This guide is designed to help new players get off to an easy start. Included are tips on money making, combat and some general, spoiler free tips about navigating the world of The Witcher 3.
Guide for Newbies
With the shift to an open world format, The Witcher 3 broadened the appeal of the franchise resulting in a number of new players stepping into Geralt’s boots for the first time. This guide is designed to help ease new players into the game world and allow them to enjoy this RPG masterpiece. The start of the game can seem difficult since players will have limited gold, basic weapons and, in comparison to other RPGs, leveling in slow. This guide will reveal how to overcome those hurdles and become a master monster slayer.
- The Withcer 3 isn’t an open world in the same way that The Elder Scrolls games are open. The world is divided into regions that are host to large chunks of land populated with quests and landmarks. The beginning area, White Orchard, acts as a staging area to ease players into the world before the game opens up so if you feel underwhelmed by the game’s opening, stick with it.
- Complete the sidequests. Many open world RPGs have made a nasty habit of making their side quests shallow, MMO styled filler for experience and coin. The Witcher 3 does not do this. Most side quests have a nice chunk of narrative, feature cut scenes and plenty of voice over. If you skip these in favor of tackling just the main quest you will miss out on some of the game’s more surprising moments. Also, narrative threads from side quests can find their way into the main quest, making the whole experience more enriching.
- To piggyback on the point above, this game takes place in a living world. What you do in one place can have an effect on another which also means that side quests can become unfinishable after certain narrative events transpire. If you see the main quest line moving toward a “milestone moment” (characters seem to be on the cusp of a major revelation) then take the time to complete and side quests that match your level before proceeding.
- Your choices do not influence Geralt’s stats or development and their consequences may not be felt for some time. Make your choice and enjoy seeing how it unfolds; don’t agonize over the outcome because material rewards usually are similar in value regardless of your choice. Also, be prepared to replay the game to see what other alternate outcomes there are.
- Visit town message boards ASAP. Reading the notices will mark your map with points on interest which should be visited on your way to your next destination. These points of interest usually lead to great loot. Even better are Points of Power which boost one of your signs and provide Geralt with an ability point. Finding all six points of power before leaving White Orchard will make your start in Velen much easier.
- Read all books and notes. These can provide intelligence on loot caches and even open up new quests.
- The Witcher 3 allows Geralt to both dodge and roll. Knowing when to use each is important because they affect how much damage you can deal in a short amount of time. Rolls will carry players further from enemies meaning that players will have less time to land clean blows while enemies are in recovery animations from their failed attacks. Side stepping keeps Geralt closer to his foes allowing players to land multiple strikes. Generally speaking, rolls are best used against larger foes, like Bears who have long reach and groups of enemies.
- Food and drink can be consumed at the same time to increase health regen. For example, Swallow+wolf liver will drastically increase the speed at which Geralt heals.
- Use your signs! Even if you are not putting points into casting, signs are very useful. Igni is great for crowd control on groups on enemies as well as interrupting lunging enemies. Yrden is a magic trap that allows you to attack wraiths and other spectral enemies. Quen is a magic shield that will likely save your ♥♥♥ a few times by allowing you to take a hit or two. Aard is a telekentic blast that can be used to get quick kills by pushing enemies over high ledges. It can also be used to knock humans down so that they can be quickly executed. When upgraded, Axii can turn enemies into allies for a brief period of time, making battles against groups much easier. Axii can also be used on enemies on horseback to coax their steeds into throwing the rider off for an easy kill.
- Axii can also be cast on non-threatening creatures like deer so that they can be killed and looted. This is a decent way to gather crafting materials and coin early on.
- Parrying doesn’t work against monsters. Learn to time your dodges and rolls. Also, humans with pole arms cannot be parried. Trying to parry their attacks will leave Geralt stunned and vulnerable.
- Some human enemies have shields, time your parries to perform a counter attack to deal damage. Alternatively, you can attack from the rear but the counter method is more useful. I typically kill these guys last as archer and pole arm users have more range and open Geralt up for huge damage from groups of enemies.
- Read the beastinary. The game gives you your enemy’s weaknesses; you just have to read to know how to exploit them.
- Attach mutagens to your character. In the character select screen, mutagens can be assigned to the diamond shaped boxes on the outside of the square boxes that are used to assign abilities. These boxes unlock as you level. Blue mutagens boost your sign strength, green mutagens increase vitality and red mutagens increase your attack power. It’s easy to forget about mutagens and leave your character handicapped.
- You can farm mutagens and use alchemy to upgrade them early on. Locate Nekkers in White Orchard by roaming the wooded area southwest of the Saw Mill.
- They appear in sizable groups and each run should give Geralt at least a couple of mutagens. The Nekkers also kill rabbits, deer and wolves making it really easy to gather items for crafting, selling and healing.
- Combat on a horse can seem tricky but Geralt gets a major damage boost atop Roach. When riding by your enemies, hold the attack key down to slow time and release to deliver a devastating blow to your enemies.
- Use Axii on your horse to reduce his fear level. Also, buy blinders as soon as possible to keep his fear level in check.
- Explosive barrels and swamp gas can be exploited for major damage. Cast Igni on these items when enemies are near; just don’t get yourself caught in the blast.
- While it’s possible to kill enemies that out-level Geralt, (when I say out-level, I am referring to the enemies with the red skull next to their health bar). It’s generally a waste of time. The treasures that these beasts guard likely have gear you can’t use or their rewards are too ubiquitous to justify the time spent fighting them.
- Before selling your junk, visit a blacksmith to see what it can be disassembled into. Some junk items may just have that one item you need for a new sword or piece of armor.
- Steal everything that isn’t within the view of guards. Even the most basic of item’s value starts to add up; especially early in the game when money is tight. You would also be surprised by how many valuable crafting items can be found in a peasant’s hut.
- Collect honey comb. Early on this is one of the more valuable goods that is easily obtained. If you see a tree with swarming bees, cast Igni and collect the honey comb. Honey comb can be sold to the herbalist in White Orchard for a respectable price. After you leave White Orchard, head North in Velen to the outskirts of Novigrad. There are plenty of bee farms that provide plenty of easy to get honey comb, fast travel to the herbalist and profit.
Bee farms can be found here:
- Disassemble all shells and sell the pearls inside for a nice profit.
- Do not be eager to buy new gear. The best gear is crafted or found in the wild. Use your Witcher sense to comb populated areas for lootable chests.
- Walk everywhere early in the game. This makes it easier to collect herbs which makes alchemy much less of a headache and selling excess herbs (I generally keep 10 of each type) will give you a few extra coins.
- Buy all Gwent cards and alchemy formulas as soon as you see them. These items come in handy and you never know when you might need that new oil or potion. Having a health card collection gives you a fighting chance as your opponents start using more advanced cards.
- Be sure to loot monster nests, they usually contain some really nice stuff.