Map is absolutely ridiculously massive and amazingly well done for an open world game.
Depends the aspect ratio but otherwise pretty good as the engine is really, really fucking optimised at culling and scaling content, since it wont render AI and other details in full until the avatar is near. So I can enable free cam and fly and fly all the way to the other side of the map without a stutter or load.
What's the framerate like when you get up this high?
I manipulated the colours in the OP images to make them stand out a bit more, but otherwise the fog isn't there because the draw distance fog is more stylistic than technical. From that angle it probably doesn't need to render it or as heavily. Keep in mind all the assets are downscaled massively.
How come there is no draw distance fog on these screenshots? Do you use the Super Turbo Lighting mod? It removes the fog, but I'm not a fan of the missing light shafts and clouds so I uninstalled it. Have you found another way of removing it perhaps, or does the fog simply turn off if you fly high enough? I'd really love to have the default lighting or the Cinematic one without the fog.
I think unconsciously it's a huge part of why people found the world so enjoyable. When I was playing (no minimap), I was navigating just as I would in real countryside: following streams and looking for changes in foliage density. It felt perfect.
On a related note, they're also one of the only developers who seem to remember that a forest contains as much dying matter as it does growing. Too many game artists forget to ever create assets for dead trees and withered plants and end up with a weird, sterile garden.
People from Skellige are so different from the ones on Novigrad and Oxenfurt, and these are very different from Velen
How they speak, what they speak about, how they dress... etc
I didn't play 1 or 2 but I did read the entire series of books that were written in the 90s before playing this. Really good. It helped me appreciate the game more in some ways, in other ways it irritated and disappointed me as I had now become a fan and therefore wasn't keen on every aspect of their adaptation. The games are literally fanfiction, they are continuations of the plot in the novels but without author involvement. The stories and writing, while great for a game, just aren't very good compared to the books. I think they got some of the characters wrong, but none more than Geralt. He's much cooler and more interesting in the books. In TW3 he's a real wet rag, I hate how flat the actor's delivery is.
Still, amazing game and really raises the bar for RPGs IMO. I played Dragon Age Inquisition righ before this and Fallout 4 right after. DA:I was an embarrassment and FO4 was a bit of a let down. Both failed badly at what TW3 does so well.