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I've been playing a Mage build on Dark Mode and was really enjoying it . . . until I hit Endless Battle. I'm not certain that I've encountered anything more frustrating in the twenty years or so that I've been playing video games.

Specifically, the two sections where you have to fight without any of your Witcher abilities (the first one with the 3 knights and the draugir, and the Seltkirk section) are screamingly, hair pullingly difficult. You die in 3 or 4 hits, maximum, you have zero mobility, and parry is worthless because you lose health even when you parry. In the Seltkirk section you have to kill two sets of 3 and then 4 enemies --- without the ability to save in between!!! I suppose it's possible that having the ability to counterattack off the block would make this easier, but two out of three possible builds don't have that ability.

Completely ruined this playthrough for me so far. There's difficult and then there's stupid, and this is stupid. Strongly considering just quitting rather than banging my head against this wall any longer (been on this section at least an hour).
Post edited December 11, 2011 by TheMuse
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TheMuse: I've been playing a Mage build on Dark Mode and was really enjoying it . . . until I hit Endless Battle. I'm not certain that I've encountered anything more frustrating in the twenty years or so that I've been playing video games.

Specifically, the two sections where you have to fight without any of your Witcher abilities (the first one with the 3 knights and the draugir, and the Seltkirk section) are screamingly, hair pullingly difficult. <EDITED>
Completely ruined this playthrough for me so far.
I have also had great difficulty as a mage/critical kill build. I would not attempt to enter the mist until I was at least level 24 (prefer 26+.) By this time you should have your 6 training picks doubling parry and vigor +1; about 6 sword picks including whirl and riposte; 5 alchemy picks doubling potion enhancements while decreasing penalties and the remaing 6 - 9 picks as a mage. I pick Heliotrope at level 26. One cannot completely ignore the sword path since it is your primary weapons training while you were young. If you can get through the early spectre takeovers quickly your potions should still be active by the time you become Selkirk.

Always use your enhancements which seem to be active even if you are possessed by one of the spirits. If you are damaged, Gadwall will restore quicker than Swallow; do not rush in if you are badly hurt. You may reload blade oils or Whetstone even without Meditation at the very least.

The Dark Mode is meant to be very hard and you may make only one mistake or you will get clobbered. Good Luck!
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TheMuse: I've been playing a Mage build on Dark Mode and was really enjoying it . . . until I hit Endless Battle. I'm not certain that I've encountered anything more frustrating in the twenty years or so that I've been playing video games.

Specifically, the two sections where you have to fight without any of your Witcher abilities (the first one with the 3 knights and the draugir, and the Seltkirk section) are screamingly, hair pullingly difficult. <EDITED>
Completely ruined this playthrough for me so far.
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aecon: I have also had great difficulty as a mage/critical kill build. I would not attempt to enter the mist until I was at least level 24 (prefer 26+.) By this time you should have your 6 training picks doubling parry and vigor +1; about 6 sword picks including whirl and riposte; 5 alchemy picks doubling potion enhancements while decreasing penalties and the remaing 6 - 9 picks as a mage. I pick Heliotrope at level 26. One cannot completely ignore the sword path since it is your primary weapons training while you were young. If you can get through the early spectre takeovers quickly your potions should still be active by the time you become Selkirk.

Always use your enhancements which seem to be active even if you are possessed by one of the spirits. If you are damaged, Gadwall will restore quicker than Swallow; do not rush in if you are badly hurt. You may reload blade oils or Whetstone even without Meditation at the very least.

The Dark Mode is meant to be very hard and you may make only one mistake or you will get clobbered. Good Luck!
See, this is what I'm talking about. I appreciate the advice, but none of those abilities are necessary in any other part of the game, even on Dark Mode. I'm level 27 or so, all my points are in the Mage tree (save the 6 in Training). No problems on any other hard fight in the game --- Letho only took a few tries, got the Harpy Queen and her horde in two tries, and I don't think I'd have any difficulties with anything in the last bit of Act 2 or the entirety of Act 3 that I have left with the build I have right now.

But what you're essentially telling me is that I have to build a character solely to take down one section of the game that, all things considered, should take about 10 minutes to play through. That's horrific game balancing right there.
You've chosen a challenging and, in all honesty, a fairly non-standard build, by ignoring swordsman skills entirely.

However, there are still some tips that may help on the Seltkirk fight, regardless of build.

You can avoid taking on more than one opponent at a time. It slows down the fight, but it gives you a LOT more chances to recover after each step. On both groups, you can get them to fight you one at a time, if you move forward slowly and retreat (using the "S" key) as soon as one enemy is triggered to attack. During each fight, avoid moving too far forward, as this will trigger others to attack. Again, back off and let your current target come to you.

After the first group, hang around where you are to recover your health before triggering the second group. It takes a while without potions, but it's worth it. Again, move forward very slowly, triggering one at a time, then back off and wait for him to come to you. Rest and recover again between each one if necessary.

