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The Witcher Witcher 3 was too big and had bad pacing

DalekFlay

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It's size and world design are a big reason I played as long as I did, along with a good story. Shame the gameplay kind of sucks.
 

Yosharian

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The only thing I would say that was bad was the combat system, which gets silly when an expert swordfighter's only real technique is rolling around on the ground a thousand times and hitting them in the back.

If you played like this then it simply means you didn't understand the combat system...

The combat is mediocre, but it gets way too much shit by people who dont even put in the slightest effort to grasp its basic systems.
What does it say about this combat system if the main mechanic is rolling all over the floor? I mean there are many games that utilize rolling as a main mechanic yet don't devolve into only rolling around - mostly by implementing a penalty for rolling too much, e.g. a stamina cost. Which Witcher 3 doesn't have.
 
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The only thing I would say that was bad was the combat system, which gets silly when an expert swordfighter's only real technique is rolling around on the ground a thousand times and hitting them in the back.

If you played like this then it simply means you didn't understand the combat system...

The combat is mediocre, but it gets way too much shit by people who dont even put in the slightest effort to grasp its basic systems.
What does it say about this combat system if the main mechanic is rolling all over the floor? I mean there are many games that utilize rolling as a main mechanic yet don't devolve into only rolling around - mostly by implementing a penalty for rolling too much, e.g. a stamina cost. Which Witcher 3 doesn't have.
But it's not, rolling is only a good mechanic if you're bad at the game. Dodging is infinitely superior.
 

Yosharian

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B-but the combat system is really good if you just don't use this easily abusable and no-risk strategy and instead use this other, skilful, riskier strategy!

I mean, ok. I could just not use rolling. That is true.
 

alyvain

Learned
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Mar 18, 2017
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I call it the principle of the least effort required. If rolling works good enough and takes no effort to master, I'm not gonna bother doing anything else.

Dodging is easy too. But combat mechanics is broken anyway, so it doesn't matter.

I kinda feel that Gothic-type combat system would fit the game better. Perhaps not 90-hours gameplay better, but at least fighting supposedly different monsters (you know, the stuff they teach kids in Caer Morhen for many years) will be somewhat interesting.
 

Outmind

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I'm playing the Witcher 3 for the first time right now. Been putting it off for ages because I couldn't get into Witcher 2 even after trying 4 times and giving up without even killing that sea monster. I LOVED the original game though.

I'm lvl 17 at the moment. The game is good, but I don't get people who orgasmically rave on about it. The first Witcher still reigns supreme in my book. Here are my thoughts:

1. The game is too bloated. There's so much random stuff and junk you can pick up or see which ultimately doesn't mean anything. You get zillions of crafting items and recipes but end up using maybe 10 percent of everything.

2. I was disappointed in the potion refill system. There are plants EVERYWHERE, yet you need to pick just enough to make each potion... once. This system feels so clunky and tacked on that I'm getting the feeling they changed ingredient requirements at the very last second.

3. The combat is ridiculously easy. I'm playing on the 3rd difficulty and have no trouble with anything. The only time I had to restart the same event 10+ times was when I arrived in Velen and had to protect those battlefield scavengers from hordes of ghouls. Only later Did I realize this was a level 9 quest while Geralt was lvl 4.

4. Quen is ridiculously overpowered, and I love it.

5. Gwent is fun, if a bit simple

6. The deadly enemy mechanic is stupid. High-level enemies should be a challenge to overcome, not be physically impossible to beat.

7. People in the thread have stated how the game has brilliant side quests. Well, some are good, but most are meh and boil down to "follow these prints, press e near the red glowing object and go where the arrow takes you.

8. The loot in the game is uninteresting. I don't even bother putting runes into the swords since there's bound to be one round the next corner with better stats. For relics, there sure are lot of 'em.

9. There are loads of potions, oils etc., but these are totally unnecessary given the combat difficulty.

10. About the only interesting non-boss enemy are the noon / nightwraiths because of the Yrden mechanics. Enemies learn nothing with experience - a lvl 17 bandit is as dimwitted as a lvl 2 one.

