Avallac'h is more or less made from this trope. While an antagonist in the books, he actively helps Ciri throughout the game and even manages to win her respect. Which becomes a Broken Pedestal due to Ciri hearing second-hand information from Avallac'h's mistress which may not be true. What's his goal? Is he a racist or not? Does he feel anything for Ciri other than a useful tool? We never learn for sure.
Emperor Emhyr gets his own. We know he wants to protect his daughter and give her the throne but is that for Ciri's good, the Empire's good, or his own legacy? Has he reconsidered his Squick plan? If he manages to win the war against Redania, he also proceeds to continue fighting against the North despite having made a secret treaty to stop fighting if Radovid is assassinated. He does however keep his word to Roche.
Roche gets one in the Reasons of State quest. After you slay Radovid, he reveals he's part of a secret treaty to surrender Temeria to the Nilfgaard Empire in order to have peace—leaving Aedirn and Lyria to their conquest as well. Dikjstra promptly arrives, quoting the Witcher equivalent of Hamlet, and orders him (and Thaler and Ves) killed because he intends to ascend to the Redanian throne and continue the war after Geralt had revealed to him some Nilfgaardian complications that Emhyr accidentally let slip in front of Geralt. Geralt can leave them to their fate or kill Dijsktra to protect them. The decision has been hotly debated with some believing Geralt would never abandon a friend, while others think Roche's actions are a betrayal of The Quisling proportions, which the Witcher would never abide.
Geralt, of all people, gets one from fans in Reasons of State for his uncharacteristic choice of leaving Roche to die if he chooses that option. Since Geralt is not a blank slate, that means it's in character for him to choose to do so. Is it because fans are meta-gaming, because he wants to preserve his neutrality, because it's not his fight, because he hates Nilfgaard, or because of other reasons? Fans have debated many reasons why Geralt would do such and come up with numerous answers. A popular one is that Geralt believes that Emhyr is a threat to Ciri and the only way to make sure he doesn't become a threat to her in the future is if Nilfgaard loses the war. Given Emhyr gets assassinated in such an event, it's a case of The Extremist Was Right.
Triss was the preferred partner for Geralt for many people, partially because she's been around for the whole trilogy of games, and partially because she comes across as nicer and more heroic than Yennefer. However, book-readers and more critical players of the previous games may not be so forgiving, as they will often argue that she is more morally-ambiguous than she seems, and that she was taking advantage of an amnesiac in the previous games.
Syanna in the Blood and Wine DLC. Is she evil because of the Curse of the Black of the Sun, or did she become evil due to everybody treating her like she already was? There are moments in the game that support both theories. Many of the larger quests in the game center around people being cursed, which demonstrates that curses have a real and tangible effect in the Witcher world. However, listening to Syanna's story shows that she was treated extremely poorly in her childhood and her current behavior could just be a natural response to that treatment. Even Geralt is not sure which theory is true.
Is the spirit of the Whispering Hillock the soul of a druid trapped there by the Crones, or is it really the being that created the Crones in the first place? And speaking of the Crones, do they truly care for the land and people of Velen in their own twisted way, or only as their playground and toys/cattle respectively?
For all of his mocking of Geralt and the drama the game makes about Eredin being such a huge threat, he goes out like a chump to the same basic Quen/Roll spam that almost every basic enemy falls for. His attacks are extremely telegraphed and leave him wide open to multiple strong attacks. Both his generals immediately beforehand are up for a much tougher fight. Fortunately it's still a pretty damn badass fight regardless, even more so if you decide to fight him on the highest difficulty with minimum armor. It's also a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, due to Eredin going on and on about how much superior he is compared to Geralt... then you prove him wrong.
Both Whoreson Junior and Menge are set up as real-threats but end up being nothing more than a combination of Cutscene Boss as well as standard enemy. You catch Whoreson Junior in the bath and Triss can kill Menge without ever fighting him; if you do fight him, he is not a boss or even an Elite Mook.
Can happen to Dijkstra as well, depending on your choices. Should you play it right, it's entirely possible for him to die by the hand of a random mook.
Of course what connects all these characters is the political power they wield, rather than their physical abilities. Even Eredin, in spite of his fearsome reputation, is a threat more because of the loyalty that the Aen Elle have for him than any personal ability of his. Though to be fair, Eredin is shown to be quite a formidable fighter, managing to kill Crach an Craite in a duel. Too bad he has to fight Geralt.
The final fights for the Fists of Fury: Skellige and Champion of Champions boxing sidequests are very easy compared to the other fights. The last fight for the former is a bear and the last fight for the latter is a rock troll. Both sound difficult, but they are really just big, slow targets that cannot block or dodge unlike their predecessors. The big thing that breaks the challenge here is that, unlike every other fistfight, you can use potions to recover or boost your abilities while fighting these enemies. Note that these contenders still can easily one-shot Geralt if he's lower level, but the ability to both recover as well as roll means that they usually won't lay a finger on you.
Hubert Rejk, the murderer in the "Carnal Sins" questline. He's built up as being both incredibly sadistic and cunning; when Geralt starts to get close to finding him, he attempts to pin his crimes on someone else, a ploy that can actually succeed if the player isn't careful. If you see through the ruse and confront him, he's revealed to be a higher vampire, one of the most powerful types of monsters in the setting. But in the actual fight he's not even classified as a boss, and goes down as easily as Mook enemies of the same type.
