10 basic tips for people who just begun to play and may be overwhelmed by the initial difficulty, even in Normal Mode.
- The 10 Commandments or Tips for Beginners
- 1 – Thou shalt follow the main quest above (almost) all others
- 2 – Thou shalt look at the hourglass and keep track of time
- 3 – Thou shalt choose perks carefully and sometimes not choose at all
- 4 – Thou shalt avoid needless combat, but when it’s time to throwdown, thou shalt kick ass
- 5 – Thou shalt consider your equipment
- 6 – Thou shalt be stealthy like a medieval Czech ninja
- 7 – Thou shalt use alchemy but try not to cheese the game too much
- 8 – Thou shalt not be a dirt poor peasant refugee for long
- 9 – Thou shalt not abuse fast travel
- 10 – Thou shalt get the DLC that comes with Mutt, the awesome doggo
The 10 Commandments or Tips for Beginners
1 – Thou shalt follow the main quest above (almost) all others
If you’re like me, you tend to wander the map in search of adventure and prefer to do side quests before tackling the main story. In the case of “KCD”, this course of action makes the game way harder. By following the main quest you’ll quickly get money, better equipment and, most of all, your first horse _ you don’t want to traverse the map without a horse (or rely only on fast travelling, but this is another commandment).
The only exception to this commandment is Theresa’s quest, the one that comes with the “A Woman’s Lot” DLC. This quest is like a 2nd tutorial map (again in Skalitz), focusing on stealth, bow and arrows (of course she won’t be a melee fighter; she can’t wear armour neither use any proper weapon besides a simple axe) and working with a dog. So do it as soon as Henry wakes up at the Rattay mill and becomes Mutt’s master (more about it on the last commandment).
2 – Thou shalt look at the hourglass and keep track of time
Some quests are time-sensitive and you’re never told which of them are like that. Like in many other aspects of the game, you have to use common sense: don’t dawdle if your mission seems urgent.
3 – Thou shalt choose perks carefully and sometimes not choose at all
By levelling up, you’ll be able to unlock several perks for each skill. Many perks have both upsides and downsides and they can cancel another one out, so pay attention and plan accordingly.
Also, slots are limited and you’ll never get all of the perks available at the same time. Actually, you shouldn’t get several of them _ I left many points unused because I thought some perks were unnecessary, cheesy or would downright spoil the game (like the one that reveals the whole map and all hidden locations).
You can also accelerate level advancement through books and trainers (I chose to never use the latter, as I do when I play any of the “The Elder Scrolls” titles on which KCD general gameplay is based, because it’s more fun to learn by doing it instead of cheesing it), so you decide how challenging you want the game to be.
If you’d like to reset your perks after being invested in the game for a while, there’s a potion called Lethean Water that you can buy (it’s the most expensive) or brew.
4 – Thou shalt avoid needless combat, but when it’s time to throwdown, thou shalt kick ass
Melee combat seems very challenging at first, but it’ll become second nature as you play. In Normal Mode the cursor becomes a five-pointed star with a dot in the middle: its points indicates the 5 directions available for slashing attacks and the dot for stabbing; you can also defend (with a shield or the melee weapon). After you train a few times with captain Bernard in Rattay you’ll learn how to clinch, parry and riposte and then combat becomes mostly a matter of Quick Time Events. You also learn combos as you level up each weapon, but they’re hard to pull off so normally you won’t be using them (there’s no real need to, but if you get good at it you’ll be a badass knight). Overall, melee combat is way better than the casual, mindless bashing of the “TES” games.
Ranged combat is awesome and actually revolutionary: the developers were incredibly bold by removing the dot in the middle of the screen when you draw a bow. So you have to aim and time your shots (pay attention to the animation and release the arrow when you’re about to fully pulling it) without any visual aid. It can be frustrating at times, but it’s also super fun when you hit a shot. Believe me, you’ll get good at it with practice: after a while I was hitting nests on tall trees with the first shot _ of course, against living beings is going to be harder, but totally doable (I was shooting small hares before I could hunt with the dog). There are several archery ranges in the map for training or competing for money.
