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About this mod

This is my Better Combat mod for The Witcher 2. It rebalance some abilities and change some gameplay concepts.

Permissions and credits
This mod changes a bit gameplay with the intention of making it more balanced. In my opinion there are some abilities that are clearly superior to others, some questionable concepts and some paths that are less enjoyable. I've tried to correct it.

This mod will be in continue evolution and please provide feedback.

A little note on tooltips:
First of all I want to personally thank Demoniko for the work on the tooltips. He has done the major job, I just removed unused strings and polished them a little. Also thanks to Delamer for his bug testing and help on this issue.

Many thanks also to those that provided translations: Demoniko for russian, Hysterias for french and Hotdoglino for polish.

The modified in-game descriptions with all the changes in this mod are provided as an optional and separate download. I advice all users to use them. The tooltips changes are a the moment only for english, italian, russian, french and polish languages. If someone can help with translations on the other languages I would be thankful.

Languages translation needed:
- German
- Spanish
- Hungarian
- Chinese
- Czech

To fully experience the mod it is highly recommeded to use Complete Equipment Overhaul of Kindo. Equipment stats in the original game is too strong especially later on and they will turn many of the changes in this mod overpowered and without a smooth scaling. I devised this project with the priority in mind of having a smooth difficulty curve and original equipment totally destroys this intent in Act II and Act III. So please if you are serious on using this mod then use CEO.

You can find the Complete Equipment Overhaul (CEO) mod here:

NOTE: If you used my items changes that were optional in the previous versions then please remove them. They are obsolete and will either break the difficulty curve not giving +signs damage bonuses.

- Make the difficulty curve be smooth. You will grow in power steadly for all the duration of the game. You will start weak and you will become powerful later on, but without spikes in power increases as in the original game.
- Make the gameplay more dynamic since you need less vigor to cast and block. This enhance the mixed approach Geralt has to the combat. You will be able to attack, cast a sign, block then cast again and so on much more than before. Magic builds, then, will be able to rely on spells much more instead of waiting all the time for their vigor to replenish (however I made it so that your are not able to spam spells as fast as before, to compensate and again enhancing the dynamic approach).
- Turn the game more difficult and challenging on higher difficulties and with a sense in difficulty scaling instead of being challenging for a while then becoming easy all at once.
- Blocking now doesn't mean damage immunity no more. You and enemies will still get damaged while blocking. This turns swordfighting more visceral and dangerous, especially at higher difficulties.
- Scale magic signs in power. As it was in the original game the power of signs was completely static. Apart area of effect changes the effects of signs didn't upgrade at all. All the upgrades did come from magic abilities and, much more so, from equipment. This meant that signs power was static for the majority of the game and then it skyrocketed when you did acquire proper equipment. Now abilities mean much more and all signs scales in power, depeding on their strengths.
- Turns sign much more differentiated than before in their roles. As it was in the original game, and given equipment and not scaling, there was not much difference in damage and effects between signs. Igni now, for example, is much more powerful than Aard in damage, but Aard is the most powerful on causing disabling effects.
- Make different paths more unique. For example the swordmanship path now adds more damage via backstabs, scaled chance to instant kill and a more effective countering.
- Changes in some of the swordmanship abilities make it so that the damage you take is not mitigated so much later on but this is compensated by the fact that with abilities in the same tree you do yourself more damage. This makes for a gameplay more suited to Geralt given the lore.
- More rewards on coming to the end of a specific path. High end skills of a line are now more powerful and so it is rewarding to take them.
- Rework some overpowered abilities to be more balanced and make less powerful abilities more interesting.
- More freedom on the abilities you take since you are not restricted to a path at beginning.
- Changed the way mutagens are distributed via abilities. Now the trees have different amount of mutagens applicable to them. Magic for example is the tree that has the less mutagens you can apply since the increased power of signs make it so that you don't need external help from increased stats. Alchemy, however, it is the exact contrary given that all its power is dependent on these stats increases, so it is the tree that has the most mutagens you can apply.

- Made major changes on how Quen works. Now it will absorb large amounts of damage so that its duration will not be reduced by being hit (only very powerful creatures can make the shield collapse), but it will last only 5 (6.5 for EW) seconds (the duration increases in low steps advancing on the magic tree but NOT by upgrading the skill alone).
- Venting now will reflect damage to more enemies and will also increase reflected damage, but it will also reduce the duration of the sign the more targets the damage is reflected to. Users will have to choose if to go for group/increased damage or have a longer shield duration, you cannot have both.
- Increased bonuses on damage reflected by Quen in the magic tree.
- Tailored base vigor regeneration in combat and its bonuses to be more balanced for all builds.
- Magical Life Force now increases vigor, raising the max vigor a magic build can have to 6 as before. I restored the max vigor to 6 to have magic builds able to cast other signs while having Quen active and also because you can now not spam spells as before a large pool is more useful, given also that vigor regeneration is a little reduced from the last version.
- Magical builds will increase only magic related resistances and not physical related ones. This means that if you get hit by a sword with a magic build you will almost surely bleed, but a mage enemy will pose to you a much lower threat than to a sword build.
- Increased signs cooldowns to 1.5s so that's impossible to spam them as before.
- Made various adjustments to opponents, and primarily to try to have Gargoyles more resistant to stun and Aard effects in general. Also many powerful enemies can be resistant to Quen damage (while before none was).
- Tailored potion bonuses/drawbacks to be more balanced in general.
- (2.2a) Increased a little base vigor regeneration in combat. A little change to make initial vigor regeneration more powerful and to help sword builds and low level magic builds. Little changes on endgame for Magic builds since they have an increased cooldown on signs anyway, but the change will help greatly when using Quen combined with other signs (also making its use more fun).
- (2.2a) Lowered Cat potion duration to 15m. This change should have been in the original release but I forgot to do the change. Since anyway I wanted to tailor a little basic vigor regeneration I decided to do an update.

