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About this mod

The purpose of Better Combat is to revisit the combat and difficulty mechanics in the game for better balance and a more enjoyable experience overall. The Enhanced version of the mod introduces more substantial changes that are perfect for a 2nd playthrough. If then you enjoy a REAL challenge, try death march in this revised form, if you dare.

Permissions and credits

The good old Better Combat for Witcher 2 has come to this new chapter. A mod that strives to create a better gameplay experience for what it concerns combat, with changes to rebalance the difficulty curve in the game, improvements on combat dynamics, tailoring of skills so that all of them are useful with no clear overpowered choice that put all the others to shame, and so on and so forth.

The enhanced version introduces new changes in the tree layout, for a substantial revision of the gameplay giving more freedom to players in the creation of their preferred builds and some modification and balancing on skills that was no possible before. Also a slightly slower XP curve is introduced in this version, to counter the problematic in the vanilla game of leveling too fast in the last third of the game.

NOTE: Better Combat Enhanced requires a start of a new game

How to play with the mod (important if you are a newcomer):

  • Use signs actively during a fight, always! Mechanics in Better Combat are changed over the vanilla game. The most important overhaul is the way signs works and their altered function in the gameplay. Learn to use signs intermingled with attacks as the two alone will not be enough in the majority of situations to successfully win a fight. It is very important that you accustom yourself to this very important change as elsewhere you will not appreciate the mod truly. Always use signs as a support during encounters, either to stagger, protect yourself or do some damage along sword attacks; they cost much less to cast now, so don't be afraid to use them as often as you can! This difference is what turns Better Combat much more dynamic in gameplay than vanilla, where you are usually stuck with one strategy for all fights. I cannot stress this enough: tie signs to quickeys (as described in the signs section) and use them often during a fight, depending on the situation at hand (for example Aard to stagger enemies to then attack freely; Yrden to slow them down so you can escape a difficult situation or relocate yourself to do huge backstab damage; Igni to do damage along sword attacks; Axii when you have the opportunity - usually not in group situations - to stun an enemy and do with it whatever you want). Differently from vanilla you don't need to invest a lot of skill points in the signs tree to be able to cast signs intermingled with attacks, you can do it from beginning (as it should be imo), so use this change to its fullest to come on top.

  • Quen is handy, but don't overdo it! Quen in the mod is much reduced in strength so if you continually put it on again and again after it is broken you will in many instances just nerf your damage output and potential. There are instances in which Quen is very handy (as when there's a break in the combat and so you can safely stop a moment to put a defense on) but if you are in the heat of the moment in 90% of the cases you will just gimp yourself by using Quen instead of an active sign that could help you to directly stop the enemy on its track. Learn when it's the time to use Quen and when it is just a waste of stamina, don't just spam the same sign over and over as in vanilla, especially if that sign is Quen (however the duration of Quen is much increased in comparison to vanilla and this turns the sign as perfect to use prior the beginning of a fight or during a break, as there will be no problem of the shield expiring by itself: until you are hit the shield will be there for you).

  • Don't spam actions blindly, without rhyme or reason! Do a couple of hits, stop yourself, re-evaluate the situation and continue from there, don't just blindly push buttons and hope for the best. Use parry when necessary (as when you are surrounded) but don't (as in the case of Quen) overdo it! Don't stay in parry mode all the time as stamina regenerates much slower in guard stance, and, for the love of God, don't roll all the time! Learn when it's appropriate to roll and when it's best to evade or dodge (don't roll when you aren't surrounded and the reach of the enemy is low, and don't evade when you are surrounded from all fronts or you are against a very large enemy with a big reach, unless you can evade immediately and diagonally). It is all a matter of choosing the best action for the moment, casting signs when needed, parrying when needed, and attacking when needed. Performing actions blindly without a strategy will be the fastest way to the grave. The best advice I can give to users to become successful in Better Combat is to learn to have a rhythm in combat and not just randomly click buttons. Rhythm in combat is very important in the mod as you will also need pauses to replenish stamina faster. So don't just keep attacking, but once in a while distance yourself a little from enemies to take a small break to regenerate your stamina and possibly put your defenses back on (if you have the time). Just like in music and literature, pauses are as much important as notes and words.