Also make use of block to avoid getting hits, since you can't dodge easily. You should be fairly high on vigor as a mage, so make the most use of it.
Honestly Dark Mode is just like that. I have a heavy sword build (at the time I believe I had both Group Finisher and Heliotrope, with extra points in the sword categories and a few in Quen) and I still had to use the above tactic.
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Mblackwell1024: Honestly Dark Mode is just like that. I have a heavy sword build (at the time I believe I had both Group Finisher and Heliotrope, with extra points in the sword categories and a few in Quen) and I still had to use the above tactic.
Me too.
The techniques work with any build, but Swordsman definitely has the advantages - Riposte, and heavier hitting that means you can take them down faster.
And when I played it on Alchemy, I think I spent about 10 minutes reading forums while I waited for his health to recover between fights. :)
i had this frustration too. i spend maybe 30-40 mins trying the first fight and dying horribly. then i started searching the web.

the one trick that did it for me was standing near edge where the tree is. when you stand with the back tiwards the border and block the enemy will eventually turn around. this mean you can backstab them as they move away slowly.

this got my through despite being a full alchamy build with no potions on -.-
I found counter attacking very useful in this part. Parrying is stil helpful but dont rely on it. If you see an incoming attack try to counter it rather than parry. I used hit and run tactics mainly.

-For the first fight (banner bearer)
Try and let your allies take all the aggression, attack enemies who arnt focused on you and run from those who are.

-Seltkirk
Run around the enemies so they all come from one direction. Take out the easy ones first. Be patient and take a swing or two then run away.

Throughout the game I relyed on dodge to avoid damage and losing dodge AND signs made this section very annoying. I think any potion effects are disabled when you enter the mist as well. Coming up to the boss was a relief.
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lexman6: I found counter attacking very useful in this part. Parrying is stil helpful but dont rely on it. If you see an incoming attack try to counter it rather than parry. I used hit and run tactics mainly.

-For the first fight (banner bearer)
Try and let your allies take all the aggression, attack enemies who arnt focused on you and run from those who are.

-Seltkirk
Run around the enemies so they all come from one direction. Take out the easy ones first. Be patient and take a swing or two then run away.

Throughout the game I relyed on dodge to avoid damage and losing dodge AND signs made this section very annoying. I think any potion effects are disabled when you enter the mist as well. Coming up to the boss was a relief.
I seem to remember a break after you run back and ask for relief for the Dun Banner. You return to Geralt and listen to the mage make her plans to kill "The Visitor." I was restored to full and saw my potions and oils still active!
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TheMuse: I've been playing a Mage build on Dark Mode and was really enjoying it . . . until I hit Endless Battle. I'm not certain that I've encountered anything more frustrating in the twenty years or so that I've been playing video games.
100% agree. It doesn't help that the save is before entering the mist so you have to wait for almost 30 seconds to a minute before you can have another try. I was surprised just how enjoyable Dark mode was. Nothing was really that impossible, you just rely on doge+bombs a bit more then normal. I don't even really use potions and oils.

I have been stuck at the "banner" fight for 2 days :( frustrating rather then hard. The Kayran was hard... this is just stupid.
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TheMuse: I've been playing a Mage build on Dark Mode and was really enjoying it . . . until I hit Endless Battle. I'm not certain that I've encountered anything more frustrating in the twenty years or so that I've been playing video games.

Specifically, the two sections where you have to fight without any of your Witcher abilities (the first one with the 3 knights and the draugir, and the Seltkirk section) are screamingly, hair pullingly difficult. You die in 3 or 4 hits, maximum, you have zero mobility, and parry is worthless because you lose health even when you parry. In the Seltkirk section you have to kill two sets of 3 and then 4 enemies --- without the ability to save in between!!! I suppose it's possible that having the ability to counterattack off the block would make this easier, but two out of three possible builds don't have that ability.

Completely ruined this playthrough for me so far. There's difficult and then there's stupid, and this is stupid. Strongly considering just quitting rather than banging my head against this wall any longer (been on this section at least an hour).
The Endless Battle should be done after all the other quests have been done because any unfinished quests will be marked as Failed afterwards, and also because you may not have leveled up as much as might be useful.

Because you cannot dodge or cast signs, sword fight mechanics are important to understand and utilize. The basic sword fight skills are block and counter-attack. When you're blocking, ie your sword is raised in front of you, you should be able to block attacks from all sides, however be aware of all the enemies on the field and make sure they don't get behind you and get any backstabbing ideas. If you cannot block from all sides, unlock the skill from the Witcher Training path.

Banner Fight: you need to sword fight with patience- don't try to hack and slash. Hit enemy, block, counterattack, try to get them from the back. The important part is to counterattack at the right moment so you can get 3-4 hits in while they're stumbling. I focused on the draugir and ended the fight quickly, but it is also possible to kill all the wraiths and then deal with the draugir at the end.

