These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternate Character Interpretation - King Rhobar II., well-intentioned hero-king who is unfortunately in way over his head, or shortsighted, manipulative tyrant with delusions of heroism?
Complete Monster: The whole series has a pretty sinister tone in itself, with A LOT of Jerkass characters, cutthroat bandits, crazy cultists and MUCH more to offer. However, Bloodwyn, the greedy guardsman from the Old Camp, stands out in particular. The first thing he does to newcomers is asking "kindly" for protection money. Unlike the other guardsmen however, he won't just leave you on your own if you refuse. He'll send his henchmen after you to beat you to a bloody pulp, and sometimes even kill you. Also, (although granted, he was ordered) he participates in cowardly murdering the Firemages later in the game. When the Hero, not knowing that he has done something to upset somebody, returns to the camp afterwards, Bloodwyn and his mooks try to murder him in cold blood. However, he truly hits the Moral Event Horizon in the Gothic 2Expansion Pack, Night of the Raven. Joining the bandits and put in charge of the mine, he mercilessly forces the slaves to work without any breaks, and when they stumble upon some angry Minecrawlers and later even cursed guardians, he doesn't care one bit. By the time the Hero arrives, many slaves are already deceased, either killed by the creatures, worked to death, or starved, because they get nothing but rubbish to eat. Others are so exhausted they can barely stand and some are already hallucinating, because they haven't seen the sun for weeks. After the (disguised) Hero does the dirty work of killing all the vermin inside the mine for him, Bloodwyn doesn't even attempt to thank, let alone pay him for his actions, instead trying to get rid of him so that he alone can get all the gold inside.
Crowning Music of Awesome - The main refrain of Gothic I/II is awesome, and the whole soundtrack of Gothic III is this in a nutshell.
Demonic Spiders - In the unpatched G3, several animals (most notably boars) had the tendency to stunlock and kill within seconds even experienced characters. It reached Memetic Mutation levels before later patches reduced their attack frequency.
The Seekers in II. After Act II, they are everywhere, hit hard and can possess you.
Disappointing Last Level: The The Very Definitely Final Dungeon in the original Gothic, the Sleeper Temple, is a lengthy, confusing mess of caves, lava seas, unintuitive button puzzles and instant death traps, in a game that had almost no dungeons before. A point of particular contention is the fact that once the player almost reaches the end of it, they encounter a Broken Bridge and have to return to the overworld, only to fulfill a fairly short sidequest that gains them the Infinity+1 Sword before they go back to the temple, forcing them to go through the whole dungeon again.
It's a very subjective opinion though; while the whole concept of having to go back to the overworld and then again into the dungeon is indeed a bit lame, the dungeon itself is a very interesting deviation from what we were encountering so far, and it really does make you feel like something really important is about to happen as you enjoy the Scenery Porn while approaching the Big Bad's chamber. If you are going through it for the first time, however, the a bit obscure puzzles (especially the one requiring the use of a bow) can prove... problematic.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Gothic I ends with The Barrier destroyed and the Sleeper banished... but hundreds of dangerous convicts are now free.
In Gothic II the Nameless Hero and his friends raid Halls of Irdorath, saving the world... but it doesn't stop orcs from conquering Khorinis and, as you learn in Gothic III, the entire continent.
Fanon Discontinuity - The release of Gothic III and the following games made under the license owned by Jowood all created some backlash and led many of the hardcore fans to declare this. Some felt the franchise was ruined, others simply pretended the Gothic series never got a sequel after Gothic II's Expansion Pack.
Canon Discontinuity: While Gothic III remains in canon, all Non-Piranha Bytes creations (the Expansion Pack, the Mobile Game and Arcania) were declared non-canon via Word of God when the rights went back to them.
Good Bad Bugs - All the Gothic games have these, and many are used by players to make the games far more enjoyable.
Gothic I has the unlimited Roast Meat bug, and the strafe off cliffs with no damage bug.
Gothic II allows for the economy to be exploited via an AI programming glitch in which you beat the crap out of a merchant, take his crap, wake till he gets up, sell him what you took off him, and repeat.
There is also the "corpse cave" bug. Basically, the game is divided into several huge loading zones/subworlds. If for story-reasons, an NPC travels between such worlds, the game does not actually transport them there. Instead, it spawns an identical doppelganger in that world with the scripts and dialogue and all attached to him, while killing the original in the previous world and dumping their body in a hidden location. Due to a bug, it was possible to access one of those locations though, deep in a Khorinis mineshaft, where one could find the corpses and loot them of valuable stuff.
To join mercenaries in Gothic you might need to beat up some of them. However, if you lure them under the ramp leading to Onar's house, they get stuck, running around in circles- you can freely attack and they won't defend themselves. Very useful trick, especially with Night of the Raven add-on, where the base game becomes very hard.
Gothic III allows you to beat up people for their stuff (which respawns), and when done in towns where everyone is your friend, you can make a small fortune in less than ten minutes.
In Gothic I, there are at least a few places with guards who will warn you and then attack you if you try to walk past them. However, taking your weapon out allows you to walk right past them while they're busy warning you to hide your weapon.
In the same game, holding any movement key while falling will allow you to land safely without taking any damage no matter how high the fall.
Idiot Ball - The Nameless One grabs it hard during the first game when, after being told by Xardas that blowing up the Water Mages' pile of ore wouldn't destroy the Barrier, he for no apparent reason decides not to tell Saturas about this and then, once again without telling them about this, uses the pile to power up Uriziel. This results in the Water Mages being angry on him for the rest of the game and in Saturas' long-lasting dislike for him in subsequent games.
Sequelitis - Gothic III compared to beloved Gothic I/II (+Night of the Raven).
Forsaken Gods and Arcania (+its add-on), which makes Gothic III look as good as the first two games
Only The Creator Does It Right: Hell yeah, just ask the fanbase and look at the ratings Forsaken Gods and Arcania have received. The fandom was very happy when Piranha Bytes regained the rights and declared both games non-canon.
Scrappy Mechanic - Ladders in the first game were likely responsible for more deaths than enemies. Taken out in the second game and lampshaded in the addon.
Especially in the German community, Gothic I and II were often considered the ideal of how a German RPG should look, a dark, dirty world with an incredibly thick atmosphere (the main reason why you can perform entirely pointless animations) where one has to work his way up to become a Badass. Fans generally refer to this as the Gothic Feeling. The huge changes made by Gothic III and the following games have often been criticized by the fanbase for lacking that particular feeling around them. Risen, on the other hand, was quickly considered to be possessing the Gothic Feeling and therefore, a worthy Spiritual Successor by most.
Arcania in particular suffers from this. The general consensus is that that it would have at least gotten a few more So Okay, It's Average reviews more had it not claimed to be a successor to the Gothic series, yet done away with most traditions and features the games were notable for, like the ability to attack anyone or pass time by sleeping in beds.
Uncanny Valley - The Seekers in Gothic II are made incredibly creepy by taking advantage of this.