The Witcher 3 Update: Out of Velen

Witcher 3

Note:  This is going to contain some spoilers for the early part of The Witcher 


Making an update post for The Witcher 3 every thirty hours or so seems like a good marker to use, so I’m here to talk about my thoughts so far!  While I want to do a larger review at the end of my playthrough, this is a massive game filled with intricate details, so doing some ongoing thoughts seems appropriate here.  It will also be neat to see if my early complaints lessen or new ones arise as I play more.  Let’s see what I’ve been up to so far!

First of all, I just want to point out that every person in The Witcher 3‘s universe is more interesting than Geralt himself.  He’s monotone and generally emotionless, although I do appreciate his dry sense of humor.  I know there’s a lore reason for why he is the way he is and that it has something to do with the horrific process of becoming this awesome monster hunter and the poisons he has consumed over the years, but that doesn’t make him any more fun to play.  Every time I get to play as Ciri in a flashback sequence, I desperately want to just keep playing as her instead of the cardboard box I’m currently forced to endure.  The side characters keep me playing because I find everyone I have met so far to be engaging and interesting, with their own views on politics and morality, but Geralt really does like to rain on my parade sometimes.


In terms of the main quest, I have worked through the entirety of the Velen questline and started the Novigrad chain, having just met Triss when I last saved.  The primary story so far is perfectly serviceable, but I wouldn’t say that I’m overly invested yet.  I mostly just want to know why the two biggest games of 2015 both revolve around the protagonist making a desperate search for their lost child.  Since the first portion of the game seems to involve Geralt going to different areas and screaming Ciri’s name at the top of his lungs like he’s in Heavy Rain, I’m going to hope that the story gets better once we get more information about this Wild Hunt business.

Speaking of the main story, I need some help here.  Should I romance Triss or Yennifer?  Honestly, Yennifer seems kind of manipulative and toxic, but I’ve heard that she has more story significance and it’s better to go for her on a first playthrough.  As much as I prefer Triss because I think she’s kinder to Geralt, I don’t want to choose her if the game isn’t really built around her in the long run.  I don’t know, but it’s actually stressing me out to the point that I don’t want to keep playing the main story because I don’t want to unintentionally lead them on and get dumped by both of them.

The shining gem of this game is definitely the side quests and stories.  Keira’s questline involving the haunted tower and the plague maiden has been a highlight of my experience thus far.  I’m really curious about what happens if you trust the plague maiden and bring her bones to her boyfriend, but I suspect nothing good comes of that outcome and I’m a bit terrified to ever find out.  In general, I do see why people say there’s so much more to see in a second playthrough of this game, although that does lead me to a slight irritation I have.

I have found multiple instances of locking myself out of quests or objectives due to what I generally believe is poor quest design.  For example, the Bloody Baron asks Geralt to go visit Tamara, his daughter, during his questline, but doesn’t get out of the conversation.  If Geralt has already gone to visit the orphans in Crookback Bog, he knows the whereabouts of the Baron’s wife, Anna, and can say so immediately after receiving this request.  As soon as Geralt states this, the Baron rounds up the troops to invade the bog and I miss the opportunity to visit Tamara because that objective immediately fails.  Given that I never got out of the dialogue prompts in order to see it was a request added and then failed, it irritated me a bit to miss a part of the story because I clearly played the main quest in an order the game did not anticipate.

There’s another instance here where I started a quest in Novigrad involving one of Geralt’s old friends.  It turns out that starting this quest prevents me from doing something later on in Skellige.  These quests could have been done in the reverse order if I had picked up the Skellige quest first, but based on the recommended levels of the main quest (Novigrad’s is ten, whereas Skellige’s is sixteen), I haven’t gone to Skellige yet because it seems like the game wants me to go to the different regions in a specific order.  Quests like this make me feel like I’m being punished for playing my RPGs methodically, trying to wrap up one area before moving to the next, and also for playing without a guide telling me which quests I should and should not play in order to complete everything the game has to offer.

Overall, in spite of the issues I may have with this game’s design at times, I am really enjoying my time in the world so far.  I still hope that I will find the main story more engaging in the future and that Geralt learns what a personality is, but the side stories, lore, and other major characters making playing this game more than worth it.  My question is, for those of you who have played The Witcher 3, were you hooked by now?  I’m trying to keep my expectations in check, so I would love to know if I’m about to fall in love with the game because the pace picks up or if I may just not love the narrative quite as much as others.  I’m going to finish the game either way at this point, but I’m just curious what I should be expecting from here on out.  Let me know (without spoiling beyond where I am in the game, please) in the comments below!


