Witcher 1

Witcher 1

Company:
Release date:
Platform:
Genre:
      CD Projekt Red
October 2007
PC, Mac
Linear action RPG

Personal enjoyment: 07/10

      Witcher 1 map
It’s been a while since I bought The Witcher.. it was in June of 2015 actually. Yet I never even attempted to start the game. There always seemed to be a reason not to. Mostly I feared a game like this would take too long to complete and that I wouldn’t be able to finish it in one go (like with Neverwinter Nights). At the start of 2020 I was out of work for some time and had the perfect opportunity to finally give it a go. The game is rather dated and it took a bit of getting used to. The interface, menu, camera and combat system.. After almost completing the first two chapters I felt I had made too many mistakes and decided to start over. The rest of the game went a lot better but I still ended up missing a number of quests. So.. I restarted the game one more.

Character


As I’ve read the books before playing the game, I was aware of Geralt’s character. To me he is a no-nonsense, honest and open minded person. As a Witcher he is tasked to kill monsters that threaten humans, but things are rarely that black and white. He often chooses in the moment and doesn’t take sides just because of what one looks like. That is also how I tried to play the game, especially when it came to the conflict between The Order and The Scoia'tael. There were a few moments when my decisions were based on impure motives like with the quest ‘Blue Eyes’, but even when I sided with monsters things seem to work out for the best in the end. For my first and second play through I chose the neutral path.

Witcher skills

Alchemy


With alchemy you can create various potions, oils, bombs and mutagenic, which depending on the games difficulty, can be a big part of your gameplay. As Geralt lost his memory he also lost his extensive knowledge of monsters (and possibly herbs). Both herbs and monster parts are used in alchemy and although you can suffice with either one, having both will make it easier to collect useful ingredients. Selecting the skill ‘Herbalism’ will allow you to pick herbs but you will still need to read books or talk to townsfolks, for you to be able to recognize plants. Same goes for monsters, you’ll need to read books or listen to stories from townsfolk to learn about creatures and to be able gather their parts. Many books are available right from the start and are an easy but expensive way to gain knowledge. If you want to keep your orens then you’ll have to check the wiki on which npc’s can provide the same information (some are listed under Tips and Tricks -> Quest items per Chapter).

Potions
On medium difficulty there are a couple potions that are very useful. Well.. most potions have their use, but as you can’t drink them all at the same time because of the toxicity mechanic you’ll probably create only the basic few. Beyond these basic potions there are those useful for specific confrontations. Instead of having these special potions in your inventory it’s better to have the ingredients with you to create them when needed. For example if you have issues getting past a difficult situation or boss.
White Gull - turn a standard alcohol base into a top quality potion base.
Swallow - will be your healing for most of the game.
Tawny Owl - quickly regain endurance so you can spam the Igni sign.
Cat - allows you to see in the dark (crypts & caves).
White Raffard's Decoction - immediately restores Vitality.
Wives' Tears - if you don’t want to stubble around drunk after a drinking game.
Perfume (Rubedo) - can be sold for up to 50 orens!

You can give your potions a secondary effect, but only if the ingredients you use all have either albedo (reduces toxicity), nigredo (+20% dmg), or rubedo (regenerate vitality). If you have two potions that both have the same secondary effect it does not stack, one will replace the other. So it’s best to give your potions different secondary effects. Some of the easiest ingredients to acquire with a secondary substance:
Substance Ingredients Chapter Bestiary entry
Vitrol White myrtle petals 1, 2, 3, 4 Book - Field Plants or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts chapter 1)
Rebis Wing membrane 2, 3, 4, 5 Book - Vampires: Facts and Myths and Ornithosaurs
Aether Drowner brain tissue 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Book - Swamp Monsters, Bronze talent in Monster Lore or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts)
Quebrith Verbena 2, 3 Book - Plants of Barren Lands
Hydragenum Ectoplasm 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Book - Specters, Wraiths, and the Damned, Bronze talent in Monster Lore
Vermilion Bloedzuiger blood 2, 3, 5 Book - Swamp Monsters
Substance Ingredients Chapter Bestiary entry
Vitrol Sewant mushroom 1, 2, 3, 5 Book - Field Plants or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts chapter 1)
Rebis Beast liver 1, 2, 3, 4 Book - The Book of Animals
Aether Hellebore petals 1, 2, 3, 5 Book - Field Plants or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts chapter 1)
Quebrith Balisse fruit 1, 2, 3, 4 Book - Plants of Barren Lands
Hydragenum Beggartick blossoms 2, 3, 5 Book - Swamp Plants or NPC’s in the swamp (some during the quest ‘Flowers and Gold‘)
Vermilion Feainnewedd 2, 3 Book - Feainnewedd
Substance Ingredients Chapter Bestiary entry
Vitrol Ghoul blood 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Book - The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V1&2 or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts)
Rebis Celandine 1, 2, 3, 4 Book - Field Plants or the Old woman (Vizima outskirts chapter 1)
Aether Drowned dead tongue 2, 3, 5 Book - Swamp Monsters
Quebrith Alghoul marrow 2, 3, 4, 5 Book - The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V2
Hydragenum Venom glands 2, 3, 4 Book - Specters, Wraiths, and the Damned, Bronze talent in Monster Lore
Vermilion Bloedzuiger blood 2, 3, 5 Book - Ornithosaurs, Book - The Wonderful World of Insectoids

