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I will apologise profusely in advance but I need to vent, I still rate the game 9/10 at least so far despite these issues, but they are driving me insane.

Retrying to fight the first boss involves:

1. Cutscenes: Not just a plain old cutscene but a cutscene with multiple dialogue choices over and over. Don't know if dialogue choices matter here, I would have thought so, but I couldn't care less right now, just choose whatever my mouse clicks as I rush to get past it.

2. Clunky combat, when everything was easy you didn't care about the annoyances as much, now that it matters these things are really killing me:

- you can't select a stance before Geralt has gone through his long fancy drawing motion revolving into a game of pausing/unpausing until you hit that perfect moment you can switch stances before you can start fighting.

- clicking a mob to initiate an attack = no feedback. Example: you've clicked the mouse to attack, he's sitting there for 1 second now, should I click again and risk the game telling me I made a failed combo attempt or should I leave him standing there like a muppet because I don't know if he's going to swing in the next millisecond. This isn't a combo whine, I can combo perfectly just from audio cues alone, I am talking about not knowing whether your instruction telling Geralt to start attacking has registered or not.

- game paused = camera movement slowed to a crawl. Are they saying the purpose of game pausing is only for going into your inventory/chugging a potion and trying to discourage reviewing the battlefield and/or selecting an opponent? This seems silly after so many RPGs with a game paused function were exactly for reviewing the battlefield.

- all these consumables/items i've been collecting I've had no need to use up to till this point. Why are you plonking me in the middle of a boss battle and therefore telling me I shouldn't use them now in the toughest encounter, why are you doing this to me?

Thank you for listening.
Post edited November 19, 2014 by irregularity
This is the single most annoying part in the game. Do persevere, the game gets much better afterwards. One trick for the fight is that if you've upgraded your Aard sign, you can use it to knock down the boss and then one-hit kill it. Otherwise you just have to tough it out.
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irregularity: - you can't select a stance before Geralt has gone through his long fancy drawing motion revolving into a game of pausing/unpausing until you hit that perfect moment you can switch stances before you can start fighting.
I'm pretty sure you can select stance using the Z / X / C keys at any time, even during Geral'ts sword drawing animation.
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irregularity: - clicking a mob to initiate an attack = no feedback. Example: you've clicked the mouse to attack, he's sitting there for 1 second now, should I click again and risk the game telling me I made a failed combo attempt or should I leave him standing there like a muppet because I don't know if he's going to swing in the next millisecond. This isn't a combo whine, I can combo perfectly just from audio cues alone, I am talking about not knowing whether your instruction telling Geralt to start attacking has registered or not.
This is annoying, but eventually you'll get a sense for whether the click registered (hint: it usually has). As long as you have a sword icon when you click the enemy, it should trigger an attack, even if there's a long delay. Be patient.
I think the fact that Geralt sheathes his sword every time he finishes a combat and then has to draw it again, reset his stance etc. is really annoying too. I realized it when entering the Salamandra hideout for the first time, I went in and even at the first playthrough I DID expect to be attacked... and yeah, there were 5 random goons on the other side of the door. A walk in the park with the Group stance, too bad Geralt had well thought of entering enemy territory with his weapon sheathed and it took me two or three attempts to manage drawing it before they beat me into a pulp.
My trick to beating him was to step back, stop treating this as a RPG (buffs, build, etc) and more of an action/beatemup/spectaclefighter game and use hit and run tactics with my dodge (doubletap) ability, took a while but was a piece of cake in terms of skill required.

ZXC was my original way of switching stances, definitely doesn't work, Q key to draw sword also lets you cycle stances, same problem, however I've since realised that shift+mouse does work whilst you're still drawing.

The initiate attack thing has a hell of a lot of nuances. I've realised that if you give a command to attack whilst the game is paused, more often than not, it won't register. I've found it better to just leave the game running, eat some hits if necessary, forget about picking out an enemy and just attack anything that you're sure a click will register on (ie closest enemy in your screen vision). In group combat, I can now effectively combo into the next opponent without pausing and just scrolling the camera whilst the previous attack animation finishes, I think this is the only way to play the game effectively. I feel like the game pausing function should not have been put into the game at all, it is introduced as an aid but does absolutely everything to hurt the player if they choose to use it, the inventory screen pause is enough for potions/oils. The spacebar for pause's only function to me now is just to breath and relax, which I could press Escape for anyway, guess I'm out of ideas why I even need this binded.

I'm way too critical of games I love, I do really love this game despite what my tirade may make you think.
Post edited November 20, 2014 by irregularity
I think an especially stupid design choice however is not having the stances appear immediately in pause mode after you click on the sword. If they did, you could simply queue the two actions in a row, it would make way much more sense; instead you need to pause, click to draw the sword, unpause, pause again immediately after, and select your stance, if you want maximal speed/efficiency. It's clunky, is what it is. I think this is a good example of what NOT to do when building an interface.
Yeah I never used pause myself. I found ZXC pretty effective for changing stances while the game is running though... I could do it while Geralt was still doing his sword drawing animation.

But yes, the drawing / sheathing swords between fights is really annoying. Why wouldn't Geralt be ready for the fight? Sometimes a cutscene even shows him draw his sword but then when the playable fight starts his sword is sheathed.
Post edited November 22, 2014 by Waltorious
To me, the combat in the original Witcher game has always been its greatest flaw. I love the game for its setting and atmosphere, the music, characters and storytelling -- But the fights always felt... awkward.

