Over the past couple of weeks, many sites have published beginner’s guides for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, and they’re all full of extremely good advice. Loot everything. Complete all the missions in White Orchard before moving on. Take your time. Meditate. Learn to dodge. Save often (seriously, do it).
Yet, as Game Rant’s The Witcher 3 adventure (finally) nears its conclusion, there are still a few things we wish we knew earlier in the game. Thankfully, our readers don’t need to suffer the same fate. Whether players are well into Geralt’s adventure, or still just beginning, hopefully these five tips will help make their epic journeys just a little bit easier.
(Warning: There are some minor spoilers ahead, particularly regarding Geralt’s love life. Tread carefully).
Quen is a Witcher’s Best Friend
Even on lower difficulties, enemies in The Witcher 3 can do significant amounts of damage, and the easiest way to survive is to not get hit at all.
Quen, Geralt’s magical shield, helps with that, deflecting a few hits before shattering. That’s not all, though. At higher levels, Quen’s alternate form creates a barrier that absorbs damage and converts it into health. That’s a lot faster than using food or potions to heal; in fact, it’s so powerful, that it fundamentally changes how players approach combat.
With this in mind, try to complete Quen’s first two tiers as quickly as possible (White Orchard is full of Points of Power, which give Geralt extra Ability Points that’ll speed the process up). It makes much, much easier.
PlayStation 4 Owners Can Skip Some of the Menus Using the Touch Pad
Let’s face it: The Witcher 3 gets a lot of things right, but the user interface isn’t one of them. Players will spend a lot of time shuffling between menus, and the transitions aren’t always as smooth as they should be. While PC players have keyboards and hotkeys to make the process go faster, gamepads don’t have quite as many buttons. That means starting at the main menu every time.
Thankfully, the PlayStation 4 touch pad can be used to speed things up. While tapping the touchpad brings up the main menu, holding it down a little longer jumps straight to the inventory screen. Similarly, swiping up on the touch pad opens the World Map. This trick might only save a second or two at a time, but in a game as long as The Witcher 3, that adds up pretty quickly.
Make a Choice Between Triss and Yennefer and Stick to It
Over the course of The Witcher 3, Geralt has a few romance options, but there are two main ones: Yennefer, a gorgeous sorceress, and Triss, a gorgeous sorceress. The man certainly has a type, doesn’t he?
It’s tempting to try and romance both. Don’t. The Witcher 3’s ending includes an epilogue based on Geralt’s love life, and frankly, the “romance both” outcome is incredibly lame. The other two endings are much, much more satisfying, so choose one partner, and turn the other down. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Unfortunately, players get to know Triss a lot earlier in the game than they do Yennefer (although Yennefer appears briefly near the beginning), and Triss’ romance plot comes well before Yennefer’s even a major player in the game. As a result, players need to choose between the two women before they’ve got all the information.
To help make a decision, turn to the game’s glossary, which contains character descriptions, or the many excellent Witcher resources online. There are many well-written character summaries (in short: Yennefer is Geralt’s love interest in the books, as well as Ciri’s surrogate mother; Triss is Geralt’s girlfriend in the games), and should make the differences between Geralt’s two paramours pretty clear.
As for Geralt’s other romance options, don’t worry. They won’t affect the epilogue, so feel free to stop by a brothel or engage in intimate relations with Keira – yes, another gorgeous sorceress – without worrying about the consequences.
Don’t Sell Off Your Witcher Gear
The Witcher 3 has many different levels of gear (common, magic, master and relic), but the best is so-called Witcher gear, which has a green background on the inventory menu. While players will get used to selling off unused items and armor – Geralt can only carry so much, and cluttered menus are just plain annoying – hold on to Witcher gear even if it’s out-of-date.
Unlike other items, Geralt can upgrade Witcher gear – and sometimes, he’ll even need to be wearing a piece of Witcher gear to craft something new. It might be extra weight, but it’s worth lugging all of the items around, just in case (if inventory space is an issue, consider unloading bear skins; those things weigh a ton).
Manually Save All the Time
Okay, yes, this isn’t new, but it’s worth repeating. The Witcher 3 is a great game, but it’s not the most stable one, and it’ll probably crash at least once during a playthrough. Don’t lose your progress when this happens; the game is long enough without having to repeat parts of the game.
This goes double for any time spent roaming the countryside, checking out points of interest (those question marks all over the map). The auto-save system is pretty random to begin with, and it only kicks in during actual quests. It’s easy to stumble into an ambush while exploring, and if Geralt doesn’t make it out alive, players could lose hours of progress. It’s probably a good idea to save after clearing out each individual point of interest. It sounds like overkill, but it’ll reduce frustration in the end. Trust us.
Keep multiple saves going, too, each one at least a couple of hours apart. It’s not likely, but players can get stuck in situations where Geralt’s outmatched before they realize it. If the player’s saves don’t go far enough back, the only way out is restarting the entire campaign.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.