The Witcher 3 tips and tricks
CD Projekt RED’s The Witcher 3 is a big game. Really, really big. Almost shockingly so, once you’ve spent a few dozen hours exploring the world and you realize there are dozens more waiting for you. And it is massive in more than just explorable real estate, it is big in scope. There is a lot to see and a lot to do. And starting out with a few solid Witcher 3 tips could help save you a lot of time.
With that in mind, welcome to our The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt tips and tricks guide, designed to help you get started. If you are already deep into the game, this guide will likely be filled with some obvious, but hopefully still useful Witcher 3 tips.
In fact, this guide is specifically for the early portions of the game. Although the fundamentals remain the same, the game changes as it expands. The deeper you get, the more options at your disposal. Consider this guide a primer for your larger adventure.
The first few hours of gameplay are going to be somewhat crucial, and many people may struggle at first. That has probably scared some people away, which is a shame. The game is long enough that you can generally overcome any early missteps, but there is so much to see and do, and so many ways to interact with the game, that having an idea of what is happening right away. Starting out well can make a huge difference.
We’ll add more Witcher 3 tips and tricks in the future. If you have any you’d like us to add, drop us a line in the comments or by email!
The Witcher 3 has an ability tree, with different categories containing upgrades for different abilities. Of course, you can choose the abilities you want to power up first and be fine. There are some that are more useful, but it will generally be a matter of preference.
With that in mind, you may want to store up some ability points, at least for a few levels. Upgrade abilities that you use the most. The quick and strong attacks, for example, are two you will be using frequently, while alchemy is not (at least not in the early stages).
You will also come across mutagens early on. These augmenters give you a bonus for each family of abilities. Just match the color and assign it when you can – there is an early tutorial in mutagens, so don’t worry too much about it.
- You can always reset all your skill points and start over. Just make sure to grab a “Potion of Clearance” when you come across one.
- Abilities don’t really become all that useful until the third or fourth upgrade. Focus on a few abilities from the start and power them up.
Each region is littered with question marks on the map. It can be a little numbing to do too many of them at the same time, but if you are looking to do a little level grinding, this is a good way. The questions marks can be anything from a town to a monster nest to bandit camps and more.
- Exploration should be a given, but you should take extra time to explore all the question marks in the White Orchard. It will help prepare you for the next region.
The combat in The Witcher 3 is based on parrying and dodging. You will frequently be surrounded, so movement is key. Lead with quick attacks, end with strong, and mix in magic when you can.
In the early going, when your weapons and armor are still weak, dodging can make a huge difference. Parry is still good, but it takes a little while to get the timing down and you can be killed quickly if you mess it up. Dodging can also give you time to let your health regenerate.
Pay special attention to the Bestiary as well. You’ll frequently be fighting enemies with special abilities. There is often a trick, or at least a specific tactic, to defeating monsters. The Bestiary will tell you what it is.
- Geralt will a automatically draw the correct sword for the situation, but you can tell which weapon is best by the color of the enemy’s health bar. Silver for monsters, red for humans.
- Under your health bar there are three boxes that represent your adrenaline markers. When you land consecutive attacks without getting hit, you fill a bar. When all three are filled Geralt unleashes a more powerful attack.
- The green bar with the skull icon represents your toxicity, which fills up when you use potions. To use more you’ll need to let it empty.
- The yellow stamina bar represents the time it takes between casting spells.
- Striking an enemy from horseback gives you a bonus. Use this as much as possible when exploring the world on horseback.
Gwent is a card game that is easy to learn, but difficult to master – mainly because you need to collect better cards before you have a chance to compete against the better opponents. The rules are well established in the game, but the general idea is that you play cards with a number value, and the goal is to end the round with the higher point total. Win two out of the three rounds and you win the match.
The thing about Gwent is that you really need to commit to it. To win at Gwent, you need to play it constantly and collect every card you can find. Many merchants also sell Gwent cards, so pay attention and if you find a card that has a higher value, grab it.
When you first start out, you’re options will be limited by a weak deck. You’re going to have to get lucky and work in some simple tactics. A common strategy is to try to clear out your worst cards in the first round and hope your opponent plays their best cards. You can then pass and give them the round and hope your remaining cards are better than theirs.
- You can come back and replay NPCs at Gwent at any time. You will come across some opponents that will just be able to outclass you, and there is very little you can do about it. Don’t hesitate to walk away.
- In the early hours, you’ll be able to play the Baron. Beating him gives you cards, and it is part of a side quest. You’ll need to do it before his main quest missions end.
- In the early hours, you can trick the AI by loading up one row, waiting for them to use a weather card, and then using your leader card to clear the weather.
The Witcher 3 can be difficult to level your character in, because you need to actively complete side missions, explore, and more. You can try to just stick to the story missions, but you’ll soon hit a wall. You need to actively spread out and play, and combat alone won’t go all that far.
