The Witcher 3 is full of systems and tutorials but there's a lot that it doesn't tell you. All of the following tips will make Geralt's quest for Ciri easier, but they have to be learnt the hard way - trial and error.
On this page, part of our full The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt guide and walkthrough, we've gathered together some tips and techniques that the game itself doesn't make much effort to highlight.
Try a few of these and you'll find your adventures with Geralt and Ciri much more manageable.
You can switch signs in combat, while parrying, without taking your hand off the parry button
Holding L2 or LT puts Geralt in a parry state to deflect arrows and incoming attacks, but it can get somewhat annoying if you’re constantly fumbling to click L1 or LB to switch signs. Thankfully, there’s another way. The d-pad on either console will let you cycle through your signs by clicking right or left on it.
You can slow down time to make fighting on horseback much easier
Wild Hunt lets you slash fools from the safety of your horseback, but you rarely get a chance to line up your hits, and often end up running around slashing aimlessly. If you hold the attack button and look at the enemy you want to target, time will slow down to let you correct your angle and go in for the kill. Damage on horseback is increased, so you want to use this as often as you as you get the chance.
You can calm Roach if it gets too scared
The horse’s fear level is a real issue in Wild Hunt. If you’re not careful, you can easily get knocked off its back and be left to deal with sticky situations. You can however cast the Axii sign on your own steed to reduce its fear level.
You can knock riders off the back of their horses
Throwing enemies off their horsebacks is essential if you’re surround by many of them. But the biggest reason you should do it is because the game gives you a small window to finish off whoever falls off their horse with one canned animation.
You can either knock them back by casting the Aard sign, or, more effectively, by casting the Axii sign on their horses. Both achieve the same effect.
You can’t use oils in combat, but you can repair your gear
Wild Hunt expects you to prepare for its encounters by using oils, so those cannot be used once you enter combat. You can however go to your inventory and repair your armour or weapons mid-fight. Damaged gear can be a detriment to your overall attack and defence stat, so don’t let it go in the red.
You can force pause cutscenes on PS4
You can’t pause Wild Hunt cutscenes in-game. If you’re playing on PS4 though, pressing or holding the PS button will minimise the game, and the scene won’t progress until you get back to it. This works with most games too.
You can reduce fall damage
The Witcher 3 isn't Skyrim. The fall damage is ridiculous. You never want to jump off any slightly high point. But just in case you have to, you can press the roll button to mitigate most of the damage. It doesn’t work 100 percent of the time, but as long as you get the roll animation going, your fall damage will be a lot less.
You can heal a bit faster
If you don’t feel like mediating (or if you’re playing on anything higher than normal), you’ll want to heal up any chance you get. A good way to increase your vitality regeneration rate is to drink a Swallow potion (here’s how to make it ) and immediately eat some of the food you have on you. Both will work in conjunction to get you back to full health pretty quickly. Don’t go over two or three food items at a time though.
Don’t eat the honey you collect
Honey can be looted from chests or from bee hives scattered throughout the world by using an Igni sign on them. It is better to sell it however, due to its high value. Herbalists will usually give you a good price for it (especially the one in White Orchard), and you can always find other cheap food to eat. This is particularly useful in the prologue area where you’re always short on coin.
You can horse-sprint without ever running out of stamina
If you hold the run button while riding a horse you’ll get your horse to sprint and it will lose stamina over time. But if you stick to the roads, and do the above, your horse will automatically follow the road without losing stamina. You can adjust its trajectory slightly if it follows another direction.
You can re-spec your skill points
If you fucked up somewhere in your skill tree and spent points on something you never use, you can re-spec those points using a Potion of Clearance, which is sold by some merchants. Keep an eye out for it and you’ll find it in no time. Heck, buy it even if you don’t think you need it.
Don’t just sell anything to anyone
It can sometimes be tempting to rid yourself of all the crap you looted in the world and reduce your equip load, but it’s best to wait and sell items only to merchants who can appreciate them. Wild Hunt has a complex system of item prices depending on their origin, the merchant’s location, and other factors.
But what you need to know is to always sell weapons and armours to blacksmiths, herbs to herbalists, junk to Innkeepers etc. You can easily test this by noting the price different merchants give you for any given item (before selling). Wandering merchants are a good jack-of-all-trades solution. They usually offer fair prices for most things, but are not easy to come by.