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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:37pm 27/05/15 | 15 Comments
As it's the talk of the town and everyone's doing it, Joaby plunged himself into the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and loved myriad aspects of the game, but it wouldn't be a Joab experience without pitfalls glaringly opening up for him, and so he's brought his ranting self to AusGamers to present a case for why you should probably just play The Witcher 3 on easy.

Joaby and I are on odd pages in the same book. It's like one of us is reading upside down, but we both accuse one another of being that lopsided weirdo.

I play games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Batman, The Evil Within and most shooters on the hardest difficulty setting available, but I hate the Souls games -- games he relishes the challenge from, as well as other games like Civilzation, but he also likes playing most of the aforementioned on settings that allow him to just sink into the world. We're the original odd couple!

I don't wholly agree with a lot of what he says here, particularly in combat, but his case is thoroughly thought through and meticulously articulated, so we thought we'd hand him a soapbox and let him run with his shocking suggestion of playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on easy.

Click here for his The Witcher 3 opinion piece -- complete with narrated video.



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Latest Comments
Khel
Posted 05:07pm 27/5/15
Heh, I'm usually pretty OCD in these types of games and loot everything and take everything anyway, can't help myself.
Chang
Posted 05:29pm 27/5/15
I agree with a lot of your points, but I still find that I enjoy the challenge of combat. It feels like a choreographed dance that, if I step out of time, punishes me heavily.

Human opponents with narrow direction attacks (Swords, spears)? Alt-key to side-step when they strike then immediately counter attack. This same strategy needs to be employed against werewolves (anything that regenerates) in order to keep the damage up.

Larger creatures with wider angle attacks? Roll away, cast a spell to stun, attack, roll away again. Dive in an out of attack range to keep yourself alive while still dealing damage. Focus on rolling behind the creature, where most of the damage can be done.

Blocking and reposting only really works against single human opponents; the block needs to be timed right before their attack, so you are helpless if someone else attacks you from the side or rear.
Don’t lock on to opponents, especially in group fights. Roll and dart between multiple opponents, slash or stab one human/monster then dart to the next before they can counter. Rinse and repeat and you will lower the collective health of the group little by little.

For me, this is a real highlight. I love having to mix up my strategies as well as plan in potions and spells. I haven’t played batman, so I couldn’t comment on how this combat relates to that, but for me, it’s challenging and fun. There is a real strategy to it.
Viper119
Posted 06:01pm 27/5/15
Did Joaby ever play Witcher 1 or 2? The combat system in 3 doesn't look much different from that, it is different to other major games though I guess. I found it worked well and was challenging in 2.
Joaby
Posted 06:14pm 27/5/15
I found the combat really turned me off from playing the first two games Viper, but I find the rest of the world of The Witcher 3 so compelling that I've powered through despite my issues with it.
Spook
Posted 06:49pm 27/5/15
anyone who deosnt like dark souls should quit gaming, forevar
Viper119
Posted 06:54pm 27/5/15
The combat is definitely difficult and challenging, I found that when first playing 1 and 2 as well (nearly put me off), but I felt there's defo legit tactics to use that make you succeed. That and all the business of properly preparing for fights with wet stones, potions, tactics, etc.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 06:57pm 27/5/15
I disagree with a few of your points:

Particularly about health. I'm playing on B&BB, at first I was very nooby and got hit a lot in combat and chewed through lots of food and was searching for wolf meat all the time. Then I realized two things:

1. I was seriously undergeared because I accidentally skipped almost all of White Orchard and I hadn't put my ability points in my slots. Sun and Stars was a game changer.

I rarely find myself needing to eat to replenish health, which seriously cuts down on having to loot everything, I hardly use potions. So that argument, in my play through, simply doesn't apply.

The argument about the combat being in-between contextual and button-bash I also find to a bit off. I find I can pretty much predict which attack I'm going to do based on the contextual information given to me, I regularly interrupt enemy attacks by hitting them first.

There is a skill that essentially gives you i-frames, it's the reduce-damage while dodging. Rolling isn't a dodge, it's a get the f*** out move, it should only be performed when you dun goofed.



Now I do however present a different argument to support your claims.

The combat is fairly simple really. Most enemies are killed similar to Dark Souls (but simpler). That is you know their animations and attacks, and perform the relevant moves to make the combat happen. The problem is, the difference between fighting a easy-mode enemy and a hard-mode enemy is mostly the length of the fight. You do the same things, but the easy-mode one dies earlier on. It also lets you get away with much sloppier play.

IF the enemies behaved differently in hard-modes that would be much better.

That being said, I found easy-mode to be really unsatisfying with any combat situations, it was just too easy. Playing on hard mode is much better for me.
Khel
Posted 08:32pm 27/5/15
Yeah, I don't enjoy hard on games where upping the difficulty is not much more than a multiplier on everything's damage and health. Dragon Age has always been a really bad offender here, remember the fight with the arishok in da2? My God. That was the point I cranked the difficulty down in da2 and I didn't even bother starting on a harder difficulty in da:I, just went through on normal.

