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Survival Guide by alterEgo

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 02/27/04

                       Gothic II Survival Guide
                          Version 1.1, 2/27/04
                          Jim Wahl (alterEgo)

I began writing up some tips for my brother after he told me he wanted to play 
Gothic II.  There were a few things that I wanted him to know before starting 
the game; a few things that would have made my own initial reaction to the 
game MUCH more positive had I known them.  While Gothic II is an AMAZING game, 
some areas of the game can be improved by taking a little time to understand 
or tweak them.

I've never written a FAQ before, but after I wrote the items below for my 
brother I realized that there are probably MANY other people out there who 
could benefit from these pointers as well.  And seeing how there is currently 
only one FAQ on GameFAQs (albeit an excellent one), I decided I'd make a guide 
out of this.  So here it is.  I only hope it can help others increase their 
enjoyment of this great game.

This FAQ is what I call a survival guide.  It will give you a few pointers to 
get you started out on the right foot.  This is obviously not a walkthrough or 
a full-fledged strategy guide.  This guide covers a few things either not 
explained in the manual, or not explained well.  In addition, it will give a 
few pointers on how to tweak the game so that it will play better FOR you and 
ON your computer.  I've found these pointers in various places and discovered 
some on my own, but this is the first that I know of where they are together 
in one guide.  Even if you're a veteran at the game, you may find something of 
worth below.

You may not reproduce this guide on any digital or print media without my 
permission.  However, any website is welcome post this guide on their site, as 
long as it remains whole, intact, and unchanged.  I would only ask that any 
page that contains a link to a copy of this guide include the version number 
and possibly either my name or online handle (Jim Wahl and alterEgo, 
respectively).  I would also ask that if you should post this guide on your 
site, that you simply send me a quick e-mail to inform me who you are or what 
site it is that you represent that is now posting my guide.

I will ALWAYS have the very latest version of this guide posted to 
www.GameFAQs.com first, as I have a great respect for that site and appreciate 
all their hard work.  Therefore, if you want to make sure this is the latest 
version of this guide, please go there.


- 1.1 (2/27/04)
 - Added I.1.e:   bloodDetail
 - Re-wrote II.2: Original Gothic controls option.
 - Added II.6:    Monster respawns
 - Added II.7:    WASD controls vs. ESDF controls
 - Added II.8:    My control setup
 - Added V.4:     Don't be stingy

- 1.0 (1/4/04)
 - Released the guide.

Section I: Technical Pointers
   1) Editing Gothic.ini
      a) Quicksave & Quickload
      b) Potion hotkeys
      c) ZMouseRotationScale
      d) Removing intro videos
      e) bloodDetail
   2) Renaming Vdfs32e.exe
   3) Memory (RAM) demands

Section II: Gameplay Basics
   1) No mouse pointer
   2) Original Gothic controls option
   3) Take all items
   4) Right mouse button
   5) Knocking out vs. killing NPCs
   6) Monster respawns
   7) WASD controls vs. ESDF controls
   8) My control setup

Section III: Learning Points & Proficiency Levels
   1) Gaining & using Learning Points
   2) Increasing weapon proficiency
   3) Weapon proficiency defined for 1H & 2H
   4) Weapon proficiency defined for Bows & Crossbows

Section IV: Combat
   1a) General description
   1) Lock onto enemies
   2) Combos
   3) Moving quickly during combat
   4) Right & Left attack keys
   5) Parry

Section V: General Strategies & Pointers
   1) Getting more stat increasing items
   2) 1H or 2H?
   3) Ranged weapons
   4) Don't be stingy

                    |   SECTION I: Technical Pointers   |

1) In the directory where you installed the game, go into the 
system\Gothic.ini file.  Most settings have a decent description, and you can 
go through the file and test things one by one if you want.  In particular, 
these are the important ones:

 a) Change "useQuickSaveKeys=0" to "useQuickSaveKeys=1".  This will turn on 
 quicksaves.  F5 will quicksave, F9 will quickload.  However, NEVER do either 
 while in a conversation, in the inventory menu, etc.  If you do, things 
 could get screwed up, or the game could crash.  Also, I've found that if you 
 are locked onto an enemy while doing a quicksave, when you return to the 
 game after the quicksave is finished, you won't be able to actually hit the 
 enemy.  You will have to "unlock" the enemy and then re-lock on.  Perhaps 
 it's a feature the creators put in to make it harder to "cheat" your way to 
 beating difficult enemies?