  • Use your potions and items, don't just hack and slash your way through fights. In highest difficulties (Broken Bones and Death March) this will be absolutely needed (differently from vanilla) and you will never succeed without being prepared for a fight. Use your Witcher sense to scout the area and learn if enemies are around and then prepare yourself accordingly (use potions, if hunting some specific monster use the appropriate oil for your blade, shield yourself with Quen so you can focus on active signs more during combat and then go), equip bombs and items depending on the fight you are approaching. Don't just go there "blindly" hoping for the best.

  • Select a vast array of skills from various trees to complement your build. The much increased freedom you have on choosing your skills from beginning means you can tailor your builds specifically for what you want to do. Try, however, to not be focused too much only on a single tree, but instead pick and choose the ones you prefer on the trees, depending the vision of the build you want to create. To succeed in Better Combat you will need to use many things at once, so approaching a fight just by spamming attacks will be much much less effective than using signs and attacks intermingled, or using potions and signs and attacks.

It's very important for newcomers to read this section carefully: I've seen many comments in the past days (as the mod is becoming more popular) in where people clearly have not understood well the changed dynamics of the mod and they seem frustrated by the experience. Things are changed from vanilla and these changes can disorient users at a first try, sure, but I'm also 100% positive that if you will adapt to the modified mechanics in this mod you will assuredly grow to love them as they make the gameplay much more dynamic than it was before.

A word on the difficulties:

  • Just the Story! (easy): this difficulty is meant for players that care only about questing and story and nothing else.

  • Story and Sword (normal): primarily meant for first comers to the world of The Witcher (especially the second chapter), this difficulty doesn't necessarily require the use of potions/oils and particular precautions before encounters to be beaten. If you are interested primarily on the story and you think that combat is more of a complement to it than a paramount aspect in itself (with all its intricacies to be learned to succeed) or if you are for the first time playing a Witcher game, then this choice is meant for you.

  • Broken Bones (hard): this difficulty is for users that are already well acquainted with the witcher games and want a challenging combat requiring preparation and strategy to win. If you want to fully immerse yourself in the lore of the books, with Geralt preparing carefully for every difficult fight ahead, then choose this option. Beware however: it will not be easy even when fully prepared, so be ready for a challenge!

  • Death March (insane): reserved only for the most experienced players of Witcher 3, this difficulty will punish every little committed mistake on your part very harshly. If you have already beaten the game in Broken Bones with this mod and you know well the dynamics of every encounter, then you can try this difficulty to test how good you have really become at the game.

Please refrain from using Death March coming from the vanilla game just because you could handly beat it there and you think it will not be that much different here. You couldn't possibly be farther from the truth. If you just come from vanilla DM (that was much easier than even Broken Bones in Better Combat Enhanced) you will die miserably time and time again here. Try first Broken Bones and understand the changed dynamics and only when you have mastered them thoroughly try DM.

General changes:

  • Removed all skill points requirements. Now you can mix and match the skills you prefer with no restrictions on how many points you invest in a tree.
  • Removed all skill points innate bonuses to vitality, stamina and potion duration. All the bonuses are tied exclusively to equipment and specific skills now.
  • Geralt doesn't acquire stats increases with levels anymore (apart a minimal attack power increase that's necessary for fist fights). Every increase is to be acquired via skills and equipment. 
  • All alternate signs/swords techniques (i.e. Firestream or Whirl) usable from the beginning, without a slot reserved for the ability.
  • Ability to parry arrows usable from the beginning without investing a slot on it (but NOT reflecting arrows at the attacker as Geralt is not a sort of Jedi).
  • Overhauled stamina resource management by actions: every action will cost stamina and/or delay stamina regeneration depending on its type, especially for the actions tied to combat. No move is without cost now.
  • Revisited XP progression curve: it start faster then becomes slower and slower as Geralt progresses in levels, to reach about 15%-20% slower progression in total by level 25 onwards (level 30 in BC is like level 35 in vanilla).
  • Revisited difficulty modes (apart easy): normal is slightly more difficult than default broken bones, broken bones is (much in many instances) more difficult than the old death march and death march is very much harder than in vanilla.
  • Revisited humans strength in the game: poorly equipped enemies (as bandits) will be much less troublesome than monsters, for example, however the best equipment humans have the more sturdy they will become (as it should be).
  • Removed arbitrary bonuses given by the game to enemies of higher (or lower) level than you. In this way you will be able to fight enemies much higher level than you if you can cope with their strength, without the engine setting limitations on this possibility.
  • Increased enemies' resistances reductions for death march and added them to broken bones difficulty too.
  • Increased enemies' stamina regeneration in Broken Bones and Death March (moderately on the former case, greatly on the latter), so they will use parry/dodge/roll/attacks etc. much more than in normal and easy.

