Off-topic and Chatter: The Jolly Boar Inn => General Gaming - The Arcade => Topic started by: Jubal on August 22, 2021, 10:28:55 AM

Title: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on August 22, 2021, 10:28:55 AM
Right, I've gone back to the Witcher games, and we don't have a general thread for them so here's one.

I played through two surprisingly fast, partly because I decided I'd do a lot more switching to easy mode than the previous time and partly because I managed to get the hang of the controls and not incinerate any guards, which it turns out is pretty helpful for completion of the game. I did Iorveth's path and helped Saskia build the Pontar Free State, which was nice albeit that
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And now I'm on 3. I'm not finding the combat much more fluid than 2, but I think a lot of the effectiveness of the Witcher's combat systems relies on you having a controller. For example, I really can't use the step-dodge because accurately tucking my thumb under to use the alt whilst stepping fluidly whilst next to an enemy, in a game that really relies on you not taking hits, is a recipe for disaster. I also think I've barely made a single strong attack all game, I need to get to working that one but it's one key more than my brain can manage most of the time. I guess the other issue as ever is that my timing is crap which means the nice new stuff like having blocking/parrying available on the mouse isn't very helpful for me. All that said, now I'm improving a bit at strike-and-roll combat it is a lot more bearable, and I'm playing on Normal rather than Easy.

Regarding other mechanics, the alchemy system feels very streamlined: the ability system took longer to work out, it feels a bit weird that you can have so few abilities activated simultaneously as it really reduces the "ooh cool upgrades" feeling as you probably can't use whatever you just bought, though that might just be me still misunderstanding the system.

The plot writing has been very good with 3 so far - I'm still bumbling about in Velen and probably will be for some time, since I'm very much exploring random areas of the map first, sidequests second, then main quest third, although I've got back and done some chunks of main quest recently since I was feeling super underlevelled for absolutely everything. I also seem to have a constantly full inventory and almost no money due to the cost of equipment repairs and the fact this game keeps giving me chances to be generous to people and I'm taking all of them. The writing of Strenger/the Baron was really interestingly done, I though, as was Keira, though there is some obvious flirting in the latter and I have a bad feeling I'm going to horribly mess up all the major interpersonal stuff in this game.
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on September 07, 2021, 04:19:23 AM
Finally! The return. I can finally weigh in and help.

Witcher 2 is a great game about politics, but
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Witcher 3 is one of my favourite games of all time so i am biased here. Also dark souls with its rolling dodges is another of my favourite series, so i cant help much with the combat advise except get good  ;D  . i've completed it on the hardest difficulty, those dodge i-frames are a the trick. My main advice is play on controller for much simpler multi targeting of mobs and pressing of the strong attack and do not at all underplay the alchemy side of the game, potions and oils give huge damage boosts. Another tip is to go all out on one build magic/swords/alchemy, dont pick and choose, as the ending abilities are a godsend. For example in combat tree Whirl, where u literally just hold attack button and do spin attacks can deal with large groups of humans easily.

Have you read the books? (i'm sure i've asked you before).

The plot of this game and its writing (especially its side quests) is amazing. It is the witcher game that links to the books the most, majorly so in its DLC so the story is strongly enhanced with the knowledge of book characters. Emhyr (Charles Dance <3)/Yen/Ciri etc. Lots of things affect lots of things in this game so be careful. Can i ask how your encounter keira and the baron went? The baron storyline is a great one, such a conflicted character.

Money Tips: take lots of witcher contracts and explore/loot everything :D

Keep me updated as you go along, people playing my favourite games for the first time is always a joy!
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on September 07, 2021, 02:45:34 PM
I agree regarding W2's core plot - at least the Iorveth path through it - feeling a bit undermined by W3. It does feel a bit weird that Sas just vanishes off the map.

"Get good" is horrible advice, but thanks I guess :P I mean, obviously practice does help, and I do enjoy the alchemy which is helpful. I always play with keyboards not controllers which I'm sure is a disadvantage, but I'm managing OK on normal difficulty in any case. I'm afraid to say I have gone quite a mixed build so far, and I'm about level 18/19 so it may be too late for me to specialise enough to reach the end of any of the trees - ah well. I don't think I have any desire to play the combat on a level above normal - given my handicap of a keyboard and joint problems and slow reaction times this seems like the fun/challenging rather than frustrating level to play at.

In Velen, my key choices:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I have been doing a ton of exploration so I'm now quite overlevelled for the main quest, but oh well :) I'm now working my way through Novigrad and some of the politicsy stuff, though I seem to have managed to lock myself off finishing some quests I want to complete because characters are only giving me dialogues for other quests so I may have done things in the wrong order (likely due to my tendency to want to do all the side quests before pushing on with the main).

Specifics of the current problem:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Not read the books yet but they're on my list!
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on September 09, 2021, 05:36:27 PM
and I'm about level 18/19 so it may be too late for me to specialise enough to reach the end of any of the trees - ah well. I don't think I have any desire to play the combat on a level above normal - given my handicap of a keyboard and joint problems and slow reaction times this seems like the fun/challenging rather than frustrating level to play at.

