NEXUSMOD: Ghost Mode
Manual install instructions:
Install the mod by unpacking it into [Path to The Witcher 3]\Mods folder.
For in-game menu to work you need to copy [Path to The Witcher 3]\Mods\modGhostMode\bin folder into your [Path to The Witcher 3] folder.
Ghost Mode is an overhaul mod which changes almost every aspect of gameplay: from combat and damage to loot and economy.
The mod aims to create more challenging and balanced experience, while not deviating too far from vanilla system and principles, i.e. all game basics remain the same.
Vanilla game has lots and lots of gameplay issues: skills not working as intended or not working at all, descriptions being wrong, decoctions not doing what they’re supposed to do, quest levels and experience being weirdly distributed, etc. Large portion of the mod is dedicated to resolving these issues: fixing bugged skills and items, providing better descriptions, tweaking useless and overpowered skills and items to be more balanced, changing loot so dimeritium plate can no longer be found inside poor peasant’s shack, etc.
The mod supports all DLCs, but doesn’t require them to function properly.
Starting a new game is highly recommended both to avoid problems and to get used to mod changes. Starting from existing vanilla save is possible, but some of your equipment might get weird stats after installing the mod (newly found/crafted equipment will have proper stats). Starting from another overhaul mod is not recommended, especially if the mod changes skill tree and/or experience curve – this will result in broken skills and leveling.
Mod changes by category:
1. New damage formula and combat changes
How damage is calculated affects all the other combat related gameplay aspects: from weapons and armors to skills and bonuses. An issue with vanilla formula is that there’s nothing that can counter damage increase from attack power: bigger sword damage multiplied by bigger attack power results in fast snowballing into massive damage dealt to any enemy in the game. And it also results in useless skills (like strong attacks), upgrades (like armor penetration) and item stats (like armor value).
New damage formula was implemented in the mod to fix the snowballing problem: you now need to penetrate enemy armor first for your attack power bonuses to start taking effect. This works both sides, so higher difficulties enemy attack bonuses don’t render armor value useless.
To complement this change a set of other modifications was introduced:
– strong attacks deal 25% more damage and have +200 armor penetration bonus, as a result strong attacks always hit considerably harder;
– enemy types are more distinct in terms of armor and resistances, some enemies are very hard to deal with using light attacks only, because light attacks won’t be able to penetrate their armor;
– enemies have better chances do dodge strong attacks, overall AI handling of dodging was improved, making it more consistent, an ability to dodge different types of attack differs depending on enemy type;
– player armor classes were redone, so light armor has smaller resistances, medium armor has average resistances and heavy armor has bigger resistances to all types of damage;
– armor value still depends on armor level like in vanilla and it’s now more meaningful because of its considerably bigger effect on damage taken;
– medium and heavy armors have stamina penalties for certain combat actions per piece: medium – for sprinting and rolling, heavy – for sprinting, rolling and dodging;
– being over encumbered adds severe penalties to sprinting, rolling and dodging actions, depending on how big your over encumbrance is;
– defense techniques (dodging/rolling, parrying and countering) were reworked, see the in-game description of corresponding skill for details;
– armor sets were introduced for generic (non-witcher) armors: wearing all four pieces of a certain armor type gives you additional bonuses;
– if you have Blood and Wine DLC, non-grandmaser witcher sets will grant you minor bonuses of corresponding grandmaster sets; grandmaster set bonuses were completely reworked;
– overall stamina management was reworked: all combat actions now pause stamina regeneration, even if an action itself has no stamina cost; casting a sign has a small delay before stamina starts regenerating, alternative sign casting has bigger delay;
– AI stamina management was also reworked, so all AI actions now have stamina cost and you can now actually cause human opponents to run out of stamina;
– combat is more dynamic and effects that stunlock your enemies have lesser duration to prevent infinite burning stunlock with Igni;
– signs were rebalanced in terms of numbers, calculations and power to fix numerous issues with overpowered and useless skills;
– AI combat behavior was tweaked to make it more aggressive;
– level up AI bonuses were changed to make enemies progressively harder;
– game difficulties were reworked, so Blood and Broken Bones is now hard and Death Match is deadly;
– optional enemy scaling was introduced, numerous issues with levels were fixed, so using scaling won’t result in ridiculously hard enemies anymore (like rats or D’Jinn in vanilla).
