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About this mod

Completely alters all the statistics of every equippable item in the game, in an attempt to balance out the difficulty curve that steadily starts going down once you're finishing up the first act. The result is a much more even-paced difficulty rating during combat, all the way to the end of the game.

Permissions and credits
FREEZE BUG: Suddenly and mysteriously, users have reported a constant freeze effect bonus being applied to Geralt's base stats. Finamenon has helped me track down the culprit, and although it makes no logical sense, a "fix" has been found. If you experience Geralt having a constant +15% freeze chance, you are affected by this, so grab the update file I've uploaded, and unpack the contents into the game's installation folder, making sure the folder structure is kept intact.
(DIY: Basically, using the unpacked version, edit def_item_swordsilver.xml using Notepad++. Search for Addan Deith and remove the tag crt_freeze from the entry. Save and done.)

NOTE: Due to the changes CEO applies to Mutagens, the Tutorial section of the game can not be completed. Not many use CEO for their first playthrough and fewer still choose to go through the Tutorial every time they start a new game, but here's your disclaimer: If you want to play the Tutorial of the game, do it without CEO installed.

NOTE: Keep in mind that if you intend to use the two mini-DLC's (released with version 3.3 of the game), you should rename CEO.dzip to xCEO.dzip - for example - in order to put it last in the load order (after summer.dzip and winter.dzip). The unpacked version of CEO works as-is.

NOTE: CEO works just fine if you install it into an ongoing game, but keep in mind that the mod removes certain items from the game entirely; so if you are currently in the possession of any or more of these items, they will simply have disappeared once you load up your save file.

NOTE: This mod includes the Whirl Oil Hotfix.

BETTER COMBAT MOD: The latest version of CEO mainly deals with smaller compatibility issues with the new version of Better Combat. These changes were similar to what I had been thinking about even before, but with them in place (with minor alterations), it is now easier for us to make sure that the two mods work together without too much hassle. Keep in mind that both Better Combat and CEO still work perfectly on their own, and that you are never forced to use both if you don't want to. That being said, Better Combat does to abilities and combat mechanics, what CEO does to equipment, so chances are that if you like one, you will probably like the other.

Complete Equipment Overhaul - Balancing tweaks to every piece of equipment in the game v1.6e

Author: Kindo
Mod version: 1.6g
Game version: 3.4

How to install
1. Place the CEO.dzip file in your The Witcher 2\CookedPC\ directory.
2. Done!

How to uninstall
1. Remove the CEO.dzip file from your The Witcher 2\CookedPC\ directory.
2. Done!

Complete list of files inside the .dzip

The idea for this mod (for the size it has grown into this past week at least), came from conversations within the comments for a different author's mod, who has set out with a similar goal in mind of trying to rebalance and spice up especially the talent trees and abilities in the game. I truly recommend using this mod in tandem with these ability tweaks, since my mod only affects actual equipment. The author in question is Lautreamont, and his wonderful mod is called Better Combat. Unfortunately, the mod is out of date and not compatible with the current version of the game. UPDATE: There is now a new version of Better Combat, by blackninjato, that you can find here.

Short description
Completely alters all the statistics of every equippable item in the game, in an attempt to balance out the difficulty curve that steadily starts going down once you're finishing up the first act. The result is a much more even-paced difficulty rating during combat, all the way to the end of the game, making it feel much closer to the exquisite balance you usually experience during the Prologue and Chapter 1. You will actually have to think about what you're doing during combat, and some fights might require more preparation in the terms potions and tools than you're used to, depending on the difficulty level set.

Long description
The Witcher 2, superb though it may be, suffers from poor difficulty scaling as you progress through the game. By the time you reach the third act, you feel more or less like some sort of demi-god, and there's hardly any challenge left to speak of. While this problem is rooted within enemy scripts and powers, as well as general game area design and what not, I figured the easiest remedy would be to overhaul the equipment found in the game; this because I also felt that the itemization was poorly thought-out, overall, offering a lot of items that either overlap one another, or simply are too weak in comparison to other items you probably already have at the point you acquire them. While the primary goal with CEO is to make the game challenging again, a close second is to make every piece of equipment feel more unique and interesting. There should be as few cases as possible where one choice is obviously better than the other, except for each player's personal preference, or specific situational use. Especially equipment you find in a dungeon, somewhere, or are rewarded with after a specific quest, should feel as special as their names make them out to be. An item can feel unique without being overly powerful, as well - I have done my best to match all the items as well as I can with their name, and their respective connection to specific lore within the witcher universe. While there will always be room for improvement and new ideas, I feel that this mod has reached a stage where I can look at its contents, and nod approvingly of what I - with the help from invaluable feedback from Nexus users - have achieved. Every sword, armor, and trophy etc. feels in one way or another unique, and much more fun to equip and use in the game. Nothing feels entirely superfluous or useless, and instead the choice of equipment goes down to everyone's personal taste, or what combat situation you are currently facing. Below I shall document a bit more detailed what changes I've made, giving an example or two. Naturally, I can't explain every change made to every single item in the game, here, but hopefully this will give you an idea about the philosophy I strive to follow while working on CEO.

