Witcher 3 - Wild Hunt

  • Pitcrew

    So, after having tried to play the first two games and giving up on them almost immediately due to the terrible control schemes (for keyboard and mouse anyway), I'm going to take a stab at The Witcher 3.

    I've read that one doesn't have to have played the first two to get into the world or the third game, but since there are some folks here who seem to love it, I wondered if anybody could give me a primer on events from the first two games that it might be good to know going into the third one? I could read the wikipedia entry or the like, but I'm wary of them having spoilers for stuff in 3.

  • It's hard to say that the first two games aren't important to the plot of the third. Each game revolves around Ithlienne's Prophecy which is a doomsday end of the world kind of prophecy that fuels the plot events for the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 - and culminates in 3. The thing is, the Wild Hunt makes appearances in 1 and 2 without revealing how important these appearances are or how they actually impact your decision making in the game. There are also choice options that you make in the Witcher 1, that you can carry into the Witcher 2 via your saved game file, that you can carry into the Witcher 3 that does have an impact on how the Witcher 3 can be resolved. But in that case it mostly involves what kind of quests are available to you at key points. You can also do the floating choice option in Witcher 3 to simulate having done the 1 to 2 to 3 playthrough.

    Needless to say some spoilers follow for those who might want to play 1 and 2:

    So a general idea of the events of the Witcher 1 - in the prologue you learn that Geralt has amnesia and he does not remember some key events. He was found outside the Witcher castle of Kaer Morhen. You also learned that sometime recently he cured a Princess of a Striga curse. These two events impact the first game and carry through to the third. The rest of the plot of the Witcher 1 cycles around Geralt trying to hunt a criminal organization called the Salamandra and two key figures of the Salamandra, The Professor and an unknown mage, after they lead an assault on the Witcher castle and steal vital secrets regarding mutagens and Witcher potions. This hunt leads Geralt to the city of Vizima where he becomes embroiled in a war between the Scoia'tael and the Order of the Flaming Rose. Regardless of how the war turns out or Geralt's choices made during the war he is rewarded by King Foltest, for saving the Princess from the curse, and whom he then saves from a Witcher assassin in the Epilogue cutscene, which sets up the events for the Witcher 2.

    The Witcher 2 opens up Skyrim style with Geralt in a dungeon talking to the leader of the elite soldier group the Temerian Blue Stripes. The prologue in this case is Geralt recounting the assault on a castle held by the La Valette's, nobles who have revolted against the King of Temeria, King Foltest. During this battle the game's first dragon is introduced and at the end of the prologue the King is murdered by another Witcher assassin and Geralt is the one found over the body with sword in hand.

    The game proceeds from that point with Geralt out to discover the killer of the Witcher who killed the King and who is controlling these Witchers. In this game the Scoia'tael make their second appearance with an actual leader this time, named Iorveth (Your veth). In this game the choices you make in the first chapter have a direct impact on what happens in subsequent chapters and where you begin from. It's better to say that as Geralt moves from his investigation in the first act into the second he becomes involved in yet another war between the army of King Hanselt and the Dwarves locked in their city of Vergen. During these first two acts a lot of Geralt's memory is recovered thanks to the Sorceress Triss.

    In the second act that the actions of sorcerers and sorceresses become more prominent and their minor presences earlier in the story begin to have a snowballing impact. The third act in the Witcher 2 had a lot of choices here with varying results so it's hard to summarize the events. So it's just better to say that Geralt may or may not rescue certain key people, may or may not kill a dragon, and may or may not kill Letho who is the assassin from the beginning of the game who killed Foltest. What he does learn though is that the Sorceress Council may or may not have been behind the assassination of key Kings in an attempt to seize power for themselves and this is what creates the world setting for the Witcher 3.

    Also I wrote this at 6amish so some coherency may not apply. But there you go.

    Oh edited for some corrections and it is also possible to find some story recap videos on Youtube.

  • Pitcrew

    Thanks, @Jaded. :)

  • To add in, some context from the books will also help you as two characters who are only mentioned become prominent characters in the third game, and are very much major characters in the books.

    Yennefer of Venderberg is a sorceress who had a chance encounter with Geralt and they hit it off to a degree. Her trying to tame a geenie went not great, but they managed to deal with it with the help of Geralt who made a wish, something along the lines of them not being apart, so they become magically bound to eachother. The start of a pretty chaotic romantic relationship, this is his main love interest through out the novels. He did not remember her due to amnesia til the end of the second game.

    Ciri of Cintra is the princess to the fallen nation of Cintra. She was taken by Geralt when the nation as his reward for a witcher contract he did years before, the so called Law of Surprise which is how Witchers grow their numbers. She has the Elder Blood which means she is a descendant of some important elf and is very magically potent and with a great destiny. She is the adoptive daughter of Geralt and Yennefer.