11. The main story is... fine? Not the best storytelling ever, but far from the worst. I liked the baron's part the most so far and Priscilla's song was a treat too.
 

Jack Of Owls

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Well, I thought TW3 was just the right length. However, my interest did peter out dramatically by the time of the Blood & Wine expansion, so I guess the long length of the original game did wear me down on some level but I wasn't particularly conscious at the time of the original release being too long. Now something like Pathfinder Kingmaker... now THAT is a long game. It can sometimes feel like an endless PnP session, and it should, given that it IS practically a PnP session.
 

Lord_Potato

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The deadly enemies are beatable. The most difficult and fun duel I had was on Skellige against a gryphon I met on one of the tiny islands. He was like 14 levels above me but I thought: fuck it, I'll do it. Had to use everything in my arsenal, crossbow, potions, bombs... and evade his every attack. It was like freaking Dark Souls, but in the end, I prevailed.
 
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I find it interesting how people on the 'dex often prefer the first Witcher to such a wild degree, something displayed in a few posts in this thread. I like all three for different reasons, but all three also have significant issues and - in my opinion - actually share problems. For example, all three ask you to use their alchemy systems, particularly on the toughest difficulty settings, but none of the three ask the player to master those systems. All three games allow you to get by with solid gameplay, chugging swallow, using the correct oils (hardly a difficult task), and throwing whatever bombs are on hand at the opponent. You can make things easier by getting tricky with correct potion usage, but "tricky" usually just means slapping extra fairly straight-forward bonuses on top of whatever you were already doing.

Perhaps more on topic, all three games have pacing issues because a huge emphasis in CDPR's design philosophy was to immerse the player in Sapkowski's fictional universe. They talk about it quite a bit in interviews for the first game. A game which featured plodding, overly large, mazelike maps and a relatively slow walking speed. That design holds true for both sequels. There's definitely an emphasis on allowing the player to just enjoy the world and setting, and that's something that very much so falls under the category of "Your Mileage May Vary". I did think that the Witcher 3 had a few too many side activities and optional little things to do, but it's also in service of allowing the player to just spend a lot of time in a setting that the developers were tremendously passionate about, and the difference in intent does ultimately provide a difference when it comes to the finished product. The contrast between this and say, an Assassin's Creed game, is night and day. One loves the setting and comes up with a ton of excuses to spend time ogling the scenery and just messing about with the universe and characters therein, and the other is a certain size because focus testing dictated that it would improve microtransaction sales for a game to be of a certain size and length, so that game has to be filled with meaningless, copy-pasted side-activities that serve no purpose and have no entertainment value.

All that to say, I wouldn't claim that the Witcher games are perfect, but I would at least say that some of their arguable design flaws seem like deliberate artistic intentions and can be enjoyed within that context. I absolutely don't believe in the principle of the "Death of the Author", and while that doesn't excuse legitimate problems with writing or quality, I do think there's a lot to be said in favor of the Witcher games for what they actually aim to accomplish.
 

pomenitul

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I absolutely don't believe in the principle of the "Death of the Author"

Barthes wasn't arguing that the death of the author invalidates authorial intent. His point was that the works themselves are ultimately far more significant than their maker(s), which in no way implies that said works are at a complete remove from intentionality. In this instance, CDPR's goal – to immerse the player in Sapkowski's setting – is made manifest by the games themselves. What the reader (or player) can never know, however (and this applies to the author himself, as well), is the work's 'true' meaning in the absolute sense. So while intentionality is indeed real, inscribing traces of its operation within the works that it impels, it remains fallible. Something else (there are many ways of filling the blanks) thwarts our projects; there is always some amount of pushback. Hence the only author who can be said to have 'died' here is the Godlike, authoritative genius whose work is the perfect realization of his original intent.
 