  • Green Mutagens: changed vitality bonus to +100/150/200.
  • Blue Mutagens: changed sign intensity bonus to +4/6/8%.
  • Red Mutagens: changed attack power bonus +3/4/5%.
  • Green Mutagens bonus per linked skill: +100 (+66.67 for general skills).
  • Blue Mutagens bonus per linked skill: +4% (+2.334% for general skills).
  • Red Mutagens bonus per linked skill: +3.334% (+1.667% for general skills).
  • Tweaked status effects so that poison > bleeding > fire in duration and fire > poison > bleeding in strength.
  • Increased duration of armor and weapon enhancements when visiting a forge to 1 hour (was 15 min), but decreased the bonuses to 10% (was 20%).
  • Reduced permanent shrine bonuses to +10% (was +20%). 
  • All starting resistances are removed.
  • Food regenerates health much slower but for longer time and only when not in combat.
  • Weight limit increased to 100 (was 60).
  • Cat School Techniques: damage per piece decreased to +2.5% (was 5%).
  • Griffin School techniques: increased sign intensity bonus to +7.5% per piece (was 5). Reduced stamina regeneration to +1s per piece (was +5s).
  • Bear School Techniques: damage per piece increased to +7.5% (was 5%). Decreased vitality bonus to 4% (was 5).
  • Sun and Stars: increased stamina regeneration at night to +2s (was 1).
  • Steady Shot: increased damage to +50%.
  • Rage Management: skill removed.
  • Metabolism control: increased toxicity bonus to +40 (was 30).
  • Razor Focus (new): adds 1 adrenaline point at the start of combat, and gives +10% bonus to adrenaline regeneration for every attack.

Reasons for these changes:
  • The changes to skills give much more freedom to users to mix and match how they desire, without being constricted by arbitrary requirements. The skills, however, have been thoroughly balanced one another so that none of them are vastly more powerful than another and all are perfectly viable in the right circumstance.
  • With the removal of skill bonuses and levelup bonuses the reliance is all on equipment and skills to increase the power of Geralt. This is both truer to the lore of the game and it also removes the loot swap syndrome in the game plus already increasing the difficulty in itself.
  • For the lore it made no sense that Geralt couldn't use some of the basic techniques he learned in his Witcher training (as suggested in the tutorial area) if not putting skill points in them and utilizing a slot. In the first fight of the game (after the the tutorial) you have Geralt fighting Ghouls along Vesemir and this last can use a lot of techniques you have no access to, and this made no sense at all as those are basic Witcher abilities. That you had to invest skill points to parry arrows was, then, totally ridiculous imo.
  • Death March should be an hardcore mode, but it is not so difficult in vanilla and as far as broken bones, well, that's as normal difficulty in Witcher 2. With the changes in difficulty the normal gameplay becomes moderately challenging, hard becomes literally hard and hardcore becomes what it stands for: hardcore difficulty meant for those that want a good challenge from the game. Refer to the specific section on the difficulties for more information on what every single option does.
  • The difficulty curve of the game is changed: in the default game the game is difficult in the beginning and then becomes easier and easier as time passes, to become a cake-walk in the last part. With Better Combat the thing is reversed: the game is more forgiving in the beginning given the increased usage of signs at your disposal but then it becomes harder by and by as you encounter strong enemies since bonuses you receive from skills and levelling are drastically reduced. In little words the difficulty curve is on a rising pattern instead of a descending one.
  • The revisited stamina changes balance the increased signs' usage in this mod and also penalize constant rolling, spamming attacks and "guard camping". You have to be more aware of when to perform actions correctly if you don't want to always have your stamina bar depleted and/or not regenerating.
  • The changes to human encounters turn the gameplay more similar to the lore of the books. Bandits should pose little challenge to a Witcher, apart in special circumstances (as many of them of much higher level in a group, and even then they can be beaten using a little of strategy).
  • The bonuses should be tied to the characteristic of the enemy itself (including its level, if it is a boss or not, etc.) and not adding an artificial bonus on top that makes "skull level" encounters forcibly have 100% resistance to everything and 3 times the vitality, just because they are higher than tot levels than you (let the strength of the creature itself decide how difficult the encounter is, not an arbitrary external imposition).
  • The changes to the Mutagens have been made so that 3 swords skills linked to a Greater Red Mutagen will give +15% attack power bonus, 3 signs skills linked to a Greater Blue Mutagen will give +20% sign intensity bonus and 3 alchemy skills tied with a Greater Green Mutagen will give +500 vitality. For general skills (yellow ones) the bonuses attached to mutagens are +10% attack power for Greater Red Mutagen, +15% sign intensity for a Greater Blue Mutagen and +400 Vitality for a Greater Green Mutagen.
  • Rage Management has been removed as it unbalanced signs usage. 3 full signs use outside of stamina regeneration, then, it is really too powerful and since there's no way to alter the skill in anyway (as it is hardcoded) it's better to have it gone.
  • The increase of duration on forge's enhancement means less hassle to always return to a blacksmith/armorer and easier journeying. The bonuses are reduced from default so it is a incentive on correct role playing in this way.

