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Follow the dark path or use the light

Notes for Before You Begin

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings Walkthrough and Guide

by CMBF  

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Notes for Before You Begin

The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings Enhanced Edition (from here on the game name will be abbreviated as TW2) is a complicated and rich old-school RPG gaming experience that embraces the gaming position that all things no matter how inconsequential are important in a gaming world.  Because of that the game world was constructed to be broad and deep, with many byways that contain common and important items, elements, information, and experiences, put there because this world is meant to simulate a real world, and that is what you find in the real world.  Because of that you are going to want to explore even the most unlikely of locations -- the road less traveled and the well-worn path -- where you will find serendipity in a bottle.

When you tear-off the plastic that seals the game you will have already noticed that it is a thicker and heavier package than that of most games.  The reason for that is that it contains more than simply the game case and discs, and a brief play guide, but an abundance of resources that add to that -- and that are required in order to obtain the full measure of entertainment that the game has to offer.  If you are playing the game you purchased, you know this, but if you rented it -- or bought it used -- you may not have some of these items... 

The contents of a new game include the following items:

-- The Game Case with the two Game Discs and the Original Game Soundtrack CD;
-- TW2 Game Manual;
-- A Map of the Northern Kingdoms on one side, and the Pontar Valley on the other;
-- TW2 Quest Handbook

Of these items the one that you will miss the most if you rented this game is the Quest Handbook, a thick booklet that is packaged on top of the Game Case in its sleeve.  This guide provides a lot of information that the player needs for each of the quests in the game -- information that we are going to include in a different form in this guide by interpreting what we did to solve each quest exclusive of that Guide. 

As you begin what promises to be an epic journey you should bear in mind that the game was made so that two play-throughs are required to obtain the full measure of its entertainment value, because it is a story that is experienced through the eyes of two distinct characters.  But before you even begin playing the first, there are some things you need to know that will make your life oh-so-much easier, and better.  Small pieces of wisdom that were learned the hard way, and are shared here with you so that you can avoid those mistakes and profit from them.  After all, that is the point of a Walk-Through Guide...

So before you begin playing it is a very good idea for you to read the following and take it to heart:

Unlocking the Poker! Achievement is pure luck-based

(I) Difficulty Settings
No matter what difficulty level you choose to play under, you should bear this in mind -- game play in this game appears to take the opposite approach that one usually finds in RPG play in that instead of starting easy and getting more difficult as you progress, like real life it starts hard and gets easier.  Why? 

This is speculation -- you should know that -- but we think that the reason for this is simply because the game was structured to be faithful to the way life actually works.  For many gamers this is a rude and unwelcome thing because it puts them in a position of failing early and often and can feel like they are banging their head into a wall.  The only advice that we can give you is that enduring that difficult beginning is worth it in the long run, because it is the price you pay for gaining access to the rest of the adventure.

We also need to emphasize that it is not a certainty that you will face a frustrating beginning!  Just like real life, it is only as hard as you make it -- which translates to (and we admit we are borrowing from the Boy Scouts here) the reality that the gamer who prepares their way (Be Prepared) by putting out a little extra effort, and gathering the meager set of tools and kit that they can before facing the first serious challenges will do much better, and have a more enjoyable experience than gamers who simply rush blindly forward and fail to take advantage of every edge that they can manage.  Simple but very worthwhile advice mates, and this guide tracks out that approach.

(II) Care of your Inventory
There is a reason that this is the first caution in the list, and you are urged to read this carefully and make it your mantra: Take Care in What you Sell or Use!

Among the many items that you will pick up and hold in your Inventory will be Quest Items that must NEVER be sold, or used in crafting (unless the actual quest calls for the item to be used in crafting), and certainly not dropped. 

Among the items you will find and add to your Inventory are Rare Items -- and you MUST NOT allow these to be wasted, sold, or lost!  Rare Items may be key to an upgrade or for obtaining a highly desirable item later in the story!

JUNK ITEMS -- these are safe to sell, though you won't get much for them -- and you should routinely sell them to clear them out of your Inventory and make room for more items...  They are easily identified and always labeled so you will not have trouble selecting them when you sell, but pay close attention to what you are selling!

