Whenever I have been finding the places of power in The Witcher 3 I have been quietly hoping Geralt holds up his sword and exclaims “I Have the Power” like my childhood hero He-Man. And yes I am old and yes, 80s/90s cartoons didn’t have the most adventurous names…
Anyway, after a Blow out of Frustration in my last Doing It The Hard Way update on The Witcher 3, not to mention the First Part with Some Handy Tips, I thought it best to talk some of the enjoyable stuff I’ve been doing on Death March difficulty as I finally break the difficulty barrier.
When you get to any location you simply must check out the notice board, it gives you loads of clues and markers on your map. In the first area of White Orchard you get a good feel for this in the reasonably small area but this soon grows into vast open lands as you explore the world more.
Marked on the map are numerous points of interest to check out, and the best ones to find are the places of power that give you a nice boost to your Witcher Signs for a time, each place of power effecting a specific Sign. But finding them also unlocks an ability point which is really, really good on Death March so long as you are clever.
As you see above there are abilities and slots here in the character upgrade menu. You don’t just unlock an ability and then have it, it must be equipped. Chances are you are not going to be higher than level 3-4 early on in the game so you won’t have many slots for your abilities so there is ZERO POINT spreading your ability points around early on. Pick a couple you like using and level it up!
I found myself loving the quick attacks as mentioned in my original tips article, I also like Quen – the shield – and the mind control ability sign, Axii. These are upgraded and in my slots (giggity?) so I can do to cool things: fast attack enemies before they know what’s coming and hit hard, but best of all; with Humans I can use mind control to lower their guard for an easy execution.
This came in very handy with those bandits p***ing me off last week.
Once you get over this element it makes exploring easier and getting enjoyment out of the game too. Then comes my next difficulty breaking element: crafting. There is a common theme that you take collected junk and sell it in RPGs but DO NOT DO THAT HERE, keep your junk and go to a blacksmith to break it into components for other things. Only sell things you know are useless.
I completed a number of quests, treasure hunts and raids on some treasure on the map, anything marked with a ? is worth looking at. After I headed over to the Blacksmith and broke down a tonne of loot and used the ingredients to craft some weapons based on what blueprints I found.
You pick this up during secondary and primary quests but you need the stuff to make them, and the best way is to break up your junk! I got a much more ass-kicking weapon set thanks to a bit of thought with the minerals required.
After this good progress I really fell for the game and am now bossing the enemies a lot more, Death March is more a case of knowing what you are doing and understanding the game mechanics more than it is pure hard. Don’t get me wrong, keep some Swallow handy and your guard up since you can’t take many hits, but if you explore and get the places of power, craft some Witcher gear and upgrade what works for you, it really won’t seem so hard.
While last time I thought the difficulty was getting in the way of enjoying the game, now I realise it more forces you to learn it thoroughly and you’ll enjoy it a lot more for doing so.