 b) Change "usePotionKeys=0" to "usePotionKeys=1".  This allows you to map 
 keys to the ability to quickly quaff a potion with the stroke of a key, 
 rather than having to go into the inventory.  This is a real life-saver 
 during long, tough, battles.  The developers didn't like this ability.  Bah!  
 What do they know?  :)

 c) Also, if you find looking left and right with the mouse to be way too 
 slow and unresponsive (I do), even after maxing out the mouse sensitivity in 
 the in-game menu, change the value of "zMouseRotationScale".  The default 
 value is 2.0, but I found that a value of 4.0 made the game MUCH more 
 responsive and enjoyable.

 d) Changing "playLogoVideos=1" to "playLogoVideos=0" will stop 
 those goofy company logo videos from playing when you start the game up, 
 which makes loading the game much quicker.

 e) If you set "bloodDetail" to 3, the game will generally be more bloody.
 Don't expect any blood baths, but basically whenever anyone (yourself, NPCs,
 monsters, etc.) is significantly hurt, they will leave a blood trail where
 they walk.  That might aid in tracking wounded prey, or perhaps you just like
 to see more blood in your games!

2) The first time you run the game, it will run a little program (Vdfs32e.exe) 
that checks out your hardware setup, and configures the game to run 
efficiently with your setup.  It is supposed to do this only once, but for 
whatever reason for many it will do this EVERY time, which makes loading the 
game take a LONG time.  So, after you've run the game at least once, rename 
the executable to something else.  It's located in the System directory, and I 
renamed mine to "_Vdfs32e.exe".  I haven't experienced any negative effects 
from doing this.  I _did_ let it re-run after I put another stick of memory in 
my system, however.

3) Performance is a little iffy at times.  This game eats up RAM like no 
other.  I started playing the game when I had only 256MB of memory.  I then 
upped that to 512MB, and the game ran MUCH smoother.  So I'd suggest turning 
off as many programs in Windows as you can afford to while playing, especially 
if you have less than 512MB.  Also, what I've gathered is, as you move through 
the world, the game loads stuff into memory, and this loading will make the 
game stutter a little, and seems to happen no matter WHAT resolution, detail, 
etc. you're using.  However, once stuff is loaded into memory, it should run 
fairly well, depending on the size of your memory.  For example, the first 
time you walk down a street in town (the town is MUCH worse than the 
wilderness) you will experience stuttering while everything on the street gets 
loaded.  However, if you now turn around and head back down the same road, you 
shouldn't experience much stuttering as that stuff is now in memory.  It's not 
that this method is unique to this game alone, it's just that this is the 
first game I've really noticed it in.  Even with my fairly kick-ass system 
that will run Max Payne 2 at high-res. with full eye candy no problem at all, 
I could not, no matter what, get rid of ALL the stuttering in this game.  It 
doesn't make the game unplayable, though, just a little annoying at first.  
And perhaps you'll have a better experience, so who knows?

                   |   SECTION II: Gameplay Basics   |

1) No, it's not a problem with your mouse: there is no mouse pointer in the 
menu system.  You use the forward, backward, and straffe keys (or arrow keys) 
to navigate around in menus.  Pressing the left mouse key does work to make 
selections, however.  It's a little clunky at first, but it works, and you 
won't miss the pointer.

2) There is an option in the Controls menu to use the original Gothic control
system.  In my opinion (which is rather redundant, since this whole guide is
my opinion :.), you do NOT want to use the original Gothic control system.
Having played both Gothic 1 and Gothic 2, I prefer the Gothic 2 control system
by a LARGE degree.  The Gothic 1 control system is over-complicated.  Instead
of a single key press for a single action, you are required to use two.  For
instance, to do a simple attack in Gothic 2, you just hit the left mouse
button (LMB).  With the Gothic 1 control system, you have to hold down the LMB
AND press the forward movement key.  To do side attacks with Gothic 2
controls, you can simply map one key to the left side attack and another key
to the right side attack.  With the Gothic 1 control system, you have to hold
down the LMB and hit either the left or right movement keys.  Now, this in
itself doesn't sound too bad, but it REALLY becomes a pain when you are trying
to move WHILE attacking (straffe around a monster, for instance), and you have
to constantly hold and release the LMB.  Even if you are just coming to Gothic
2 after having played Gothic 1, I would suggest you stick with the revamped
Gothic 2 controls.  It may take you a half hour or so to get used to it, but
you will be glad you did as you play through the rest of this 50+ hour game.  

