Dragon's Dogma 2 Archer vocation guide: Tips, tricks, skill list, and how to play

Dragon's Dogma 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

Capcom's long-awaited ARPG sequel Dragon's Dogma 2 has plenty of different vocations (AKA, classes) for players and Pawns alike to use. These range from close-range melee classes like tanky Fighters, brawling Warriors, and agile Thieves to archetypes likes Mages and Sorcerers that are at their strongest when they're able to battle their opponents from afar. Some vocations like the Mystic Spearhand and the Warfarer are less specialized but more versatile and are able to fight effectively at any range, and there's even a pretty unorthodox one called the Trickster that emphasizes deceit and sleight of hand.

Recently, I've been craving some good bow gameplay in an RPG, so I've spent most of my Dragon's Dogma 2 playthrough maining the Archer vocation. Capable of dishing out incredible damage with critical hits while remaining safely outside the range of most enemies, Archer is a fantastic class. However, it's also one that demands careful play, as it has clear and significant weaknesses you have to take into account when exploring the world and fighting boss monsters.

To help you maximize the strengths of the Archer vocation while simultaneously mitigating the impact of its drawbacks, I've put together this in-depth guide that goes over everything you need to know about playing it. This includes valuable tips, tricks, and playstyle advice, along with how you can unlock Archer if you didn't start the game with it, a complete list of every Archer skill, and recommendations for builds as well as Pawn party compositions.

Dragon's Dogma 2: How to unlock Archer

Visit Vocation Guilds (or inns, in the early game) to unlock the Archer vocation. (Image credit: Windows Central)

If you're just starting out, the Archer — along with the Fighter, Mage, and Thief — is one of the four Basic Vocations you can choose at the beginning of Dragon's Dogma 2. Access to the class doesn't require finishing a quest or anything like that, so you can get started with Archer right away.

If you began the game with a different vocation, don't worry. Unlocking the Archer is still very easy, as all you have to do is travel to one of the Vocation Guilds (marked by a shield icon on the map) found in towns or cities and ask the guildmaster about changing your vocation. Note that in the first few early game locations, this functionality is handled by innkeepers instead.

Unlocking the Archer vocation will cost 100 Discipline Points, which you'll earn very quickly by killing enemies while roaming the world or completing quests. You can purchase any other Basic Vocations you don't have for the same price.

Dragon's Dogma 2: Archer tips and how to play

An Archer prepares to loose an arrow. (Image credit: Windows Central)

As a vocation that exclusively wields bows and can only use light-to-medium armor pieces, the Archer demands that you fight from range and avoid getting close to foes as much as you can. Though a few of the class' Core and Weapon Skills give you things like a backflip kick to deal with enemies that manage to close the distance, you won't survive in situations where you're stuck in melee range for more than a few seconds. Thus, it's crucial that you stay in your party's backline, and ideally jump up to some high ground. Aside from making it more difficult for enemies to reach you, positioning yourself on a perch will also allow you to see more of the battlefield and shoot over objects in the environment.

In situations where bosses or hostile mobs aggro onto you and start charging your way, it's best to sprint backwards and try to let your Pawns get their attention again (commanding them with "To me!" will make their AI prioritize protecting you). Note that this won't always work in scenarios where a large beast decides to leap at you quickly and directly; in those instances, you'll need to sprint laterally or run under them/between their legs.

While taking advantage of the auto-aim you get when quickly firing arrows with the basic Loose ability is a great way to deal consistent damage while you're on the move or up against extremely agile foes, you'll primarily want to "post up" and take more carefully aimed shots with Steady Shot. Arrows fired with Steady Shot have a higher base damage, and you can aim them at enemy weak points to score critical hits (against bosses, listen for the distinctive sound cue) for even better damage-per-second (DPS). In many cases, this will be a mob's head, though some monsters have different weak spots like wings.

When using arrows capable of fire damage or when your bow is given a fire buff by a Mage, your arrows will do bonus damage against Griffin wings. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Note that Steady Shot's damage increase applies to your various Weapon Skills, so I recommend zooming in with it whenever you plan to use one. Some skills in particular, such as Dire Arrow/Deathly Arrow and Explosive Shot/Erupting Shot, can rip massive chunks of HP off of a boss monster's health bar if you land crits with them from Steady Shot. Critical hits will also contribute greatly to your party's efforts to knock massive enemies off-balance, as will arrows to any temporary and situational weak points like glowing parts on a monster's body.

Though they're far less supportive than Mages, Archers still have a few ways they can make life easier for their party members. Dire Arrow/Deathly Arrow can knock enemies down or even pin them to walls for several seconds, enabling Fighters, Warriors, and Thieves to lay into them with melee strikes without fear of retaliation. Some skills also allow you to shoot "primer" arrows that temporarily make foes more susceptible to specific elemental damage types, which synergizes nicely with the magic used by Mage and Sorcerer Pawns.