Armors (def_item_armor.xml; def_stats_item_armor.xml)
There are a lot of armors in the game, both found for free and crafted. Especially Act 1 is crammed full of armors that are not given out as quest rewards or found in chests, but instead are crafted or bought in various shops. Armors overall have had their damage reduction values and resistance values severely reduced (not so much in Act 1, as in Act 2 and Act 3), and instead given more 'specialized' bonuses. One type of leather armor might offer a higher bleed resistance, while another offers a higher incineration resistance instead. Studded armors (or otherwise reinforced armors) might have a lower resistance level, but a higher damage reduction. What really bothered me was the insanely high stats on armors you find (for free, nonetheless) during Act 3; these armors could climb as high as +70% on all resistance values, which is utterly ridiculous. With CEO, you won't find a higher resistance value than +30%, and if you want to climb higher than that, you will have to add specific trophies to the mix, and drink the appropriate potions. I've also made sure there is a more balanced access to armors that aid spellcasters available no matter which storyline you go for, as well as added special, more unique bonuses to some armors (such as trap damage, throw damage, bomb damage etc.) where it suits them. In Act 3, the two crafted armors Dearg Ruadhri and Tir ná Lia, have both been given a boost to better compete with the other end game armors. I was considering removing from the game altogether, but once I found out where they get their names from, I couldn't help but keep them around. Overall, the changes made to the armors will make you a lot squishier in general, but there should be hardly any armor overlapping with each other, and there should be at least one aspect of each armor that makes it stand out from the rest, hopefully catering to one or more playstyles. Total number of enhancement slots have been signficantly lowered across the board.

Armor Enhancements (def_item_armorupgrade.xml; def_stats_item_armorupgrade.xml)
One thing that made no sense to me, was the sheer amount of different armor enhancements available in the game, many of them seemingly overlapping one another. CEO removes several enhancements altogether, and attempts to specialize them in a way that will make them all feel different and to have both benefits and drawbacks, that hopefully should entice people employing different kinds of playstyles. I've removed superfluous versions of different kinds of leather enhancements, leaving a set of basic armor enhancements that look like this: Hardened Leather->Studded Leather->Mail->Steel. Neither is 'better' than the other, but they offer different levels of damage reduction and resistance bonuses - the leather enhancements have a lower armor value, but a higher resistance value, while the mail and steel enhancements instead give you higher armor, but not so much in ways of critical effects resistances. I then made the Elven and Dwarven enhancements more unique, and hopefully more befitting their namesakes. The Elven enhancers focuses on poison resistance, and aids your trap damage and herbalist skills, while the Dwarven kind gives bleed resistance instead, and increases bomb damage and maximum load. For casters, I kept the Runic and Mystic enhancements pretty much as they were, but balanced them out with each other a bit better. They don't offer any damage reduction, but sign damage bonus and magic damage reduction instead. The Kayran Carapace enhancement is very limited (sometimes only one or two of the necessary components drop), so I've purposely kept that one quite powerful, and it will probably be the preferred choice for most players (at least fighers). Since there are no backsies on enhancing armor, it's quite the decision to decide which armor you want to put this one in.

Boots (def_stats_item_boots.xml)
Not much had to be done about the boots, other than to balance them out with each other. I also tried to make specific types of boots stand out more, offering a slight vigor regeneration bonus to lighter ones (while heavier boots don't offer this, but have higher resistances instead). There are boots in the game that carry the name of one of the main regions (Kaedwen, Nilfgaard, Temeria), which come in two tiers. I tried to give them bonuses suitable to their respective region, so Kaedweni boots are more focused on bleed, while the Nilfgaardian ones are good for poison, and the Temerian boots are the better choice for incineration resistance. Other than that, damage reduction has been limited to 1 (except for the Hardened Leather boots, which has 2), and the resistances have obviously been lowered severely from vanilla.

