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by sokkus

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FAQ/Walkthrough by sokkus

Version: 0.89 | Updated: 08/12/16

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Gameplay Basics
    1. Combat Techniques
    2. Magical Signs
    3. Alchemy, Potions, Oils and Bombs
    4. Advanced Combat Tips
    5. Managing Bars: Health, Stamina, Adrenaline and Toxicity
    6. Witcher Sense
    7. Exploration
    8. Gathering Experience and Levelling Up
    9. Mutagens
  3. What's new in Blood and Wine?
    1. Owning Property - Bianco Corvo
    2. New Enemy Types
    3. Mutations
    4. Grandmaster Witcher Gear
    5. Gwent Changes
  4. Campaign Walkthrough
    1. Envoys, Wineboys
    2. The Beast of Toussaint
    3. Blood Run
    4. Turn and Face the Strange (Optional)
    5. La Cage au Fou
    6. Where Children Toil, Toys Waste Away
    7. Wine is Sacred
    8. The Man from Cintra
    9. Side-Questing (Optional)
    10. Capture the Castle
    11. The Night of Long Fangs
    12. Blood Simple
    13. Beyond Hill and Dale…
    14. What Lies Unseen
    15. Tesham Mutna
    16. Pomp and Strange Circumstance
    17. Burlap is the New Stripe
    18. Be It Ever So Humble
  5. Toussaint Secondary Quests
    1. A Portrait of the Witcher as an Old Man
    2. A Knight's Tales
    3. Big Feet to Fill
    4. Big Feet to Fill: The First Group
    5. Big Feet to Fill: The Second Group
    6. Big Feet to Fill: The Third Group
    7. Big Feet to Fill: The Fourth Group
    8. Big Feet to Fill: The Fifth Group
    9. Duck, Duck, Goosed!
    10. Extreme Cosplay
    11. Father Knows Worst
    12. Fists of Fury: Toussaint
    13. Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Granite!
    14. Gwent: Never Fear, Skellige's Here!
    15. Gwent: To Everything – Turn, Turn, Tournament!
    16. Knight for Hire
    17. Master Master Master Master!
    18. Mutual of Beauclair's Wild Kingdom
    19. No Place Like Home
    20. Of Sheers and a Witcher I Sing
    21. Paperchase
    22. Raging Wolf
    23. The Hunger Game
    24. The Perks of Being a Jailbird
    25. The Warble of a Smitten Knight
    26. The Words of the Prophets Are Written on Sarcophagi
    27. There Can Only Be One
    28. Till Death Do You Part
    29. Turn and Face the Strange
    30. Vintner's Contract: Chuchote Cave
    31. Vintner's Contract: Cleaning Those Hard-to-Reach Places
    32. Vintner's Contract: Dun Tynne Hillside
    33. Vintner's Contract: Griffin-in-the-Vines
    34. Vintner's Contract: Rivecalme Storehouse
    35. Wine Wars: Belgaard
    36. Wine Wars: Coronata
    37. Wine Wars: Vermentino
    38. Wine Wars: The Deus in the Machina
    39. Wine Wars: Consorting
    40. Wine Wars: Belgaard – Part 2
    41. Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Feline Gear
    42. Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Griffin Gear
    43. Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Manticore Gear
    44. Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Ursine Gear
    45. Scavenger Hunt: Grandmaster Wolven Gear
    46. Hidden Treasure: Applied Escapology
    47. Hidden Treasure: Around the World in… Eight Days
    48. Hidden Treasure: But Other than that, how did you Enjoy the Play?
    49. Hidden Treasure: Coin Doesn't Stink
    50. Hidden Treasure: Don't Take Candy from a Stranger
    51. Hidden Treasure: Filibert Always Pays his Debts
    52. Hidden Treasure: Spoontaneous Profits!
    53. Hidden Treasure: The Black Widow
    54. Hidden Treasure: The Curse of Carnarvon
    55. Hidden Treasure: The Inconstant Gardener
    56. Hidden Treasure: The Last Exploits of Selina's Gang
    57. Hidden Treasure: The Suffering of Young Francois
    58. Hidden Treasure: The Toussaint Prison Experiment
    59. Hidden Treasure: Waiting for Goe and Doh
    60. Hidden Treasure: What Was This About Again?
  6. Toussaint Witcher Contracts
    1. Contract: Big Game Hunter
    2. Contract: Bovine Blues
    3. Contract: Equine Phantoms
    4. Contract: Feet as Cold as Ice
    5. Contract: The Tufo Monster
  7. Blood and Wine Gwent Guide
    1. How to Play
    2. Card Types and Special Abilities
    3. Constructing a Deck
    4. Northern Realms
    5. Monsters
    6. Nilfgaardian Empire
    7. Scoia'tael
    8. Skellige
    9. General Hints and Tips
    10. Gwent Cards and their Locations
  8. Achievement/Trophy Guide
  9. Miscellaneous
    1. Contact Me
    2. About Me
    3. Special Thanks
    4. Version History
    5. Legal

If you enjoyed using this guide, or it has helped you along and you are on GameFAQs, Please hit the recommend button at the top of the page and leave a short comment (optional). This is the quickest and easiest way to thank me for the guide!

Introduction

Note: This is a guide for the expansion pack Blood and Wine only! If you are looking for a guide for the main game, you can find my complete guide here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/xboxone/702759-the-witcher-3-wild-hunt/faqs/71896.

Why hello there! Welcome to my guide to CD Projekt Red's latest expansion pack for their open world RPG title The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Blood and Wine is the second of the two planned expansions to the Witcher III and it continues the traditions of the main game in featuring a proper open world and once again focuses on leading man Geralt as he explores the southern Duchy of Toussaint. Whilst its gameplay is quite reminiscent of the previous games in the Witcher series, Wild Hunt puts some new and interesting spins on the formula to create something unique and entertaining.

This guide will provide you with a walkthrough from beginning to end helping with strategies to get you through all the tricky combat areas, detail each enemy type and how best to confront them, help you to find and complete each of the Witcher Contracts, side-quests and optional objectives, master Gwent, unlock all of those achievements/trophies and collect all of the games Gwent cards to boot.

