Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Witcher III Does Item-Based Combat Right

One of the great archetypes of heroic fantasy is the guy who always has the right gadget, herb, or charm for the given situation. This is a person who knows exactly how to make a concoction to slow the effects of a cursed dagger or exactly what kind of charm can be constructed with household parts to ward off some wraith. Basically, fantasy MacGyver.

The problem is that in games, this basically means incessant farming - gathering materials constantly and having to restock, always afraid to use your Gold Dust Anti-Dragon Bomb because dammit, you only have so much Anti-Dragon and you don't want to head all the way to the Isle of Antimatter to get more.

The Witcher III (and maybe earlier games in the series for all I know) resolves this problem by taking a radical approach to the crafting system.

Once you've brewed a potion, assembled a bomb, mixed up some oil, or what have you, you simply have it forever. Weapon Oil is always there for you (but has to be reapplied after a while) while bombs and potions do have limited charges - usually 1-3 - but if you spend time meditating, you can simply consume a bottle of hard alcohol and all of your stuff pops back into your inventory.

Booze is rather easy to come by and can be bought, and it appears that any sort of hard liquor you have will work to replenish your stuff.

So while theoretically you might have to "farm" booze, ultimately it's pretty easy to get all your stuff back, which means that you can (and should) use those items pretty proactively - really only saving them if you think there's a particularly hard fight coming up.

There are a couple of downsides to keep you from abusing these potions. One is that if you take a whole bunch without waiting to recover (or using other materials to detox,) you'll fill up your toxicity meter and start to lose health until the effects wear off.

Additionally, recipes demand lots of different ingredients, so you'll need to pick herbs you come across and buy stuff from herbalists.

It appears that you'll want to enhance these items with new recipes as you level up, but the fact that once you have Specter Oil, you'll always have something to add a little more punch to your ghost-fighting attacks, is pretty damn great.

Oh, and Devil's Puffball is a nasty thing to throw at a group of thugs who have made the ill-advised decision to fight Geralt of Rivia.

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