The Witcher 3’s 16 Pieces Of Free DLC: What They Are, Where To Get ‘Em And Are They Any Good?

Adding 16 free lots of new quests, items, outfits and modes to a game which already had a hundred million things in it was an ostensibly generous move from the creators of The Witcher 3 [official site]. But how substantial is this stuff, really? I took a look at what’s really in each DLC, how satisfying it is, and where in the Northern Kingdoms you can find it all.

Temerian Armor Set

What it is: “Reserved for the finest of warriors serving the kindgom of Temeria, the Temerian Armor Set includes a jacket, gloves, pants, boots and horse tack.”

What it really is: Free horse armour (primarily on the face rather than body), as a probable poke in the eye to Bethesda’s notorious Oblivion paid DLC way back when. You also get some reasonably dandy level 4-ish duds out the deal.

Any good? If you’ve got plenty of spare cash in the early game, it’s definitely a decent set of armour to help you through tougher fights, but you’ll have moved on from it by level 7 or so. The horse armour, meanwhile, has longer-lasting benefits for Roach’s inventory, speed and fear, though it’s nothing you can’t obtain from less militaristic clobber for him. Personally I preferred the rustic, just-escaped-from-a-field look for my horse, but it’s a worthwhile pick-up for anyone who prefers finery. I wouldn’t say any of this stuff is worth the slightly laborious trek back to one of the starting areas to get it if you’ve already progressed to Velen or Novigrad, though.

Where to get it: Back in White Orchard, the game’s first main area. Go to Bram, the trader just outside Woesong Bridge – who you may remember as the mopey-lookin’ dude with the heinous bowl cut hairdo who you rescued from a griffin way back when.

Beard and Hairstyle Set

What it is: “Customize Geralt of Rivia to your liking with this amazing set of beards and hairstyles.”

What it really is: Five haircuts, five beard styles, available for 10 coins each from an in-game barber NPC.

Any good? Oh, y’know, hair. A couple of the options are a fun change if you’re bored of Geralt’s default shabby chin’n’hairband look, but they’re not even faintly wild – there’s a clear limit on how irreverent the game is prepared to be. This isn’t Saint’s Row, I realise, but it’s a shame I can’t have a mohawk and a ZZ Top beard. I did quite like the mutton chops, though. ALSO choosing one of the fancy cuts stops Geralt’s beard from growing over the course of the game. You have been warned.

Where to get it: Velen, in the island town called Oxenfut, over on the East near Novigrad gate. The barber’s just about in the middle of town – a scissors icon will appear on your minimap when you’re near. There’s also one in Kaer Trolde harbour in Skellige.

Alternative Look for Yennefer

What it is: “Check out this entirely new look for the mighty sorceress Yennefer of Vengerberg!”

What it really is: Fan service. Hence Steam reviews such as “So much easy to undress Yen with this new outfit!”

Any good? Well, it’s basically a Goth Moulin Rouge Dancer outfit, and is very much about lace stockings and exposed thighs. You may appreciate it if you have onanistic intentions towards videogame characters or want alternative cosplay inspirations, but I found it harder to take the game or that character entirely seriously when the DLC was activated. The feathery armband things are quite fitting for a mysterious sorceress, however.

Where to get it: Just turn it on and it’s on, basically. Outside of the introductory sequence, you’ll encounter Yennefer once you’ve completed the main questline in White Orchard, and if you want to see her again after that you’ll need to find your way to Skellige (expensive, high-level).

New Quest ‘Contract: Missing Miners’

What it is: “Miners from a small Skellige village are disappearing. Investigate and find out what’s happening!”

What it really is: A 15 minute or so standard noticeboard quest, with a little bit of standard-issue footprint tracking and the option of a fight with a child-like monster who slightly reminds me of my two-year-old daughter when she’s unconvincingly promising not to push other children at nursery.

Any good? Not bad, but it doesn’t feel like an add-on so much as something chopped out so it could be added later for free, in the hope of community brownie points. It’s pretty standard fare for The Witcher 3: those very routine investigations, then a minor moral choice that’s going to leave someone pissed off at you no matter what you do. It’s short but vaguely memorable, thanks to an enjoyable, dual-outcome conversation with a very stupid monster.

Where to get it: In the middle of the main Skellige island, from the noticeboard in a town called Blandare. You should be at least level 12 or so.

Nilfgaardian Armor Set

What it is: “Crafted from the finest materials available, the Nilfgaardian Armor Set includes a jacket, gloves, pants, boots and horse tack.”

What it really is: A mid-game version of the the Temerian Armor Set, offering level 10 armour and horse gear in a black, silver and gold colour scheme.

