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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for part the ‘resdue Dandelion’ bit, and something Ciri did

Butch:

As much as I liked dishing on the relative merits of various primates, I decided it was time to play some video games. I found that, in addition to minecraft, I own this game called The Witcher 3, so I played some of it.

So I went to the ravine, I beat Pircilla at gwent (Her: “This was a bad idea.” Geralt: “Hey, YOU were the one that wanted to play.”), was ready to kick all sorts of ass and wound up following perfume instead (didn’t see that coming), got into the house, freed Dandelion, did a lot of talking, did the bit with Ciri where she ended up disappearing (didn’t see that coming, either), talked some more, hit save.

Figure I’ll talk to those halflings, then talk to Dandelion, then do Triss….uh….Triss’ quest.

So did Ciri MEAN to disappear? Did that just happen without her willing it? Or can you not say cuz you know?

Ciri also seems more badassed every time we play as her. Maybe I’m just more used to her, but I’m not sure. She becomes less delicate and more terrifying each time. Which is cool cuz it’s growing up, but I also think it’s suggesting something more sinister. “You thought she was just a cute womanchild? Well, what do you think now? Or now? How about now? Hmmmmmmm?”

Feminina:

I don’t know any more about Ciri at this point than you do. I’ve been spending so much time treasure hunting and chasing question marks that I’ve made very little progress on the main quest. So we can speculate freely and in blissful ignorance as to whether she intentionally vanished, inadvertently vanished as a reaction/consequence of her own power, or was snatched away by some other power (less likely at this point given how she’s becoming more and more visibly a powerful/dangerous person in her own right, but possible). Time will tell! Maybe! If I ever get around to investigating the mumble mumble questthing that’s next on my list!

Here’s an issue: Skellige is a bunch of islands, and the waters around these islands are just PACKED with question marks. I think (based on the ones I’ve explored so far) that 9/10 of them are smuggler’s caches containing petty loot items I no longer care about because I already have more money than I know what to do with. I could just ignore them all and I’m sure I’d miss nothing in the grand scheme. And yet. Question marks! Mystery! Potential! They lure me with a siren song that is completely independent of the actual sirens I may have to fight off to get to them.

I’m not sure, but I think the Skellige-sea question marks may approach AC animus fragments or DAI shards in terms of useless yet irresistible game objectives for me. They’re not quite as useless as animus fragments, because you do get loot to sell whereas animus fragments get you precisely nothing, and they’re not quite as useful as shards because the shards eventually got you stat bonuses, but there are similarly just so damn many of them.

Attractive nuisances, that’s what they’ve become. And yet. I’m betting you’ll bypass 90% of them because you have less patience than I do with this sort of thing, but I cannot ignore the lure.

Butch:

Hooray! You’re not too far ahead. Of course, you will be, cuz I doubt I’ll even get to Skelleggy this week, and then I’m off to the beach next week. Sigh.

Well, I would have agreed with you about my willingness to ignore them until a couple sessions ago. I was pretty much under the impression that they were useless places filled with level 6 rotfiends and all, distractions to mop up, until I found that LAST one with the evildeaththing out by Trollololo there. Now I look at them and say there may be a possibility of some high level quest/hunt/recipe etc. in each one, even though they’re probably mostly level 6 rotfiends. That evildeaththing gave those damn marks promise. I didn’t want to do any of them until I got killed four times doing one. Now there’s game logic for you.

But now the game is pretty much telling me outright to get to Skelleggy. I mean, at the end of the Dandelion chat, Geralt’s all “Yen’s in Skellige,” Dandelion: “Skellige?” Geralt: “Yeah, Skelliege,” and I expected them both just to take a minute to stare at the camera all “Get it? Do you? Will you PLEASE go there? NOW?”

Feminina:

That’s so the way games are!

“Easy, easy, easy, yawn, I guess I don’t even need to look at these anymore–wait! That thing totally destroyed me! I must now check every question mark forever in the hope that something else will also destroy me!”

But yeah, that’s kind of it. I know, looking at the question-mark-riddled sea, that 90% of them are useless smuggler’s loot protected by pathetic low-level monsters. But…there’s still a 10% chance it could be something interesting! Something deadly! A challenge worthy of me! With some loot item I might actually use! Must…go there…and find out…

Also, don’t give up hope. Triss’ quest isn’t that long: you could possibly finish it and then go straight to Skellige before vacation. Could happen.