Is there something in between story-mode easy and tough-as-nails in witcher 3? Only ever hear people talking about playing it at one extreme or the other.
Joaby
Posted 10:42pm 27/5/15
I disagree with a few of your points:

Particularly about health. I'm playing on B&BB, at first I was very nooby and got hit a lot in combat and chewed through lots of food and was searching for wolf meat all the time. Then I realized two things:

1. I was seriously undergeared because I accidentally skipped almost all of White Orchard and I hadn't put my ability points in my slots. Sun and Stars was a game changer.

I rarely find myself needing to eat to replenish health, which seriously cuts down on having to loot everything, I hardly use potions. So that argument, in my play through, simply doesn't apply.

The argument about the combat being in-between contextual and button-bash I also find to a bit off. I find I can pretty much predict which attack I'm going to do based on the contextual information given to me, I regularly interrupt enemy attacks by hitting them first.

There is a skill that essentially gives you i-frames, it's the reduce-damage while dodging. Rolling isn't a dodge, it's a get the f*** out move, it should only be performed when you dun goofed.



Now I do however present a different argument to support your claims.

The combat is fairly simple really. Most enemies are killed similar to Dark Souls (but simpler). That is you know their animations and attacks, and perform the relevant moves to make the combat happen. The problem is, the difference between fighting a easy-mode enemy and a hard-mode enemy is mostly the length of the fight. You do the same things, but the easy-mode one dies earlier on. It also lets you get away with much sloppier play.

IF the enemies behaved differently in hard-modes that would be much better.

That being said, I found easy-mode to be really unsatisfying with any combat situations, it was just too easy. Playing on hard mode is much better for me.


Yeah, Junglist told me about the i-frames dodge roll thing. I abandoned dodge as a move anyway because it traps Geralt in one motion for far too long in the heat of battle, so yeah it's pretty much always just a 'oh crap i'm surrounded' thing for me now.

The thing about the combat is that I don't want to 'pretty much' predict what I'm going to do -- I want to know or not know. Knowing 9 times out of 10 sucks when that 10th time costs you a huge chunk of health.

And for Sun and Stars, I feel like an ability which exists as essentially a must pick shouldn't be sequestered away in the ability tree, which I suppose is the same attitude that lead to the eventual dumbing down of World of Warcraft, but it also lead to the game getting a bit smarter again (before being dumbed down again).

Yeah, I don't enjoy hard on games where upping the difficulty is not much more than a multiplier on everything's damage and health. Dragon Age has always been a really bad offender here, remember the fight with the arishok in da2? My God. That was the point I cranked the difficulty down in da2 and I didn't even bother starting on a harder difficulty in da:I, just went through on normal.

Is there something in between story-mode easy and tough-as-nails in witcher 3? Only ever hear people talking about playing it at one extreme or the other.

There are four difficulties, I started out on the second hardest, dropped to second easiest and am currently playing on easy because ultimately I'm just not interested in the hassle when what I really want to be involved in is the story.
Audi
Posted 11:00pm 27/5/15
I'm only on the second difficulty and I'm at lvl 11 now. I'm finding it easy tbh and might crank it up to the 3rd difficulty.
Have you crafted custom gear and buy or craft better swords Joaby? Also crafting the bombs and greater bombs make the game so much easier.
Nothing wrong with playing a game on an easier mode. I do it with difficult games when I just want to play through the game and move on quickly.
Being a game reviewer I can see why Joaby might want to do this or he won't have an income for the next 6 months.
Vash
Posted 12:10am 28/5/15
I've been playing on 3rd difficulty and haven't had any troubles. but then again im a hardcore darksouls fan.
Joaby
Posted 08:10am 28/5/15
Yeah, I've been crafting stuff, although I think I only have one greater bomb recipe so far Audi. I just find the combat to be tedious instead of interesting I guess. I can win fights, that's not a problem because the movesets on enemies aren't exactly complex, I just find it boring to suffer through.

And Vash, I'm a hardcore souls fan! I actually think I might have some bad habits from Souls games that exacerbate my gripes with the Witcher 3, like my habit of blocking and backing away when I should be dodging forward and behind.
ravn0s
Posted 08:24am 28/5/15
I find the combat fun when I'm only facing one enemy but incredibly annoying when it's a group of enemies.

it felt really satisfying last night when I took down a wyvern that was 6 levels higher than me.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 09:57am 28/5/15
Yeah I find dodge really useful. Most of my attacks come right off a dodge, I must admit there is rarely a time when Geralt performs a move and missed because it was the wrong one.

You mostly use side dodge, back dodging isn't that useful for most enemies and forward dodge is suicide in most cases. Part of being surrounded is choosing when to dodge and when to attack the correct enemy, when you play on easy mode it doesn't really matter what you do in combat, just spam and you win.

I agree the Sun and Stars ability should just be part of being a Witcher, it's silly as it pretty much is a must have for B&BB and above.
Arpey
Posted 12:28pm 28/5/15
Honestly, I play most story-driven games on normal the first time, and bump it down to easy for subsequent playthroughs if the story warrants coming back to see how different decisions change things. I kind of feel like setting a game to easy the first time is cheap, but on the same note I did find the Witcher & Witcher 2 games something of a slog - combat was there to be gotten through before I could get to the next quest or interesting NPC.

I might try cranking it back to Easy and see if that improves my experience, if not I can bump it back up above normal as penance.
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