Some spoilers for the end of the Baron story and some early Novigrad quests
Ok, did all of “pyres of Novigrad” last night then stopped. Also escorted some merchant dude, only to find he was shady, and balked when he told me to kill some other shady dudes, and he probably got killed. Also played some gwent.
So much to talk about. I could talk on the whole “He can’t fix everything” bit, as it was an interesting touch that the who people who he sees burned are people he knows (and sympathetic ones at that. See what you missed?). I could talk about Triss’ fantastic outfit (except the shoes. Get some boots, Triss.)
But considering I just read our blog post about this being a whole lot of short stories, I’m going with this:
So this quest has an absolute fuckton of exposition. It’s pretty much there for exposition. Triss, sorceresses, her relationship to Geralt and all its twists and turns, Geralt’s memory loss, what’s up with Novigrad, etc. Expositing all over the place. And usually, when that much exposition happens 30, 35 hours into a game, I am bothered, as exposition happens at the START of a story, but here I was not bothered. That lack of bother informed what I thought before about the baron bit.
See, I felt that the death of the baron was, in a number of ways, the end of a large story arc. Not just because he died, but because that whole bit really had a beginning, middle and end like a story should. Indeed, when I was out magpieing AFTER the end of that, I felt…..different. Like THIS magpieing was happening WITHOUT THE BACKDROP OF A STORY. Which was odd, since there was still Ciri. Now I feel like large story arc #2 has started, and, as this is the start of a large story arc, the exposition felt completely natural.
We talked about how the side quests were like short stories, but now I’m thinking that there’s really three BIG stories, too, almost three games in one, and now I’m starting the second one. I’m curious to see if the short stories in this “anthology” are similar in theme to the last.
When taken like that, it also makes some sense as to how things are set up in the quest log. Other games, the main quest usually has one thing under it: Do the next thing. Here, right from the get go (or at least Velen) there was “In Ciri’s footsteps,” and then THREE OTHER ONES. We talked about the fact we couldn’t do two of them. Have you noticed that once you start on line, say “the baron,” then THAT particular line becomes, essentially, “Do the next thing?” I just finished “Pyres of Novigrad,” the first quest in this particular arc. It’s now complete, and I have a next thing on that line.
As such, the quest log, for the main story, is more a table of contents, or a trilogy sitting there on the shelf, more than a non linear quest log, if that makes sense, and that’s a different way of thinking about games.
I really, REALLY want to see if the themes have changed with the overall arc.
I haven’t done the shady merchant. I haven’t even really started on the Novigrad side quests, just doing the main, plus question marks. I’ve picked up a ton of stuff from the message boards, so I know I have things waiting for me, I just…can’t…get to them…
I just wrapped up one of Buttons’ spoilers (not the party, still haven’t gotten to put on my nice clothes), so I may tackle some side quests next. I needs loot and XP, after all.
I agree, the Baron was definitely a contained story arc (perhaps less so if he lived?…but no, even if he lived, it sounds as if he just settles in at Crow’s Perch, and presumably doesn’t have further quests for you, so his story is done, it just ended more happily than in our worlds). I expect this bit with Triss and co. in Novigrad will be a similar arc.
Aww…I knew those people on the pyres? That sucks. Geralt mentioned at some point later on that he’d met the doppler before, but he didn’t say anything about the woman.
I really don’t like these eternal flame people. Burning folk alive: I’m against it.
I haven’t really noticed a shift in themage yet, but as noted, I haven’t done any of the side quests. Except part of one, which is kind of about an old acquaintance, and then there are the burned people, and the fact that you’re looking for Triss and Dandelion who are old acquaintances…maybe a sort of ‘connections from the past’ thing going on. Things you’ve done, people you’ve known, relationships you’ve formed, will return for good or ill.
I just sort of ran into the merchant by accident, so I did it. I also ran into the dumpling guy completely by accident, cuz he had a blacksmith symbol and I wanted to play gwent. But his quest is still red skull, so he’ll just have to wait there by the docks for me to show up. For like, three months. Stay dry, dumpling elf.
I may go a bit magpie in Novigrad next. I am still only level 12. I wanna see the sights! Play some gwent! Find some hookers! I’m a man’s man! Just home from the swamp! Or something.
Mostly I just want some XP.
That’s what I’m figuring, that this will be another big arc. I sorta want to do some side stuff so I get a sense of themeage. I’ll see. Did a good chunk of story last night, and one contract in in “The bits” where Triss lives anyway.
You did know the burned people before. Indeed, Geralt agreed to keep the doppler’s secret WITHOUT turning him in. The woman was a student of Phillipa. I think she’s gonna show up soon. Wanted poster and all.
