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From what I can tell on some other posts on the topic, I should be higher level. (8+?)

I did everything possible in White Orchard. All side quests, everything on the one notice board (there was only one), discovered all locations, everything.

Yet I came out just barely above level 4, which is making Velen very difficult.

I am playing on Blood and Broken Bones if that matters.

I do have a handful of mods, but none of them should have any real gameplay effects, they're all mostly QoL and so-on. Here's the list:

  • Community Patch - Base (installed manually, the rest that follow were installed via Witcher III Mod Manager)
  • Community Patch - The Besserwisser and Nitpickers
  • Fast Stash Menu
  • Fix Red Wolf Armor
  • Friendly Meditation
  • Horse Camera Tweaks
  • Immersive Sound
  • Item Selection Grid Fix
  • Map Quest Objectives
  • Community Patch - Menu Strings
  • No Indignant NPCs
  • Community Patch - Shared Imports
  • Sort Everything
  • Thoughtful Roach
  • Unread Descriptions
  • Window Glass Distortion Fix

Nothing in here is an overhaul or really much of anything gameplay related. Just patches and minor tweaks. They were merged properly.

Apparently there is an effect where you get less XP for a quest if you complete it above the requirement, but that only kicks in 5-6 levels above the requirement. So there's no way that could have had an effect. Side note, there's a mod to fix that here that works with the latest version.

  • 1
    Did you find all six Places of Power in White Orchard to get the extra ability points? – greg-449 Feb 12 at 8:32
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    "I do have a handful of mods" lists over a dozen ... Ok then... – user91988 Feb 12 at 17:45
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    @user91988 I guess it's relative. I've played games with 50-250 mods as a norm before, so by comparison this is quite small! As well, these mods each do very little. No overhauls, no massive gameplay tweaks, nothing graphical, etc. All small patches and fixes. – Tyler Shellberg Feb 12 at 19:38
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    @TylerShellberg It's just funny to me as someone who typically plays on consoles and never even thinks about mods. – user91988 Feb 12 at 20:31
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    @user91988: so? He has big hands. :-) – Bob Jarvis - Reinstate Monica Feb 13 at 18:35
26

Apparently there is a slightly reduced level of XP gain (90%) for Blood and Broken Bones.

Although at just into level 4, you would stay there even at 100% gain.

I don't think level 4 is that low for leaving White Orchard

I suspect the level 8 comment on reddit is just an anomaly. Certainly others in that thread and other threads suggest 4/5 is normal.

There's definitely a jump in difficulty from White Orchard to Velen (which also has a much bigger spread of enemy levels) which is probably much more noticeable on a harder difficulty setting.

My last play-through I was on Normal difficulty and I think I left around level 5, but then I did go back to the wolf area in the south 5 or 6 times to kill a load of wolves (along with a few drowners and nekkers that weren't necessary to kill) for the money. I remember I was certainly quite delicate trudging around Velen (at first), and there were certainly a lot of areas I had to avoid altogether until I got some easy quest XP under my belt.

The level 11 requirement for the Griffin gear seemed so far away!

Addendum: I've just played through this on Death March diffficulty, and after doing all quests in White Orchard, I left the area having only just levelled up to level 3

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    I concur: my experience on various difficulties has always been between level 4 and 5, depending on the amount of sidequests you finish before leaving. – Ivo Coumans Feb 12 at 12:14
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    I also left White Orchard at level 4—but I gotta say, the spawn point in Velen, surrounded by level 6 dogs, certainly makes that seem wrong. – KRyan Feb 12 at 14:30
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    Also there were nearby quests and monsters level 7-9, which made it feel worse. Plus my gear was pretty crap, mostly level 2-ish stuff. – Tyler Shellberg Feb 13 at 18:54
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There is nothing unusual about this. I just checked my saved game: I was level 4 (Exp 170/1000) when about to enter the elven ruin in velen with Keira Metz. I have no mods or unofficial patches installed and my game is on version 1.31, and I had played on Death march.

The place you start in velen is not good as you are surrounded by high level points of interest. Ignore them (run away) and focus on the quests, they are easier and should help to level up.

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