Part 48: Sheep-Goat's writeup about weapons in Gothic 2Weapon Choices in Gothic II
Over the years and during my repeated playthroughs of Gothic II (and NoTR) I've established some fairly set prejudices concerning weapons. This will be a fairly long post detailing them.
Because I can't imagine anyone playing vanilla Gothic II any more (NoTR is cool and is packaged with most retail versions of the game now) most of this post will refer to NoTR. In fact the only part of this post that doesn't is this paragraph, where I'll just flat out say that in Vanilla Gothic II the best weapon to choose / concentrate in by far is two handed. Strength points are cheap and it's easy to get the Dragon Slicer early on and one-shot your way through the rest of the game. Similarly in Vanilla it was quite possible to just concentrate on bows and do fine, but increased enemy HP levels in NoTR makes dealing with mobs with your bow tedim in chapters three and on.
First Consideration: Bows or Melee
In NoTR it's Melee. You can get through the game with bows but starting in late Chapter 2 you're going to be in a position where it's you vs. large mobs of monsters who are all programmed to charge you as soon as they realize you're within range. If you concentrate in bows you're going to end up plinking a guy a few times and then running away until they give up the chase and repeating ad nauseum. In the first Chapter or so you'll be okay but once you're fighting mostly Orcs and Lizardmen you're going to be in for a lot of suffering -- not to mention that the endgame is mostly you in a small cave or cavern with a bunch of orcs and lizardmen nearby -- not a good situation for a bow user.
Second Consideration: Strength Pots
In NoTR how much LP you have to spend to get one more point of Strength increases as your Strength increases (at certain breakpoints). From 10 to 30 one LP gets you one strength, from 30 to 60 it costs two LP for one Strength, from 60 to 90 it costs 3, and so on. This means you generally want to level your strength to a particular breakpoint (where things get "too expensive") and then use your strength boosting items all at once to reach as much strength as you can. This is because your damage done is (Strength + Weapon Damage) - Enemy Armor Value.
The number of these strength boosters is very limited. NoTR introduces tablets that can be read for a bonus (after you learn the Jarkendar language) but since learning the language allows you to use all of the tablets you're going to do that anyway for the HP, MP, Dex and Strength bonuses -- it's too good a deal to passup. The critical one to consider is the Strength Potions which require two rare ingredients -- an Ogre Root (of which there are 12 or so in the game) and a King's Sorrel (of which there are 10, I think). Unfortunately, all of the permanent bonus potions require a King's Sorrel so you effectively have to choose which stat you're going to boost at the expense of others (spreading out your bonuses would be madness given the increased LP:reward ratios -- all of the stats work exactly like Strength in NoTR -- MP does, sword skill does, everything). Because bows will have a hard time cutting it later on that means you'll probably want to choose strength (you get plenty of MP just incidentally and can actually buy a lot of MP as a mage by praying to Innos and donating 100 bucks and then sleeping for a day and then praying/donating again -- you get other bonuses doing this too but when they run out (10 dex, 10 strength) it's all MP from there).
From just trial and error testing I'll tell you that I think 90 strength is the right place to stop spending LP for almost all NoTR characters (including the mage -- his magic can't kill on its own as it didn't get a power upgrade but enemies did get HP upgrades, a mage in NoTR mostly uses assist magic like summons or ice block and a melee weapon). 120 is also possible but unnessecary and will put off your chance to use strength pots and really mature as a character until way late in the game.
Third Consideration: Punching Through Armor
Okay, we're finally ready to start talking about weapons now.
Enemy armor values were grossly increased in NoTR and in Gothic II armor is no joke. If the enemy armor value is higher than the damage you do the enemy takes some asburdly low base level of damage (either 1 or 5 -- many foes have 300 to 500 hitpoints). If your damage output can climb over the armor value then you can do noticeable amounts of damage. This means is you have 60 strength and are using a weapon that does 100 damage and are fighting a foe that has 160 armor you'll barely be chipping away at him, whereas if you were using a weapon that had 120 damage or had 80 strength you'd be killing him a lot faster. This situation (or ones like it) is actually fairly common in NoTR and as such there's something to be said for the two handed weapons that generally do a bit more damage and therefore have a bit more punch.
