Spoilers! Lots of spoilers! On the prologue. Not really giving away a very large percentage of the total game. Also lots of wild speculation if you’re into that.
So tell me you played The Witcher 3.
Yeah, couple hours. Did some stuff in White Orchard. Found a woman’s pan, that was pretty sweet. Felt like a true hero.
Did you do the dwarf’s forge?
Yeah…I let the guy go. Liked the hunting bit. Hated the freaking drowners.
Interesting. I axiied the guy and took him to the dwarf, thinking “Hey, dwarves are friendly guys. He’ll smack him and move on, maybe with a scottish accent.”
Called the soldiers right over and had him hanged, right there, as he was apologizing and saying he was drunk.
I was all “Wait…wait….um…..hey, man, that’s not…..”
What happened to you?
See? Already we’re non linear.
I also found the pan.
For me, the guy gave me some money and I growled “if you ever do anything like that again I’ll come back and find you” or something, and he said “no problem–down with the Black Ones and non-humans alike!” and I was all “wait, that’s not exactly getting into the spirit of mercy I was aiming for,” but there was no more to be said on the matter.
I went back and told the dwarf I couldn’t find the arsonist, and he looked glum and said he’d be happy to have my business anyway because he needed every coin now, or something. Then I sold him all the rusty swords I collected on the battlefield, so it still worked out OK for me.
We’ll probably go back to White Orchard ages from now and I’ll find out that that guy murdered the dwarf, and the village was razed to the ground in retaliation, and you’ll find out that the dwarf was spirited away and killed by angry townsfolk, or something. There’s a lot of anger in people here.
I appreciate the way the game gets at how these larger hostilities get between people even when they’re not actively fighting. And the way that if you talk to any given person one-on-one, they can seem totally pleasant, but once the bigger loyalties come in, things get ugly. The Nilfgaardians, with all these hanged corpses everywhere–total bastards! But you talk to them in person and they’re just trying to get the job done, and how else do you want them to subdue a restive populace? And you feel bad for the Temerians, but those disgruntled townspeople aren’t exactly nice either (like the forge-burning dude, and that scene back in the inn–that wasn’t pretty). War and conquest is ugly. Which I tried to get into with that scholar in the inn, but he scoffed at me for lacking a bigger perspective, or whatever. Interesting stuff.
You did the ‘missing brother’ bit, I’m sure? Interesting choice there, too.
I played for…maybe four or four and a half hours last night. Got through all the quests and question marks in White Orchard, went to the barracks, did that business with the warning notice you mentioned a bit ago–although I didn’t find that as ominous as you made it sound: I think it was just saying “it’s advisable to do some side quests first,” in order to warn off anyone who might have ignored all the White Orchard stuff and headed straight for the barracks as soon as they heard that Yennefer had been there. Basically a “hey, you, we put all this stuff here on purpose so you could get tough, better go do some of it before you tangle with this big thing here.”
Then I reached the part where someone asks you questions about your previous games, but there were only about four questions and I couldn’t really place them in my memory of your description of the past game’s choices, which I didn’t have right beside me at the time, so…I don’t know what effect it will have on my game world compared to yours. We’ll see what inconsistencies arise as we go, I guess.
I’m a little dubious about their ‘recommended level’ system. Some of those treasure hunt quests recommended level 4 or 6…? OK, I JUST hit level 3, so what, I’m supposed to just go away and come back here to collect random loot in another few levels? I will totally forget to do that! So I went ahead and did them anyway, and there were some tough fights, but I finished OK at level 2. I’m uncertain what to expect from suggested levels in future given this experience.
Wait……you did it ALL? ALL OF IT? YOU CAUGHT ME? You caught me. Why am I typing in capital letters like this is a surprise. I should have known. I should have known that I’d take my time “waiting for you to catch up” only to know that you were lying in wait, ready to blow right past me so you could right the balance of the universe.
Shit, you’re ahead of me. You’re fucking ahead of me. I thought I’d have like two or three more days before this moment came. ***sniffle***
As for the rest of it…
That worked out nicely then, with the dwarf. I think he told me I’d get a discount or something. He has been very nice. I still felt like crap getting that guy killed.
Yeah, or later we’ll find that the dwarf was really a serial killer, and because I had the guy hanged he didn’t have the opportunity to stop the bloodshed. Man, fuck this game.
Regarding the different sides… See, I kinda feel more Boo Nilfgaard, go Temeria cuz I played TW2, in which you start off serving the king of Temeria (hear them talk about Foltest? Yeah, him. Geralt gets framed for his murder at the start of 2) and pals with the the commando of the Temerian Special forces (and, in certain cases, ahem, fucking the other Temerian commando). Good times, good times. It counts for something, it does.