Note: This is guide a work in progress. My current aim is to complete each mission, whilst attempting to highlight all available options and outcomes and am currently on my third playthrough trying to pick up differences once again.

As this is such an enormous game, it will take quite a while to write for! As such, I'll be working on filling out the Witcher Contracts, side-missions, places of interest, enemies guide and a bunch of other good stuff once I have finished the story.

At this stage, the guide currently contains:

  • A completed story walkthrough from beginning to end!
  • Started a Secondary quest guide.

If you see any errors, have a question, a tip or an alternate strategy for a section of the guide please head to the contact section and flick me an email to let me know!

If you like what you see here, be sure to check out more of my guides, reviews and podcasts at www.consoledomination.com and consider donating to my Paypal if you are feeling a little generous!

Donation Info

Although I make these guides for free in my spare time, I probably don't need to point out that purchasing games is an expensive hobby and writing guides can be a very long, incredibly difficult and thankless task at the best of times, but one that is very challenging and rewarding.

A simple donation is a great, easy way to say thanks if you feel that my guide has saved you some time, money and frustration in some small way. By no means feel obligated to donate just for viewing my guide, but if you are feeling a little generous I certainly won't object!

Paypal ID : sokkus [at] hotmail [dot] com

Gameplay Basics

Combat Techniques

Melee Combat

Melee attacks are where Geralt will be spending most of his time in combat and is your largest single source of damage. Subsequently players will be focusing more on melee than any other form of combat.

Geralt comes equipped with a pair of swords with which he can dish out DPS – a Silver Sword for fighting monsters and a Steel Sword for fighting humanoid opponents. Players can switch between swords at any point, but Geralt usually pulls out the relevant sword as he enters combat, so in most circumstances won't need to worry about it.

Geralt starts off with a standard light and heavy attack but can unlock additional, more powerful melee abilities if you spend skill points in the combat tree. The attacks include:

Fast/Heavy Attacks – Geralt can perform a light attack or a heavy attack. Light attacks are slightly faster, but do reduced damage. Heavy attacks on the other hand take longer but will dish out significantly more damage. As Geralt's wind-up animation for the fast/heavy attacks leaves him open to counterattacks in the interim it is recommended to only use heavy attacks on stunned enemies or those unaware of your presence.

These can be further enhanced for bonus critical strike %, bleeding effects and damage by sticking points into the respective Fast Attack and Heavy Attack tabs in the Combat skill Tree.

Additional melee-based abilities are unlocked once you start investing some points in the melee portion of the Combat Skill Tree. These abilities include:

  • Whirl – This is a spinning attack that will do area of effect damage to any enemy within the immediate vicinity.
  • Rend – This is a nasty overhead slash that will ignore armour and shields and do an enormous amount of damage.

Ranged Combat

Near the start of the game, Geralt is also gifted with a crossbow which can be used to perform ranged attacks against enemies. Whilst pulling out the crossbow to aim, time will slow a little giving you a slightly larger window in which to aim and fire.

Whilst crossbows remain your source of ranged damage during standard combat, their attack effects can be altered somewhat by the ammo that you choose to use with them. Different bolts can be crafted by armourers and will have different effects and damage bonuses.

Crossbow attacks can be further enhanced to slow time further whist aiming, increase critical hit damage/% and disable enemy special abilities for a brief time by investing points into the Marksmanship portion of the Combat Skill Tree.

Finisher Attacks

Once you have dealt enough damage to an enemy, a button prompt will appear above their heads. Hitting the button signified when in close proximity will trigger a stylish execution attack that will kill the enemy during a canned animation. On the lower difficulties Geralt is invincible during these animations, so if you are low on health it is possible to exploit a finisher to avoid taking damage.

Note: Automatic finishers are enabled by default when you start a new game and as such you will not see the button prompts appear. They can be toggled on or off in the menu. This should be deactivated in the higher difficulty modes to avoid frustration!

Avoiding Attacks

Geralt has several ways in which he can avoid incoming enemy attacks or to limit or mitigate damage taken. Each of these techniques has its own benefits and drawbacks and experimenting with each in different situations will help figure out the right tactic for your gameplay style. Additional bonuses and abilities can be unlocked by investing points in the Defence portion of the Combat Skill Tree.

The default abilities include:

  • Blocking – by blocking, in most circumstances Geralt can pretty much nullify the majority of standard melee attacks coming his way. Unfortunately, although it can reduce damage, it is not quite as effective when attempting to block incoming poison, fire or magical damage.
  • Staggering – Geralt receives the ability to stagger most melee enemies near the start of the game. By timing your press of the block button to immediately before an enemy attack, Geralt can deflect and quickly counter with a hit that will also stun the recipient temporarily. This will leave them open for an additional follow up attack. Note that deflect/staggering will only work against melee attacks.
  • Dodging – Geralt has the ability to do perform a quick side/back step to move out of danger quickly, but still maintain a short distance from a foe. This is incredibly useful for dodging incoming, unblockable enemy attacks during melee combat or during boss fights where blocking is not always an option. Pulling off a successful dodge will also give you a perfect opportunity to immediately follow up with a counterattack.
  • Rolling – Rolling is similar to dodging in that it can get you out of a pinch fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it is somewhat less useful than the dodge as it will put more distance between Geralt and the enemy. This is much less useful against human enemies, but can be a lifesaver against larger boss monsters with unstoppable charging or area of effect knock back attacks.

Additional defensive abilities are unlocked once you start investing some points in the Defensive portion of the Combat Skill Tree. These abilities include:

  • Deflect Arrows - By timing your press of the block button to immediately before an enemy arrow/bolt hits, Geralt can deflect it to avoid taking damage.

Magical Signs

In addition to utilising ranged and melee combat abilities, Geralt is also privy to using magical signs. These signs have a range of functions with some causing nasty area of effect attacks, others buffing Geralt and others being useful both in and out of combat. These sign attacks will consume Geralt'sStamina Bar which is the circular bar located below the health bar in the top left of the screen.

After a brief introduction, all five of Geralt's Sign abilities are available from the start of the game, however additional bonus effects and alternate modes can be purchased from the Sign Skill Tree. All abilities within the tree can be upgraded multiple times to increase their effectiveness.

