Going against every fibre of your being built up from years of other RPGs where only the main thread matters, Witcher 3 actually benefits you massively to embark on the Scavenger Hunts near the bottom of your quest list. There you'll find specific witcher gear from the various keeps across the region, opening up many crafting chains that all begin with the starting versions acquired first. This is how you get the awesome Bear Armour seen in plenty of the promotional photos, and although the game then tells you "Hey, hang onto this stuff for later!" it's not until you stray off the beaten path that you'll happen upon it in the first place. In addition to this, Witcher contracts and the random exclamation mark quests occasionally turn up great weapons and items - there's a particularly worthwhile sequence of events in the city located north of Novigrad, where you'll meet a renowned elven swordmaster who is formerly retired. After embarking on a fairly lengthy sequence of events, he'll eventually craft you 'Blade from the Bits', a brilliant sword if you happen upon him in the early game.