Combat system in Witcher 3 is quite expanded, but its basics are similar to previous installments of the series. What's important, during the prologue in Kaer Morhen you can learn all the basics, so you should agree on participating in the full training. Below you will find a reminder of most important things that you should remember before each battle and explanation of some more complicated aspects that aren't described well enough at the beginning of the game:
- Start each battle with selecting the right type of sword. Steel sword is used for killing humans and animals, silver for eliminating monsters. If you have trouble with recognizing enemy type, look at his health bar - it will be red (steel sword) or silver.
- Dodges are mandatory in almost every battle. In most cases, a standard, quick dodge will be enough. It will allow you to easily avoid enemy attack and hit him from the sides. Only in more serious situations (like when a powerful enemy is charging at you) perform a dodge connected with a roll.
- Parrying is a good combat technique but only if you fight enemy that is on your level or weaker than you. Trying to break an attack of stronger enemy might end in failure and short stun of Geralt.
- The choice between fast and strong attack should at the beginning depend on what type of enemy you are fighting. For example, you should use fast attacks against more agile ghouls and strong attacks against slower bears. Later in the game the choice should depend mostly (or even only) on how you developed your character. For example, if you mostly developed your fast attacks and light armor, then use fast attacks against slower enemies as well.
- Witcher signs should be a mandatory part of each battle. Most of all, use the signs that your enemy isn't resistant to (more information about preparations can be found on further pages of this chapter). In case of the weakest enemies (like bandits) you have more freedom of tactics. However, I recommend Igni sign which deals additional area damage, can burn enemies for few seconds and might lead to additional explosions.
- In addition to swords for melee combat, use some ranged weapons as well. The crossbow is sadly a weak tool, although you can upgrade it later in the game and obtain some rare bolts. This weapon is useful for luring flying enemies to the ground and for killing enemies under water. Bombs are much more useful, you should always have some of them. Try to precisely aim where you throw the bomb, most of them have small area of effect and it is easy to waste a charge.
- Try to regularly drink general potions that increase Geralt's combat abilities. By general potions I mean ones that can be used no matter what sort of enemy you fight. One of such example potions is Thunderbolt which increases strength of all attacks for limited time.
- Some enemies have unique attacks that can be very harmful to you. For example, some attacks can stun you for few seconds, poison you or make you bleed. When fighting enemies that are capable of doing so, you must focus even more on dodging, thanks to that you won't have to spend much time on keeping your character alive instead of planning new attacks.