Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - latecomer and newbie thoughts

I got a gaming laptop in March and played Subnautica, Fallout 4, Skyrim, and Oblivion(old, but on my list to go back to). During the Epic sale, though, I was able to pick up Witcher 3, with all DLC, for $15. I actually flipped over to Steam and paid a penny more so it is in my steam library.

Anyway, I loaded it up today and, indeed, it ran just fine on my new laptop. I have never played a Witcher game before, though 1 and 2 are also in my library. I thought I’d share some questions and thoughts and if there is no interest, please feel free to let this thread drop like a rock.

I used the tutorial mode to play a prologue(dream sequence, it turns out) with Geralt, Yen, and Ciri. I am still using tutorials as I go through the game.

Questions so far:

  1. Should I be taking weapons and parts from every body I find? Is this like Elder Scrolls game where I am continually upgrading and getting new weapons to increase attack power? I saw a “common” mace on a body and left it. I thought the game said he always carries 1 steel sword and 1 silver sword.

  2. I am near to leveling up and am wondering what skills you would all consider essential. If this were Skyrim, I would be telling you my goal is to make a fighter with some healing magic powers. Perhaps this game just makes you level up everything instead of specializing, though?

  3. Anyone else play this using PC controls? I have an external mouse and am attempting to play it with mouse and keyboard. It’s…well, it’s OK. Not ideal, but I am hoping to play through without needing a controller.

  4. Should I just take every single note off the notice board? Any reason not to take them?

Gorgeous game, even early on. All I’ve done is finish the opening, get to the first town, talk to the people in a bar/pub, and complete 1 side-quest off the mission board. I just accepted a Witcher Contract for a ghost near a well.

The side-quest I completed was finding a brother thought-to-be-dead on the battlefield. He wasn’t dead, quest completed.

I bought the game, and tried it. But I’m not coordinated enough to get through the tutorial. So I put it aside. I an nonetheless curious to hear what answers you get. I might improve enough at general gaming skills to return to this game.

I know it is hailed as one of the top games of the decade, so I am cool with a steep(ish) learning curve.

Have you played Skyrim? Very different, and yet similar and certainly also very well known and reviewed.

  1. You might as well pick up weapons to sell to merchants; there is just as much “vendor trash” in this game as in the average computer RPG. Yes, you will have to ditch your old weapons for new weapons many times over the course of the game. There are some non-sword weapons you could use instead of your mundane steel sword, but most of the best weapons are swords (IMO). Your silver sword will only get replaced by other silver swords.

  2. My first play-through I went with mostly combat (red) abilities with some rune (blue) abilities (for the extra conversation options, mostly). My second play-through I went with mostly alchemy abilities. They both worked fine. Presumably you could get by with mostly using runes, but I never found them terribly useful.

  3. I played using an Xbox, so no comment.

  4. There’s no reason not to take the notices from the board, although some quests will be significantly above your current level. The non-quest notices repopulate themselves from time to time, if I remember correctly.

  1. Early in, you are better off looting and selling everything you can get your hands on. Personally, I only craft and use the Witcher school gear and sell the rest.
  2. Skills depend on you gameplay, I liked fast attack for swords and some alchemy. Quen is a good sign to improve, especially early on. You can always reset you skill points via a buyable potion.
  3. I’ve played it on death march many times with pc controls, I’ve never gamed any other way.
  4. Read everything including notes. Have fun and explore

Fast Attack is basically your normal sword swing, right? He basically can swing like Link in Zelda(swing away!) and he can do a strong attack once in awhile. Fast Attack is there term for regular sword swinging.

People may criticize games like Skyrim for putting really clear map pointers for you to follow, but I love it. Morrowind famously had zero map markers(quest markers) and while I loed it in 2002-2003, it was frustrating. I played many, many hours on Morrowind and never began the main story as far as I know. Who knew there even was one back then?

Witcher 3 seems to use the system of “make it really clear where to go” and I love it. Please mark on the map where I need to go. I hate where-do-I-go-what-do-I-do type games unless I choose to wander the world.

They’re separate buttons on the Xbox controller: X for fast attack, Y for strong attack.

I mostly stuck to fast attacks, except vs. heavily armored enemies like golems.

Yes, on PC it is left-click for attack and shift+left-click for strong attack. I’ve been attacking fast and laying in a strong one once in awhile.

I defeated a ghost at a well after a little detective work to find her arm. Burned the body, fought the ghost, got through it fairly well.

I have yet to go deep into combat, just hack and slash my way along at this point. Then again, that is all I almost ever did in Skyrim, the closest thing I have to this game…

Yes, on pc, it is your left mouse button; I enjoyed playing a swordsmen with some signs abilities. I found alchemy kind of boring.

Yeah, so alchemy is mixing up potions to buff myself up and also making bombs to throw at the enemies? I’m grabbing what I am presuming must be alchemy ingredients(tongues, flowers, other weird ingredients). I don’t see a whole lot in the alchemy tab that I am able to make yet, but I decided just to grab stuff.

