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September 23rd, 2008, 12:16
Okay, here goes:

* Do play in Hard mode. It's not all that hard, and it makes the fights much more interesting; instead of staring at the screen waiting for the icon to turn yellow, you'll actually be paying attention to what's going on there.
* Don't overdo the alchemy. You need booze as potion bases, and that costs money. Make sure you always have what you want, but don't make big stacks of stuff you won't use.
* Give snacks to little old ladies. It pays off in the long run.
* Buy books only as you need them, not before. Money is very tight early in the game, and if you manage to save up 5000 orens by the time you get to Chapter 2 (or, the closer you get to it the better), you'll appreciate it. Books will suck your bank account dry in no time flat.
* When visiting merchants who buy alchemical ingredients, pay attention to how much they're willing to pay for them. All you care about is the active substance, but the alchemist might be willing to pay 40 orens per unit of one ingredient but only 1 oren for another one that'll work for you just as well.
* Learn to switch combat styles on the fly as early as possible. You'll often be fighting mobs, so you'll need to thin out the crowd first with the group style, then switch to strong or fast style depending on who's left.
* Develop your abilities first, skills second.
* Develop your sword styles evenly, since you'll be needing all of them, but concentrate (first) on one or two signs. I go for Aard and Igni.
* Figure out what the weaknesses of each opponent are. In particular, some of them are vulnerable to one particular sign. Note that Aard works better on wounded opponents — you can often beat a difficult fight by whittling it down to just under half hit-points, then following up with an Aard; this will often knock him down or stun him, letting you finish him off with a coup de grace.
* If playing on Hard, you will need to use both Signs and alchemy to make the best of it. Alchemy is more important early on; Signs later on. You'll have some extremely tough fights if all you can do is swing a sword!

And finally… enjoy the dialog, text, and all the little detail in the game. If you try to blaze through this like a p0w3rG4m3r, you'll probably hate it; the charm in the game is in the unexpected bits of dialog you'll get or overhear, the weird twists many encounters and characters take, and the wry humor. The game may *look* dark and grim, but it's actually funny as hell, and you'll enjoy it most if you approach it that way.
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Prime Junta

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Join Date: Oct 2006
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