GOG.com, formerly known as Good Old Games, is giving away free copies of the acclaimed open-world RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to claim your free GOG copy and enjoy the award-winning game.
What is GOG?
For those unfamiliar, GOG (or Good Old Games) is a digital distribution platform owned by CD Projekt, the developers behind The Witcher series. GOG offers games free of DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, meaning you actually own the games instead of just licensing them.
GOG also regularly runs free game promotion giveaways. Right now they are offering free copies of The Witcher 3 for a limited time only.
Step 1: Create a GOG Account
If you don‘t already have one, you‘ll first need to create a GOG account. This only takes a minute or two:
Go to GOG.com and click "Sign Up" in the top right corner.
Enter your email address and choose a username and password.
Click the confirmation link sent to your email to verify your account.
And that‘s it – you now have a GOG account ready to claim games!
Step 2: Download GOG Galaxy
GOG has an optional gaming client called GOG Galaxy that provides features like automatic updates, cloud saves, achievements and online multiplayer.
You don‘t need Galaxy to claim and play The Witcher 3, but it‘s recommended for the easiest experience. Here‘s how to get it:
Go to GOG.com and click "Get GOG Galaxy"
Download the installer and run it.
Galaxy will now install – no complicated setup required.
Once installed, open Galaxy and log in using your GOG account details.
Step 3: Claim Your Free Game
Now for the good part – getting The Witcher 3 for free!
In GOG Galaxy, look for the Free Witcher 3 banner at the top of the Home tab.
Click the "Claim" button on the banner.
A window will pop up allowing you to add the game to your library. Click "Claim Game".
That‘s all there is to it! The Witcher 3 Complete Edition will be added to your GOG library free of charge.
Is the Free Offer Limited Time?
Initially this promotion was timed to coincide with the announcement of the upcoming Witcher 3 next-gen update. However, GOG has now confirmed the free game offer is permanent!
So there‘s no rush – take your time creating an account and you can grab The Witcher 3 on GOG for free forever. A great deal.
GOG vs Steam Version Differences
The Witcher 3 is also available on Steam – so what are the differences between the GOG and Steam versions?
DRM-Free – GOG games are completely DRM-free, meaning you actually own the game files. The Steam version uses DRM to protect against piracy.
Automatic Updates – Galaxy provides automatic game updates. With the DRM-free GOG version you need to manually download patches.
Achievements – Steam has achievements, but GOG Galaxy now also has achievements integrated.
Cross-Progression – Your save game progress carries across GOG, Steam and other platforms thanks to cloud saving.
GOG Rewards – Connecting your GOG account in-game lets you claim rewards like new quests and armor.
Overall the main advantage of the GOG version is being DRM-free. But thanks to Galaxy and cross-progression, there‘s not much disadvantage compared to the Steam release.
Claiming GOG Rewards on Other Platforms
As mentioned above, connecting your GOG account in The Witcher 3 allows you to claim special rewards not available anywhere else:
- New quest – Contract: Missing Miners
- Alternate Yennefer outfit
- Alternate Triss outfit
- New Wolf School Gear
- New Skellige‘s Most Wanted contract
- New hairstyle for Geralt
- Expansion pass for Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine
To get these bonuses on platforms like Steam:
Link your Steam copy to a GOG account.
Load up the game and click "Connect to GOG" in the options.
Enter your GOG username and password to connect your accounts.
The new quests and items will now unlock in-game for you to enjoy! Cross-progression means any GOG rewards carry across to Steam and other platforms too.
Downloading GOG Goodies and Extras
Along with the base game, there are lots of free bonus content and extras available exclusively on GOG:
- Making of videos
- HD wallpapers
- Ost cards
To download this extra content:
- Go to GOG.com and log into your account.
- Click on The Witcher 3 game page.
- Scroll down to "Extras" and click the download links.
Hundreds of free goodies for any Witcher fan – only on GOG!
Optimal Graphics Settings for Performance
The Witcher 3 is quite demanding and getting smooth performance requires some graphics tweaking. Here are the most important settings to adjust:
- Resolution – Lower resolution to 900p or 1080p if needed.
- Display Mode – Fullscreen for higher FPS.
- Graphics Preset – Start with Medium or Low preset.
- Depth of Field – Turn off for sharper image.
- Motion Blur – Disable for reduced blur.
- Foliage Visibility – Lower for better framerate.
- Anti-Aliasing – Turn off AA or lower quality.
Tweak these settings to hit a steady 60 FPS on your system. Resolution and overall preset have the biggest impact on performance.
Essential Mods to Improve the Experience
One advantage of the DRM-free GOG version is you can easily install mods. Here are some essential mods to enhance The Witcher 3:
- HD Reworked Project – Improved high resolution textures.
- Immersive Cam – More cinematic camera angles.
- Auto Loot – Automatically picks up items.
- Jump in Shallow Water – Allows jumping in water.
- Increased Creature Loot – More loot from monsters.
- Friendly HUD – Minimalistic interface.
- Fast Travel From Anywhere – Adds more fast travel points.
Mods like these provide gameplay improvements and visual enhancements that take The Witcher 3 to the next level.
Beginner Tips and Strategies
For those just starting their adventure in The Witcher 3, here are some helpful tips:
- Take the griffin contract first to get good starter gear.
- Loot everything early on for cash to buy supplies.
- Only craft witcher gear, don‘t waste materials on low level gear.
- Use Quen shield sign constantly for protection in combat.
- Pick either light or heavy armor skill path, not both.
- Use oils and potions before the big monster fights.
- Complete side quests and contracts before progressing the story.
- Sell weapons and armor to blacksmiths and armorers for more money.
Following these tips will help beginners get off to a strong start in the massive world of The Witcher 3!
Other Great Free Games on GOG
Along with The Witcher 3, GOG offers a rotating selection of other free games. Some current free titles worth grabbing:
- Shadow Warrior Classic – Classic 90s FPS.
- Theme Hospital – Classic business sim.
- Ascendant – Retro-style platformer.
- Ultima 4 – Influential 80s RPG.
- Jill of the Jungle Trilogy – Retro action platformer.
The free games refresh fairly often, so be sure to check back and claim anything that looks interesting to you. More free games are always welcome!
Upcoming Next-Gen Update
As a final bonus, GOG owners of The Witcher 3 will also receive the upcoming next-gen update for free when it releases in Q4 2022.
This major update will add ray tracing, faster loading, visual enhancements, mod support, and other improvements when playing on PS5, Xbox Series X/S or a modern gaming PC.
Existing GOG players won‘t need to pay anything extra to experience The Witcher 3 with these next-gen upgrades. Just update the game when the patch goes live later this year.
Claiming and playing the excellent The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for zero cost on GOG is a great deal all gamers should take advantage of.
Just follow the steps outlined above:
- Make a GOG account.
- Download GOG Galaxy.
- Claim your free copy of The Witcher 3.
- Enjoy one of the best RPGs of all time!
With GOG Connect, you can even add the game to your Steam library too. And thanks to cross-progression, your saves and unlocks carry across all platforms.
From the sprawling open world and memorable characters to the fantastic storytelling and savage combat, The Witcher 3 offers countless hours of magical adventure. Now everyone can experience this modern classic completely free on GOG.
So don‘t miss out – grab The Witcher 3 while you can and embark on your epic journey across the war-ravaged lands of Velen, Novigrad and Skellige. You‘ll be glad you did.