Any good? You’ll probably get a bit more wear out of it than its Temerian predecessor, and it looks far more impressive too. In terms of stats it’s not a dramatic improvement on gear you can find, build or buy at around that level anyway, plus the armour is irritatingly short on sockets, but it’ll make you feel a whole lot better about yourself if your Geralt has been stuck wearing doublets which look like potato sacks for a while. The biggest win, though, is saddlebags for Roach with an inventory capacity of a whopping 70, plus a vaguely Louis Vuitton styling.

Where to get it: The Quartermaster, in the Crow’s Perch (aka the Bloody Baron’s yard) in central Velen. Look for the general shopkeeper icon, rather than the nearby Dwarf armourer.

Elite Crossbow Set

What it is: “Bring down your enemies with lethal accuracy and extend your tactical possibilities with this elite crossbow DLC.”

What it really is: Three crossbows with custom, fancier models, one level 7, one level 14, one level 21.

Any good? Entirely throwaway, to be honest. You can find or buy very similar or often better crossbows at the relevant level anyway, and it’s not as if the crossbow is a go-to weapon for most players. It’s the more ornate designs which are the main reason to pick ’em up, realistically, but it’s not going to meaningfully affect your bolt-throwing.

Where to get it: Respectively: the Quartermaster in Velen’s Crow’s Perch; the Blacksmith in Skellige’s Kaer Trolde; a Shopkeeper behind in Novigrad, behind the most Northerly noticeboard.

New Quest ‘Fool’s Gold’

What it is: “Geralt and a village idiot team up to learn the secret of an abandoned village inhabited entirely by pigs.”

What it really is: Yeah, that, basically. 20 minutes or so of vaguely amusing, low-challenge questing, including several Witcher 3 archetypes: fools, animal-herding, monster ambushes and a climactic moral choice.

Any good? Fine. By which I mean it would probably be considered a great quest in an RPG that wasn’t already filled with inventive, unpredictable missions. It’s a bit too heavy on the backtracking and escorting, and doesn’t do much with the inherent humour of its porcine concept, but it’s a decent gimme.

Where to get it? In Velen, head East past the Crow’s Nest, keep going East past Lindenvale, and soon enough you’ll find a small village named Lurtch, at which point a quest available icon should appear on your map.

‘Ballad Heroes’ Neutral Gwent Card Set

What it is: “Make your Gwent Deck legendary! The “Ballad Heroes” neutral Gwent card set will provide alternative cards capturing characters from Dandelion’s ballads in all their glory.”

What it really is: There are no new cards whatosever, but this 15MB add-on simply gives you alternative art for the 10 Neutral Hero cards in the all-conquering, in-game CCG Gwent. (This means the likes of Geralt, Ciri, Zoltan and Yennefer). The new art is all dynamic and stuff, like a still from a particularly overblown Blizzard cinematic, rather than the Grumpy Catalogue Model poses on the standard versions.

Any good? Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Where to get it: Just turn it on and off from the Downloadable Content option in the main menu. Applies to existing cards and any you’re yet to collect.

New Quest: ‘Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear’

What it is: “Adventure awaits! Embark on an epic treasure hunt and get your hands on a long-lost elite set of Wolf School witcher gear!”

What it really is: A questchain in Kaer Morhen which yields diagrams for level 14 armour and new swords, which can be later upgraded three times. The chestpiece has an adrenaline gain, the gloves boost sign intensity, the boots attack power, and the trouser adrenaline and sign intensity.

Any good? Bit of a head-scratcher this one – you can’t get everything you need for the entry-level version of armour until really, really late in the game, by which point you’ll almost certainly have obtained better armour anyway. However, you can upgrade it three times, all the way to level 34 Mastercrafted status, at which point Geralt looks like a medieval biker. The black and red leather set is definitely some of the best-looking armour in the game, but ideally it would be available much earlier. It’s a substantial chunk of new stuff to make and do, though.

Where to get it? Get thee to Kaer Morhen once you can access it (probably around level 20, and towards the end of the main quest chain), then follow the quest directions to find the diagrams. Involves fights against level 23 monsters and some mild Sign-based puzzling. Visit the Merchant in Lindenvale, the Armorer in Kaer Trolde, the Blacksmith in Kaer Muire, the Armorer in Hierarch Square in Novigrad, and Hattori in Novigrad to get maps for the upgrades.

Alternative Look for Triss

What it is: “Love to play dress up? Now you can with this exclusive new look for Triss Merigold.”

What it really is: Fan service, again, this time for Geralt’s on/off squeeze Triss, and primarily designed for players who want to see as much of her breasts as is possible.

Any good? Look, you already know whether you want it or not. Personally, I think it’s very silly and paints the game in a bad light.

