10. Blood and Wine
Go and meet the soldiers where they will have a small request to help them in a small task. You may agree or decline. Either way, they will tell you of a beast that needs to be taken care of in Toussaint and you will travel there. Just before setting out, equip Lightning Reflexes in your character tree if you've already unlocked it. It's not necessary, but will be useful for an upcoming achievement. Now immediately you get there, you will get into a battle with a giant called Golyat. But just before Geralt fights the beast, the achievement The Witcher's Gone South should pop.
Now for the battle with Golyat. Just duck and roll, and also have your crossbow equipped. When you can get aim in the battle, use your crossbow to aim into the gaps in the ‘mask’ Golyat has on. If you get your shot in, you should kill Golyat with one shot and also earn this achievement.
What a start to Blood and Wine, right? You already have 2 achievements and the game has barely started. Anyway, as the story unfolds, the main quest will have you at the Cockatrice Inn. After the cutscene, go to the notice board outside and pick up on the available jobs. You should pick the ‘Wine Wars’ note that will get the Wine Wars: Belgaard side quest. We’ll get back to this a little later. While still at the Cockatrice Inn, be sure to play the innkeeper in a game of gwent to win a unique Skellige deck card. This will also trigger the side quest Gwent: Never Fear Skellige’s Here. You will have to complete your Skellige deck of 43 cards to complete the quest. Luckily, the location of all cards is marked on the map. You will also be able to win 24 cards in one go when you go for the base deck by talking to Count Monnier about the gwent tournament. He will give you a history of the Skellige deck, then invite you to take part in a tournament with only a Skellige deck. DECLINE to take part in the tournament. As you’re walking away, Count Monnier will try entice you by giving you the base deck to start of with. Once you have all the cards, you will unlock I Have a Gwent Problem.
Follow the main quest objectives and after an adventure, you will find yourself in an arena fighting a Shaelmaar. I died quick in this fight a couple of times before I got the hang of it. You need to attack it when it has it’s underbelly exposed. This happens when the beast hits the wall during its 'death roll'. Hitting it with Aard will get its attention and it will do the death roll. Just roll out of the way, and attack it when it knocks the wall and rolls over. At the end of the fight, you’ll have a choice to either kill it or spare it. Spare the Shaelmaar! This is part of an achievement.
A few cutscenes later and you’ll be taking part in a treasure hunt. You’ll need to get a unicorn and a golden fish. To get the unicorn, have some treats for the horse in hand. Treat that works is a basket of carrots. There should be some handily available nearby with the picnicking families. Golden fish is easy to find with your witcher senses once you’re in the water. Meet up with the duchess and you’ll have to answer a riddle. The answer is ‘greenhouse, but any answer will progress the cutscene and complete the quest.
. After the cutscene, head to beauclair to the marker in the map. As you approach the area, a child will approach you and give you a letter. Take the later and TIP the child. This also counts to the achievement for sparing the Shaelmaar.
The letter you get will start the side quest, Turn and Face the Strange. Follow the quest leads that will eventually get you to Professor Moreau’s lab where you’ll be able to advance Geralt’s mutations. You will be notified that you can advance Geralt’s mutations in the Character menu. You will need either a Greater Red/Blue/Green mutagen and 2 ability points to start a mutation. When you do, you will unlock Weapon “W”.
While you’re sightseeing in Beauclair, go to the notice board and get the Grandmaster Armorer and Test Yourself with the Trials of Virtues. Take on the ‘Test Yourself with the Trials of Virtues’ and go to the isle where you will encounter a hermit who’ll explain to you about the virtues and the reward. If you spared the Shaelmaar earlier and tipped the boy who gave you the letter, you’ll find that you’ve already attained the virtues of compassion and generosity. You might also find you already have valour from completing contracts. There are several opportunities to prove your virtues. You can get the virtue of wisdom by choosing the option ‘No one dies today’ in the quest Father knows worst and reconcile the brothers. You can also prove you are a man of honour in the quest Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Granite! At the end of that quest, choose to take the ‘jewels’ back by either lending them for a day or taking them outright. Once you have all 5 virtues, return to the hermit to have him judge your deeds. There will be one more test that you should manage well enough. Complete the final test and you shall be rewarded with a fabulous sword and the Embodiment of the Five Virtues.