Gloves (def_item_gloves.xml; def_stats_item_gloves.xml)
I have honestly not done too much in terms of changing the gloves available in the game. Like the boots (and trousers), they are quite limited to begin with, and you sometimes go many game hours in-between an upgrade. Instead, I once again tried to make them more specialized. The different 'tiers' of gloves progress logically (worn, normal, robust), and I made studded types of gloves carry a bit more damage reduction, but less resistances. In Act 3, you can find special Falconer gloves, which I designed to be different from one another, depending on which region they represent. Kaedweni gloves specialize in bleed resistance and trap damage, the Nilfgaardian gloves in poison resistance and magic damage reduction, while the Temerian gloves have a higher incineration resistance, and offers a bomb damage bonus.

Trousers (def_item_pants.xml; def_stats_item_pants.xml)
Much like the boots and gloves, there's a limited number of trousers available in the game, so I didn't need to do much other than to lower the stats a bit. I still wanted the different types of trousers to actually behave differently, though, so I made the normal leather trousers specialize in incineration resistance, the heavy leather trousers be good at resisting bleeds, and the studded leather trousers carry a higher damage reduction than the rest, but lower resistances. The region-named trousers follow the same formula as they do with the boots and gloves: Kaedweni for bleed, Nilfgaardian for poison, and Temerian for incineration. For some reason, the Kaedweni trousers don't have a second tier like they do with the boots and gloves. In the future, I might be able to add this manually, somehow, but I currently don't know how to do this safely without and SDK.

Silver Swords (def_item_swordsilver.xml; def_stats_item_swordsilver.xml)
While you won't find many of them in Act 1, you quickly start feeling overwhelmed by the amount of silver swords that become available some ways into Act 2. Not only did they make both tier 1 and tier 2 of the meteorite swords purchasable in this chapter, they also start handing out silver swords left and right for quest rewards, and you find even more as you visit various dungeons. First of all, I balanced the tier 1 meteorite swords to better fit in Act 1, and added the diagrams to the blacksmith there, ultimately making these swords advance one tier per game chapter instead. The stats for these meteorite swords were also completely overhauled, and each kind now has quite specialized bonuses to appeal to different playstyles. Yellow for adrenaline, bleed and poison, red for incineration and instant kill chance, and blue for freeze chance and spell damage bonus. Seeing how these are crafted swords (quite expensive to craft, at that), I purposely made the critical effects bonuses higher than any swords you may find for free while out adventuring, to my best ability. The tier 3 versions also rival the normal end-game swords in terms of damage. Besides an overall reduction of damage and critical effects chances, I also wanted the silver swords to feel unique and fun, in some way, while still keeping them balanced. You have swords like Fate, which normally did nothing fun at all, but now has a chance to incinerate or instantly kill the enemy. Look at the end game swords, Addan deith now has a freeze chance, and I gave Zerrikanterment an incineration chance instead; I feel these bonuses better suit their respective namesakes. The three tiers of crafted (regular) silver swords have been given a more clear progression, adding increases to bleed, poison, and incineration critical effects, in steady increments. Total number of enhancement slots have been signficantly lowered across the board.

Steel Swords (def_item_swordsteel.xml; def_stats_item_swordsteel.xml)
Unlike the silver swords, there are literally a ton of steel swords available in the game. Aside from obviously lowering the stats all around, I've also tried to give some character to every sword out there. What you'll notice right off the bat, starting the Prologue and going into Chapter 1, is that I've made the short swords, long swords, and cutlasses behave differently from each other, rather than just overlapping like they did in vanilla. These three types of swords all have a full three-tier progression, and I wanted each sword to have something going for them. The basic idea that I implemented, was to have short swords have a higher minimum damage, but a lower maximum damage, compared to long swords and the cutlass. This gives the short swords a more reliable damage range in general, with less fluctuation. The long sword has the highest maximum damage but also the lowest minimum damage, while the cutlass has a higher minimum damage than the long sword (but not as high as the short sword), and a slightly lower maximum damage. The short swords give a bonus to vigor regeneration, the long sword gives a bonus to block damage reduction, and the cutlass has an added chance to poison instead. They all have a bleed chance. Looking further ahead, you'll notice that the special forces' sword also adds a knockdown bonus. Also available in Chapter 1, are the Yspaden, Caingorn, and Nilfgaardian swords (check the blacksmith's). These were fairly useless in vanilla, but here I've balanced them out to be a nice choice for the first act, and they also don't overlap with anything else you can obtain at this part of the game; their stat bonuses are fairly special. In Chapter 2, I've made Stennis' Sword much more useful, but since you can obtain it quite early on, I compensated this by not giving it any enhancement slots. It's a powerful sword, but offers no customization. As a rule, I've also made elven-themed swords be the only steel swords to offer some sort of sign damage bonus. The Elven Sword of the Blue Mountains is easily obtainable in the first chapter, so it's not too powerful, but is also the only steel sword at this point that offers a damage bonus to signs. You can find a more varied selection as you rach Chapter 2. As far as end game steel swords go, I barely touched Caerme's stats (aside from lowering them to fit the rest of the mod), but I did turn the Forgotten Vran Sword into a type of caster sword, offering nice critical effects and bonuses to sign damage. Total number of enhancement slots have been signficantly lowered across the board.

