Forums » General Gaming

Skyrim vs The Witcher 3

    • 1593 posts
    July 24, 2015 10:52 PM EDT

    Wolves asleep amidst the trees,

    bats all a'swaying in the breeze.

    But One soul lies anxious wide awake,

    fearing all manner of ghouls, hags and wraiths.

    Birds are silent for the night,

    cows turned in as daylight dies.

    But one soul lies anxious wide awake,

    for the witcher, brave and bold.

    Paid in coin of gold.

    He chop and slice you,

    cut and dice you.

    Eat you up whole.

    Eat. You. Whole.

    The Witcher by Lanaluu

    Of all the games currently available it is my opinion that none of them come as close to toppling Skyrim from it's throne as The Witcher Wild Hunt does. All that said, comparing the two games is like comparing apples with oranges. Nevertheless, the similarities between them invite comparisons but strangely this community seems quite quiet on the subject of Skyrim's greatest rival.

    Why is that? Is it because you are like me and only recently come to enjoy the series thanks to the greatness of The Witcher 3? Or are you a long time fan, been following the story of Geralt from the beginning of The Last Wish novel but haven't found a kindred spirit to discuss it with?

    My aim here is to drum up some interest over and above the discussions already posted by looking at the parallels between TES V and TW 3.

    I love The Elder Scrolls series and am deeply interested in the setting and how it's presented in each game and book. I'll happily join in debates on the subject and bore people to death with my interpretations of it's ambiguous lore. However, all that doesn't blind me to the many faults and criticisms aimed at the games.

    On the other hand, I am new to The Witcher series and have soaked up as much as I possibly could about The Continent and its inhabitants. As rich and detailed a setting as you could want, TW 3's portrayal nonetheless has it's share of faults.

    The Wild Hunt by Bakarov

    I don't want to list all the pros and cons of both games as I'd prefer to let any discussion I may provoke do that, but there are a few discussion points worth considering. As this is a community of builders, from that perspective do you think The Wild Hunt has a good creation system? Was your first playthrough unique enough from your second to warrant another playthrough using a different skillset?

    What about the immersion and roleplay of the game? With the three major endings and multiple other smaller epilogues based on your decisions, do you feel it is possible to play again with different choices and see Geralt in a different way each time?

    What did you like about both TW 3 and Skyrim? What aspects did you prefer over the other?

    Lastly, if you haven't played the game but are curious, what is preventing you from doing so? Is it because your introduction to the series is the third instalment of the trilogy and you are concerned about not knowing the background details?

    Please let me know, I'm curious to see whether there is an appetite for Witcher content such as builds and articles or whether Fallout 3 is everyone's focus above all else.

    • 1463 posts
    July 24, 2015 11:53 PM EDT

    I loved the Witcher 3, it was my first journey into the universe and I'm currently trying to find a copy of the Witcher 2.

    I've finished the game once, I got this game about 3 weeks ago I think and I've poured more then 80 hours into my first playthrough (more then 100 probably) I didn't even explore half of the world and mostly raced to the finish. The world in which you can play in seems to make Skyrim seem tiny. I don't know about exact measurements but I wouldn't dream of crossing from the far west to the far easy in Velen on foot. 

    Skills:

    Compared to Skyrim I would say that it offers around the same amount of customization. You have about the same amount of skills as Skyrim. Fast Attacks, Strong Attacks, Crossbows, Block, Adrenaline, 5 different types of magic (only 5 spells though), Potions, Oils, Bombs, Mutagens, Toxicity and then 10 general abilities to choose from. So in terms of pure Skills you actually have just as many options as Skyrim it's just set out a little better.

    Armour actually means something in the Witcher 3. As much as I love Skyrim having Light and Heavy Armour essentially be the same was such a bad decision. In the Witcher Light Armour, Medium Armour and Heavy Armour are all very different with wildly differing Armour Ratings and the bonuses you get from each are pretty cool. With the right perk, Heavy Armour increases your Health and Strong Attack Damage, Medium Armour increases Stamina Regeneration and Sign (Magic) Intensity and Light Armour increases Fast Attack Damage and Critical Hit Damage. Each of them make your character very different and it's great to see Armour mean something again.