These Signs Abilities include:

  • AARD – The AARD sign has many uses. Its base form acts as a kind of Jedi-style force push which can knock down enemies or cause them to stagger temporarily. Outside of combat, it can be used to knock down weak walls.
  • AXII – In its base form, AXII allows Geralt to temporarily stun individual human/monster/beast enemies. This can also be used out of combat during conversations, usually to get your way or to calm animals (you can tame and ride horses doing this).
  • IGNI – As a starting ability, IGNI is your major damage sign. When used it sends out a wave of fire immediately in front of Geralt. This will damage enemies and has a chance to light them on fire briefly stunning them and causing damage over time. This can be used out of combat to light torches and to complete several quests.
  • QUEN – This sign is a mostly defensive one. In its base form, the sign creates a protective magical barrier around Geralt that will drastically improving his defence against incoming attacks. Once activated, the ability will slowly drain the Stamina Bar until it is completely depleted.
  • YRDEN – The YRDEN sign creates a magical trap on the ground. When stepped in by an enemy, certain effects can occur, in its base form, the YRDEN trap will slightly slow enemy movement and pull ghostly creatures into a physical form.

Alchemy, Potions, Oils and Bombs

As a Witcher, Geralt is well versed in how to find reagents and concoct a range of alchemical-themed items which can provide him with a range of buffs and grant him advantage in battle. Recipes can be purchased from vendors, given as the occasional reward during a quest or found in chests or other lootable objects.

These recipes, once acquired can be crafted from the Alchemy tab of the menu. Fortunately, after they have been crafter for the first time, Geralt will remember how to make them (he's good like that) and as long as you have sufficient alcohol in your possession, will automatically create a fresh batch every time you meditate.

The different types of alchemy formulae include:

  • Bombs – There are a range of bombs that Geralt can craft with numerous effects. They can be equipped and are utilised like grenades.
  • Potions – A wide range of different potions can be used to assist Geralt both in and out of combat. Potions offer up a wide ranging assortment of effects that can to mention but a few: allow breathing in poisoned areas, to regenerating health and increasing damage output. sing potions will increase Geralt's Toxicity Bar (filling this too much will result in a loss of health).
  • Oils – Oils are used to enhance Geralt's weapons temporarily. For the most part these are used to increase attack damage or efficiency during combat and are often related to fighting against specific enemy types.
  • Decoctions – similar to oils, decoctions are special potions that give bonus attributes, perks or qualities when fighting against specific enemy types. Typically decoctions are found in the environment and in my experience you'll locate them near where you fight new enemy types for the first time.
  • Alchemy Reagents – For some of the more advanced recipes, players are able to craft some reagents themselves. These include Mutagens (which can be used to enhance Geralt's abilities) and other more hard to find constructed reagents.

Advanced Combat Tips

Whilst the standard attacks that Geralt uses to dish out damage are all well and good, there are a number of abilities or items that can when used in conjunction can give you a little extra edge in combat.

Environmental Attacks

In addition to the standard arsenal of attacks that Geralt has at his disposal, he can also utilise various elements of the environment in conjunction with his sign magic to help during combat. These include:

  • High points and AARD – Geralt can use his AARD force push attack to launch enemies to their deaths from cliffs, buildings or from other high locations.
  • Beehives and AARD – Whilst wandering in the wilderness you will come across beehives on trees. These can be shot with the crossbow for Honeycomb, destroyed with IGNI and can be exploited to damage enemies by utilising AARD. Using AARD will destroy the nest and the bees will then attack anything that comes close.
  • Swamp Gas and IGNI – Whilst venturing in swamps, or sewers, or ancient ruins or a combination of the aforementioned locales, you'll occasionally come across swamp gas. Standing in this will damage Geralt, so it's a good idea to avoid getting too close to it. However, it also happens to be highly flammable. Using IGNI to ignite the gas will cause an explosion damaging or killing anything within a close proximity.
  • Barrels and IGNI – When you come across bandit camps, guarded estates or abandoned settlements with hostile enemies, you'll often see barrels scattered around the area. Most barrels standing by themselves contain material that causes them to explode within a short time of being exposed to IGNI. As with swamp gas, these can be exploited to damage or kill enemies.

Managing Bars: Health, Stamina, Adrenaline and Toxicity

Geralt has a number of bars that you will need to manage to keep on top of a range of issues affecting Geralt's performance both in combat and out. There are four gauge indicators that appear in the top left corner of the screen and each is associated with a different aspect of gameplay. They include:

Health Bar

The large red bar in the top left of the screen represents Geralt's current health. If this bar is entirely depleted, Geralt will fall and you'll need to reload your previous checkpoint. Health can be restored by eating Food or by consuming Swallow Potions. On the easier difficulties, meditating will fully restore your health but this will not work on

The amount of hit points in the health bar can be further increased by investing skill points into abilities related to boosting Geralt's total health pool (Survival Instinct). It is also possible to allow regeneration of health over time (Sun and Stars) which can be found in the General Skill Tree.

Depending on the armour equipped, the amount of damage received, and thus the health loss associated can be reduced.

Stamina

The Stamina bar refers to the yellow semi-circular bar located on the far left of the screen directly below the health bar. This bar is associated with both Geralt's ability to sprint and the use of Geralt's sign abilities.

Signs can only be used when the Stamina bar is full. The Stamina meter is depleted upon using a sign and afterwards will slowly fill over time to allow you to use another – it is, in essence a cooldown for your sign abilities to prevent spamming.

There are special abilities such as Whirl and Rend in the Heavy/Quick Attack portions of the Combat Skill Tree that will consume Stamina to perform a special attack.

Adrenaline

The adrenaline meter is located below the Health Bar and just to the left of the Stamina Bar. It is comprised of three small semicircles that will gradually fill whilst dishing out damage during combat and reduce when Geralt sustains damage. At the end of combat, the bar will drain to empty.

In its most basic form, the Adrenaline meter will give Geralt a slight boost to his damage – the fuller the bar is, the more bonus damage Geralt will be able to dish out. Along with the obvious health-related benefits, the bonus damage provided by Adrenaline encourages players to learn to properly use the roll and dodge moves Geralt has at his disposal.

