Horse ride and swimming
The possibility to travel through the game world on a horse is a completely new feature in Witcher 3. It's an attraction that you should use because it greatly reduces the time of travel between main locations (at least until you find new signposts and unlock quick travel points). You will learn the basics of horse riding during the tutorial, but it is wise to know some other things:
- Limited durability of the horse might become a trouble at the beginning of the game. The animal easily gets tired when you decide on full gallop with no rest. Luckily, you can enlarge the durability bar with a better saddle. You can buy other equipment for the horse as well. Most important objects for the horse have been described in the Where can I get some basic equipment for Geralt's horse? page in the Frequently Asked Questions chapter.
- Geralt doesn't have to get off the horse during the battle. However, you should fight only the weakest monsters from your horse, such as low level ghouls, wild dogs, bandits or wolves. During the battle, the fear bar of your horse is increasing. If you won't get away from the battle zone, the horse will throw you down from his back and make you helpless for few seconds.
- While you travel on your horse, you can't collect any interactive items you find. It mostly concerns herbals. Because of that, it is better to travel on your foot at the initial phase of the game so that you can improve your stock of herbals required for alchemy.
- Geralt's horse can't die, so you don't have to be afraid of losing it. However, try to leave him away from the battles, otherwise he can get in your way when you attack the enemies.
- Other horses found in the game are inactive, you can't ride them.
You won't swim in Witcher 3 often, but you can't ignore this topic because going underwater is required for completing some quests and for reaching some treasures lying on the bottom. The mechanism of swimming is very simple and well explained in the game tutorial, but you must remember that underwater Geralt isn't safe. Monsters that can swim can get him. At the beginning of the game those monsters are only Drowners, the same enemies he fights on the land. Later, while diving, you can face other creatures, e.g. sirens. Geralt can't use neither his swords nor signs under water. It doesn't mean he is helpless - he can eliminate monsters with his crossbow. Depending on monster level and difficulty level you have chosen, your enemy can be killed after one or few hits from the crossbow.
Important - in order to minimize the risk of facing monsters under water, it is a good idea to use the boat to swim as close to your target as possible.
If you must reach a far-away island or a treasure that is on open sea, then it is much better to use a boat than to simply swim there. Boats can be found at the shore in various places of the game world. Each of them can be "borrowed" with no trouble. The boats aren't indestructible, but you would have to try very hard to damage them enough to make them incapable of using. Most of all, you must avoid hitting any rocks and getting too close to the land. Also, you must know that you can be attacked by monsters when you're swimming using a boat. In that case, the same limitations as mentioned above are valid - you can't use swords or witcher signs, only crossbow.