    Crafting:

    Crafting is actually a lot of fun in the Witcher. You can't craft Armour and Weapons yourself but you can go to Smiths to create that for you. Each Smith has a different level which means they can craft Armour at a certain point. Lower Level (and earlier) Blacksmiths can craft lower level equipment and later on you come across better Blacksmiths who can make better equipment. Finding most of the stuff is easy and you can always dismantle your gear. Equipment needs to be repaired and the difference between a nearly broken Sword and a completely new Sword is massive. Oh and get this, different enemies will actually have equipment in various states. A bandit for instance would have worse equipment then a richer noble and this is displayed a lot of the time in the Durability of the weapon. 

    Compared to Skyrim Smithing is actually  pretty cool system that works much better. Diagrams are used to have new weapons and Armour made for you and finding them can be a lot of fun. Everything has a minimum level requirement which makes it harder to get awesome equipment early on.

    Alchemy is way different then Skyrim's, and I think it's better as well. Only having access to two potions at a time is great, it's a shame that you can swap them out during a battle otherwise it would make picking Potions really important. 

    Different Endings and Choices:

    I haven't actually seen all of the different choices but I love that they exist. The number one flaw I have with Skyrim is that the whole thing get's really boring quickly. In the Witcher you have so many times where you can change the entire story, and the state of the World at the end. If anything won me over in the end it was that the game gives you actual choice.

    I think I do prefer the Witcher over Skyrim for all the reasons listed above and for others that I won't add because I'd rather not have a comment twice as long as the original post. I'm definitely going to be creating some Witcher Content in the form of Builds and if it helps I think it's in the top three of most requested content in General Game Building (With Dragon Age and Knight of the Old Republic)

  • July 25, 2015 12:14 AM EDT
    Definitely less potential for builds in the Witcher 3. And Witcher 3 isn't kind to new players in the story department. I mean they do a decent job but you're still missing like 40% of the story (at the very least). And the background they do give is a 'tell, don't show' experience. But maybe Skyrim's story is like that too for new players. There are still people who think the MQ requires a Nord, so I guess there are some people who didn't understand it.

    The lore is kind of hard to compare. The Witcher's lore is very traditional and realistic. They have tons of old mythical creatures and a dark tone. The Elder Scrolls is way more out there with mythopoeia, a schizophrenic time dragon, etc. I prefer Elder Scrolls.

    Upfront roleplaying is better in the Witcher. Sure I can't pretend to be some estranged prophet, but even in Skyrim, I did that with more my imagination and less in-game events. Though some dialogue choices in the Witcher are weird. *Shove aside. Forcefully* translates to *Punch in the face and break leg* which is silly (and actually has some dark consequences stemming from this one misleading choice).

    The Witcher 3 is prettier too. So many walks through the forest.

    That's all I can manage to type out on mobile.
    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 1:54 AM EDT

    I'm not sure of the exact scale but I've heard TW2 map is 20% bigger than Skyrim's and, like Skyrim, it is chock full of things to do. Skyrim does offer a bigger playthrough, I reckon. I mean after doing almost every quest and side quest in my first playthrough and getting to level 36. I only racked up 150 hours of play. Compared to Skyrim this is a really low number because I think my first character in TES V took double that amount of my time.

    So in terms of size, The Witcher 3 is bigger but Skyrim is longer would you agree?

    I'm glad you mentioned the variety of armours and crafting. Because the game only allows a small amount of active skills, each build can be quite unique especially in terms of armour. I pretty much stuck with scavenged medium sets until I got the Wolven Armour dlc. But even so I never bothered using that Griffin passive skill because I didn't touch the Signs all that much. I did play around with Ursine Armour and saw the difference in damage reduction quite easily.

    I don't know if I'm as keen on the crafting system as you though. Skyrim's was tortuously monotonous so TW3's system is better in that sense, but having it outsourced to Blacksmiths frequently meant that by the time I had good gear made I'd very shortly come across something even better. The jury is still out on crafting for me, but I agree that the upgradeable armour quests were awesome.

    Alchemy was my speciality in my first playthrough. Oils, Decoctions and Potions to complement my Fast Attack swordsmanship compensated nicely for ignoring magic. I liked the system, although prior to patch 1.07 menu navigation was a ball-ache. Alchemy also complimented the Bestiary nicely for me. I'd look up the monster then spend time making potions or applying an oil in preparation for the fight. I barely touched bombs beyond their basic level though.

