Witcher 3 Combat and Gameplay Tips by Korochun
Everyone needs a guide. There are great generic guides out there, but I figured I would pitch in with a few things that really work for me. This particular one will focus mostly on combat and inventory.
-If you are having difficulty with combat at the start, upgrade your Quen sign. 3/3 talent makes it able to usually shield you from 3 or so weaker attacks, and will occasionally stun opponents for a fast kill.
-Quen can be cast very quickly as a reaction to an attack. This makes it possible to shield yourself from an attack you otherwise cannot avoid, for example if you are surrounded or stuck in a corner or edge of a cliff. The resulting knockback will usually buy you an opportunity to tumble away.
-Unlike in Witcher 2, successful parry will no longer consume stamina (though it will pause its regeneration briefly) or trigger a Quen discharge. Shield away.
-Adrenaline increases your combat damage with swords. If you have Focus, it also increases Sign intensity. You lose adrenaline if getting hit in combat, but this does not happen if you are hit with Quen up.
-Parry is not only for humans. Parry can be applied to almost any monster, but will not work on their strong attacks. As a rule of thumb, if the attack has a large movement component to it (leap, charge, tail swipe), you cannot parry it.
-If you want to experiment and figure out which attacks you can parry, put on Quen and hold parry down. If Quen discharges, this attack cannot be parried. If it can be parried, you can then proceed to work on perfectly timing it.
-All that said, every sign is pretty useful in its own way, even at the basic level. Aard will force shieldbearers to kneel and knock down horsemen. Igni will panic and set off barrels of oil and explosives (which are literally everywhere). Yrden will slow down opponents, and particularly works well on really big, slow ones, such as bears, plus it’s basically required for wraiths. Axii allows you to instant kill and will interrupt tough opponents in the middle of channeling abilities, such as Alghoul when it regenerates, or Foglet when it’s trying to disappear.
-In several fights, a perfect parry will give you a serious advantage. Some hags, for example, can have their tongue cut off by a successful riposte, which lets you wail on them with no stop for the rest of the fight.
-Speaking of tough mobs: be aware that red skull mobs have a significant damage and defense multiplier against Geralt. While I’ve killed my fair share of them for the hell of it, it is worth noting that this is not very efficient. If you are concerned with money, do not try to whittle down a level 14 wyvern at level 5. You will do it, but you will also be stuck with a tremendous repair bill and a broken sword. If you come back later, when they are green, you will deal normal damage, and the fight will go by far faster.
-During combat, most monsters will leap back or away after taking 3-5 hits. This will usually give them brief stagger immunity and wind them up for a counterattack. If you follow them after they retreat, dodge towards them, and then immediately to the side. This will let you continue wailing on them, generally.
-Wyverns of all sorts can be knocked down if hit by a sword while they are taking off. This will let you wail on them for a solid 5 seconds.
-Wyverns and other fliers that charge you can be knocked down by crossbow bolts while midair. If you time it while it’s about 20 feet away from you, they will drop straight to your feet. This will also let you wail on them for about 3-5 strikes.
-You can tell when somebody is about to attack you when their health bar flashes red.
-Sprinting in combat will drain your stamina incredibly quickly. You really shouldn’t.
-Rolling will pause your stamina regeneration and drain some of it. Dodging will not.
-Almost all monster attacks, even really big ones, can be dodged. Rolling should only be used as a strategy, not a tactic: for example, if you find yourself in a disadvantageous position (totally surrounded, in swamp gas, in a corner), you should roll out of it. Dodge should be your go-to, however.
-Rolling will leave you with long recovery time and leave you vulnerable for a charge if done too early. Dodging has almost no recovery, and can be transitioned into another dodge or a counter.
-Dodging can be done in the last second, and is very generous with its timing. However, it is best to dodge right as the attack is started, so you stop right as the opponent is executing it. This will allow you to attack simultaneously with them, except from their flank.
-In general, it is best to dodge a little early and immediately transition into a fast attack. With some mobs, like drowners and nekkers, as well as many humans, this will allow you to strike them at the same time as they are striking your previous position. It looks pretty cool once you pull it off.
-Strong humans with axes, shields, hammers and two-handed swords will generally parry and riposte your second attack from the front, even if you catch them with their pants down. If you want to combo them, come in from behind.
-The best way to quickly deal with shieldbearers is via stunning them with an axii sign. Not only will this give you a guaranteed attack from the front, it may also transition into a fatality. Barring this, riposting will also open them for a counter.
-When trying to perfectly parry ranged attacks, wait until you hear the twang of the bow.
-When fighting particularly tough human opponents backed up by several archers, it may be a viable strategy to position yourself facing the archers, with the tough opponent in front of you. When the archers fire, not only may they end up striking their own comrade, but the arrows you deflect can also end up striking the tough guy instead, since they actually register collision. As far as I can tell these ripostes ignore shields and armor. While this can be difficult to pull off, it’s one of the fastest ways I’ve found of killing red skull human opponents. Just remember to put on Quen.
-When attacking a human opponent that keeps parrying you without a riposte (most non-leaders with a one-handed weapon, notably archers in melee), stick to fast strikes and chain them as fast as you can. Once their stamina bar depletes, they can no longer parry every attack, and will only get every second one. This allows you to flat out overwhelm some weaker opponents.
-Human opponents will not swing at you if their stamina is low enough. Wide spinning area of effect attacks that force them to riposte will also keep them from swinging at you. If you are striking several weaker opponents with every strike, keep up your chain, because they will not swing back. Just watch out for flankers.
-Speaking of human opponents, spearmen appear to be made of black magic. Sometimes their attack can be parried, other times same attacks cannot be, and other times their attacks will not register even though you are just standing there like a big lump. I don’t know wtf. Just dodge them I guess.
-After the monster dodges away from you and counters, this will generally be a fast attack, meaning you can roll after them and immediately riposte to continue your chain. This will obviously not work on all of them.
-Get saddle bags at the first opportunity. More carry weight is worth its weight in gold.
-If you are getting low on weight, sell off junk, or break it down. Not only does some of the junk break down into nice materials, it’s also by far your best-selling and heaviest tab.
-Work on getting potions and bombs early. These are replenished every time you rest through alcohol and help you in combat greatly, so don’t be afraid of using them. Alcohol is a ubiquitous substance in Temeria.
-Don’t buy really expensive crafting recipes. In my experience, you can generally find these same recipes out in the world.
-Reading notice boards in villages will plop down question marks on the map. You should then proceed to explore the hell out of these.
-Liberating abandoned areas will give you tremendous experience rewards, will spawn merchants, and is usually very easy.
-Linking talents of same color to the appropriate mutagen gives a multiplier based on the amount linked. 1 = 2x. 2 = 3x. 3=4x. For example, a 7% red mutagen combined with 3 red talents will give you a 28% boost in attack power. A 10% one will give you 40%, so stack the hell out of them.
-Loot is randomly generated. If you find something nice, save your game.
That is all I can think of for now. Feel free to add your own.Other Witcher 3 Articles
Witcher 3 Graphics Options Performance Guide
Witcher 3 Alchemy Guide
Witcher 3 Inventory Management Guide
Witcher 3 Tips and Tricks
Witcher 3 Combat and Gameplay Tips