Myzzrym

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For all Witchers 3 good points, I still have to agree with OP's opinion. I dropped it and picked it back up an endless number of times, there were multiple moments where I didn't feel compelled by the main quest at all (or even remember it). It was really uneven, with parts like the Red Baron being great and others where I was just trying to power through.
 

2house2fly

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The main quest isn't really compelling past the Bloody Baron. Luckily the first expansion added some good stuff for the postgame.

You cannot blame the devs, because nobody can seriously expect both a world of a certain size and that world to be filled with quests of only the Bloody Baron caliber.
And you also cannot expect devs to just make the world smaller then, because the mainstream audience expects a large world.
This is basically an admission that the game is too large.

Not to mention that the ultimate villain of the series - Eredin - gets under 20 lines for the whole game
I think the entire wild hunt might get 20 lines combined. I don't remember Eredin saying a thing except for his two lines at the very end.

This happened in TW2, but in 3 is different. After the roll there is a recovery time that doesn't allow you to immediately hit the opponent nor parry. The dodge is way more functional.
The dodge is insane. Something like half a second of guaranteed invincibility at zero stamina cost. Literally no reason not to use it over the roll. Whose idea was that?
 

thesheeep

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You cannot blame the devs, because nobody can seriously expect both a world of a certain size and that world to be filled with quests of only the Bloody Baron caliber.
And you also cannot expect devs to just make the world smaller then, because the mainstream audience expects a large world.
This is basically an admission that the game is too large.
It is most definitely not.
It is a statement of the fact that the smaller quests and locations do not reach the quality of the Bloody Baron, because if all quests had so much content around them, the game would be ten hours long at max.
Which I guess is what some people would like to play, but certainly not me. Especially if you pay a high price for the game.
A game does not have to be filled with only story highlights in order to be good, I'd actually argue that if a game was filled with only story highlights, you probably wouldn't even notice them as they wouldn't set themselves apart from the rest. One part of good storytelling is knowing that you do not want to have a non-stop firework of drama going on.
 
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I absolutely don't believe in the principle of the "Death of the Author"

Barthes wasn't arguing that the death of the author invalidates authorial intent. His point was that the works themselves are ultimately far more significant than their maker(s), which in no way implies that said works are at a complete remove from intentionality. In this instance, CDPR's goal – to immerse the player in Sapkowski's setting – is made manifest by the games themselves. What the reader (or player) can never know, however (and this applies to the author himself, as well), is the work's 'true' meaning in the absolute sense. So while intentionality is indeed real, inscribing traces of its operation within the works that it impels, it remains fallible. Something else (there are many ways of filling the blanks) thwarts our projects; there is always some amount of pushback. Hence the only author who can be said to have 'died' here is the Godlike, authoritative genius whose work is the perfect realization of his original intent.
Apparently I'm not super familiar with the concept of the death of the author, so I appreciate the explanation. I believe I've mostly heard it referenced tangentially in conversations regarding post-modernism, a philosophical position I absolutely abhor.

Even with a more correct context, I'd still say that I don't entirely agree with the notion if I'm following you correctly. It seems to me to be a position that would inspire pointless degrees of obtuseness when practiced. The critical position of "but it's not what I wanted" is rampant within both professional and amateur gaming critique, and it's rarely from a self-aware perspective that admits to potentially erroneous criticism due to subjective interest. Conversely, it's not uncommon to hear of some self-proclaimed indie-dev auteur censor his or her Steam forum because negative criticism hurts their ego and is equated with pointless negativity. Or, in the infamous case of Phil Fish, an entire game getting cancelled.

For either the author or the audience to claim a greater degree of understanding of an artistic work than the other is to either allow for the arrogant dismissal of all "incorrect" opinions or to allow for deliberate misinterpretation, respectively. In retrospect and having written out a block of text I'm too lazy to delete, I'd suppose that the "Death of the Author" is primarily referring to the former circumstance, but modern critics seem to be more than happy to accept the latter.

