Since launch, I’ve managed to put maybe twenty hours into The Witcher 3, which is a relatively small amount of time in what is supposed to be a hundred hour game. Meanwhile, there are plenty of players out there who have already trudged through the game and all its glory. Not me, though. No siree. I’m going to be taking a nice, leisurely stroll through the game, and it's moments like described below that explain why.
Warning: This blog does contain slight spoilers for the Bloody Baron's Family Matters questlines.
The Quintessential "Oops" Moment
Shortly after arriving in Velen for the first time I began wandering around on my horse, Roach, just taking in the scenery. The 1.03 patch had just released and I had also just managed to install ReShade/SweetFX, so the highly intense graphical fidelity that was rubbing its cleavage in my face was really, uh, nice.
Eventually I come across a place called Crossroads. Being a World of Warcraft veteran, I immediately had flashbacks of epic PvP battles and plenty of corpse runs. I moseyed my way about for a while, making sure to loot everything I possibly could, and then ran into the tavern.
As I was making friendly with the bartender a bunch of rowdy bandits poured through the door and started spitting drivel at me about carrying two swords. I’ll admit, by this point I had a fair bit of alcohol in my system so I don’t exactly remember what they were saying, but I played it cool and explained that I was a Witcher. Not sure why they didn’t put two and two together before but they suddenly backed off and the bartender was pretty appreciative of me not throwing body parts around the joint.
After I had finished up my drink I went outside and noticed that the tavern bandits had actually arrived with an entourage who were all hanging around the place -- each with a tongue sharper than the last.
Well, here is where I made a critical mistake. Still being a bit tipsy, I reared my fist up at one but the alcohol had gotten the better of me and my fist never actually stopped, and before I knew what happened, it had gone right up and introduced itself into the nearest bandit’s face.
It was right about that time that shit hit the fan, and I could swear I heard a record scratch somewhere. The bandits began to turn around slowly, witnessing the poor guy I just clocked get up and draw his sword, and suddenly the air was painted red with blood. Those guys giving me lip back in the tavern? They were stumbling over themselves to get a piece of me. Given the infinite life thing, we all know how this ends.
But Wait! The Saga Continues!
Hours later I find myself galloping for The Bloody Baron’s keep and as I get to the bridge I faintly hear two of the guards mentioned a bunch of idiots getting into an altercation with a Witcher. I didn’t catch the first part and didn’t think much of it until I made it across the bridge into the lower level of the village. Suddenly everyone sees me and starts running for the hills -- screaming about how I was the guy who murdered all of the baron’s guards. (In my defense, their life bars labeled them as bandits)
As I get off my horse to investigate what’s going on an arrow finds my shoulder and all hell breaks loose again. Everyone knows what I did (on a complete whim) and now they’re out for blood.
Thing is, I’m looking for Ciri and this one guy told me that maybe the Baron knew something about her; I couldn’t just give up and turn around. So, naturally, I fought my way to the keep itself where I found myself locked out by a gate. I tried to reason with the guys behind it but they didn’t want to have anything to do with me. Disheartened, I walked back to the village and noticed that there was actually one old man who didn’t wander off like everyone else. After a quick conversation I was lead to an alternate path to meet the baron.
A Fitting Conclusion
For the sake of spoiling too many things, when I finally manage to get to the Baron I find that he actually has a proposition for me: he needs me to find out what’s happened to his wife and daughter. To be honest, I felt bad for slaughtering at least half the men in his garrison because it all began with a simple accident to begin with, so I agree and I head out to meet with a peller.
Again, hours and many sidequests later, I finally arrive at the Peller's house. As I walk up I see some commotion at the front door and one of the aggressors announces my presence right before we have a short conversation. Turns out the Peller might have given their friend some poor advice and the guy has apparently set up shop in the outhouse. Shitting for days from the sound of it. So, I use a bit of my Witcher charm and begin to calm everyone down until one finally perks up. Apparently Witchers are hard to come by and they finally put two and two together -- I was the same dude that took out all of their friends back at the Crossroads.
Cue another fight.
For those keeping track, this is the third bloodbath to occur because I had done some totally random thing in a town that was completely unrelated to the current quest line I was on. It wasn’t scripted and I never would have imagined that this would have been something that would have totally affected how the rest of the game would have played out.
Imagine that I never attacked the bandits in Crossroads. More than likely I would have been able to have walked right in to talk to the Baron and I would have been able to reason with the Baron’s henchmen outside of the Peller's house. But instead, the game understood what I had done and rolled with the punches.
Bethesda should take note because no one ever acknowledged any accomplishment or deed I ever did in Skyrim and here we have full questlines totally altered because of something totally random that happened.