I'll reiterate that by far the hardest part of the game will be early on where you're learning the mechanics and don't have (m)any buffs to work with. It's especially difficult when you encounter hordes of enemies that swarm you. Probably the hardest time I had in the game (minus the final boss in the last DLC) was a group of Drowners on a beach. I know Rax and Maz both loved Quen, but much of the time I found Igni more useful as it can hit multiple enemies and give you an opening to get more hits in. Quen is great against tough, single enemies though, especially slow ones as it gives you the ability to absorb a single hit, take no damage, and then just immediately activate Quen again, essentially making you invincible. You can even take down some single, high-level enemies early on by just keeping Quen up. I'll also mention that Aard is great for knocking down flying enemies.
As you progress, it's good to pay attention to the Bestiary to learn enemy weaknesses. I was big on getting every buff (Oil, decoctions, etc.) I could and always using them before I went into battles. However, that's really only useful/necessary if you're playing on the harder difficulty settings. Make sure to check out Gwent, the card game within the video game. It's really fun and if you stick with it there are some major rewards for beating the tougher players later in the game. I was also pretty obsessive about getting the best weapons/armor, but this is also more useful/necessary on harder settings. If you do get really into getting the best weapons/armor I'd read some online guides on the game's complex crafting system as you'll be doing a lot of it as it's way too cost-prohibitive to just buy everything.
As for stat/character building, this is was a favorite aspect of mine that I played around with a lot. There are plenty of guides online you can read about the different possible directions. I generally like a balance between fighting, magic, and alchemy, but most prefer to have "specialty" characters. At some point in the game you can buy a potion that will allow you to reset all your choices, so don't worry too much about taking a wrong path.
The rest is more familiar RPG stuff. Nearly every storyline has multiple decisions/choices that can profoundly effect the outcome, so the game you end up playing can be quite different than the game we played. One thing I wasn't crazy about is that the choices that most effect the major, overarching storyline seemed pretty inconsequential at the time... but I guess sometimes life is like that.
Beyond that, just enjoy the experience! I played it last year and it did end up being one of my favorite games of all time, but more for the world/atmosphere than anything else. I just loved being immersed in that world, and many of my strongest memories are just riding my horse at dusk with the wind blowing and that haunting soundtrack playing. Maz and I both loved it, but Raxi was less thrilled (you can read our discussions about it in last year's gaming thread... I think Raxi and Maz discussed it before that as well).
EDIT: Realized it was the gaming thread for the year BEFORE last. Man, time flies!
Last edited by Eva Yojimbo
on Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." -- Carl Jung