What Someone Who Spent 1800 Hours In The Witcher 3 Actually Did

The Witcher 3 is a sprawling single-player RPG with so much to do it can be overwhelming. The game world is huge. Points of interest litter the map. Dialogue trees mean you can play through pivotal scenes in different ways. I can think of far worse games to be stuck on a desert island with for the rest of my life. Still, I can't imagine spending over 1800 hours in the game like Bruno Printz-Påhlson has.

Screenshot: ramccoid (The Witcher 3)

Two weeks ago Printz-Påhlson posted on the Witcher subreddit saying he had no regrets about reaching over 1700 hours played in The Witcher 3. Over the course of emailing with him to find out how something like this could happen, he added another 100 hours, bringing his current total up to 1851. By the time you read this he'll no doubt have surpassed it, closing in on 2000. And after that? Who knows.

"The quality of the story and the freedom to play your own way sets it apart from many games and those are my favourite parts, the way that the game gives you freedom without the story suffering for it," he said in an email.

Printz-Påhlson has a penchant for putting a lot of hours into only a handful of big, open world games. He told me he spent 200 hours with The Witcher 2, 500 in Grand Theft Auto 5, and 600 in Fallout 4. Skyrim was the only game that came close to his current Witcher 3 obsession, with around 1500 hours logged.

Screenshot: sjbox (The Witcher 3)

A student going to school in Malmo, Sweden, to study computers, Printz-Påhlson spends pretty much all his free time playing The Witcher 3. To put it in perspective, 1851 hours is just over 77 days straight, or more than an hour a day every day since the game came out in May of 2015.

And get this: He still hasn't 100 per cent completed the game. Years later, he's still chasing a few achievements, his progress scattered across a dozen or more playthroughs, with no one of them containing the sum total of his work.

You might think that someone who has played the game that much does so with a larger project in mind, but Printz-Påhlson is content just to catch the light coming over the mountains at dusk in unique way or maybe run into a tight-lipped NPC he's never seen before.

"I'm mostly trying to get achievements and find things I might have missed like encounters on the road where I never travelled before," he said. "I also made a new game plus but it didn't feel as fun as a regular new game because there you had to earn money and gear, whereas on new game plus you can just buy anything and start out sort of like a god."

Currently he's trying to destroy every monster nest in the game's world, something he's never done across a single save file, even after hours upon hours of blowing up monster nests.

"It was never a focus of mine," Printz-Påhlson said when I asked why he hadn't tried to do everything in the game in one playthrough. "I wanted to play naturally and play the game going by how I felt like playing, not simply running around doing pretty much the same thing all the time."

Surprisingly for all of the game's beauty, his favourite moments from the game take place at in the beginning, in the gritty, war-torn fields of Velen. Its grimness is of the distinctly Witcher variety, and that section is also home to some of the best quests, including the hunt for the Bloody Baron's family. It could also be part of why he's started so many new playthroughs of the game he's now beaten countless times.

Screenshot: boostin4kix (The Witcher 3)

Mods have also helped keep the game interesting. Printz-Påhlson uses one that adds armour from The Witcher 2 to the game. Another improves the power of Signs, and another updates the UI and HUD to make it more closely resemble what the game appeared to have when it was shown off at E3 2014.

Other than that it's just Printz-Påhlson retracing his steps across a labyrinth of windy forests and muddy roads he's seen a hundred times before. He has all the grandmaster armour sets, the ones that can take days to collect all the materials required to craft, but rarely switches between them, settling instead for the Manticore School Gear while the rest languish back at his Toussaint vineyard.

And I can't blame him. For all its flaws, I still get chills when I think about the long days and nights I spent exploring The Witcher 3 while I could have been doing something else. Plenty of games have made me feel a little guilty for how I spent my time, perhaps none more than Dota 2 (coincidentally the only game I've played as much as Printz-Påhlson has played The Witcher 3).

Even now I often find myself thinking wistfully about returning to CD Projekt Red's medieval fantasy while playing whatever game is currently in my queue.

A similar sentiment is part of what's kept Printz-Påhlson glued since the game's initial release.

"I always do everything I can and come back because every other game feels worse in comparison, thinking to myself 'Why am I playing this if I can play something much better?'" he said in the comments of the original Reddit post. "It's become like a drug to me, I can't stop chasing the dragon."


