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Default Witcher 3 - 11 things CD Project Needs to do - editorital @ Strategy Informer

February 24th, 2013, 16:59
Give me lots of padding, I'm in Explorer at heart. I like padding with my meat and potatoes, I like lots to explore even if it's just padding.
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February 25th, 2013, 10:13
Exploration is boring as hell if you know it's not going to lead to anything unique or interesting. Daggerfall is probably the prime example of how pointless it can be.

If the added terrain is there only to extend travel time between points - then it might as well not be there. Well, it's nice to give players the feeling of travelling a large world - but games like this really need a reason to go off the beaten path.

To my mind, the best balance of open world and worthwhile exploration is probably Gothic 2.

Skyrim is great - but suffers from the TES paradigm of emphasizing location density. In my opinion, they should reduce the amount of dungeons/caves/whatever by around 3/4 and have the remaining 1/4 have four times the manhours put into them.

It's still amazing how much unique content they crammed in there - and how they managed to make almost every single location feel somewhat unique - just by adding a little backstory or similar. But the limited amount of visual variety means you eventually feel saturated - especially by yet another bunch of Nord urns.

I'm not sure why Todd and his people believe that hundreds and hundreds of locations are really necessary - and I'd never have expected them to pull off the kind of content density they did in Skyrim, which was extremely impressive. At least it was to me.

Another interesting example would be Ultima Ascension. The world is TINY by the standards of today - but I do recall that the world was absolutely fantastic in terms of exploration. The ~8 dungeons were completely unique and all the towns felt completely different as well. I remember finding unique treasures in sunken ships and stuff like that.

On a larger scale - I think that's the kind of content distribution that works best.
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February 26th, 2013, 17:27
The world in Skyrim would actually feel more real to me if it only had 1/4 of outdoor locations. It feels as you can only travel for a few hundred feet to any direction, and you are meeting with another cave / mine / hut / camp / shrine.

The size of the world and the aspect of traveling just makes a game more atmospheric and grandiose. The key to "exploration rewards" is that if someone chooses to go off the beaten path, you give them *something* special. You don't need to give them 3 caves, 2 mines, 4 bandit camps, 3 shrines and 5 huts to reward them for exploring what is on that seemingly empty island on the other side of the bay. If it's a really small island, one extra location is enough. If it's a medium sized island, you can have two. If it's large island, you can have three.

I think Gothic 3 did this fairly well. It could have used 10-20 more outdoor locations with a small hint of story to them, but the world felt balanced and real. Granted, it had much less content in every way when compared to Bethesda games. But I'm just saying I liked the "architecture" of the world. You don't need to fill every corner with special locations.

Gothic 3 also had much superior landscape designs when compared to Skyrim. I like their grandiose settings. Big mountains, big forests, big deserts. The environments invited you to explore them. You could imagine making paintings out of the landscapes, and framing them on your wall. Risen was also really good in this aspect.

Skyrim and Oblivion were too flat for me. Very uncinematic.

I also think that in open world games you should give the player proper challenges, before he can reach his destinations. Not always of course, but half of the time. The mountain pass should have a major bandit camp. The path over the mountains should have a scary boss monster. The islands could be only reached with a boat that is expensive to buy. The road to the heart of the mysterious forest should be protected by packs of monsters. The town is temporarily closed from any outsiders, and you have to find your way in. Etc.

This way, reaching the destinations would feel much more fullfilling. In Skyrim you just need to run through the plains to reach any destination you want. Reaching it doesn't feel like you achieved anything special.
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February 26th, 2013, 18:41
In any case, think of all the game content in Witcher 2 - And remember to include both of the two optional middle-chapters.

Now imagine all that content in one open world. And expand the scope of that world to be 3 x 3 as big (That's 9 times the land area), with most of the areas being traversable landscape with not much special story content. Now fill that traversable landscape with 10 generic dungeons each with their own monster type, 10 generic hut/farm locations each with special herbs or loot to collect, 10 generic bandit camps of considerably different sizes, 20 well hidden treasure chests with higher level loot, and 20 fixed outdoor dangerous monster locations. These places don't really need much story or characters to them. That's 70 special events you can enjoy by exploring. And you can always add a bit more meaning and purpose to these places with light story-driven touches, like notes.

Let's face it: In an open world game, we are all willing to play through generic material, as long as the ratio of story-driven material is good when compared to the more generic gameplay. The generic material is part of the fun, sort of.

Since Witcher 2 was already really varied location-wise, they wouldn't need to build more graphical elements for the new locations and landscapes. It would be copy-paste jobs all around.

So all that I'm saying is: It won't be that hard for CD Project to make an open world RPG; with a similar budget as Witcher 2. It simply means more copy-paste content. But copy-paste content is fine, it's part of every open world RPG. Hell, it's part of every RPG. If the world is well-designed, a certain amount of copy-paste content is fun.

