Geralt has a lot of tricks and weapons to choose from in Witcher 3, but perhaps the most overlooked is the crossbow. We'll show you how to equip it, the best enemies to use it against, and how to make a build based around it.
How to Get and Equip Crossbows in Witcher 3
Geralt doesn't start off with the crossbow when you start the game, but it won't be long before you get one. Follow the main quests for a little while and sooner or later Vesemir will give Geralt a (rather bad) crossbow when the two of you go hunting a monster together.
Now that you have it, you can equip it by going into your weapons inventory and dragging it into the crossbow slot. Don't worry that it's not very powerful, there are others to find throughout the game that are a lot better, as well as specialized ammunition to load into them. Once you have other crossbows, you can move them into that slot the same as the first one.
How to Use Your Crossbow
Once equipped in your inventory, crossbows can be selected from the Quick Access Menu (either Tab on a PC, or LB/L1 on a controller). Select the crossbow, and it should fire whenever you press the middle mouse button/RB/R1, targeting whatever Geralt is locked on to. You can even select specialized ammunition from the Quick Access Menu if you have any.
Alternatively, hold down the button to have Geralt zoom in, giving you free control of where you aim. Don't worry about ammunition either way; if you're using the standard bolts you'll never run out of ammo (though Geralt has to reload after every shot).
What Enemies to Use the Crossbow On
Even if you're not creating a build specifically for the crossbow, it can still be very useful against certain kinds of enemies and in certain situations, namely these enemies and situations:
- Flying enemies. The crossbow is introduced specifically as a counter against fighting a griffin, and one of the big advantages of it is made clear - it can hit enemies your sword can't reach, and often brings them out of the air in the process. It might do less damage, but by bringing down airborne enemies with a ranged attack, you can follow it up with some high-damage melee strikes.
- Underwater enemies. Geralt can't use any weapon or spell underwater except for the crossbow, making it your only recourse against drowners or harpies that come after you.
- Enemies who attack your boat. When you're in a boat, Geralt can either stand up and walk around normally, or sit in place to steer. The latter gives you full control, but while operating the rudder your crossbow is your only attack. If you need to keep moving, stay seated at the back, firing at anything that looks at you funny.
What Skills and Abilities to Get for a Crossbow Build
The viability of a crossbow build is pretty debatable among fans, especially early in the game where you can't get much out of it. However, it has proven to be effective in some cases, especially when paired with powerful ammo, so here's a list of skills you can get to make yourself into a real sharpshooter over time if that's your vision for Geralt.
- Lightning Reflexes. Time slows more while aiming the crossbow.
- Anatomical Knowledge. Increases crossbow critical hit chance.
- Crippling Shot. Critical hits dealt with the crossbow disable monster special abilities.
- Steady Shot. Crossbow bolts deal 25% more damage.
- Trick Shot. You can shoot one additional bolt before you must reload.
While you're getting to grips with weaponry, why not check out our guide here to repairing your gear? Or you could go here to see how to boost your experience and level quickly, so you can make that crossbow build faster than ever.