3) To take all of a particular item in a chest or similar, hit your jump key 
('space' for me).  For instance, you open a chest and find 49 gold pieces.  A 
single left click takes a single piece, and holding down the left mouse button

gradually takes them all, or you can just hit the 'jump' key and take them all 
at once.  Took me a while to figure that one out, and is VERY nice now that I 
know it.

4) In any place where you might use the "Esc" key (advance dialogue without 
waiting for NPC to finish their spoken line, close a treasure chest, exit a 
menu, etc.), you can also use the right mouse button.  Just another small 
convenience I've discovered that helps a lot.

5) When you attack an NPC with a bladed weapon and deplete their HP, they go 
into something like a "swoon" status: they fall down to the ground 
unconscious, but NOT dead.  About 10 seconds or so after knocking them down 
(and taking their belongings if you want), they will get back up.  They'll 
obviously be pissed at you, but unless you provoke them again, they won't 
attack.  There IS a way to make them friendly toward you again, but you'll 
discover that while playing the game.  :) If you attack them while they're 
unconscious on the ground, you WILL kill them for good (as well as seriously 
piss off anyone else nearby).  The animation when killing an NPC is kind of 
gruesome, but kind of cool, too, so do it at least once just to see it.  :) 
Attacking someone with arrows or crossbow bolts (and magic, I believe) will 
automatically kill them rather than put them in a "swoon" state.  Also, there 
are a few NPCs that WILL die automatically instead of "swooning."

6) When you kill a monster, it will NOT respawn.  Meaning that if you find a
wolf in a particular valley and you kill it, that same wolf will NOT return to
that valley after you have left and come back.  If you do find a wolf in that
valley later in the same chapter, chances are a different wolf has just
wandered into that area.  Therefore, you can go around the whole map and
literally kill off ALL the monsters.  However, when you advance to new
chapters, some monsters WILL spawn out in the wild.  However, the number of
monsters spawned at the beginning of new chapters will NOT repopulate the map
as full as it originally was, and new, stronger, monsters may appear in areas
they were not in before.  Also, there are various quests that will cause
specific monsters to spawn.  Don't be afraid that you will run out of monsters
for lack of experience, as it is quite easy to be find enough experience in
the game to be uber-powerful toward the end.

7) Finally I have a place where I can expound my distast for the old WASD
control scheme.  :.)  For those of you not sure what that means, the WASD
control system means that the forward key is set to W, left and right movement
is set to A and D respectively, and backward is set to S.  Most users of this,
or any control scheme, will place their ring finger on the left movement key,
their pointer finger on the right movement key, and use their middle finger to
work both the forward and backward keys.  WASD is the system that has been
around for QUITE a while, and I find it HIGHLY inefficient.

Instead, I prefer ESDF (E=forward, S=left, F=right, D=backward), for two main
reasons: 1) Using the ESDF keys puts your hand on the keyboard where it ALWAYS
is when typing, thus it feels more natural to most typists.  This is the
position the keyboard was DESIGNED for your hand to be in.  2) ESDF gives you
easy access to more keys than if you move your hand to the left and use WASD.
For example, try hitting the 'G' key with your fingers on WASD.  Now imagine
trying to hit that 'G' key while also keeping your middle finger on the 'W' or
'S' key for movement.  Unless you are a pianist, this is QUITE the stretch,
and rather uncomfortable.  Now, try doing the same with ESDF, and you'll find
it's MUCH easier.  With ESDF you have easy access to three extra keys (TGB),
plus your fingers are already trained to hit keys from this position.  I know
there are many who will never convert to a different control scheme no matter
HOW much more efficient it may be, but I would urge you to at least try it for
a while; you may learn to love it.

8) Here is the control scheme I use.  I find this setup to be the most
efficient for myself.  Certainly not everyone will like this setup, but
perhaps there might be a few mappings that some might find they like better
than their own current setup.