Some ingredients can be real money makers:
Ingredients Chapter Source Journal Entry
Calcium equum Calcium equum Prologue Chest exploit -
Ginatz's acid Ginatz's acid 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Drowners and drowned dead Book - Swamp Monsters
White vinegar White vinegar 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Ghouls, alghouls, cemetaurs, graveirs Book - The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V1&2
Feainnewedd Feainnewedd 2, 3 Feainnewedd Book - Feainnewedd
Albar's crystals Albar's crystals 2, 3, 4, 5 Devourers and bloedzuigers Book - Swamp Monsters, The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V2


Oils
Oils are almost as useful as potions and you should always have a couple with you or already applied. My personal preference is general damage oil instead of those specifically for one creature or another. Secondary effect on ingredients has no influence on oils or bombs.
Argentia - Silver swords +60% damage.
Crinfrid Oil - Steel sword as it is most effective against humanoids. While under the effect of ‘pain’ it disables your opponent.

Bombs
I’ve never used them, perhaps because I played on medium difficulty.

Mutagenic potions
These provide useful and permanent character upgrades. They all require a special ingredient that is acquired from a boss type monster.

Tips and Tricks


Armor and weapons
  • Running with your sword in hand, with fast style selected will make you go faster.
  • The Igni sign is a must have and worth the silver and gold talents.
  • A torch seems worthless but can be sold for 40 orens.
  • Don’t bother with Rune- or Meteor-swords. They are NOT worth it (in my opinion). You can find, buy or even receive better swords.
  •      - Chapter 2 & 4- Harvall - Steel sword. Found surrounded by Wyvern.
         - Chapter 4 - Aerondight - Silver sword. Receive from a quest at the end of the chapter.
         - Chapter 4 - Gwalhir - Steel sword. Can be bought for 3000 oren from the blacksmith's son.
         - Chapter 5 - D'yaebl - Steel sword. Gift from King Foltest if you cures Princess Adda.
         - Chapter 5 - G'valchir - Steel sword. Receive from Zahin Schmartz and the Royal huntsman.
         - Chapter 5 - Moonblade - Silver sword. Receive from the Royal huntsman.
  • You can import a Witcher 1 save file to start Witcher 2. This includes making swords, armor and extra gold available in the next game.
  • If you are planning to import a Witcher 1 save into the next game then don’t spend too much time collecting weapons and gold. Weapons are only slightly better than your starting gear and gold in the second game is easy to acquire.
  • Unless you choose the Order path, the sword Harvall may not be available.
  • DO buy the ‘Excellent leather jacket’. Preferably at the beginning of chapter 2 as you’ll get the most use out of it before you receive something better in chapter 5. It’s a little expensive but if you don’t spend needlessly, it is possible to get after just a few quests in chapter 2.
  • If you bought the Excellent leather jacket, make sure you sell it before collecting Ravens armor.

Other tips
  • Bodies will disappear when you leave the zone.
  • You can freely loot any container without consequences.
  • Don’t forget to read any books, formula and quest documents you find.
  • All containers in the Temple District reset in Chapter 3.
  • Not all monsters have to be enemies. Make your choice Witcher!
  • Don’t worry about spending bronze skills, you will get plenty of them.
  • Fistfight for orens, items and a quest item in chapter 5 (Won't Hurt a Bit).
  • Dice Poker is a great way to earn extra orens. (Save before you play, the AI cheats)
  • Have drinking contests for items and information (have Wives' Tears on hand).
  • Not all merchants will pay the same amount for items.
  • Talk to NPC’s like ‘Beggar’, ‘Townswoman’, ‘Old Woman’, etc. Many have ‘secret’ conversational options. Sometimes it takes multiple tries.
  • When NPC’s tell you to come back later; exiting and re-enter the area is considered ‘later’.