Where to get it? Just turn it on from the Downloadable Content menu. Or off. Bear in mind that you don’t see Triss for all that long in the game, however.

Contract: Skellige’s Most Wanted

What it is: “A monster hunt like no other — Can you survive it?”

What it really is: A relatively long – half hour or so – quest with plenty of fights against multiple types of monster and some story beats which play into your earlier decisions. Don’t start this one until fairly late, both because it’s a suicide run if you’re lower than level 20 and because of how it’s effected by previous events.

Any good? Yeah, it’s one of the strongest free offerings, probably second only to New Game+. It’s mechanically pretty simple – primarily a straight dungeon run followed by a chat and then a boss fight – but it’s a very much a pay-off to what sort of Witcher you’ve been towards the land’s less, ah, conventional denizens throughout the course of the game. A culmination of choices which, in some respects, is more meaningful than the main-game denouements.

Where to get it: A port town named Fyresdal, towards the South of the main Skellige island. Wander into town and look for the yellow exclam over some folk chatting. Note: it’s worth completing the Missing Miners DLC quest before this one too.

Alternative Look For Ciri

What it is: “Mix things up with this new and finely crafted outfit for Ciri.”

What it really is: Fan service. Ah, no, these replacement clothes aren’t quite so pervy. It’s a more armoured and regal look for Geralt’s wandering protege, though the bare midriff renders any added protection it offers redundant.

Any good? Hard to get excited about, really. It makes Ciri look a bit less like she had a hard day working at the baker’s and forgot to do her blouse up properly, but on the other hand it doesn’t quite mesh with the whole ‘on the run, living hand to mouth’ thing.

Where to get it: Just turn it on or off and you’ll see it in the Ciri flashback sections and later appearances.

New Quest ‘Where the Cat and Wolf Play…’

What it is: “Explore a forgotten village and discover its terrifying secret. Find out who or what slaughtered its inhabitants and use all your witcher skills to confront this mysterious force.”

What it really is: A pretty tough, half-hourish level 25 quest which takes you back to Velen and shines a little more light on what’s going on with Witchers generally.

Any good? Structurally it’s standard Witcher 3 fare: lots of tedious footprint-chasing, a couple of monster ambushes, a villager who takes some convincing before they’ll tell you what’s going on. It also features a particularly rubbish example of an adult actor pretending to be a child, perma-shrill voice and blatantly fake crying included. But then it moves into something different, and more memorable: a chance, of sorts, to gaze at your own behaviour from the outside rather than inside, and then make a judgement on whether your sympathies ultimately lie with everyday people or with Witchers.

Where to get it: From the noticeboard in a village named Oreton, south of the Crow’s Perch in Velen. Come back to Oreton at least a week after completing the quest for a short epilogue.

New Finisher Animations

What it is: “Slay your foes in new brutal and spectacular ways with this visceral and adrenaline-pumping DLC!”

What it really is: A few extra, randomly-appearing, usually more bloody kill moves for people who treat the word ‘visceral’ seriously.

Any good? Good-looking as far as blood’n’guts goes, coming over like a less awkward and puppety take on Fallout 3’s kill moves. The random appearances of gruesome decapitations and bifurcations does lend a more dramatic air to workaday bandit-bashing, it must be said. If you want to live up to the whole Butcher of Blaviken thing it’s a must, I guess.

Where to get it: Turn it on in settings, or turn it off if you’re somewhere which frowns on these sorts of things.

New Game+

What it is: “Hungry for more action? Start a new game with all the skills and items from your previous playthrough, get better loot, slay even more ferocious beasts and relive the epic fantasy adventure that is The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!”

What it really is: The same game but with whatever level and gear you finished with first time around, and enemies levelled up to suit (which is what the blurb means by ‘even more ferocious’). You get big XP for even standard fights, so it’s an efficient means of maxing out everything and finally getting to make use of any Mastercrafted weapons and items you were too puny for first time around.

Any good? Definitely a significant addition, although personally the idea of repeating that long an experience primarily in the name of more loot and levels doesn’t appeal. That said, it does provide an excuse to make different quest and dialogue decisions than before and see what happens, without having to run the level treadmill right from the start again.

Where to get it: Complete the main story, then make a new manual save. Return to the main menu and choose new game – after choosing difficulty you can hit New Game+ and then have it use the aforementioned manual save as a basis for it.