Sword attacks changes:

  • Whirl: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Rend: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Arrow Deflection: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree. 
  • Cold Blood: Removed from the tree.
  • Razor Focus: Transferred in General skills.
  • Reduced base adrenaline gained by attacks and greatly increased reduction of adrenaline from being hit.
  • Whirl and Rend cost more to use and delay stamina regeneration for longer after every usage.
  • Increased base critical damage to +50% (was 25%). This includes backstab damage.
  • Increased crossbow bolt damage (normal ones only).

  • Muscle Memory: decreased damage bonus to 4% per rank (was 5%).
  • Precise Blows: critical chance decreased to 1% per rank (was 2%), critical damage increased to 20% per rank (was 15).
  • Whirl: number of ranks decreased to 3 (was 5).
  • Crippling Strikes: bleeding damage decreased to 5 vitality/second per rank (was an insane 25 in vanilla) and increased effect duration to 10s.
  • Crushing Blows: critical chance increased to 3% per rank (was 2).
  • Rend: number of ranks decreased to 3 (was 5).
  • Sunder Armor: decreased damage resistance to 4% per rank (was 5).
  • Arrow Deflection: third rank damage dealt back decreased to 50% damage (was 100%).
  • Fleet Footed: decreased damage taken by 15% per rank (was 20).
  • Counterattack: decreased damage per skill level to 15% (was 30), critical chance decreased to +15% (was 100%).
  • Lightning Reflexes: increased slowdown to 20% per rank (was 15).
  • Crippling Shot: decreased number of seconds to 4 per rank (was 5).
  • Resolve: decreased reduction of adrenaline loss on taking damage by 6% per rank (was 20).
  • Undying: decreased bonus vitality regeneration to +10% (was 20%, hidden). Decreased number of ranks to 3 (was 5).
  • Flood of Anger: decreased sign intensity per rank to 6% (was 25).

Reasons for these changes:
  • Light attacks were clearly superior to strong ones, and so with these changes I tried to fill in the gap. The base damage of light attacks are decreased so to have a light attack build be effective you need to learn to capitalize on your criticals (as it should be imo).
  • Critical chance is now a much more rare occurrence, but it packs more of a punch. This means that correct positioning, more than simply spamming attacks and hoping a critical will proc, is paramount to do strong damage to enemies. This change is also enhanced by the one that removes arbitrary bonuses from high level enemies, as one of them is being immune to back attacks.
  • Bleeding builds were completely overpowered in the default game. The DPS was insane at high levels. It is not fun when you can simply spam an attack and win automatically.
  • Overwhelm, instead, costed too much for too little benefit. Now it should be better without being too powerful (balancing a hit kill chance on attack is very tricky as even the minimal difference can turn what was once weak in broken).
  • Whirl and Rend, especially Whirl, was too spammable and hence could make short work of groups while many enemies at once should be the most dangerous situations in the game.
  • Adrenaline gain is greatly reduced from vanilla and it is more difficult to endure. This balances the use of skills tied to adrenaline usage.

Signs changes:

  • All signs cost less to cast (Aard: 52, Yrden/Igni: 55, Quen/Axii: 60).
  • Aard Sweep: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Firestream: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Magic Trap: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Puppet: Usable from beginning and removed from the tree.
  • Igni can cause burning only when channelled, the burning causes less damage and it has less chance to proc. Increased base damage to 150.
  • Quen base duration greatly increased (4 min), but shield strength greatly reduced (1 hit base) and added 5s stamina regeneration delay.
  • Alternate Yrden now does much less damage when shocking the target and last less time.
  • Axii stun duration against humans decreased to 4s (was 5) and for animals to 10s (was 20).

