Skill System

On this page you can find information about the skill system of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The full information has not been released yet, but we do have a pretty good idea of how the skills will function.

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Skills Menu
Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Skills Menu

For starters, there are a total of 4 skill categories: Combat skills / Magic (Signs) Skills / Alchemy Skills / Utility Skills. You can see the detailed skill trees in the screenshot below. The first 3 skill categories have 20 possible skills to unlock, and utility skills have another 10. The fifth group in the list is Mutagens (looks like a DNA double helix in above screenshot), which will function  differently by enhancing other skills.

The skills are further divided into different groups (see below screenshot). For Combat skills, these 5 skill groups are: Fast Attack, Strong Attack, Defense, Crossbow, and Battle Focus. For Magic, skills are broken down into the 5 Witcher Signs: Aard / Igni / Yrden / Quen / Axii. The Alchemy skill groups are: Potions / Oils / Bombs / Mutation / Trial of Grass.

Witcher 3 Wild Hunt Skill Trees
The 4 skill trees of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- Weapon Tree (red), Magic tree (blue), Alchemy tree (green) and Utility skills tree (white).

Skills are unlocked by spending skill points; you can get points by leveling up (maximum of 60 levels), using shrines, and also from some quests. The first tier of skills is available from level 1, while the 2nd tier will require 8 points spent in the tree, 20 points for tier 3, and 30 for tier 4. When you learn a skill, you can put it on your skills bar (area # 3 in first screenshot); this bar starts out at only 3 skills but expands to include up to 12 skills as you level up.

This in particular is a very cool mechanic, because most games give you all the skill slots right away, which is too much early on, and not enough in the late game (like Dragon Age: Inquisition with its 8 maximum skill slots). This also means that with a total of 70 skills, you have lots of freedom on how to build your character. Furthermore, you will be able to reset your skill build by purchasing an elixir.

The second and most unique component of the Witcher 3 skill system are Mutagens. Mutagens can be equipped in the #4 area slots (first screenshot), and act as a booster to your currently-equipped skills. In the screenshot, you can see the blue Mutagen equipped in #5, boosting 3 of Geralt’s skills. Unlike normal skills, Mutagens are unlocked by killing specific powerful monsters, and cannot be changed once you equip them.

Similar to other skills, Mutagens can have different colors (Red/Blue/Green/White). If you pair up Mutagen color with skill color, the bonus you get from that Mutagen will be multiplied, proportionate to how many skills of the right color you have equipped.

Skill Descriptions

Here is a list of the individual skills that we currently know about, broken down by Category, and sub-group:

Combat Skills

1. Fast Attack:
-- Muscle Memory: Damage of fast attack is increased by 5%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Precise Cuts: Increases critical chance of fast attacks by 2% and their damage by 15%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Whirlwind: Continious attack aimed for all enemies around Geralt. Upkeeping this skill drains Endurance, if depleted drains Adrenaline. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Mutilation: Inflicts bleeding effect to enemy, which deals 25 damage per second. Dur ration 5 seconds. Adrenaline generation +1%
2. Strong Attack:
-- Strength Training: Damage of strong attack is increased by 5%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Crushing Blow: Increases critical chance of strong attacks by 2% and their damage by 15%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Cleave: Inflics increased damage in proportion to used Endurance. Ignores enemy defense and increases critical chance by 10%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Fulminate Strike: Reduces enemy defense by 5%. Adrenaline generation +1%
3. Defense:
-- Arrow deflection: Parrying can now deflect arrows. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Footwork: Reduces damage taken while dodging. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Riposte: Next attack after successful counterattack deals increased damage by +30% for every level of skill. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Deadly Precision: Every point of adrenaline increases your instant kill chance by 1%. Adrenaline generation +1%
4. Crossbow:
-- Reflex: Slow time effect while aiming with crossbow is increased by 15%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Cold blood: Every successful hit with a crossbow generates 0,04 adrenaline points. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Knowledge of anatomy: Increases critical chance by +5%. Adrenaline generation +1%
-- Sore point: Critical hits from crossbow disables monster special abilities for 5 seconds. Adrenaline generation +1%
5. Battletrance (Melee attacks generate adrenaline. Every adrenaline point increases melee damage by 10%)
-- Focus: Reduction of adrenaline while taking damage is reduced by 20%. Adrenaline generation +1%