Notably, unlike normal arrows, special ones like these — as well as explosive ones and arrows that can crowd control groups — have to be found in the world or purchased from weapon vendors in settlements. They're not terribly expensive, but since you'll also need your Gold to routinely upgrade your and your Main Pawn's gear (and also to buy inn rooms), you can't afford to buy a ton of them during the early game. Because of this, I recommend saving these arrows for boss fights and particularly difficult combat situations, though you can start using them more liberally once Gold becomes more plentiful.

Dragon's Dogma 2: Archer skills list and augments

You can view and purchase Archer Weapon and Core Skills at any Vocation Guild. (Image credit: Windows Central)

As you roam Dragon's Dogma 2's world and battle foes throughout its landscapes, caves, and dungeons, you'll level up your Vocation Rank. Each new rank will make new skills available back at Vocation Guilds, which you can then unlock and use with the Discipline Points acquired from combat and quest completions. Below, you'll find complete lists of all of these skills, along with explanations on how each skill type works.

Archer Weapon Skills list

Weapon Skills are essentially active skills that consume Stamina, but allow you to perform special attacks that either deal lots of damage or offer some form of utility, such as inflicting a status effect or causing immobilization. Most are learned from Vocation Guilds, though a select few are acquired from Skill Scrolls that Vocation Maisters give as rewards. A good selection of Weapon Skills is at the heart of every build, though it's important to note that you can only equip four of them at a time.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SkillDescription
Barrage ShotFires arrows in rapid succession, allowing for concentrated attacks on a single target. Can be employed while moving.
Sweep ShotFires arrows in a wedge pattern, allowing multiple targets to be struck simultaneously. Can be employed while moving.
Keen SightSpecial sight augments the user’s vision while drawing, allowing them to fire on distant targets. Consumes Stamina while the bow is drawn.
Exploding ShotFires a loaded arrow that adheres to foes or terrain. The arrow will burst when attacked or after a time, and can knock targets off balance.
Tarring ShotFires a loaded arrow that adheres to foes or terrain. Explodes after a time or if attacked, tarring the target or those who draw near. Usable only when carrying an applicable arrow. Makes enemies susceptible to fire.
Manifold ShotAn advanced form of Barrage Shot that fires a greater number of arrows.
Whirling ArrowFires an arrow that strikes the enemy it hits multiple times.
Spiral ArrowAn advanced form of Whirling Arrow that adds extra strikes.
Dire ArrowFires a devastating shot that knocks down smaller targets. When using Steady Shot, arrows become even more powerful if they are loosed the instant the bow is fully drawn.
Deathly ArrowAn advanced form of Dire Arrow that deals more damage and can pin enemies to walls.
Drenching ShotFires a loaded arrow that drenches the target, temporarily weakening them to Lightning damage.
Blighting ShotFires a loaded arrow that builds up Blight (poison) on enemies.
Torrent ShotFires multiple arrows in rapid succession. Rate of fire increases with consecutive shots. Prevents movement while active.
Cascade ShotAn advanced form of Sweep Shot that fires a greater number of arrows.
Erupting ShotAn advanced form of Exploding Shot.
Incendiary ShotAn advanced form of Tarring Shot.
Deluging ShotAn advanced form of Drenching Shot.
Nocuous ShotAn advanced form of Blighting Shot.
Heavenly ShotFires an arrow of maximum power in exchange for consuming all of the player’s stamina.

Archer Core Skills list

Core Skills are weapon-specific skills any vocation using that weapon can wield. They're essentially permanent upgrades for the vocations they apply to that either improve basic abilities or add new ones. Like the majority of Weapon Skills, new Core Skills are unlocked at Vocation Guilds.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
SkillDescription
Leaping PuntDelivers a weighty kick that can knock foes off balance. Launches the user backward after it connects.
Parting ShotFires an arrow while jumping back after performing a Leaping Punt or a mid-air Front Kick.
Swift NockEnables the user to nock arrows more quickly when using Loose or Steady Shot.
Puncture DartDraws the bowstring to its absolute limit before firing. Makes aiming more difficult, but allows arrows to pierce targets with greater impact.

Archer Augments list

Lastly, there are Augments, which provide small, but noticeable buffs to your Arisen's stats, bonuses in specific situations, and other perks. Though made available to purchase at Vocation Guilds by leveling up the Vocation Rank of the vocation they come from, they can be used with any vocation. This encourages players to level up all the different vocations and buildcraft by mixing and matching Augments from different classes.

Here are all of the Augments you'll get access to by fully ranking up the Archer vocation:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AugmentDescription
LethalityIncreases damage dealt when striking a target's vitals.
AmbuscadeIncreases damage dealt by your attacks when targets are not in battle stance.
EnduranceIncreases your maximum Stamina.
ConveyanceHastens movement speed while carrying or lifting.
OpulenceIncrease gold obtained when acquiring coin pouches.
RadianceCauses your lantern to consume less oil and illuminate a wider area.

