Witcher 3 and Worldbuilding

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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is one of my favorite worlds to explore in gaming. As I am replaying the game, I am appreciating all the little things they do to keep me imersed.

Landscapes and City Life

The world is beautiful. Just look at any screenshot of this game and you feel like you’re in another world. The trees are beautiful and lush. The weather system is realistic like the when it rains or a storm is coming. The day and night cycle causes different things to occur like maybe the villagers are asleep at night. There are items you can collect while exploring such as different flowered trees being a symbol that you can collect herbs to use for potions.

The cities are also fun to see during different hours of the day. In the daytime you can see vendors and people shopping. You can also hear live bands. At night you can see guards patrolling the area or in Novigrad you can run into bandits. If you go into a tavern you can usually see someone there at any time of the day. All these little things make you feel like you’re in a real city.

Encouraging Exploration

One of the first things I do when I open up a new area is look at all the new sign boards in the area. Seeing them on the large map and going to them unlocks new fast travel areas and reading the signboards unlocks quests and question marks. Question marks are fun to explore because maybe you find hidden treasure, maybe you help the villagers gain back a piece of land that has been overrun by monsters, maybe you stumble across a monster’s nest. Another fun part is when you come across something that is way too challenging. A skull will appear next to the area you explored to let you know you can go back there later once you’ve leveled up some.

Characters

Each minor or major character in this game has a unique story that makes them feel real. For example, I am currently on the quest “Broken Flowers” and every single woman that I have met has something unique about them. The first woman I talked to turned out to be twins that were playing a prank by pretending to be each other. I also learned that one sister wrote a letter to Dandelion so that the other sister who had a crush on him could meet her. Later on, that same character led me to a “Fencing Lessons” side quest where I got to learn more about her personality.

Speaking of Dandelion, I do love how this game builds on fantasy stereotypes. We have the bard whose quest to find him has me running all over town talking to the many women he flirted with. But, based on what the woman have revealed, it’s possible that he was trying to talk to them to uncover clues about something he wanted to know about.

Story Quests

Whenever a quest line ends, you get a painting that shows the ending of that quest. My favorite was just a small side quest. I had to find Corinne because she could learn about Ciri through dreams and learned that she was investigating a haunted house. I found out that she was trapped in a nightmare by a godling named Sarah. Sarah just wanted to play and didn’t understand that nightmares were bad because she loved having them. She was also the reason the house was haunted because she loved pulling pranks. I could force her to leave or let her stay. I decided to let her stay and later on found out that she became friends with Corinne and they moved in together so Sarah could have a friend. I loved the painting because there was a little picture of Geralt tucking Sarah in like she was a little kid.

Favorite Worlds To Explore

I’d like for you to think of your favorite worlds to explore. Maybe there’s a game that you’re playing right now that also gives you the feeling like you’re in another world! I am enjoying replaying The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and I am looking forward to writing more about it as I progress more in the story.

Let me know your favorite gaming worlds in the comments!

Fun Moments in Gaming This Week

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This week I played a few games and just wanted to share some of my favorite moments from the games I’ve played! I played Super Mario 3D All Stars, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Super Mario 3D All Stars

This weekend I played Super Mario 3D All Stars and posted an impressions post on it.

Super Mario 64 is really fun. My favorite part so far is all the hidden secrets. I was about to go into the ice level when I saw this hole in a wall so of course I try to go in there. I’m greeted to water level where I have to collect 8 coins to get a star which was really fun! I also used stars to open a section of the castle where I had to jump through a Peach window and go down a slide to learn about hidden levels.

Super Mario Sunshine is my favorite due to how unique it is. I love being on an island shaped like a dolphin. Most of the enemies so far are either weird or cute. I love the little paint Octopus enemies even though they are annoying. The weirdest one that had me laughing was this bird with a little butt that show out brown paint like they really made that an enemy?! The award for pain in the ass goes to the whirlwind with glasses as I can only stun it; not defeat it. It made collecting the red coins in the first level even trickier than it already was.

Speaking of cute, Super Mario Galaxy’s Luna are so adorable! I love the little stars and it’s so cute when they’re hungry and you feed them! I also loved when they turned into bunnies. This game is so fun seeing all the different planets on just one level!

Vice City

I did not know Judas Priest’s music was in this game so I was so happy and excited when “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” started playing. I definitely am loving all the 80’s music! I did not get too far as I was on “Guardian Angels” and it honestly took me almost 10 tries because the two people I was supposed to protect kept dying. I also am so confused by this game’s pedestrians because they have a habit of jumping in front of cars. I also started up the game one day, exited the apartment after hearing a crash to see a car accident that caused a massive pileup of cars and people running around panicked. I barely started playing the game and the pedestrians were causing chaos!

