The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a well balanced game when it comes to challenge. Not only does it offer several difficulty options, but the game has been carefully crafted to be welcoming to all audiences, while presenting its fair share of hurdles. That isn't to say that it's easy, though. There are moments in the game where you may feel lost or frustrated. Let me give you a hand.
Below are some tips for your The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt adventure.
Meditate to heal outside of combat
When you find yourself below full health, meditate by entering the right-most option on the pause menu. All you need to do is select which time of day to sleep until and you will wake up with fully recovered health. This can be abused to keep you at full health during most of the game without using potions or eating food. Please note that this only works on the two lowest difficulties.
Explore for ability points
When you open your world map you'll notice there are a lot of question marks (?) scattered around the game world. These are a variety of optional quests and encounters, and some of them are Place of Power stones that allow you earn free ability points by simply interacting with them. Leveling is excruciatingly slow in this game, so these ability points go a long way toward improving your capabilities in combat.
A HUD overview
We have a guide to the entire in-game interface that you should find helpful. It explains how to read the different HUD elements, from Adrenaline Points, to the Toxicity bar. You can read it here.
You can change the difficulty at any time
If you're having a hard time, then enter the settings menu and lower the difficulty. Alternatively, you can increase it if you're finding that the game bores you.
Grab these powerful early game weapons
The video below will show you how to obtain a powerful set of weapons early in your adventure.
You can respec your skill points
By using a Potion of Clearance you can reset all your skill points, including those you received from Place of Power locations. Here's a guide for locating the two merchants who sell this special item.
Balance dodging and rolling
You are capable of either dodging or rolling. Dodging is preferable most of the time as it doesn't eat up stamina and puts Geralt in a better position for hitting enemies from behind. However, it can leave him open to damage from larger attacks (typically area of effect). For these attacks, rely on rolling to get out of the way. Knowing which to use requires that you learn the move sets of each enemy type. Word of advice: roll if you aren't sure which to use as it's safer. You can also parry by pressing LB/L2 right before an enemy attacks. This will allow you to avoid the damage and quickly poke the enemy, but it's more risky to rely on.
Upgrade Fast Attack first
No matter what build you go with, Fast Attack is the most dependable way to deal damage. You should upgrade it with five points as your first step toward improving Geralt's capabilities.
A trick to one-shotting bandits
The best way to dispose of a pesky bandit is to use Axii to stun him, and then perform a Strong Attack. This will immediately kill the enemy with a finisher animation.
PC gamer pro tips
There's no doubt that it's difficult to take a proper screenshot on the PC version when the game keeps throwing notification messages at you each time you transition between keyboard & mouse and gamepad. Read here to learn how to disable these annoying pop-ups. Want to increase the max frame rate beyond 60? Read here to learn how. Do you want to improve the visual style of the game and make it appear more like the original gameplay trailer? Check out SweetFX with the CineFX preset in this article.
Parry is your best friend against armored foes
The parry allows you to not only avoid a blow from an enemy, but opens them up to attack for a brief moment of time. To parry, press L2/LT right as an enemy begins to swing their weapon. This is the best way to deal with human foes carrying a shield, as it's difficult to get behind them.
Tired of carrying around a trophy?
Place your trophy on the ground at a place of your choosing. The game will save the item at that spot forever. You can come back and pick it up once you decide what to do with it.
Choose an armor type and stick to it
You might notice that there is a general skill that enhances the effectiveness of each armor piece of a certain type, such as Griffin School Techniques which increases sign intensity and endurance regeneration for each medium piece worn. Medium armor is the easiest to recommend since it has no weaknesses, but if you would prefer higher damage mitigation at the expense of Stamina regeneration, heavy Armor isn't a bad choice. Light armor should only be reserved for players who know what they're doing.
Craft potions and oils for an advantage
The Witcher has always been a series rooted in alchemy. If you want to gain an edge, there is no better way than to craft potions and oils. Check the Bestiary in the menu to see what the enemy you're facing is weak to, and spend some time using alchemy to conjure some solutions. You'll find the combat much easier when you use an oil and potion that counters your foe.
There are no invincibility frames on dodging
This isn't Bloodborne or Bayonetta. When you dodge you need to completely avoid the damage being dealt. Therefore, you need to play this game a bit differently than other action games on the market.
Use Quen for tougher fights
Although several of the damage oriented signs are very effective, Quen is great for giving you a health buffer during the game's more challenging fights. It's easy to use, and makes boss battles a lot easier.
Park Roach in the middle of the battlefield for an easy win
Roach, the horse that joins you for your journey, attracts a lot of attention when near enemies. Surprisingly, he has no health bar. So, you can use him to tank foes for you when the going gets tough. Some might call it an exploit, but you should refer to it as playing smart.
Don't ignore the crafting system
Crafting takes some effort, but pays off in big ways. Some merchants will sell you all the materials needed for an armor or weapon, or you can dismantle items you already have to produce the needed materials.
Repair your items
Your armor and weapons become less effective with low durability. Head to blacksmith to repair, replace the item, or repair it yourself with a repair tool.
You can fight on horseback
Geralt is particularly potent when riding his horse. You can gallop quickly and swing like a god. Damage dealt and mobility are at an all-time high when on horseback. Although you can't bring your horse with you into caves and indoor environments, there are plenty of opportunities for you to destroy foes while on Roach, your trusty steed.
There are a ton of items in the game, so it's natural to end up with an overloaded inventory. While it's frustrating to deal with, these items are valuable both for trade and crafting. Loot everything and it may just pay off when you need one of the items to create a powerful weapon or armor piece.
Geralt has weak knees
Never jump off a high location. Geralt takes a lot of fall damage in this game and you will find yourself dead often if you like jumping off things.
Increase your inventory
Buying a saddlebag will increase your inventory from 60 to 90 or even higher allowing you to carry more goods with you at any given time. These can be purchased at a variety of locations, one of which is the general goods vendor near the entrance of Crow's Perch.
All quests are marked on your map
If you're lost, make sure that you track a quest in your quest log and you should see a yellow circle on the map indicating where you need to go.
Running from a fight is better than dying
If you're in a rough spot, try placing a Yrden on the floor to slow enemies and dart away as fast as possible. Come back when you're at full health and give it a second go.
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