    I think it's the story which really makes these two games hard to compare. While TES offers the "be anyone you want" escapism, by necessity it lacks depth and meaningful connections between characters. While more tightly focussed than Skyrim, The Witcher compensates by having genuine emotional engagement.

    I'm glad there is some appetite for builds, was thinking how much fun a Nilfgaardian Agent or Temerian Loyalist build would be thanks to the dlc armour and quest choices in the game. What did you think of Gwent?

    • 1463 posts
    July 25, 2015 2:18 AM EDT

    Gwent might be hands down my favorite minigame ever.  The idea of using Characters from the game made it so much more interesting then just using the normal, Militia, Solider types of cards. Not to mention the game was actually a lot of fun, and collecting cards was one of the most fun experiences of the whole game. I also enjoyed the way they gave you quests to challenge worthy players, that made it seem more real. (and the High Stakes Quest was a great challenge) 

    I've been playing around with Bombs and it's more fun then just about any other style I've tried so far. However like the rest of Alchemy you really need to get lucky and find good manuscript pages for them. I've got (at level 6) Dragon's Dream (Cloud of explosive gas) , Improved Dancing Star (Fire Damage and really great), Grapeshot, Sanim, North Wind (Freezing), Devil's Puffball (I think that's the name, anyway it's a poison bomb) and Dimertium (the spelling escapes me but an Anti-Mage/Monster bomb). I have so many options and with  a couple of levels in Pyrotechnics all of my Bombs deal damage. It's a lot of fun to just lob a half dozen bombs into a group of enemies. Just recently I used them to destroy about a dozen enemies, Bombs can be great fun with the right build. 

    I think the main difference with time spent is that in the Witcher you mostly just ride Roach everywhere...Horses in Skyrim suck too much for me to ever bother with it. 

    I actually really like the whole 12 skills thing. It makes you really think about every single perk you pick and the limited amount of Potions of Clearance makes it more important then Skyrim to plan ahead a little. 

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 2:23 AM EDT

    I agree there is much less potential for builds in TW3 compared to TES V but there are way more options than any other rpg of it's kind I know of. It would take much longer to get a decent unique looking build, though. I'm playing through on Deathmarch right now and am only just hitting level 5 after 9 hours. I think building for the Witcher 3 requires a greater investment of time than Skyrim if built from scratch.

    I think the background and lore was handled quite well. I had some familiarity with the elements from The Witcher 2 but still found myself pouring through the glossary. Despite that, the game compelled me to want to know more about the setting and I never felt bored by the need to learn. I can see how others who may be younger and less patient may be put off though.

    The lore is much more traditional than TES so I agree with you that Skyrim wins this one. Havings said that, the morally ambiguous setting lends itself to discussion. The question of Nilfgaard or Northern realms, for example, is much deeper than the question of Imperial or Stormcloak. Did you have a favoured side? Or did you try and remain neutral like a true witcher?

    I didn't pick that shove option Siggy so I managed to get the Reasons of State quest. I agree with how some dialogue played out but felt it wasn't much different to ME in that regard. I think that the best thing The Witcher does for roleplaying is summed up by this guy (starts at the 3:20 mark if you can't be bothered watching all of it):

    • 1483 posts
    July 25, 2015 5:04 AM EDT

    Haven't played it but debate on starting the series from Witcher 1. Having said that, I think Witcher ticks different boxes for players. Skyrim is all about freedom. You can do what you want, when you want, how you want. To have such a system, reactiveness of the world was sacrificed. Witcher, on the contrary, embraced the concept of decisions and consequences. Result - player is not as free. Your backstory is fixed and it is more rigid that Skyrim and even Mass Effect. That's quite limiting for roleplay. The game is also much more adult than Skyrim, which caters to different audience. For example, in the very first mission of Witcher 1, you meet Triss. She looks like this:

    It does feel that the devs/artists made a deliberate choice to push sexual agenda to make the game more appealing to male audience. 

    Part of me wants to try the series. Another part is weary of getting into that world. 

    • 288 posts
    July 25, 2015 5:15 AM EDT

    I started playing Skyrim in the beginning of 2012. I'm still playing it.

    I started playing Witcher 3 when it came out. I got so bored, I didn't even finish it, only got up to the point when the baron hangs himself.