Yeah, the eternal fire dudes ain’t cool. Now, I’ve only met bald dude twice: once when he was burning my friends, and once when he was looking for my girlfriend at her house and threatening me. Neither endeared me to him. That being said, he is, so far, the most one dimensional character we’ve yet met. Up until now, there hasn’t really been a sneering, evil, “You can tell I’m the bad guy cuz I’m bad” guy. The baron, the crones, the ghost in the tree, the emperor…. all rather either or. Shit, even that witch hunter dude DID help with that fiend. This bald flame dude? I’m not seeing much complexity, and that sticks out when the first bit has set the bar so high for character development.
Dude: “I am the minion of the force that shall reign fire upon the world!”
Geralt (imagine the voice): “You’re on the wrong set. Bioware’s studio’s that way.”
Well, certainly this exposition pyres of Novigrad bit did delve quite a bit into the whole Triss/Geralt thing. Which was, really, rather awkward. I mean, he was all “I love you,” elven bath, sparkles, I’ve mentioned all that, and THEN he got his memory back and, whaddya know, there’s this OTHER hottie named Yennifer, true love, been together for decades….. yeah. That curing amnesia thing. They don’t mention that you’ll be remembering the OTHER hot sorceress AFTER the bath scene. And that the redhead will get jealous of the black haired hottie, and there’ll be “issues.”
I did find the exchange where Geralt mentions he has his memory and Triss says “Then maybe people will stop taking advantage of you” interesting. And she said she had! Hmm. It’s never really clear if she loves him….
Though maybe that explains the new outfit. “He remembered Yen! He’s so into her! And she dresses so impractically! Maybe if I pick something else up……like this green thing….he’ll notice me!”
Oh yeah, I did run into the dumpling guy! Also because I was looking for a smith, in my case to unload some stuff on. I agreed to do his thing, and I haven’t checked lately to see if it’s still red skull for me (level 15 as of last night), but yeah, enjoy the harbor view there, friend! I’ll get to you eventually. On the plus side, if the quest is that high-level, maybe whatever he gives us as a reward will be really cool.
There are strumpets everywhere in Novigrad, although I haven’t seen an option to engage in commerce with any of them. So far.
The bit I just finished with is…I think a couple of main story bits down the line from you. But I think my next thing will be to tackle some side quests, so I don’t plan to continue straight into the main right away.
Bald dude WAS a bit mustache-twirly, but maybe he’s just passionate about his work. Or sad because he doesn’t actually have a mustache to twirl, so he channels his emotions into one-dimensional villainy.
It’s true, though, they’re not really making much of a case for the eternal flame with his presentation, and that makes the church kind of a simple, easy villain–we hate them because they’re obviously loathsome! Why wouldn’t we oppose them? But this comes in a game where there are otherwise very few simple, easily categorized characters/forces, so you’re right that it stands out. Perhaps bald dude and/or the eternal flame will gain complexity as we learn more. There is a lot of game left.
I think we talked before about not having really seen any signs of the witch hunters doing anything useful (aside from helping you fight that fiend, which they did for their own purposes rather than aid you/the neighborhood peasants), but it doesn’t seem as if they rule purely by terror, so they must have SOMETHING to offer people, or they wouldn’t have risen to this level of prominence. What is it that they give people, and will this make them seem somewhat more sympathetic? Or just make the people seem less sympathetic for wanting what they offer?
Perhaps time will tell.
The dumpling quest is like level 24 or so. Not only did I accidentally bump into him, I accidentally bumped him to him AGAIN at the docks and he was all “Ready to go? I’d really like to do this…” and had to say “Um….give me….uh….a minute.”
Nah, I think you gotta find a house of ill repute to engage the strumpets. Even Geralt needs a bed. Or something.
The next thing I have is to visit a dream weaver or something. And now THAT song’s in my head. But side quests beckon.
There is a lot of game left, it’s true. I mean, I wanted to smack the baron; he was a bad dude on a number of levels, but then he wasn’t. I don’t see bald guy showing me a nice side.
Though, in TW2, there’s a bit where you have the option of killing (or at least letting Vernon Roche kill) the king of Kaedwen, who is also a despicable human. He fucking RAPES one of your best friends for crissakes. He’s bad. BUUUUT if you DO kill him, then at Loc Muinne, all shit breaks loose because, asshole that he was, his rule kept things stable. With him gone, then Radovid (who’s pretty bad) and warlords pretty much kill everyone in his kingdom, which isn’t good either. So maybe we’ll get a lesser evil bit. Kind of like the crones and the horse! Or something.
They seem to offer the hope of a better path. Tamara seems to have found purpose. That purpose might be bullshit based on brainwashing, but there’s a metaphor there, isn’t there? I mean, we both agree that the Allgod, who was just a fat, lying slob was giving the peasants something good. The hunters did that with Tamara. But these eternal flame dudes…..nope.
