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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Death March Difficulty Differences

By
Nathan Garvin

Death March is the hardest difficulty in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which may appeal to both gamers who want more of a challenge, as well as achievement hunters who are eyeing that [Walked the Path] achievement for completing the game on this difficulty. This page will provide information about exactly what changes in Death March difficulty, as well as tips for how to beat the game in Death March difficulty.

Enemies deal increased damage in Death March difficulty.

Death March Difficulty Differences

There are numerous changes that make Death March difficulty more perilous than lesser difficulties:

  • Enemy damage +230%
  • Enemy health +80%
  • Experience earned -20%
  • Your Vitality is not restored when you meditate

Monsters hit harder, and can withstand more punishment before perishing. Also, you’ll level up slower, which is, honestly, a minor concern. For beginners, not being able to just meditate for an hour to patch up any wounds you’ve sustained can be a real nuisance, but there are ways around all of these.

First, for the damage and health boosts enemies gain… they sound worse than they are. Some enemies which weren’t all that dangerous on lower difficulties will now prove lethal in a few hits - and this especially goes for bandits, wolves and drowners - and enemies that were already difficult can now kill you in a hit or two. Still, you’re mostly fighting enemies that can withstand a few more hits, while you can withstand a few less, and if you’ve played some “hard” games besides The Witcher 3, Death March mode should be at worst comparable to, say, your standard Souls game in terms of what you can expect.

In Death March, your Vitality no longer recovers when you meditate - before you have access to Active Shield, just eat and drink to boost your Vitality regeneration.

Healing without meditating is somewhat more tedious, but it’s not a backbreaking handicap. Geralt still regenerates Vitality over time, so you could always just idle the game. Consuming common food items - bread, water, meat - will also give you a temporary boost to Vitality regeneration. Perhaps not enough to matter in combat, but if you need to make that health bar at the top of the screen more red, a few snacks will suffice. If you don’t mind respeccing, you can grab the “Sun and Stars” perk to increase your Vitality regeneration from an anemic 1/s to a… still pretty poor 10/s, and only during the day (at night you’ll regenerate Stamina faster, instead). Alternatively you can grab the “Gourmet” perk, which will make the effects of food last for 20 minutes instead of the normal 30s - 60s, which functionally gives you a long-lasting boost of 10 - 15 Vitality regeneration per second any time you fancy a treat. Neither of these are strictly necessary and we’ve done without them ourselves, but [respeccing] only costs 1,000 crowns…

Quen’s “Active Shield” upgrade will cause incoming attacks to heal you, and “Exploding Shield” will knockback and stun foes when Quen is depleted.

Most of the difficulty changes are felt in the early game. In fact, your first fight against Ghouls in White Orchard is arguably the most difficult battle in Death March difficulty, as you’ll have the least resources to deal with your enemies. Once that’s done, however, you can level up, stock up on materials, upgrade your gear, and perform hit-and-run attacks to whittle enemies down. Once you’ve put on a few levels, Death March will become much, much easier - White Orchard is the worst of it, and by the time your level is in the midteens, you’re probably not sweating too many encounters… aside from the odd Ciri segment or forced fist-fight (especially against multiple foes in enclosed spaces!), which are always difficulty spikes.

Check out the following pages for more information about Death March difficulty:

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    CD Projekt
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, Switch, XB One
  • Genre
    RPG
  • Guide Release
    24 June 2015
  • Last Updated
    21 July 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin (Haeravon)

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You are Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster-hunter known as a Witcher. You’ve fully regained your memories since your miraculous revival and escape from the Wild Hunt, and have cleared your name of the false accusations of regicide. In the wake of the assassination of Foltest, king of Temeria, the north have been rent by warfare as Nilfgaard launches its third major invasion, and the northlands have been united under the insane king Radovid. Overshadowing these petty politics is the mysterious return of Ciri - Geralt’s adopted daughter, who is now being pursued by the Wild Hunt.

The guide offers the following:

  • A full walkthrough that’s more than just a listing of quests-it’s an “ideal chronological order” that will get you through the whole game and allow you to see and do everything the game has to offer.

  • Side quests, including monster contracts and treasure hunts for obtaining powerful Witcher sets.

  • Descriptions of decisions, quests, and events that influence the various endings of the game.

  • Crafting and Alchemy information.

  • General strategies on how to take down foes large and small, monstrous and humanoid, boss or mundane.

  • Information on how to complete all the Gwent quests and obtain all the Gwent cards, including detailed Gwent strategies.

  • Trophy/Achievement information.

MASSIVE UPDATE: 7th September 2016 ongoing

  • Added DLC quests “Fool’s Gold” and “Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear”.
  • Organisational changes in the Velen section of the walkthrough to reflect the increased level of Griffin School Gear.
  • Organisational changes throughout the walkthrough to provide a “no skulls” path through the game.
  • Added Death March difficulty tips and commentary throughout the guide.
  • More XP reward numbers included.
  • Walkthrough now includes additional information based on patch changes.
  • Various typo and grammar fixes.
  • Added DLC pages for Blood & Wine, Heart of Stone
  • Lots more quality of life improvements

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