This will probably be the "final" version of the mod. I made many tests on various combat situations and I think this is the best I can do to differentiate builds and have a smooth scaling in power without having an SDK.

There are still many things that I would like to change (and in reality many things I would do completely different) but they are outside my power to do so, so I had to make some concessions. One example is Quen: also if I tried to make it much less powerful the reality is that there's no way to do it in a good way given the limitations. Since Quen absorbs anyway whatever amount of damage no matter what you change, and you can simply recast it one time after another to have infinite immunity, there's no way out of this (CDProjekt gave much less vigor regeneration to compensate this but in reality it doesn't change anything; the only thing it does is to gimp all the builds not using Quen and anyway it doesn't either resolve the problem because you can simply dodge around until you can cast it again). The only thing I could do was to make it so that at last its use for magic builds is fun and rewarding, while not being as powerful as before for sword builds that don't focus on signs.

After this version the updates will be mostly to fix bugs or balance things a little more, but the structure of the mod is complete until at last some patch doesn't change dramatically how some of the things work or CDProjekt will not release a toolset or a way is found to alter some of the things I would like to change.

- Normal version: Geralt starts weak and advances in power fast for all the course of the game.
- Experienced Witcher version: Geralt starts moderately strong and advances in power slowly for all the course of the game.

Both versions will naturally have the same stats and powers after a while. Usually the two versions starts to collide in power after level 10. The Experienced Witcher version is for users that like Geralt being a strong Witcher already by the start of the game, following the events in The Witcher 1 and that want to have less trouble with the Prologue till almost the end of Act I.


General changes:
- Geralts get less vitality every level.
- Builds are now more differentiated in the vitality aspect: a magic build has the least vitality and no bonuses to vitality regeneration in combat, swordmanship has the most raw vitality but low vitality regeneration in combat and alchemy has lower bonuses on raw vitality but the greatest regeneration of it in combat.
- Changed attacks to do 25% damage to a group from beginning (Experienced Witcher version increases the base bonus to 50%). NOTE: You need at last patch 1.2 for this to work.
- Slighty faster vigor regeneration in combat.
- Blocking requires vigor no more (but if you don't have vigor you cannot block still; this behaviour is hardcoded, I cannot remove it)..
- Blocking will always let some damage pass. The amount depends on difficulty. On hard/insane you will need potions to block against groups effectively.
- Increased cooldown on signs to 1.5s. No more spamming of spells one after another.
- Reduced time to recover stamina when you use a sign, enabling users to cast more (this change tied with the above makes for less initial spamming but more casting power).
- All abilities that give +vigor also increase time lapse before vigor starts regenerating.
- All abilities that gives +vitality also increase vitality regeneration while in combat.
- All +damage abilities in the swordmanship tree will also increase daggers damage.
- Abilities that did give +signs damage bonus will instead give +signs power.
- Adrenaline accumulated degenerates slower.
- Reduced duration of adrenaline signs.
- Some overpowered abilities (as Quen) has been reduced in power drastically. You will need to invest highly on their relevant trees for them to become powerful as before.
- All paths are unlocked from beginning (thanks and credits goes to Antihero/FollowTheGourd for this change).

Specific abilities changes:
For a full list on all abilities modifications please refer to the documents in the optional download section. They contains tables with all abilities descriptions as in the manual with all the changes in this mod.

Items changes:
- Daggers do 40%-50% less damage than before on the start. You can increase their power with +sword damage abilities.
- Bombs do 50%-60% less damage than before on the start. You can increase their power with Alchemist and Methatesis.
- Traps do 20%-30% less damage than before on the start. You can increase their power with Alchemist and Methatesis.
- Increased the duration of all potions by four times. Most potions will not last 40 minutes. Since now potions will be needed in higher levels you don't need to plan ahead because you can use them everytime.
- Rebalanced all potions' effects to have more plausible pros/cons. For example all potions that decreases damage will also decrease signs power.
- Mutagens configuration: magic has the last 2 skills mutable, swordmanship has the last 3 and alchemy has the last 6.

