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The Witcher 3's Next Expansion is a Game Changer

Christopher Coke Posted:
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This was a big week for fans of The Witcher 3. Not only did we find out that the final, massive expansion, Blood and Wine, will be releasing on May 31st, but the embargo on a March preview event expired, leading to an incredible info dump of exciting details (credit to Dmax3901 on NeoGaf). Its safe to say, Blood and Wine is a game changer.

Plus, Cyberpunk 2077 updates, Dark Souls 3 sales, Mass Effect: Andromeda delays, and more!

30+ hours of content: 90 new quests, 100 new armor pieces, 20 new monsters

We’ve known that Blood and Wine was going to be large, but this is bananas. With around 30 hours of content, we’re approaching “whole game” territory here. And while 90 new quests might not seem like a lot to an MMO player, let’s put this in perspective: the base game had around 280 quests and Hearts of Stone, the first expansion had about 25. The adventure, designed for players level 35 and higher, will also raise the New Game + level cap to 100 and include more than 100 new pieces of armor, including sets from The Witcher 1 and 2!

Dynamic points of interest

This is really interesting. Toussaint will feature over 40 points of interest and interacting with them will change the landscape. The example given was routing a bandit’s headquarters will impact the number of enemies spread out across the map. The world already felt alive. This is just another excellent step in the right direction.

Face off against this foe in Blood and Wine’s new tourneys!

A New Mutation System

After completing a quest from Yennefer, you will be able to use mutagens and skill points to unlock new abilities, modifiers, and stat enhancements for Geralt. For example, one mutation allows your final attack to dismember your enemy. Another causes you to be healed when an enemy dies and provides a brief period of invulnerability.

You get your own liveable, upgradable vineyard!

This may be the coolest tidbit of the expansion. Geralt can now own and live in his own vineyard. You can built a greenhouse to grow herbs for potion making, crafting stations and stables, and even a guest room for friends to come and visit. It’s expensive, but who doesn’t want their own winery to call home?

Tournaments and games

If slaying monsters has got you down, you can now enter a tourney and take part in a number of challenging games. Horse races are obviously a part, but so is crossbow shooting and hand to hand combat. You can set your own color palette and even enter under a fake name. Something tells me there may be a need for that depending on how you progress through the campaign.

New crafting tiers and armor dyes

A new Grandmaster crafting tier is being added to the game, along with 30 new weapons. More importantly, you can now dye your armor! Dyes are not being added to old-world merchants, so look for them in Toussaint only.

New and Improved Inventory

UI improvements and polish

The most common criticism around launch was that The Witcher 3’s inventory system just didn’t seem up to snuff. They’ve already made some user interface improvements and more are coming with Blood and Wine. The inventory is now broken into distinct sections for weapons and armor, the crafting interface gives more detail on each craftable item while also looking cleaner, and the character interface is also much neater. Books can also now be opened with a single button press, right after they’re acquired, and are stored in the Glossary.

Toussaint just feels lighter

So much is accomplished through a game’s color palette. Here, it’s not that the content is watered down or suddenly tongue-in-cheek all the time, but the bright over-saturated colors populating Toussaint make it clear that CD Projekt Red was going for a slightly lighter vibe than the rest of the game. Polygon describes the people of the region as “impossibly romantic, chivalric and deluded” and that the writers have clearly tried to “let loose a little.”

It will also look better

Speaking to Eurogamer, Environment Artist Len De Gracia will be using new display methods to offer a better visual experience. Since they started development on Toussaint “from scratch,” the region will feature 90% new assets and recomposed lighting, while also running better than the original game.

All of this sounds fantastic. As the last piece of DLC coming to the game as CDPR settles into full development on Cyberpunk 2077, this feels like the kind of send-off this incredible game deserves. Other studios might simply turn the DLC into its own bargain-priced game, which is exactly why gamers love CD Projekt so much: doing more than is required, all of the time.

Quick Hits

Speaking of CD Projekt Red, don’t worry if you heard the news that they hadn’t fully begun work on Cyberpunk 2077 yet. They have. As Kotaku reports, this was a misconception extended by a “slightly click-bait-y” article. Visual Effects Artist Jose Texiera confirmed that the studio began working on Cyberpunk in a serious manner by the time The Witcher 3 launched.

Dark Souls 3 has sold more than 3 million copies, making it the fastest selling game in the series. The Dark Souls franchise has sold, in total, more than 13 million copies.

Mass Effect Andromeda has been delayed until 2017. In a blog post, the company said that, though the game is headed in the right direction, they know that they will need more time to deliver on their goals of more player freedom than ever before, new uncharted worlds outside of the Milky Way, and offering the next great Mass Effect experience on new consoles and a new game engine. More information is planned for EA Play on June 12th.

The Dying Light team is issuing a new challenge to the community. Kill 2.5 million volatiles (the evil, adrenaline inducing night monsters) by 10PM PST, May 15th and they’ll reward us with a Kyle Crane outfit and a special weapon docket. Let’s get killing!

That’s all from us! Let us know what you think in the comments below!


Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight