Mastering Witcher 3: Essential Tips & Tricks

Diving into Witcher 3 for the first time or coming back for another playthrough? 

You might miss many tips even if you’ve played the game before, like using alchemy to its full advantage, choosing the right skills, saving time on traveling around, and finding ways to make money.

That’s why we prepared this list of key Witcher 3 tips to make your experience as fun and optimized as possible. We’ll cover skills, combat, crafting, questing, mods, and more, so let’s dive straight in.

Beginner’s Tips

  • It’s recommended (and not too hard) to complete everything in White Orchard. Unlock all five places of power, look for treasures and various goodies, and do every quest.
  • Pick up your first pieces of Witcher gear ASAP: the Viper School’s Silver and Steel sword,  the best Witcher 3 early game weapons
  • Unless you’re using mods, you will be limited by the number of things you can carry; upgrading your faithful Roach’s saddlebags is one of the best early-game tips
  • You can destroy some objects with the Aard sign

General Tips

  • You can change the difficulty settings whenever you want, even during combat
  • If you’re near the edge of the map and not close to a signpost, you can fast travel if you continue walking to the edge
  • Loot everything; chances are, you can sell it or use it for alchemy or crafting
  • Some monsters only show up at daytime or nighttime
  • You can save the game before looting chests with relic items and try looting/reloading multiple times to get a higher-level item
  • If you’re sprinting, jump when your stamina gets close to zero to regenerate it
  • Don’t forget to visit the barber from time to time. Refresh your Geralt, refresh your game.
  • The game autosaves relatively often, but make sure you also quicksave so you don’t have to backtrack through a swamp because you accidentally fell from a cliff.
  • Horse racing is a good source of money and saddlebags for Roach, so don’t miss out. Here are some horse race tips for you: follow the road to keep galloping and save stamina.
  • One more Roach tip to remember: gallop to automatically follow the road.
  • If there’s a herd of wild horses nearby, you can use Axii to calm one of them down and ride it. We didn’t say all of our tips were helpful.

Quest & Story Tips

  • Consider using this popular quest guide to enhance your Witcher 3 experience
  • Doing side quests right away is better because progressing through the main story can make them disappear. Also, you might not get any experience if you’re too high level.
  • You can mark quests in your journal to put them on the map
  • If you care about the story, pay attention to the dialogue and the choices you make (including romance choices)
  • Be aware that many characters will lie to you

Want to learn more about the story and lore of the Witcher world? Check out our articles on the storyline of the three Witcher games and detailed lore write-ups on Gaunter O’Dimm, Avallac’h, Vesemir, Nilfgaard, and more.

Money-Making Tips

  • Do side quests and witcher contracts
  • Sell items you don’t need to the right merchants (e.g. armor to armorers)
  • Loot guarded treasures
  • Sell honeycombs to Tomira, the herbalist in White Orchard (she pays a lot more)
  • Don’t forget to convert various currencies to crowns with your old pal Vimme Vivaldi. You can find him in front of Vivaldi’s Bank in Novigrad, Hierarch Square.
  • Consider farming cowhides

Check out our guide to making money in Witcher 3 for more detailed tips.

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Skill Tips

  • Regardless of the build you’re going for, we recommend picking up at least some of these best skills
  • Pick up all the places of power in the game for extra skill points
  • Pair mutagens with the same colors of active skills
  • Don’t forget that you can switch your active skills as you’ll often have more skills than you have available slots
  • You can use potions of clearance purchased from merchants to reset your skill points

Looking for the best Witcher 3 skill builds? We’ve got detailed guides for Euphoria, alchemy, and other great builds.

Gear Tips

  • Weapons can be upgraded with runes, and armor with glyphs
  • You can also enchant weapons with runewords and glyphwords for armor
  • Have a monster trophy equipped for permanent bonuses
  • Always enhance your items on armorer’s tables and grindstones. Later in the game, you can enchant one of your weapons, so your equipment will hold the 20% bonus for as long as you have it equipped.
  • Carry repair kits on you to repair your weapons and armor when out in the field

Looking for the best armor and weapons for your specific playstyle? Check out our guides to the best Witcher 3 armor sets and the best weapons.