There are several interesting Adrenaline-related skills on offer in the General Skill Tree. They include:

  • Focus will further scale damage that you do to the amount of Adrenaline available, essentially improving the base form.
  • Adrenaline Burst will increase the rate of Adrenaline generation by 5%. You'll also generate Adrenaline when using Signs.
  • Rage Management enables you to utilise Adrenaline to cast Sign attacks if the Stamina bar is not sufficiently full enough.

Investing points in the Combat Skill Tree will have a passive effect of increasing % of Adrenaline generation.

Toxicity

The Toxicity meter can be located directly beneath the Health Bar. There is a Skull icon at its left hand side. It will fill as you use potions and decoctions and slowly drain over time. When your Toxicity level reaches 95% you will reach an unsafe level – Geralt will immediately lose a chunk of health and continue to lose health over time until the Toxicity level returns below 95%.

There are several interesting Toxicity-related skills on offer in the Alchemy Skill Tree. They include:

  • Heightened Tolerance will allow you to add 1% per point invested towards your safe Toxicity threshold (95%) until it reaches 100%.
  • Acquired Tolerance will provide a bonus increase to your Toxicity level for every alchemy potion that you learn.
  • Fast Metabolism will greatly speed up the drain-out of the Toxicity meter.
  • Delayed Recovery will increase your potion duration as long as you can maintain Toxicity levels above 90% of the safe threshold.
  • Metabolism Control will increase your maximum Toxicity by 30.

Investing points in the Alchemy Skill Tree will have a passive effect of increasing % Toxicity Tolerance.

Witcher Sense

Witcher Sense is a vision mode that we will be using extensively throughout the game. Similar to the special ‘Detective modes' in the Batman: Arkham games or the most recent Tomb Raider, Witcher Sense will highlight objects and areas of interest in the environment. In general the following are observable with Witcher Sense active:

  • Orange - Chests, plants and other lootable containers/objects will be highlighted in orange.
  • Red - Quest-related lootable objects or points of interest to be investigated are highlighted in red.
  • Ripples – Enemies can be identified by ripples in the environment, allowing you to monitor their locations.

In addition to the visual advantage, Witcher Sense will also enhance Geralt's hearing, allowing him to eavesdrop on conversations. This comes in handy occasionally when trying to garner information during a quest or two.

Exploration

The game's world is broken down into five maps – one for Kaer Morhan, Vizima, Velen, White Orchard and Skellige. On the maps, areas of interest are marked with a ‘?' until Geralt investigates to determine what it is. These then change to icons that include: Side-missions, fast travel points, dungeon entrances,vendors and side-tasks.

Travelling Efficiently

There are a few cool things you can do with the world maps to increase your efficiency at travelling around in-game:

Waypoints

During quests you'll receive objective markers that act as waypoints showing you exactly where you need to go to continue your quest. On the world map you can also set your own custom waypoint which will appear on the mini-map when you return to regular gameplay. You can then follow said waypoint to any destination of your choice.

Whilst waypoints are active, a white dotted trail will appear on the world map, giving you the quickest route to your destination. A small footprint icon will also appear by the mini-map with a number indicating your distance from the waypoint and arrows beside it telling you if it above or below your current position.

Fast Travel

As you explore the world you'll find fast travel signposts. As you ride or walk past them, they will be added to your wold map. By approaching one of these and interacting with it, you are able instantly select and travel to any previously discovered destination on the map where you have unlocked a fast travel point.

Horse Riding

You can summon Geralt's faithful horse, Roach at any time on the world map. Riding him around is much faster than Geralt's standard walking pace! If you get bored with him, you can use Geralt's AXII sign on wild horses to temporarily tame and ride them around!

The horse has three speeds:

  • Walking – The slowest speed, but the most manoeuvrable.
  • Canter – Hold down the run button and the horse will canter at a faster pace.
  • Gallop – tap and then hold down the run button to gallop. This is the fastest setting.

A useful, yet unexplained feature of the horses is autopilot. If you hold the run button down to canter whilst on a road and do not touch the directional sticks, your horse will automatically run along the road you are on as if it were stuck there with glue – it may not always take the route you want at crossroads or forks though!

Whilst riding a horse, a Stamina meter will appear at the bottom of the screen. By tapping and then holding the run button, the horse will break into a gallop which will slowly consume the stamina bar. Once the bar is empty, the horse will revert to a walk until some of the Stamina is recharged.

Note: Finding and equipping different saddles can increase Roach's total Stamina.

In addition to stamina, the horses also have a spook meter. If you get too close to enemies whilst on horseback and cannot escape the area quickly enough, the horse will get spooked, rear back and Geralt will fall to the ground. So avoid enemies!

Boating

You'll find numerous sailboats scattered about the waterways of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. These can be used to quickly traverse bodies of water in a much quicker fashion than Geralt's normal swimming pace. To sail a boat, Geralt needs to hop on board and interact with the rear of the vessel.

In general boats have three speeds:

  • Slow – The slowest speed, but the most manoeuvrable.
  • Fast – Hold down the run button and the boat will accelerate.

Once in a boat, you'll be able to make out a silhouette of the boat located on the left side of the screen beneath Geralt's health bar (and other gauges, meters and bars of course). This starts off as white, indicating that there is no damage. Bumping into rocks or having enemies hit you can damage the boat. Damaged portions of the boat will be shown in red. If the boat takes too much damage it will sink and you'll be left with no option but to swim to shore.

Gathering Experience and Levelling Up

As per your standard RPG experience players will earn experience points (XP) which can be accumulated to earn levels. Upon levelling, Geralt will be given a small boost to his base attributes and unlock a skill point. Skill points can then be invested in one of dour skill trees to unlock enhanced abilities, alternate attack types and some general stat bonuses.

In the Witcher 3 you'll gain XP via the following:

  • Killing enemies,
  • Progressing through story events
  • Completing secondary-quests and Witcher Contracts.
  • Completing side-tasks such as: Abandoned Settlements.
  • Using AXII during conversations.
  • Bribe people during conversations.