The Crones/Ladies of The Wood are built up to be a terrifying foe, with an incredibly ominous atmosphere whenever Geralt gets involved with them. Geralt himself declares the Crones to be incredibly dangerous, warns the Baron not to confront them, and tells Tamara that the only reason they are still alive is because the Crones haven't shown up yet. Even during his face-to-face talk with them Geralt doesn't try to engage them in a fight. Yet when Ciri confronts them later in the game, the Crones prove to be a massive letdown, no harder to kill than any beast fought up to that point. They spend most of the fight trying to melee Ciri, and despite being witches the only magic they use is teleportation and a homing poison cloud cast by the Brewess. Adding insult to injury is that Ciri has none of Geralt's tricks or abilities and fights with a steel sword, not a silver one! It can't even be excused by Ciri being the only one powerful enough to defeat them, as Geralt explicitly wants her to face the Crones because they are a lesser threat than Imlerith, meaning he could have fought them himself. The final nail in the coffin: The Weavess escapes by playing possum, but then is killed offscreen by Geralt or Ciri.
A contract in Skellige where you have to kill a "big" Ekhidna named Melusine who is supposedly so powerful that she was worshipped by a cult, Melusine is just a re-skinned ordinary Siren/Ekhidna with slightly more health and goes down incredibly easy.
Related to the above, this actually applies to a great deal of Contract bosses. While some are actually quite dangerous, many are merely reskinned, slightly stronger versions of normal enemies. And even the most dangerous ones are still vulnerable to a One-Hit Kill via Aard.
Baron Philip and his wife Anna are both considered either monsters or victims, depending on whom you speak to. Philip is an alcoholic wife-beater who caused his wife's own miscarriage, tortured and killed a man, and either allows, or ignorantly enables, the various ways his men Rape, Pillage, and Burn across Velen. His wife Anna cheated on him and planned on running away with her lover (the man Philip tortured and killed), specifically said things she knew would hurt Philip the most, and wished so badly that she'd miscarry her second child by a man she didn't love that the Crones (the supernatural beings which rule the Velen) enticed it to happen. Fans who hate one and not the other tend to have strong personal beliefs about murder, rape, abuse, abortion, infidelity, and many other sensitive issues.
Yennefer is either loved or hated, due to the extreme corners of her Sugar and Ice Personality. Yennefer acts according to her own wants and needs, not bothering to ask permission or explain her actions. She expects everyone to simply trust her planning and intuition, although she doesn't extend the same courtesy. What crossed the line for many players was the quest "Nameless", where she ignores the grieving townswomen, ignores the pain of Skjall's corpse as she performs necromancy on him, and destroys a sacred garden all to find Ciri. Other fans love her Mama Bear and Ice Queen tendencies, feeling that she did what she had to to protect her daughter and save the world.
Olgierd von Everec was cursed by Gaunter O'Dimm and thus can't feel any love or empathy, but it's clear that he wasn't exactly a nice person before that happened either. He and his merry band of bandits did their fair shape of burning, raping and pillaging by the admission of his brother and second-in-command. His sole redeeming feature was his inital love for Iris, but even then detractors insist that a happy marriage was something he didn't deserve.
Is Syanna's Freudian Excuse good enough to excuse her actions? Is Dettlaff's? Do either of them deserve a happy ending? Fans can agree on none of these questions, and opinions range from hating one of them and loving the other, or hating/loving both.
Time has turned Triss from the pre-ferred love interest into this. There are still people who love her for her heroic role in saving the mages and having a sweeter disposition than Yennefer. However, other players dislike her for taking advantage of an amnesiac.
Do the free DLCs demonstrate CD Projekt Red's dedication to their players, or are they a patronizing attempt to look like good guys for extremely small bits of content? Most of the DLCs are purely cosmetic, and even the ones with actual quests are extremely short and shallow even by the game's standard. Critics have pointed out that Witcher 3's DLCs amount to far less than what had already been released for Dragon Age: Inquisitionbefore the 16 DLCs were even announced, without any self-indulgence promotion from BioWare. This was mitigated somewhat when later DLC included well received quests like "Skellige's Most Wanted" and "Fool's Gold." Further mitigated by the first major DLC, Hearts of Stone, being longer and more fleshed out than nearly any other game's DLC, including its direct competitor, Fallout 4.
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: While Gwent has four factions (with Blood and Wine adding a fifth) each with their own distinct play styles, most players tend to just stick with the Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard due to the prevalence of spies in both decks. This is especially jarring given all opponents players might face are AI-controlled, meaning all the dirty tricks with Monster and Skellige deck (a lot of brute force and card-spam) can be pulled easily. In fact, Skellige deck can completely neuter spy swap and medic ability, the two essential elements for effective Northern Kingdoms and Nilfgaard decks... yet is ignored, precisely because it lacks spies and medics.