I did the missing brother one. I let him take the Nilfgaardian in. Don’t know how that’ll go. What did you do?
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of quests, what did you do with the herbalist’s friend? I gave her the witcher potion.
And now that YOUREFUCKINGAHEADOFMEHOWINTHENAMEOFFUCKDIDYOUGETFUCKINGAHEADOFME um, I mean, now that you’ve done a few quests, still feel like skyrim? Each of those question marks had dialog, choice, and heft as a short story. More dialog and more choice than the END of Cassandra’s quest in DAI, for crissakes.
I’m not feeling skyrimy yet. Even with all these damn herbs.
Yeah, it’s good stuff. There does seem to be more depth than most of Skyrim’s stories. People CARE more, which makes me care more. Or maybe it’s partly that they’re better animated, so I can tell they care? I mean, there are some intense Skyrim choices, and the characters arguably care just as much, being equally fictional, but Bethesda characters are so stiff and hideous (and we love them for it! sort of) that it’s hard to share that feeling.
But–I didn’t get the herbalist’s friend! Damn it, I knew I was missing something with that bit. I went to examine the griffin’s nest (which I’d seen before but didn’t know what I was looking for), and then the quest screen said “go talk to Vesimir.” So I did, and told him “I’ve got buckthorn already.” I harvested some somewhere along the way, so I didn’t have to go see the herbalist, and it never told me where she was. At the time I figured “meh, whatever” because I was interested in moving on, but at some level I KNEW I should have sold the damn buckthorn and made it tell me to go see the herbalist, so I could have made sure to talk to every possible person. Siiiiiiigh.
So that’s part of how I got ahead of you. The other part is that I never got into gwent or crafting. You actually built something from some of your designs? Nice. Me, I was on to the next thing. Those question marks are addictive. I do brew potions, but I’m still using the equipment I find lying around.
Also, should I have kept the “witcher steel sword”? I found a better one, so I sold it, but I don’t know if I was supposed to have some sentimental attachment to it or something.
I told the two brothers to help the deserter too, but with a sinking feeling, because that one guy’s not wrong: they probably WILL hang his entire family for it. We’re so going back to White Orchard at some point and seeing the wreckage of our noble ambitions. But the deserter helped the wounded brother! Saved his life! It would have felt wrong to tell them to abandon him!
I dunno, man. I think this game is just going to mess us up no matter what we do. Almost as if there are no good choices sometimes.
Yeah. I tracked down the herbalist. Remember the whole “I had to go sell something midquest” bit I told you about? Well, there’s something tacked to a tree that says that Tomira the herbalist will pay top coin for honeycombs. And she did.
Yeah, you go and she has a friend who’s been attacked by the griffin. You can either say “She’ll die quickly and peacefully,” or give her a dose of swallow which MAY save her, but, because she’s not a witcher, may make her die in agony. I gave her the potion, and, in an interesting twist, then said “it’ll be a couple of days before you see any change….” went back a couple times, but I think the game is not going to let me know. Still don’t know if I did the “right” thing. (If you go back, she’s in a hut by the sawmill. It has a garden around it, and if you went there before you went to talk to the nilfgaardians, it was locked and you were likely confused.)
Did you do the treasure hunt bit? Where you needed to go to the crypt and that fort that took me forever to find the way up to? I built the silver sword (witcher gear!) from that diagram. Or had it done. It’s kinda weird that you need a blacksmith (the dwarf) to make armor and an armorer (that’s the dude at the fort) to make weapons. It’s a bitchin’ sword. Make it when you can.
I got rid of the “witcher sword”. Geralt will forgive us.
And yeah, the missing brother/deserter was another one I regretted. I sorta don’t want to go back to white orchard. Nothing but bad news.
The choices…it does put one in binds.
And those were the SIDE QUESTS! See what I’ve been telling you?
Oh yeah, I saw that notice…but wound up eating all my honeycomb myself in the middle of a fight, so never got around to going to find her. Priorities, man.
Perhaps if we ever go back to White Orchard to behold the terrible destruction wrought by our well-intentioned actions, in the unlikely event that she’s still alive, I’ll see her then. Her friend will certainly be long dead, of course.
On a sidenote, I do love me some Swallow.
Anytime I visited anybody who could craft, I didn’t have the right components to make anything interesting. I must have missed the silver mine. I did do the crypt/fort bit (and yes, it took FOREVER to get up there), so I’m sure I picked up the instructions (I just stuff everything in my saddlebags to review later, and then forget to review it later), so I’ll get it one of these days.