    Also for the variation of endings from the second game, look at http://witcher.wikia.com/wiki/The_Witcher_2_ending

  • I thought Witcher 3 was a good way to lead in more information on Yennefer and Ciri as you played through the storyline It was a nice drawn out reveal for me since I've never read the books and only played the games. I had considered mentioning them in but I didn't want to travel into what I thought might be spoiler territory for W3 for HR.

  • I mean, none of that is stuff that happends in the game. So I wouldn't call it a spoiler?

    Edit: Or well, it is obviously a spoiler from I think both of those are from The Last Wish collection, but he literally asked for pertinent information from the stuff before.

  • There's a video that covers the first 2 games. So you can just watch that.


  • Pitcrew

    It's cool, @Olsson. Thanks @Luna. :)

  • Jumping into the Witcher 3 bandwagon, instead of paying full price for Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC, I decided to take a stab at everyone's currently favorite Polish RPG. I've tried to keep details vague to keep from even mild spoilers.

    It's pretty good so far, glitchy as hell. There is one mission that is broken because a key NPC spawns underneath an inaccessible bridge and in the stonework. Multiple crashes and other issues despite waiting a few months for them to iron them out. I'm on 1.08.

    I feel like the Witcher 3 will have exactly one more play through, generally going through a different world state and choices. Possibly a different romance interest. I have only briefly played Witcher 1 and Witcher 2. The Witcher 2 controls were downright horrible which was sad because I paid a decent chunk of change for it back on my Xbox 360. Controls are more responsive, generally combat is fine once past the learning curve (at the difficulty right below the highest, I'm still getting mauled to death if I charge in and not pay attention to what I'm fighting). Glitches in combat have resulted in deaths that pissed me off but I'll admit I don't have the trigger reflex to do anything other than guzzle potions and mash fast attack.

    I like the more structured aspect of the game rather than the free-for-all in Skyrim or the sort of forced plots of DA:I. I do miss the ability to kill random NPCs (Skyrim) and the ability to shack up with anyone I damn well please (DA:I). I do understand that this is a novel-anchored game and Geralt has a firm existing story. There are a bunch of NPCs I want to straight out murder and other NPCs than the legacy romances for Geralt that I'd much rather ignite a new relationship with than get saddled with overwhelming baggage... but it's partially my fault and a lack of attachment to some of the series mainstays.

    I'm not entirely done with the game so far. I'm frankly having fun just going around town and collecting Gwent cards. :S

  • Pitcrew


    The Witcher 2 controls were downright horrible which was sad because I paid a decent chunk of change for it back on my Xbox 360.

    You should have tried playing it on a PC. I felt like the PC controls were designed just prior to the signing of the Geneva Conventions and somehow got grandfathered in as not quite counting as human rights violations against civilians.

  • I've heard of the PC controls for Witcher 1 and 2. They sound awful. Even with Witcher 3, I have it hooked up to an XBox 360 controller. It's still clunky and has weird UI design choices. The worst part of it is having to relearn how to play a different RPG because invariably all of them have different means of attack.

    Does anyone actually use strong attack? Fast attack + roll + quen or axii is pretty much my mainstay. Igni and Aard are pretty damn useless or situational at best, and I've only seen a difference in yrden for wraiths. Am I missing something with these? Or are they as useless as half of the potions I can make?

  • @Apollonius said:

    I've heard of the PC controls for Witcher 1 and 2. They sound awful. Even with Witcher 3, I have it hooked up to an XBox 360 controller. It's still clunky and has weird UI design choices. The worst part of it is having to relearn how to play a different RPG because invariably all of them have different means of attack.

    Does anyone actually use strong attack? Fast attack + roll + quen or axii is pretty much my mainstay. Igni and Aard are pretty damn useless or situational at best, and I've only seen a difference in yrden for wraiths. Am I missing something with these? Or are they as useless as half of the potions I can make?

    From my experience with the game your questions on Strong Attack and Fast Attack are really based on a few variables:

    1. Difficulty
    2. Build
    3. Gear
    4. Playstyle

    If you're playing on any setting other than Death March then yes you will have to use Strong Attack. It is the only attack that's worth using when you're fighting high armor enemies such as Giants, Cyclopes, Trolls, and some human enemies and definitely some bosses.

    On Death March you're going to find yourself learning which attack style is actually best for which creatures and at which point in time. For instance, if you try to Fast Attack your way through an Alghoul you'll do more damage to yourself than it because of the spikes. The strategy for this creature is to hit it with Axii so the spikes retract, get in one or two Strong Attacks, and then bounce out of the way when it claws at you, then roll for the subsequent leap attack. On lower difficulty settings you can probably pop a Swallow and Fast Attack your way through the spike damage. Aard is good for staggering the large brute creatures like Giants when they start to charge letting you roll behind them and get in a couple of critical Strong Attacks.

