The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

Over the weekend, The Witcher 3 got a new patch that brought with it a bunch of changes. None of the tweaks are earth-shaking on their own, but taken together, they make the game feel noticeably more polished, user-friendly, and complete.

Since The Witcher 3 came out back in May, developer CD Projekt Red has been releasing regular free updates and downloadable content, from performance tweaks to outfits and weapons to full-blown story missions. I've been following along with interest, and have been impressed with what I've played so far.

Last weekend we didn't get any new missions or gear, but we got something just as good -- the substantial new 1.07 patch. It was about 5GB for me on PC, and brought with it a ton of small improvements, some more noticeable than others. I got home from vacation on Sunday and fired the game up to see what was different.

I've played more than 90 hours of The Witcher 3 on PC, in addition to the 60-ish that I played on PS4 back when I reviewed it. I've gotten pretty used to the game's many little quirks, so some of the little changes feel more noticeable to me than they may to another player. I haven't tried the patched game out on either PS4 and Xbox One -- Digital Foundry reports that it actually lowers the game's average frame-rate in some places on consoles, which is a bummer, but one to which I can't directly attest.

First, the biggest change, which is a real megaton. Per the patch notes:

Fixes an issue where in certain circumstances gravity ceased to apply to the player's horse.

No more flying horses! We live in an age of wonders. The other major change is that you can now turn on an alternate control setting in the game options:

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

The result is that Geralt turns on a tighter radius and as a result is a lot easier to handle. For a not-very-scientific look at the differences, here's what happens when I try to turn in a tight circle with the original control scheme while using a controller:

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

And here's me turning with the new alternate control scheme:

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

It may not seem like a huge difference, but it will be immediately noticeable to anyone who's spent a lot of time playing the game. To test it out, I spent a few hours hunting down the new Wolf School armour (Side note: Worth doing! You'll explore some places you may have missed back at Kaer Morhen, and the armour itself is cool.) As I explored, I found myself much more able to climb twisting staircases and navigate cliffs and walkways without Geralt stumbling off edges. Combat also feels tighter, particularly if you decide to flee mid-fight or relocate to a better vantage.

As much as I may love Geralt's horse Roach, there's no denying that steering her can be a pain in the arse. Roach's controls have also been improved with the new patch. It's still not entirely smooth sailing -- it's easier to get Roach through a tightly packed corridor or across a bridge or other choke point, but still not quite easy, and the auto-navigation on trails still doesn't work entirely correctly. I still found Roach taking forks in the direction leading away from the path on my minimap.

The inventory menu has also gotten a new Books tab, which will allow you to hoover up all the books and documents you can find without worrying about your Usable Items tab filling up with copies of My Evening With A Vampire and Witchers: Not Quite The Devils You Thought.

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

It's a big improvement, and while it doesn't undo the general awkwardness of the game's menus, it goes a long way toward making the most important tab (Usable Items) less crowded.

Geralt also has access to a storage Stash, which is great news for armour-hoarders like me who craft every possible set of custom Witcher gear and can't bear to part with any of it. There aren't that many stash locations -- one for each of the game's major locations -- and they're marked by a green chest icon on the map.

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

Once you're at your stash, you can store whatever you'd like:

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

I stored all of the Witcher gear I don't use, along with my precious purloined portrait of Hierarch Hemmelfart, which I'm sure you will agree deserves to be kept safe.

In another nice interface improvement, you can now "pin" crafting and alchemy formulas. The ingredients you need for pinned recipes will be highlighted in the shopkeeper menu, which makes it a lot easier to figure out what you need for the stuff you want to make.

The Witcher 3 Just Got Better In A Bunch Of Little Ways

Those are the most noticeable changes, but there are a lot of little ones, too. (Apparently, the patch changes the level requirements for some armour? Which is a head-scratcher.) As I mentioned earlier, you can see the full changelog here, but among the things I noticed: When Geralt goes into a conversation with a Quen shield active, it no longer loudly explodes off of him at the start of the conversation. (Hooray!) The mini-map seems much easier to read when you're in small caves and dungeons, which makes it easier to tell where you are and how to leave. Your equipped armour and weapons are now highlighted in the repair menu, so you don't wind up accidentally repairing the sword you were just going to sell anyway.