Conclusions

On the one hand, you’re looking at about five hours of extra stuff (New Game+ excluded), depending on how many fast travel points you’ve already unlocked – there’s quite a bit of schlepping around just to get to the relevant quests and shops. Not bad. On the other hand, that’s a drop in the ocean for the Witcher 3 and its hundreds of hours of possible playtime. Also, a bunch of this stuff is either entirely cosmetic or its rewards and new items aren’t of much use given the point in the game at which they show up, and the surfeit of stuff already available. The rewards are the DLC’s weakest aspect, so go into the quests for the sake of the quests, rather than what you get given for completing them.

I must say that I very much incline towards thinking that much of the DLC was existent stuff excised and released separately as a marketing stunt. (And one which has worked: Steam reviews are filled with people saying ‘this is how you do it EA’ and similar). It’s by and large too solid to be cutting room floor stuff, but it certainly doesn’t seem as though it’s had any special attention. Can’t argue with free, however, and I suspect all this would have been fairly favourably received even had CDP bunged it all in one pack and charged a fiver for it. What comes next will have a price tag, and, unlike all this stuff, will have at least partially been made in the light of The Witcher 3’s reception – so there’s a chance we’ll see more meaningful differences from it. I really hope it manages to make investigations more interesting.

55 Comments

  1. MrDeVil_909 says:

    The alternative look for Triss is so bad. I was very confused why a sorceress on the lam would dress like a glowing signpost saying ‘sorceress here, come set me on fire!’ Then I realised it was the alternate look that the game had defaulted to. Couldn’t switch it off fast enough.

    Wolf Gear was pretty cool, managed to get it to Mastercrafted by the end of the game. Other gear sets I completely ignored, they were too expensive for the benefits.

    New Game + sounds good, but after 120 hours to see the credits roll I’m not firing it up again any time soon.

    I kind of enjoyed the quests. Fools gold was a laugh.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Extra stuff was decent (Wolf armor fits right in with the lore and looks great), extra quests were nice (Fool’s gold was funny, Cat and Wolf I loved: a brutal reminder of where you are and that nothing’s pure black or white), alternative looks I just bypass mostly. Yennefer’s silly, but Triss’s just wrong, she looks like a medieval stripper (not to mention it’s entirely lore-hostile, even more so than in the other Witcher games: book-wise, Triss refuses to wear anything showing more than her neck, due to heavy burns received during a battle between Nordlings and Nilfgaardians).

    • Zhivko Yakimov says:

      Fully upgraded, Wolf School gear is the best in the game, at elast before New Game +. Besides, I think Geralt wears this armour in the trailers (at least in the Sword of Destiny one), which strengthens the suspicion that it should have been in the game originally. The quests were mostly fun, some good laughs on Fool’s Gold. The alternative look for Yennefer is not that bad, but it breaks lore because it has violet and Triss only wears black & white. The one for Triss – I really don’t know why they put it, I guess a shout to those cards from the first game?

      Overall, the free stuff was nice, but quite insignificant when compared to the entire game. Getting some good publicity, that’s how I see it. New Game + sounds intriguing, but I’ll be waiting for the expansions before I start this again, it’s just too time consuming. Also, I managed to get the most depressing ending (Red Baron hanged himself, Ciri failed, Geralt probably dead), so I’m still kind of devastated – and it turned out I was a single choice away from a happy ending, which makes it even more depressing …

    • Galilnagant says:

      The Wolf School gear makes the most sense, it’s the same basic look as Lambert and Eskel, so provides a visual sense of cohesion within the school. Plus, it’s hard to argue with the stats.

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      For the sake of argument, Triss’s outlook can be said to make some sort of sense if you install it after her leaving Novigrad. She might decide to dress like that for 2 reasons: a) she got fed up with dressing like a bum in Novigrad and wants to unwind, as sorceresses are generally quite vain, and b) she might have hopes of getting Geralt back. Of course it would be too cheap and obvious a way of achieving that, but it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. X.99 price tags are also offensively manipulative, yet everyone still does that – because it works.

      Also, the other dude in the first screenshot has no weapon.

    • MollyThomas says:

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  2. w0bbl3r says:

    What was said about one of these things is what I thought about pretty much the whole lot; it was cut for brownie points later.
    These are all things that were either in the game and cut for this marketing ploy (to make people think CDPR are the most generous and hard working company in the world, maybe they are?), or were cut because they weren’t good enough for the main game, and then put in this list for the marketing ploy.
    Either way, you can’t complain. Some of it is good. I enjoyed the end to skellige most wanted especially, chatting with the most wanted about my character and how I treat monsters in general.
    Considering other companies will cut stuff and then charge for it, it isn’t something you can criticise CDPR for too much.
    It’s always nice when a company gives what others would charge for, and from the perspective of CDPR it’s great business sense, bringing in a lot of good press from the fans

    • nearly says:

      I don’t know, I feel like I can complain that CDPR has excised content from the game in order to release it later for brownie points, especially considering how insufferable it has made fans. Should this be the industry standard? It already more or less is. EA, for what it’s worth, releases “free” content updates for most of their titles already even as they release premium DLC and have season passes (like The Witcher).