5 – Thou shalt consider your equipment
Of course better armour and weapons will make combat way easier, but that’s not all: you should match the weapon you use according to what armour the enemy is wearing and what kind of attacks you favour. Against armoured enemies you should use a blunt weapon, so don’t rely only on swords. Remember that swords are suited for stabbing; if you prefer using slashing attacks, get an axe.
Keep your weapons and armour in good shape. You can use a grindstone at any smithy to sharpen them, apply a repairing kit (same for clothes and shoes) or pay a professional to do it for you if the damage is extreme _ but it will cost quite a lot.
It’s possible to fight with long weapons like spears and halberds, but you can’t carry them on your inventory, only on your hands _ they also can’t be levelled up, so there’re no combos for them. I barely used them and I didn’t do much combat on horseback.
6 – Thou shalt be stealthy like a medieval Czech ninja
Stealth is surprisingly good in “KCD”. And you should use it not only for burglary, but to avoid combat by killing enemies from behind or in their sleep _ no point in being honorable when you’re heavily outnumbered. To put an end to Cuman and bandit camps I always went there at night and assassinated most of them _ it’s fun and the smart way to play (you can also spike their food with poison or potions to make them drowsy or paralyzed).
The clothes you wear influence not only the noise you make, but also how easy it is for you to be seen: it helps greatly using dark clothes at night, but during daytime they’ll make you stand out.
Also, be careful of guard dogs: they’ll smell you and bark if you enter their turf _ there’s a perk that cheeses this.
7 – Thou shalt use alchemy but try not to cheese the game too much
Potions cheese the game a lot and it’s up to you to use them for that or not.
I barely relied on them; I used more food and especially alcohol for nutrition and energy. Mostly you’ll drink the Saviour Schnapps and use poisons for coating weapons and arrows or spiking cauldrons in enemy camps.
The alchemy minigame is by far the best I’ve seen. If you get sick of it you’ll eventually get a perk for automatically brewing potions that you’ve made at least once.
8 – Thou shalt not be a dirt poor peasant refugee for long
You’ll be in debt and therefore very strapped for coin at first, but you’ll get plenty of Groschen as you finish quests _ and you’ll need dozen of thousands to get the best horse (Warhorse Jenda was my choice), repair your gear and clothes and ultimately rebuild the village of Pribyslavitz if you got the From the Ashes DLC (which in turn will make you filthy rich after a while).
Other ways of making money are by gambling (through Farkle, a dice game you play on taverns _ look out for special loaded dice that will help you win), hunting, stealing, trading (don’t forget to haggle) and collecting bounties.
9 – Thou shalt not abuse fast travel
When you fast travel you risk having a surprise encounter with enemies _ of course there are perks that cheese this a bit. You’ll run into trouble by not fast travelling either, obviously, but at least you’ll have a greater chance of seeing it and avoiding it.
Besides, by proper travelling you’ll level up quicker. And you’ll also find all kind of interesting things that will generate useful map markings (especially the gardens).
Fast travel is disabled in Hardcore Mode, as it should be.
10 – Thou shalt get the DLC that comes with Mutt, the awesome doggo
If you didn’t, if pays to get the Royal Edition of the game, with all the DLC _ the price is not that higher. “From the Ashes” is good for making tons of money (after you spend a fortune, mind) and “Band of Bastards”, for getting the best gear. But the one indispensable DLC is “A Woman’s Lot”, not only because it comes with one of the best quests (“The Madonna of Sasau”), but mainly because of your new companion, Mutt.
The dog is a life saver and makes the game way more easy. He can smell enemies before you can see them and he growls to warn you. When you level your Houndmaster skill to teach him to search, he’ll take you to the nearest map marking or chest. He’ll help you in combat by giving hell to enemies and fighting their dogs _ and he’ll also chase fleeing ones if you order him to. He’s also an awesome hunter, although he gets tired after a bit, so don’t overdo it. Don’t forget to tell him what a good boy he is!