11 thoughts on “The Witcher 3 Update: Out of Velen

  1. I think I’m not far behind from you because last night I just did Keira’s quest in the cave and she told me about the bog so I’m going to do that next. I haven’t met up with Triss yet, I might save that for after I’m done locating Anna. Most of the time, I’m going to as many unexplored markers on my map and only check them out if the enemies in the area are within my level range. Gotta admit the game’s atmosphere is gorgeous as hell and I’m at level 10 now. I’ve kinda been bouncing back and forth between helping her and the baron while also squeezing in side quests that I can do at my level and exploring areas that are marked on my map.

    I too am still stuck between choosing Triss and Yen. I agree that Triss is a lot nicer and caring but, I also like a romance with a lot of content, I hear you don’t get a lot with her. While Yen, yes she does sound rather bitchy but you’re likely right that her romance has more content and the story is likely built for you to be with her. I’m leaning towards giving her a chance. Sure yeah Geralt may seem like a blank slate, unless that’s how he’s meant to be. I’ve heard a lot of argument that his personality indicates that he actually prefers women like Yen.

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    1. I am leaning towards Yen unless someone makes a really strong effort to defend Triss here because I feel like she is the more canon choice here. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a romance!

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      1. Same here, like whenever I started any new Mass Effect of Dragon Age game, I knew right off the bat who I wanted to romance. Maybe it was because my character was from scratch and I made her look like me so it was based on who I could see myself with. In this case Garrus in the trilogy, Jaal in Andromeda. Origins: Alistair. DA II: Anders and DAI: Iron Bull. But with a preset character like Geralt, yeah it’s much harder. The only thing I can say about Triss, having played the two previous games is that she was always there for Geralt, and where was Yen all this time?

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  2. I did love the game all the way through because of the lore and story! I did choose Yen because of the story, but I might choose Triss next time because I love her personality! As for Geralt, I actually did love his character even if he does come off as unemotional due to his background.

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  3. Having read the first two books by Sapkowski, I knew how Yen and Geralt first became the great romance that runs through the books and the games – even if Triss takes centre stage in Witcher 2. I romanced Triss and ended the game with her, but it is possible to romance Yen, or even both but then lose both. (My personal love is one of Geralt’s impossible romances – in the second DLC.)

    There are about nine different endings to the main storyline, so I suspect that it’s difficult to do every quest with the ‘correct’ decision that leads to the perfect ending. In fact, I suspect the designers intended the perfect ending to be the player’s choice: “What do you want to happen?” Gut instinct might be one way.

    I wanted to ensure a specific conclusion so had to check what decisions I needed to make; yes, I prepared a lot, saved often, and re-loaded quests that didn’t work out right. A part of that was a desire to get every Gwent card – easier if you know who to play and when. Even then there were quests that ‘failed’ or were ‘locked’. I suspect 100% completion of every quest is impossible, and that is intentional given the complexity of nine endings.

    By the end, Geralt had grown on me – especially as his dry humour grows. Plus Roach gets a word or two in, but not till Toussaint. I have NG+ set up and will choose differently if I ever complete the Assassin’s Creed games. Yen romance and a different ending.

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    1. Interesting commentary. I’m sure the inability to get 100% is generally something a lot of people like, but I’m not completely sold on enjoying it, myself. Part of it is that I’m not sure if I enjoy the narrative enough to give it the second playthrough necessary to see the “other side” of my options and choices. Still, I’m trying to do this without a guide as much as possible because I prefer to play that way for story content (looking up solutions to puzzles or strategies to defeat enemies, however, I’m all for).

      Overall, I suspect this isn’t exactly the perfect game for me, but I’m still glad to be playing it so I can at least understand why others love it so much and how it has influenced gaming. I completely understand, for example, why everyone says that AC Odyssey wouldn’t have existed without Witcher 3.

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      1. That makes a lot of sense, Hannie given your play style. Odyssey feels more linear than Witcher 3 with more black & white choices. Witcher is like real life – complex with consequences.

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  4. I’m glad you’re enjoying the game, even if some of the pieces aren’t selling you completely so far. I personally felt that once I had completed the Velen storyline, I had become hooked. It’s a very slow burn with the main story. I think a good amount of the side quests have way more interesting plots than the main quest: but I do still enjoy the story!

    For romance, I personally went for Yennefer both times: I would like to play again someday and pick Triss though! Yennefer does have some really good moments with Geralt that clue you in a bit to their dynamic, backstory included.

    And honestly, I felt that my favorite part of the entire game was the Blood and Wine expansion! It continues the tradition of amazing side quests, but takes place in an area that is brighter and much cheerier on the whole! And the plot is really cool 🙂

    Good luck going forward, and I hope you find a “thing” that firmly hooks you into the experience!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m definitely enjoying Novigrad more than Velen so far, but I figure I’ll post another update once I’ve officially gotten to Skellige. Novigrad shows the plotline really beginning to open up and get more complicated, which I appreciate. I’ll probably pick up the DLC if I make it to Skellige and I think I’m going to enjoy the game enough to want more at that point. I’m holding off until I’m sure I’m hooked enough to care about that extra content.

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