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Tactics- and blunder-related discussion of The Witcher 3, no actual spoilers

Feminina:

When does the option come up to input previous game info? I think I checked that when I started, but nothing yet. Should I restart while I don’t have much invested?

Butch:

Haven’t hit it yet. I looked today cuz I panicked about the same thing. It’s after everything in White Orchard. Which you’ll be doing for a while.

Have I mentioned do everything there?

Also, voices are sound, so I point out:

Just noticed that Ciri (when we meet her) is voiced by Jo Wyatt, who we know as FemHawke.

Neat. She’s good.

And this is interesting:

You know that Metal Gear Solid 5 game that’s coming down the pipe in September that’s getting mad press? Remember us discussing whether to bother? Well, remember that well reviewed (but expensive) demo-y thing called Ground Zeroes that came out last year? That’s like two hours long?

Well, it’s free on PS+ next month.

Yes, yes we’re busy, yes. But those do keep, you know. I might throw it on the steam backlog…..uh…..the dashboard. Right.

No way I’m interrupting TW3 for it. Nor should you. But I’ll throw it on the pile. I still have half of Fez, half of the Swapper and all of the unfinished swan on said pile. I like to know stuff’s there. PC habit.

Feminina:

Oh yeah, Unfinished Swan…I have that on the Vita right now. For later.

Butch:

You played yesterday though. I saw it. The whole “friend” thing is so we can snoop.

What’d you do?

Feminina:

I went and looted the hell out of that battlefield near where the post-dream game opens (bread and water! blunt axes to sell!), fought some ghouls, died a few times, visited the place of power by the ghoul’s nest (which I couldn’t destroy since I don’t have that bomb yet), rejoined Vesemir and rode through the ransacked village, fought some drowners on the beach by the village, died a couple of times, collected some treasure, picked a bunch of flowers and mushrooms, fended off a griffin that was attacking a guy (thanks for putting that in a cutscene, game!–I don’t know if I want to fight a griffin yet), and got to White Orchard. Picked up some quests, played gwent with that scholar, gathered information about Yennefer, got in a fistfight, fought some wolves, died once. Ate some better food. Will follow up on some quests next time.

Gwent is pretty cool, I guess. I’m not immediately hooked because I was eager to carry on with the information-gathering, but it’s certainly a more interesting in-game game than, say checkers. (“It requires an analytical mind,” as the guy said. Lets me right out–I hate analysis. Ha.)

Butch:

Not bad, not bad. Places of power are so very key. They’re like free levels! (Remember that you can reuse places of power, too). What stat are you buffing first? (Did you hit the notice board in White Orchard like I told you to?) And don’t knock water. Water heals for 20 seconds, four times longer than most food. Water will save your bacon numerous times.

That’s ok. There’s plenty of time for gwent once you catch up to me.

I’m at a point where I pretty much need a good solid block of time next time I play (I’m pretty much at the “boss fight” at the end of White Orchard, or at least this particular main quest line in White Orchard. Going to be a doozy. Especially as I decided to man up and switch to Blood and Broken Bones.)

Feminina:

Yeah, I already used that one place of power (POP?) twice. Snuck around the ghouls, gained power, buffed strong attack, fought ghouls, drew more power to re-enhance quen sign. Which I never use, but whatever. Gimme gimme!

I’m not knocking water. It’s important to stay hydrated while adventuring. That’s why I loot fallen corpses on the battlefield. Also, it took me a stupid long time to figure out how to consume food and water, so I died more than I should have because I didn’t know how to heal myself. But now I’m on it! Although the down side is sometimes I eat when I just mean to draw my sword.

“I’m ready for you, monster!” [fiercely devours piece of bread]

I’ll get it.

I did read the notice board. Hence the four different things I have waiting for me to do them at the moment. And I probably haven’t even talked to everyone in town!

Butch:

After DAI, I should have known you’d be addicted to power. POWER!!!!

HA! I never draw my sword. I just wait until it happens automatically. Don’t worry. You’ll draw when you’re still far enough away to parry uselessly.

What did you think about the inn stuff as tutorial? Giving you the chance to use Axii (I love Axii), fist fight, etc. Did it work for you?

Feminina:

POWER!!!!!!

Yeah, after a couple of unnecessary carboload episodes, I’m already concluding that I should probably just wait until I draw my sword automatically. And if I can still parry uselessly? SOLD.

The inn stuff was good. I did like the option to use Axii, which I am pretty much going to be applying at every opportunity forever because it’s great. “Talk!”

The tips about “here’s the shopping link, here’s the ‘I should go’ link,” etc. for conversation were also helpful–I like that they highlight those things.

Another thing I noticed is that White Orchard is just teeming with kids. Usually you don’t see that many children in games, for reasons we’ve discussed, although possibly not on the blog (Skyrim seemed to have about two per village), but realistically there would probably be a lot of them around any sort of permanent human settlement, barring some sort of calamity. It’s nice to see that they’re here, wandering around like members of the community, no big thing. All the ones I saw seemed to be roughly the same age, rather than ranging from babies to preteens as you might expect in life, but you can’t ask for perfection in these details, and it’s still a nice touch that they’re there at all.