2. Consistent wording and better descriptions
There is a huge issue with wording of gameplay terms in vanilla: the exact same thing can be called by three different names. Another issue is that many descriptions are rather vague and some are even incorrect.
The mod changes many of the texts in game to use consistent wording and provide more precise description and numbers. Almost every skill description was changed, as well as many descriptions for decoctions and other alchemy items.
3. Alchemy and ranged combat
Almost all alchemy recipes were redone for better consistency and more ingredients variety, a lot of bugs and inconsistencies with alchemy items were fixed.
Recipes for various types of strong alcohol were added to alchemists, so you can now brew mahakaman spirit or mandrake cordial yourself (very useful if you play with Preparations mod).
Cooking recipes were introduced into the game: you can now cook different meals using alchemy menu after you buy recipes from innkeepers and gather all the ingredients. Food types were reworked and separate “well hydrated” effect was restored, so you can drink and eat at the same time again.
Bombs are more consistent and reliable now with their effect: their damage over time effects now reduce a percentage of enemy health, as all the other similar effects do. Non-aimed bomb throws now suffer from 50% penalty to attack power. When destroying a monster nest, the game now tries to use the bomb you have selected first instead of always preferring Dancing Star bomb. Damage from player’s own bombs is no longer halved.
Crossbows and crossbow bolts were reworked for better damage and better additional effects. Non-aimed crossbow shots also suffer from 50% attack power penalty same as bombs, headshots go through armor and have additional 50% critical hit chance. Damage from player’s own bolts is no longer halved.
Meditation and refilling of alchemy items are unchanged, but the mod is fully compatible with Preparations mod and is balanced for playing with Preparations using default refill option (refilling with base ingredient). Other aspects of Preparations are also accounted for – like no eating/drinking in combat or no applying oils in combat. Using Preparations makes meditation and alchemy/skill management more immersive, so it’s highly recommended to install it along this mod.
4. Economy, looting and crafting
Prices are a big issue in vanilla game: when you’re charged with astronomical sum for some basic sword or crafting component you rarely even buy anything. On top of that there’s loot system that generates rare and expensive ingredients like dimeritium plate inside a regular crate in some poor man’s house. Ingredients having zero weight take it even further as you can loot virtually everything, so you never run out of crafting components or money.
The mod makes several adjustments to improve this system:
– merchant price modifiers were changed, so items no longer have 400% extra charge;
– loot tables were completely reworked to not have rare and expensive ingredients or magical items everywhere – they can still be found, but only at alchemy labs or inside treasure chests;
– all items have weight, so you can’t carry hundreds of swords and armor anymore;
– due to changes to alchemy recipes and crafting schematics you won’t need as many ingredients as in vanilla and due to changes to loot system you won’t get that many of them anyway, so weight limitation won’t create issues with alchemy and crafting;
– merchant inventories were also reworked: more common items, generic food and alcohol were added as well as empty bottles (to support new cooking recipes and Preparations mod);
– negotiating monster contract price can now increase your reward up to 70% (if you’re very lucky, average number will be around 30%);
– rare monster parts cost more than generic alchemy ingredients, so you can kill monsters and sell these ingredients for money.
Crafting was completely reworked and shifted much earlier into the game:
– crafted item bonuses are no longer random: no matter the quality, all crafted items have fixed set of characteristics you can view immediately while buying corresponding schematic;
– crafting schematics are more consistent now: you don’t need monster parts to craft generic human weapon or armor, but witcher sets require a lot of rare materials;
– you now have wider variety of weapons and armors to craft early game;
– Lindenvale blacksmith now has journeyman level, so you can craft different swords early on without a need to go all the way to Oxenfurt (good for those not using fast travel).
5. Items and equipment
Witcher sets are the best looking ones and have the most powerful bonuses in vanilla game (except for some relic items in HoS and BaW). This creates an issue with exploring and treasures when everything you find is far more worse than set items. There also is an issue with monster hunt trophies giving you useless and repetitive bonuses.