   Movement             Combat                    Misc.
     E = Forward          W = Left attack       Tab = Inventory
     D = Backward         R = Right attack        G = Quest log
     S = Strafe left      A = Lock onto target    T = Character screen
     F = Strafe right   Alt = Sheath/draw weapon  C = Map
     V = Sneak                                    Q = First person view
 Shift = Walk
 Space = Jump

           |   SECTION III: Learning Points & Proficiency Levels   |

1) When you advance a level, your max HP will increase a little, and you will 
gain 10 "learning points."  You can then use these points to upgrade your 
character as you see fit.  You basically have to seek out a teacher, and 
expend these points with them to increase stats or gain abilities.  For 
instance, if you want to increase your strength, you can talk to someone like 
a blacksmith who may or may not help you increase your strength (many people 
will require a fee, or ask a favor before helping you).  Each learning point 
will allow you to increase an attribute by one.  Each teacher will have a 
limit as to how high you can increase a particular stat with him or her.  You 
also use these learning points to learn abilities such as lockpicking, 
forging, skinning animals, etc.  Each ability you learn will cost 5 learning 
points.  Weapon proficiencies are increased in a somewhat similar manner, but 
are unique, as covered in the next item:

2) There are four weapon types: 1) One handed weapons, 2) Two handed weapons, 
3) Bows, and 4) Crossbows.  For each weapon type, there are three basic weapon 
proficiency levels: 1) 10%-29% (Untrained), 2) 30%-59% (Fighter), and 3) 60%+ 
(Master).  You start out at 10% proficiency in each, and each learning point 
you expend toward increasing your proficiency in one of the four weapon types 
will increase your proficiency by one.  HOWEVER, there is a catch: you cannot 
increase any weapon proficiency through a higher level without also increasing 
the alternative weapon proficiency.  This is kind of confusing, and took me a 
little while to understand, so let me use an example to explain:

*You start out with 1-H and 2-H at 10%.  You gain three experience levels and 
now have 30 learning points to spend.  You use 20 of them to get 1-H to 30%.  
Now 1-H is at 30% and 2-H is still at 10%.  1-H is now at a higher level than 
2-H, and thus can't be advanced without also advancing 2-H.  To increase 1-H 
now will cost you TWO learning points, rather than one.  HOWEVER, you don't 
LOSE that second learning point.  Instead, one point goes toward 1-H, and the 
second point goes toward 2-H.  So, with your 1-H at 30%, and 2-H still at 10%, 
and still having 10 learning points to spend, you can spend those remaining 
learning points toward training 1-H, and end up with 35% in 1-H, and 15% in 2-
H.  Make sense?  It works the same way with bows and crossbows.

3) Having a 40% proficiency in either 1-H or 2-H means that you have a 40% 
chance that a successful hit with that weapon will add your strength stat to 
the damage caused to the enemy.  In other words, if you have 2-H at 60%, are 
using a 2-H weapon with a base damage of 50, and your strength is 30, 60% of 
your hits will cause 80 damage, while 40% will cause only 50.  This is, of 
course, not taking into consideration whatever armor or protection the enemy 
might have.  Therefore, while technically possible, it is unnecessary to 
advance either 1-H or 2-H beyond 100% proficiency.

4) Bows and crossbows work differently.  Your proficiency in either is a 
general indication of your chance to hit the enemy.  The higher the value, the 
better chance you have to hit an enemy at a particular range: the higher the 
value, the longer your range.  However, a successful hit will automatically 
add your dexterity attribute to the base damage, just as strength is added for 
swords above.

                       |   SECTION IV: Combat   |

Now to combat.  I'll first paste what I wrote to a guy in GameFAQs:

The one thing that I would mention is about combat/battle. Fighting is 
difficult at first. So much so that I almost gave up on the game entirely. 
However, I stuck it out and am very glad I did.

First, yes, the controls take a little time to get used to. But the more time 
you spend with them the better you'll get, and the more natural they'll feel.

Secondly, and most importantly, is that battles are difficult at first because 
that is what the creators of the game _intended_. You don't start the game as 
a sword master, but as you increase your weapon skills, your character's 
movement in battle will get smoother and more controllable, thus making combat 
much easier. It's a natural progression, and is very realistic. Forget games 
where you can wield a sword like a master from the get-go. This game makes you 
REALLY want to get better at handling your weapon, and actually rewards you 
for doing so.