The trope is enforced by the game itself. Starting each and every new game, Geralt will get a handful of Northern Kingdoms cards. It will take a long while before players will collect enough cards from other decks to use them at all, not to mention assembling a good hand out of them. When it's finally possible to try playing other decks, players already have all-powerful Northern Kingdoms deck assembled and know all the tricks for it. All while there is barely anyone left to play with.
As for the main game, Quen is a godsend from the very start, particularly on higher difficulties. When things kill you in three hits on Death March from the beginning, being able to take an extra hit or two and conserve much needed healing items is invaluable. Be prepared to use the majority of your stamina on that single sign.
Eredin Bréacc Glas, King of The Wild Hunt, is the ultimate villain of the Witcher Saga, the Big Bad of this game, and the Arch-Enemy of Geralt of Rivia. Leader of the Dearg Ruadhri (red riders) cavalry, Eredin has led his armies to the genocide of humans on the Aen Elle elf worlds. Able to cross over into other worlds, Eredin participates in massacres of anyone not sufficiently Aen Elle and takes innocents as slaves, even children, until they are "empty" inside and broken. Eredin murders his king Auberon and attempts to capture Ciri to control her Elder Blood and allow him to invade all the worlds he wishes. Chasing Ciri, the Hunt regularly slaughters all those who might help her. When he encounters Geralt at the end of the third game, Eredin mocks him with how he'll torture Ciri when he no longer needs her. While Eredin wants to escape the coming apocalypse, his sadism, racism, attempted genocide, and cruelty eliminate any sympathy or well intentioned extremism and make Eredin without doubt the most evil monster in the worlds of The Witcher.
Cyprian "Whoreson Junior" Wily is one of the four crime bosses of the free city of Novigrad and runs the casinos, fighting rings, and brothels, and is widely regarded as the most cruel and sadistic of the city's four crime bosses, and even evokes disgust from these fellow criminals. He has his men dress up as Monster Clowns to torment and intimidate the people of Novigrad, including Ciri, Geralt's adopted daughter. Geralt seeks out Whoreson Junior to get her whereabouts and discovers dark secrets along the way. Cyprian works under the orders of King Radovid to undermine the armistice between the gangs of the city and incite gang wars and mass chaos so that Radovid can invade. Cyprian is paid in prostitutes he can rape and butcher at his leisure. When invading his hideout, Geralt discovers the grisly remains strewn about in one of the most nightmarish levels in the game. Ultimately, Geralt discovers Whoreson Junior bathing in the blood of his latest victim, and Geralt, normally rational and stoic, brutally beats him as he pitifully begs for his life.
As a Bilingual Bonus, the lyrics of the song are from an old Bulgarian wedding song, celebrating the boy and girl being wed and wishing they have as much health in their new home as there are leaves in a forest.
You're... Immortal?, Olgierd von Everec's boss fight, one of the toughest humanoid fights in the game.
Hail to Caranthir, the Boba Fett of the Witcher-verse, no, even better. For at least our Golden Child of the Aen Elle doesn't go out like a punk and his Boss battle with Geralt is accompanied by this awesome track!
Lullaby of Woe; once upon a time, witchers were feared by humans far more than the monsters they hunted.
Related to the above is Blood and Wine, the main theme for the eponymous DLC pack. It perfectly captures the fact that Geralt is about to be in for the fight of his life due to him facing off against vampires in the story.
Demonic Spiders: All the new enemies in the Hearts of Stone expansion hit like a truck. Any group can cut your health bar to shreds in a second, and the actual giants spiders will jump Geralt and run out range before you can retaliate.
The Arachnomorphs are easily the worst (not to mention the most literal) example, as they constantly flee from Geralt when confronted, but strike him in the back when his back is turned. Going against several in an open space is a nightmare on the highest difficulties.
Scorch would be a card game equivalent to this trope in Gwent. It destroys the strongest card in play, and any that are tied with it will be wiped out as well. A well-played Scorch card will probably be what causes most of your Gwent losses, and after a certain point, it's all but guaranteed that every player you encounter will draw at least one.
The Giant Centipedes in Blood and Wine are a real pain. They parry any attacks that don't land on their soft underbellies, and burrow around underground in unpredictable patterns. Yrden is most effective at stunning them, but doing so is difficult because they never stay surfaced long enough for it to take effect and trying to lay one down right before they surface will just result in Geralt getting whacked hard. Your only choice is to lay down a Yrden sign and hope that a centipede will eventually come out within it.
Due to an oversight rats, of all things, become this during the "A Towerful of Mice" & "A Matter of Life and Death." Usually the swarms of rats fought in these quests are very low level and go down from one bomb or a blast of Igni but if the player has 'enemy upscaling' turned on, the rats become juggernauts that destroy Geralt in mere seconds.
The Nilfgaard get this treatment by many fans, due largely to their contradictory attitudes in this game compared to the books and even prior games.
Both Syanna and Dettlaff from Blood and Wine get this treatment from their respective fanbases, often combined with a Ron the Death Eater towards the other party. Fans of the former tend to blame everything on her sister and the curse, ignoring her very murderous actions while fans of the latter tend to completely overlook or downplay the sacking of Beauclair, which had nothing to do at all with the previous blackmailing.
Ear Worm: All of the Gwent music. Even if you don't happen to like Gwent, it's still frequently heard in inns and from street performers.
