Diving into Witcher 3 for the first time or coming back for another playthrough?
There are many tips you might miss 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 much more, so let’s dive straight in.
Table of Contents
- It’s recommended (and not too hard) to complete all the things in White Orchard. Get 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 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
- You can destroy some objects with the Aard sign
- 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 quicksave as well so you don’t have to backtrack through a swamp because you fell from a cliff by accident.
- 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
- It’s better to not leave side quests for later 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, and Nilfgaard.
- 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.
Check out our guide to making money in Witcher 3 for more detailed tips.
- Regardless of the build you’re going for, we recommend picking up 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 around 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.
- Don’t sell the starting Kaer Morhen armor; you can upgrade it later on
- 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
Here are some general and more detailed 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
If you are coming from Soulslike games, you are probably already utilizing all the different combat options without thinking too much about it (and probably griping how the combat is not as good as your favorite title).
The Witcher 3, however, does not do a stellar job in explaining these mechanics through starting tips, which might cause problems for those with less nimble fingers.
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.
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 that 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?
This is by no means an advanced tip, but 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. However, strong attacks can be good against some enemies.
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.
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 upgrade ability.
Every time you use it you gain experience points and most of the time you will save up on money or time, so it’s best to grab Delusion early.
While you’re already using Axii for dialogue options, remember that it can serve you in combat as well, 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, if you’re all about that mounted fighting.
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, and is especially useful early on, while you’re still finding your bearings. It not only blocks damage but also heals you at the same time.
If you’re struggling to stay alive, we recommend getting the Active Shield ability ASAP.
Ease Your Yrden
You will find this sign quite unavoidable if you want to fight those pesky specters on equal grounds. On account of not having a corporeal body, you will find your hits not connecting with nightwraiths, noonwraiths and their ilk. That’s where Yrden comes in.
As far as upgrades are concerned, Yrden really comes into its own at Tier 2, where you can use the Magic Trap. It slows down enemies, damages them, and destroys arrows and other projectiles flying through it.
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.
Some potions might see less use in the main game, like Black Blood, which makes your blood hurt vampires when they attack you.
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.
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.
It might become a bit bothersome after a while to stop the flow of battle just to apply the correct oil time and time again, which is when you might want to look at Wolven Gear.
If you get three pieces of the set, you get a special bonus: you can use 3 oils at the same time on your weapons.
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 part of the 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 +300 damage.
You’ve played your way through most of the game. You don’t need no 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.