One could make an argument that any attempt in a commercial environment to reach a balanced perspective would ultimately prove pointless, given the fickle nature of paying audiences. But I think a balanced perspective is the only path to any artistic expression that strikes a balance between being genuinely appreciable by an audience while also maintaining artistic intent and integrity. When it comes to the Witcher games, they may be a little too far on the side of favoring scale and spectacle, resulting in overly long periods between events occurring in normal gameplay, AKA, bad pacing. At the same time, how much less rich and textured would the world of the Witcher feel if the distance between buildings and towns was scaled down to minimize walking time, cramming everything together like the average Bethesda title? There are definitely instances of poor pacing in the Witcher games - several areas in the Witcher 1, in particular, are pointlessly large and feature large, unused spaces between points of interest. But what I'd expect many would refer to as poor pacing or overly large maps could easily be shown to add to the value and enjoyment of the final product with only a minor perspective shift from the audience and a deliberate, if incredibly minimal, effort to approach the original work with intent in mind.
 

pomenitul

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As you say, authorial intent can also be used to weasel out of unpleasant situations, e.g. 'you, feeble reader, failed to grasp the shatteringly brilliant idea I was trying to convey'. The 'truth', as so often, is somewhere in between: it is the author's responsibility to ensure that the work lives up to his vision (with the proviso that it cannot be thoroughly achieved, by definition, unless your intentions are thoroughly mediocre) but the reader must also put some amount of effort into deciphering the work and not just yield to the laziest of whims (assuming he wants his reading to be taken seriously, of course). So it's not a purely random or chaotic process on either side. That said, you can't expect an author to thoroughly communicate exactly what it is that he means, not least because he doesn't always know what he's doing, as there is always an element of blind inspiration involved in the creative process. By the same token, even the smartest reader is incapable of figuring out a work's true meaning (assuming there is such a thing in the first place). No professional scholar of art, no matter how respected, would ever argue that his/her interpretation of a given work is the ultimate one, and part of the reason we engage with artworks at all is because they are enigmatic, because they gesture towards something that lies seemingly beyond us and that we find alluring. In sum, authorial intention is essential, as is readerly good faith, but once you've posited that, you're still left with a whole slew of fascinatingly complex problems of which we'll never be entirely rid (thank God!). I think your issue is with those who skip the former step altogether (and I mostly agree with your ire), but dismissing the latter camp is no less impoverishing. Anyhow, apologies for side-tracking the thread – I'm definitely with you regarding the Witcher series' shortcomings (and strengths).
 

anvi

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I liked the world but the gameplay was for dumb as shit console morons. Gimme some good combat in that world and I would have been really happy.
 

Agame

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For all Witchers 3 good points, I still have to agree with OP's opinion. I dropped it and picked it back up an endless number of times, there were multiple moments where I didn't feel compelled by the main quest at all (or even remember it). It was really uneven, with parts like the Red Baron being great and others where I was just trying to power through.

Same here bro, I think I have been trying to finish this game for years, but I just keep bouncing off it, its so tedious and overly padded.

And WTF does "Death of the Author" have to do with this? Its really simple guys, the Witcher 3 was ruined by mashing in a whole lot of shitty 'open world' and MMO mechanics. No need to hurt your brains over it.
 
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The statement isn't necessarily wrong, but only in vacuum. The game was big, but all of the side-quest business and overall atmosphere was much better than most games' main quests (I especially loved the detective stuff in big city with haunted houses, vampires and all that shit). Even the busywork parts like reclaiming villages or hunting down recipes while not particularly great, were entirely optional.
 
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In sum, authorial intention is essential, as is readerly good faith, but once you've posited that, you're still left with a whole slew of fascinatingly complex problems of which we'll never be entirely rid (thank God!). I think your issue is with those who skip the former step altogether (and I mostly agree with your ire), but dismissing the latter camp is no less impoverishing. Anyhow, apologies for side-tracking the thread – I'm definitely with you regarding the Witcher series' shortcomings (and strengths).
That's a fair assessment of where I'm coming from, and I'll join in apologizing for the side-tracking. I enjoyed reading through your perspective, though. Good stuff. No homo.