    I have clocked 1695 hours of XCOM 2 (+ WOTC) and I still have 8 achievements left to 100% it. Sometimes games just suck you in.

    Beat him...I'm up to 3, 698 hours in Skyrim, and 2, 068 in FO4.

    Last edited 27/04/18 3:27 pm

      Bloody hell! I love The Witcher 3, it could just be my all-time favourite game, but I've only put about 180 hours in it. I tease my son about him spending 2,000 hours in CSGO but 3700 hours? Words escape me...

        Mods...very good mods. Pick the right ones, and game does come to life. That's with roughly six or seven different characters for TESV and five for FO4. I think I'm near 700 for W3. But I'm in my 50's with the kids out of the house, and gaming is my hobby.

        Back in the tabletop days I GM'd an Aftermath game that ran for ten years, with players drifting in and out, and coming back...

        Last edited 27/04/18 6:33 pm

          Gawd don’t tell me that! My current D&D game (and my first) has been going on 2 years - and I thought that was a marathon!

      With some quick maths that means you've played for 2.4 hours a day on average for the last 6.5 years! Do you play any other games on top of that?

      I beat you in FO4 with 2941 hours but you beat me with Skyrim with 3200 hours

      What could possibly keep you playing Skyrim for that long?

    I’ve clocked about 1200 hours in dar souls 3. About the same in DS2.
    When a game really resonates, it’s not a big deal to want to spend loads of time in the world, getting to know every nook and cranny. It’s gets to the point it’s very relaxing - everything is familiar and safe.
    To me this is better than the FOMO culture in gaming where people tear through games the moment they are released and quickly move onto another title.
    Drink the game in, enjoy every facet.

      Talking about resonating, I have clocked an absurd number of hours/days into WOW.

    I wish I knew how many hours I put into Elite, but I know it's terrible.

    I played the first Destiny for 3132 hours, I just loved how the game played and could run Heroic strikes for hours trying get faster completion times.

    I understand how people find it crazy that I played such a repetitive game for so long but the thing is I'm only rank 9392 on this leaderboard and that only includes PS4. So at least I'm not alone with how addictive Destiny was :)

    I get this. I'm 'only' on my 3rd playthrough of TW3, sitting at around 400 hours right now... I expect several more playthroughs after this. I'll probably be in the thousands of hours eventually.

    My first run of the game took over 130 hours and there were quite a lot of quests I didn't do. It's truly an enormous game. And it's good enough that I can understand wanting to play through it ten times over.

    Some people just want to watch the world burn... and leave their computer permanently logged into Steam and the game they're playing only to resume it the next day...

    Let me see, 767 hours in TW3 over four playthroughs. I've got some new mods set up for a lore-friendly run, but I keep putting it off as I know that when I start - that'll be it for the next 150-odd free hours. I won't want to do anything in my spare time other than run through Velen & Skellige...

    My Bejeweled 3 is sitting at 4015 hours. I'd say less than 5% of that is me and my mum and the rest is my dad. He plays it for about an hour almost every night before he goes to bed. I've tried to get him to play other games but he says he'll stop when he gets my high score (which he never has and I could easily beat)

    I had just over 300 days /played in WoW by the middle Of TBC.

    I... don't play anymore.

    Last edited 28/04/18 3:58 pm

    Wow and herr I am with The Witcher 3 bought on sale last year for less than 30 bucks and still unplayed in my library. I wanna get to it, but it's daunting. :(

      I fucking preordered it and I still haven't played it. Haha.

        Like not even started? Or just couldn't get into it?

          Not even started. Haha. I have a dozen friends who are all amazed everu time I say so.

    I really don't know how anyone could spend that much time on 1 single player game haha I logged about 530 hours on Witcher 3 and thats including the DLCs, collecting every trophy and exploring every question mark spot minus Skellige while playing on DM difficulty throughout the entire game. I think the thing that's even more shocking is how many hours he logged on FO4, that game was so boring I had to force myself through it at the end haha

    Atleast you all have huge clocked hours in games designed for that. I have over 500 hours in Crypt of the Necrodancer :) :) :) Don't ask me why, I have no idea. Essentially it is almost stress release for me, I knock over a run in just under half an hour on cruise control so it's that perfect combination of mindlessness and shorter enough time to fit in whenever.

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