  • Far-Reaching Aard: increased range bonus to +1.67 (was 1) to reach a max of +5 yards at third rank.
  • Aard Sweep: the stagger effect lasts longer for the alternate usage of Aard. The price is, however, longer stamina regeneration delay.
  • Shockwave: decreased damage per rank to 30 (was 40).
  • Melt Armor: decreased armor penetration per rank to 10% (was 15).
  • Pyromaniac: decreased burning chance bonus to 10% per rank (was 20).
  • Sustained Glyphs: decreased sign duration bonus to +4 (was 5). Number of ranks increased to 3 (was 2).
  • Supercharged Glyphs: damage per second decreased to 7 (was 10).
  • Exploding Shield: chance to knockdown decreased to 6 (was 15). Number or ranks increased to 5 (was 3).
  • Quen Discharge: decreased damage reflection to 3% per rank (was 5).
  • Puppet: target damaged is decreased to 50%.
  • Domination: decreased number of ranks to 2 (was 3).
  • Aard/Yrden/Igni/Quen/Axii intensity: increased bonus per rank to 8% (was 5).

Reasons for these changes:
  • One of the most obvious shortcomings of the combat, imo, is the design reliance on using a single sign instead than multiple ones. This is clearly evidenced by the fact that, since every sign usage requires full stamina, it is more beneficial to simply decide a sign to use for the battle and stick to it. This is exacerbated by the fact that the UI is designed in a way that you first need to select a sign and then press a key to cast it; this means that alternating between signs becomes somewhat a nightmare. With the changes to stamina requirements for signs you are instead actively encouraged on mixing and alternating between them for the best outcome and stamina management. However, at the same time, the too powerful effects on certain signs are removed, so utilizing them more doesn't make combat easier than before (the contrary in fact)
  • To everyone that played the game with a signs' build it was quite evident how Igni, alternate Axii and Yrden were completely OP at high levels. Igni for the constant stunlocking caused by burning, Axii because its alternate mode had puppets do all the work for you and for Yrden alternate mode it was the same. Now Igni cannot cause burn anymore if the sign is not channelled (and this is fine because the alternate method is much more risky), Axii puppet has much less damage bonus from upgrades and Yrden alternate mode has less traps and does minimal damage along stunning (I always found the bit about stunning + high damage nonsensical; or you go for a CC direction or you go for damage, not both as doing so it is an easy recipe for an OP skill).
  • The difficulty curve with these changes is more forgiving in the beginning (since you can use more signs and so have more instruments at your disposal) but it lowers by and by in comparison to default (where the broken high-end skills turn difficulty in a joke). The default difficulty curve in Death March is something like this: very difficult at beginning, moderately easu by middle game, very easy in the end. With these changes it is more like: moderately difficult in the beginning, moderately difficult to difficult in the middle game, normal to moderately difficult in the end (values are naturally dependent on player skill).

It is almost paramount for your appreciation of the different gameplay to follow the instructions in this beautiful tutorial of xpidaz for what it concerns tying signs to quickeys in a way that you don't need to also press a button (Q by default) to then activate the sign. Being able to utilize signs immediately by pressing a single key is all another thing with the way gameplay works in Better Combat.

Alchemy changes:

  • All normal decoctions last 1 hour in game time (4 min), and their toxicity is increased by 2/3.
  • Mutagen decoctions last 4 hours game time (16 min) and their toxicity level is lovered to 60 (was 70).
  • Potions duration is the same for all ranks and only their power is tied to it now.
  • Toxicity degeneration is slowed down considerably from vanilla game so that spamming potions is more difficult.
  • Greater Mutagens requirement of lesser component to craft increased to 5 (was 3).
  • Potion count is fixed to 2/3/5 (depending on potion's type) for all ranks. Only exception is White Honey that is single usage only.
  • Bomb count decreased by 1 per rank.
  • Oils weapon damage bonus per rank decreased to +10/20/30% (was +10/25/50%). Increased oil duration that is now the same for all ranks (100 instead of 20/40/60).