Dude! That ALMOST happened to me cuz when you run out of one food it just chucks another in there, and it chucked honeycomb in two or three times. NO! NOT THAT!
Yeah, the friend will probably be dead. In my case, a painful, terrible death.
From tasty swallow.
Although, one of the more irritating things about TW is these damn potion names. Bombs, too. Like, a “potion of healing” or “potion of fire resistance,” you know what you have there. Swallow? Tawny Owl? What? (Cat makes some sense. I like cat. Cat I can remember.) I’ve already quaffed the wrong one a couple of times. Samum? What’s that do?
That fort was a total Skyrim moment. I think I ran around that thing (getting all sorts of lost in the process) about nine times. Sword is SO worth it, though. Witcher gear, man. Witcher gear..
The herbalist was key. I just went through the alchemy tab and was all “Do you have X? You DO!” But the sword? I don’t know, I had it. There was no mine. Did you remember to loot monster nests and hidden treasures? Like all five chests in each one?
So has this game gotten to the “I want to play” stage?
Exactly! The honeycomb popped up and I just ate it without even thinking about it. In general I do like that it throws another food in there once you’ve finished one, because it would be annoying to have to go back and manually select the raw meat every time you ate your last wolf liver (one thing I’m not wild about in this game is the inventory management), but in that case it worked against me. Oh well.
I definitely am at the point that I want to play more…not yet where I’m desperately CRAVING to play more, like “go to bed kid and get out of my way spouse no I don’t need any dinner I just want my game fix” but it’s definitely got my interest.
I like the searchy-investigative parts. Tracking, looking for clues with witcher sight, examining evidence. Witchers have some pretty good forensic science going on–all that “wide pelvis indicates a woman, about 20 years old judging by the teeth” or whatever. And there’s certainly enough fighting to keep things action-packed as well.
Yeah, the inventory screen is a little weird. And all the swords look the same. That’s troubling. I get that drawing 27 swords is hard, but still. I’ve been very good about dumping inventory and leaving books behind (so hard to do!).
Good. We’ll take it holding your interest. If you’re there before the story really pops, then we’re good.
Witchers are pretty smart. And the investigation/research gives the game a dynamic you don’t see in other fantasy games. There, you get a monster and it’s either someone telling you outright “You need the stone of Mandelbaum to vanquish it” or just “Guess I need a bigger sword.” I like that you have to think. I made the mistake in TW2 a couple of times of being in a rush and just trying trial and error. You die. A lot.
I need to sell a bunch of books. It does feel wrong, but in practical terms, Geralt would not be lugging a library of irrelevant texts around with him. Those saddlebags are only so big. Read it, sell it, move on. The important information will be in a codex entry anyway.
I did sell a couple of quest-related notices once I was done with the quest, and that was nice. I’ll take a coin in exchange for this now-meaningless sheet of paper!
Hmm. I decided to follow the advice of Kotaku that you can drop stuff and no one will take it. I figured the tavern would be a good place, and stashed the books there in case I needed to come back to them.
Now I’m banned from that tavern. Great.
“Um….can I just come in and get those books? Yeah…the ones right over there? Please?”
There should be an option to try to pay someone else to bring your books out. “You, dangerous-song-singing boy! I’ll give you a…coin of some sort, I don’t know what any of these are…if you go into the tavern and get me the books I left on the floor.”
Bribing children to go into bars is an overlooked mechanic in games, really.
That reminds me of an addendum to my comment about how many kids there are: in fact, there aren’t a lot of ‘kids,’ as I initially said. There are a lot of boys, specifically. Girls seem to be less common. I’m still keeping an eye out, and this may not prove to be true across the board, but the only girl I can specifically recall seeing was Mandy, the daughter of the guy who was saving money for her wedding. She was in the house, while the boys you see are playing outside, so I suppose we can assume that girls are all kept indoors, practicing the feminine skills of weaving and embroidery and hair-braiding or whatever.
Girls are too hard to animate.
I jest, I kid. If CDPR has shown nothing else, it’s that they excel at animating women.
Actually, I thought it was plotty. Doesn’t the Wild Hunt steal girls away or something?
Ha! Yes, it’s true, girls ARE extremely hard to animate. I should have remembered.
Good point, it could be the Hunt…they do steal people, who then return years later having experienced it as no more than a night, or whatever, although I don’t remember it specifically being girl children. But we’ll keep an eye on this aspect of the plot and see if anything develops.
I think it is plot, cuz the two characters we know about being snatched are Yennifer and Ciri. We’ll keep an eye on that.