Magic Skills

1. Aard:
-- Long Aard: Increases Ard range by: 1m. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s
-- Aard Circle: Alternate sign mode: Aard works on every enemy around Geralt. When in this mode, knockdown chance is reduced by 21%. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s
-- Power of Aard Sign: Increases Aard intensification by 5%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Shockwave: Aard deals now 50 damage. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
2. Igni:
-- Armor Melting(2/5): Dealing damage with Igni, also permanently reduces enemy armor by 30%. Efect scales with Sign intensification. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s
-- Fire Stream: Alternate sign mode: Continuous stream of fire which damages enemies. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s
-- Power of Igni Sign: Increases Igni intensification by 5%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Pyromancy: Increases chance for igniting the enemy by 20% Endurance regeneration +0,5
3. Yrden:
-- Unkeep Glyph: Increases Yrden sign duration by 5 seconds. Number of alternate mode charges: 2. Number of traps of basic mode: 1. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Magical Trap: : Damages all enemies in 10 meter radius and slows them down. Destroys all projectiles which flies trough that area. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s*
-- Power of Yrden Sign: Increases Yrden intensification by 5%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Charged Glyph: Enemies in Yrden range looses 10 Health points/essence every second. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s*
-- Shield Discharge: Depleted Quen shield pushes back enemies. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Intensification: Allows to maintain active shield shield, but it’s usage and blocking attacks drain Endurance. Blocked attacks restore Health Points. Endurance regeneration +0.5/s
-- Power of Quen Sign: Increases Quen intensification by 5%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Damage Discharge: Deflects 5% of damage back to enemy. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Suggestion: Target doesn’t move to Geralt, while he is performing Sign. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Puppet: *Alternate sign mode: Makes that enemy for short duration fights for Witcher’s side, dealing 20% more damage. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Power of Axii Sign: Increases Axii intensification by 5%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s
-- Domination: Axii Sign can now affect 2 enemies. But effect then is reduced by 50%. Endurance regeneration +0,5/s

Alchemy Skills

1. Potions:
-- Increased Tolerance: Increases elixir tolerance by 1%. Elixir duration +5%
-- Renewal: Every dose of elixir drunk heals for 5% maximum health (25% at max lvl of this skill) Elixir duration +5%
-- Delayed decay(3): Effects of consumed elixirs don’t disappear, while toxicity level stays above 90%. Elixir duration +5%
-- Side effect(5): Consuming elixir gives 20% chance to activate effect of another random elixir, without additional toxicity. Elixir duration +5%
2. Oils
-- Poisoned Blade: Oil applied on the sword causes, that in every strike there is 10% chance of poisoning enemy. Higher level oils increases poisoning chance. Elixir duration +5%
-- Deterrence: Gives +5% defense from monster of target kind. Elixir duration +5%
-- Fixative(3): You can hit with your sword 33% more times before applied oil wears off. Elixir duration +5%
-- Hunter’s Instinct(5): With maximum adrenaline, critical damage dealt to monster vulnerable to oil is increased by 20%. Elixir duration +5%
3. Bombs
-- Accurate Shot: Slow time effect while aiming with bombs is increased by 15%. Elixir duration +5%
-- Pyrotechnics(5): Bombs, which normally doesn’t deal any damage, besides normal effect deals 30 damage. Elixir duration +5%
-- Optimization(5): Increases maximum number of bombs in every bomb slot by 1. Elixir duration +5%
-- Cluster Bombs(5): After detonation, Bomb splits into separate explosive fragments. Number of fragments: 5. Elixir duration +5%
4. Mutation
-- Acquired resistance: Every known level 1 alchemical recipe, increases elixir tolerance by 1. Elixir duration +5%
-- Tissue Transformation(1/5): For every consumed Decoction, maximum health is increased by 200, while under it’s effect(multiplies by number of Decoctions active at same time). Elixir duration +5%
-- Synergy(5): Increases bonuses from Mutagens in Mutagen slots by 10% (it’s even more strange written in different language), Elixir duration +5%
-- Adaptation(5): Increases duration of consumed Decoction by 10%. Elixir duration +5%
5. Trial of Grass
-- Clarity of Mind: Time slows down when Witcher is poisoned by elixirs while counterattacking. Elixir duration +5%
-- Pain resistance(5): Increases maximum health by 10%, if toxicity exceeds the safe threshold
-- Fast metabolism(5): Toxicity from elixir reduces faster by 1 point, every second. Elixir duration +5%
-- Bloody Fury(5); While under of elixir toxicity, every killed enemy increases chance of critical striking next enemy. Elixir duration +5%

Utility Skills

-- Circadian rhythm(1): At day health regeneration when out of combat is increased by 10. At night regeneration of endurance in combat is increased by 1
-- Survival instinct(1): Increases maximum health points by 500
-- Techniques of Feline School(1): Increases your fast attack critical damage by 25% and damage by 5% for every part of light armor you wear
-- Techniques of Gryphon School(1): Increases your Sign intensity by 5% and endurance regeneration by 5% for every part of medium armor you wear
-- Techniques of Bear School(1): Increases your strong attack 5% and maximum health by 5% for every part of heavy armor you wear
-- Metabolism control(1): Increases your maximum toxicity by 30
-- Focus(1): Adrenaline points also increases your Signs damage
-- Steady Shot(1): Crossbow deals 25% more damage

Finally, here’s a quick useful video to sum up the Witcher 3 skill system.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Skills System Explained

P.S: Thanks to reddit user miltek for the skill information.