When you gain a level, you can use the opportunity to enhance Geralt's abilities. Within the character menu, you have the ability to peruse four skill trees and are able to purchase abilities (or ranks of abilities) by investing Skill Points. As is to be expected, the XP required to reach subsequent levels will increase as Geralt moves through the levels. The breakdown of XP required for certain levels is as such:

  • Level 1 to Level 10 – 1,000XP per level.
  • Level 11 – Level 20 – 1,500XP per level.
  • Level 21 and onwards – 2,000XP per level.

At this point, the level cap for Geralt is level 70. This is only obtainable after completing the game and importing your save into New Game Plus mode.

Skill Points and Skill Trees

The majority of Skill Points will be earned as a reward for when Geralt earns sufficient XP to level up, however you'll also be able to obtain a single Skill Point each time you discover and using a Place of Power for the first time – so stay on the lookout for those as you explore the world!

As most RPG gamers might have guessed, these Skill Points can then be invested to unlock new abilities for Geralt in one of four Skill Trees. There are three main Skill Trees available to Geralt in The Witcher III: Wild Hunt and a fourth more broadly focused ‘General Skills' Skill Tree. The Skill Trees include:

  • Combat Skills – This Skill Tree is dedicated to improving Geralt's melee and ranged combat by adding additional maneuvers and increasing damage. It also helps his general hardiness in combat with abilities to increase armor and health. Abilities in this Skill Tree will provide a passive bonus towards Adrenaline Point gain.
  • Signs – The Signs Skill Tree focuses on signs and investing points in here will increase the effectiveness, improve duration or add additional functionality to each of Geralt's five signs: AARD, AXII, IGNI, QUEN and YRDEN. Abilities in this Skill Tree will provide a passive bonus towards Stamina regeneration in combat.
  • Alchemy – The Alchemy Skill Tree focuses on improving the effectiveness of Bombs, Potions and Oils. It also features abilities to reduce the Toxicity levels of Potions and allows Geralt increased Toxicity tolerance, whilst also allowing him to reduce Toxicity quicker. Abilities in this Skill Tree will provide a passive bonus towards Potion Duration time.
  • General Skills – The General Skill Tree is half the size of the other three Skill Trees and offers an assortment of useful abilities. These include boosts to Health/Armour, a minor health regeneration perk as well as bonuses to the crossbow and Adrenaline generation.

Mutagens

Mutagens are a special form of equippable item that is dropped by monsters you kill. There are three main levels of Mutagens:

  • Lesser Mutagens – These are dropped by the standard, common monster enemies.
  • Mutagens – These can be crafted using Alchemy by combining three Mutagens of a specific type.
  • Greater Mutagens - Dropped by more unique creatures or challenging boss monsters (almost all Witcher Contracts will net you specific Greater Mutagen types).

Mutagens can be used in a couple of different ways, either by providing passive bonuses to increase Geralts base stats for particular elements of gameplay, or as the core ingredient in the game's powerful Decoctions.

Mutagens for Passive Bonuses

In the Character Development section of the main menu, in addition to Skill Trees to spend your hard-earned Skill Points on, you can also apply Mutagens to Geralt for some passive bonuses.

Mutagens come in three different colours, each of which is associated with one of Geralt's more common gameplay attributes. Equipped Mutagens will provide a bonus towards the attribute which will increase with the level of Mutagen used, essentially the bonuses for Greater Mutagens are larger than those of Lesser Mutagens. The colours of Mutagens and their effects when equipped include:

  • Red Mutagens increase attack power by +5% (Lesser), +7% (Normal) or +10% (Greater).
  • Green Mutagens increase Vitality by +50 (Lesser), +100 (Normal) or +150 (Greater).
  • Blue Mutagens increase Sign intensity by +5% (Lesser), +7% (Normal) or +10% (Greater).

There are four Mutagen slots in total with one unlocking after every seven character levels. The fourth and final slot is unlocked once Geralt reaches character level 28.

Note: Inserting a Mutagen into all four slots will unlock the achievement/trophy ‘Mutant'.

Mutagens for Crafting Decoctions

The Witcher III: Wild Hunt's Decoctions are very powerful versions of potions with much more potent effects. Their recipes often call for specific Greater Mutagens, which will only drop from specific unique or powerful monsters (usually from bosses or Witcher Contracts) once they have been killed.

What's new in Blood and Wine?

Owning Property - Bianco Corvo

Early on in the expansion you'll be handed the keys to the estate of Bianco Corvo, located on the outskirts of the city of Beauclair. This estate becomes Geralt's de facto home in the region and initially is inhabited by your very own majordomo, Barnabus-Basil and includes a storage chest to keep your gear that you don't feel like lugging around.

The estate can be upgraded by speaking with Barnabus-Basil and with enough time and money, you can develop a range of additional features and functions including:

  • Better Bed – This will give a passive bonus to Vitality.
  • Weapon Racks – Allows you to store and display weapons around the house.
  • Armor Stands – Allows you to store and display armor around the house.
  • Armour repair table
  • Grindstone
  • Stable – This will give a passive bonus to Roach's Stamina.
  • Herb Garden – This will allow us to sow and grow various types of herbs.
  • Alchemy lab

In addition to providing a place to sleep and hang out, the majordomo Barnabus-Basil is a Gwent savant. He has every single Gwent card in the game and will offer to play against you using any deck of your choosing. This provides a great opportunity to work out how to approach and play against various factions so that you can test out your strategies.

New Enemy Types

Blood and Wine offers up an assortment of new enemy types for you to encounter and kill. Some are making a comeback from previous Witcher titles whilst others are brand new to the series. Either way, there is a good chance that you'll find yourself acquainted with these new monsters during Geralt's travels through Toussaint. They include:

  • Alp - A new type of vampire capable of becoming invisible and using leaping and fast melee strike attacks.
  • Arachnomorph - Underground hairy spider-like monsters that often appear in groups.
  • Archspore - Plantlike monsters that can submerge into the ground and pop up elsewhere. Capable of using melee attacks and producing saplins that will explode.
  • Bian'she - A new form of Wraith/Specter.
  • Barghest - Ghostly dog enemies that act like Wolves and often appear in packs.
  • Bruxae - A new type of vampire capable of becoming invisible, using a screech shockwave and fast melee strikes.
  • Fleder - A new type of heavy vampire that can perform leaping charge attacks and damaging melee attacks.
  • Garkain - A new type of heavy vampire that can perform leaping charge attacks that will trigger knockback shockwaves and damaging melee attacks that will inflict poison.
  • Giant Centipede - Large centipedal monsters that can bury underground and emerge beneath you. They will spit poison and launch melee attacks at close range.
  • Panther - Similar to Wolves but with more health and increased damage. They usually occur alone or in small groups of 2-3.
  • Pixie - Shadowy children shaped creatures capable of melee attacks. They will often appear in groups of 10 or more and will attempt to swarm and stun lock you.
  • Scurver - A cross between a Drowner and a Rotfiend. They attack in packs like a standard Drowner and use the water to their advantage. They will also explode when near death.
  • Shaelmaar - A heavily armored monster with high damage resistance, several damaging melee attacks and the ability to roll about at high speed.
  • Slyzard - A Dracanoid monster similar to Forktails and Wyverns but a little more focused on melee attacks. They utilise both fireballs and poison.
  • Spriggen - A forest creature similar to a Leshen which can teleport by sinking into the ground and emerging elsewhere. Can often summon creatures such as Archespores.
  • Wight - Wights are powerful, Ghoul like creatures that stand upright and can use a combination of melee attacks and projectile vomit to attack.
  • Wild Boar - Slightly slower and more powerful than Wolves, but faster and less powerful than Bears. Often appear in small groups.

Mutations

The expansion also offers a bit of a shake up to character development. The main culprit in this regard is the introduction of Mutations. Mutations can be unlocked upon completion of the ‘Turn and Face the Strange' side quest which will be introduced to players pretty early on in the Blood and Wine quest line, following the ‘Blood Run' quest. Upon completion, Mutations will then appear in the character progression panel.

Mutations come in three main flavours – Red, Green and Blue and two combination sets – Red + Blue and Red + Green. When unlocked and equipped, Mutations can provide some very powerful passive bonuses as well as expanding Geralt's Ability Slots. Geralt can only have one Mutation active at a time, but by researching additional Mutations in the background players can also increase their number of ability slots by an additional four (1 Ability slot per two Mutations researched), allowing Geralt to further expand his available arsenal of moves and bonuses.

Mutations can be researched by investing a requisite number of ability points and Greater Mutagens. They can be broken down into three broad categories – Tier 1, Tier 2 and Combined Mutations. The cost for researching these will depend on the category.

Grandmaster Witcher Gear

In addition to all of the new side-quests, Witcher Contracts and the Mutation upgrades, Blood and Wine also introduces a new tier of Witcher Gear – Grandmaster level. There are five different schools of Grandmaster Gear – Bear, Cat, Griffin, Manticore and Wolf each of which feature stats to benefit different styles of play. The Grandmaster Gear is by far the best equipment you can find for Geralt in the game so it's worth looking into!

In addition to being pretty bad ass by itself, Grandmaster gear also incorporates some useful set bonuses. Equipping three pieces of a set will grant Geralt a passive boost, whilst equipping all six pieces of a set will grant a second (and usually more powerful) passive bonus in addition to the first.

We can start looking for the Grandmaster gear soon after arriving in Toussaint, grab the notice from one of the notice boards in the city of Beauclair to kick off the ‘Master Master Master Master!' side-quest. This side-quest will also update your quest log five Scavenger Hunt side-quests which will help you track down Diagrams for each of the five schools of gear.

See the side-quest guide below for additional details.

Gwent Changes

New Faction Deck - Skellige

In expanding the game world and Geralt's adventures, Blood and Wine also further expands the game's well-made card game Gwent. Although there are a few more neutral cards thrown into the mix, the biggest change to the mini-game is the addition of a brand new faction to play with in the form of the Skellige deck. Like the original four (Nilfgaardian Empire, Northern Realms, Monsters and Scoia'tael) the Skellige faction has its own unique strengths and weaknesses along with some new card abilities.

See the Gwent section below for details.

Gwent Practice

After receiving Bianco Corvo and speaking with its majordomo Barnabus-Basil and completing a few upgrade tasks, Barnabus-basil will become a bit friendlier. At this point he'll be willing to play Gwent with you.

It turns out that Barnabus-Basil is some kind of super-powered Gwent savant. He has every single Gwent card in the game and although he won't give you any to build your collection, he will offer to play against you using any deck of your choosing. This provides a great risk-free opportunity to work out how to approach and play against various factions so that you can test out your strategies.

Campaign Walkthrough

This walkthrough will provide you with the easiest, fastest route from beginning to the end of the campaign quest line, mentioning places to visit, times at which you need to complete various side-quests and contracts and will *gulp* attempt to cover all variations in storyline and gameplay caused by decisions made in-game.

Note: Due to the size and complexity of the game and the numerous points at which decisions can be made, it may not be possible for me to capture every alteration that occurs. If you find something missing, please let me know!

To fast travel to a chapter, go to the table of contents over to the right and use the hyperlinks to jump down to where you want to go in a flash. A complete list of each side-mission, Witcher Contract and their locations as well as a complete Gwent and card locations guide and achievement/trophy guide can also be located in the relevant spots below the walkthrough in the guide below.

Please note, this guide will most likely contain some very,very, very minor spoilers if you read too far ahead, but I have done my utmost to keep things as vague as possible.

Enjoy!

Envoys, Wineboys

If trying out the expansion as part of your normal save file, this quest will show up in your quest log as a main quest once you have completed the ‘Poet Under Pressure' main quest (if you have installed the new ‘Wine and Blood' expansion of course!).

The quest requires that we ride over to one of six Noticeboards in the Velen region highlighted by the objective markers. These include:

  • Oxenfurt
  • Seven Cat's Inn
  • Inn at the Crossroads
  • Mulbrydale
  • Downwarren
  • Nilfgaardian Army Group ‘Center' Camp

Finding and grabbing the notice entitled ‘Appeal to Sir Geralt of Rivia, the Bridge his Crest' from one of these Notice Boards will have your objectives be updated.

Ride over to the fresh objective marker located at the Stonecutter's Settlement, just to the southwest of Oxenfurt. Upon arriving at the objective marker, follow the knights into the building for a conversation.