Butch:

Yeah. It’s in the same vein as “Hmm….an empty street…that’s no good….AH! Twenty seven guys that want to kill me! Great! I’m in the right place!”

It’s that ten percent. Like question mark roulette. Maybe..just maybe…THIS one…..

Which is cruel. I mean, devs, you know that so many people are like Femmy and are going to go all OCD. There’s no need to keep the sane ones doing it.

As for Triss…Yeah, but I want to….um…..take my time. And have to not have Mrs. McP around.

Stupid fucking week at the beach. There I’ll be, sitting on the porch with a view of the ocean (true) sipping whiskey (will be true), enjoying the peace and food and company of my loved ones, pissed that I’m not in Skelleggy. Or something.

Feminina:

Man, life is awful. Good whiskey, beautiful beach, the soothing murmur of the surf, the joyous laughter of your children, the loving smile of your wife…shudder. My heart bleeds for you. I’ll think of you with pity while I’m slogging through icy Skellige waters looting smuggler’s caches.

It’s OK, though. I have a family wedding soon, so I’ll be on the west coast for a week, suffering the loving embrace of my family and the beautiful scenery and fresh northwestern air. While you slog through icy Skellige waters looting smuggler’s caches. How I will envy you then!

OK, a helpful tip: you can do Triss’ quest until right near the very end without any kind of…thing…happening. There’s a bit where you separate from her and go do something else, in fact. If you wanted to make some progress, I could tell you exactly when you need to stop so as not to get caught up in…decisions….but it would necessarily involve a bit of spoiling about what exactly the quest involves. It really is a pretty short quest, though, so you wouldn’t get that far.

Or you could just go pursue random question marks in Velen, and deal with the plotty stuff after vacation. Also a legitimate strategy.

Butch:

Ah. Good to know. So there is thing. We’ve gone a while without proper thing in this game. Not really since Kiera, and that was a while ago.

True, I could do question marks. I am, once again, in the woods, by a hut. It was harder to justify going out and about when I was in downtown Novigrad, and the quests were right there. But now, here I am, in the woods. And while I am now heartily level 18 (that last bit got me 900 XP!), I’m halfway to 19, and, with no real main quests to do, doubt a few question marks will overlevel things.

Feminina:

Yeah, you can keep puttering around doing random stuff and not worry about getting any more overpowered for the Skellige stuff. Which honestly I think the game kind of scared us off of unnecessarily: the MAIN quest in Skellige may be level 16, but there’s also a ton of lower-level stuff there that we could totally have been doing for weeks here while ignoring the main quest as we usually do. So that initial red skull over “go to Skellige” made me avoid the entire region for longer than I needed to. If I were to play this again, which I almost certainly never will because I have other things to do with my life, I would probably go to Skellige at level 10 or something and just do little things for a while.

Although that would probably have the effect of giving me double the available quests, and I already have a hard time getting to all of them in a timely fashion (i.e., before they’re suddenly too simple for me and therefore worth 1 XP), so I don’t know if it would really work out to be significantly different in the long run.

Butch:

Well I have some quests that need me to go to Skellige that aren’t level 16. Following the thread, for example, and the black pearl. I was rather surprised when I got those quests for that very reason.

Play this again. You so funny.

What IS funny is that when I do leave for Skellige, most of what is undone is the witcher contracts, ie, the stuff that the titular witcher is, you know, supposed to be doing. It’s not my fault. They’re all level 20 and up. But I do feel that, when I get on the boat, people will be all “Hey, dude! You’re done? WHAT?” And Geralt will say “I have followed my heart, looked for my daughter, loved me a sorceress truly, altered the political landscape, what more do you want?” and the people will say “Dude, aren’t you supposed to be a PROFESSIONAL whose emotions were, like, torn from him to make him someone who never cares, and never takes sides?” And Geralt will say “Uh……um…….shit. Was that canon?”

Feminina:

Yeah, I think maybe in retrospect that lower-level quests in Skellige were meant to tell us “you’re OK to go to Skellige now!” where in fact they just told me “for some reason this quest you can do leads somewhere you shouldn’t go yet.”