  • Heightened Tolerance: decreased overdose threshold bonus to 4% per rank (was 5).
  • Refreshment: increased vitality restored per rank to 6% (was 5%).
  • Delayed Recovery: removed.
  • Side Effects: increased chance bonus by rank to 15% (was 20).
  • Poisoned Blades: lowered poison chance to +4% per rank and +2% per oil power.
  • Protective Coating: lowered number of ranks to 3 (was 5).
  • Fixative Coating: removed.
  • Steady Aim: Increased number of ranks to 5 (was 3).
  • Efficiency: removed.
  • Cluster Bombs: decreased number of ranks to 3 (was 5).
  • Acquired Tolerance: removed.
  • Tissue Transmutation: vitality reduced to 150 per rank (was 200). Number of ranks decreased to 3.
  • Adaptation: increased mutagens' duration bonus to 20% per rank (was 10). Decreased number of ranks to 3 (was 5).
  • Frenzy: slowdown decreased to 10% per rank (was 15). Number of ranks increased to 5 (was 3).
  • Fast Metabolism: decreased number of ranks to 3 (was 5).
  • Synergy: removed.
  • Killing Spree: decreased critical hit chance bonus to 3% per rank (was 10).

  • White Raffard decoction: changed vitality bonus to +25/40/70% (was 20/40/100%).
  • Thunderbolt decoction: changed damage bonus to +20/25/30% (was 20/30/30) and removed rank 3 critical chance.
  • Maribor Forest decoction: changed to increase effects as other potions.
  • Petri Philter: increased sign intensity bonus to +20/25/30% (was 15/20/25%).
  • Swallow decoction: slightly decreased vitality regeneration while in combat (so it is slightly less than when outside of it).
  • Tawny Oil decoction: decreased stamina regeneration to +2/3.5/5s (was 5/8/10) and decreased toxicity of 1/4.

  • Alghoul decoction: +25% stamina regen per hit (was +50%).
  • Ekhinda decoction: 1% healing per stamina spent.
  • Archgriffin decoction: 3% max health per strong attack.
  • Ekimmara decoction: 6% life leech.
  • Wyvren decoction: 2% attack power per hit.
  • Fiend decoction: +80 max encumbrance.
  • Katakan decoction: changed to increase the actual critical chance by 50%.
  • Griffin decoction: +3% damage resistance per hit (15% max).
  • Foglet decoction: +50% sign intensity on cloudy day (was 25).
  • Forktail decoction: +35% sign intensity and attack power (was +50%).
  • Grave Hag decoction: added a maximum increase to combat vitality regeneration of +100 (had none).
  • Nightwraith decoction: added a maximum to vitality gained of +1000 (had none).
  • Wraith decoction: reduced HP at which the shield triggers to 33% (was 50%).
  • Ancient Leshen: +1s stamina regeneration per cast (+20s max).

  • Cave Troll: +500 Health
  • Nekker: +5% crit chance
  • Nekker Warrior: +10% crit chance
  • Dead Drowner: +20% adrenaline on hit
  • Minion/Wildhunt dog: +20% elemental resist
  • Leshy: +50 Toxicity
  • Elder Leshy: +50 Toxicity, +0.5s toxicity degeneration
  • Forktail: +20% Attack Power
  • Wyvern: +25% Igni
  • Royal Wivern: +50% Igni
  • Fogling: +20% physical resist
  • Czart/Chort: +5s stamina regen
  • Lamia/Ekhidna: +3% kill chance on hit
  • Erynie: +20% potion duration
  • Cockatrice: +50 Armor
  • Wraith: +25% Yrden
  • Nightwraith: +50% Yrden
  • Noonwraith: +25% Aard
  • Noonwraith2: +50% Aard
  • Ekimmara: +25 Health Regen while in combat
  • Arachas: +50% bonus exp (human and monster)
  • Grave Hag: +25% Quen
  • Water Hag: +50% Quen
  • Fiend: +25% Axii
  • Bies (fiend2): +50% Axii
  • Succubus: +15% Burning chance per hit
  • Katakan: +100% critical damage
  • Griffon: +15% Sign Intensity
  • Royal Griffon: +30% Sign Intensity
  • Arch Griffon: +40% Sign Intensity
  • Dao/Earth Elemental: +15% Bleeding chance on hit.
  • Doppler: +15% Poison chance on hit.

