Please don't spoil any of the blood and wine story for me because I haven't finished it yet, I'm at the point where I got done beating Detlaff in the 2nd official battle w/ him and the first "real" boss battle where Regis SEEMINGLY finishes him off w/ a bite in the neck as he's about to regenerate. Just got done w/ the ceremony afterwards where Geralt is celebrated and awarded 5000 crowns, and Syanna faces trial.
But anyways, I wanted to have a quick discussion cuz I feel like I learned quite a bit about this game after going thru this process. The battle probably took way longer and might've been harder than it should've been; it took around 10 or so tries for me to finally beat him. idk how it is on PC but on console it only lets you save up to the point at the very start of the battle, before Detlaff takes on his full monster form, so if you die at any point you have to restart the entire battle. I'm using a pure swordsman build (Quen is the only sign I use) w/ slight investment in alchemy, equipped w/ a full suit of Grandmaster Feline armor and Viper venemous swords. I reckon my build may have partially had something to do w/ the toughness of this fight since Detlaff's arial bat strike thing would instakill me EVEN THRU QUEN (maybe it wouldn't have if I had heavy sign intensity and/or heavy armor?). I had no issues w/ the first part of the battle before he takes on his full monster form, but the bat arial strike attack after he transformed kept getting me.
I was even tempted for the first time in this game to bump down the difficulty one notch cuz it kept taking so many tries, but I quickly shook that off and told myself I just had to figure out the exact timing of things. After many tries I learned two important things in this battle: 1- when he's still in his half humanoid form at the start of the fight, you can get thru this part much more quickly if you dodge forward whenever he commits to the invisibility lunge attack as opposed to dodging laterally as I was so used to doing throughout this game and more importantly 2– while the arial bat attack is winding up/charging, there's a quick moment of complete silence, and if you use that as a cue to precisely count to 2 and then roll laterally (the roll that uses stamina, not dodge) you can evade this attack w/ consistency. Getting this timing was the toughest part since from at least my experience, this has been the first and only time in this game where I had to learn to precisely time a mechanism for a boss battle. Though there are certainly other battles where you have to learn timing to some extent, even at Death March difficulty the game from my experience has been pretty forgiving w/ poor timing as long as you have Quen. Well this changed things since it rendered Quen useless, and even the slightest instances of inaccurate timing led to an instant death, at least for my build.
All in all though this battle was tough for me, it was rewarding to finally be done after all those tries, and I got to learn some things at the game. Again I bet others who learned the timing early on and/or had a tanky build may have had a much easier time than me, but for me this has been the hardest fight in the game so far (thus far I've beaten the vanilla game, completed hearts of stone, and got to the point where I stated earlier in Blood and Wine, all on death march) and a welcome change after what seemed to me a disappointingly easy final battle w/ Eredin. I'm not one of those ppl who have a superiority complex about difficulty settings (you should play however you feel like) but to me at least this is one of those times that really show how Death March difficulty is the setting that gives you the most complete experience of the game. This has been the first single player game in which I played on the highest difficulty setting, and learning things like precise timing of animations and preparations before going into battle have been a very rewarding, fun experience!
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© Post "Finally just got done beating Detlaff after many tries on Death March difficulty. Learned so many things about the game in the process!" for game The Witcher.
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