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Alchemy in the Witcher series is a major game mechanic that can make or break some of the toughest fights in the game. Alchemy is also one of more complicated mechanics with its many different potions and varieties that serve as buffs instead of traditional healing potions. And that's only the potions, we still have bombs to consider.
This will no doubt confuse many gamers who are used to alchemy in the Elder Scrolls game.
I like to say that alchemy in the Witcher is more like WoW's version, which will be familiar to many of you raiders, but for the more casual rpg fan this more like 'buffs' in the most loosest sense.
Namely alchemy's major focus is on giving you an edge over a particular fight by increasing a certain selection of your stats to match which fighting style is needed for the encounter. The potions are the meta of the game on Hard+ difficulty, and should be used at all times during Act 1 to better level your power with the more monstrous creatures. These potions will also aid you before you level in one of the three paths on your character stats, allowing you to be a better sign-caster or melee fighter than you should be.
Alchemy creates three varieties of enhancements for Geralt: bombs, oils, and potions.
Bombs are weapons that can be thrown like daggers and should be used to engage enemies at range during the early game before combining them with traps.
Oils are a blade-coating that gives extremely powerful bonuses. When dealing with a large number of a certain type of enemy: insects, undead, humans, be sure to coat your weapon in an oil that compliments the situation.
Potions are the majority of products you'll use for alchemy. These potions tend to focus on either Geralt's resistances, such as poison, or his two primary bars: health or vigor. Health-potions should be carried a plenty by most gamers, Swallow being the most helpful in a majority of circumstances. Vigor potions are primarily for sign-users (mages) or if you're in a massive group fight and require addition vigor to parry.
To create any of these items requires ingredients. Now, there are about thirteen different ingredients, so I won't get into them all but I will tell you about the basics of keeping you stocked up for alchemy.
1. When entering a new area, always pick from every plant in your path. This will give you a feel for what each plant offers for your alchemy. Each plant offers different ingredients that often overlap (Ceredium can be found in nine different plants and monster parts).
2. Never forsake monster parts. These are absolutely necessary for crafting as well as Alchemy. Always loot monsters for everything they have, even if it means you have to drop some plants.
3. For potions you use alot of, memorize which ingredients. A monster part that offers alot for your mats should be farmed when you find a large gathering of them.
Buffing Alchemy 101: Potions
Potions are the most common use for alchemy. They serve as buffs and give you a chance to max-out your build's benefits and cut down on the cons for a price. This is the longest list. Each potion applies something called :Toxicity:, some are more toxic than others. This means that your limited by how many potions you can ingest. Because of this, weaker versions of a potion can be better than a stronger version if you use the right combinations. Toxicity is limited at 100, the toxicity value for each potion is last number.
Also, you can only drink up to three potions.
Increases vitality regeneration.*An extremely useful potion for all builds. It allows you to heal during battle and has saved me enough that I always keep a spare no matter my build. It is the first potion you get.
Coating Alchemy 101: Oils
Coatings are something you should always place on your blades. It doesn't ruin your toxicity, and many of them are extremely deadly against certain enemy. Coatings only apply their effect if the blade hits the enemy. But all builds will eventually engage foes in melee so don't neglect these.
Weaponized Alchemy 101: Bombs
Bombs make just about any gamer giddy, and Witcher 2 offers an armory of different bombs to be used. For the purpose of this guide I will describe the bombs, their uses, and tips. To equip a bomb you simply have to place it in your pocket slots like daggers.
Stuns and immobilizes all enemies in range. *This bomb is one I dislike very much. It fails to do as advertised for many enemies. It's your first bomb and is still somewhat effective against humans.