    I believe that answers the question

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 5:29 AM EDT

    Women in The Witcher series is a tough subject to tackle lightly. Although I can't comment on the first game, the second very much has the Game of Thrones use of femininity and sex to it - that is to say it is there for a reason rather than for the sake of gratuity. I don't know whether you saw any of the argument which started from Polygon's Witcher 3 Review and prompted the critique with The Boy Who Cried White Wolf. An interesting read should you have time.

    I agree about the limits of story in an open world game. I think TW3 does a great job of handling it mainly because of the reasons presented in that video above - early dialogue choices don't so much effect the game as they do the player's view of the character Geralt is talking to, setting up the tone of the relationship for the rest of the game. Cleverly, this allows Geralt to remain Geralt but also let differing worldviews of the player seem legitimate. This way you can convincingly argue that in one playthrough Geralt will be more mercenary and only work for money, while in the next be more selfless and noble but still be true to the identity of Geralt in both instances.

    Good lord, can you remember the days when Shepard could be a two-faced prick in the same conversation? "The guy's a jerk and should have been cut loose a long time ago." "One of the first human C-Sec officers and The Alliance should have protected him!"  Ahh, good times.

    • 1483 posts
    July 25, 2015 6:01 AM EDT

    Read both the reviews. I think the first reviewer went overboard with some of his insinuations and the second one called him out. However, he did not disagree with the way women were presented in Witcher 3. He simply had a different take on it. Personally, I'm not a fan of the way women are portrayed in Witcher. I'm not a fan of Miranda's catsuit either and hope we won't get something similar in Mass Effect Andromeda. I agree on the number of people of color in the game (0, according to the article) being realistic due to the history of the region. I also agree that the game could've featured them, especially since it has already done so in the first installment. 

    From what I saw and read, Witcher seems to focus on the most stereotypical gamer audience - white male teenagers. It certainly works as a business model but I don't like it one bit 

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 6:16 AM EDT

    Not so much answers the question as provides an insight into your mind my friend. The Bloody Baron quest is regarded as one of the highlights of the game and it is a majority view I actually share, shockingly. The fact that you got bored of the game after this major event yet still enjoy hitting hitting trolls with greatswords tells the amateur psychologist in me a great deal.

    I jest, but you can do that in Wild Hunt too

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 6:38 AM EDT

    I'm not sure about the intended audience, there are some deep and complicated decisions to be addressed in long, drawn out dialogue which your average teenager would probably try and skip. I reckon the most asked question in The Witcher 3 is "which dialogue option leads to sex Gwent?" 

    I understand your concerns, though. I can't say they didn't occur to me before I played the game. It's an eastern-European studio after all. Upon playing it I got the sorceresses lore a little more, how they were deformed and ugly and changed their appearance with magic when they became powerful. Each one is affected by this in her own way, some get bitter and tyrannical like Philippa Eilhart, or twisted up by the prospect of infertility like Yennefer, while others use it to their advantage like a certain sorceress you meet.

    That last one is an experience. Never before have I been seduced and hoodwinked by a video game character.  In a game like Mass Effect, decisions and responses are clearly telegraphed so that you know what the likely outcome of a choice, whether it leads to sex, victory or whatever. Not so with The Witcher, she had me fooled and it was awesome!

    All I'm saying is that the beauty is more than skin deep.

    • 1483 posts
    July 25, 2015 7:34 AM EDT

    Downside of the dialogue wheel system, certainly. You know that this option is Paragon, therefore good and amorous. Or like in Dragon Age when the game highlights the romance-specific lines with a corresponding icon (adding icons to the dialogue wheel is one of the biggest mistakes DA franchise has made IMO). It's why I enjoy Jack's romance the most - Paragon options seem wrong most of the time 

    I saw some Witcher 3 gameplay on YT and it didn't grab me. Maybe the setting is not that interesting to me, don't know. 

    • 288 posts
    July 25, 2015 8:06 AM EDT

    So enlighten me, what are your insights?

    • 288 posts
    July 25, 2015 8:10 AM EDT

    I actually got bored even before that but grinded my teeth and stuck through it. After that, however, I didn't feel the need or desire to continue. I wasn't feeling connected to the story, I didn't care much about the characters in it and the gameplay was grindy-boring as hell too: jump forward, hit, jump back, evade, rinse, repeat...

    • 66 posts
    July 25, 2015 11:52 AM EDT

    Now I really want to play this, but I need to upgrade my CPU and graphics card

    • 759 posts
    July 25, 2015 12:34 PM EDT

    Hear hear, though I only need to upgrade the GPU.

