Dragon Age 2 isn't pulling just one page from Mass Effect's book. It's pulling several, including the ones titled "conversation systems" and "save game continuity".
Information from the latest issue of Game Informer has begin appearing online, and mentions that Dragon Age 2 is doing away with the classic "tree" dialogue system, where you're presented with lines of text that you select, and replacing it with Mass Effect's "wheel", which uses intent as a means of generating almost "real-time" conversations. There's a slight change, though; rather than basing your answers on their position on the wheel, the "hub" will now clearly indicate what tone your response will be; anger, flirting, etc.
You'll also be able to carry over your save game from the first title, the events you forged in Dragon Age determining how things turn our in the sequel. Sounds strange, but Dragon Age 2 begins while the final events of the first game are coming to a close, so there's cross-over there.
Another change - and this might be the biggest - is that only the PC version will retain Origins' "strategic combat". The console versions will feature a new combat system, one BioWare says plays to the strength of the control pad. "Rather than try to mimic the PC experience on consoles", the GI report states, "Dragon Age II has a battle system more tailored to the strengths of the PS3 and 360."
Sounds like your Dragon Age combat just got Oblivioned.
As one of those bastards that prefers Mass Effect's more "contemporary" take on the RPG to Dragon Age: Origins' more "classic" approach, I'm digging these changes, as in many places Dragon Age felt like playing a game from, well, 2003. That said, those left upset by the move, I will understand, and provide tissues and hugs if need be. Change can be tough when you liked the thing it used to be.