  • "Lemme Help you with the bandits" - this will trigger a fight against a group of Bandits. You'll have two allies though, soi its not too tough.
  • "Get rid of those, worse ones'll come"- the conversation will continue, allowing you to progress the quest.

During the conversation, you'll be given the option to accept the contract or think it over. Note that if you do accept outright, you'll be immediately ported to Toussaint at the end of the conversation.

Note: For accepting the contract you'll earn 50XP and the scroll ‘Summons from Duchess Anna Henrietta'.

Following the conversation, the quest will also be completed.

Note: At this point you'll earn the achievement/trophy ‘The Witcher's Gone South'.

The Beast of Toussaint

Part 1: Kill the Giant

After reaching the new area and a brief introductory cinematic, you'll automatically be entered into a boss fight against a Giant.

Note: There is an achievement/trophy 'David vs Golyat' which can be unlocked during this fight. To do so, simply use a crossbow to shoot Golyat in the eye - this can be found via one of the small holes in the barrel that he wears on his head. Although it's not necessary, it's a good idea to stick some Skill points in the archery section of the ‘Combat Skills' Skill Tree - specifically ‘Lightning Reflexes' which will slow down time whilst aiming the crossbow.

Boss: Golyat (Giant)

The Giant acts like the majority of the large enemies in the game – he'll use his large mace to perform overhead slams and sideways slashes that are slow but powerful. The Golyat will also perform a stomping attack that will create a small shockwave which can knock you back if you are too close. His most dangerous attack however is a spinning whirlwind attack during which he'll hold his mace out and spin several times as he closes in on your position. Fortunately, most of his attacks have a fairly obvious wind-up allowing you to spot them in progress and using your abilities to roll/dodge away.

As per the norm against enemies of this type, use your rolls to avoid the large attacks and take a swing or two when you see an opening. You can use YRDEN to slow his movement even further, attack with QUEN active to tank him briefly before retreating and IGNI will also do a small amount of ranged damage. The sword is where most of your damage will be coming from however so YRDEN/QUEN are the most useful signs to keep in mind here.

Fortunately, your two buddies from the cut-scene Palmerin and Milton will also be with you here and help you out during combat. They are also next to invincible, so don't be afraid to let them draw aggro from the boss if you need a brerak or start to take some serious take damage.

The weapon he has is quite slow – as such if you can draw him into an attack and then side-step it you can easily run in, attack him 2-3 times and run away again before he takes his next swing. Keep an eye out for and avoid the stomp shockwaves and the spinning whirlwind attack and dis out damage when you spy an opening. Repeat this until he drops.

Upon defeating the boss a scene will play.

Note: For defeating the Giant you'll earn 450XP and the Golyat Trophy.

Loot Golyat's corpse for 422x Crowns, a Red Mutagen and some other goodies.

Part 2: Investigate the crime scene

When you are ready to continue, head over to your horse and mount up. Ride after Milton along the dirt paths for a short distance, past the marker for ‘The Cockatrice Inn' and down to the bank of the river nearby. At this point our objectives will update.

Approach the next objective marker, switch on your Witcher Sense and examine the ground just to the left of the entrance to the wooden pier. You'll see footprints leading away. Follow this trail a short distance.

You'll be attacked by a group of four level 35 Scurvers – these are a blend between Drowners and Rotfiends. Note that they will explode upon death, firing out sharp needles in all directions, so be sure to back off when this happens.

After dispatching the Scurvers, activate Witcher Sense and explore the area by the footprints we were following. You'll be able to inspect the following in order whilst following said footprints:

  • Washed up Crate.
  • Blood-soaked Clothes.
  • A Pool of Blood by some netting.
  • A Rut in the sand where a boat had recently been beached.

Once you have examined all of the points of interest, your objectives will be updated. At this point you'll notice that there is now a yellow search area in the centre of the river nearby. Swim out to the objective location zone. Activate your Witcher Sense to look for numerous bits and pieces we can loot.

Most of the stuff highlighted in red here is negligible, but below one of the nets in the river there is a quest item to loot - Handkerchief monogrammed d.l.C. You'll also be able to find a red chest on the river bed containing Toussaint Ducal Guardsman's Boots and some Orens.

With the Handkerchief monogrammed d.l.C in hand, return to shore and speak with Milton. After a brief chat, follow him upstream and he'll lead you to the Cockatrice Inn. Mosey on through the door for a scene.

Following the scene our objective will be updated.

Note: Before continuing, you can purchase some Gwent cards from the Innkeeper and if you beat him in a game of Gwent, you'll notice ha has a new deck – Skellige. Defeating him will trigger a pair of new side-quest ‘Gwent: To Everything – Turn, Turn, Tournament!' and ‘Gwent: Never Fear. Skellige's Here!'.

Note: Just outside of the Inn you'll find a Notice Board, grab the notices from her to unlock some new side-quests including: ‘Wine Wars: Belgaard', ‘Big Game Hunter', ‘Knight for Hire' and ‘Mutual of Beauclair's Wild Kingdom'.

Part 3: Locate the Body

To continue, proceed across the bridge and make your way to the objective marker at Corvo Bianco to the southwest.

As you arrive at the objective marker, you'll find a yellow search area appear in its place. Bang on Geralt's Witcher Sense and examine the three bodies highlighted by red auras scattered around the area. After examining all three items of interest, Geralt will guess what the monster behind the attack is and your objectives will update.

Note: At this point you'll earn 150XP.

Approach the objective marker and again use Geralt's Witcher Sense with which we can examine:

  • The knocked over cart.
  • Corpse by the cellar entrance.

Climb down the stairs to the cellar. At the bottom of the stairs there is a corpse to examine. Switch on Geralt's Witcher Sense once again and follow the footprints to the left – examine the numerous bodies and displaced gate as you go.

Approach the door at the end of the footprints. As soon as you open this a scene will occur and a boss fight will ensue, so be sure you've got yourself read first!

Boss: Bruxa (Vampire)

The Bruxa is a relatively familiar fight for those who've encountered some of the various other types of vampires in the game previously. As with other Vampires, the Bruxa is able to phase out into an invisible state and move around the room quite quickly. It is very fast and has an attack move set reminiscent to the Werewolves and other Vampires consisting mainly of high speed melee attacks. The Bruxa will also approach and grab you to perform a bite attack which will drain some of your health and will begin to regenerate hers over time.