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

I am on the Bloody Baron storyline so it was mostly very serious, but the side quests made everything funny!

First, an unintentional funny moment. I was participating in the fighting tournaments where I was talking to someone to start the match and this one NPC kept hiccupping loudly in the speaker behind my left ear. I’m trying to talk to this guy while this NPC kept interrupting the conversation with hiccups so I just started laughing!

Then, I met Trollololo again. I love that troll! He loves to sing although he’s not great at it. Then I found out that I draw worse than a troll. Basically he asked me to bring him paint. Then he had a problem: he has the paint but how does he paint? He doesn’t know how. I decided to tell him to do it this time around to see what would happen. He called the bird ugly, but it was a beautiful bird! I tried to recreate it and mine looked terrible because I can’t draw.

Your Favorite Gaming Moments?

Now that I’ve told you all the things that excited me and made me laugh this week, please tell me some of yours! This weekend I’m going to be continuing these three games as they just make me smile!

Adventures in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

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Replaying The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been really fun! It’s all I have been playing lately so I wanted to highlight some memorable things that have happened while I was playing.

Exploration

I entered the Novigrad and Velen areas and the first thing I like to do is collect quests and explore the area as reading notice boards brings up question marks for treasure or monsters. So I started visiting the notice boards and exploring all the question marks that came up.

I forgot that once you exit the tutorial area, exploring can be dangerous because you can easily run into very powerful monsters. That’s how I have a fast travel location that spawns me into a group of powerful ghouls which I have to run away from. I have also had to come back to some question marks later because of golems (which I somehow forgot were a thing) and wyverns (basically dragons that can’t fly).

Another funny and scary thing that happened while I was exploring was a leschen appeared. They scare me, I don’t like how powerful they are plus the creepy long black robe and antler skull head. Of course he had to appear while I was adjusting to wearing glasses while gaming since they’re meant to give my left eye a boost and protect me from blue light and glare. So a nice stroll through the forest admiring how detailed things were from further away turned into a chase, but I somehow got away from it!

The only other glasses related incident happened during a quest that luckily didn’t involve combat at the time. I like drinking tea at night and knew that it can fog up my glasses, but I also liked how clear I can see the TV with them on so I figured while exploring a side quest I could keep them on unless combat happened. So while this woman was telling me please do not explore this side quest further as no one needs to know what happened to her sister, my glasses started fogging up but I could still see her and see that she was hiding something.

Contracts

Patrol Gone Missing

This one I came across accidentally. I was exploring and a wyvern appeared. I panicked because they’re typically too high level for me so instead of planning like I have been trying to do before fights; I just kept hitting it with my sword. I somehow survived and then the contract was complete.

Jenny O’ The Woods

This one was really sad, but there are sad contracts in this game. Usually if you come across a wraith contract, you know something traumatic happened to her. In this case she loved someone and wanted to leave her abusive relationship. The guy found out and killed them both. She appears at night in a black dress and was hard at first due to a small error. I didn’t wait until night to prepare with bombs, potions, and oils. I meditated during the day to wait until night came to make her appear after drinking the potions and preparing the oils so they wore off and she killed me quickly. When I prepared at night and then summoned her, the fight was easy!

The Merry Widow

This one was a creepy one. It involved a grave hag and she kept talking about her wanting her bones back. She was in the old graveyard luring kids out and killing them. She also had a tongue vine move that could really hurt so I had to make sure I dodged so I would not take damage.

Side Quests

Thou Shalt Not Pass

I love the reference to The Lord of the Rings films! Basically I needed a pass to enter Radovid’s areas. I could have gotten one for finding out who was killing the troops. It turned out to be elves and I like elves so I decided to leave them alone. Because I did not tell the guard who was killing the troops I had to get them from a shady merchant. Somehow the guards fell for it and let me in even thought the writing was atrocious and there was no stamp.

Wild at Heart

This was the most recent sidequest I did. This man lost his wife in the woods. The village including him thought she was killed by wolves. While exploring her sister came by and told me not to explore further because there was no use finding out how the sister died. I could have stopped but I wanted to see what had happened. It turns out she technically killed her sister. She was in love with her sister’s husband who was a werewolf and did not know the sister knew he was a werewolf. She brought her sister to see her werewolf husband to scare her off from marrying him which led to him accidentally killing her. He then wants to kill the sister for forcing him to kill someone. I let him do it because I was mad that she killed her sister out of jealousy and then the werewolf asked me to kill him so he wouldn’t kill anymore and Geralt automatically did that.