The Bloody Baron is an odd one in that the game doesn't hide the fact that he's a terrible person but many reviewers praise him for being exactly that while showing some realism towards his behavior rather than doing it For the Evulz. He and his quest are usually highlighted as one of the best moments of writing in the game.
Vlodimir von Everec from Heart of Stone has a lot of fans due to his boisterous, fun-loving personality and his surprisingly touching attempts to woo Shani. He is the source of some of the most humorous moments in the expansion.
Talking Roach from Blood and Wine is perhaps one of the most memorable characters ever for her humorous banter with Geralt as well as plenty of Self-Deprecation about the horse mechanics in the game. Many players wish they can somehow keep her talking after the associated quest.
Even Better Sequel: Often considered by fans and critics to be the best game in the series, with some even calling it the best RPG to come out this console generation.
The fans of the Witcher video games seem to prefer Triss to Yennefer, which is problematic given the former largely disappears from the game about two-thirds the way through.
For one reason or another, Fanon seem to enjoy pairing the Sorceress not picked by Geralt with Eskel.
Game-Breaker: Magic in general is this, including Witcher Signs. Magic is feared in this world for a very good reason; it is incredibly powerful. Even though the Signs are considered watered down spells they still end up being Game Breakers. The additional abilities added by the DLC (especially Blood and Wine) can take it Up to Eleven.
Aard is arguably the weakest Sign and still destroys specific types of enemies with ease. It can be spammed for group control and constantly knocks most foes down setting them up for a One-Hit Kill. On humanoid enemies Aard functions as a 360 "Instant Death" Radius with its alternate fire because of the knockdown/execute. Blood and Wine adds the ability to slow down or completely freeze enemies, with the possibility of an actual One-Hit Kill if the target is both knocked down and frozen.
Magic Trap, the secondary cast-form of Yrden. Instead of a trap circle of dubious use, you place a single powerful rune which hits targets with a lightning bolt about once per second. For one, it forces enemies who use mistforms and tricks to get corporeal; two, the lightning does damage (and quite a lot of it) by itself; three, it interrupts most enemy attacks and charges; four, it acts as a slight knockback and five, your stamina restores faster than the sign expires. Pretty much all contracts and many bosses can be turned extremely breezy, because one can simply cast an Yrden and just wait for it to kill whatever it is we're supposed to kill. With the right gear (Grandmaster Griffin full set, which which massively buffs the base version) and Enchantments (Entanglement, which places a Yrden circle wherever the trap hits) it's possible to kill just about anything with just Yrden.
The secondary cast-form of Igni, Firestream, can stunlock an enemy and whittle their health to zero in seconds if you use a Sign focused build and equipment. Although this was seriously nerfed with the 1.0.7 patch.
Quen can make you functionally invulnerable even on the highest difficulty. Its normal effect is a HP% based shield that makes you Immune to Flinching and grants Contractual Boss Immunity to most status effects as well as removing those status effects when cast. The alternate is a completely impenetrable bubble shield that heals you when it gets hit and (if fully upgraded) returns some of that damage to the enemy. Quen essentially turns you into The Juggernaut.
Axii is arguably the most overpowered sign of all, despite the story limitations. Fully powered it prevent enemies from even attempting to approach you during the casting, hits two targets, turns enemies against their allies while giving them a huge damage buff, and even if it actually fails it still staggers the targets. On top of this it has a bunch of Jedi Mind Trick uses in dialog.
Interestingly actively defied trope with the use of Axii in a story context. Geralt can, at one point, explain to Lambert why the sign can only be used at certain spots outside of combat: it's a temptation that needs to be avoided. That's right - the character you follow decided it's morally wrong for you to have the game too easy.
Geralt: [Axii] tempts you to overuse it. Force a merchant to reduce his price. Make an arrogant noble drink from a gutter. Teach someone to show you respect. That can become hard to resist.
Deliberately invoked during the final portion of the game, as Ciri demonstrates precisely how powerful she is. In her playable section in the finale, she has a larger health bar, can one-shot all enemies regardless of level, and instantly teleport across the battlefield to the nearest foe.
The Ekhidna Concoction gives you health every time you use stamina, whether by using Signs or parrying. Using it makes all other methods of healing meaningless and can make almost any fight a walk in the park.
Archers. They can go down easily enough when you close the distance, but they always fight in conjunction with a crowd of melee attackers. Failing to avoid their arrows on top of all the other attacks coming your way will make short work of you.
Drowners. If your boots are wet, chances are, there's a cluster of Drowners somewhere nearby. Individually, they're easy to make short work of. But you'll never find just one. You'll always stumble on a group that will leap on you en masse, and usually time their attacks so that the next one hits you while you're still staggering from the previous one's attack.