Quest items per chapter (SPOILERS)
Item needed NPC Quest Reward Extra info
icon 10 Barghest Skulls Abigail The Barghest Contract icon Orens & Exp Keep 1 for quest chapter 3 (or 5)
icon 3 Drowner Brains Reverend The Drowner Contract icon Orens & Exp -
icon 3 Ghoul Blood Kalkstein The Ghoul Contract icon Orens & Exp Bronze talent in monster lore
icon Pork Old townswoman - icon Beauclair wine -
icon Wine Vesna Hood She's No Early Bird icon Romance card -
icon Tulips Peasant woman - icon Romance card -
icon Food Old Woman - - Info - herbs Equivalent to the book ’Field plants’
icon Food Old Woman - - Info - monsters Enchinops & Ghouls
icon Food Old townswoman - - Info - monsters Drowners, Barghest
icon White Gull Beggar (female) - icon Eternal Fire signet ring Second one available
Item needed NPC Quest Reward Extra info
icon 3 Alghoul marrow Kalkstein The Alghoul Contract icon Orens & Exp The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V2
icon 3 Echinops roots Gardener The Echinops Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Curses and the Cursed
icon 6 Dog Tallow Gravedigger The Dogcatcher of Vizima icon Orens & Exp Random find or by killing dogs
icon 10 Drowned deads tongue Siegfried The Drowned Dead Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Swamp Monsters
icon 10 Wolf pelts Jean-Pierre The Wolf Contract icon Orens & Exp Wolves respawn
icon Wolf pelts Morenn - icon Romance card Wolves respawn
icon Flowers Prostitutes Working Girls icon Romance card -
icon Red roses Shani’s party Old Friend of Mine icon Romance card -
icon Red women's gloves Gossip - icon Romance card -
icon 5 Beggartick Yaren Bolt / Ferryman Flowers and Gold icon Orens & Exp -
icon 5 Celandine Shani Old Friend of Mine - Info - monsters Get the Info - Fleders
icon 150 Oren Lumberjack - - - Silver ring, sodden mead, red meteorite ore
icon Wine Grandma Old Friend of Mine - - She won’t throw you out
icon Honey Brickmakers' village women - - Info - herbs Beggartick, fool's parsley, crow's eye
icon Fruit / food Statue of Melitele - icon Mistletoe Hydragenum with Nigredo
icon Food Gardner - icon Roses Roses sell for 6 orens
icon Salamander brooch Messenger at the inn Wanted icon 10 Orens Will buy them after sharing a drink
icon 3 Salamander brooch Declan Leuvaarden Wanted icon Orens & Exp -
icon Fisstech Jethro The Crown Witness - Bribe -
Item needed NPC Quest Reward Extra info
icon 3 Wyvern meat New Narakort Innkeeper The Wyvern Contract icon Orens & Exp -
icon 3 Archespore Juice Jethro The Archespore Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Curses and the Cursed
icon 5 Cockatrice feathers Scribe The Cockatrice Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Ornithosaurs or Seigfried
icon 3 Fleder fangs Velerad The Fleder Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon 12 Ghoul Blood Velerad The Ghoul Contract icon Orens & Exp Bronze talent in monster lore
icon 5 Graveir bones Velerad The Graveir Contract icon Orens & Exp Bronze talent in monster lore
icon 10 Kikimore claw Velerad The Kikimore Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - The Wonderful World of Insectoids
icon Kikimore claw Noblewoman (orange dress) - icon Romance card Will exclude Noblewoman in white dress
icon Silk Scarf Noblewoman (white dress) - icon Romance card Will exclude Noblewoman in orange dress
icon Diamond Clerk (townhall) - icon Romance card -
icon Silver amber ring Shani The Source icon Romance card Will exclude Triss
icon Silver ruby ring Triss The Source icon Romance card Will exclude Shani
icon House of the Night signet ring Blue Eyes (Discount) - icon Romance card Ring received from Erkin von Blunt
icon House of the Night signet ring Courtesans (Discount) - icon Romance card Same card as Blue Eyes
icon Red women's gloves Waitress at the inn - icon Formula Formula for Wives' Tears
icon Barghest skull Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp Barghest ONLY spawn in chapter 1
icon Beast fangs Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp -
icon Fleder fang Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp Book - Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon Red meteorite ore The Alchemist Won't Hurt a Bit icon Formula King and Queen bomb and Crinfrid Oil
icon Beer Townswoman (inn) - - Info - monsters Basilisks, Wyverns, Archespores
icon 5 Fool's parsley Carmen Beauty and the Beast - - Continues quest
Item needed NPC Quest Reward Extra info
icon 5 Alp fangs Tobias Hoffman The Alp Contract icon Orens & Exp Book - Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon 3 Basilisk hides Julian The Basilisk Contract icon Orens & Exp Ornithosaurs
icon 10 Devourer teeth Abigail The Devourer Contract icon Orens & Exp Save a 1 for ‘Won't Hurt a Bit’
icon 4 Centipede carapaces Elven craftsman The Giant Centipede Contract icon Orens & Exp No bestiary entry needed
icon 3 Wyvern eggs Innkeeper The Royal Wyvern Contract icon Orens & Exp No bestiary entry needed
icon 4-5 Bread Toruviel Daily Bread icon Orens & Exp -
icon Food Elven sorceress Won't Hurt a Bit icon Romance card -
icon Ring (any) Celine The Heat of the Day icon Romance card Any ring will do
icon Sugardoll Peasant Woman - icon Romance card -
icon Something sweet Old peasant women - - Info - herbs Verbena, hops, bryonia
icon White Honey Baker - icon Sugardoll Yay a Sugardoll!
icon Food Elf Daily Bread (after) - Info - herbs Han, mandrake, honeysuckle, bryonia
icon Perfume Peasant woman - icon 100 orens -
Item needed NPC Quest Reward Extra info
icon 10 Bloedzuiger blood Druids The Bloedzuiger Contract icon Orens & Exp Swamp Monsters
icon 6 Bruxa blood Jean-Pierre The Bruxa Contract icon Orens & Exp Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon 2 Garkain saliva Kalkstein The Garkain Contract icon Orens & Exp Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon 4 Death dust Kalkstein The Wraith Contract icon Orens & Exp Specters, Wraiths, and the Damned
icon 5 Cemetaur jaws Desperate father The Cemetaur Contract icon Orens & Exp The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V2
icon Cemetaur jaw Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp The Tome of Fear and Loathing, V2
icon Alp fangs Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp Book - Vampires: Facts and Myths
icon Devourer teeth Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp Devourers ONLY spawn in chapter 4
icon Boxer's tooth Zahin Schmartz Won't Hurt a Bit icon Orens & Exp Geralt defeats Zdenek
icon Gift items Elder Druid The Green March icon White Raffard's Multiple gift item / potion options
icon Honeysuckle Paramedic - - Info - monster Ifrits
icon White Raffard's Paramedic - - Info - monster Ifrits
icon Swallow Nurse - - Info - monster Ifrits
icon Wine stone Nurse - - Info - monster Ifrits
icon Naezan salts Nurse - - Info - monster Ifrits