Another instance of this: you have a treasure hunt for wolf gear that leads to Kaer Morhen, right? Level 14, I believe. Totally something I would have pursued a while ago, except I CAN’T GET TO KAER MORHEN. Mr. O’ said there’s a main quest mission that takes you to Kaer Morhen, after which you have a fast travel point and can roam around there. Until then, there’s a quest I ought to have done already (judging by level), which I am completely unable to actually do. I guess this is the game telling me I should be doing the main quest missions faster? So, we’re SUPPOSED to just race through the story, ignoring the side stuff?

Or it’s just to throw a bone to people who do that, while the rest of us will eventually get to Kaer Morhen and find a 20-second hackfest and an upgrade diagram. Whatever.

Sometimes I don’t understand your pacing, game. Fortunately, I enjoy you even if I’m not playing you in the optimal fashion.

Butch:

I dunno, though, I think we are. We’re going in some sort of order. If we had charged off to Skellige when it turned green and NOT done the Dandelion bits, it wouldn’t have made sense.

There must be some XP calculus, too. I mean, I noted before, that, on the main quest, you had quests going backward: a level 12 followed by a level 11 or something. Maybe they did that so you weren’t level 935 by the time you got to Skellige.

Plus, I want to do the story in some kind of order. I mean, last night, with the Dandelion stuff, that’s when it makes SENSE to go to Skellige.

Weird, though. But then, if you’re going to have twelve thousand quests, they can’t all be all nicely laid out.

I was wondering about the Kaer Morhen quest. I didn’t even look to see if I could get there. Wolf school gear, I believe. I figured I’d have to go eventually. You can’t get there at all?

Feminina:

It’s true, with 12,000 quests, you’re going to have some that don’t fit that well in any particular order, and if you want to do them all (or even most of them) you’re inevitably going to have some that you don’t get to in time for them to be challenging, just as you have some that you get too too soon, and have to come back for. And I agree, they definitely work to keep XP gain under control so that you don’t get too vastly overpowered too early on.

I looked–there’s no fast travel point available in Kaer Morhen right now. So unless it’s possible to get there by running overland in that direction (maybe true? but you seem to run into those ‘none but devil’s play here: turn back’ warnings when you get to the edges of the regional maps, so it seems likely you can’t just walk from one region to another), it’s out of reach.

We’ll get there eventually, I’m sure. Maybe there will even be level-appropriate quests along with the treasure hunts!

Butch:

What’s odd is that they didn’t put New Game + in the original game (it’s one of those freebies, out now, tell Mr. O’). Cuz then people could say “Y’Know? I’ll just ignore this shit here and come back the second time around when it’s a level 41 quest and not a level 11 one.” I mean, people inclined that way. When you know there’s no new game +, then you (or at least people who do this sort of thing) think you have to do it all the first time.

Yeah, you can’t get to Kaer Morhen over land. The foggy bits on the map are the end.

We’ll get there. Quests! And hot sorceresses! And gwent opponents! Are there good gwent opponents in Skellige? Not that you’ve played, of course.

Feminina:

There are plenty of gwent opponents in Skellige, although you’re right, I haven’t actually played any of them, so I don’t know how good they are. Pretty much every merchant and innkeeper has that option, though. You’ll have plenty to keep you busy.

You play gwent, I’ll loot smuggler’s caches. Division of labor!

Butch:

I can’t help myself on the gwent. I just can’t.

Pircilla had no chance. NONE.

Feminina:

It’s good that one of us cares, so that we can at least address this aspect of the game. Now if only I could be bothered to get into the boxing matches!

I did one of them, in Velen, but the guy was like “hey, you clearly don’t need the money but I need this to feed my family, could you maybe take a dive?” and I was like “…fine. You’re right, it is kind of obnoxious for me to come in here, obviously overpowered [at that point–not true of all the boxing matches], and win just because I can, when you guys depend on this for a living.”

So I lost on purpose, and never bothered to go back and win, although one could argue that once was all he could reasonably ask, and it would be fair to beat him up after that. Maybe later. After I’ve taken care of all those tempting question marks. Or never.