Sirens, Erynias, and harpies are all over Skellige and make exploring a chore. They come in swarms, and they are usually flying, so it takes forever to shoot them down one by one with the crossbow and finish them off with your sword. Sure, even at higher levels, they're comparatively weaker enemies that don't do a lot of damage and don't have a ton of hit points. Regardless, their erratic flight patterns make them tough to hit without better-than-average timing, and they can really wear down your stamina when they attack in larger flocks. You get an item later that stuns several sirens and Erynias at once, but it doesn't kill them, does not work on harpies, and if you are sailing they fall into the ocean and immediately recover. You can also level up the power and radius of your Aard sign, which knocks them out of the sky and stuns them for a chance at a one-button insta-kill. Not that this helps a lot when you're in a boat anywhere in Skellige, since they delight in swooping down and attacking said boat out of nowhere, usually managing to bite off a giant chunk of the hull (which can sink you if it happens too many times) by the time the controls let you step away from the hull and draw your sword.
Nekkers. The most common and scrappy of the ogroids, there's never just one. If you can count the number you just killed on one hand... you're in all likelihood not done yet.
In the same vein, Pixies from the Blood And Wine expansion. While incredibly weak and will go down with one or two blows, when you encounter them, they come in swarms of a dozen or more.
Good Bad Bugs: Bruxae are normally immune to Axii sign... unless they are still in their disguise, so the game engine considers them a harmless human civilian. If done quick enough, it's possible to cast the sign before the Bruxa drops the disguise, walk around her or even loot the treasure she might guard, leave and... yup, she's still strolling around, still pretending to be human, skipping a relatively hard fight.
If you spared Síle in the second game Letho tells you that it was no mercy to leave her to the hands of Redania's witch hunters like that. You will eventually find her in a dungeon in Oxenfurt, brutally tortured to an inch of her life and begging for a Mercy Kill.
At the end of the second game, Geralt dismissed Letho's plan, saying that "the North could be united like never before." He turns out to be correct, but while Radovid does indeed unite the North and halts Nilfgaard's invasion, he ends up becoming a tyrant on par with Emhyr. And if Radovid isn't killed, then things will go From Bad to Worse.
The Witcher 2 and Dragon Age II were Dueling Games that developed a Fandom Rivalry that continued to spill out into their sequels. So the fact that Ciri is voiced by the same person who voiced the female version of Hawke comes off as pretty ironic, especially since Ciri looks and plays like a Distaff Counterpart to Geralt.
A purely optional mission with Letho the Kingslayer can have this option. Geralt can easily drop everything he's doing to help the man who (accidentally) framed him for murdering King Foltest. He can then go to elaborate lengths to get him out of trouble and invite him to live at Geralt's home of Kaer Morhen. Obviously, this is purely optional and Letho may even be dead depending on whether or not they chose to kill him in The Witcher 2. Of course, it can be interpreted as keeping an eye on Letho, or even trolling him, as Geralt's "help" neatly prevents Letho from reaching his true goal of faking his own death. If Geralt DOESN'T help in just the right way, Letho's plan fails, though, and he dies for real.
Ciri acts very friendly to a waitress named Bea, hugging her, saying how great it is to see her again, and buying her a gift so Bea will have something to remember Ciri by. Even Geralt picks up on the subtext and lightly teases her about it.
You run into your old pal Lambert, who's dropped everything and has been traveling continents avenging his fallen "best friend" Aiden. His grief is pretty hard to watch- even if you help him kill Aiden's killer, he still looks completely lost and heartbroken. At one point he even describes Aiden as the person he's been closest to.
Hype Aversion: Minor issues listed below aside, the game itself managed to completely live up to its high expectations and, for many, set a new standart for Open World-RPG's, having both tons of sidequests and a great story to boot.
The graphical downgrade from the 2013 trailers and signs that the PC version of the game is a console port has soured the game in the eyes of some, particularly fans of CD Projekt RED, who were primarily a PC developer before this game. This has gone a bit crazy in some respects, with various user reviews giving the game a zerobecause the developers "lied" about it.
The sixteen free DLCs that were announced drew plenty of appreciation and praise, but now that they've come out, many have criticized them for individually being extremely sparse in terms of actual content, most amounting to purely-cosmetic additions. Some consider it a patronizing attempt from the developers to garner good will from gamers.
Iron Woobie: Ciri has spent the past seven years being hunted like an animal by an implacable army who have driven her across dozens of worlds. She's survived nearly being beaten, eaten, murdered, and raped on numerous occasions (and not the nearly part for some of those if you're a book reader). However, she still manages to keep a reasonably upbeat idealistic manner and kicks more ass than Geralt.
The Bloody Baron is a spouse abuser, a traitor to Temeria, a drunkard, and a man who exerts no control over his thuggish army. I dare you, however, not to feel at least a little bit sorry for him during "The Family Matters" quest.
Geralt's witcher comrade Lambert is a vitriolic piece of work who tends to be tactless at best and sometimes outright cruel at worst with his snide insults. It turns out that he finds his "fate" as a witcher one big joke because he was promised as a reward to a witcher who saved the life of his brutally abusive father whose death he and his mother prayed every night.
When the war began and Temeria and Aedirn fell, King Radovid of Redania moved his armies not towards Nilfgaard, but into Kaedwen, conquering it, killing Henselt if he didn't die in the previous game, and leaving Nilfgaard with one powerful enemy rather than two relatively weak ones, which has helped him hold the line so far. It's Subverted when you finally meet Radovid and discover the pressures of managing a war against a vastly superior foe plus his own neuroses have left him a gibbering wreck. Double Subverted if you don't kill him, as he indeed succeeds in defeating Nilfgaard, a feat no other Northern King could've done.
