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Alchemy was changed in a way that it doesn’t require alcohol anymore, just pure reagents and formulae. You can gather the reagents in form of monster drops, looted items or herbs. Herbs are gathered right from the start, with the amount of gathered herbs increasing depending on the talent Harvester and an item Herbalist's gloves which grant more ingredients from herbs/monsters. (Note that it follows common sense: you can’t obtain two hearts from a single nekker, etc).
To enter potion-making interface, press Ctrl and choose from the menu. While there, you can create as many potions as you have materials. Drinking potions is done the same way, but instead of selecting alchemy, select potion-drinking option in the Ctrl menu. Note that recipes aren't learned like in the first game. You'll have to keep the formulae with you at all times if you wish to keep the knowledge of the potions.
Conversations consist of orange, white and grey lines. Orange lines usually progress the dialog tree and should be chosen as last if you want to gather tidbits of lore from the white options. Sometimes even grey options (already discussed topics) have something new to reveal, depending on the way story progressed.
There are also certain events where you’ll have a timed frame to reply in a dialog. It means you’ll have to choose a response fast or the game will choose what it considers default.
Steel for humans, silver for monsters, as always.
Sword combat has been redesigned as well. Instead of timed sequences and chaining combos, it works differently. You have a fast (left mouse click) and a strong attack (right mouse click) which deals double damage but has a slower animation. Combos are possible, in terms of visual aspect. The animations used depend on the distance between you and the target. Sometimes a strike within a combo sequence will yield more than one attack.
Dodging attacks works by pressing space along with the directional key to choose the side where you want to roll over to. You can also avoid damage by parrying, though it won't be complete avoidance unless you spend points in Parrying talent. Using parries also consumes vigor points.
As far as signs go, they have been changed in varying degrees, depending on the sign. Check the Signs
page for more info.
A new feature in The Witcher 2 is crafting. There are a lot of useful items you can craft and they are usually the best armor and weapons. You can craft weapons, armor (all parts of them), traps, runes, armor enhancements and other composite crafting materials. All you need is a diagram in your inventory along with the required materials and a crafter. You’ll also get charged for crafter’s fee, but it’s never anything too serious.
Imported saves do not have any impact on the main story. They are just small details here and there to reflect your actions from the first game. Besides that, you can also import a few items, namely Raven's Armor, Mahakaman Rune Sihil, Aerondight, Moon Blade etc.
Locked doors and containers
Some locks or doors cannot be opened within the game. If it says "locked" it means that it will most likely stay locked until the end of the game, or until you progress to a certain point in the main story. If it says "key required", it means there’s a key to be found almost certainly.
Meditation can be done anywhere, as long as you’re not in combat or on certain scripted events during the quests. To meditate, press Ctrl and choose the option to meditate from the radial menu.
Mutagens can be used to enhance an ability. There are various mutagens in the game and they are collected mostly from slain monsters (you can also create them using alchemy as byproducts of potions). Note that not all abilities have mutagen slots. Abilities that do have a slot are usually in the top tier (training talent tree has two mutagen slots, alchemy has five, swordsmanship has three and magic has three). Once inserted, mutagens cannot be removed.
Runes and armor enhancements
Throughout the game you’ll acquire weapons and armor which have sockets for runes and slots for armor enhancements. Both of those can be crafted and there is a good variety to choose from to satisfy your play style. To add a rune/enhancement, simply drop it down on top of the equipped unsocketed weapon/armor and confirm. Note that they cannot be removed once inserted, so make your choices wisely.
In a few scripted events, you'll also be able to play a stealthy approach to solving a quest. During that period, you can permanently knock down your opponents. If you ever get discovered, you won't be able to re-stealth again without reloading. Moving away from light sources helps you not to be discovered. You can also put out torches with Aard. Note that guards won't even notice let alone react on other knocked down guards.
Vision in the dark
Cat potion has been changed from the first game. Instead of widening your pupils, it turns your vision into infra-red sort of. Everything turns black and white, while organics and blood marks are marked with red, orange and yellow tones. If you don't have a cat potion and you can't manage the darkness, turn up brightness and gamma options to "10" in the game video options until you reach a light source.