Flaming Arrow sequence: if you listen, then you'll notice that there is a blow from a horn which indicates the release of the flaming arrows. This sequence is all about timing: run towards the protective wooden shields right after the flaming arrows stop, don't wait for the horn to blow. If you wait for the horn to blow, it's too late. If it's too late, your shield burns and you might as well start over. Just run to get under the next shield as soon as the arrows stop coming down.

Selkirk: Here is another part where the sword fight mechanics are utilized. You'll start by fighting three wraiths- don't rush ahead till you finish them or else you'll be fighting seven at once. Follow through with good sword fight mechanics: block and counter-attack. Try to attack them from the back. Try not to stand too close to the wooden barrier as it will be smashed by meteorites.

Draug Fight: best and most fun boss in the game. It can be really intimidating and has so many attacks. I am not sure what the Draug will do right off the bat, but here are some pointers for whatever it does.

Calls for Archers: flaming arrows will rain down on you and they will take a chunk of your HP- roll near the back of the burned house and wait for the arrows to stop.

Calls for Trebuchets: great balls of fire will fall down on you, and there's no way to predict where they might land. I think they can hit the same place twice or at least close enough for you to get hurt, so roll around, don't stay in one place.

Supernova move: Yikes. If it starts off with this, then you just got unlucky. All you can do is wait for it to stop, roll around, don't get hit by debris- it will knock you off your feet and you'll waste time getting back up while it gets closer to you. The Draug has the tendency to do the supernova move more than once in succession, so don't rush in to attack right after it ends.

Rushes in to attack you like a Golem: the most favorable move for you. The best tactic is to cast Yrden and trap him and hit him with 2-3 HEAVY attacks. Alternatively, you can dodge and do 1-2 heavy attacks on its back. You can easily finish off the Draug with three reps of the Yrden trap/heavy attack moves.

Priest: very easy- just run towards the goal and don't get hit.

Endless battle over, time for more awesome fights!

All in all, the EB is not a tough stage if you utilize the sword fight mechanics to their fullest extent. I had the Oathbreaker outfit, and had invested in footwork, riposte, and parry skills.
Post edited January 21, 2013 by cmdr_flashheart
Did it with pure "alchemist" Witcher (no skills from other major trees). It's hard but not very hard if you know just few tricks. The biggest problem there I think that most of the people got addicted to rolling and then were forced to use quite good but different tactics they never used before.
1) Use block a lot and always move forward with light attacks when possible, so the enemies when they come from behind will be missing. If they come too close attack the guy behind you and then change direction again... it's hard to explain but it works well, I even can beat that way those last 4 guys simultaneously on Dark Mode. It's as good as rolling just a bit more involved and people prefer rolling because it's less buttons to press. It took me some time to practice that tactics of course. Let's say it's about the same learning curve as to learn how to beat the guys in the courtyard if you played the game for the first time and chose at least normal mode right away.
2) Lure the enemies one by one to fight you. They have an engagement distance, so you can fight very easy if you want.
3) If you quickly skip all the cutscenes you can have potion effects in the first fight.

Though yeah, the sudden spike in difficulty is annoying but I actually enjoyed the challenge.
Post edited January 26, 2013 by Maerd
Zero mobility is expected, since you get possessed by ghosts and get forced to relive their last moments in heated battle. Those people did not possess geralt's reflexes, abilities, signs or swords and "sword". It's not the size of the sword that actually matters, but technique. Regardless of the build you choose, you still can get abilities from other builds. Load a previous save, get the riposte skill (even at 1/2 it is a nice addition), and if you even work it on common enemies, you get an uber character attribute that gives you a huge, passive chance, to automatically riposte by simply parrying. And even in dark, when parrying at full endurance, the damage you suffer is not so horrible as to make it impossible to go further.

Also keep in mind that the ancient one at loc muinne's sewers, can restore all your skill points to rearrange your entire skill tree completely and entirely. On dark you cannot beat him (at least without superhuman efforts), and his staff and other stuff are not so important as to choose the fuss of getting them over letting him use his artifact on you instead without a fight!

Paths of the skill tree look exciting, but it is not wise to completely leave out paths or skills from other paths. There are certain skills that regardless of tree or roleplaying matters, are always useful to you (such as the skill to receive normal damage from enemy backstabs). The whole picture of the tree is to make choices and combinations, to be creative and use it to its fullest potential, not exclude options indiscriminately and then blame the game for being too difficult, although it was you who did not choose your skills wisely.

It is a fact that in that battle you cannot drink potions, this is a real problem and a nasty one on top of that, but you can live with it. After you beat one or two opponents, try to go to a place where you won't be hit, and wait a bit for the passive regeneration; then proceed to the next bunch of enemies. Try to lure them in as few numbers as possible. Also, if you parry and then attack at an instant, even without riposte, you should be able to land a successful combination of 2-3 strikes, fast or strong, or even both. You can do it. A lot more time consuming compared to normal, but totally worth it. You chose dark, stick with it!