Adaptive vsync always results in tearing for me and pre-rendered frames (even just 1) made the controls feel a bit laggy to me. Definitely worth a try though. I'm just using 1/2 refresh rate now.
White Orchard is mostly just an introductory map. The game is split into several maps (and some really small areas that you pass through very late in the story) but most of the game takes place in Velen/Novigrad (which share a map) and Skellige. Both maps are huge and gradually become stuffed with side quests and points of interest.