      I’d have liked more focus on bug fixing than marketing these past few weeks. The big patches have made some big strides but it’s kind of alarming how much is still left unaddressed, and feels a little damning that they are so willing to revise the game they released.

      I also find myself very frustrated by the very familiar feeling of encountering locked doors that very clearly will figure into later paid DLC (here’s looking at you, Devil’s Pit). I wouldn’t really mind dropping a few dollars on all of this but I’d resent the whole “we’re the good guys and we care about the players” spiel even if all of the players who had bought into it (hook line and sinker) weren’t so totally insufferable. It’s a great step-up in some aspects but very much a lot of the same in almost every other respect.

      • Tanesis says:

        We see similar stuff from time to time in a number of games. However I am more inclined to forgive CDPR simply due to the vast amount of content in the base game.

        Most of the free DLC is filler or meh but the Newgame+ is quite a big deal especially for a game with so many variable outcomes. Ultimately if you regard the free dlc as cut content or not your still going to get a 100-120 hour game for £49.99 @current steam prices.

        In regards to the locked doors I think thats more of a design issue than a locked for DLC issue. I may be wrong though but there are a lot of locked doors. More than would be needed for 2 DLC?

        From an industry capable of arkham knight & AC:Unity I see no real problems with The Witcher 3 at all (though I do concur that some sources do push the idea of the free mini DLCS as a sign that CDPR are a collective second coming)

        • Dr_Barnowl says:

          100-120 hour game for £49.99

          I was happy to pre-order Witcher.

          Now, I would not usually advocate pre-ordering, because usually all it gets you is some “exclusive” DLC. And this practice creates an unpleasant situation for people who are completists (not that I am), where it’s either impossible to get the game with all the available content, or you have to shell out a large amount extra for what amounts to very little.

          What did you get for pre-ordering Witcher 3?

          Well, I got a £13.50 discount (because I had Witchers 1&2). I got a free game (Neverwinter Nights – which I already had, but not it’s expansion packs, and the convenience of a DRM-free download on GOG is pretty good). And I got a wedge of store credit for GOG because of their exchange-rate policy.

          All in all, CDPR seem to understand that pre-orders represent great value for a publisher – cash flow pre-release, and a good indicator of potential audience, and that this should entail some reciprocation.

          Other publishers just seem to think that pre-ordering is there to milk their fanbois for extra loot – constructing a vast matrix of special editions, differentiated only by various pieces of horse armour, probably milking their distributors as well (“Hey, you want a Gamespot Special Edition.. sure, pay up… Oh, it’ll be totally unique, we assure you.”).

          Here CDPR have used DLC as an enticement to get users onto their GOG Galaxy store app, but this doesn’t seem an unfair quid pro quo. And as long as they continue to offer actual tangible benefits to people who display loyalty to them, and produce games that I want to play, I’m happy to keep being their customer.

          • pepperfez says:

            You can download them from Gog without even using Galaxy, can’t you?

      • ninnyjams says:

        It’s pretty silly to get all worked up about something you can’t possibly know.

        • nearly says:

          It’s pretty silly to assume that people are upset because they resent being told that they’re not allowed to complain.

      • Paul says:

        How do you know it was excised from the main game? I think it is far more likely that it just wasn’t finished by release, and if they were to include it the game would have to be delayed by another month or two.

      • gunny1993 says:

        Did anyone actually ever find evidence of the DLC being on disk?

        If it was cut from the game then it would have been on the disk at some point and I assume people would have found it( like people did with all other excised content), so unless CDPR were extremely clever with it I can see no evidence that this was cut from the game at all.

        Since there is no evidence I have to find them innocent, because i’m what’s known as “reasonable”

        • nearly says:

          “Cut content” doesn’t necessarily mean “completely finished content removed from the game.” That’s a typical usage, sure, but cut content might also have been stuff that was planned or intended to be in the game but was never programmed or designed.

          It seems pretty obvious that most everything in the 16 pieces likely would have been in the game if they had more time (and/or less of a desire to say “hey, here’s free content, aren’t we great?”). I can’t imagine much of it wasn’t part of their original plan for the game or at least conceived a good deal earlier than “okay, the game is gold, what now?” Consider that some of it was finished before it was actually released (at least a week in advance, in any case), it is not especially high quality, and the usual swing of development is to start working on the next big thing (expansion pass which already has stated time of completion) once the core game is “done.”

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          Phasma Felis says:

          If it was cut from the game then it would have been on the disk at some point

          That doesn’t follow at all.