Fourth Consideration: Orcs and Lizardmen and One-Shotting
Much of chapter three and on will be you vs. hordes of Orcs and/or Lizardmen. Unless you do something truly absurd with your strength level (like get it to 140 or so using LP -- ugh) you'll never one shot them. It'll take two shots, either from a good one hander or a good two hander. One handers are a lot faster and getting two shots in on a charging orc is easy with them -- two handers only have one combination even at Master level that is fast enough to do that (normal attack followed by a well timed side swipe, which will display graphically like a second normal attack and is probably a bug of some sort). You'll still have "punch" issues with one handers when fighting tough monsters like dragon snappers (and dragons) compared to the two handers, but vs. the majority of your foes it's going to be two shots anyway. This brings us to our first safe generalization: Two handers are better for beasts, one handers are better for bipeds.
Fifth Consideration: Beliar's Claw
This is a special weapon added in the NoTR patch. If you're a mage you don't get access to it (which is bullshit -- all you get are crappy runes instead) but both paladins and mercenaries will have a chance to use it. It's the best sword in the game for a few reasons. First of all, it has really good range in both it's one and two handed forms (the sword will be one handed if your one handed skill is highest, two handed if that skill is highest). Second of all it sometimes brings down some purple lighting that does damage that totally ignores enemy armor (the amount of damage depends basically on your level and increases as you go along) and blocking which makes it a godsend. The trick, however, is that while the two handed form does a bit more raw damage than the one hander the purple lighting shit always does the same amount whether one or two handed -- this means that the two handed Beliar's Claw is about on equal footing with the best two handed weapons already in the game (Dragon Slicer and that one big axe), but if used one handed becomes much faster and therefore by far the best weapon in the game.
So if you're a paladin or mercenary one handers turn out better if you're going to use the claw.
Sixth Consideration: The Dex Weapons
Fortunatly Sankis is going to show these off for us, but for a minimal point investment early on in Dex (one or two levels) it's possible to get weapons that do way more damage than is required in strength or dex to use them. Most weapons that require 100 Strength also do 100 Damage (so when you get to 105 you can use a new weapon that does 105, and so on). The dex weapons have bigger differences -- the rapier only requires 50 dex and does 100 damage, the "Master's Sword" requires 60 dex and does 110 (I think). These swords also have great range (the range of a weapon in Gothic II is equivalent to it's graphical length as far as I can tell -- the Master sword is so long that it clips through the ground when it's on your hip, it's probably a bit longer than some of the two handed axes...) which is pretty useful. They're all one handed and because their extra power is most useful in the pre-orc-horde parts of the game (orcs still requires a ton of strength to melee well and therefore at that point you could be using a strength based weapon anyway) this means one handers are better early on.
Seventh and Last Consideration: Cheap Bullshit
Two handers have one more thing going for them -- if you run foreward and swing your sword you do a hokey looking awkward clubbing motion. This motion, however, befuddles the AI of any bipedal foe -- they try to circle you when you do it, but they start way too late and always get hit. This means you can cheat your way through any battle vs. a human if you have a two handed weapon by doing this attack and then leaping back out of range. (A one hander is usually used by getting them to attack, leaping back, and then darting in and getting a hit in before they can recover).
If a paladin or mercenary it's probably best to start out using the dex weapons with the aim of building your strength for the endgame. In the endgame you will probably stick with one handed weapons because of Beliar's Claw. You can do this by spending 20LP on dex early on and then eating berries and wearing +dex jewelry -- everything else either goes into sword skill or strength. This is probably the "best" way to go through the game.
If you're a mage you'll want to use two handers because you'll need their extra punch later on since you don't have access to the claw. You can still start with the dex weapons, just don't spend too much in one handed skill as eventually you're going to go two handed -- you'll still want to get your strength to 90 and use strength pots just like a paladin/merc probably, there's enough MP floating around in this game for you to not need to spend LP there and still be an okay spellcaster.