Of course open worlds always bring a little bit more game balancing issues. Some degree of leveling is to be expected, but if it's handled well, it's going to be pretty invisible.
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February 28th, 2013, 15:07
New details appeared on worldofplayers forum (the source is apparently PC Games magazine), translation/summary courtesy of NeoGAF:

- 36 final states of the world and 3 epilogues (each 1 hour long)

- you can import your save game, but it's not going to change backstory of the game. Still, it will affect characters.

- you can buy horses or tame a wild ones by using Axii

- Geralt will be much more agile. Now he can jump and climb wherever he want.

- a wild animals will appear. Geralt may hunt them and take their furs, claws etc.

- main storyline is 50 hours long

- now people will call the guards, when they see Geralt stealing their stuff

- there is a new mechanic, which is similar to VATS from Fallout 3. You can aim at the specific parts of monsters bodies in slow-mo

- no more QTE

- Geralt now can achieve 60 level max

- PC and console versions have completely different UI

- you gain experience points only by completing quests, hunting will provide you money and crafting materials

- a two new minigames: axe trowing and card games

- economy depends from the area. In some places you can buy something for a lesser price, or sell it for higher price.
At least on paper, sounds rather perfect to me .

I´m particularly glad to see jumping/climbing everywhere and experience only for quest completion.

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February 28th, 2013, 15:43
Originally Posted by DeepO View Post
New details appeared on worldofplayers forum (the source is apparently PC Games magazine), translation/summary courtesy of NeoGAF:

I´m particularly glad to see jumping/climbing everywhere and experience only for quest completion.

- Geralt will be much more agile. Now he can jump and climb wherever he want.

Excellent news! TES has been going backwards on this issue, really glad to hear!

- now people will call the guards, when they see Geralt stealing their stuff

Also good news.

- there is a new mechanic, which is similar to VATS from Fallout 3. You can aim at the specific parts of monsters bodies in slow-mo

Could be good, need to see how its executed.

- no more QTE
Very welcome!


- PC and console versions have completely different UI

I should hope so!


- you gain experience points only by completing quests, hunting will provide you money and crafting materials

Hmm, no XP grinding - good in theory, but requires careful balancing, particularly in an open world RPG.
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February 28th, 2013, 15:58
Originally Posted by Nameless one View Post
I don't think game will be anything like skyrim I don't think it fits CDPR and Witcher series.I am pretty certain game will be far smaller in scale and more dense with content.

Also all things on list in article seem pretty reasonable.
Well, I agree with smaller in scale but Skyrim is pretty frickin' dense with content, so I don't see TW3 matching that. What I'm hopeful for is a smaller open world game with deeper relationships between Geriatric and the NPCs. I've not really been sold on the story of the Witcher series; it just bores me. I did like the relationships between Triss, Dandelion, Shani and Geriatric. I hope to see more of that. I'm also hopeful of a mod that allows me to change the looks of the main character as I can't stand playing a scarred old codger who bangs young women. It must be a popular fantasy, but it's not mine
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February 28th, 2013, 16:11
- 36 final states of the world and 3 epilogues (each 1 hour long)

So we watch a movie at the end, that could be okay….

- you can import your save game, but it's not going to change backstory of the game. Still, it will affect characters.

I didn't finish Witcher 2, so this would give me some motivation to do so.

- you can buy horses or tame a wild ones by using Axii

meh

- Geralt will be much more agile. Now he can jump and climb wherever he want.

Excellent, really like this. I generally add a jump spell to TES games because it only makes sense.

- a wild animals will appear. Geralt may hunt them and take their furs, claws etc.

This is standard fantasy fare, so meh.

- main storyline is 50 hours long

That's good to hear.

- now people will call the guards, when they see Geralt stealing their stuff

meh

- there is a new mechanic, which is similar to VATS from Fallout 3. You can aim at the specific parts of monsters bodies in slow-mo

I like VATS, so this might be cool.

- no more QTE

Great!

- Geralt now can achieve 60 level max

I'm indifferent. I typically like the lower levels of games before I become godlike

- PC and console versions have completely different UI

Yay!

- you gain experience points only by completing quests, hunting will provide you money and crafting materials

No xp for kills is fine as long as it's well balanced. I agree with GBG here.

- a two new minigames: axe trowing and card games

Time will tell. The minigames have been hit and misss in the Witcher.

- economy depends from the area. In some places you can buy something for a lesser price, or sell it for higher price.

I love well done economies, and I'm very hopeful for this.

At least on paper, sounds rather perfect to me .

