The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 9: The Witcher 3 (In Progress)

RnRClown wrote:

If I'd allowed myself to lean onto how the Witcher 3 plays I'd have no doubt learned to manipulate it just fine. Potions. Coatings. Bombs. Signs. Crossbow. Rig it in my favour rather than going straight evade and attack per enemy reading like other previously mention games.

These were my thoughts then. I'd like to see if I feel any different now, with managed expectations, and more leeway. I may have failed the Witcher 3 as much as I felt it failed me. The unpredictability may suit me better now.

That's a good summary. The Witcher 3 combat looks like a character action game, but it isn't really, and coming to terms with that when expectations are set for a more direct action approach can be jarring. There is a bit of timing to be had with parries, and there's a bit of an art to knowing when to sidestep versus roll out of the way (sidestep has a small invincibility window but lets you counter, rolling uses stamina which means fewer spells but gets you distance and can basically be spammed to escape trouble), but really the game is about using bombs, signs and potions to the utmost. The upside to that is that even the most twitch-averse player can find magic and potions combos that suit them. Just hammering away with your sword is mostly a means to spending a good amount of cash on weapon repairs.

Quick Important Combat Note: Locked-on Crossbow shots insta-kill underwater enemies. It's like they knew underwater combat sucks.

So, I struggled with remembering details of the political situation after years between the games. I imagine it would be even worse if you haven't played the first two. So, here's a brief summary.

Disclaimer: I haven't read the books and didn't spend much time confirming this, so odds of errors: high.

The games are set in the Northern Kingdoms. The decaying witcher castle of Kaer Morhen is in the northeast.

IMAGE(https://i0.wp.com/witcherhour.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/northernkingdoms.jpg)

The Nilfgaardian Empire is a huge empire that has been gradually conquering its way northward. It seems like their modus operandi is to offer kingdoms to willingly join and retain some level of autonomy (like Toussaint to the south, which is the setting for the Blood and Wine DLC). If kingdoms refuse, they are brutally conquered. At the beginning of the games, Nilfgaard is the grey area south of the Yaruga River. Their previous invasion north of this river had failed.

Witcher 1 occurs in Temeria, around the capital of Vizima. It involves uprisings by non-human rebels (Scoia'tael) and a fanatically anti-magic knightly religious order (The Order of the Flaming Rose). Geralt becomes embroiled in this conflict and comes into favor with Temeria's King Foltest. After saving Foltest from an assassination attempt, he, not entirely willingly, becomes a member of his retinue.

In the beginning of Witcher 2, Foltest is suppressing a rebellion in La Valette. King Demavend of Aedirn has been assassinated. King Henselt of Kaedwen hopes to take advantage by invading Aedirn from the north. Another group has started a rebellion in Aedirn hoping to carve out their own land. A second assassination attempt on Foltest succeeds and Geralt is blamed. He flees east and becomes embroiled in the conflict in Aedirn. King Henselt is possibly killed during the game.

By the beginning of Witcher 3, it seems like Nilfgaard has used all the chaos in the Northern Kingdoms as an opportunity to successfully invade Temeria and Aedirn, conquering all the lands up to the Pontar River, where they are at another stalemate. King Radovid of Redania betrayed Henselt (if he wasn't already dead) and invaded and conquered the weakened Kaedwen from the west. So King Radovid and the expanded realm of Redania remain as the main opposition to Nilfgaard's ambitions.

The river delta near Oxenfurt on this map is the main map area where Witcher 3 takes place.

Radovid is also a religious fanatic and possibly going insane, so it's all very Crusader Kings.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

there is NO character rolling or customization. You just start and off you go.

This might be why I haven't got more than an hour into this game before... I spend at least five hours in character creation in other RPGs.

I'm reinstalling on PS4 this evening, try again and see how it goes.

Heck of a write up, gewy. Thanks! That's really helpful.

I played for another 45 minutes or so today. I'm starting to get a clue with how the combat works, and the importance of bombs, potions, and signs. I tried to fight a noonwraith in a certain quest and failed miserably, Then I read the bestiary and tried again, using a sign as suggested. Second time it was much easier and the noonwraith went down.

Having a lot of fun with this now, really liking the quests.

I put in another couple of hours this evening. I finished up what I think is the main quest in the first area, but I want to explore the area more thoroughly. I'm just wandering about checking out the various markers on the map and seeing what happens. Still only Level 3, leveling seems to take time.

There's still a lot I don't quite understand, but slowly but surely the mechanics are coming together.

Seems like there is a lot of matching the right type of potion/bomb for a particular enemy and without many of the ingredients things just aren't there yet to put those types of plans in place. I find I'm still resorting to a "hit all the things" strategy which is working just fine for the moment. I do like how the ingredients don't take up any weight. This could be inventory hell if not for that.