By the way….. since you didn’t do the body pit thing, you missed what might be some exposition. You want it?
And is that a ‘perhaps’ or a ‘We’ll Talk. Later.’ ?
What, no quickies in alleyways? I’m disappointed. Ha.
No, that was a genuinely “I don’t know” perhaps–I’ve yet to encounter much additional evidence on the witch hunters or the eternal fire. No sign of bald dude tenderly patting a puppy and giving a warm coat to a suffering child or anything. Though true that they offer a sense of purpose for people, which appeared to be effective for Tamara in claiming some sense of agency and power and what not (and who didn’t seem like a horrible person).
I still might go back and do the body pits! It could happen!
I think there was a bar quickie in TW2. Classy, Polish people.
So are the witch hunters PART of the Eternal Fire dudes? Or are they both following the same general thing, like Baptists and Lutherans?
You want the body pit facts or not? Sheesh.
No facts! Anything but the facts! Until I’ve decided I’m definitely not going to make it to wherever that body pit quest was.
I was wondering the same thing about the witch hunters/eternal fire people. I think the witch hunters are Radovid’s people, right? We heard that at some point. He sent them out to kill all the mages they can find because…he really hates mages.
And the eternal fire is a religion, which Radovid doesn’t own, but maybe practices/supports? And which certainly aligns with his interests in terms of not being fond of mages. I’m not totally clear on that relationship.
Hmm…forum member willowhugger says:
The cult of the Eternal Fire was a religion which was largely limited to the city of Novigrad until recently. The city is a theocracy under its control even as they kept a fairly loose hand on trade and corruption in its only book appearance (in the appropriately mentioned “Eternal Fire”). Even then, it was a corrupt and brutal institution with its own secret police that taught nonhumans were evil monsters but didn’t consider dwarves, elves, or Witchers to be nonhumans. Which is not so strange as you might think.
The Witcher 1 had the religion gain a dramatic increase of power with the dissolution of the Order of the White Rose and its replacement with the Order of the Flaming Rose (which is implied to have gotten a huge number of rich noblemen converted to the Eternal Fire). One of these noblemen is King Radovid who patronizes the Church.
Under Radovid the Eternal Fire has become bigoted against magic (Jacques was a magician and headed up the Order of the Flaming Rose) as well as nonhumans like dwarves, elves, and Witchers.
So the Eternal Fire wasn’t actually an EVIL religion until recently. Corrupt? Yes. Evil? Blame Radovid and Jacques.
Also, they were against elves in Witcher 1 because Jacques hated elves (due to his experiences as Alvin with the Scoia’tael) and followed the prophecy of Elthine because Jacques had visited the future.
So Radovid supports the Eternal Fire religion, and the witch hunters are his personal anti-mage cops who are promoting the anti-mage goals of the religion but aren’t officially acting on behalf of the church?
They definitely blend together in my head, though, to the point that I think I interchangeably refer to any of those people I don’t like as witch hunters/eternal fire dudes depending on which term comes to mind first, and I have undoubtedly mischaracterized some of them at some point as a result.
Summary, I think: they’re not exactly the same, but they’re related, and they all suck.
All right, all right. It’s not that earth shattering. Just a different….dimension to things.
Radovid hates pretty much everyone. Remember back when we were talking about Keira and I said that I didn’t want Radovid to have a disease that could be weaponized? See what I meant?
But then, Radovid was pretty much the target of that coup that the sorceresses were staging. They DID kinda try to kill him and steal his kingdom, which would kinda piss me off even if I wasn’t a crazy, power hungry, cruel dictator.
I love that, in fora about fantasy things, we can end long explanations with “because Jacques had visited the future” and just leave it there.
Of COURSE Jacques visited the future! Haven’t we all?
Interesting that it used to not think dwarves, elves and witchers were not non human.
No doubt baldy is looking for a reason to add witchers to his list of bad things.
I’ll take that summary. Makes sense.
This also makes the Allgod bit make more sense. I thought that, and the shrines bit, didn’t really fit into the themeage of what I’ll call Act 1. Now I get it.
Different uniforms. They do pretty much suck.
I mean, yeah, I dig sorceresses. We know that. But I also think Geralt sides with the oddballs, you know? He IS one. It’s why the choice in TW2 is so wrenching. Iorveth is a persecuted “freak,” like him, but Roche offers the best way to save/help Triss. Which is, yet again, a toughie.
I’m going to justify all this in my head by saying that my Geralt has a bunch of guilt because he didn’t help the elves and, really, while Iorveth was free and alive when I last saw him, the elves were not in a good way.
By the way, did you intervene with the elf woman right when you got to Novigrad?
