READ THIS FIRST: This guide was meant to help keep your inventory light. Turns out, it was also good for understanding how some of the more confusing mechanics work.
If you came here to get some tips on how to lighten your inventory start right below this paragraph at INVENTORY MANAGEMENT. If you?re having trouble with the way alchemy or dismantling/crafting works, or if there?s just one thing you haven?t quite got figured out, scroll down to the section CLEARING THINGS UP.
WEAPONS/ARMOR: Try not to hold onto weapons. I sold most of the ones I came across in the beginning, because you?ll rarely find something better than what you?re carrying on some peasant dude. When you start getting some nice schematics for weapons then it?ll obviously help to dismantle what you come across, especially when the enemies start getting stronger. Your equipment should still be better than what you find during question mark encounters though, if it?s not it might be a good idea to try and find some quests with crafting diagram rewards. Keep in mind though, weapons/armor call for a couple bars of metal, some leather, maybe wood and the occasional special item (or two). So if you find yourself carrying 30 rusted swords around, relax. You can sell 25 of them and dismantle the rest. I like to keep a small stock of raw weapon materials and sell everything else, unless I?m working towards something specific.
CONSUMABLES: Use them! The potions, oils, bombs etc will always stay, but food shouldn?t. Higher difficulties don?t regenerate vitality with meditation, so eating is a must and food shouldn?t be problem there. If you?re playing on a lower difficulty or have a ton of food on a higher difficulty, remember to always eat first and save the swallow. DON?T THINK OF SWALLOW AS A HEALTH POTION. Think of it as a food buff potion.
ALCHEMY: DON?T BE CARRYING AROUND A MILLION DAMN HERBS FOR NO REASON. Dump that stuff. With alchemy, you only need to gather ingredients ONCE. So try to carry only the ingredients to your incomplete potions. Also, Herbalists are a great resource early on if you?ve got some extra gold; I went to one around lvl. 4 and got a ton of potions brewed, it?s easy because you can page back and forth from recipes to their shop and buy what you need. You probably won?t find that one flower anytime soon. Just go to the Herbalist.
OTHER: As far as the books/notes go, I haven?t found any use for them once they?ve been read, but I could be missing something. Usually I read them, then unload them on my next visit to a merchant, unless it?s something I think Geralt would keep (I?m a sucker for roleplaying). They might have a purpose later on but I doubt it. Do what you want though, I could be wrong. You?ve probably picked up some random stuff by now; razors, mugs, a fishing pole or a broken rake. Lo and behold, it?s exactly what the name implies. Sell it or dismantle it if you need some wood or fiber, but don?t hang on to it. I?ve found jewelry floating around, dismantle it if you don?t already have those materials (rare gems, metals) but otherwise sell it. Sometimes it?s worth more to dismantle it and then sell the materials. I don?t know about other difficulties but I know I?m usually near broke, so the extra gold helps.
STUFF YOU AREN?T SURE ABOUT: Here?s my rule if it?s something I?m not sure about, or haven?t seen before. If it?s expensive, KEEP IT. If it?s a crafting material keep it even if you have one already. Once you get a couple hours into the game, if you find anything you haven?t seen yet, hang on to it, ESPECIALLY IF ITS EXPENSIVE. It could be garbage, but it?s better to be safe. The more you see something, the more comfortable you can be tossing it. I?m currently keeping all metals/ores/ingots I find that aren?t iron or steel, as well as some of the more uncommon potion ingredients. Who knows what the schematics/recipes you find later will require? Although it is nice when you don?t have to scroll through a hundred items to get to the Cat potion, the main concern is weight. If you aren?t sure about it and it weighs 0.02 then leave it.
CLEARING THINGS UP
ALCHEMY: Just so we?re all on the same page, Alchemy is what Geralt uses to brew potions and poisons, plus make things like bombs, components, and mutagens. It involves finding items in the world and combining them to get the desired result, similar to crafting. The game does an good job introducing this stuff, but it can get confusing early if you don?t exactly know the function of some items, so here?s how it works:
- Refillable Items ? When you gather all your ingredients together and make a refillable item the finished product will go into your inventory under consumables. If you equip it, you?ll see that (usually) it ends up being a 2/2 or 3/3, meaning you have 2 or 3 SEPARATE uses. After you use them all, you DO NOT need to collect the ingredients again, the first time you make the item is the only time you need the ingredients for it. This applies to your potions and bombs. This is true for oils as well, but you should note that oils never run out and don?t need to be replaced.
- Alcohest ? You may have seen an item called alcohest floating around, this is how all your refillable items get refilled. When you meditate, any alcohest in your inventory automatically replenishes your refillable items. Other types of hard alcohol
can?tCAN be substituted for alcohest. The game will use the other spirits automatically if you?re out of alcohest. The game uses ONE alcohest to restore all potions/bombs to full. This means that if you have 15 different potions and just one of them is at a 2/3, an alcohest will automatically be used to refill that potion when you meditate.
- Using Alcohest ? It?s important to be aware of your potion/bomb count in order to maximize the amount that gets replenished, since any potions you didn?t use are wasted when you meditate. On the flip side, if you know you need to replenish a specific potion then you can use up everything else, since you know the alcohest will replenish it all anyway. It?s a good idea to meditate only when you?re low on all your potions, not just one, and to use them all equally to get the most use out of every alcohest, but really it?s up to you. The important thing is to enjoy yourself!
CRAFTING/DISMANTLING: The Crafting/Dismantling system is very similar to Alchemy, with a few exceptions. For starters, if you want to craft anything you need to pay an NPC to do it. If you need to craft armor, go to an armorer. For weapons find a blacksmith. Easy!
- Crafting Diagrams ? In order to craft new weapons and armor you need to find crafting diagrams. Usually the blacksmith or armorer will be selling some, make sure you look through them.
- Dismantling ? In order to craft you need to have raw materials like ingots and leather. One way you can get these is by dismantling items. Dismantling breaks an item down into the items that made it up, usually at a loss, and for a fee depending on the item?s worth. For example, if crafting three iron ores makes an iron ingot, dismantling an iron ingot might only give you two iron ores. Plus it costs 1 gold. Don?t be fooled though, dismantling can really come in handy, especially with expensive items. Sometimes a rare item won?t have a value worth selling for, so instead you can dismantle it for the rare raw materials it was made with in order to reduce the cost of crafting something else.
- Crafting ? The reverse of dismantling! It?s that easy.
Well, I think that about covers it. My inventory cap is 60 and it stays around 30-35 using these rules, and I don?t feel like I?m accidentally selling important stuff. Also you can get saddlebags to hold up to 100+?but they?re pretty expensive early on, so it seems like a waste if you can handle going without. Feel free to correct any mistakes I made or add info, hopefully this helps anyone struggling with inventory or the mechanics. Enjoy the game and good luck.
TL;DR: Make your potions and get rid of those herbs. Keep an eye on your alcohest. Sell off weapons and armor, but keep a stash of basic metals. Keep anything that is expensive or that you haven?t seen before. Try not to dismantle anything you don?t have two of. Don?t forget to have fun!