Dragon's Dogma 2: Best Archer build and skills

Enemy mages are easy to headshot when they're preparing a spell to use, so take advantage of that. (Image credit: Windows Central)

With all the different Weapon Skills available to Archers as well as the various Augments you can get from each vocation, it's possible to put together several different Archer builds that are both fun to play and effective in combat. Overall, though, I'd say I've had the most success with the following Weapon Skills:

  • Barrage/Manifold Shot: Your primary bread-and-butter skill for large bursts of damage. It's quick to fire and doesn't drain Stamina much, and if you land all your arrows, it'll stagger enemies closing the distance on you.
  • Dire/Deathly Arrow: This skill is extremely helpful in larger engagements, as you can use it to knock small foes over or pin them to walls. Also does huge damage to bosses if you hit their weak point with it. It locks you in place until you fire it, though, so be mindful of your positioning.
  • Torrent Shot: Another skill that roots you in place, though the rate at which it allows you to shoot arrow after arrow makes it 100% worth it. It's like bringing a machine gun to a swordfight; use it when facing a large number of weak enemies or a big one you're a good distance away from.
  • Exploding/Erupting Shot: Like Dire Shot, this does incredible damage on boss crits. It's also amazing for blowing up and stumbling crowds of mobs in intense situations, and can even be used as a "mine" of sorts for incoming melee fighters. Shoot your explosive arrow at the wall or floor, then hit it with a regular one while enemies are near it to detonate.

While fighting enemies with significant weaknesses to certain elements, you can (and should, in some cases) switch out Torrent Shot and/or Exploding/Erupting Shot for special arrow skills that'll allow you to take advantage of them. In general combat, though, I've found this combination to be the most useful. Barrage/Manifold Shot and Torrent Shot are stellar skills for consistent DPS, especially if you land crits. Meanwhile, Dire/Deathly Arrow and Exploding/Erupting Shot dish out huge chunks of burst damage while also adding to your party's crowd control options.

For my six Augments, I borrowed heavily from the Thief's options, though there's a few from Archer and Fighter that round out the build nicely. Here are my favorites to use:

  • Verve (Thief): Buffs your Strength, improving the attack power of your arrows.
  • Subtlety (Thief): You're less likely to draw an enemy's attention. Perfect for Archer.
  • Gratification (Thief): Recovers small amounts of HP each time you kill an enemy. You likely won't always be near your Mage healer, so this Augment will keep you healthy until you get stronger healing.
  • Lethality (Archer): Improves the damage of critical hits. You'll be going for these constantly as an Archer, so taking this Augment is a no-brainer.
  • Endurance (Archer): Raises your Stamina. Helps you use more of your skills without having to wait for stamina recovery, and also makes it easier to sprint away from a monster if one gets close mid-fight.
  • Thew (Fighter): Improves your carry weight capacity. Carrying too much will slow you down and make sprinting cost significantly more Stamina, and you need to be able to run away from melee fighters.

Remember that at the end of the day, these are just suggestions; you should feel free to experiment and test out other Weapon Skill and Augment combos, as tons of other setups are effective and viable in their own ways. 

Dragon's Dogma 2: Best Archer party composition

Without a well-rested and thoughtfully put together party at your side, you'll struggle to be successful as an Archer. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Finally, we come to party composition. Since the Archer's biggest strength is their consistent ranged damage and their largest weakness is their inability to fight up close, having one or even two Pawns with a "tank" vocation like Fighter and Warrior is highly recommended (you can trade one of these for a DPS-focused Thief if you'd like). Then, for your third Pawn, a Mage for healing the close-range fighters is a must. Whatever you do, avoid getting another Archer — you need a capable frontline in order for backline classes like this one to work.

Best Main Pawn for Archers

Due to how important having a tank is for playing Archer effectively, making your Main Pawn a Fighter or a Warrior is your best bet. Make sure to kit them out with the heaviest armor and shield you can afford for them, and also give them Weapon Skills  and Augments like Shield Summons and Provocation so that they consistently hold aggro and keep attention off of you.

May your arrows strike true, Arisen

Now that you've reached the end of this guide, you now know everything you need to in order to conquer the lands of Vermund and Battahl with your bow and arrows, Arisen. Go forth, lead your Pawns to victory, and save the realms from impending doom.


Dragon's Dogma 2 is available now, and it's one of the best Xbox games and best PC games you can play in 2024 if you love action RPGs with deep, varied combat and rich fantasy worlds. Capcom's new title is playable on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and PS5 for $69.99.

Dragon's Dogma 2

Dragon's Dogma 2

You are the Arisen, the one who holds the loyalty of Pawns and has an intertwined destiny with a powerful dragon. Work with your party to battle through tough enemies, explore distant locations, and grow stronger so you can take down your foes. 

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Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.