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When I get to a new town, I always check the merchants' merchandise, and often they have crafting diagrams for armor and weapons that I can't use yet because I'm too low level.

I'm wondering, should I buy them or hope that I loot better diagrams? Also, are those diagrams sold by merchants unique? I don't recall seeing one from the merchants' stock that I already had, even the low-level ones.

  • 1
    If you are diligent about looting, opening chests, and selling off unneeded gear and items then you will definitely end up with plenty of gold to spare for your adventures. After I saved about 10K, I ended up buying every single diagram and gwent card I came across and still ended up with 40K by the end of the vanilla Witcher 3. Some diagrams were great and others not so useful. My main pet peeve was that there would be endless choices of gear to craft when I would go to craft something so figuring out what was better than my currently equipped gear became a pain. – MonkeyZeus Sep 13 '16 at 18:28
  • I haven't played in quite some time so maybe the interface has been further refined to make my statement from above a moot point. – MonkeyZeus Sep 13 '16 at 18:30
  • The game seems to convert diagrams you've already read into blank parchment or whatever it's called. – Wlerin Sep 13 '16 at 19:39
  • @MonkeyZeus Agreed. The remarkable wealth of available diagrams can make the crafting menu a pain to navigate. Filters to show only Witcher gear or level appropriate gear would have been greatly appreciated. – tjd Sep 13 '16 at 20:17
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  1. As a general rule, the best craft-able gear at any given level will be the green-quality Witcher gear. Witcher armor will have the best resistance to "monster" damage in the game by quite a bit. Also be aware that, for those few times you need it (cough Extreme Cosplay cough), Cat school body armor & boots and Griffin school gloves & pants give unmatched resistance to Elemental damage. So be diligent in purchasing "maps" that lead you on quests to acquire those plans.

    One of the main exceptions to this rule is that some non-witcher armor can be found with slightly higher resistances to the slashing/piercing/bludgeoning damage you will receive when facing humanoids. The free armor provided by the master armorer after you activate her is an excellent example of this, and won't require a diagram from you. On my 1st play-through I wasted a fair amount of my carrying capacity lugging around a spare armor set just for fighting humanoids. You should find witcher gear more than up to the task.

  2. You will also be acquiring many low quality rune stones as loot. As such, I purchase on an as-needed basis the diagrams that allow me to combine these lower quality rune stones into their higher quality counterparts because these are diagrams I expect to re-use.

  3. Very late in the game you might outgrow your "master" level Witcher swords. By this time you are very likely to have already looted a level appropriate diagram or weapon. Otherwise, sure, go ahead & buy one...

You will quickly find the crafting interface crowded with useless extra & obsolete diagrams just due to your routine looting. You'll quickly wish they'd included a way to filter out "grey" level or non-Witcher diagrams. There is really no need to spend your cash to accelerate this problem.

  • Oops, I sold all my lower level runes – jgadoury Sep 13 '16 at 15:21
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    This is a great answer. It covers general rules to follow and also late game with the swords. The second point is brilliant because, along with the chest that the game gives you to store your things, this is a great way to get lots of higher tier runes. The witcher armor is always the best IMO, but the swords you can outgrow just a bit. – FoxMcCloud Sep 13 '16 at 17:26
  • @jgadoury Don't worry. You'll find more.... – tjd Sep 13 '16 at 19:39
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As far as I can tell from multiple playthroughs most recipes and diagrams turn up randomly. So you will eventually find the same things in chests - but sometimes it can take a long time (well in to a New Game+ follow on playthrough in the case of one recipe for me).

There are a few diagrams which are only found in one place but I think these are always part of a quest. A lot of the best diagrams (such as the various Witcher sets) are found this way.

So if you have the cash and a merchant has something you particularly like I would buy it, but only if you can use it soon.

  • 1
    +1 for "only if you can use it soon". – tjd Sep 13 '16 at 18:41

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