The Witcher 3 Character Builds Guide – Archetypes, Ability Trees, Character Progression

By   /   May 19, 2015

Geralt is a versatile fellow, and he has to be since he’s a monster hunter. Because of his versatility and the sheer depth of The Witcher games, there’s a complex and deep underlying character development system for every one of them.

Actually, it’s not that complex, and most RPG veterans will be able to get their head around The Witcher 3’s game mechanics quite easily. However, the application of the skillsets in this game are vastly different.

For more help on The Witcher 3, read our Gwent Cards Locations, Romance Guide, Alchemy Guide and Crafting Guide.

The Witcher 3 Character Builds

A large part of the abilities in The Witcher 3 are ones that will facilitate your play-style instead of directly influencing it, which leaves a lot of options for players as far as builds are concerned.

Our will cover 6 different archetypal builds that you can take use of. These builds are merely suggestive, and should give you a good idea of how you should develop your character.

Before going into that though, there are a few good important things to learn about the leveling system and the Ability Points system in the game.

Basic Leveling

As with many RPG games, leveling is done by earning experience or XP.

XP is acquired by performing certain tasks, of which the most common is slaying foes, be it mobs of people or specific kinds of monsters. Each type of foe generally gives a different amount of XP, depending on how tough they are.

In addition to their toughness, the foes’ level also makes a huge difference as far as XP returns are concerned. Slaying enemies and monsters that are above your current level gives you a larger amount of XP, while slaying enemies that are well below your level will give you minimum experience.

The overall most rewarding method of earning XP is by completing quests. Completing quests not only has the potential to get you some good items, but also comes with a bonus amount of XP gain upon completion, all in addition to the many enemies you’ll slay while doing the quest.

Ability Points
As you gain a certain amount of XP, your character will level up. Leveling up will restore your Vitality and Stamina instantly, even if you are in battle, and will grant you with a single Ability Point.

Ability Points are points that can be spent on the four ability trees in the game’s development system to acquire new abilities, which greatly diversify your character’s skillset during combat.

A large part of the abilities are offensive, but there are plenty of passive and defensive abilities, along with utility abilities sets like Alchemy. You can earn around 69 points just from leveling itself, but that is not the only way to earn Ability Points.

There are various locations called Places of Power hidden in various places in the gaming world that can grant you additional Ability Points apart from the ones you’ll acquire through leveling. There are a total of 16 Place of Power in the game, spread out all across the world.

Ability Trees

There are four ability trees in The Witcher 3, each with 5 different sub-trees that have various abilities under them. A large majority of these abilities are offensive, but there are quite a few that are passive and some that are utility based.

Whenever you unlock an active offensive/defensive ability, you will need to assign it to an Action Slot. At the start, you only have one Action Slot available, but as you progress, more will open up and you can assign your abilities to them.

It is important to note that many abilities have different levels to them. Majority of the abilities can be upgraded by investing multiple points into them – some cap at level 5, while other more powerful ones even cap at 2 or 3.

The major exception to this leveling rule are the abilities under the General tree, which can only be leveled once. Abilities in each tree are categorized in tiers – the only exception to this rule is the General tree.

In order to unlock the next tier, you have to invest a specific amount of points into that specific tree. 8 points unlocks the second tier, 20 points unlocks the third, while 36 points will unlock the final tier.

Combat is one of the major ability tree, and focuses on abilities that will greatly aid in combat. These include new sets of moves/attacks, and also defensive & offensive buffs. Each point spent in the Combat tree will grant you +1% Adrenaline Point on an activated ability.

Combat has the following sub-trees:

  • Fast Attack
  • Strong Attack
  • Defense
  • Marksmanship
  • Battle Trance

Signs are basically magical abilities, and this tree obviously deals with them. There are quite a few useful offensive signs, and a truly versatile Geralt is one who can take use of both melee and magical abilities in the battlefield.

There are five signs to take use of, and each sub-branch dedicates itself into upgrading/enhancing each sign. Each point spent in the Signs tree increases Stamina recovery by 1% on a given Activated Ability.

Signs has the following sub-trees:

  • Aard Sign
  • Igni Sign
  • Yrden Sign
  • Quen Sign
  • Axii Sign

Alchemy is a fan ability tree in which the player can learn various utility tricks such as creating potions that enhance Geralt’s stats, imbue weapon with various effects, or give buffs to regeneration/combat in various ways.

The versatility of this tree makes it extremely important in giving yourself an edge over different kinds of enemies and monsters in the game.

Alchemy has the following sub-trees:

  • Brewing
  • Oil Preparation
  • Bomb Creation
  • Mutation
  • Trial of the Grasses

The general ability tree does not have sub-trees, nor does it focus on a specific aspect of Geralt’s skills. Instead, as the name suggests, it is more generalized, and the skills within this tree are more passive-based than active.

The Witcher 3 Character Builds – Combat Adrenaline


  • Muscle Memory à Precise Blows
  • Strength Training àCrushing Blows
  • Resolve à Razor Focus


  • Far-Reach Aard à Aard Sweep
  • Melt Armor
  • Sustained Glyphs
  • Suggestion


  • Heightened Tolerance
  • Acquired Tolerance
  • Frenzy


  • Bear School Techniques
  • Rage Management
  • Adrenaline Burst
  • Focus

Armor Type

  • Heavy Armor

Weapons Type

  • Melee Sword

Mutagen Type

  • Red Mutagens

Understanding The Witcher 3 Combat Adrenaline Build
This is an offensive build that focuses on generating Adrenaline in order to maintain a sustained assault on foes. The build not only focuses on offense exclusively, but also allows you to tank multiple enemies with high vitality and usage of heavy armor.

Bear School Techniques and Rage Management will be the prime factors in determining the effectiveness of your build. The core of the build though lies obviously in the Combat.

You want to have full upgrades on Muscle Memory, Resolve, and Precise Blows, while investing as many points as possible in Strength Training, Crushing Blows, and Razor Focus. These abilities will allow you to generate plenty of Adrenaline to maintain sustained attack.

With this build, it’s quite obvious to be using Red Mutagens to get the maximum attacking power. However, have at least one Mutagen for the Signs, because with the Stamina penalty due to heavy armor, you want to be using Far Reaching Aard and Suggestion quite regularly.

The remaining points can be spent in any of the other abilities that you feel would work well with this setup.

The Witcher 3 Character Builds – Heavy Blows


  • Muscle Memory à Precise Blows
  • Strength Training àCrushing Blows
  • Rend


  • Melt Armor
  • Sustained Glyphs
  • Exploding Shield


  • Heightened Tolerance
  • Poisoned Blades
  • Protective Coating


  • Cat School Techniques
  • Survival Instinct

Armor Type

  • Light Armor

Weapons Type

  • Melee Sword

Mutagen Type

  • Red Mutagens

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