Good times, though. The time just flew by.

Fiiiiiiiiiine I'll give this another shot.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

Seems like there is a lot of matching the right type of potion/bomb for a particular enemy and without many of the ingredients things just aren't there yet to put those types of plans in place. I find I'm still resorting to a "hit all the things" strategy which is working just fine for the moment. I do like how the ingredients don't take up any weight. This could be inventory hell if not for that.

Good times, though. The time just flew by.

Speaking of finding ingredients, pick up and buy balisse fruit when you get the chance. At least in the PC version it's really impossible to find outside White Orchard for some reason. Merchants are meant to carry it but never do. It's an ingredient in several kind of crucial recipes but is bugged or something.

Another suggestion - there are a bunch (like 6 or 7) of Places of Power in White Orchard which give character points. Make sure to find them all before moving on as those extra points will give you a good leg up. You don't need to spend them right away if you prefer to wait until more skill slots open up.

So... I seem to have played this game for longer than I remembered, at least according to GOG:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/lm8FpGz.png)

And I'm planning to start over in Steam... sigh.

imbiginjapan wrote:

Another suggestion - there are a bunch (like 6 or 7) of Places of Power in White Orchard which give character points. Make sure to find them all before moving on as those extra points will give you a good leg up. You don't need to spend them right away if you prefer to wait until more skill slots open up.

Thanks, that's good to know and is mainly what I'm doing at the moment. There are a lot of question marks on my map and I'm just working my way around the map checking them out. I've actually been impressed by the quality of the sub-plots and detail involved in some of them. I imagine they'll be repetition as I get further into the game, but right now I'm just taking my time and enjoying the ride.

I hope to put in another hour or so tonight.

Agathos wrote:

Fiiiiiiiiiine I'll give this another shot.

Most excellent, welcome aboard! Added.

merphle wrote:

So... I seem to have played this game for longer than I remembered, at least according to GOG:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/lm8FpGz.png)

And I'm planning to start over in Steam... sigh.

Ha! That is a chunk of time, for sure. Having said that, I wonder how many hours I got into Skyrim before I finally made a character that made it to the end...

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

Godspeed.

*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

IMAGE(https://www.reactiongifs.com/r/slte.gif)

Alright, I started. Imported my save from the second game - never played the first. I never found the things to remove that stupid tattoo - can it be done in this game or is Geralt stuck with it?

*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

I’ll be honest. If you manage to get through the Witcher 1 I’ll be deeply impressed.

Redherring wrote:

Alright, I started. Imported my save from the second game - never played the first. I never found the things to remove that stupid tattoo - can it be done in this game or is Geralt stuck with it?

https://steamcommunity.com/app/29203...

Made it to the second area, one of the interludes where I had to answer questions about what had happened in the past, I was pretty clueless about, having not played 1 or 2. Just started to watch the series as well, which leads to some interesting intersections.

I spent some time this afternoon exploring the wilderness question marks in the first area. I only have a few more to go and then I'll head on to whatever comes next.

Random thoughts and wonderings...

- I'm enjoying combat, but at the moment I'm mainly chopping things to pieces.

- When I meditate to recover health, I get a notice that I've used up an alcholest (sp?). I imagine I'm going to run out of these things pretty soon? I wonder if I should be using food to recover health or meditating.

- I've found some crafting plans for swords that looks substantially more powerful than anything I've found in shops or exploring. I'm fairly close to being able to craft one of the silver ones. Is this something I should work towards, or should I just trust the game to provide better weapons as I move through the game?

All in all, I'm really enjoying this so far. I thought combat would be more frustrating, but it's actually quite fun, and I imagine it'll get more fun as I clue in to what I should be doing more. I'm also enjoying the promise of the crafting/alchemy/bombs/potions/gear mechanic. I'm curious to see how that plays out. Exploration is fun too, although I'm ready to move on to new areas now.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I spent some time this afternoon exploring the wilderness question marks in the first area. I only have a few more to go and then I'll head on to whatever comes next.

Random thoughts and wonderings...

- I'm enjoying combat, but at the moment I'm mainly chopping things to pieces.

- When I meditate to recover health, I get a notice that I've used up an alcholest (sp?). I imagine I'm going to run out of these things pretty soon? I wonder if I should be using food to recover health or meditating.

- I've found some crafting plans for swords that looks substantially more powerful than anything I've found in shops or exploring. I'm fairly close to being able to craft one of the silver ones. Is this something I should work towards, or should I just trust the game to provide better weapons as I move through the game?

All in all, I'm really enjoying this so far. I thought combat would be more frustrating, but it's actually quite fun, and I imagine it'll get more fun as I clue in to what I should be doing more. I'm also enjoying the promise of the crafting/alchemy/bombs/potions/gear mechanic. I'm curious to see how that plays out. Exploration is fun too, although I'm ready to move on to new areas now.