And WTF does "Death of the Author" have to do with this? Its really simple guys, the Witcher 3 was ruined by mashing in a whole lot of shitty 'open world' and MMO mechanics. No need to hurt your brains over it.
It has to do with understanding why the Witcher 3 is the way it is in the first place and that it wasn't some half-assed attempt at grabbing a specific market's attention. In an interview, they stated that they wanted to make the definitive Witcher game. It's supposed to be a large, exhaustive adventure. Did they make compromises to allow for the open world to be less tedious? Yes. Did they go too far in some areas, regarding alchemy or the complexity of combat? Probably.

As far as TW3 including MMO mechanics... I'm not even sure where to start with that. There's so little overlap in terms of mechanics or concepts that I'm pretty sure both fans of the Witcher 3 and fans of MMOs would be offended by that comparison. A more apt negative comparison would probably be a console-focused RPG such as the Fable games or one of the many action games that shoehorned in RPG mechanics. The first Witcher would be more comparable to an MMO with a ton of bland fetch quests, uninteresting item design, and clunky combat that only occasionally bothers diving into the potential depth present in its own ruleset. Such an argument would be overly reductive, but so is most of the negativity aimed at TW3 so fair's fair.
 

Open Path

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To me Open World is an entire genre/set of subgenres and not only a single unsubstantial feature, "lack of closed levels". If not, nobody or at least not so many players here and out the codex would mention open world mechanics.

There are "pure" open world titles in which the free roaming and lack of mandatory-handholding in game start is accompanied with the absence of any main path for your character: e.g. Kenshi or Mount & Blade.

In other games there is one main quest but this is only a minor part of the experience and player character is only mildly or subtly oriented to that path as Darklands, Daggerfall or Morrowind.

Finally there are many mixed-genre games, that offer to the player many secondary activities and a mostly consistent world where you can free explore, but in which the main adventure, a prefixed path for player character -also prefixed usually-, is the clear experience focus, in many of these games, even the worldbuilding is clearly designed around a prefixed path -so there is much closed and scripted content-, examples of this last type of quasi open world are: Ultima games, Gothic and Risen series, Kingdom Come, etc.

The Witcher 3 is clearly part of this last group of semi open worlds with the mechanics, the worlbuilding and the entire experience being tied to the prefixed character & story of Geralt of Rivia . But it fails in most of the aforementioned open world typical features to the point that many players feel that it's a great game despite openworldness. Superb writing and npc personalities, good storytelling, decent worldbuilding or c&c, and shitty open world features.

However the presence of secondary quests, different paths or free roaming in TW3 experience is not what makes so many mechanics and design feels as a mere content filler but bad design decisions actually. Ultimas and Gothic introduce these openworldness -secondary content, enemies and loot in a free roaming world, minor choices in you prefixed path, etc- way better. And Kc: D to cite a more recent game, did way better also in most of these contexts, thanks to uniqueness, diversity and a worldbuilding that emphasizes world credibility not allowing content reduce to a simple filler.

So TW3 not necessarily should be a better game with less content and a more focused experience, but the way developers implemented secondary content, exploration mechanics, loot and enemies and many aspects of wordbuilding is clearly improvable.
 

Trashos

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When the open-world game has little exploration/few side quests, people rage at its laziness.

When the open-world game has a lot of exploration/many side-quests, people laugh at the incompatibility with the urgency of the main quest.

When the open world game has little urgency in its main quest, people complain that they were offered no motivation.

Can an open-world game truly win?
 

alyvain

Learned
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When the open-world game has little exploration/few side quests, people rage at its laziness.

When the open-world game has a lot of exploration/many side-quests, people laugh at the incompatibility with the urgency of the main quest.

When the open world game has little urgency in its main quest, people complain that they were offered no motivation.

Can an open-world game truly win?

Of course it can. What kind of question is that?
 

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