Meeting Characters From Previous Games

Letho

I met Letho after a widow asked me to save her old home from monsters. The home was abandoned and full of traps where I met Letho. He was on the run after the man who hired him to slay the king in the last game decided to kill him to hide what he did. I chose to follow Letho where he confronted the people who were after him and Geralt offers him a place at Kaer Morhen.

Lambert

I found Lambert, who I know now from both the books and the games, while I was hunting a werewolf. Lambert killed the werewolf and then he is after all the men who killed his best friend Aiden (who now reminds of Beyond: Two Souls because I just completed the game). I helped him find leads, but I need to go to the next area to finish the quest. I want to finish the main quests in the area I am currently in before continuing.

Continuing Story

I have finally see what The Wild Hunt can do again. I was meant to meet a contact that was following Ciri. The Wild Hunt came and killed him and now the area is permanently covered in frost. I am on my way see the witch who saw Ciri last.

What games have you all been playing recently? Any stories from the games you have been playing?

 

Why I Love The Witcher Series: The Witcher

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I finished The Witcher: Enhanced Edition this week. I really enjoyed seeing how the games first started and loved the story!

Plot

This picks up from where the books ended. Geralt was killed by a human, but then comes back to life. The catch is he has completely lost his memory. He spends time at Kaer Morhen trying to regain his memory when it is attacked by the Professor, Jevad, and the Salamandra. They steal the Witcher mutagens and disappear. Geralt must find out why they took the mutagens and stop their plans. This plot has many twists including my favorite which is what the mutagens are for, but I really do not want to spoil the extended plot.

Combat

This combat does get negative reception and was why I was initially hesitant to play this game. On Easy, it is not too difficult. Basically the sword combat is like a rhythm game. Clicking on the enemy with a sword icon will trigger combat. You select your sword and fighting style (Strong, Fast, or Group) and begin fighting. Geralt will automatically start to swing, and you ONLY click the mouse when the sword icon turns into a fiery sword. Too early or too late and Geralt will not chain combos and cannot attack.

On top of that, this game is really picky about you using potions. The other games I would forget and be fine, but not this one. Even on easy, you need to use potions on boss fights and certain quests or you can die pretty quickly.

World

The world is set up into chapters. Each chapter will bring you to a level with maps. These maps will have quests. The maps were a good size. They were not too big or too small. Despite it’s age, the world was still really pretty. I generally liked the worlds that I explored except the swamp because the map was really confusing and the enemies were tough in that map.

Quests

The quests are similar to the other games. I did not find contracts as fun as in this game contracts are mainly kill x amount of creatures, get some material off creatures, get reward. The interesting part about contracts was that you needed to read books to get Bestiary entries to fight monsters.

This games does have some really great side quests though. I enjoyed “Beauty and the Beast” where I helped a woman cure her lover. She wanted him to no longer be a werewolf and you try magic, potions, but true love is what breaks the curse. That was an adorable ending!

“Blue Eyes” involves The Witcher choosing between The Order and the vampires. A knight is looking for his lost sister. I find her at The House of The Queen of the Night and she seems content and happy. I tell the knight what is going on and he insists she’s under a spell. I meet The Queen of the Night and she is a vampire. She tells me that the girl is happy and loved there; she was rescued by The Queen of the Night. The knight was mistreating her and just wanted to set her up with some guy she didn’t love. The Queen of the Night has given her luxury and peace. The knight appears and I am forced to choose sides. I chose The Queen of the Night’s side and Blue Eyes thanked me because she felt safer there than with her brother.

Themes

Identity

Geralt has lost his memory so a major theme of the game is his identity. What’s interesting is you get to choose his identity and there’s actually a quest called “Identity.”  Certain dialogue choices you make will influence the quest. My Geralt went after the Salamandra for personal reasons, chose the Scoia’tael because he believed in their cause for equal rights, and loved Triss. Geralt’s identity is shaped by the choices you make.

Morality

In this game, the major moral choice, is Scoia’tael, the Order, or neutral. Yaevin leads the Scoia’tael who are fighting against how the humans treat the nonhumans in Vizima. The Order are fighting the Scoia’tael because they have hurt humans. They are also monster hunters like Geralt. I chose the Scoia’tael for this game because I want them to have equal rights. The Order also has issues with racism against nonhumans and their leader is a problem in this game. I cannot say why because it is a major spoiler, but he is.

Who are the real monsters?

The Witcher slays monsters, but sometimes he meets evil people that are like monsters. Chapter 1 is a major example. The Witcher goes to a town where a Beast is leading barghest that are killing people. I offered to slay the Beast and that’s when things got interesting. This Beast only comes when people have committed vile acts. Well this town is full of evil people who have done terrible things like murder. Not only that, but they blame a witch named Abigail for their suffering and attempt to burn her.