    • 394 posts
    July 25, 2015 1:29 PM EDT

    I loved Witcher 2 although Skyrim is much better, and I havent yet got the hardware for 3 but it looks fantastic

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:31 PM EDT

    It's an odd thing to describe but for me the game is very reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption in terms of pacing, atmosphere and themes. Geralt is very much the lone gunman or wandering ronin and the game embraces that. If you liked Red Dead you'll feel at home here, although the horse AI is no where near as good.

    Unlike W2 which was very linear, Wild Hunt mixes in Skyrim's open world but has it in a number of regions like Dragon Age Inquisition. So it's not possible to walk from White Orchard to Kaer Morhen as both those locations are regions. It was jarring at first but once I was in Velen, the second region and biggest, I discovered it could take about half hour to walk from one end to the other. So I guess it is hard to compare it to Skyrim on that level.

    The gameplay and combat are obviously leaps and bounds ahead of TES V, regardless of what Overhate says. By necessity the swordplay is balletic and fast simply because you can't afford to get hit. On the highest difficulty each enemy, even low levelled ones, can present a challenge if you get cocky. So the system rewards strategy through the conservation of resources such as stamina because some special attacks, signs and roll-dodging use up this resource which is also affected by armour weight.

    So do you tank in with heavy armour and slower but heavier attacks, ensuring that you dish out more than you take? Or do you weave and dodge your way in and out, striking lightly but often to cause dot bleeding? Or do you use signs to protect yourself, control the field and damage opponents? Each strategy you use is effective but you can never simply stand there and take a beating. I think this is why it puts people off because it is quite unforgiving,  but once you master it you'll find it's very fluid and satisfying in ways Skyrim never is.

    As for the dialogue, Jack is a goddess that's why I like her best!

    • 288 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:36 PM EDT

    It's not "ahead", Phil, it's "sideways".

    If you are an "arcade" guy and you enjoy a good button mashing, then W3's combat is better for you than Skyrim's.

    If you, however, are a "strategy" guy, who prefers to win battles by the power of his brain rather than his thumbs, then Skyrim's, although far from perfect, is more for you.

    • 1483 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:40 PM EDT

    Red Dead is console-exclusive = I haven't played it 

    My friend here in Armenia told me a lot about the Witcher combat system and how it is the best he ever seen...  I can see that, and I can appreciate challenge but there is something about that game that doesn't make me want to play it, or even watch videos about it. Maybe its the main character, the world or something else, I don't know.

    TES combat system is "poke it till it dies". Its the most basic and straightforward combat system out there lol 

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:45 PM EDT

    I sort of understand, I got like that in my first playthrough of Witcher 2. I got stuck at Letho's first fight which was punishingly tough and couldn't beat him even on normal difficulty. Also, I think I was expecting high fantasy, good vs evil like Dragon Age so the world and setting were an unwelcome shock to my system.

    The Witcher 3 I found to be way more emotionally engaging than the second game, Geralt expresses more emotion and is driven by love. I found it much easier to understand him and connect with the characters.

    I honestly found the combat to be hugely enjoyable. Here's a little article which goes into detail about the combat better than I :Why Everyone is Wrong About the Witcher 3's Combat.

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:50 PM EDT
    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 3:59 PM EDT

    Strategy in Skyrim is almost non-existent. As Vaz said the approach is hit it 'til it dies!  This system works well for TES because it is a "go anywhere, be anybody" type of game which caters to many different playstyles without having to run separate mechanics for each.

    Button mashing in the Witcher 3 will get you killed unless you play on the easier modes. It encourages using the right oils, bombs and signs for the enemy you're about to face. Sure, you can defeat a ghoul with Aard, Sanum and Heavy Attacks but you'd find it tougher than if you used Igni, Grapeshot and Fast Attacks.

    • 1593 posts
    July 25, 2015 4:06 PM EDT

    Fair enough buddy. As I said to Overhate I was jarred by the Witcher 2's setting and didn't get on well at first. It's grim, dirty and sometimes dark as hell, especially when compared to the high fantasy escapism of Mass Effect, TES and Dragon Age. Even the ambient music matches the bleak settings.

    Still, if you're ever curious or want to know more about a particular aspect you know where to come and I can grab a screenie or a quick video :)