Among the many types of items you will be acquiring will be Books, Formulas, and Schematics/Diagrams.  All of which are important, many of which are integral to the story, and none of which you should treat lightly.  You should read EVERY Book you acquire since doing so updates your Journal and provides you with information you may very well find critical later.  Formulas are used for crafting potions and you cannot craft that potion if you do not possess the Formula -- while Schematics/Diagrams are used for crafting Items and Weapons -- and again, are a required element for the crafting!  Take care to be careful here.

Some of the Books are not unique -- meaning you can acquire them from more than one location -- it is OK to sell the duplicates.

(III) Basic Kit -- Weapons and Armor
Among the many items that you will want to make are Weapons and Armor that increase your ability to do damage and your ability to reduce the damage that you take!  But be aware that the process of crafting and having these items crafted for you, as with any really good RPG (and this is a really good RPG) means having the resources that are required -- the raw materials -- for the making of that item.  So, for instance, to make a sword requires a certain number of ingots of different metals (Iron, Silver, etc) and a number of Timber, but also may require Diamond Dust, Teeth, Bones, or Gems, depending on the nature of the weapon...  Because of that you will want to hold on to crafting items for later use...

Potions (the art of Alchemy) naturally requires ingredients, and as you gather them and as you obtain the recipes/formulas for different Potions you will naturally begin to learn what you need to keep and in what quantities...

One thing that you need to remember about weapons and to a certain extent about armor is that they are not as easy to quantify as you might think...  For example a great deal of importance and influence relates to the type of character you are building -- when you examine different Swords assessing them solely by their Damage Rating would be a mistake.  A Sword that has a lower Damage Rating but also happens to have a Magical Enhancement that does a specific type and amount of additional damage will almost always, in the long run, be better than a sword with a slightly higher base Damage Rate that is not imbibed with a Magical added effect.  Take care in what you choose to keep and what you choose to weed away.

An homage to Assassin's Creed?

(IV) Assumptions are the Mother of All Screw-Ups

This is one of the really important bits of advice -- do not assume ANYTHING.  For example conventional wisdom suggests that Trolls are evil and should be slain on sight, right?  Maybe, but in this world they are also potential sources for quests and pretty significant rewards.  There are two Achievements in the game that relate to them -- one for slaying them all, and one for slaying none... Since you will be playing through twice you will have no trouble unlocking those, but bear in mind that one of the Trolls can give you a quest whose reward is one of the better sets of Armor for the first chapter of the game...

You should try to think out your decisions based on what you know, but also based on possibilities.  Just because I chose to take a specific path or made a specific choice does not mean that you have to -- especially with respect to the smaller choices, which you can make as you choose without seriously altering the path or making this WTG any less useful.

(V) The Things You Carry
Certain items are available early in the game that are much scarcer later in the game, and some of those items are things you will need a LOT of.  As a general rule Silver is one, so is Diamond Dust (in fact you should never pass up the chance to buy Diamond Dust because you will need an obscene amount before the end of the game since it is a core ingredient in upgrading Armor, Crafting Weapons, and the like!) and Oil.  There are other items -- we make note of them in the body of the guide -- but use common sense as you play.  If you see something that is a common ingredient in key crafts, that is an item that you will want to stock up on in the short term.

What you carry is limited by how much weight you can pack -- so any items that increase that are good things to possess!

(VI) The Choices You Make. . .
. . . Have very real consequences in the game.  In fact doing certain actions can actually screw you up if you do them out of sequence of a quest!  Because of that you should be careful what you do and when you do it...  We try very hard to help guide you in that respect in this guide -- but when you take actions or do things outside of the guidance here, if that later proves to have screwed up a future quest well, that is what you call a learning lesson!  Learn from it?

(VII) Saving Your Game
If you are a veteran of the RPG genre than you know that playing RPG games is like living in Chicago, where the life mantra is Vote Early, Vote Often!  Well, in game terms that changes to Save Early, Save Often!  And Save before and after you do something major!  And make backup saves if you can!  SAVE!  Really!

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