I´m particularly glad to see jumping/climbing everywhere and experience only for quest completion.
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February 28th, 2013, 16:56
Hmm, no xp from killing things or exploring… not sure if I like this, it means basically reward will be very little to go out and explore and kill custom monsters etc ( if they are not connected to any quests that is ). Not that I think going open world was a good choice in the first place, but if they are, I think exploring should be rewarding, if they have created a lot of boring generic quests for the purpose of leveling only… that is especially not good.
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February 28th, 2013, 22:08
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Hmm, no xp from killing things or exploring… not sure if I like this, it means basically reward will be very little to go out and explore and kill custom monsters etc ( if they are not connected to any quests that is ). Not that I think going open world was a good choice in the first place, but if they are, I think exploring should be rewarding, if they have created a lot of boring generic quests for the purpose of leveling only… that is especially not good.
That's not what it says though. It says you gain XP from completing quests. I'm sure exploration will be a natural part of that.

Everything sounds great to me except the VATS/slo-mo thing. That sounds like something I could do without.
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March 1st, 2013, 11:34
Well, for me "exploration" means not following a set quest path.

According to the new post, it is actually a mistake killing monsters etc will give you XP, so that's one concern gone.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; March 1st, 2013 at 11:49.
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March 1st, 2013, 13:30
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I can't stand playing a scarred old codger who bangs young women.
Bah, such simplistic ignorance!
Perhaps you should actually try role-playing sometime when you play the Witcher? Then you might realise that you can actually make Geralt abstain from such things.

Thanks to DeepO for posting the extra information and for GBG's point by point analysis. I'm not sure about this VATS type mechanic in a Witcher game, but I certainly like the idea of Geralt going exploring quasi Gothic-style as it were.
The extra maneuverability combined with what we've heard about the reinforcement of monster hunting sounds very promising.

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March 1st, 2013, 13:45
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
I can't stand playing a scarred old codger who bangs young women.
I can. And will.

Toka Koka
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March 1st, 2013, 15:39
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Well, for me "exploration" means not following a set quest path.
Where do you get the idea that quests will require you to follow a set path?
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March 1st, 2013, 20:53
I think GG means simply exploring the world without being on a specific quest.
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March 2nd, 2013, 02:17
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I think GG means simply exploring the world without being on a specific quest.
I haven't seen anything to imply that we can't.
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March 4th, 2013, 12:22
The news before was that, exploring the world without any specific quest would not generate any XP, however this was wrong information. If go out exploring without having a quest = it is waste of time it is kind of pointless.. however if it means also getting a bit more powerful.. it is a different story.

So the concern is gone now.
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March 4th, 2013, 15:54
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
The news before was that, exploring the world without any specific quest would not generate any XP, however this was wrong information. If go out exploring without having a quest = it is waste of time it is kind of pointless.. however if it means also getting a bit more powerful.. it is a different story.
Apparently there´ll be diminishing returns for killing same enemies repeatedly which is also a good solution, but I don´t think rewarding/interesting/fun exploration is mutually exclusive with not giving pc experience for killing not quest-involved stuff.

I mean, there are other ways how to make exploration rewarding in terms of making pc more powerful besides awarding experience points for killing enemies, for example:
- hand placed and/or partially randomly distributed unique loot, including rare or unique crafting materials and, in the case of The Witcher, rare mutagens that augment or open new abilities
- there could also be NPCs or shrines or whatever which augment or teach new abilities
- killing a certain amount of specific enemies could give pc a bonus against these, which could come in handy (say, killing number of lone exeamplars or small packs of these could be helpful in a main quest encounter where pc gets swarmed by these)
- quests obtainable via exploration

Besides making pc more powerful, rewards from exploration could also be in the form of getting more backstory to the events in the game or even obtaining info useable for an alternative solution in a quest.

Awarding experience and gold for killing stuff to make exploration feel meaningful is an easy way out .

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Last edited by DeepO; March 4th, 2013 at 16:05.
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March 4th, 2013, 16:35
I am not saying the other things shouldn't be there. But imagine you explore for 4 hours without finding any of the things you mentioned above.. at times like that you can at least think… well I got a level and I can now try to beat that beast and go and explore that other place I couldn't before, because I wasn't powerful enough.
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March 4th, 2013, 16:38
I couldnt care less about horse riding and sailing, it's gimmicky and doesnt improve gameplay the least. Until they tell us they've included swimming (hopefully diving too) and jumping(climbing) - both which are a must for true exploring, i will call this "open world" hype a complete bluff

"Second thing is, we've got a fully open world right now, so you can explore all parts of locations from the very beginning" (Witcher 2 interview).

What they need to do is make a better game than Skyrim, and don't skip the vital parts that actually makes it a pretty good game..

SiiiiLENCE the DISCOOOORD…
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