Sigi Reuven a.k.a. Sigismund Dijkstra and the King of Beggars have developed a masterful strategy for keeping Novigrad neutral from the war. Both sides want the city's wealth and great fleet of ships, but the two underworld figures have let it be widely known that if the city is ever attacked or sieged, there will be riots on the streets during which the docked ships will be liable to catch fire and the city's coffers looted bare, making any assault a pointless waste of resources. Reuven can even end up ruler of Redania.
The vampire scene from the gameplay trailer has become an oft-repeated phrase among the fans, commonly replacing the year the vampire's asking about with the game's release date:
Vampire: Is it May 19th yet? Geralt: No. Vampire: Then fuck off!
From the same trailer, one part of the game's numerous features has raised a fair bit of mirth: "Even racism!"
"Top-notch swords!" This, from the journeyman armor-smith in Novigrad, who, being the weapon/armor merchant closest to the city's main fast-travel point and who also has deep pockets of gold, will be saying that a lot when you drop by to unload your Vendor Trash loot weapons.
"Pam paraaaaam!" Coming from the Ear Worm song sung by random guards in Crow's Perch and Novigrad.
Playing Gwent. It's become a running meme in the fandom that Geralt will play Gwent with anyone, anytime, to the point that the developers included commentary from characters if you play it at weird times and with strange people. Olgierd von Everic, for example, will be flabbergasted that Geralt's reaction to meeting a genuine immortal is to ask to play Gwent with him!
"Gary of Nivea." note Named after a Youtube post where someone said Ellie from The Last of Us looked "a thousand time more badass than that metrosexual fruitcake from The Witcher. What was his name, Gary?" Naturally, the r/Witcher subreddit went and ran wild with it.
If Radovid holding a pogrom of all magic-users due to the actions of one doesn't make you hate him, then his attempt to kill Geralt simply because he doesn't like the Witcher will show you precisely why he needs to die.
Dettlaff crosses this in Blood and Wine when he leads a vampiric assault on the city of Beauclair with the intention to kill thousands of people who've done nothing wrong to him simply because the woman he loved wounded his pride.
The mini-cutscenes shown while loading which are supposed to help you remind yourself where are you in the main story. They also play during map changing. They cannot be skipped until they're almost over. They grow very irritating should you decide to abandon the main plot to go sidequesting for a while, since you keep seeing the same one over and over and over and over again.
A recent made it so that cats hate Geralt. So now every time you so much as stroll past one, you have to put up with its incessant hisses and growling mewls.
Narm: A lot of quest objectives are "Use your Witcher Senses to search for clues/follow the trail/etc." This is reasonable, as a Witcher's senses are far sharper than a human's and can reveal things a human would miss. But during "Ghosts of the Past", one objective is "Use your Witcher Senses to find a ladder", as if searching a barn for a big, bulky object is something no human could do. To make matters worse, the ladder is out in the open and incredibly easy to find without the aid of Witcher Senses.
One-Scene Wonder: In the Blood and Wine expansion during a quest, Geralt is under the influence of a potion that allows him to talk to his horse Roach. The banter between Geralt and his mare makes it hilarious from the start.
Ron the Death Eater: Some people (mostly people not familiar with the books and Triss-fans) tend to paint Yennefer in the worst possible light. While it is true that she comes off as not nice and manipulative on occasion, it's mostly due to her emotional distress because her adoptive daughter is in mortal danger. The same people also tend to ignore that Triss herself can be and has been very manipulative too, especially emotionally in regards to Geralt, in both the books and the games.
Nilfgaard, due to completely going against the canon of the books and the previous games, gets this treatment for their prettied-up representation. One of the best outcomes in the ending involves them succeeding at their conquest, leading them to treat their conquered people completely contrary to how lore established their attitudes. Nilfgaard in the books is the only nation engaging in slavery. They also use state-sanctioned terror and Salt the Earth tactics in order to subdue those countries under their command or soften them up before next war. Or, The Sword of Destiny anthology puts it:
Dandelion: "Not this war, Geralt. After this war, no-one returns. There will be nothing to return to. Nilfgaard leaves behind it only rubble; its armies advance like lava from which no-one escapes. The roads are strewn, for miles, with gallows and pyres; the sky is cut with columns of smoke as long as the horizon. Since the beginning of the world, in fact, nothing of this sort has happened before. Since the world is our world... You must understand that the Nilfgaardians have descended from their mountains to destroy this world."
Justified though, as during the two previous wars the fear of the subjugation by the Nilfgaard was what allowed the kingdoms of the North, who would normally be going at each other's throats, to band together in an Enemy Mine situation and fight the invaders off. The Emperor, being a Manipulative Bastard, is trying a different approach.
While brawling has arguably been greatly improved from the previous game when it comes to fighting contests, it makes little sense outside the context of arranged fights. Geralt suddenly becomes unable to draw his weapons just because the enemies attack with their fists instead of swords. And since it's quite tough to block and parry multiple opponents at once without a weapon, these fistfights against common thugs end up being more challenging than swordfights with high level monsters.
