My Must-Have Witcher Mods

2023-01-25 // 806 words // 4 minute read

I adore The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, but to pretend that it can’t be improved is silly. I put off a replay until the “next-gen” patch released - complete with Icarian performance issues - but knew I wasn’t going to go into it without some quality of life fixes and tweaks. The game is simply too massive, too big a commitment, to go through all the friction all over again. Agreeably, that friction is part of the romance of The Witcher 3 the first time around, but we’re here to visit old friends and slip back into familiar, muddy boots, not to play the way I did the first time around: an hour or two a day for almost six months, becoming a Witcher and doing a few objectives a day like it was my job.

So, mods! Here are my must-haves so far:

Fast Launch by Instantity

This is just one of those classic game things - there’s just too damn much wind-up to getting back into the game. Get rid of it and save precious minutes. The “storybook” narrations on loading screens are particularly grating over time, as there aren’t enough of them to cover the huge amount of events that the game covers and the flat delivery isn’t compelling or useful in the first place.

Next-Gen Indestructible Items by DannyGlade

Weapon durability is a controversial mechanic at the best of times, but again, on a second or more playthrough being caught unawares during a fight and having your steel sword snap on you just isn’t as fun. Weapon repairing in The Witcher 3 mainly exists to reinforce the ultimate lesson: be prepared. Oils, decoctions, bombs, sign buffs, armor buffs, weapon buffs - all that can stay, but taking a break from this particular busywork isn’t a violation of the spirit, at least not to me.

Fast Travel From Anywhere by Instantity

Similar spirit but bigger change for sure. I like not being able fast-travel to anywhere, but it definitely becomes necessary to be able to travel from anywhere. Remembering that a particular area in the south of Velen isn’t somewhere you should be right now is a good experience, but hustling your way back through it for the nearest sign isn’t.

Leave Roach Alone by LeoTenebris

What an incredible world we live in, where a horse-conscious fan can dig in and comment out a few lines of code that make Geralt act like a dickhole to his horse. No matter your feelings on Roach’s dependability or sanity, she deserves better. And so do you - there’s not exactly a lot of variety here either, so save the earache and the heartache and allow yourself a small edit to Geralt’s personality.

Friendly Wolves by monochrony

We all know that games rely on wolves as casual sword fodder, and I’ve never liked that. Nowadays it just comes off as lazy and makes no sense to me. Make them all into friends instead :3

Grammar of the Path by paulr0013

As marvelous the writers at CDPR are they aren’t infallible, and you can’t expect a game with something like 450,000 words in its script to not need a thorough copyedit. Is this perhaps the kind of thing that should have been fixed as part of the “next-gen” patch? Yes. It doesn’t appear to be, so might as well grab this anyways.

Smooth Camera Motion by Bojdeuca

I hate motion sickness. I get motion sickness. Every game should have the option to limit camera wobbling or headbob or anything of the like, and the ones that don’t are essentially unplayable to me now.

Brothers in Arms by MerseyRockoff

I sure do believe the mod makers when they say they fixed 1,000 bugs across the whole of Wild Hunt - the changelog is big enough to make my browser stutter. It’s tons of little things that probably sail by mostly unnoticed - things like weird animation moments or messed up lines one sort of chalks up to jankiness - but there’s no reason not to grab this mod.

Real Cheating Yen And Triss by FreakVip

Well, here’s the ones that’s weirdest to write about but it’s just true - I don’t want to have to pick! Both are written excellently and make valid authorial cases for their romance paths, as Triss and Yennefer forever represent two sides of Geralt: who he is, and who he wants to be.

There’s also great power in forcing the player to pick, and on a first playthrough it should be something the player agonizes over - it’s a choice core to many of the game’s theses about found families, healing from trauma, and sense of duty to live life fully.

Meanwhile, this mod is literally adding a toggle switch in a menu, so this maybe removes a touch gravitas from all that.