A couple of side quests opened up after defeating the Shaelmaar in the arena; No Place Like Home and The Warble of a Smitten Knight. No Place Like Home will lead you to Geralt’s newly acquired crib with a vineyard, Corvo Bianco. Talk to the Majordomo and allow him to give you a tour of the place. After the tour, you will have the option of upgrading Corvo Bianco to its former glory. You will need 14,000 crowns for this. First do a general house upgrade for 5,000, then acquire the grindstone and armourer’s table for 1,000 each. Geralt will have to wait 3 days (or meditate) before adding the final touches. Now do all the other upgrades; better bed, weapon rack, armour stands and improve the guest room all for 3,000. Then move on to the grounds; roomier stable for roach and herbs in the garden all for 4,000. After 2 days (you can meditate), when the last of the upgrades complete, the achievement Playing House should pop.
Use all available options for developing Corvo Bianco.
The other quest The Warble of a Smitten Knight involves helping the knight you helped in battle with the Shaelmaar, Guillaume and his quest to win his love’s hand, Vivienne. You will need to take part in the Knight Tourney and win all the events. There are four events you have to win. Shooting range is easy and Geralt will need to shoot all the red targets before his competitor shoots shoots his blue ones. Next event is a horse race against the clock. Striking dummies and hit targets with your cross-bow will add to your time. Having the quick-reflexes ability helps with the crossbow shots. After this, there will be a cutscene where you will be challenged depending on who you choose to be in the tourney. If you’re Geralt of Rivia, you’ll have a mounted duel with the Prince of Rivia, otherwise you will fight Count Tailles and a couple of his thugs. Seems this doesn’t count towards winning the tourney though. After this, you will be diverted from the tourney for a bit and will need to follow and find Vivienne. After a few cutscenes with Vivienne and Guillaume, you will have the option to either withdraw from the contest or finish it. You will need to finish the tourney. The next contest will be a 5v5 team battle and it is the trickiest, especially on the higher difficulties. The idea is to eliminate the members of the opposing team. You more or less have to be the last man standing and you might find yourself facing 5 opponents if your team is wiped out! Win this battle, and you will face the tournament champion in a duel. It’s a simple fight, and you need but roll and dodge his attacks. Defeat him and you will be rewarded with Geralt of Rivia’s sword, 200 crowns and the achievement A Knight to Remember!
For a simple achievement in the game, equip Northern Wind bomb and your crossbow. Next time you get into a fight, save an opponent and really whittle down his health to the point of a one-hit kill. Toss a northern wind and once frozen, hit him with a crossbow bolt. The enemy should die from this crossbow hit and if successful, Geralt will say the iconic "Hasta La Vista" before you unlock the achievement.
Now, turn your attention to getting all the witcher grandmaster diagrams. Some of the treasure hunts will be straight-forward, while others will take you across the entire map. Start off with the treasure hunt for the Manticore set. When you finish searching the cave for the second diagram of the Manticore set, switch over to do the Wolven Gear set that’s located nearby and can be completed in this area. After completing the Wolven set, switch to the Ursine treasure hunt that is located nearby at Flovive. After completing the Ursine set, switch to the Griffin quest which is in the general neighbourhood. Complete this quest and then finally you can resume with the Manticore set quest in Lebioda’s Temple. You will get 2 more diagrams here before the quest sends you south. Before continuing with the quest, switch over to the Feline set quest that are in the general area as well. Once done with that, you can continue following that pesky witcher Merten’s trail across all of Touissant to complete the Manticore set. When you get the last diagram, you will unlock Turned Every Stone.
Now you can head back to the Grandmaster Lazare Larfargue and present him with the diagrams to complete the Master Master Master Master quest. You actually don’t have to wait until you have all the complete sets of the Grandmaster diagrams to complete this quest. Now you can craft the grandmaster items with Larfague, the only grandmaster blacksmith in the game. Some of the sets can be a costly and timely affair to craft since you have to craft the lesser versions first before upgrading them to their grandmaster versions. The Manticore set is the easiest and cheapest to craft since you start of straight at Grandmaster level. Craft the Silver and Steel swords, armor, boots, trousers and gauntlets. Equip them and get your achievement, Dressed to Kill.
Dressed to Kill
Unlock the bonus for equipping all the witcher gear elements from one School.
