The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an expansive game with a large variety of abilities to choose from. This large selection can sometimes be daunting and lead to indecision or regret. Choosing the wrong abilities at the start can add on to the difficulty of the game, particularly if you’re playing on one of the higher difficulty levels.
Having stronger attacks, shields that heal you and magic that melts armor at the right time will help tremendously for certain encounters. Just remember that while you can adjust your active abilities as needed, they still require unlocking. With that said, here are 10 Abilities Players Need To Level Up First in the Witcher 3.
Updated by Madison Lennon on February 6, 2020: With so many people revisiting The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt right now thanks to the popularity of the Netflix television show that released recently, we thought now would be a good time to return to this list and update it with a few more abilities that would be extremely beneficial for you to level up early in the game.
Whether you need more help with combat, alchemy, or something else, there are some fantastic abilities available to you that you should definitely consider upgrading as soon as you can.
15 Strong Back
Strong Back is a simple and straightforward ability, but upgrading it at the beginning of the game will make your life a lot easier. Strong Back will increase the maximum carrying capacity of Geralt’s inventory to 60.
We’ve probably all experienced a moment where Geralt is suddenly carrying too much stuff and you have to drop some before you can loot for legendary weaponry. If you forget to make a trip to a blacksmith to unload your stuff, you might end up having to just drop it in the middle of nowhere. This ability gives you a little more wiggle room.
14 Flood Of Anger
This powerful combat ability can increase the power of your sign usage by 125%! You’ll have to upgrade it all the way to level five to achieve that amount of power, but it’s definitely worth it.
The move does consume some of your Adrenaline points but it will boost your desired sign of choice to its highest level, in addition to unlocking the bonuses, before unleashing an immensely powerful wave against your opponents.
13 Supercharged Glyphs
Out of all the signs available to Geralt, Yrden tends to be the most underappreciated. Yrden creates a magical trap on the ground that can damage multiple enemies at once and turn Wraiths into solid entities that can take a sword hit.
However, not many people realize how powerful Yrden can be if you spend time maximizing its ability. Supercharged Glyphs can make it so that your opponents lose a whopping 50 points of Vitality or Essence per second that they’re trapped inside of the glyph, once you reach level five. It can also raise your stamina.
12 Cluster Bombs
Bombs are another tool in the witcher arsenal that tend to get undervalued during gameplay. Most people only use bombs to take out monster nests and then tend to forget about them in the middle of combat.
But did you know there is a valuable ability called Cluster Bombs, that when powered up to its full potential, will let Geralt unleash a cluster of six bombs simultaneously? That can be particularly advantageous if you’re fighting against a monster with a bomb weakness. You could almost take them out with just one or two cluster bomb sets depending on their level.
11 Lightning Reflexes
Depending on your preferred method of combat, the Lightning Reflexes ability may or may not be extremely beneficial to you. It is very helpful to people who like to use their crossbow. We especially recommend leveling up this ability if you plan on doing a lot of exploring because you’ll be in the water a lot (particularly in Skelliege) and Lightning Reflexes will help you fend off water creatures like Drowners and Sirens with ease.
The ability will make time slow down when you aim the crossbow, which can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to get a one-hit KO. At level three, you can slow time down by an additional 45% and gain adrenaline points too.
10 Muscle Memory
One of the first abilities you have access to and undoubtedly one of the most useful. What Muscle Memory does is simple – it increases the damage of your Fast attacks. While their are undoubtedly flashier abilities available, this one does its job just fine. If you find yourself using a lot of fast attacks, well, doing more damage is very nice.
As an alternative, Strength training does the same thing for Strong attacks. Something to always keep in mind for the Witcher 3, it’s important to be able to handle any combat situation the game throws your way. This is doubly important for the higher levels of difficulty.
9 Fleet Footed
In an ideal world where you can dodge perfectly and never get hit, this skill is useless. For the everyone who doesn’t live in that ideal world, this skill is very useful. Dodging is a large part of combat because you don’t want to die or leave yourself in a vulnerable position. Fleet Footed reduces the damage you take if you’re hit while dodging.
At max level, Fleet Footed will reduce that damage by 100% which really improves your survivability. Whether you’re new to the game or challenging yourself with one of the higher difficulty levels, this skill will prove invaluable in your journey through the world of the Witcher 3.