I'm sure this will be fine on normal, just play what you find fun provided it avoids the frustrating level. Some monsters especially towards the end and can be hard to fight. There are a few chances to reset your builds with items in the game. If you do suddenly feel like a change.

Interesting Velen choices! I'll say no more.

It's not a real rpg if you arent completely overleveled for the main quest right? Novigrad is an interesting place as it is the main "hub" of the game so has quests from a variety of levels that appear as you progress through the game. You can easily stumble into doing things in an odd order.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on September 27, 2021, 10:14:16 PM
Well, I finished the main quest. Still got Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine to do.

Overall thoughts: I think for me the thing that stands out about Witcher 3 is the acting. Nobody in that VA cast was having an off day, it's very much up there with the best and the graphics do the characters pretty good justice as well. I wasn't as thrilled by the narrative design as I'd hoped in places: the scenes are very well written, the task mix is interesting, I just don't agree that pressurised timed decision-making is a good way to simulate interpersonal interactions and key plot moments. So in that sense I wasn't a huge fan of how the romance lines and core interactions with Ciri were handled (I got the romance lines wrong, and got the Ciri stuff right mainly by looking it up - I genuinely don't think the outcomes of a number of key interactions are properly predictable from the text you get given & that the game doesn't telegraph what it's doing very well in some of those cases). Where they did do a good job, I think, was ensuring that "wrong" outcomes were still well acted to create a good story. The setting is as ever really good, a few big suspension of disbelief elements required (the more you think about Gwent, the less it works) but it's generally enjoyable and the characters are really interesting.

I was finding it odd that the end state is un-implemented, so I'm going to leave it a week or two before starting the DLC so I can sort of take them on their own merits rather than in the light of having finished the main story and finding it weird to go back to a Novigrad that's acting as if I hadn't.

My end state, with accompanying notes:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I do wonder if there's much more to be done with the Witcher IP in games. The trilogy in many ways feels right and neat, and it'd be very tricky to make more games about Geralt given the finality of W3 and the huge scale of choices involved, but there's presumably always going to be the temptation to find some way to use it more, and I might go for it if that did happen as I'd like to explore more of the world: a Witcher game set thirty years or so after W3 (long enough for you to explain a major new shift/reset in world politics) where you got to create your own witcher rather than being Geralt might be fun in its own way, I sort of felt it'd be fun to explore the other schools a bit, though maybe the series is just too wedded to its core cast for that to work.
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on October 18, 2021, 01:14:57 AM

I agree with all your points especially the time based decision making. Some quests are not obvious that completing or accepting them locks off other quests, especially regarding the romance stuff. Yeah gwent just doesnt work if u have certain cards you always win. They fortunately balanced it for the standalone game.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I think you'll enjoy the dlc's even more as they have a much more concise story and blood and wine definitely will give you even more "finality and a more neatly defined end state". I think blood and wine contains my favourite story and could easily be a stand alone game and hearts of stone has my favourite quest. Let me know what you think of them both!
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on October 26, 2021, 11:50:43 AM
Answers to GMD's questions above, quite spoilery:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Also, I think I'm most of the way through Hearts of Stone now (just finished the paintings bit). General thoughts and one mid-length rant:

Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on December 06, 2021, 05:16:16 PM
And that's more or less it - done Blood and Wine, thus all the witchering has been done (unless I decide to try replaying the games to get different outcomes etc, not sure how likely that is but I've no plans to start on it immediately).

Blood and Wine thoughts:

And some spoilery thoughts on the ending:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on February 06, 2022, 12:46:52 PM
Yes so glad you played the DLC's finally! Toussaint is one of my favourite locations to chill in and i think master mirror is a really good villain.

  • Sad that you can't stay with Shani, I actually did the romance options there and they worked out for once so felt a bit of a pity you couldn't get more of a happy ending with her.
    I really liked the wedding section, it just felt very nicely written and good fun.
  • Also re said wedding, I often feel like I'm a bit out of place playing Geralt as I'm too dissimilar to him, so well done to CDPR for creating a character I have to play who I'm so much less similar to that it makes me feel comparatively comfortable to be back playing Geralt.
  • I'm not sure who hurt the person who designed the first couple of boss fights at the Everec mansion, but I'm very sorry for whatever happened to them, as dear gods those were horribly designed and executed and show a disdain for my own human suffering that, whilst thematically of a piece with the themes of the DLC, was also annoying as hell. I didn't die, or even come at risk of dying, in either: they were just really grindy and boring and frustrating to complete. In the first, the healing mechanic is quite OP, and the correct strategy which is "land like one hit then roll back because every time the thing hits you it heals itself massively, rinse and repeat" I had to look up mostly because I couldn't believe someone would design such a horrifically boring grind of a boss fight. Like at least give me some other options: turn the healing off for a bit if I dimeritium bomb the thing or something (I tried this, no dice).
    Then the second boss fight was somehow even worse, I actually intuited the strategy wholly correctly and then still had to look it up because the game makes executing the strategy so difficult that I'd assumed I must have gotten it wrong: you have to damage the healing points for the boss when it goes into healing mode to stop it healing up, but also at least in my PC version the game doesn't target-lock you onto those points even if you're closer to them than to the boss, so most of the time you end up rolling over, trying to flame the point, then the game automatically turns you round to uselessly point flames at the boss who's a) not in range and b) healing up rapidly as you do it. What about using a crossbow, which you can aim? Well, dear reader, the boss is so quick and you're in such an enclosed space that the boss constantly interrupts you pulling the crossbow out. So your best option is "flail with a sword and hope" which whilst it does sum up much of my gameplay in the Witcher 3 does feel like it shouldn't be the ideal plan A in most situations.
I 100% agree with this, the wedding is one of my favourite quests in the whole game, possessed Geralt is hilarious and Shani/geralt are amazing together. Regarding the bosses...I do find them incredibly weak in this DLC, and you are right to be annoyed by some of their gimmicks, I'm unsure if its better to do hearts of stone at a lower level or not? I did it after the endgame and it does feel a bit off combat wise. Though i think blood and wine fixes both the bosses and the combat well.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