Turn your attention now to the Wine Wars: Belgaard quest. Go to the location of the advertised auction and it will trigger a cutscene. At the end of the cutscenes you will end up with two quests; Wine Wars: Coronata from Liam and Wine Wars: Vermentino from Matilda. Each quest will have you take on 5 different tasks. You can start with either one and take on the quest until you come upon a ‘Letter on elegant paper’ and read it. Geralt on reading the letter will suggest to go to the other wine wars quest to search for clues. Switch over to your other wine war quest and continue with the tasks until you happen on the same letter. On reading, the quest Wine Wars: The Deus In The Machina will become available. Complete this quest and head back to the auction to update Matilda and Liam on what you’ve found. This will kickoff the Wine Wars: Consorting quest. Complete the tasks (10 tasks) and head back to Liam and Matilda. But that is not the end! There will be 5 more tasks for you again given by the new consortium. Go around and complete that tasks which are more or less similar to the previous ones. Once done, return to Belgaard for your reward. Matilda and Liam will also ask you to return after 3 days for a surprise. Go back (or meditate) after 3 days for your surprise. Give it any name from the choices, completing the quest and getting,
With all those achievements out of the way, carry on with the main quest(s). In La Cage au Fou, you will encounter a creature that you can save. This really has no bearing on the game, but if you want to save it, examine all other items in the room where the objective is to investigate the cauldron. Do this before examining the cauldron. There will be a cutscene and Geralt will then be presented with a choice to lift the curse. There will be another option to make after this, and choose to have the meal WITHOUT spoons. That should do it and continue with the quest. Continue with the main quests that should be straight-forward as they unfold this intriguing story. Note that when you meet up with Damien at Count de la Croix mill, it will be the point of no return. If you haven’t completed any of the achievements above or side quests, now is the time to do it, or make that save you will come back to. Once you get to the main quest The Night of Long Fangs, there’s a choice you will need to make. If you want to come back later and play an alternate path, choose the option ‘I need to think about it’. Now make a manual save that you can come back to later.
For now, choose Syanna’s path which means looking for Damien. Follow the objectives which will eventually complete the quest Night of Long Fangs and start the quest Beyond Hill and Dale. It is quite the fascinating path and enjoy your adventures in it. This is also the route for a chance for some romance, and going with the theme of the quest, it is a bit...different. You’ll know what to do when the time comes. Anyway, very important when you’re in the quest! There will be a point where you will need to talk to the Little Flint Girl. Make a save just before talking to her. Be sure to get back the ribbon she has that was once Syanna’s. You can either win it in a game of Gwent or pay 500 crowns for it. Now carry on with the quest. Towards the end of the quest, when you’re crossing a bridge, Geralt will note the Willow of the Wisp guiding you. Follow it over the railing of the bridge and under it into a cave. There will be a sword and a campfire. Light the campfire and Geralt will kneel (remind you of any game?!) and you will get the Gesheft silver sword. To get out, continue on to the end of the cave and you will climb back up. Return to Syanna and complete the quest. And then prepare for the hardest fecking fight! This fight is so damn hard, it gives you an optional side quest to prepare for the fight! Good luck with the fight, and the one tip I can give you is avoid the swarm of bats. Damn things will take almost all your life with Quen and all. There’re tips online that you should roll towards them to reduce the damage, but my tip is to run around the arena, then roll just as they come for you. Otherwise, be patient and dodge a lot. Check my video if you get stuck.
After the battle, there will be a quest Pomp and Strange Circumstance which will have an optional quest to find out who the fifth victim was to be. If you want a good ending, complete the side quest. When you’re in the tower questioning Syanna, choose these answers; “Cause she turned her back on you, forgot about you?” and “Ever thought to forgive her?” You other responses to Syanna won’t affect the outcome. Your responses to Damien also won’t matter, but when you meet the Empress go with “Got bad news…”, second response doesn’t matter and “You were children then, both”. But by the time you get to talking with the Empress, you should already have received The Order of Vitis Vinifera and gotten the achievement Last Action Hero.
NB - This achievement might glitch on you as it did for me. If it doesn’t pop during the ceremony, then try hard-resetting your Xbox and replay the last checkpoint, going to the tower to see Syanna.
Remember the save you made just before you talked to the Little Flint Girl… Time to load it. This time though, don’t get the ribbon for Syanna from her. The rest plays out the same, except that you will have the option to fight or spare Detlaff. Whatever your decision, you will unlock Kling of the Clink.
I did this for the experience of another path (which is quite interesting and has fascinating stories), but if you’re just interested in getting the last achievement and saving some time, you can load the save you made. Back to The Night of Long Fangs. You will now take the Orianna path. Go the her and ask where to find the Unseen Elder. You will need to help her with something before she tells you how to get to the Unseen Elder. Follow the objectives and you will get to see the Unseen Elder...but he’s not the most welcoming of guests and whatever dialogue option you choose will end up the same. After this, pick the healing potions in the cave, then after this collect your gear. Follow the path in the cave and you will get to a room where you should find a mage’s letter. Track the mage’s footprints and you will eventually find his body, which should give you a tip on how to make your visit to the Unseen Elder more welcome. When you do get the chance to talk to the Elder, when you get the dialogue options, choose “Detlaff spells trouble for you”. After a bit of conversation, you should complete the quest and go to your meeting point with Detlaff for what will be a familiar fight.
And that's it folks! Congratulations on completing one of gaming's greatest games!
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