  • Dancing Star: increased damage to 100/150/200 (was 100 for all ranks). Reduced burning duration to 3/5/7 (was 4/7/10).
  • Devil's Puffball: increased damage to 100/150/200 (was 100 for all ranks). Reduced poison duration to 10/15/20 (was 10/20/30).
  • Dimeritium: reduced duration to 10/15/20 (was 15/30/30).
  • Dragon's Dream: changed damage to 250/350/500 (was 300/400/400), and reduced duration to 10/15/20 (was 15/30/30).
  • Grapeshot: changed damage to 500/650/800 (was 600/700/700) and increased damage ratio for silver/physical to 1.5:1 (was 1:1).
  • Moon Dust: superior version lasts 120 seconds instead of being permanent.

Reasons for these changes:
  • Ah, alchemy, with its permanent vitality! These changes removes the broken synergy between using Refreshment, Delayed Recovery and double potions to practically have permanent Swallow and insane vitality. The synergy is still strong, but not by "win by itself" margins as before.
  • The changes to potions made their spamming much less likely given the increased toxicity (and this will also help with all associated bonuses on alchemy for every potion consumed).
  • Mutagens should clearly be strong, yes, but also here strong and god cheat are two different things. Hopefully now Mutagens are still supremely good without them being the same as enabling a cheat on CE. Their much lower basic duration will make Mutagen tied skills at last relevant now, and their increased toxicity means that using other potions along them becomes risky, given the increased harm caused by toxicity. Also the changes to Adaptation will make taking the skill much more interesting now (since with all 5 ranks it doubles the duration of mutagens to 30 min as it was before).
  • Bombs were too strong in the vanilla game. Now they should be more balanced and less spammable given the less amount.

Known Issues:

  • Skills will still show the tooltip about bonus increase for their category, albeit to 0% (for example for a sword skill: "bonus to adrenaline generation: +0%"). This is because atm we cannot change the string files in the game, so I cannot remove the reference.
  • Heightened Tolerance will display a bonus of +0 instead of +0.25, however the value is applied correctly.
  • Griffin School Techniques (present also in vanilla): stamina regeneration bonus is displaied as a percentual, but it is instead a raw increase of +1s per piece.
  • In case some skills bonuses are changed with updates then be sure to remove and put back the skills in the slots to have the stats be updated. In my testing it seems like the skills stats tied to slots are stored in the savegame and so the only way to force them to update is to remove and put them back. Same thing for mutagens (but here you must do it anyway for the well known bug that's not as yet resolved for patch 1.06).

Install/Uninstall instructions:

  • Be sure to have Java installed in your computer. If you haven't already then download the program from here. Restart the PC after the installation if complete.
  • Extract the Better Combat archive downloaded here in a folder of your preference.
  • Run the Setup.exe in the extracted folder and press Install or Uninstall for installing or uninstalling the mod. If you aren't using an administrator account then be sure to run the program as an admin.
  • A window will open, detailing the update of files. When finished you can safely close the program.
  • Done!

 When asked if to make a backup of the files it is highly advised to do so only the first time you run the installation and not every time you install a new version. In this way you will have original files from which to revert to when you want to completely uninstall the mod.


  • ChiefyWombat for the WSM Modular Installer. Thank you very much for your great tool!
  • Adam Roth for his great tool Bundle Explorer that made reimporting back files even better than with QuickBms (that had some limitations). Thanks for your great work!
  • Luigi Auriemma for his great tool to extract and reimport files inside bundles. Without him this mod would not have been possible. Also if now I don't use QuickBms anymore it was still essential in the beginning. Thanks!
  • Polymorpher for the great tutorial on how to work with QuickBMS. He surely made my work a lot easier with his easy to follow instructions
  • Users on CDPR forums that are a great source of information for ideas on changes to apply. I think at last 30% of the changes in this mod are taken from there (and I'm not the only one that wander the forums in search of good changes to employ, it seems ;) ).
  • The users of this mod without whom feedback I would have much more trouble on testing the balance properly. Thanks to you all for your help and suggestions!
  • CDPR for the game. Without you, naturally, nothing of this would make sense. Thank you first of all for creating a really wonderful game.

Are you in search of a mod improving the visual side of the game too?:

Then please take a look at my other mod for Witcher 3, Real Graphical Suite, a compilation of three Reshade Framework presets for all tastes. The best E3 2014 preset you will find (and I'm open to any challenge on the matter), simulating as closely as possible within the boundaries of an injector the atmosphere of the 35 min. gameplay demo. A Medieval preset for users that prefer a more dark and grit atmosphere given the setting of the game, and finally a VGX preset that mimics the look of the old 2013 trailer. Also added a preset for the new cutscene lightning mod, for those using it.