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I picked up this game on sale a while back, and have been putting off playing it forever. So, going in blind, what are the essential things I should know before going in?

Specifically, I'm curious about major bonuses that might be missable, basic character creation/development tips, and other general advice that might be handy to know about before getting there.

(Examples of the sort of thing I'm looking for would be "Don't put more than 9 in any SPECIAL stat" in Fallout 3, or "Don't kill Sander Cohen the first time you meet him" in Bioshock.)

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Don't neglect alchemy. There are fights that are incredibly difficult without potions that become easy-mode with the right one(s).

Also, there are several points in the game where you are required to make a choice, and this will affect conditions later on (a later fight may have more/different enemies, for example). None of these are game-breakers, but you may want to consult a guide if you don't mind spoilers and feel the need to make the "right" choices.

(Here's one from GameFAQs, for convenience. I'm sure there are others out there.)

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Make sure that you finish the trophy quests before leaving each area. You cannot go back to do these later, and you will miss out on an end-game weapon if you do not do them all.

The only place where you can really hurt yourself in terms of character development is wasting skill points, so take a careful look at the descriptions and think about how you want to play. The easiest route is probably Fire+Melee, ignoring all other spell upgrades, though there are a number of ways to play. The skill for advanced techniques in hand to hand will help you get through the boxing minigames, but the charge-up boxing power is not very useful. Likewise, the power to reduce drunkenness time is not useful -- you can always use a potion if you need to.

You can get a 3-red meteorite sword by the end of chapter 2, if you are careful, and it will last you a long time.

Don't neglect potions and sword oils. Having a sufficient supply of these will get you through most encounters. Make sure you also keep at least a small supply of the one that removes toxicity -- you will not always have a campfire on hand to rest it out.

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I disagree a little bit with the fire part, knockdown is EXTREMELY useful in this game, allowing you to get a instant kill by performing a finishing move. It was the only way I could kill the first boss on the hardest difficulty, by performing a knockdown via Aard and then killing them instantly. Otherwise, I would get torn apart by him and his pack of minions. –  z - Oct 20 '10 at 11:56
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For the skilling: Actually imho the witcher is a melee fighter, so putting more points to the sword skills will work well.

For the magic skills: concentrate on one or two spells, that should be enough.

Keeping this in mind, you won't make big mistakes on your skilltree.

Edit: I read that you can carry over your character to The Witcher 2, so keep your savegames! (the skill tree will be reset though, as they are refactoring the skills)

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