Butch:

Re: Power–The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Gotta pick the way you look like a doofus. Useless parrying costs less than useless eating.

I’ve already pumped three points into axii. I still haven’t gotten the hang of it in combat. It seems like it takes a long time to cast. I tried a couple of times, and it went poorly. I think I’m missing something. Ah, well. Igni works just fine.

Hmm, good point about the kids. And there’s a nice dynamic. I noticed one kid singing a rhyme mocking the emperor of nilfgaard, and his father ran up and said in an urgent whisper not to ever EVER sing it again. Really captured the fear of the adults and the blissful ignorance of the kids.

This game has a lot of nice little things.

Feminina:

I don’t have a problem. I have a solution. The solution is, MORE POWER!!!!

Agreed, useless parrying is less resource-intensive than useless eating. That ham sandwich isn’t free! Unless you found it on a corpse.

Yum, corpse bread…

Butch:

Power. The solution to every problem.

Find free food on a corpse, or in one…..Mmm….raw meat. Mmm….Wolf liver.

Too bad you can’t eat those drowner brains. Mmm. Drowner brain.

I hate drowners.

Feminina:

Yes! Delicious wolf liver…

Yeah, drowners suck. That yelling/stunning you thing they do is no fun.

Fortunately, nothing I’ve met so far (so, ghouls, drowners, wolves) seems to chase you if you run away, so you can sprint off, bolt some wolf liver and water or something, heal up a bit, and then plunge back into the fray. That’s a serious strategic error on the part of these enemies, but I’m not going to complain about it.

I’ll show you! [flees in terror, eats a pound of raw meat]

It’s not quite like Skyrim letting you gobble a 10-course meal in the middle of a battle, but it’s helpful.

Butch:

Honeycomb’s good, too. Just don’t get too close to them bees. I almost died cuz I wandered too close to a hive while injured. That would’ve sucked.

Shit, THAT’S what drowners are doing? No WONDER! I thought I was just not hitting the right buttons. I was stunned! Fuckers.

Yeah, not chasing you seems to be a thing. Ghouls I think just want to be left alone, drowners can’t get far from water, so there’s that.

“Yeah, hey, timesies. Time out. Gotta scarf a liver, here.”

But it doesn’t always work. I think 75% of the times I’ve died have been blows to the back. “That’s it I’m out of no I’m not.”

Feminina:

Yeah, well, no tactic is perfect in every situation.

If RUUUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! were always successful, we’d have to spend too much time upgrading our racing sneakers.

Totally the drowners’ fault, though–they shout this burst of sound waves at you and then you just sort of weave on your feet for a few seconds, desperately fumbling at the buttons to no avail. Bastards.

Butch:

What I’m waiting for is a ranged weapon. I know I CAN have one, cuz there’s that slot in the inventory. But I don’t have one yet. Or any plans for one. Or a merchant who is stocking one. That’s a tactic I want. I’ll trade racing sneakers for that. I’m sorta worried I missed it, cuz I found some crossbow bolts, but no crossbow with which to fire them.

Good to know about the drowners.

See? You’ve taken a big enough bite so you can school me. Nice job.

Curious to see what you think of the quests. What are you going to hit first?

Feminina:

I haven’t seen any ranged weapon suppliers either. Of course, I’ve only barely gotten into town. But at least I can reassure you you didn’t miss it in the inn. Ha. I do want that crossbow…

I don’t know, I felt pretty bad for the dwarf whose forge was burned down. Might investigate that little issue. I think I’m sympathetic to the plight of outsiders.

Butch:

Yup. I did that one first.

Plight aside, I always get the sense that games sorta herd you in a certain order. I mean, yeah, non linear, sure, but when a game makes it so you pretty much can’t miss picking up a quest RIGHT FUCKING THEN then it’s probably a good idea to do it RIGHT FUCKING THEN. Not so much because of narrative reasons, but because that’s the best time in terms of level, getting loot for the next one, that sort of thing. (Note: this isn’t a spoiler. There’s nothing with this dwarf that is crucial to do right away. Just my playing quirk.)

There’s been a few times that an exclamation point has been plopped in such a way that it’s impossible not to notice at a specific time in a specific order. I’ve followed like a good little sheep. I also figure it’s smart to do that in the quasi-tutorial first bits.

Feminina:

Yeah, following up on stuff when you hear about it makes sense. Figures they’d stick stuff it makes sense for you to do early, in the places that you’re likely to run across it early on!

Although games can sometimes mess with you there…remember FONV and that totally impossible deathclaw nest you could stumble across pretty early? Ooh, a simple quest to gather some deathclaw eggs for a fancy omelette, sounds nice!

Several deaths later: I’ll just come back in about 15 levels.

Butch:

This is so. But then, I’m getting the sense that White Orchard is the Hinterlands of this game: nice, self contained place to get used to controls, pick up a couple of levels, maybe some new gear, and THEN they’ll throw us into a vast world full of deathclaw nests. Sorta like DAI. “Hey, enjoy the hinterlands. Ok, now go wherever. Even the Hissing Wastes. BOOM!”

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