To address these issues all equipment and trophies (as well as many other items) were completely redone:
– generic items were given better bonuses, which are still random; higher level items get bigger bonuses, making them competitive to items you can craft or set items;
– relic items were also given better bonuses and items themselves were spread better throughout the game, so better relic swords and armors are available for higher level player;
– trophies were completely redone: all of them are now unique and provide useful bonuses which are related to abilities of a creature the trophy comes from;
– loot leveling system was improved so higher level players won’t get items with a very low level;
– special DLC items were reworked for better balance;
– durability penalties were redone, so they now have more impact on the game, especially on higher levels;
– you can now buy special master tools after completing master armorer’s and master blacksmith’s quests: this tool restores 100% durability and increases item level by one when used;
– dismantle kits were added to armorers/blacksmiths and alchemists/herbalists that allow the player to dismantle items from the inventory;
– razor can now be used for shaving.
6. Quests, experience and rewards
There are numerous issues with quest levels and experience/reward amounts in vanilla game: levels are inconsistent, player tends to quickly overlevel the content, you can get huge amount of experience just for reading a book and almost nothing for completing a long difficult quest, some rewards have fixed level and are useless at the point you get them ,etc.
All these issues are dealt with in the mod:
– quest levels were tweaked to spread them better throughout the game, some quests were shifted later into the game, because you can indeed complete them later story wise;
– experience tables were redone for more consistency, huge spikes like 4000 exp points at once were replaced with more reasonable rewards;
– main amount of experience still comes from the main quest, as it is somewhat time sensitive (at least story wise);
– another source of experience comes from monster contracts;
– side quests and minor quests give little experience: they mostly give you either another piece of the story or some reward like items or money;
– optional quests like horse races, fistfights and gwent give less experience and more items/money;
– combat experience was reworked, common monsters give little amount of exp, while bigger and unique monsters give more;
– you get progressively less experience for killing monsters of the same type;
– both quest and combat experience are adjusted by player level and quest/opponent level difference: you get progressively more (up to 150%) experience for higher level quests/opponents and progressively less (up to 0%) for lower level quests/opponents;
– you always get at least 5 exp points for completing a quest and at least 1 exp point for killing an enemy;
– difficulty modifiers were removed as they are no longer needed anyway because of experience table changes, you will no longer get massively overleveled when playing on lower difficulties or using fixed experience option;
– options for fixed quest and combat experience and for removing quest levels entirely were introduced as well as sliders for increasing/decreasing quest and combat experience;
– reward items for important quests were changed to have better bonuses and to autolevel to player level;
– additional unique diagrams of all three armor classes were added to master armorer, free reward armor was changed to match the one you help to test during the quest.
7. UI changes
QoL and fixes:
– kill count per enemy type can now be seen in new tab of bestiary menu;
– some mixed up inventory icons for boots, gloves and swords were fixed;
– extended descriptions for books, keys, quest items, etc. were restored.
Character statistic menu was also altered to show more data:
– sword damage now shows damage per hit instead of average damage per second;
– more detailed stats about attack power, critical hits, etc. are now displayed for swords;
– stamina penalty is now displayed for armors that have it and also in armor section of statistic screen;
– adrenaline gain is now displayed in stats;
– more stats are displayed for crossbows;
– more stats are displayed for each sign, signs section was divided into two to fit all the data;
– sign intensity now shows your base intensity and not average sign intensity for all signs, individual sign intensities a shown in detailed stats;
– more stats are displayed for each skill, even for base ones, so make sure you read them.
8. Mod customization options
Enemy scaling, damage and health, quest levels, experience and some other options are available from the menu:
* disabled – default mod behavior – no changes to vanilla levels;
* upscale – upscale lower level enemies to match current player level, higher level enemies are unchanged;
* match – upscale or downscale enemies to match current player level;
* soft – upscale only enemies that are more than 6 levels below player’s to be exactly 6 levels below player’s;
* random – ignore vanilla levels, use max/min allowed level setting (see below) to generate random level for enemies;
* random with no downscaling – same as above, but higher level enemies are unchanged.
– Random scaling: lower/upper bound relative to player level – limits for auto-scaling enemies in random mode.
– Do not upscale animals: switches off level scaling for dogs, wolves, bears, etc.