Additional Weapons (def_item_witcher_sec.xml)
There are also weapons in the game that do not function like your regular sword, and mostly carry situational use (such as when you've been previously disarmed). Most of the stats here looked fine, but I still made a tiny overhaul, making sure these additional weapons had a bit of an edge, seeing how your sword-fighting techniques don't function as normal while using these weapons. Mostly I made the critical effects chances higher than anything you can find on a sword, and certain two-handed weapons also have a higher damage than most conventional weapons. It's mostly just for fun, or cosmetic use, however. I'm still quite happy, running around fighting soldiers with an oar or a rake. ;)

Runes (def_item_runes.xml; def_stats_item_runes.xml)
In vanilla, the best rune was hands down the Fire rune. It offered a general damage bonus, a very high incineration resistance, and the chance to set your enemies ablaze. Some runes were even completely useless, no matter your preference or playstyle. The runes were one of the first items in the game I wanted to re-balance. My primary goal was to make each rune look interesting, in one way or another, while keeping them feeling unique and befitting their respective namesakes. The Fire rune still adds an incineration chance, but now it offers no resistances, and instead it gives a bonus to vitality, a bonus to large monsters, and a bonus to adrenaline generation. I've made all the other runes match it in strength, but in ways that make them differ entirely from one another. The Sun Rune focuses on vitality regeneration, and adds a stun chance and bonus damage against necrophages; it is also one of two runes that offer a sign damage bonus, together with the Moon rune - the Moon rune also adds a chance to freeze or knockdown the enemy, and carries a damage bonus against wraiths. Ysgith rune - named after a treacherous swamp - restores vigor, adds both bleed and poison critical effects, and grants a small damage bonus against insectoids. Lastly, the Earth rune improves your block damage reduction, grants poison and knockdown critical effects, and has a small damage boost against humans. So in general, each of the runes has been made significantly more powerful, but not in relation to one another - they're all good, but for different playstyles or simply personal preference.

Trophies (def_stats_item_trophy.xml)
The trophies in vanilla were mostly a joke - so many of them overlapped and nullified one another, and once you obtained the Kayran trophy, there was really no point in ever equipping anything else (possibly the Draug trophy). I completely revamped all the trophies, and tried to have them reflect the abilities of the monster they could be obtained from. The boss trophies are still among the more powerful kinds, but with CEO, no trophy is ever an obvious discard. Even the Nekker trophy can come in handy at the end of the game, since it's now the only trophy that adds vitality regeneration in combat. I've tried to make most of the trophies carry mainly defensive stats, such as critical effects resistances (bleed for Harpy, poison for Drowner,,,), and a slight damage reduction when it seemed appropriate (Endrega, Troll, Draug...). When feasible, they also grant a damage bonus against their own kind. Each trophy now feels unique in some way, and I can always see at least some situational use every one - with CEO, you will want to collect them all.

Mutagens (def_item_mutagens.xml; def_stats_item_mutagens.xml)
Mutagens in vanilla are fairly redundant, most of them. First of all, without an ability to upgrade them, there's really no point in offering different tiers of each type, since like with the enhancements and runes, there are no backsies once you slot one - so anything less than the Major kind will quickly be sold off. Secondly, some (read: most) of them are completely weak and useless, even at the highest tier. I don't think I ever bothered using anything but the Critical Effects mutagen, in vanilla. Everything else felt pointless. With CEO, I have eliminated the different tiers of mutagens; now there's only one tier for each type of mutagen. I have also completely changed the bonuses they grant you, and done my best to balance them all with each other, once again trying to cater to different playstyles and personal preferences. The Critical Effects mutagen and Range mutagen remain unchanged for now, but the Strength mutagen, for example, now grant you a damage bonus to each type of enemy in the game, rather than its rather pointless +2 armor it carries in vanilla. The Enhancement mutagen now adds a percentile damage bonus to both physical attacks and sign damage, instead of extra adrenaline generation, and if you're looking for a more defensive mutagen, the Vitality one gives you extra vitality overall, plus a nice regeneration bonus, as well as resistances to bleed, incineration, and poison. In vanilla, the Madness mutagen combined the bonuses of several other mutagens into one, making it a very desirable drop. I wanted to have it remain powerful, but I didn't like the idea of combining other mutagens the way it did by default, so I made my own Madness mutagen stat bonuses. It still combines stats from other mutagens, but to a lesser degree, and usually not in as high number. It's the only mutagen that offers both defensive and offensive bonuses, by adding vitality and resistances, but also damage bonuses both physical and sign-related. All the new mutagens gain additional stat increases with the Impregnation talent, of course.