If you are having trouble with an enemy, or group of enemies during a mission, just leave it. The game will save the mission right where you are, and you can go off and level up in other quests before trying it again.
- The level cap is currently 70, but there is talk that it will increase in the future.
- Different items – like trophies – give different bonuses. You’ll frequently find items with experience bonuses – equip them.
When you first begin, you’ll be in the White Orchard area. Consider this section a prologue designed specifically to teach you the game. The main story will quickly have you moving on to other areas, but take your time. Explore everything and level up before you leave.
Once you are into the game properly, there will generally be multiple main story missions. Choose whichever one you want, but if one takes you to another region, you may want to take your time and knock out some side quests before you go. You can always return, but the game is designed for you to spread out and try other things.
You should also keep an eye on the suggested level of the mission. You can generally get away with passing a mission that is a little higher than your current rank, but if the level is shown in red in the menu, you may want to wait.
You will frequently come across difficult choices, both in the side quests and the main story. Don’t worry too much about your choice – the results will just be different, not right or wrong. Often, all your options will lead to tragic results – it’s just part of the game.
Relationships and, um, more
In the Witcher 3, you can initiate romances that are either lasting, or shall we say fleeting. You will end up making a choice between two ladies: Triss or Yennefer. There will be other ladies, and Geralt does like to get down, but only Triss and Yennefer lead to a relationship.
- The first lady you hook up with is Keira Metz, who you’ll encounter in Velen. Just follow her story, then play her side quests.
- In Novigard, there are two brothels to… explore. You even get a bit of experience for your effort.
- The Iron Maiden subquest introduces you to the NPC Jutta. Beat her in a fight, and then visit her for a one night stand.
- When you play the high stakes tournament (activated at the Passiflora brothel), you will meet Madame Sasha. Beat her at Gwent or help her out for some intimate times.
Save, save, save
This one should be obvious to anyone that has ever played a game like this, but saving is a good thing. There is an autosave feature, but you can also go to the menu and manually save. You should do so, and do so often.
When it comes to the choices in The Witcher 3, you shouldn’t sweat them too much. There isn’t a “good” and “bad” choice, so you can comfortably choose whatever you want and go from there. With that said, you may want to try a few different options on some missions, just to see what the differences are. Just reload the save and try it out.
As you go about your business, you’ll come across several side quests. Some will be unlocked through conversations and events, others will be found on notice boards located around the world. Accept any and all quests when they come across, even if you don’t plan on doing them.
To track the quests, you’ll either need to activate them when you first receive them, or head into your menu and select the mission you want. You can only track one at a time though.
The quests will be listed along with their recommended level as well as the region it is located in. If you have a few minutes to spare, go through your side quests and select each one. From there, go to the world map and see where it is. If you plan it out, you can hit several in a row without traveling too far out of the way for some solid experience and gold.
- Most side quests will be accessible after the main story has been completed – but not all. Some will become inaccessible at certain points, although the game generally gives you some warnings.
- The Witcher Contracts are a good, and relatively quick way to earn some gold and experience.
Weapons & armor
When you first begin The Witcher 3 you will be saddled with terrible weapons and armor. This will remain the case for a long, long time. Don’t worry though, you’ll find plenty of new items along the way. You can also craft new weapons and armor, and occasionally that will give you a more powerful item, but there will be plenty to find along the way.
The crafting will become a bigger issue later in the game, but in the first few hours don’t worry too much about your weapons and armor. Just choose whatever has the best stats, and keep checking what you’ve looted along the way.
- Sell your items to people that are connected to those items. For instance, sell herbs to an herbalist, armor to a blacksmith, etc. You’ll earn a lot more money.
- Stock up on weapon and armor repair kits. It’s best to have someone repair the weapon to 100-percent, but if you are in a fight, a repair kit is a good quick fix.
- You can safely ignore the upgradable armor ability that grants you a bonus for wearing the same class of armor in all positions. This will come into play later – much later – so don’t waste the ability points.
- You can attach runes to certain weapons and armor with available slots. Go ahead and do so with low level runes, but save the best for a while.
- Keep an eye on your burden. Each item has a weight, and if you collect too many items you’ll eventually hit that weight limit. At that point you’ll slow down and have trouble walking. Drop your weaker and heavier items, then head for a merchant.
- If your horse Roach gets too frightened, you can calm him using the Axii sign.
- Level up Axii early. It is effective in combat to stun enemies – especially those with shields – and you can frequently use it in conversations to your benefit.
- An easy way to earn gold early on is to collect honey and sell it. You can find honey scattered around, or by destroying a bee hive.
- Oil your weapons before going into battle – as long as you have the right ingredients for the proper oil for the enemy you are about to face.
- Meditate often. It heals you, and if you have alchohest (and you probably will), it replenishes your potions.
- There are 16 places of power scattered around the world – use them at every opportunity. They will increase a particular magic, and give you an ability point.
- Loot everything. As long as there aren’t guards to see you do it, you can loot from people in their homes, right in front of them.