Interesting Start to The Witcher Games

I did really love this game! I would encourage anyone who is interested to see how the games started play this game. But, there were technical issues in Chapter 5. The game is old and for some reason was having trouble with all the enemies on the screen during the Vizima battle so it would crash. Luckily, setting the graphics to low fixed it until the fight  scenes was over which ended after I did a couple of main quests. Still, I played the game for 70 hours and only had trouble during not even one hour of gameplay.

I also love how this game foreshadows The Wild Hunt. He is an optional final boss in the game and I encountered him during a side quest in Chapter 1. He’s a creepy looking ghost with a long skeleton face. You can fight him as a final boss depending on what you do with the main villain of the game. I do really love this game for it’s story (especially during the later stages), the introduction to major characters like Triss, and the choices in the game.

Have you played The Witcher? What are your opinions on The Witcher games?

 

Why I Love The Witcher Series: The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings

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I bought The Witcher 2 not too long after I finished The Witcher 3.  There are several similarities to The Witcher 3 such as the combat, side quests, and contracts. The two big differences were graphics which were unique due to the bright lightning and younger looking Geralt and the world is basically separated into small sections and chapters. There’s no massive world to explore, you just stay in one area at a time. It was still nice to explore the area since they still had a good amount of depth to them! leader

Plot

The game begins with Geralt being accused of murdering Foltest even though he helped Foltest and then being tasked with finding out who is the kingslayer. There is also the subplot of  continuing to get back Geralt’s memory after he lost his memory at the beginning of the first game.

Characters

Iorveth and Roche

These characters are basically the two sides you pick in the game. Iorveth is the leader of the Scoia’tael, the elves fighting against the humans, while Roche is a leader of Temerian’s Blue Stripes army. If you choose Iorveth, you are siding with the non-humans and their cause and if you choose Roche, you care choosing to side with the humans.

Saskia

She is known as the Dragonslayer, but she is actually a dragon. Phillipa controls her through a spell throughout the game and is the only one that cure her of the spell. If the spell is not lifted, Saskia will die in battle.

Phillipa

She is the leader of the Lodge of Sorceresses. She loses her sight in this game due the Redanian king. If Geralt helps her, she will help him save Saskia. She is also behind the assassination.

Sile

Sile is a powerful sorceress whom Geralt first meets when he helps her kill a Kayran. She was a major part of the king’s assassination. She forces Saskia to fight for her when she is trapped by The Flaming Rose (knights who hunt monsters, but are also against magic and non-humans) . Geralt can choose to spare her at the end of the game if he decides to warn her that Letho tampered with her teleportation device.

Letho

The kingslayer who is also a Witcher. He is the major antagonist of the second game and will only appear in the third game if you spare him. The reason he does all this was because he was hired by Nilfgaard who promised they would rebuild his Witcher school if he helped them.

Morality

The Witcher 2 has moral choices that affect the story depending on what you choose. The first major one that reflects the majority of the game is choosing humans or the Scoia’tael. The Witcher is between the two, he is human but also considered non-human by other humans. The humans put non-humans in separate locations and hurl racist insults at them. The Scoia’tael want equality, but they achieve this through violence such as destroying towns. I ended up sided with the Scoia’tael because I wanted them to have the same equal rights as humans especially after I saw the nonhumans being slaughtered by humans.

The second major choice is what to do with Letho. On one hand, he kidnapped Triss, he killed the king, and you really do not get his story until the last act. But, if you listen to his story, he was hired in exchange for his Witcher school being rebuilt (which was never going to actually happen). He was tricked and does not realize this until nearing the end. I chose to spare him.

Other major choices involve Phillipa and Saskia. Phillipa loses her eyesight during this game and you can choose to help her when she loses her sight. Saskia is a dragon who is forced to rampage on towns. You can choose to kill her for being a “monster” or save her. I saved both her and Phillipa.

Aged like Fine Wine

Despite it’s age and lacking the massive open world of the third game, this game was really good. The emotional story with multiple choices and multiple endings made for a thrilling adventure. The story caught my attention from the beginning to the end. I loved the art style of the game and I also like the smaller worlds to explore. I highly recommend trying this game if you’ve beaten The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

What did you think of The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings? What do you think of the struggle between humans and nonhumans in The Witcher games? Would you spare Letho?

