The Beginner Witcher: Tips to Help You Survive

It’s been a little over a week since The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – CD Projekt Red’s latest gargantuan fantasy epic – graced store shelves. Since then, I’ve been hacking and slashing, looting and grabbing, completing side quests and hunting beasts both large and small, amongst other things – like working on the main quest line. Truthfully, I’ve never been a fan of long, drawn out games. I’m very much at home with experiences that last anywhere from 8 – 20 hours, and I gawked at the idea that I’d be spending 50+ hours within the world of The Witcher 3.

However, as I began my journey through the game, finishing off a variety of quests and interacting with the people that dwell within the rich and incredibly detailed universe CD Projekt Red has created, I began to feel the draw I’ve been craving from a game like this for years. Even after I’d turned my PlayStation 4 off for the day (or for the night) – I couldn’t stop thinking about The Witcher 3. It was something I wasn’t entirely familiar with, considering I’d either completed the shorter games by this point in time or would have at least been close to watching the credits roll. I wanted to jump back into this world of mystery and maturity, and that’s when I knew that I’d give this game a proper go.

I’m around 15 hours into CD Projekt Red’s massive adventure, and coming in with very little experience from the previous Witcher titles to call upon lessons were learned rather quickly. For the new Witchers out there, here are some helpful tips that have aided my journey throughout the world of The Witcher.

Loot Everything You Can

It’s no lie that everything you find and loot in The Witcher 3 is somehow usable, whether it’s something that can be deconstructed, sold off to a merchant or used outright. While this may sound simple, looting everything you find will garner you rewards and coin to use down the track. Even if the item you pick up is worth barely anything, you might be able to use it in Alchemy to craft that vital oil you need for a quest or sell it off to a merchant and buy something you actually require.

There’s been a handful of times I’ve left loot behind and regretted it because I wasn’t aware that it was usable in Alchemy or it could have just been deconstructed, so do yourself a favor and take everything you can. Be mindful that you can loot people’s houses as well and they won’t bat an eye, but don’t do it in front of guards – they don’t take well to that kind of behavior.

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Keep tabs on your weapons and armour

Weapons and Armour are the quintessential items that you need to keep an eye on during your time in The Witcher 3. Not only because you need to constantly trade them out for stronger gear to avoid being killed by the weakest of creatures, but also because they degrade after sustained use. Unlike many other RPG’s, you have to continually manage your gear and repair it consistently before trudging off into quests or else you run the risk of having gear that breaks and leaves you in a very precarious position during a fight.

Could you imagine taking on a Witcher Contract, being at the last phase of the fight and having your gear break? It genuinely gives me shivers just thinking about it. At 50% durability, you’ll get a notification letting you know that the time is nigh to repair your gear. If you ignore that, you’ll most certainly be monster meat. I’d personally recommend repairing your gear before each quest you take, that way you’ll never have to really worry about your gear breaking before the end of the quest and afterwards you can make your way over to a blacksmith and have it ready to go before your next adventure. It’s also handy to have a repair kit in your inventory, just in case.

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Explore The World

This is fairly obvious, but take your time during your escapades in The Witcher 3. There’s a lot to see and do in the game, and while it’s a fairly daunting prospect to explore such a vast amount of land and the craving to continue the main quest is paramount, exploring small settlements, finding Places of Power and taking out bandit camps usually always end in a reward of some kind. If you have the guts, don’t be afraid to take on guarded treasures as well – as the rewards to reap there are particularly plentiful.

Be aware that enemies don’t level scale with you – so if you go exploring and notice an enemy that’s a higher level than you, you should probably avoid it.

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Don’t Underestimate Your Enemies

What surprised me the most about The Witcher 3 is that it has a certain Dark Souls/Bloodborne feel to it when it comes to taking on enemies, especially during the initial encounter with a new foe. There’s a feeling out process that has to happen before you charge in with your blade in hand – and be aware that there are a lot of different enemy types just waiting for you to make the wrong move. It is vital to your survival and prosperity in The Witcher 3 that you educate yourself on different enemy types and what their weaknesses are. It’s not hard to figure this out either, as the Bestiary documents information on enemies and their weaknesses after you’ve slain one.

The Bestiary is your best friend in The Witcher 3, don’t neglect it. If you do, you’ll find yourself in a lot of trouble in a very short amount of time.

Don’t count on Auto-Saves

Perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned during my time with The Witcher 3 is that auto-saves count for practically nothing. They’ll help you out in a handful of moments during a big quest or a Witcher Contract, other than that you’ll find that manually saving is the way to go. You can’t count on luck in The Witcher 3, and while you’re exploring the vast world CD Projekt Red has crafted, you have absolutely no clue as to when a formidable enemy will appear to take your head or a group of bandits will simultaneously attack you from all angles. When that happens – and trust me, it will at some point – you’ll have the choice to load up your latest save, and if you’ve just been exploring the world and taking on smaller, more minute things, you’ll be thrown back quite a distance. Do not count on the auto-save feature having your back like many other titles do, manually save your game when you can and you’ll find that your experience with The Witcher 3 will be that much less stressful.

CD Projekt Red’s latest fantasy tale is an exceptional piece of work and I’m having a great time with it. The first ten hours of the game proved to be a massive learning curve for me, and I hope that these tips help out other beginner Witchers in their travels as well.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you’ll pick up the game, check out our thoughts on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt here.

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