There are some new graphics options, including a bunch of new settings for the game's notoriously performance-killing Nvidia HairWorks tech. (I still leave it off.) The patch also promises more general performance increases. As I already mentioned, I can't directly speak to the lower performance that Digital Foundry discovered on consoles, but the game has always run very well for me on PC -- I'm using a GTX 970 and have gotten solid 60fps 1080p performance at high/ultra settings with HairWorks off. After the patch, I'm still in the same high/ultra ballpark and am still getting a solid 60fps.

The 1.07 patch contains many more small tweaks, and more than a few that I'm sure I've missed. Overall, though: It's yet another welcome bit of post-release support from a developer that was already doing a great job of it.


Comments

    The patch also breaks the DLC monster contract Skelliges Most Wanted, you can't beat the monster at the end because it gets stuck in it's death animation.

    On a side note, I swear that my ISP was filtering GOG in response to the traffic. Their website and Twitter pages were blocked until I changed to Google's DNS.

    Should be quite the game by the time I finally buy it :-)

    Not gonna say it's a new game or anything, but the changes are MORE than welcome. Much smoother experience on PS4. Haven't encountered any loss of frame rate.

    basically they made the movement less realistic and more video-gamey... hopefully all the crying can stop now... i finished the game over the weekend and loved it... never had a problem with it... put up with the frame dips on the ps4 but still thought it was an absolute masterpiece of a game

    the one thing i think is a great improvement in this patch in the inventory stuff, its very nice knowing what books/notes i've read/not read and having them all in one place is great... but like i said i didn't let this stuff bother me... the game was/is awesome with or without the patches in my opinion

    That increased level cap for Witcher gear was super... so I couldnt wear my Feline Mastercrafted because the level cap went from 31 to 34 and I went into a quest which took all my clothes off... fun trying to go scrounge together some gear for 3 levels. Thanks dudez!

    Last edited 21/07/15 11:05 am

      happened to a mate of mine too they also wiped all of his loot drops with armour in it so he literally had nothing to equip

        I dont really get why they did this... surely let people equip what they already have. I dunno it seemed like a bit of a ridiculous decision to make. Especially since there was no way to store gear until this update as well. I could understand if they did the storage thing this update and said that next time we will be upping the levels, so move any over to storage and get some more gear before that occurs. Or something like that.

        I never left anything in loot drops because of this, I never trust games to remember where I dropped stuff in the world... still its annoying.

        Last edited 21/07/15 11:47 am

          I'm kind of worried about what I'm in for I had all mastercrafter armours in 1 bag and swords in another as I was waiting for level 31 to equip

      I also found myself wearing armour 2 levels too high for me and couldn't re-equip it but I just reloaded my game. Sounds like you weren't so lucky

        Just be careful not to either get a haircut or do a quest where your items are unequipped...

          I'm now only about half a level away from technically being able to wear it anyway, so as long as I do a few side quests I'll be good

          Last edited 22/07/15 8:00 am

    These are some exciting changes! Really looking forward to going back sometime this year and finishing the game on the hardest difficulty. Trying to time it with the release of the paid DLC, but I find it harder and harder to wait, especially with such awesome improvements.

    I love Witcher 3...

    Last edited 21/07/15 11:52 am

    It's a 7.6Gb patch and I finished the game a few weeks ago, but I still updated last night because I know I'm going to play this game again soon.
    Does the alternative movement make looting easier?

    Last edited 21/07/15 12:01 pm

    Just started this the other day. Great timing considering this patch just dropped to make the game even better. Woo!. :-)

    Finished the game last night! Awesome game, will be one of my favourites for a long time.... But man I wish this patch had come sooner, I sold all my spare witcher gear the other day to drop my carry weight and now I could have saved it for the future DLC, which will probably be the first paid DLC I get in a long time, that's how much I don't want this game to end. Oh well I have a bazillion orens I'm sure I can craft more...

    Have they fixed the fast travel crash bug? I was previously able to fix it by uninstalling some of the DLC but now that I've completed most of the DLC I can't load the save if it's missing any DLC ...

    DLC!!

    I'm just glad this game keeps evolving.

    Woooo
    Bought a friend's GTX 970 yesterday (who upgraded to a 980Ti, jealous) and will be buying this soon!
    Glad I waited a little for patches etc.

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