From my own experience:

- Alcohest isn't too common, so you probably don't want to burn through them by meditating all the time. Better meditate once you've actually mostly used up your potions/grenades and eat food (or use Swallow) for healing. On the higher difficulty settings (which you might consider if you find the difficulty dropping later), meditating doesn't heal anyway.

- As a rule, anything you craft is better than anything you find of the same level. Anything that is explicitly 'Witcher gear' is generally better than anything else of the same level. On the other hand, if you're not playing at the highest difficulty then you'll probably be okay using whatever you find. On the other other hand (you know, your third hand), it's nice to have things to look forward to when you hit new levels. Once you start finding out the locations of more Witcher gear schematics, you might consider directly heading off to acquire them as you approach the 'recommended level' (which is always the required level of the gear you can craft from them), so that once you hit that level, you can immediately make the gear and get a nice tangible upgrade.

- I wouldn't bother crafting anything before you can use it though (unless you're on the verge of levelling to the required level and just want to save a bit of time on travelling back to a smithy).

^Thanks much, Ravanon! That's super helpful. I have become study. I'm more excited about the game now that I know it's got a functional and useful crafting system. l feel like that's something that's been incorporated poorly into other CRPGs we've played. They create an elaborate crafting system that allows a player to make things half as good as you can find as loot.

So, I take it that you don't "consume" potions and grenades so much as empty them, and the alcohest replenishes them if you meditate?

Sorbicol wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

I’ll be honest. If you manage to get through the Witcher 1 I’ll be deeply impressed.

If you make it through Witcher 1, I'll send you a nude collectible card.

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

So, I take it that you don't "consume" potions and grenades so much as empty them, and the alcohest replenishes them if you meditate?

Correct, and I believe any type of alcohol can be used to replenish them. I don't thin there's a way for you to choose one versus another, though.

Additionally, simple water is a great consumable item for replenishing health after a fight. You'll find them laying around everywhere, and if you're not looting everything you see, they're super cheap to buy as well.

^Good to know, thanks! I've been treating "meditate" like resting in a normal RPG, but it's clearly different in the Witcher. I've been eating food, drinking water, etc., and I'll start to do more now.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
Sorbicol wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

I’ll be honest. If you manage to get through the Witcher 1 I’ll be deeply impressed.

If you make it through Witcher 1, I'll send you a nude collectible card.

Sweet, sold.

If you're taking requests, I like the ones with butts in them.

I'm really looking forward to seeing *Legion* delay starting on this until June 15, then playing Witcher 1, 2, and 3 in two weeks non-stop without sleep.

*Legion* wrote:
ClockworkHouse wrote:
Sorbicol wrote:
*Legion* wrote:

Debating whether or not I want to do a Witcher 1-2-3 savegame import playthrough.

I completed W1 long ago, but remember very little. I played a few hours of W2, and none of W3.

EDIT: I'm a madman. I'm gonna do it. Fortunately I'm not a completionist type, I can avoid getting sucked into too much side content that would drag the games out longer.

I’ll be honest. If you manage to get through the Witcher 1 I’ll be deeply impressed.

If you make it through Witcher 1, I'll send you a nude collectible card.

Sweet, sold.

If you're taking requests, I like the ones with butts in them.

The best I can promise is that if it's a picture of me, it'll at least be a picture of an asshole.

Looks like Witcher 1 is selling a lot of copies all of a sudden.

I finished up the first area, went through the interlude, and am now on my way to the second area. There was a series of questions in there referring to events from Witcher 1 or 2 I assume that I had no clue how to answer, but I'm guessing it didn't matter much.

I also notched some achievements, so it officially feels like I've "started" the game.

I'm still looking to craft things, but I'm starting to assemble a good number of pieces. I seem to be constantly low on money, but maybe that'll change as I get into the second area.

Level-wise, I'm at 4, so still very early in the game. I noticed that I spent a good hour or so cleaning up the first area only to gain a bit of experience, but once I moved the story forward I got a big pile of XP that's got me halfway to 5 already.

So far so good. Steady as she goes, having fun.

Finished the quest "Wandering in the dark" hopefully it will turn out to have been the most obnoxious quest in the game, because, boy was that obnoxious.

Spoiler:

Yes, a cat's eye potion probably would have made it easier, but I still don't have the ingredients to make one

Clumber wrote:

Finished the quest "Wandering in the dark" hopefully it will turn out to have been the most obnoxious quest in the game, because, boy was that obnoxious.

Spoiler:

Yes, a cat's eye potion probably would have made it easier, but I still don't have the ingredients to make one

Spoiler:

How about a torch? I think those are pretty easy to find/buy.