Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Witcher - Talents - Strength

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Strength is a core statistic which affects a lot of things, so you will want to get this to level 5 eventually. If you are relying on other ways to make kills than straight swordplay, then this can be the last statistic to increase. If you can't get through the game with Swallow, the Vitality you get from Strength isn't going to help that much.
Whether you take all the Talents associated is another story.

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Summary
Free (1 Bronze) - True Grit
Skip (2 Bronze) - Buzz, Brawl
Skip (2 Silver) - Survival Instinct
Low Priority (2 Silver) - Knockdown Resistance, Resistance to Bleeding

Bronze Talents

Buzz
Fighting when drunk is only useful in the early game when you don't know how to make Wives' Tears. You can get the formula as early as Chapter 2, or Chapter 1 if you experiment, as Kalkstein suggests. Plus, if you make it with Nigredo, the damage bonus from the Nigredo component is close to what you could get from Buzz.Immunity to Pain is an interesting side effect that can help you against Wraiths, Incineration (which can have a Pain result), and daggers (which can have a Pain critical hit effect); but overall there are other better ways of handling these situations.
Tips on fighting drunk:
  • Draw a weapon. Your movement changes to combat movement, which overrides the very slow stagger while drunk. You would have to be extremely drunk for this movement rate to also be sluggish.
  • Double-click to dodge, or just run. You CAN run while drunk, IF you have a weapon drawn.
  • Double-click dodge or just run away instead of relying on passive parrying and passive dodging (i.e., when you see the floaty text "parry" or "dodge", indicating that the game engine has calculated that you have successfully avoided a hit).
True Grit
You can get this for free in Chapter 4. You cannot buy this talent.

Position
Aim for this after increasing your crowd-control and battlefield-control Signs. Passive parry helps you when you are in melee, and prolonged exposure to enemy melee is not recommended. And if you are avoiding prolonged melee, you might as well first develop Talents that help you avoid prolonged melee.
If you get this, get Repel in the Dexterity talent tree to stack your parry percentage.

Regeneration
+1 per second sounds great, but it is still dreadfully slow and useless in combat. You will eventually want this, but if you are really stuck for Vitality, just drink a potion.
Also, for most of the game, time is not critical. In between combat, you can basically just stand around because enemies typically do not have a wander radius, nor will they suddenly appear; and plot events are generally triggered by events rather than time limits. To help you pass time, you could pick up a cheat mod that lets you meditate anywhere (it is one of the options bundled in the very convenient "Many Items" mod).

Brawl
Fist Fighting is disgustingly easy if you know the trick (we talk about it in Gameplay Basics). And using a power-up (which seems to be what the enemy does to you) just lets your opponent score hits on you while you are charging up your attack. If you are having a hard time, drink a potion.

Silver Talents

Vigour
Very low priority, believe it or not. In the worst case, you can dodge or run anything that can one-shot you, and use Igni or Yrden on them. It is extremely rare to encounter anything that can one-shot you. It is rarer still to encounter anything that you can't retreat from long enough for Swallow to replenish your Vitality faster than getting 2 points per level.
You might be level 30 or so in Chapter 4, which is already late game. That would only net you 60 Vitality from this Talent. One to three hits from an enemy will blow that away in a second (on Hard difficulty), so you should focus on better tactics and other survival-enhancing options rather than getting this early.

Knockdown Resistance
As a matter of course you will want this, but it is still low priority since it is still not guaranteed; and you can use the Willow potion if you are really desperate as that gives you outright immunity to Stun and Knockdown.

Survival Instinct
This activates only when you are Bleeding, which could be a rare circumstance to begin with. Also, Bleeding works on a percentage of current health, so if you are severely bleeding, you will probably want to drink a Kiss potion and stop it instead of letting yourself bleed to death or bleed down to dangerous Vitality levels (which could trigger other talents, but is a stupidly dangerous way to get a combat advantage).

Resistance to Bleeding
Same as Knockdown Resistance: Very low priority, and you can make it up with a potion. Since Bleeding is less fatal than Stun or Knockdown (which could get you instant-killed if the enemy has a Finishing Move), you can probably safely skip taking this altogether.

Stone Skin
Same as Position: Low priority since you should be avoiding situations where you are taking damage. But get this as a matter of course as there are many situations where cutscenes and other situations force you to start in a compromised position. Armor +5 means 5 less points of damage from each melee hit (?).

Aggression
Very low priority, especially considering this is a Silver Talent. Your magic does more damage than a measy +10% damage. I would rather aim for extra Intensity on Aard which can let me instant-kill a Royal Wyvern or Kikimore Warrior.

Gold Talents

Wound Resistance
Low priority, but like Stone Skin, any sort of damage reduction is worth taking at some point.

Added Vitality
Low priority if your tactical skills are good. If they are not, and if potions aren't making up the difference, then an extra 20% won't help that much on Hard difficulty. Between this and Wound Resistance, go for the former as that works on a percentage.

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