      • pepperfez says:

        Aren’t mysterious hooks for future expansions (locked doors, people telling you about odd happenings up north, mysterious pantaloons) a pretty old practice, long predating this fallen DLC age?

  3. ninnyjams says:

    I love it when people suggest they cut all this stuff just so they could release it as DLC. There exists two things people don’t seem to get: cut content, and a lot of downtime between the game being done and the game being released. They’ve already said multiple times this was the case for this stuff, they needed stuff to do once they hit 1.0 and couldn’t mess with the base game.

    • ThomasHL says:

      They’d probably already started on the paid DLC by that point. That’s what most companies do and I’m up in the air whether I believe that this was keeping the entire company busy during all those months.

      The New Game+ feels substantial enough that it probably did take some staff a lot of time after the game went gold. I could believe they spent time polishing a lot of this stuff as well, I’m just not convinced they weren’t also doing other stuff at the same time.

      • nearly says:

        I don’t think most of this stuff had any extra time spent on it as it’s plagued with a lot of the same problems (armor stretching and clipping, in particular). That said, most RPGs that have a NG+ mode tend to ship with it, and I can’t imagine that the Wolf School Scavenger Hunt was absent from the original plan for the game. I suspect that it’s less “let’s cut this for DLC” so much as “well, we have time to finish X amount of content but if we finish this other stuff for comparatively little cost and time after it’s gone gold, we can seriously recoup the money spent finishing it by making the ‘additional free content’ a big part of the marketing.”

        I don’t doubt that any number of people would have paid money for this content (and I’d probably have been pretty happy doing so) but I don’t for a second think that they released it afterward out of the kindness of their hearts rather than as a means to drive sales and raise their reputation. I very much resent the idea that I’m now allowed to complain just because it’s free: that’s what they wanted, isn’t it? To create a situation where they can very easily and quickly discredit anyone who has misgivings about the quality of the content? And, later, when they send suspected pirates bills again, to say “we’re the good guys, why are you being so hard on us?”

        • Tanesis says:

          “I suspect that it’s less “let’s cut this for DLC” so much as “well, we have time to finish X amount of content but if we finish this other stuff for comparatively little cost and time after it’s gone gold, we can seriously recoup the money spent finishing it by making the ‘additional free content’ a big part of the marketing.”

          I totally agree with you on this. Its something left over to release, not something crafted to deliver free post release.

          That been said I do feel the rest of your comment is very cynical. Free DLC for good marketing not free DLC for discrediting people who dont like the game.

          In regards to your comment on sending letters to suspected pirates? No problem with that, afterall piracy IS theft.

          • nearly says:

            The issue is more with what the letters said. If you look into it more, you’ll find that they sent suspected pirates bills and letters saying “pay us this or expect to pay a lot more in court costs.” Even if this weren’t a blatant example of extortion (just as illegal as piracy), it’s generally common knowledge that there is no way to for sure target pirates and only pirates, which means innocent people are always going to get caught in the crossfire when companies pursue this kind of tactic. They assured everyone that they had a foolproof system, but it turned out that some of these people getting bills didn’t even have computers, let alone internet access.

            They then followed The Witcher with The Witcher 2 and repeated the whole scenario, once again assuring everyone that their system for identifying pirates was foolproof. Live and learn, I guess. Or not. (We’ll leave out the point that the cracked version of The Witcher 2 that first appeared on torrents was the version distributed with performance hampering SecuROM DRM rather than the DRM-free GOG version that released at the exact same time and had better performance).

            I’m not at all saying that any of what they’re doing is intended to discredit anyone for disliking the game(s), rather anyone that might complain about very real issues with either the games (namely prevalence of bugs) or how they’ve gone about marketing / selling them (it’s very alarming to me when major retailers like GMG don’t have “authorized” keys). If my memory of The Witcher is correct, it was riddled with bugs and issues that pretty much necessitated an Enhanced Edition to make it playable. That there was some additional content and extras was nice but still not really done out of the goodness of their hearts. Playable games should be industry standard, not a fix we have to celebrate a developer for having done.

            Alarm bells should go off any time someone tries to construct a situation as “Well, you can’t complain about X because we did Y” or “What we’ve done should be the new industry standard!” It’s one thing to reward players and fans with extra content, but an entirely different thing to use said content as an excuse to dictate how people are or aren’t allowed to talk about the game.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Except piracy isn’t theft. If it were, we would call it theft instead of having a different name for it, and when people did it, you’d report them to the police for a criminal crime rather than a civil one, and that crime would be called theft and not something else.

            That’s not making a value judgment on which is worse or better or saying that piracy is okay, just that they are two different things.