Merchants and Item Availability (def_prices.xml; def_item_schematics.xml def_shops.xml)
One of the largest overhauls I've done, is the one involving the merchants found throughout the game. I wanted to better organized what type of items you could find where, as well as to change items' availability by either adding, removing, or re-locating them to and from various shops. This process involved going over every single merchant in the game, and redo many of them almost from scratch. Documentation on specific items added or removed here and there, can be found in the changelog, but here I can at least tell you how I've sorted different merchants into specializations.

ACT 1:
Anezka - Herbalist: Potions and related crafting materials, such as various herbs.
Bron - Blacksmith: Weapons and weapon diagrams, as well as related crafting materials. Has an extended selection of basic weapons.
Cedric - Trapper: Bombs, lures, throwing daggers, and traps, as well as related crafting materials.
Einar - Bookseller: Now sells nothing but books, but carries a somewhat altered selection.
Fioravanti - Alchemist: Potions, and related crafting materials.
Sendler - Leatherworker: Armors, armor enhancements, boots, gloves, trousers, and various related diagrams, as well as related crafting materials. Has an extended selection of basic armor.

ACT 2 (Vergen):
Cori - Alchemist/Bookseller/Herbalist: Carries potions, books (extended selection), and various crafting materials including herbs.
Earso - Trapper: Bombs, lures, and traps, as well as the related crafting materials.
Haggard - Blacksmith: Weapons and weapon diagrams, as well as related crafting materials. Has an extended selection of basic swords.
Mael - Leatherworker: Armor, armor enhancements, boots, gloves, trousers, and various related diagrams, as well as related crafting materials. Has an extended selection of basic armor.

ACT 2 (Kaedweni Camp):
Isidor - Trapper: Bombs, lures, and traps, as well as the related crafting materials. I also found out that there are no diagrams for runes available during this storyline, so I figured Isidor would be a good choice for this, being a dwarf and all. He also carries the Dwarven and Elven armor enhancements.
Lasota - Blacksmith/Leatherworker: Armors, armor enhancements, boots, gloves, trousers, weapons, and various related diagrams, as well as related crafting materials. Has an extended selection of basic armor and weapons.
Myron - Alchemist/Herbalist: Potions, and various crafting materials including herbs.
Sambor - Bookseller: Now sells nothing but books, but carries an extended select

ACT 3:
Bras - Magic Craftsman: A bit of a special character, Bras carries a lot of rare armor and weapon diagrams and armor enhancements, together with related crafting materials, such as meteorite ore; as well as runes.
Cori - Alchemist/Bookseller/Herbalist: Much like in Act 2, Cori offers anything related to alchemy or herbalism, as well as an extended selection of books.
Earso - Trapper: Bombs, lures, and traps, as well as the related crafting materials.
Falas - Blacksmith/Leatherworker: Armors, armor enhancements, boots, gloves, trousers, weapons, and various related diagrams, as well as related crafting materials.
Polikarp - Blacksmith/Leatherworker: Armors, armor enhancements, boots, gloves, trousers, weapons, and various related diagrams, as well as related crafting materials.

You are free to use my work or redistribute it in any way you wish, as long as this readme is kept intact and/or credit is given to me if what I have done has inspired your own work in a significant way, or if you somehow use my work for your own project.

Thanks and credits
• LAUTREAMONT - for the Better Combat mod (; the mod itself and the conversations in the comments section helped ignite this project properly.
• PEZZA - for the Better Imported Items mod (; the mod inspired me to make the changes to the imported items, and some stats are taken straight from Pezza's work.
• CD PROJEKT RED - for making one of the best games I have ever played, and showing us that in this watered-down, sell-out gaming climate what game creation used to be all about: Heart, dedication, generosity.
• GOOD OLD GAMES - for pioneering digital distribution of the gaming media, the way it's meant to be done.
• A massive thanks to everyone who has offered feedback, suggestions, criticism, and reported errors and bugs with the mod. It's thanks to you all I can keep improving the quality of this project.
• Special thanks to user vincecyc for pointing out something I later found out was causing an error with the way I was handling sign damage bonuses.
• Special thanks to user broken181 for allowing me to finally figure out what was causing critical effects on custom items not to trigger.