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Spoilers for the end of the main plot and the middle of the Hearts of Stone expansion

Butch:

Oh I played last night. But did I finish? No. Of course not. Because the end is but a mirage. You get to the point where there’s two quests, and all that means is “Play for an hour and a half and you’ll have four quests.”

I am at a point where when it says “NEW QUEST!” I want to throw things at the TV.

So…..

Talked to Ermion, killed Lugos (didn’t see that coming), talked to Yen, went to talk to a bard who was looking for a whale, lied to him, talked to Yen again, went with Yen and Ciri to a lab, saw a family tree, sorta got what everyone was saying, went with Ciri to bury the dude who helped her (was glad I got to do that, he deserved it), and now I’m with Phillipa breaking into a tomb or something.

STILL haven’t gotten onto the Emperor’s boat. Watch: That will lead to five other quests. Won’t it?

It’s almost like this game responded to criticism. A major knock on 2 was the ending was quick, pat, and explained by NPCs. This seems to say “Didn’t like that? Ok. We’ll make you do long quests to get every single last detail about everything. Nothing pat here. Nosiree.”

Dudes, I’ll take some pat at this point.

Feminina:

Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to have to kill Lugos either.

“Dude, we don’t have to be enemies! Well, OK, if you say so I guess we do, so I will kill everyone in this entire fortress.”

I went with Ciri to bury that guy too. It was a good moment. Did you let Ciri trash the lab with the family tree, or talk her out of it? I think I tried to calm her down. That other lady’s not worth it, etc. I should have let her wreck the place…it would probably have been more entertaining.

I played some more of the expansion, and met an old woman who in her youth was Vesemir’s lover. She wistfully asked after him, and I had to tell her he was dead. I wonder how that worked out if you play the expansion in the middle of the main game? I suppose you just say he’s fine, and then she still has to think sadly of how she’s gotten all old and he hasn’t, so she still winds up looking pensively into the distance. Anyway, that was kind of cool, to meet someone who knew him.

She’s rich and collects witcher gear as a hobby, but of course I didn’t have any to sell her because I’m currently wearing better armor. If I’d only known, I would have saved her something, but alas.

Butch:

That whole conversation was “Craig has sent you for my head, hasn’t he?” and I was all “Well, no, not really, hey, dude, for realsies he didn’t hey, put that sword, dude, can’t we talk DUDE!”

Ah, well. Yet another victim of not talking to us.

I talked Ciri out of smashing the lab. I figured, why encourage her to do some shit that neither one of us understand? Or may need later? Yes, trashing the labs of annoying elves is fun, but still.

Oh that’s a neat story with the old lady. And she collects? Nice touch. This game does a good job of having people care about other people that are not you. Most games, NPCs care about either 1) you or 2) some other, unnamed NPC you will never meet (My dead son/wife/husband/whatever.) It’s rare to have this important NPC care about this other important NPC in ways you cannot influence. It’s nice this game tried. Sure, it’s not all like that, but more than average. Pircillia/Dandelion was like that. Usually, you have a chance to score with the hottie, or at the very least have to help the friend score with the hottie, but there, they knew each other before you, cared about each other no matter what you did, and continued to care no matter what you did. That’s all too rare in games.

Feminina:

Yeah, it was cool. As you say, it’s nice to see people with interesting relationships with other people. And she was kind of an interesting character, because at first you just know she collects witcher gear, and then later she gets you alone and asks about Vesemir, and if you ask how she knows him, she tells you the story of how he came to slay a monster on her father’s land when she was a young woman, and they totally hooked up, but they were caught and he had to run off and she never saw him again, but remembered him fondly for years. And he forgot a piece of his armor in his haste to flee, and that was the beginning of her collecting witcher gear.

It was like, hey, cool story lady. Sorry to tell you he’s tragically dead. She said “did he at least die like a witcher?” and Geralt says “No. He died like a hero.” Which was an interesting way to draw that distinction…that most people wouldn’t see a witcher’s death as particularly admirable, more like just getting killed while doing pest control or something.

Oh, speaking of pest control, I met the tax collector! And he DID ask, not only about hides and bivalves, but about whether I ever “waltzed into someone’s home and took his property without permission” or something.

I was like…um…no, definitely not! Who, me? The Witcher Tax TOTALLY constitutes permission! The actual dialogue line was something like “The witcher code specifically forbids such things!” Well…except for the Witcher Tax part…

I should have just owned up and paid the tax, but…what if I need that money for something later? Like better armor or more rune slots on my existing armor? Plus, it’s not as if he would have given the money back to all the people whose dwarven spirits and broken rakes I looted over the years. Why should I enrich a probably-corrupt government? Tax evasion is a political statement! A blow for freedom.

Yeah, yeah. As long as the tax collector buys it.

Butch:

Neat. And she was realistically old? Even better. That IS cool. Dammit, now I want to play this expansion I have no time whatsoever to play.

HAHAHAHA you got called out? A tax collector tried to tax the witcher tax? That is so amazingly awesome. And SO well deserved. You, so smug with your 89000 gold. Sure, sure, sure, mock my paltry living. I sleep well knowing that I earned my own little pile honestly and truly. I shall retire to my modest house with my hot assed sorceress and my 10 grand content in my life. Enjoy your lonely guilt ridden riches.

Nice argument for tax evasion. Libertarian witchers. I’ve seen it all.

Feminina:

Yeah, she was pretty realistically old, with wrinkles and stuff. (A reused face, I think, I’ve seen her before as other old ladies, but a good use of it.) No-nonsense, too. Another character was trying to be flattering, like “you still look beautiful!” and she said “in addition to my extensive collection of witcher gear, I also own a number of mirrors.” I liked her.

Yesterday’s discussion of hot main characters aside, I do like that the minor characters include a lot of ordinary looking people, of various ages. They do a good job with that.

And witcher politics are complicated, man.

Butch:

Ah, man. Stop telling me the expansion is good. But you’re also telling me it’s long, and I just can’t do long.

The Witcher 3 is a good game, I tell you. I hope it lived up to the hype that I gave the series.

Very curious about Cyberpunk. But much to play in the interim.

Feminina:

Well, I’ve already spoiled half the story for you (and will spoil the other half as soon as I get to it), so you don’t NEED to play the expansion. It is pretty good, though. And longish.

And yes, it’s a good game. I mean, I’m still playing it after 8 full days (according to the unreliable counter). Eight days and four hours, if you want to get precise. Although I need to look at Mr. O’s counter and see if the number is the same, because if so it’s counting us together and I’d only be good for about four of those days.

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