So basically, don't simply think that the combat system is difficult by bad 
design. The truth is that it IS difficult at first, BECAUSE of design. Spend 
some time with it, and develop your skills, and you'll learn to like it.

A few more pointers for combat:

1) Map the "lock" key to an easily accessible key (I use 'A', with ESDF keys 
for movement).  Locking onto an enemy acts much like the Zelda64 lock on 
function.  Without it, battles can be much more frustrating.  When fighting 
groups of enemies, though, it can be dangerous to be locked onto a single 

2) Learn how to do combos.  Basically, you can't simply mash the attack key 
(default is left mouse button) and expect to continually attack.  You need to 
time your attacks to perform combos.  The timing is basically starting the 
next swing as your character is finishing up his follow-through from the 
previous.  At the rookie level (10%-29%), you can put two swings together.  At 
the next level (30%-59%) you can link three, and at 60%+ you can pull of a 
SWEET four hit combo.  Just grab a weapon and play around and you'll see how 
you need to "time" your clicks.

3) Just as you can "time" your swings, using the same timing to move after a 
swing can quickly get your character out of harm's way.

4) Learn to use the right and left attack keys.  When timed correctly, using 
the same timing I talked about above, you can do very quick left-right-left-
right-etc. combos that work well on enemies that get in close (like goblins).  
You can also follow up the right or left attack with a normal attack for a 
different kind of combo.  Just experiment.

5) For any enemy that uses a sword as a weapon, parry (default is right mouse 
button) can be your best friend.

                |   SECTION V: General Strategies & Pointers   |

There are no spoilers below, but you might rather want to come up with your 
own strategies and discover things for yourself, so there's no REAL need to 
read this section.  Much of this is covered by the excellent FAQ on GameFAQs 
(there is only one FAQ).  I've just pulled out some of the more important 
ideas, expanded on them, and added a few my own.

1) There are certain items that will permanently increase your stats: Goblin 
Berries will increase Dexterity by 1, and Dragon Roots will increase Strength 
by 1 (they can also be used to brew potions that increase the same stat by 5).  
You will find these items out growing in the wild or in certain people's 
inventories at times.  However, there is another way to get a TON of these 
items.  There are two enemies that will drop these items when killed: Black 
Goblins will drop Goblin Berries, and Orc Elites will drop Dragon Roots.  Each 
enemy has a set of items it may drop when killed, and when you kill an enemy, 
the game randomly chooses from that set which of those items will be dropped 
by that monster.  Therefore, if you save the game before making the killing 
blow to an Orc Elite, you can continually re-load the game until he drops a 
Dragon Root.  Kind of tedious, but an easy way to boost your stats.

2) Early in the game, you will find one handed weapons to be a good choice to 
increase your proficiency in.  However, two handed weapons have the advantage 
of being able to hit the enemy from a safer distance, as well as generally 
causing more damage.  In addition, you can find an EXCELLENT 2-hander as early 
as chapter 1, so you will probably eventually want to go the 2-handed route.  
The only problem with 2-H weapons is that they are slower to wield.  However, 
once you get to higher proficiency, you will wield them almost just as fast as 
1-H weapons.  Of course, this is simply a preference, and you may wish to use 
1-H over 2-H throughout the game.

3) Even if you develop your character as a 1-H or 2-H fighter, don't neglect 
bows or crossbows.  There are many instances where taking down an enemy from 
afar, or attacking a group from a higher ledge is beneficial.  By the start of 
Chapter 3, its usefulness will increase greatly.

4) Don't be stingy with your foodstuffs, potions, healing items, etc.  When I
first played, I would continually run back to town to sleep off my injuries,
rather than eating a few Fried Meats.  That was silly, as I ended the game
with over 200 Fried Meats, 50+ Hams, 50+ Fish Soups, 200+ Dark Mushrooms, etc.
Not to mention the 25,000+ gold I had sitting my pocket that I never used.  Of
course, don't expect to have this much surplus if you don't explore much and
simply go from story point A to story point B.


Any questions, thoughts, concerns, errors, etc.?  E-mail me: 

Thank you.


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