– Enemy damage modifier: increases or decreases enemy damage (in addition to difficulty damage increase). For example, setting -0.2 will decrease final damage dealt by enemies by 20% and setting 1.5 will increase final damage by 150%.
– Enemy health modifier: increases or decreases enemy health (in addition to difficulty health increase). For example, setting -0.2 will decrease final enemy health by 20% and setting 1.5 will increase it by 150%.
– Disable quest levels: disables quest levels (none are shown in the journal) and related exp penalties. Without auto-scaling quest monsters retain their original level, so you might want to switch auto-scaling on, if you want truly level-less quests.
– Fixed experience for quests and combat: removes default mod behavior of adjusting exp for higher/lower level quests and monsters, makes all quest and combat exp fixed.
– Quest experience modifier and Combat experience modifier: allow to increase or decrease experience gained. For example, setting -0.2 for quest exp modifier will result in 20% less experience from quests and setting 0.2 will result in 20% more experience.
– An option to sink a boat if over encumbrance is too big (off by default).
– An option to reduce item encumbrance (off by default, not recommended if you like immersion).
Recommended options for “intended by devs” playthrough: everything off, can turn sink boat on if you like and set about 20% over encumbrance for sinking.
Recommended options for “I go where I want” playthrough: auto-scaling – random, max allowed levels about +/- 5 (more than 5 will result in too weak/deadly enemies, so be careful when tuning this option); do not upscale animals – on; disable quest levels – on; everything else – off, can turn sink boat on if you like and set about 20% over encumbrance for sinking.
9. Your very own difficulty mode
In vanilla difficulty modes differ by AI bonuses to health and damage and by quest and combat experience bonuses/penalties, AI combat behavior is the same on all difficulties. In the mod both quest and combat experience were completely reworked (see above), so vanilla bonuses/penalties no longer exist. This leaves AI bonuses to health and damage, which you can configure yourself using mod options.
In the mod Normal difficulty (Story and Swords) does not have any difficulty modifiers for enemy health and damage, so you can use it as a base to create your own custom difficulty mode:
1. All enemies already have their base health, damage and resistances set up on per enemy type basis with additional tweaks for special enemies like monster hunt monsters and bosses.
2. By increasing or decreasing additional damage and health you can fine tune the combat to your liking. For example, decreasing enemy health (about -50%) while simultaneously increasing their damage (300-400%) will result in very fast paced, but also very deadly combat as even slightest mistake will make you killed. Leaving health as it is while slightly increasing damage (by 50-100%) will result in more slow paced and less brutal, but still challenging combat.
3. By increasing or decreasing quest and combat experience you can speed up or slow down your level up rate. Since experience gain rate is balanced for existing quest levels, these options are only recommended to use if you have both enemy scaling and fixed experience options turned on.
Full changelist is available in the readme.
It’s recommended to install the mod using The Witcher 3 Mod Manager – it handles installing/uninstalling the mod, its menu and hotkeys automatically. For manual install see the instructions below. Remember, though, that mod manager does not resolve mod conflicts, you still need Script Merger for this!
If you have any other mods installed, use Script Merger to find and resolve conflicts.
Compatibility with specific mods:
* Preparations – do not merge effects_ep2.xml file. Make sure the one from this mod has a priority (should be like this by default as modGhostMode is loaded before modPreparations).
* Nitpicker’s Patch – do not merge bundled xml files, but make sure Ghost Mode has higher priority (is first in conflicts list). Loading order can be easily changed by renaming modNitpicker folder to modZNitpicker.
* All NPC Scabbards – do not merge bundled xml files, but make sure Ghost Mode has higher priority (is first in conflicts list). Nitpicker’s Patch priority is irrelevant as Ghost Mode overrides both. Loading order can be easily changed by renaming modScabbards folder to modZScabbards.
* Better Icons mod – do not use xml versions of the mod as there are a lot of conflicts with Ghost Mode, but use this one instead.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: please, exit the game and re-run it after script compilation is done. It was discovered that playing the game without doing so might result in weird bugs occurring, such as invalid (-1) number of potions, probably, something else. The nature of this bug is yet unknown, but the above procedure should prevent it from happening.