Butch:

Oh man, fuck the boxing. I hate that. Horses, too. One one race, retired undefeated.

Though if they ever put swimming races in a game, fuck THAT.

Wow, there’s story to the boxing matches? Weird. I thought that was side quest garbage. I did like how they worked gwent into just killin’ time. Priscilla suggested it.

On that, don’t trust her. I told her to go away, not for her protection, but cuz I don’t trust her.

Feminina:

You don’t trust Priscilla? Hm. I never got any particular suspicious vibe from her. I kind of like her, actually: she seems to care about Dandelion but not be all that impressed with his grandiose presentation, which seemed about the right way to approach that character.

I tried to send her away in the battle, for her safety, but she complained and I shrugged and figured whatever, you’re a grown-up, it’s your funeral. (Which it in fact wasn’t: nothing happened to her.) And come to think of it, the mere fact that I didn’t send her away and she still survived might argue for her playing some role later on, which might entail her turning on us. We shall see.

Butch:

I just found it very convenient that she turned up right then. She had no reason to turn up. And we know from Dandelion that bards seem to have their eyes and ears all over the place. Spy. I have her pegged as a spy. For whom? Dunno yet. But spy.

Feminina:

Entirely possible! Bards are sneaky like that. And she does know a lot about your past, your romance with Yennefer, etc. (thanks for sharing my whole life with strangers, Dandelion!), so she could be collecting information for somebody.

Butch:

I’m calling it.

Unless you already know something.

Feminina:

No, neither Priscilla nor Dandelion has featured so far in Skellige. As far as I know, they’re where I left them in Novigrad. Hanging out in the innocuously named Temple of the Spymaster’s Headquarters–HEY!

Butch:

Dandelion did seem to be rather brave about returning to Novigrad. He’s all “Hey, man, drop by the inn. I’ll be chillin’.” I wanted to say, “Um….dude? Perhaps….you know…..not? Considering you’re….you know…..kind of…..an escaped convict?”

Feminina:

He WAS pretty blase about that. As if he’s thinking, “oh, Menge’s dead, surely the law itself has no further interest in me.”

OK. Maybe at least change your name? At least change your CLOTHES? No? Sticking with what made you a reasonably well known public figure in the first place? Well, good luck with that. We’ve seen that the law is corrupt and vicious, so perhaps it’s also staggeringly incompetent.

“You know that saying, ‘possession is 9/10 of the law? We consider that to refer to prisoners. If they’re not in our possession, they’re legally free to go unless they walk right up and say ‘here I am’. We’re too busy burning witches to look for them.”

Or maybe now that he’s out and can talk to contacts and stuff, he knows exactly who to bribe.

Butch:

Well, we’ve noticed that, in hunting sorceresses, a hood will cause them to think that the striking woman in the barely there eye grabbing green dress is just another peasant. I’m sure Dandelion will be fine.

He sure as hell didn’t know who to bribe the last time. Hood. He can get Triss’ hood.

Feminina:

True. “Hood and you’re good” is probably the slogan of everyone looking to avoid the eyes of the law in Novigrad. He’ll do great.

He’ll be singing, dancing, barding it up in a crowded inn, the guards burst in!–and he slips on a hood and everyone shrugs and says “gee, I don’t know where that flashily dressed, overconfident celebrity went. He was just here, but obviously no longer is. It’s only this random hooded guy here right now.”

Problem solved.

Butch:

Or they ask Zoltan, who everyone seems to trust despite him looking more untrustworthy than the average randit.

“Hey, mohawk, where’d your best friend who’s a wanted man go?”
“Hoo should eye noo? He went thaddaway.”
“Ok, thanks.”

Feminina:

Ha! Seriously.

But as evidence for the hood theory, think how many people you pass on the streets in Novigrad wearing hooded cloaks, conveniently identified for you as “Shady Individual.” Clearly up to something, but no one ever seems to bother them! The hood is the secret.

Butch:

Yeah, I keep expecting a quest or something, anything really, that involves the “Shady Individuals.” They aren’t bandits, cuz they don’t do anything. They aren’t henchmen….. they’re something. But what?

Feminina:

The internet has rumors about them, but I haven’t bothered to pursue the matter. I got nothin.’

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