag the mod over to DAModder and proceed as advised above.

That wasn’t so bad, was it? Hell nah. Now all you need to know is which Dragon Age: Origin mods to install and play.

Shapeshifting Mods

Shapeshifting is fun. Really fun. Unfortunately, Dragon Age: Origins limits you to just a few forms. Wouldn’t you like a little variety once in a while? Of course you would, and these mods will help you do it.

Jake Zahn’s Expanded Shapeshifting Mod. This mod vastly increases the number of available forms, giving you a total of 20 different shapes in 5 classes. +1000. There are 4 different packs associated with the mod, and you can get all of them here.

ARCHDEMON SHAPE and other bosses-New Shapeshifter Skilltree, by Oroglove

Just what it says right on the label. You’ll be able to take some drastically amazing forms. For instance, an actual Dragon Age dragon.

THIS. WANT THIS NOW.

Weapons Mods

Just as you can never be too rich, or too thin, you can also never have too much megasuper killing power. That’s where weapons mods come in. Here are some that really ripped our guts out blew our minds.

Jojjo Weapons, by Lord Haun.

Jojjo is a venerated modder who created some remarkable weaponry for Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. This package converts them for use in Dragon age. Yes, those are light sabers, and yes, you can get them here.

Enchant Any Weapons Mod, by JWD.

A slightly misleading title, as it doesn’t actually enable the enchantment of all weapons. However, what it does do is really, really useful: you’ll be able to enchant your bows, and staffs. Magical weaponry that doesn’t require you to get up close enough to be killed is too good to pass up. Get it here.

Alley of Murders

Of all the Dragon Age: Origin mods we’ve shared, this is our favorite. It’s the most ambitious, original and mind blowing thing we’ve seen since Super Mario Crossover. Alley Of Murders can only be described as Ye Olde James Ellroy. You’ll leave dark fantasy behind and enter the seedy underbelly of Denerim to investigate a serious of vicious murders. Creator AmstradHero deserves a Barry Award for this, and you’ll see why when you download your own copy.

Happy Darkspawn hunting! Now, go in peace.

Additional Resources:

Dragon Age Nexus member Alexspeed has put together a truly epic guide that’s worth a look, and then 20 more.

Without a doubt, the DAModder ruled like a despot.

Finally, Dragon Age Nexus is a limitless resource and should be your first stop – after this article, of course.

If you somehow haven’t played Dragon Age: Origins, you really should turn back the clock and read our review.

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4 Comments on How To Install Dragon Age: Origins Mods

grampa red

On February 11, 2011 at 1:49 am

the DAmodder does not load on my new I MAC . any help installing mods for a MAC user ?
thanks

Mark The Mage

On April 20, 2011 at 4:20 am

Thanks, nice and simple guide!
I was wondering what that dazip was..

Kandahr

On May 10, 2011 at 7:37 am

Hi,
Thanks for the reviews and links.
I got interested in trying out some Dragon Age mods recently. Since DAUpdater and the various alternatives (such as DA Modder) are Windows only, I decided to create one for Mac OS X. I bestowed it with the highly original name of DAModWrangler (I don’t believe in putting spaces in the names of my software) and you can get it here:
http://www.echomist.co.uk/software/DAModWrangler.shtml
Hopefully this will be of use to your Mac based readers.

Booklover

On December 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

im have trouble figuring this out with windows 8 Q.Q I have no idea about even the basics of downloading mods. but it keeps pushing me into apps that aren’t covered here and throwing me off. any advice? save me!!! I want to play this through with the mods this time!