I’ll try to find the body pit quest when I head out into Velen again. Which I have to do at some point because I’ll want to take care of lingering quests before moving on to Skellige.
I guess I would also be peeved if a coalition tried to murder me and steal my throne, but striking back by burning everyone who might have known any of the coalition at the stake loses my sympathy.
I DEFINITELY get the sense that bald dude, and perhaps the witch hunters in general, are just itching to add witchers to their burn list. They’re arguing about it at headquarters right now.
“But it’s practically the same word! Plus they use signs! There’s no way that’s not magic! We hate magic!”
“Yeah, but they kill monsters, which is useful to us because we don’t like getting eaten by monsters any more than the next person. Let them alone for now. Once all the monsters are dead, THEN we can burn them.”
I did intervene on behalf of that elf. It was an interesting moment. She made a fair point: it’s easy for me to say “let her alone!” like some sort of noble hero, but that doesn’t change the fact that she lives here and so do they and she’s going to have to deal with them again tomorrow when I’m not there. Another reminder that we can’t fix everything, and that sometimes what seems like the obvious right thing to do is…not actually that useful.
I mean, I don’t know whether there would have been a BETTER outcome if I’d just said “not my business” and stalked away, she doesn’t really have any reason to thank me for that either, but at least that way those guys couldn’t add “witcher freaks love you” to her list of ‘crimes’ next time they hassle her. I dunno. It’s a complicated world.
Ok, start at the hanged man’s tree (where the whole thing started). Then go to that little abandoned village just west, then FOLLOW THE ROAD TO THE INN AT THE CROSSROADS LIKE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO and it should be on it.
Well, yeah. I don’t like Radovid either. But there was baggage there.
That’s one question I want to ask that bald guy. “Hey, man, if you go after me, who’s going to deal with these 27 contracts I have? Especially the level 33 ones? See those? Those have a red skull FOR ME and I am a WITCHER. Seriously, dude.”
Re: the elf woman…Nope, doing the right thing isn’t the easy answer. In DAI, we’d get 50 XP and a smooch from Sera. I think I like that better.
It is a complicated world. And one that punishes you dearly for metagaming.
On an unrelated note, I figured out you can turn off the cosmetic DLC. I think I might do that with Triss. I mean, it’s nice, but it’s just not her.
Yeah, the cleavage-down-to-the-bellybutton thing is just distracting. For me more in a “why the hell did you come out in that when you’re trying to lay low in this town?” kind of way, but distracting.
I’ll do it! Hanged Man’s Tree! Inn! It’s on my list.
I dunno, I don’t think of the DA-verse being QUITE that much sunshine and light. Remember Alistair’s sister at all? There was a lot of somewhat legitimate bitterness there, and it was unclear whether you’d really done Alistair much of a favor by helping him track her down. Of course, that was a long time ago, and there’s no close parallel that really springs to mind in the much more recent DAI, but you’ve got a lot of shades of gray there in terms of the elves’ history and whole “Mages: deserving of freedom, or dangerously unstable future demons?” thing, at least.
I also am having issues, again, with these adventuring women going barefoot. That’s just silly. Ciri isn’t doing that. Plus, there’s a certain something to a woman in boots.
And lacy garters. Not turning Yen’s look off.
You can do the body pits in two minutes. It’s a level three quest. Instead of a red skull it’ll have a dancing leprechaun.
Yeah, true about DA, but they don’t go there as much as they should. It’s like they were scared of shaking the tree. But with the success of TW3 and David Gaider leaving to go write whatever the fuck bioware’s new IP is, we shall see.
Dancing leprechaun! Nice. They should totally have that!
I saw a rumor on some forum that if you’re too many levels above a quest/monster, you don’t get XP for it? I suppose there’s always the loot, though. The awesome, ‘must be 2nd level’ swords and armor. Wouldn’t want to miss those.
OK, here’s my latest theory: sorceresses draw their power from the earth, and need to maintain contact with the ground. Therefore, shoes are bad.
Come to think of it, a related theory could explain a great deal in A LOT of games. Like, “these characters draw their power from the air, hence exposing a lot of skin to said air is critical to their fightiness!” Air. Very, very important power source for women.
You don’t get credit for that theory unless you specified it in-game, though. Otherwise I will still mock the ludicrously inadequate clothing/armor of your female characters.
That was true for a while about not getting XP for low levels, but it was, apparently, a bug that got fixed in the last patch. So it seems.
Dude. As much as I both admire your incredible justifications of the absurd, and I admire anything that encourages skimpy things, the barefoot stuff is just plain silly. And unsanitary. Novigrad streets are foul, man. Keep it like Yen. Or Morrigan. Even she wore boots.
Nice boots, too.