Looks like lots of small ingredients have 0 weight? I hope so!

I have not. Witcher was very cheap, and works on my laptop, so trying it was low risk. Skyrim cost real money when I looked. But maybe I should look again.

Skyrim is actually older and goes on massive discounts, as low as $5 or less. It’s just over $10 now, though.

Funny you should mention Oblivion. I just started that last night. The graphics are VERY dated. But not horrible. I just my got ass kicked in the first Oblivion hole dealie when I called it a night.

That’s how I felt on my first play-through, but I thought I’d try the all-alchemy approach on my second attempt. And if you go all-in with the alchemy skill tree, you can pump your potion tolerance high enough to have two or three mutagens going at once (plus a potion or two), which was pretty effective. And you can boost the effectiveness of your sword oils as well.

One thing that was not clear to me at all when I started is that you have effectively an unlimited amount of anti-monster oil at any given time. So it will wear off after a few blows, but you can always reapply it again instantly. Once I realised that, I started using them all the time.

Part I( damn 3500 character limit! )

It is worth looting everything and either selling it or breaking it down for parts. There are certain exceptions:

  • early game in particular it might be worth playing with different armor and weapons. If nothing else Geralt looks smashing outfitted with some of them :slightly_smiling_face:. Fairly quickly Witcher-specific gear will outshine most everything else, but if you aren’t a min/max fiend it can be fun playing with other stuff.

  • NEVER sell Witcher-specific sets with a couple of early exceptions. The starting armor can be upgraded once and that’s it. The early Serpent set also is non-upgradeable. Every other set (Griffin, Cat, Beat, Wolf, Viper, Manticore) is upgradeable, usually 3x and since their upgradeability is level-locked and staggered by set it is common to cycle through a few iterations of a few different sets. So stash all of them for the next time you might use them. Also they make nice display trophies late in the game.

  • it is worthwhile hoarding alchemical ingredients and monster parts for awhile. Again potions, oils and bombs are upgradeable, usually 3x. This can consume a lot of the rarer alchemical ingredients. There is no encumbrance penalty for that stuff so hold onto it until you are sure you won’t need it. And a number of monster parts are needed for gear builds/upgrades as well.

  • hang onto those mutations. They can come in handy late game to build better ones( since you have all the DLCs ).

Part II

Witcher 3, far more than its predecessors, does a good job of leaving multiple viable paths to build Geralt. Personally my favorite build is probably light magic, light-medium combat and medium-heavy alchemy. But most of the trees are useful. Just a few thoughts:

  • crossbows suck. They have exactly one use - underwater combat with drowners and any old crossbow will do for that. Avoid the marksmanship tree, it’s the one garbage tree IMO.

  • all of the basic spells are situationally useful (and you’ll almost certainly have cause to use them all ). But Axii-delusion is a meta-skill. Axii in general is very useful for shield-users and getting those damn alghouls to lower their protective spines. But delusion specifically acts as a “charm/persuasion” skill that sometimes adds an extra dialogue option in which case it allows you to solve certain encounters a bit more easily and adds a sliver of experience every time you use it. You want to go all or nothing on it, but the ONE spell I always max with three points is delusion just for that utility. But it’s hardly mandatory.

  • bombs can be very powerful by mid-game with a heavy investment in that skill tree, but I find they don’t scale all that great for late game. But they can be fun to play around with and you can spec out of them later.

  • in terms of alchemy get your hand on every formula you can and create every bomb, potion and oil and invest in acquired tolerance in the mutation tree. Add in heightened tolerance from the brewing tree. Potions are ALWAYS useful and being able to use more of them and use them more often is a good thing.

  • I also think the first two lines of the oil prep tree is a no-brainer. Oils can be used/changed/refreshed at any time while paused and last a decent # of attacks anyway. Unless it really kills your flow/enjoyment, I see no reason why you wouldn’t always be using the appropriate oil. But because they can be refreshed at any time, the third skill fixative is almost certainly a waste.

You brew potions, oils and make bombs via the alchemy window; it’s one of the tabs on the main menu, others being inventory, bestiary, character, etc. the nice thing about Witcher 3, once you’ve brewed a potion, you automatically replenish it when you meditate. You’ll find potion recipes as loot.

Play around with character builds, it’s easy enough to reset your choices.

Crossbows also knock down flying enemies. But they’re useless against non-flying, non-swimming enemies.

I just fought a Griffin as part of the main quest and I could not for the life of me recall how to pull out the crossbow my Witcher friend gave me. I ended up chasing it around and killing it with my sword. I have now looked it up and it appears to be the middle mouse button.

  • Does Geralt pull out the correct sword for the situation automatically when I attack? I get that “1” pulls out steel and “2” pulls out silver, but if I attack an enemy without choosing a sword, does he autopick the right thing?

Yes, he pulls out the correct sword. The color of the health bar is also an indication of what type of sword to use, if ever in doubt. Having the proper oils on the blade is also important, the more advanced oils along with some points in the skill can make oils deadly.