Why I Love The Witcher Series: Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

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I have been a fan of The Witcher since I decided to pick up The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt  when I saw that I could get the complete edition for $20. I did not know too much about the game beforehand. All I knew about the game came from watching Conan reacting to The Witcher 3 and he was mainly focused on the unicorn scene. After playing it for myself, I saw a beautiful world filled with lore, complex characters, and a thrilling story.  After buying The Witcher Enhanced Edition  on Steam, starting the novels, and knowing that The Witcher Netflix series is coming out this month, I have decided to write a series of posts about The Witcher starting with the first game I played.

Characters

Geralt

This game is full of amazing characters! I love Geralt. At first, his voice seemed dry, but I began to love his humor and wit. I also love how much he cared for Ciri.

Ciri

Ciri is also a fun character. She has a strong personality that starts with her as a child. I enjoyed playing as her as well because her combat was really fast.

Triss and Yen

Triss and Yen are also amazing. I am really impressed by how women are represented in The Witcher 3. Triss and Yen are both strong sorceresses. Triss has more of a fiery personality and she is in all three of the games. Yen is introduced in this game, but I love how mature she was. She is a motherly figure to Ciri and she was very independent. Even though she is helping Geralt find Ciri, she is following her own path. She is also extremely intelligent.

Dandelion and Zoltan

Dandelion and Zoltan are Geralt’s main companions. Dandelion also writes in the journal entries of the game. I noticed immediately how much he flattered himself. He definitely fits the bard stereotype with his ego (especially when it comes to his ego about his writing and poetry), but he also truly cares about his friends. Zoltan is a dwarf who is strong, bold, and caring. He is not afraid to speak his mind and he has fought and survived many battles.  He really looks after Geralt even it just means having Geralt sit down and have a drink with him.

Story

The main plot is mostly about finding Ciri and stopping The Wild Hunt. But, there are also multiple plots that overlap such as the Bloody Baron’s story and King Radovid’s hatred of non-humans. These plots also come with multiple endings and finally the final ending. So you can play through the game multiple times to find different ending to both main and side quests.

There are also a ton of side quests in this game. I don’t even think I finished all of them in my first playthrough. There are story side quests, treasure side quests where you find gear or gear sets, and contracts where you kill monsters.

The nice part is that despite having two previous games, the game does its best to explain what it can to you. There are backstories in journal entries. You can choose your own story that happened in The Witcher 2 even if you’ve never played it. Characters like Triss that appeared in all the games are fully developed in this game. I understand more about the characters and the lore now that I am playing the previous games and reading the books, but this game still did a great job at making this a good game for first players.

Humor

This game is really funny. Geralt’s dry humor really makes me laugh. The first time he really made me laugh was when he met a scholar at the first inn who listed his various titles and Geralt said he was a “Witcher. With tenure”. I also love the scene where he gets drunk at Kaer Morhen.

I also love the scenes with the trolls especially the troll named Trololo. The name was funny enough  but he also sings and just randomly says “Trollololo”. There was also a funny scene where Philippa is an owl and Zoltan thinks she’s a real owl so he gives her a perch to sit on and wants the owl to  learn to speak and play gwent.

Massive World to Explore

There are five main locations in this game: White Orchard, Vizima, Novigard, Skellige,  and Kaer Morhen. They all have different environment, different people, and different cultures. Even within the maps themselves there are differences such as the poorer towns outside of a castle.

The worlds have maps full of questions marks where you can explore and find treasures, caves, or monster dens. The monsters in the worlds are full of variety. There are journal entries for each monster so you can learn about them and how to fight them. Some of these monsters were genuinely terrifying like the Leshy.

Combat

The combat mainly consists of using swords, but there is also a crossbow for flying monsters and underwater monsters. I loved the swords because they are so fluid. I also love the movements with the pirouettes. It makes the swordplay almost look like a deadly dance.

I also love the use of signs like Igni for fire and Quen for shield. They can be used in combat or dialogue.

Finally alchemy is a major component in battle. Making potions can strengthen weapons, heal Geralt, or be used against monsters.

Expansions

The main game also comes with two massive expansions that are almost like two separate games.

Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone centers around vampires. You have to fight against Olgried Von Everec who cannot die. It also features a literal toad prince boss which was funny due to the concept, but awful to fight.

Blood and Wine

This gives an official ending to The Witcher games. Geralt is set to find out who the monster is that is killing guards by the ruler of Toussaint.  Geralt inherits a vineyard for his help and this world is a whole new map. I love owning a vineyard while also exploring this high fantasy world.

First Witcher Game

I really loved this game and consider it one of my favorite games of all time. It also got me to play the other games on Steam and get the novels so I could get more background on Geralt and the other character.

Was The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt your first Witcher game? Have you played the other games or read the novels? Are you looking forward to the Netflix show?