            If piracy was theft, CDPR would not have sent letters to people who did it asking for money. They would have reported it to the police. Likewise if you were mugged, you wouldn’t send threatening letters to anyone you think might have been the mugger demanding compensation and threatening to sue them if they didn’t pay up.

        • Dr_Barnowl says:

          Yeah, I agree about the Wolf gear. You have Cat and Bear (and probably Griffin and whatever) in there.

          Wolf is Geralt’s school. Having Wolf school gear in there would seem to be natural core content.

          • blastaz says:

            Wolf Gear is the thing that was most obviously a conceptual cut. It would be ludicrous to get gear from schools that no one had ever heard of before (seeing as this game invented them) like Bear and Griffon, without actually getting gear from your own school.

            Personally the cosmetic stuff is fairly ambivalent (Cards are fun and I like the Yen look, turned off the Triss look immediately and moved back and forth on Ciri depending on the mood (actually quite effective for rp, so I turned the armour on whenever we went wild hunt hunting, but had her in everyday casual when we were knocking around KM))
            and the armour other than the wolf set irrelevant but the quests are pretty good Cat and Wolf and Hunter Hunted especially.

  4. Koshelkin says:

    The free DLC program is a joke through and through. A badly aimed jab at other developers with which they are trying to obfuscate the fact they are selling a season pass themselves. The DLC is neat but far from substantial or essential. New Game+ is the only non-trivial piece here.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It may well be a jab at other developers charging for this kind of content. Not just the horse armor, but all of it as a mocking of developers who do actually charge for this very type of content. New Game+ is just a basic mode in a game like this. Charging for it would be the height of crassness.

      Even if there is cynicism on CDPR’s part here, I’m fine with it so long as it’s cynicism that works in gamers’ favor. Full extra-fee DLC like it sounds like they’re planning is not really different from old-school xpacs. It’s the modern nickle-and-diming over a couple of quests and a few weapons or cosmetic items where DLC has gone off the deep end.

  5. Holderist says:

    I wouldn’t call Triss’s new outfit fan service. That is – not to fans who have read the books, where Triss always wears dresses up to the collar because she was magically scarred (meaning can’t hide the scars with other magic) in the first war against Nilfgaard. Unless fan service is a subtle way of saying “meant to titillate male players.”

    Calling what they’ve added “cut content” is per the norm for most games’ DLC. Except other companies make you pay for it. Makes the criticism somewhat moot.

    • LTK says:

      Fan service is a widely used term for when (usually) female characters wear extremely skimpy clothing just for the audience’s titillation, there’s really nothing subtle about it. The other kind of fan service is usually known as pandering.

      • ThomasHL says:

        I think fan service can be used in the sense of “pandering content” broadly, it’s just that where the term originated (anime) a lot of that was clearly characters in skimpy clothing doing weird poses, so its also taken on the specific meaning of titillation. Excessive gore shots are often called fan service too, as well as being overly referential to the source material

        • jonahcutter says:

          Yeah, “fan service” is a kind of pandering to existing fans of a series. It can be titillation, but it doesn’t have to be.

          There was pandering in Dark Souls 2 that was just straight up playing off favorite elements and expectations of fans. A praise the Sun emote even though no Solaire is in the game and it takes place in a different time/place, and the crones at the beginning gloating about the player is going to die over and over again, and will repeatedly lose all their souls.

          Sometimes it can feel like a sly nod or reference. Others it can kind of supplant the game having its own unique identity.

        • Holderist says:

          Cool, thanks for the responses.
          The general pandering content is the term I’ve been exposed to more in that situation. Whereas fan service sounds like it specifically targets people who’re into the story/lore.

          • Galilnagant says:

            The term fanservice comes from the Japanese engrish, referring specifically to callow titillation. Of course, it’s kind of a moot point considering the way all of the central female characters are overtly sexualized. Skin-tight clothes and plunging necklines are already the order of the day in the game, but I didn’t really consider it egregious until I saw Ciri’s outfit, with which they’re blatantly sexualizing a character who is essentially Geralt’s daughter in every sense but blood. It really hit home when I was looking for info about Ciri’s possible endings and the first google auto-fill result following “the witcher 3 ciri” was “romance,” which forced me to dramatically reappraise my opinion of TW3’s players (downward.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      Unless fan service is a subtle way of saying “meant to titillate male players.”

      That’s exactly what it means, yes.

  6. kud13 says:

    “Fool’s Gold” tends to be terribly bugged for some people. I am one of them.

    Didn’t realize it was bugged until I progressed many hours into the game (picked up the quest, then left it inactive for a while).

    Like the new cards. I figured the “alternative looks” were fan service, so didn’t bother downloading them.