The gameplay changes in the second game are somewhat polarizing, but personally I liked it much better. Here's hoping they'll really nail it with the third release in the series. ( Both, the combat flow, as well as the interface. )
I hated the combat in TW1 at first, and I never came to love it, but it does get better as Geralt gets more powerful.

Eventually I just bit the bullet and used an editor to jack up all his stats to maximum. It made the whole game much more fun, frankly. I don't enjoy the game's slog to competence at all, so I circumvent it.

I'm not recommending that you cheat, but if you hate the combat it's a viable option.
I think the biggest problem with the combat is that you need a bit of patience to get to a point where you can enjoy the combat. I mean it took me to the last half of chapter 2 and I completely changed my mind and was loving every second of the combat.

Just bare with it and once you get to the point of chopping of 6 heads with one swing you'll change your mind.
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UniversalWolf: I hated the combat in TW1 at first, and I never came to love it, but it does get better as Geralt gets more powerful.

Eventually I just bit the bullet and used an editor to jack up all his stats to maximum. It made the whole game much more fun, frankly. I don't enjoy the game's slog to competence at all, so I circumvent it.

I'm not recommending that you cheat, but if you hate the combat it's a viable option.
I think the biggest problem is people naturally put points into magic etc leaving the sword play to suffer. My last playthrough I dumped all my points into swords and what a blast I had. Maybe it's just me though.
Post edited December 02, 2014 by darthspudius
I hear you. That's why I don't advise people to cheat. On the other hand I gave my self unlimited gold, silver, and bronze skill points, jacked up all my skills and stats to max, and blew through the game like a hurricane. It didn't lessen my enjoyment because it made Geralt actually feel like a full-fledged hero, and it didn't impact the story.
In general terms, the Witcher 1 combat isn't the greatest RPG combat ever nor is it the worst. I actually enjoyed some parts of it, ex. the fact that Geralt's animation are straight out from the book, I really didn't expect that kind of detail from a game based on a book. You can't have a character do complex full animations that match exactly to his training as described in the book and still allow players to fine granular control of his movements (like Witcher 2 allows). Something's got to give.

That said, the first boss fight is just badly done from many points of view. It's either insanely hard (if you try to do it like any other normal fight) or ridiculously easy if you abuse certain things like others have already mentioned. This clearly shows that it's broken. All this could have been made a complete non-issue if the devs allowed for one thing: time to drink potions/put oil on the sword. That way there would have been a lore-compatible, non-game breaking way to make the battle have somewhat normal difficulty. But because of the long unskip-able cutscenes, the potions wear off by the time the battle starts. I actually remember skipping over the dialogue so the whole thing would take less time and I still had some seconds left of the potions. That's (again) obviously broken when someone has to do that.

But like others said, don't give up, once you pass that point the game is much better and at least when you get in tough circumstances you have potions and oils to help.
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rmihaif: All this could have been made a complete non-issue if the devs allowed for one thing: time to drink potions/put oil on the sword. That way there would have been a lore-compatible, non-game breaking way to make the battle have somewhat normal difficulty. But because of the long unskip-able cutscenes, the potions wear off by the time the battle starts. I actually remember skipping over the dialogue so the whole thing would take less time and I still had some seconds left of the potions. That's (again) obviously broken when someone has to do that.
The fight starts at midnight. If you leave the cave at 09:00, time will advance 13 hours to get to midnight, thus most oils/potions will have worn out. If you exit the cave at 23:45, time will advance 15 minutes, thus most oils/potions will still be in effect. Rest until 23:00 before applying oils/potions and then proceed to the fight.

But there's no mention of that in the game unfortunately.
You cannot select a fighting stance before the long and flashy draw animation, correct, but you can always PRESET the stance you are going to need next, from during or shorty after the previous battle fought, before the sword is automatically put back in its sheath, either from geralt himself, or from you pressing the button (button to put sword back in sheath).

Combat is NOT hard, unlike second title. Here, combat is much more player friendly. You simply need to use the correct stance, and connect strikes to land combos, you cannot miss it, when the flaming cursor appears you have to click again.

The thing is, its combat system is unique, and until you learn it well enough, you die a few times. After you get hold of it, though, you nag for game being too easy, trust me, you will see...
Post edited December 09, 2014 by KiNgBrAdLeY7
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irregularity: 2. Clunky combat, when everything was easy you didn't care about the annoyances as much, now that it matters these things are really killing me:

- you can't select a stance before Geralt has gone through his long fancy drawing motion revolving into a game of pausing/unpausing until you hit that perfect moment you can switch stances before you can start fighting.

- clicking a mob to initiate an attack = no feedback. Example: you've clicked the mouse to attack, he's sitting there for 1 second now, should I click again and risk the game telling me I made a failed combo attempt or should I leave him standing there like a muppet because I don't know if he's going to swing in the next millisecond. This isn't a combo whine, I can combo perfectly just from audio cues alone, I am talking about not knowing whether your instruction telling Geralt to start attacking has registered or not.
One thing that I found very useful is to draw your sword with E (silver) or Q (steel) then switch the stance with Z, X or C. Using the keyboard makes combat initiating much quicker than using the mouse.
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Zenphic: One thing that I found very useful is to draw your sword with E (silver) or Q (steel) then switch the stance with Z, X or C. Using the keyboard makes combat initiating much quicker than using the mouse.
I played this way too... I found keyboard shortcuts much more useful than trying to click on UI elements with the mouse.