How irritating can the fistfights be? In the brawling sidequest, Geralt will eventually be asked to fistfight a bear and then a rock troll. Punching a bear to death turns out to be significantly easier than punching a person.
Inventory management is one of the most frequent complaints about the game. Certain tabs tend to get far more cluttered than others over time, particularly the Useable Items tab which contains potions, bombs, oils, food, and books/notes, making finding specific items a chore. However, this was massively improved by a later patch, which divided the tabs into sections based on specific item type.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: The Triss/Geralt romance was dramatically downplayed in the game due to the presence of Yennefer. A breakup is implied to have happened before the game and Triss reacts with sadness about the whole thing the entire way through. Triss also has a lot less time with Geralt in the game versus Yennefer.
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: To say that many love Gwent is an understatement. It became so popular that the ever-savvy CD Projekt Red made it a little deeper and spun it off into its own standalone game, giving it a life of its own.
Signature Scene: The scene where Geralt is in a bathtub at the beginning of the game. It's frequently used by websites, most notably PC Gamer, to accompany articles related to the game.
An audio version occurs during the scene where Priscilla sings at the Kingfisher, if you don't have a very powerful graphics card. Due to the way lines of dialogue are queued, and because her lute playing is part of the script rather than background music, there is a pronounced silence between the lines of her songs where her lute cuts out abruptly if your computer is lagging due to the lighting effects of the scene. This throws the meter of the song completely off and ruins an otherwise beautiful piece of music.
Due to the way the game handles clothing, armor isn't completely rigid. During a conversation, a close look at someone armor can show the metal flexing as they move their torso around and bend.
Take That, Scrappy!: Many fans think that the "bad" endings for the Blood and Wine DLC where either Syanna or both Anna and Syanna die are the better endings solely because Syanna and Anna both display very unlikable traits.
Humanoid enemies with spears can potentially be this for lower level players due to their huge range and annoying habit of always blocking your attacks which stun you in the process; once you learn their attack patterns they'll be less of a threat.
The leap attack from Endrega Warriors & Arachase can send you flying back and does a ton of damage. The worst part is how ridiculously large the hitbox is for this attack; you can be 10 feet away and you'll still get hit even if the Endrega is nowhere near close to you. About the only way to reliably avoid damage from this one is to Quen up and take it on the chin.
The racist half-elf from the high-stakes Gwent tournament quest manages to be more difficult than most of the storyline bosses thanks to being a forced fistfight in a crowded arena against a very talented opponent. Infuriatingly losing to him will give Geralt a game over as well, despite there being zero logical justification and almost every other fight simply penalizing him some crowns for losing. That a quest ostensibly about playing cards has an oddly high suggested level provides the only warning of what the player is in for.
The Werewolf in Velen is considered very difficult considering that you face him at a relatively low level, he's fast, he's good at dodging your attacks, and he regenerates health quickly.
Imlerith is widely considered to be the hardest enemy in the base game, tougher than even the final boss. He hits hard and shrugs off whatever blows you deliver when he's not blocking with his shield. And when he ditches that, he becomes a lot more aggressive and constantly teleports around the battlefield, becoming a full-on Lightning Bruiser who you just cannot get a safe distance from.
Dettlaff is considered the most challenging boss in the entire game and DLC, as most methods of cheesing enemies (overly-relying on Signs like Quen) will not work on him. He has three phases, each more difficult than the last, with no checkpoints in between. Detlaff also has several attacks that can easily one-shot Geralt, and has an annoying habit of flying and attacking from a distance.
That One Sidequest: The Gwent tournament in Toussaint. Not only do you have to win four consecutive games of Gwent without saving in betweennote although checkpoint autosaves are made before every match , you can only use the Skellige deck. Because the Skellige faction has no Spies to give you extra cards, the whole thing becomes something of a Luck-Based Mission, since one bad hand is all it will take to spell doom for you.
On that note, the 'Collect 'Em All' quest, which requires you to collect all non-DLC Gwent cards. It's made difficult by the fact that there are several easily missable cards and the majority of the others are randomly earned from merchants and vendors throughout the world. What makes it worse however is that you can only earn one card per person and it's highly possible to win a card you already have.
Many are of this opinion concerning Eredin. Despite being the Big Bad of the game and the Greater-Scope Villain for much of the entire franchise, he has precious little screentime and only a few lines of dialogue. He's also described from secondhand sources as having some fairly complex motivations, but he just acts like a typical Evil Overlord whenever he's onscreen. Perhaps the worst part is that he had more interactions with Geralt in the first game.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The An Craites raised Ciri, with Crach and Hjalmar being eager to see her again. In spite of essentially being family to Ciri they don't get a moment together or any recognition from her, even when they're a stone's throw away.
The Botchling. It's a hideous Fetus Terrible with a huge maw and More Teeth than the Osmond Family, but its large eyes and childlike cheerfulness about being held in its father's hands do make it look oddly innocent. Played even more straight if she's turned into a much more benign Lubberkin.
Rock trolls look like their faces were smacked around with an ugly stick. But their occasional simpleminded friendliness makes them endearing.
Uma, the ugliest man alive, also has some weird cuteness factor to himself.
The halflings in the game are oddly creepy-looking due to their oversized heads, facial features that seem oddly stretched and with some rodent-like qualities to them, and their oversized hands and feet.