    If your build is based around Strong Attacking you'll find it more valuable to use it more and if you're not playing on Death March the Witcher Bear School Armor and maxed Strong Attack tree is the highest DPS you can get (The caveat on this is I have not tried the Wolf School Witcher Gear yet to find out if it does better). If your build is focused on purely Fast Attack then the Feline School is best and you want to focus on the benefits of light armor - in this build you probably want to take skills deep into the Battle Trance tree for increased damage based upon your Adrenalin, and put points into the Signs you use the most - which it sounds like in your case is Quen and Axii. Gear bonuses are a whole conversation on their own but what you focus on also matters and goes to your playstyle. If you go for Stun or Knockback effects you will find yourself performing finishers more which eats up Adrenalin and Stamina so those kinds of runes are best in Light Armor where your regen is the highest. Effects such as bleeding and poison are great runes for your silver sword and benefit a Strong Attack playstyle the most. And then the Armor, Frost, and Sign Intensity Runes are good for any combat playstyle.

    Next how you play the game is a consideration. If you're level 15 and you look at that level 20 critter guarding the treasure at the unknown point you've just made it out to - do you challenge it or wait until you are close to its level or overlevel and return? Being skilled at the dodge and the roll means it is entirely possible with wise Sign use to challenge creatures above your level - if you have experience fighting them. Always save your game before trying.

    Lastly all of the Signs are situational and are also based on playstyle. But you are right, they are not all created equal, and some of the skills in the Sign trees are pretty useless and can be ignored. In fact, with the exception of Igni, all of the third and fourth tier Sign abilities can be skipped in my opinion.

    If you want a Sign to do DPS with Ignii is the way to go - and just about every creature except the Fire Elementals, can be set on fire for a length of time. Smaller creatures like Nekkers and Drowners will actually spend about 5-10 seconds out of combat as they burn, and you can use Ignii to DOT DPS creatures like Rotfiends down to explosion without having to risk a bad roll out of the way. I don't know about other difficulties but one Rotfiend exploding on you in Death March murders you. And can do so even through Quen.

    Yrden is great when you're facing a fast attacking enemy and you want to slow them down, or deny a magic using enemy the use of magic like Leshenn - or make creatures like Wraiths and Foglets easier to hit for damage with your silver sword.

    Axii unlocks dialogue options and lets you stun an opponent. I used this fairly often on two-handed weapon users and the humans using sword and shield - this would let me auto-finisher on them and cause the other humans to flee for a few seconds.

    Aard is a knock down and can interrupt charges or be a good clench use to get out of being surrounded - the second tier lets you throw enemies off ledges. I would use this when engaging bandits to knock down the first line and then rush the archers. Archers are a pain in the ass.

    Quen, is the most useful sign and the one I used most. It is entirely possible though to beat the game without using it and the more experienced you get with the dodge and the roll means you can find yourself relying upon it less. Although it is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary to use this when fighting Imlerith.

    Finally as to potions. I think the time lengths on them need tweaked upwards to make them more valuable otherwise I did not use many of the combat potions but I did use the oils quite a bit since they often had a six minute timer on them. And the 15 minute armor and weapon buff from the blacksmith tools in the villages are always worthwhile.

    And of course this is all based on my ridiculous amount of hours in the game and my own experience with playing with the trees. There's lots of build guides out there and some Youtube videos that have theorycrafting done on the Fast vs Strong Attack playstyles; if the min/maxing of your Geralt is important I would recommend searching some of these out.

  • @Jaded, holy crap. That's an amazing amount of info and put things in more perspective than me fumbling through the game. I'm on Hard but not Death March and I'm still having trouble even with like-leveled creatures if there's enough of them running around and hitting me at once. I have to either pick them off with a crossbow from a perfect range or pray. That and the constant scrounge for food because anything past Normal and you don't have a fast enough auto-heal through meditating.

    Yeah, I'm still in the Skyrim mentality that fast + good weapons = more dps because you will consistently land more attacks over a wide period of time. This is not entirely untrue but it plays out differently with the Witcher 3, especially in a multi-combat setting.

    I've totally ignored Igni despite it being one of the few ways to properly deal splash damage because Axii is generally what I use for larger critters and spamming Quen in the case of mass groups. I'm the type that will max out Axii just to get more conversation types and Axii out any potential combat situations. That said, my current playthrough is a slower trudge because my skillset as a player is not keeping up with the game's difficulty. I'll have to practice some based on the insight above.

  • @Apollonius

    Every creature has its own method to combat it. In my opinion it is absolutely necessary in the game to learn when to dodge, roll, parry, or counterattack - and on which creatures those kinds of defenses are most useful. The game gets a lot easier once you get this experience. If you have any other questions Apollonius just drop them here or message me. I don't mind getting more in-depth into creature combat strategies to help you out if you need it.

  • The new expansion is out. So far it's a pretty good time and my time with it will probably end somewhere between 10-15 hours. Given that I think the price point is pretty fair, I picked it up on Steam for $10.

    For anyone who wants to play it but hasn't finished the main storyline yet, it does offer a New Game mode that you can create a new save with which will lock out the main storyline quests. It will give you a level 32 Geralt with some pretty nice starting gear.

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