Customers who pre-order Dragon Age II from selected retailers will receive some bonus weaponry to assist them in the long and perilous grind to max level, EA has announced.

Brand new copies of the game will also come with a code to access a bonus area.

The Fadeshear and Lion of Orlais are the names of the sword and shield you'll be getting. According to the official press release, "the core of [the Fadeshear] blade is old, as old as the first smiths who sought a way to battle the nightmares from the land beyond." Sounds pretty old! The sword improves with age (like cheese and/or wine) and deals extra damage to demons and the undead.

The Lion of Orlais, on the other hand, is a shield engraved with the head of a lion. It confers a bonus to health and accrued XP, which all sounds rather useful.

BioWare also detailed the bonus area - The Black Emporium. Inside you'll find a mabari war hound which you can summon into battle. In the area "nestled deep under Kirkwall" you'll find "a curious collection of items, some for sale, some for free, and ranging from the mundane to the mysterious."

"Do you have what it takes to become the Champion of Kirkwall?" reads the official press release. If you've got £40 and a few hours to spare the answer is probably yes.

Dragon Age II will be released for 360, PS3 and PC on March 8.