The Bruxa is somewhat susceptible to IGNI and can also be drawn out of their invisibility by planting YRDEN traps. AARD is also a useful sign here as it has the ability to knock the Bruxa down, opening her up to a follow up attack. The Bruxa's attacks are extremely fast, so keep your dodge/roll at the ready!

The easiest way to best the Bruxa is to draw her out of invisibility (if possible) and allow her to attack, immediately perform a dodge and then a heavy attack or alternatively, follow up with a blast of AARD to knock her back and then use a string of light attacks. Whilst on her feet, the Bruxa is quite proficient at dodging light attacks, but if you can corner her and continue to press the attack she'll eventually miss and you can stick her with some damage. Of course, if the Bruxa is within range of your IGNI/AARD and you see an opening, use it.

Once you have killed the Bruxa, we'll have our objectives updated once again.

Note: For defeating the Bruxa, you'll earn 500XP.

Loot the Bruxa's body for a Greater Blue Mutagen and some other Vampire-related paraphernalia. TO continue, approach the corpse on the table and inspect it. There are three points of interest to inspect. They include:

  • Examine head - You'll earn 150XP and Pouch Filled with Florens.
  • Examine chest
  • Examine the severed hand – Earn the Unusual Severed Hand key item.

Inspecting all three points of interest will have our objectives update.

Part 4: Meet the Duchess

Make your way back outside and make your way to the objective marker at the Tourney Grounds further to the southwest. Speak with Palmerin here.

After a brief conversation, you'll find yourself once again thrown into a boss fight.

Boss: Shaelmaar

The Shaelmaar is covered in a rocky shell and is therefore extremely heavily armored. The Shaelmaar is also quite fast and can also dish out considerable damage with both of its front limbs in melee attacks and its tail. It will commonly slam the ground in front of it and send out a shockwave which will damage/knockback Geralt if he is hit by it. Its most dangerous attack however is one in which it will curl up into a ball and hurtle at you at high speed.

To damage the Shaelmaar, you'll need to attack it in its front – its face and chest will take damage whereas its back and sides will take hardly any. Using Sanuum Bombs and AARD can push it off guard briefly, giving you the opportunity to put some distance between yourself and it or to land an attack or two. Your biggest opportunity for damage however is to lure it into rolling towards you near a wall and rolling away at the last second to have it hit said wall. This will cause it to flip onto its back for a few moments, allowing you to inflict heavy damage before it rights itself.

The easiest way to complete this fight is to simply practice your rolling and having the Shaelmaar continuously roll into the arena's walls after which you can deal some easy damage. Repeat the process until it bites the dust.

Note that whilst Palmerin will join you during this boss fight, he will have a health bar that you'll need to keep an eye on. He'll help dish out damage, but is just as likely to get his butt kicked by doing stupid stuff. If you see him get in trouble, use your Samuum Bombs or AARD to get the boss's attention and draw it away from Palmerin.

Note: For defeating the Shaelmaar you'll earn 300XP.

During the scene that follows the boss fight, you'll have an opportunity for another timed decision. You can either:

  • Kill the Shaelmaar.
  • Spare the Shaelmaar - This will help towards the Trial of Compassion portion of the ‘There Can Only Be One' side-quest (we'll pick this up later, but knocking this over now will help towards completion!)

After the decision, another scene/conversation will take place. At his point you'll also trigger a new side-quest ‘The Warble of a Smitten Knight'. During the conversation you'll receive the Deed to Corvo Bianco and the Key to Corvo Bianco – these will also unlock a new side-quest ‘No Place Like Home'. After a lengthy discussion on the victims and their commonalities, your objectives will update and a scene will play.

Note: At this point you'll earn 100XP.

Part 5: The Hare Hunt

After a brief chat, follow the new lady on horseback through the nearby streets and she'll lead you to the Beauclair Palace. Dismount and continue after her along the nearby pathways and downwards towards the palace gardens. As you approach a scene will play.

During the scene here you'll get another timed decision (although it makes no real difference). Your options include:

  • Golden Fish?
  • Unicorn Horn?

We'll now need to track down the two items listed above – the Unicorn Horn and the Golden Fish. Fortunately, the game and its objective markers will by default direct you to each in order. Head down the nearby ramp and make your way over to the nearest objective marker to find a ‘Unicorn'.

Approach the Unicorn for a scene, after which it will run off. Run after the unicorn and approach it again (or attempt to use AXII to calm it). As you approach for the second time, Geralt will retrieve the item of interest from the Unicorn and you'll earn Clue from the horn of a “Unicorn”.

Note: At this point you'll earn 150XP.

Once you have the horn, you'll be approached by three ‘horn hunters' who are less than pleased. They'll put you into a conversation and you'll need to make a choice to affect the outcome. Your choices include:

  • Didn't Break Any Rules – Geralt will use AXII and they will let you go, no questions asked. This option will also net you 40XP.
  • Get Lost – This will start a fight in which you will have to beat them all up.
  • Wanna Fight? Let's go – This will start a fight in which you will have to beat them all up.

After doing your bit to rid yourself of the hostile courtiers, make your way to the next objective marker located in the lake to the southeast. As you approach, the objective marker will morph into a yellow search area.

Swim out to the search area in the lake and dive underwater. Use Geralt's Witcher Senses and you'll be able to locate a number of fish chained to the bottom of the lake. Swim over and inspect each of these. When you locate the correct one a cut-scene will play during which you'll receive Key from the Golden Fish.

Note: At this point you'll earn 50XP.

With both the Key from the Golden Fish and the Clue from the horn of a “Unicorn” in hand, your objectives will update and a fresh objective marker will appear. Make your way over to this location for yet another scene.

Take your pick at the riddle (the answer is Greenhouse) but even if you can't figure it out, the duchess will tell you the answer immediately anyway - its a little abstract... This will also trigger one final cut-scene.

Note: For selecting the correct answer, you'll earn 200XP

This will end the quest.

Note: At this point you'll earn 1,000XP.

The next main quest 'Blood Run' will begin immediately following the scene.