  • Regis is a very good character and was very enjoyable. Other than Regis, the character & companion end of the DLC was its weakest part, but it was still very good.
  • The sidequests are really nice and very enjoyable. I really like the Wine Wars line, the tournaments and gwent bits were fun even though I messed them up (didn't win either the Gwent or actual tournament). The painter & barber quests in Beauclair were good.
  • The lack of romance was actually kind of a pity. I wanted Geralt to just have someone nice to settle down on his vineyard with (which I think as much as anything speaks to the fact that Geralt and I do not have the same wants when it comes to women, but still).
  • Big plus, we got to see the lady again and got Aerondight back!

I LOVE Regis, hes an amazing character in the books and to see him ingame was something very special to me as CDPR do a perfect job of imagining the character. It's nice to Geralt to have a friend around who isnt Dandelion or a love interest for a change. Toussaint itself is also in the books and they brought it to life so well.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Also i'll leave this here for some Toussaint chill vibes

Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on February 13, 2022, 12:09:01 AM
So for the HoS question:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And for the Blood and Wine question:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I didn't feel that Geralt settling down without Yen or Triss was out of character for how I played Geralt... I was sort of almost sad those were the only two romance options, because I kind of almost feel like neither of them is necessarily ideal for Geralt (who I think cares a lot about both of them, but in TW3 he feels older and much more in dad mode and Ciri feels like the real core connection in the game, whereas Yen has understandable but exhausting trust issues and Triss is charming but maybe a bit too political for Geralt). And yeah, I'd absolutely have loved to have had more Regis, he was very good.
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on March 18, 2022, 07:14:59 PM
Shani romance option is needed for sure!!
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on March 22, 2022, 09:56:40 AM

New Witcher games are coming!

Article: https://www.theverge.com/2022/3/21/22989313/cd-projekt-red-new-witcher-game-unreal-engine-5-announcement

Honestly I think this is something of a risk given how well recieved the main trilogy were, but it does make sense given how well the Netflix series did. People at CDPR are stressing that this isn't necessarily "The Witcher 4", and despite additional collaboration with Epic Games they're not plannign to limit it to the Epic Games Store (Twitter link (https://twitter.com/gamebowski/status/1506022957591797760?s=20&t=jnZMz66yQe0z-iy32mIFNQ)). And that seems to be about all we know right now...
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Gmd on April 05, 2022, 06:59:06 PM
Yeah seems like its own standalone thing set in the witcher universe. My guess is pre/post-geralt times with very few characters from the trilogy returning. But i cant think of any lore events outside the geralt northern wars which it could possibly be from the history.
Either that or they just go full on Ciri sequel 20 years later or something.

Also apparently thats a lynx in the photo so its not witcher school ever mentioned before.... which is very interesting
Title: Re: Going Witchering
Post by: Jubal on April 05, 2022, 11:06:01 PM
I think after TW3 may be the most likely. Unmentioned witcher school suggests new witcher school, unless they have a really good retrofit to explain why nobody ever mentions them in the main witcher series or the book. Which suggests either a) someone has started making witchers again, or b) that these are a combination of failing schools, or c) that these are "witchers" in job but not necessarily in typical powers, and any of those three might make for a good core initial plot hook.

I watched a YT video where someone pointed out that the trouble with a Ciri sequel is that you risk cheapening the ends of TW3 where she doesn't become a Witcher, though you could have a forked game beginning/background where one is Ciri the witcher, one is Ciri being deposed by a plot as Empress, and one is Ciri having actually survived defeating the Frost but stripped of her powers, stuck, and having to regain them as a way of retrofitting the bad ending. But even that does kind of cheapen the bad ending.

I guess TW3 gives some trouble with any Witcher game set in the north in that you kinda have to severely change the political outlook of the region depending on whether it was a Redanian or Nilfgaardian victory, or you need to re-merge the paths (which, again, can feel cheap). I guess Kovir and Poviss are IIRC still independent regardless of the outcome, and moving the whole thing east of the Blue Mountains wouldn't be impossible either. I kind of hope the snow is less of a hint than it looks, because I liked Blood & Wine so much that I'd sort of like to see more of places like Ophir, Zerrikania, etc.