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Combat Tips

  • To heal faster, use the swallow potion and eat food immediately after
  • Don’t forget to use your signs even if you haven’t skilled them up
  • You do more damage while mounted
  • Use the Bestiary to read up on the weaknesses of certain monsters
  • Keep moving during fights to avoid damage
  • Use your crossbow to ground flying enemies; it can also one-shot some creatures underwater

Parry Like You Mean It

The Witcher 3, however, doesn’t do a stellar job of explaining combat mechanics. The parry, for example, works best with human-sized enemies but is not as useful for larger monsters. 

The trick is to hold block, wait until the attack is imminent (when the enemy is ready to swing at you, indicated also by their name turning red), release the block button and press it again right away. You can also deflect arrows if you unlock the skill.

Dodge ‘n’ Roll

When it comes to these two useful moves, it is important to remember that they are two different buttons/keys. The dodge is your quick move when in close quarters to avoid a hit. The roll is your way to escape attacks that can’t be dodged or cover a large area. 

Not that you can’t beat the game on the hardest difficulty by using only dodge. Like yours truly, who finished the game while forgetting that rolling existed. Twice.

Fast, Strong, or Both?

The choice between the fast and strong attack skills and whether they should both be leveled up confuses some players. 

Generally speaking, fast attacks are better than strong because it’s much easier to avoid taking damage and you typically do more DPS as well. However, strong attacks can be good against high armor enemies like Golems.

Also, if you want to follow a skill build that focuses entirely on combat with little points in other trees, you can actually level both fast and strong attacks.

Sign Tips

Quen of Your Heart

It is a well-known fact that witchers don’t carry shields, but that doesn’t stop them from using Quen to protect themselves from blades and missiles. 

The alternative form of Quen (Active Shield) is one of the most important abilities in the game. It not only blocks damage but also heals you at the same time. It’s especially useful early on while you’re still finding your bearings.

We recommend getting the Active Shield ability ASAP if you’re struggling to stay alive.

Make Friends With Axii

Whichever part of the game you find yourself in, there’s always room for a little coercion in dialogues using Delusion, the Axii sign skill. We recommend putting at least 2 points into it during the early game and getting all 3 points by the mid-game.

Every time you use it, you gain experience points, and most of the time, you will save money or avoid having to fight someone, so it’s best to grab Delusion early. Not to mention, you get extra dialogue options for more immersive gameplay.

Axii can also serve you in combat to stun enemies (or make them attack their allies with Puppet and later Domination upgrades). 

Also, Roach can be calmed down in a fight using Axii.

Alchemy Tips

Brew Your Own

What is a witcher without potions? A hack, that’s what! You will find potion formulas all over the world, in treasure chests, sold by herbalists, or you might learn them after reading books. Make sure to check your potion list often and craft upgraded versions whenever you find the opportunity.

Now, here’s some Blood and Wine tips: max out the Black Blood potion and keep it at the ready. Beauclaire has more vampires per capita than any other zone and they are much deadlier than the ones you meet in Velen.

Oil Up

Much like potions, oils are a witcher’s best friend. Just make sure to upgrade them whenever you have the necessary formula and ingredients. Apply generously, as per enemy type.

Bombs Away

Some players don’t consider bomb alchemy tips very useful, or they don’t use them at all and that’s fair. 

But they’re missing out on an important (and fun ) part of the Witcher arsenal. Their basic use is, of course, to destroy monster nests, but the real deal is combining them with other skills and powers.

Take Dragon’s Dream for example: throw that bastard and hit it with the Igni sign and you have a lot of AOE damage.

Mod Tips 

You’ve played your way through most of the game. You don’t need any Skellige tips; you’ve dived in every bay from Kaer Trolde to Fyresdal. You’ve seen it all. If you’re playing on PC, now is a good time to refresh your experience with mods.

Nothing brings that feeling of “brand new” to an old game (and gives quality-of-life improvements) like good mods. Luckily, we already have a nice list of The Best Witcher 3 Mods.

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