Tips for Playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Death March Difficulty

Tips for Playing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Death March Difficulty

Posted by on May 22, 2015 in Commentary, featured, Guides, PS4 |

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out. It has four difficulty levels, the toughest of which is called Death March. I had my reservations about choosing that difficulty but said to hell with it and chose it anyway. The game kicked my ass until I learned to kick back. Then it went back and forth until I started getting the upper hand. We’ll see how long that lasts.

What I mean to say is that this is a work-in-progress. The game was just released. I don’t think anyone’s an expert at anything just yet. I don’t know if the things I’ll be writing here are going to be viable at the endgame. What I do know is that these have worked well for me so far. Let’s get started.

Combat Basics

  • Save and save often. The game allows manual saving so take advantage of it. Save before every fight.
  • There are two ways to avoid getting hit: rolling and dodging/sidestepping. Take the time to master the advantages and differences between the two. Don’t roll when a dodge will do. Don’t just dodge when you really need to get out of harm’s way.
  • Rolling covers more ground, allowing you to completely get out of your enemy’s attack range when you need to. Naturally, that works both ways. If it can’t hit you, you can’t hit it either. You’ll need to regain that ground back.
  • This is where dodging comes in. It allows you to avoid getting hit while keeping your target within striking distance.
  • Stamina does not regenerate when you roll. Rolling costs stamina.
  • Most foes dodge or step back when you land a hit or two. When they do, chase them with a forward dodge. It covers more ground than the forward spin light attack that Geralt does.


  • Remember that your powered-up abilities require slots in order to become active. There’s no point in powering them up if you don’t have slots available for them.
  • Sun and Stars is useful during the early levels. It’s easily replaced by Quen’s alternate cast later on.
  • Powering up signs also adds stamina regeneration.
  • With that said, Quen is your friend. It absorbs one hit from your opponent, giving you more survivability. If you cast it before entering combat, your stamina should regenerate fast enough to allow a re-cast during the fight.
  • Quen’s alternate cast provides instant healing during combat. Cast it, get hit to heal, roll immediately afterwards.
  • I maxed regular Quen (3 points) then powered up Igni to 3 (maxed Igni is 5) to get the points required to get Alt-Cast Quen.
  • Following this build will give you additional stamina regeneration via Quen-3, Igni-3 and Alt-Cast Quen-1.
  • For more stamina regeneration, craft some armor. Be on the lookout for crafting designs that boost stamina regeneration. On the PS4, press L2 to bring up the details on a design. It should indicate what boosts you’ll get.
  • It’s possible to cheese fights using Axii. Cast it to stun your target, go behind it then attack. If you can, go for a strong attack. You should be able to get instant kills in certain cases. This works even with an unpowered Axii / Axii-0.
  • Axii requires a bit of casting time so make sure there’s distance between you and your foe. Once your foe is stunned, use dodge or roll to cross that distance quickly.
  • Mounted opponents can be knocked off their rides by Aard. It’s possible to kill them instantly while they’re lying on the ground.

Final Notes

You probably noticed that I currently have no powered up abilities related to offense. Well, not yet. I focused on surviving the fights first before trying to become stronger. I also did not mention blocking or parrying. I guess what happened was I stuck with what worked for me. We’ll see if that changes the more I get into the game.