Gameplay and Gripes


Although I truly liked the game.. there were a lot of things that bothered me (both gameplay and story wise). Yet.. when I think about the elements that I found annoyed, they are either trivial or the developers were justified in their decisions. Take Geralt’s memory loss for example. It felt like a cheap copout to bridge the gap between the books and the game. But it’s actually a good choice as not everyone read the books before playing. So the player knows as much as Geralt does and has to (re)learn a lot about the world, creatures and characters. For those that have read the books, they can make their own ‘version’ of Geralt without being limited by what the book version of Geralt would do.

Inventory management
Having a limited inventory was bothersome but to be honest.. it is more realistic, especially compared to what you can carry with you in some games. Having a large inventory also isn’t necessary and prevents players from spending too much time on collecting items. The game isn’t an open RPG, it ends when the last chapter is completed. All you need is some potions, oils and flint to get from one chapter to the next. That doesn’t mean money, in this case ‘orens’ isn’t important. Alchemy and some quests items require journal entries (herb / beast); some on this knowledge can only be acquired by buying expensive books. From blacksmiths you can purchase at least one useful (though expensive) sword and an armor upgrade. 1% of your orens can also be transferred from the Witcher 1 game to its sequel.

One thing that I think is a legitimate complaint, is that you can’t complete some quests without having foresight. Take Barghest skulls for example. You can farm these for a quest and orens in the first chapter. If you decide to sell all of them you won’t be able to complete a quest in chapter 3! How would you know not to sell them all? You don’t and there is no way to get another after completing chapter 1.. [Declaimer the Barghest skull is not required to complete the quest chain]

Some conversational options are also very unforgiving. Taking one option over another can mean the difference between having to kill a character or giving them another chance… and you don’t always know which is which before you click it. I’ve had to go back to really old saves to prevent an unfortunate outcome later.


A small list of things that bothered me:
  • Triss.. Triss is allergic to magic potions. Practically the first quest you get is healing her with a potion.
  • No one seemed to care that detective Raymond died. He was a good man and it would have been nice if characters that knew him acknowledged that.
  • No one in Vizima, the slums in particular mentions the presence of a werewolf in the city.
  • What happened to Shani at the end of the game? No conclusion there..
  • What happened to Grandma (Shani’s house) after chapter 2?
  • Vetala the talking ghoul should have received his or her own quest if you let him/her live.
  • Herbs in The Witcher are based on real-life plants but the honeysuckle herb looks more like something out of the Rafflesia family.
  • Useless little cut-scenes that add nothing to the story and interrupt the flow. Like showing a signet ring or granny shuffling towards you.
  • Practically no access to your bank in chapter 5? WTF?
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