The Witcher

DISCUSSION: Certain alchemy skills are useless.

TheWitcher8 - DISCUSSION: Certain alchemy skills are useless.
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I am currently on my way 8th Death March playthrough (NG+, upscaling) and I wish to discuss several skills that are a pretty much crappy investments. (and advise you of better alternatives.)

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Brewing

  • Tier 2 – RefreshmentEach Potion imbibed heals 25% of maximum vitality. (5/5)
    • Sinking points into Refreshment seems like a good idea for instant heals, but there are other alternatives that don't need a skill slot to heal you effectively.
      • Ekhidna Decoction – Heals when you consume stamina, meaning jumping heals you. Witcher mutations are weird.
      • Ekimmara Decoction – Heals for 10% of damage dealt.
      • Troll Decoction – Passive regeneration (heals less in combat).
      • Superior Swallow – Heals 1600 HP over 20 seconds rocking 5 charges.
      • Superior White Raffard's Decoction – Heals 100% of your health instantly, but with only 3 charges.
      • Various consumables you find looting peasant homes.
  • Tier 3 – Delayed Recovery – Potion effects don't wear off until potion Toxicity falls to 70% of the maximum level. (3/3)
    • On paper this skill seems alright when used with 3 other decoctions, as you would essentially be able to have every single potion effect without having to worry about their effects wearing off. However, this skill only takes into account toxicity from potions, not from decoctions. To use this skill to its highest potential means you must be actively consuming potions to keep the potion toxicity above 70% of the non-decoction toxicity, which you do not have a lot of.
    • This skill also conflicts with arguably more effective skills such as Acquired Tolerance and Fast Metabolism.
  • Tier 4 – Side Effects – Imbibing a potion gives a 100% chance of activating the effects of another randomly-selected potion, without additional Toxicity cost. (5/5)
    • "A true Witcher does not rely on RNG mechanics." – Papa Vesemir
    • Instead of relying on chance to give you the potion (base level) you need for a fight, just drink the potion. If you have Fast Metabolism then the toxicity from the used potions will negligible.
    • It also doesn't stack, meaning only one "bonus" potion effect can be active at a time.

Oil Preparation

  • Tier 3 – Fixative – Blade Oils do not wear off. (3/3)
    • I compare the absolute futility of this skill to the Wolven set bonuses: Lazy. This also applies to both the people who designed the skill and the people who use it. Reapplying oils is not difficult.
    • Once you upgrade all your oils to the superior variant, you will hardly ever run out of charges in one fight.

Bomb Creation

  • Tier 1 – Steady Aim – Time is slowed a further 45% while aiming. (3/3)
    • This is the kind of skill that only applies to players who want to feel cinematic and epic, or just not very good. Not only is there already an auto-aim system in the game (albeit inconsistent) but throwing a bomb already takes so little time in combat that another 45% slowdown will only feel disruptive.
    • Down a Blizzard Potion.

Mutation

  • Tier 2 – Tissue Transformation – When consumed, Mutagen Decoction increases maximum Vitality by 1000 for Decoction's effective duration. (5/5)
    • Here's a tip to all you new Witchers out there: The more vitality you have, the more life you have to regenerate. While this skill basically gives you a massive 3000 vitality buff, having that much vitality is unnecessary especially if one uses dodges and rolls rhythmically. Having so much health just to tank damage conflicts with builds that use the Water Hag Decoction (increases damage by 50% when at full HP) and the Invigoration runeword (Sword attacks deal extra damage based on the extra regeneration when at full HP).
      • You are much better off investing in Adaptive Coating, which gives a nice 25% damage resistance against monsters that are weak against your currently applied oil.
      • Don't stick to low-level armors. That can get you killed extremely easily.
  • Tier 4 – Adaptation – Extends effective duration of all mutagen decoctions by 50%. (5/5)
    • All decoctions, with the exclusion of the Basilisk Decoction, last exactly 30 real-time minutes. Within those 30 minutes you will most probably meditate or a quest event will trigger, cleaning active potion/decoction effects and all toxicity. You do not want to sink 5 points to get an extra 15 minutes on your decoctions.

Trial of the Grasses

  • Tier 1 – Frenzy – If potion Toxicity is above 0, time automatically slows when an enemy is about to perform a counterattack. The slowing effect and duration are greater than for level 2 of this ability. (3/3)
    • Like Steady Aim, this skill only applies to those who find it difficult to parry/dodge attacks on time. Once you play long enough it becomes second-nature.
    • Down a goddamn Blizzard potion.
  • Tier 2 – Endure Pain – Increases maximum Vitality by 50% when Toxicity exceeds the safe threshold. (5/5)
    • This skill is extremely inconsistent.
      • It has no effect when used with max leveled Heightened Tolerance as there will be no safe threshold to exceed.
      • This will only increase Geralt's base maximum vitality, not overall health granted by other skills or Full Moon.
      • As aforementioned, vitality < damage resistance.

And that quite sums every terrible skill in the Alchemy Tree. The rest of the unmentioned skills pretty much rely on personal taste or build, but Heightened Tolerance and Acquired Tolerance are absolutely crucial to any playthrough.

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