Adrenaline is a mechanic that can have some extremely powerful and useful effects. With undying, it gives you a second life and with many other skills it increases your overall damage output. It then goes without saying that any skill that lets you keep or generate more adrenaline will be vital to sustained fights. Resolve is a skill that you can unlock and level very quickly that lets you keep adrenaline longer.
It does this by way of reducing the amount of adrenaline you lose when taking damage. At max level this caps at 100%, which means that even if you do take a hit, you can still keep on fighting. It deserves to be maxed quickly because of the easy synergies it allows.
7 Melt Armor
Moving away from the combat tree and onto the signs, we have Melt Armor. This skill is based off of the Igni skill and it can seriously speed up fights, especially if you’re focused on fast attacks. The Igni sign by itself does damage based on sign intensity and Melt armor takes in one further by weakening enemy armor.
There are five levels to this skill and it starts with a maximum of 15%. This improves by an additional 15% each level to a maximum of 75%. As was said earlier, anything that lets you do more damage in combat is very useful. One more thing, you don’t have to worry about the effect running out either as it is permanent.
Now we come to one of the few abilities that has a benefit both in combat and outside of it. One of the more fun mechanics in the Witcher 3 is the ability to use the Axii sign in conversations to “persuade” certain NPC’s to see your side of things. Delusion increases this effect passively, thereby making certain conversations much easier to have.
The combat side of Delusion is still quite useful, mostly as a crowd control mechanic. The Axii sign by itself will charm your target for a short time, effectively taking them out of the fight. The problem with this is that your target can still try and move towards you with the intent to attack. Delusion keeps them from moving towards you while you’re casting it.
5 Active Shield
The Quen sign gives you a shield that absorbs damage for a percentage of your maximum vitality. The active shield lets you maintain this shield at the cost of stamina. This might seem like a sort of downgrade or side-grade at best but in exchange for your extra stamina, your vitality is restored. The amount is equal to the amount of damage absorbed by the Quen shield.
This still might not be convincing enough but that’s only until you learn about its upgrades. Active shield has three levels, at the second level your stamina drain is reduced by 50% and at the max level it no longer drains stamina. This effectively makes the active shield an amazing tool for recovering lost vitality with no real cost.
There does seem to be a theme for which skills are the most useful to have early on. Either they increase your damage or help you live longer. Refreshment belongs solely in the latter category. Coming from the alchemy skill tree, it has a simple effect – it restores a percentage of your maximum vitality whenever you drink a potion.
This percentage starts off rather meager at 5% but increases by an additional 5% each level with a maximum of 25% at level 5. A quarter of your vitality restored whenever you drink a potion, any potion, will increase your survivability by a large margin. Just make sure you don’t enter combat without some potions to chug.
Combat in the Witcher 3 can often be hectic, especially if you find yourself fighting a large group of enemies. The skill, Frenzy, helps reduce that particular problem. At level 1, Frenzy will automatically slow down time when the enemy is about to make a counter attack. The catch is that you need to be above Toxicity level 0, which really shouldn’t be hard, especially if you’re taking advantage of the Refreshment skill.
The one thing to be aware of when it comes to potions is that you can chug too many. This isn’t like Skyrim where you can chug potions and eat food whenever. In the Witcher 3, your toxicity level can have detrimental effects at higher amounts and, if you reach 100 toxicity, you will die.
2 Sun And Stars
Now here’s an ability that will either see a lot of use or very little depending on your playstyle. What Sun and Stars does is simple, it recovers vitality during the day and when not in combat. At night it recovers stamina while in combat. At easier difficulties this ability may seem almost unnecessary as meditation will recover your vitality anyway.
On higher difficulties, however, this skill becomes much more useful because meditation no longer recovers vitality. This doesn’t mean the skill is absolutely vital to higher difficulties, it just makes resource management all that much more useful. Which is the crux of this skill, it simply makes the game easier to manage and therefore more fun.
1 Your Chosen School Technique
Depending on which type of armor and playstyle you’re more in favor of, this can either be the Cat, Griffin or Bear School Technique. Each of these provides certain kinds of benefits which favors a particular playstyle. The Cat version makes it so that each piece of light armor you wear increases your critical hit damage by 25% and damage by 5%.
The Griffin version has your medium armor increase your sign intensity and stamina regeneration by 5%. The Bear version increases your vitality and strong attack by 5% per piece of heavy armor. So long as you’re willing to commit early on, theses will provide very powerful benefits that aid your chosen build.
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