The Witcher 3: How To Upgrade Armor, And Which Is The Best

Upgrading Geralt’s armor and weaponry isn’t as simple as refining the original piece with more crafting materials for an all-round stat boost. In fact, there are multiple ways to make gear more effective in The Witcher 3.

This guide will cover the how-tos of enhancing socketed equipment, along with the ins and outs of Witcher Gear and what sets are best suited for various playstyles.

Upgrading Gear

There are two forms of upgrading gear in The Witcher 3.

Socketing Runestones and Glyphs

Some weapons and pieces of armor will have sockets on them — indicated by at least one empty circle — in which runestones and glyphs may be fitted. Runestones and glyphs may only be socketed in gear that is currently equipped. By selecting a runestone or glyph, some text will appear prompting the player to socket the item. They may then choose a compatible piece of equipped gear in which to fasten the runestone or glyph.

The other form of upgrading is by tiering up the basic quality Witcher Gear, obtainable through quests known as “Scavenger Hunts.” Scavenger Hunts can be found by chance during Geralt’s travels, or more reliably by buying them from Merchants. These quests serve as maps leading to a set of diagrams, which Geralt can bring to a smithy to craft the corresponding equipment. The collections of Witcher Gear correlate to various witcher schools. Each set has an individual string of scavenger hunts to complete in order to upgrade the gear fully.

There are five levels of Witcher Gear: Basic, Enhanced, Superior, Mastercrafted, and Grandmaster. The base sets must be upgraded, in order, through the tiers to reach the final Grandmaster tier. If the process didn’t seem long enough, the Mastercrafted tier is only unlocked after completing individual quests for the qualified Armorer and Blacksmith.

The Grandmaster tier is a bonus in itself, granting an additional perk when 3 Grandmaster items of the same set are equipped simultaneously and a second perk when Geralt is wearing the complete set.

NOTE: The Grandmaster tier is only available with the Blood & Wine expansions. Additionally, the corresponding Scavenger Hunts are only bestowed by the Mastercrafter smithy in Toussiant.

Tier Level Requirements

Basic – Level 11

Enhanced – Level 18

Superior – Level 26

Mastercrafted – Level 34

Grandmaster – Level 40

The “Best” Armor Sets

While Witcher Gear isn’t the end all be all, the various witcher sets are many players go-to equipment. All Witcher Gear is pretty even in terms of base armor and damage, so it’s the buffs and debuffs players should pay attention too. Different gear is going to be better for various skill builds.

Griffin (Sign Build)

The Griffin School gear is attainable earlier on, proving to be the best option for Geralt in the early-game. Additionally, the Griffin Gear is best suited for Sign builds given the gears’ Sign intensity buff and additional Grandmaster perks.

Grandmaster perks

Ursine (Tanky Sign Build)

The Ursine Gear correlates with the Witcher School of the Bear. As such, it is quite a tanky set capable of keeping Geralt well protected. Players should keep in mind heavy armor slows stamina regeneration. But the equipment’s Grandmaster perks account for that shortcoming by focusing on aggressive defense and incorporating a stamina buff.

Grandmaster Perks

  1. Shattered Quen signs may automatically cast another without using stamina.
  2. Damage dealt by the Quen sign is increased by 200%.

Feline (Tactical Swordmaster Build)

The Feline Gear is built on prowess and is excellent for players who rely primarily on their swords and tactical maneuvers. However, this set is very unforgiving of any missteps.

Grandmaster Perks

  1. Successful Strong attacks boost the damage of Fast attacks that land within the following five seconds.
  2. Sword attacks from behind have an additional chance of stunning the opponent.

Manticore Grandmaster (Alchemy/Bomb Build)

The Manticore set is excellent for a bomb build, which can be immensely helpful later in the game. Additionally, this set offers an increased toxicity threshold. Unlike the other Witcher School Gear sets, it’s only available at the Grandmaster tier.

Grandmaster Perks

  1. Critical hit chance and critical damage apply to bombs as well.
  2.  The max stockpile of each alchemy item is increased by one.

Witcher Gear is undoubtedly beneficial when looking to specialize. But bear in mind that the additional perks do not take effect until three or more equipped pieces of the set have reached Grandmaster tier.

Lower tiered Witcher Gear is not the end all be all, and Geralt may be better off in something else if the player doesn’t lean heavily towards one set of skills. The Tesham Mutna Armor set, for example, doesn’t boast incredible base armor or damage. Still, it offers a restorative vitality perk — an advantage Geralt can utilize, no matter his battle strategy.

The best gear in The Witcher 3 is going to depend on the player’s personal preference for skill builds. If a player’s not keen on any single specialization, Runes and Glyphs are a great way to customize gear upgrades while utilizing gear that may have more base armor or damage value than Witcher Gear. To that end, unsure players should take some time to test out various battle tactics and see which style suits them best, before investing time in any lengthy upgrades.

Sources: Reddit, Game Faqs, YouTube (GamerGrade)

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