    Most of the other stuff seems to be Skellige-related, and I just got there, so can’t comment.

    Nilfgaard saddlebags were probably the most useful thing out there in terms of the bonus gear.

    • Buggery says:

      If it helps, the 1.08 patch seems to have fixed the bug that I was having (couldn’t inspect any of the pigs in the houses at the start of the quest). Give it a go if you haven’t already.

  7. Freud says:

    Of course there is a PR element to releasing these DLCs, but there is no reason to be overly cynical. It’s free content to a game that gave us 150 hours of fantastic play.

    Of all the companies to call out, CD Project RED should be at the bottom.

    • Paul says:

      No it’s cool to hate on CDP you see. If it’s not erotic art (TW1) or bare breasts on tortured lady (TW2) then it’s free DLC. Who cares about drmfree release on day 1, no retailer preorder dlc, free enhanced editions, boxes full of goodies, free gog backups, low prices (tw3 was 38 dollars on release on gog), free DLCs, the high quality of games themselves etc

  8. thedosbox says:

    I have no interest in this game, but AM disappointed the image used to promote this story on twitter was not atop the article.

  9. Henas says:

    Looks like the Skellige armour set was missed. Level 16 or 40 variants from the Main keep on Ard Skellig.

    It’s my favourite one.

  10. Zenicetus says:

    The Wolf School armor and weapons was the best of the DLC for me. I had just finished the mastercrafted Cat set when it came out. The level requirement and mats for the mastercrafted Wolf set probably kept me playing side quests and exploring a little longer than I would have otherwise, before finishing up the main story.

    Yeah, the final version has a hint of “biker” but I still thought it was the best-looking armor in the game, with mastercrafted Cat second. The Wolf set stats also fit my “balanced but tilting a bit towards alchemy” build.

    By the time the finishing moves DLC came out, I had completed the game so I haven’t seen it. That was slightly disappointing. Finishing moves should have been either an earlier DLC or just part of the base game.

  11. Carra says:

    I must say that I very much incline towards thinking that much of the DLC was existent stuff excised and released separately as a marketing stunt.

    Similar to how Dragon Age added the Golem character for €15, was already on the games DVD. At least it’s free here.

  12. vahnn says:

    One thing I found was using Griffin Armor and Griffin School Technique made combat WAY too easy, even on Death March (the only way to play the game, by the way.) The insane stamina regeneration meant I could just spam Quen and Igni and Axii every few seconds, and a dozen points to improve Fast Attacks meant you can just attack with reckless abandon and risk very little. Playing with light armor and using Cat School Technique was similar. Fast attacks that leave opponents no time to dodge or cut your attacks short meant most foes were dispatched quickly with little effort involved.

    Then I switched to Bear gear and used Bear School Technique and focused on Strong attacks. FUN! Slow, lumbering attacks meant positioning and timing were absolutely critical in every fight, especially against the nimbler foes. Super slow stamina regeneration meant your sign usage had to be deliberate and on-point, and not being able to spam Quen for protection or Axii to set up killing blows made combat much more intense. Combining Strong attacks with the skill that increased your next attack’s damage after a Counter was awesome to use, allowing MASSIVE hits on tough opponents after a well-timed counter.

    My NG+ game is going to be Bear School all the way through. Woo!

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      That will certainly make the game more bearable.

    • Booker says:

      Actually you can have max stamina in that constellation too, because there’s superior tawny owl.

  13. racccoon says:

    An extremely well made game, that cares for its customers pockets and is not at all greedy. It is a giver, who appreciates its customer base and needs, that’s held within a compulsive DLC environment. Outside such bold games like this one, We are normally held by restrictions through unnecessary cut-outs of gameplay which are then re added as a DLC for further asks and more profitable greed, which in tern causes a subtraction of game members to placed into categories of “the have’s” and “the have the nots”.
    Thank god & Well done Witcher 3! you stepped outside the box & showed them how it is done! Respect!

  14. Deano2099 says:

    While I agree it’s basically a publicity stunt, calling out Steam reviews for ‘falling for it’ seems a bit much given, y’know, you covered every new piece of DLC as it came out right here too.

  15. C0llic says:

    That. Is a very good point.

    Frankly, I don’t know why people care either way; it’s additional content for an already massive game. If there’s a negative there, I can’t see it. Sorry.

  16. Phantus says:

    Cool to get the “extras” but over-marketing often backfires and in this case it was cheesy and annoyingly transparent. 30 teeny, weeny individual line items listed as DLC. One DLC with a breakdown of these subs would have generated the same gratitude with less eye rolling. It’s almost as bad as when dev/pubs say “free patches” or “free updates”.