Enemies changes:
- Human enemies will still get damaged while they block. Only those with shield are immune to damage while blocking.
- Creatures will still get damaged while they block. The more large the creature the greatest its block damage will be. Particulary robust creatures are immune to damage while they block (for example the Endrega Queen).
- Creatures or Humans with Shields are much more resilent to Igni and Aard damage and effects, especially large opponents.
- Spectres and Spirits now don't receive no more bonus backstab damage since they are incorporeal.
- Dragons are very resistent to Igni now.

The changes in this mod and CEO turns higher difficulties much more challenging, especially on Act II and III. If you want to survive there you will need to keep in mind some things.

The primary thing is that in higher difficulties you will need potions, there's no way out of this. If you are primarily a magic build you will need potions to increase vitality and/or vitality regeneration. If you are a swordmanship build you will need potions to increase block damage reduction and vigor regeneration. If you are an alchemy build then you will need potions that increase damage and vigor. These are only examples but a thing is certain: without potions hard/insane will become a nightmare.

With these changes on higher difficulty levels the best approach is the balanced one for a beginner (if you are expert player then a specialized build relying on its power works perfectly well too). While or normal difficulty you can fully specialize in swordmanship and either alchemy it can be that in hard/insane if you want to do so you will need potions or you need to be good at what you are doing. For example blocking and countering in normal difficulty works perfectly fine after some upgrades. Damage done by enemies is not enough to trouble you. In hard and insane, however, things changes. If you don't use +block damage reduction equipment and dont use potions then you will not be able to sustain many enemies hitting at you either while you block.

So, before all else you must know what type of experience do you want from the game. If you want to play withou too much fuss and liberty to do everything you like without much planning then go for easy or normal (for a more challenging gameplay). If you instead like a challenge and being on the edge of death all the time then by all means go for hard/insane.

Higher difficulties with an unbalanced build can be problematic when there are many opponents hitting you. With the changes to block you will not be able to sustain large amount of damage blocking and countering all the time. In normal it is perfectly possible, in hard/insane it is not. Or you have to use potions or you need abilities/items that enable you to deal with many opponents.

For this a better approach on higher difficulty is a mixed one. A magic build is already balanced by itself, still for example "Feet Work", "Position" and either "Whirl", "Tough Guy" or "Hardy" can come in handy. The same is true for some of the Alchemy abilities. For a sword heavy build you can choose if to mix in a bit of magic enhancing Aard, for example, or enhancing stats with the help of alchemy (that also helps with bombs/traps).

If you don't want to go the mixed approach then learn to use your build strengths to your favor. If you are an heavy swordmanship build then use daggers! They are very powerful with your build and they can help you remove some enemies from the field fast. If you are an alchemy build rely on bombs/traps. If you are a magic build then learn how to combo your spell and how to use all of them effectively. Yrden, for example, is one of the most powerful signs if you have time to prepare its use. Aard is immensely powerful to give you time to react, and so on.

The rule of thumb in the higher difficulties with this mod is: work with all your arsenal depending on the powers of your build and always have some way to deal with many opponents as you can with single ones. When all else fails be always prepared before a fight.

The primary files this mod uses are:


Any other mod that changes those same files will be incompatible with this one. The only solution is to download the unpacked version of this mod and merge the changes in the same files with a text editor.

Very recommended files used by this mod are:
CookedPC\Abilities\opp_base_abl.xml (changes behaviour of human opponents)
CookedPC\Abilities\opp_monsters.xml (changes behaviour of monster opponents)
CookedPC\Abilities\dragon_a3.xml (changes behaviour of a boss)
CookedPC\Abilities\draugboss.xml (changes behaviour of a boss)
CookedPC\Globals\Gui\ui_character.swf (unlocks all paths from beginning)

So, depending on what you like more you can always do without some of them or override those with the ones of other similar projects.

There's also another file that this mod changes:


But in this case if another mod alters it you can either decide to not care since it contains just the descrition of the abilities in the character screen. So the maximum you can have if another mod uses this same file is having discrepancy in descriptions (that in any case are already there since you cannot add new effects).

Extract the archive(s) and put the dzip(s) in the CookedPC directory under the game installation folder.

For the unpacked version just extract the archive and, in the same way, out the content under the CookedPC directory.

- Credits goes to Antihero (FollowTheGourd) for the "unlock all trees from beginning" file and change.
- Credits goes to Demoniko for the changes on tooltips and the translation in Russian therein.
- Credits goes to Hysterias for the translation of the tooltips in french.
- Credits goes to Hotdoglino for the translation fo the tooltips in polish.
- Credits goes to Delamer for his help on the tooltips and bug testing therein. Thank guys, without you two my lazy ass would have taken an year (maybe more, if it was for me) before the in-game descriptions were ready.
- My many thanks goes to all users of the mod and especially Vogelthal and Kindo that have always provided feedback on the new versions. Without you and other users this mod would not have been possible.
- Thanks goes to Kindo also for his well done CEO mod, that complements this one perfectly.