The Aen Elle elves are a deliberate example, as they tend to be skeletally gaunt with pale eyes and some of them are enormously tall, rising head and shoulders above normal humanoids while retaining otherwise normal proportions, lending them a decidedly otherworldly look.
The Untwist: Anyone who's played the second game will likely guess that Zoltan's pet owl is really Philippa.
While it may be something minor in the main scheme of things, Geralt's beard will dynamically grow as the game progresses. Even with the "Beard and Haircut" DLC installed, it'll keep growing if you get a clean shave or grow/trim it to his fourth beard stage. All of the special styles are static.
If you have the Nvidia Hairworks effects on, they are amazing, with the hair of everything it affects moving and reacting to environmental stimuli in a realistic manner. Geralt's hair will even clump together and get stringy when it's wet◊.
If Geralt's toxin level is high enough, his face gets even paler and the skin around his eyes and the major blood vessels in his face will turn dark.
The weather effects are truly a sight to behold. The trees wave in the wind, the waves ripple to the shores, and the clouds and the sun are just amazingly beautiful. And let's not even begin to talk about the thunderstorms.
In the "A Night to Remember" trailer; not only is the creaking wood a clue as to where the monster is, watch the cracks in the roof allowing moonlight in shift as she (invisibly) passes by, or the dust below the rafters falling down. That is attention to detail.
The areas that you visit during the quest Through Time and Space range from a desert with a giant moon in the blue sky background, a swamp like area with tall rocks and eye catching red plants everywhere, the aftermath of the White Frost covering the world, and the city of Aen Elle. They all look BEAUTIFUL.
If you pay close attention to Udalryk in cutscenes during his quest, "Possession", you may notice a transparent layer in the shape of horns, hovering on his head. Later on, his shadow sprouts these horns but right before you cut to the next scene the camera pans downwards to show it to you if it wasn't obvious enough already. This is all to show that he's been possessed by the hym, which many players would initially assume to be a graphical bug. Even before this, in a scene where Geralt is searching for clues in the house, he can light up the candles downstairs, and when turning back after reading the notes, the shadow of the hym can be seen, acting as a brief jumpscare for unexpecting players.
In the scene where Cerys has been crowned queen, you gain control of Geralt right after and if you are quick enough, you can take a walk around during the crowd cheering for her and notice some folks in the crowd disappear after cheering for a few seconds. These are possibly the spirits of those who were vouching for her to become queen, but died during the feast.
Skjall. He saved Ciri's life and led the Wild Hunt away from his village. And in return he was branded a coward, killed by a werewolf when he tried to redeem his name, and then his corpse was painfully reanimated by Yennifer so that she could get information on Ciri's whereabouts. As a harmless, shy young man who has never even kissed a girl, he definitely doesn't deserve all of the bad stuff that happens to him.
In the Heart of Stone expansion, Iris von Everec definitely qualifies; she married Olgierd for love against her family's wishes, and then had to watch her husband's feelings for her wither as a side-effect of his Deal with the Devil. When she finally decides the man she married is long gone and tries to divorce him with the support of her father, Olgierd swears he will never allow her to leave him, kills her father right in front of her and then feeds his body to the dogs. After years of imprisonment by the man she once loved, she becomes so dead inside she's not sure whether she still hates him or not, and when he finally does leave and release her, she is so paralyzed by all her grief that she just withers away in her bed, and then gets to relive all her worst memories for eternity as a ghost. The real kicker? When her ghost briefly returns to sanity, she can't even decide whether she wants to be laid to rest or not, because she's too scared by what might come after.
A very subtle, yet heart-wrenching note from Blood and Wine expansion is written by Iza. A little girl from some very poor family with no money to buy her any toy and apparently mistreated by her father. She then describes how all her friends have some beautiful toys and how she's afraid she will never get one. She learned how to write just to send this note and makes a promise to make some unwanted toy happy, if only it was given to her. After which she instantly explains herself - she's all grown-up and knows toys aren't really alive... but that doesn't mean they can't be alive in our imagination. Given the circumstances of who the Master Shopkeeper is and what you later learn about the fate of related children and see first-hand, you really want to find that little girl and give her all the toys you can carry. If only she's still alive.
There's also the little girl in "Where The Cat and Wolf Play" DLC quest. A sweet and innocent young girl, she watched as a witcher from the notorious School of the Cat slaughtered everyone she knew in a fit of rage after being stabbed in the back (quite literally) after an argument over the price of a contract went very wrong, including her parents. She was only be spared by the witcher because she reminded him of his dead sister. Even with the best possible ending to the quest, the girl's future feels decidedly uncertain, as Geralt has no choice but to leave her in the care of her elderly aunt, who isn't enthusiastic about having another mouth to feed.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Arc Villain of Blood and Wine, Syanna, planned to murder all she feels wronged her (including her own sister), and seduced The Heavy to act as The Dragon for her. That said, she was ostracized, exiled, and had to fend for herself all because she was born at the wrong time. That, combined with her sister living the good life (and feeling betrayed by said sister), had her decide that "they think me a monster, a force of evil, well, Then Let Me Be Evil".