Which Witcher 3 Expansion Should You Buy?

The Witcher 3 has been out for quite a long time now, and often goes on sale on Steam and GOG, along with its expansions. If you are itching to dive back in but not sure which Witcher 3 expansion to pick up, have both and want to know which one to start with, or want to know if they are even worth it, here’s the breakdown.

Touissant - Witcher 3 Expansion

There are two main expansions for The Witcher 3; Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. They are both good expansions although neither are necessary for a complete Witcher 3 experience. The base game offers plenty of quests, items, and content and very little of it is adjusted or changed in the expansions. Instead, these two expansions just add more.

However, there are 2 changes each expansion brings to the game. Hearts of Stone adds a new vendor which lets you craft special mods (Runewords) onto your weapons and armour. Blood and Wine adds new skills that you can get with mutagens after you have dumped a bunch of points into the base skill tree. Both of these systems could have been more interesting than they were, and both require a fair bit of grinding – especially the special vendor in Hearts of Stone. The benefits of exploring these are also pretty weak if you have gone through the main game already. The new runewords take a lot of work to unlock but didn’t feel much better than some of the magical weapons you find. The mutagen skill system also has a few interesting pieces, but again costed too much and gave so little to really invest in.

Because of this, I did not engage with these systems all that much.

The Hearts of Stone Expansion

Between the two expansions, this one is the smallest in the amount of content it adds, but we are talking Witcher 3 here and the smaller expansion is still substantial. The story is based on the Polish folk tale of Pan Twardowski, which shares many similarities with the Germanic folk tale Faust.

In Hearts of Stone, Geralt faces more fairy tale tropes, make morally ambiguous choices, and maybe help a demon? Witcher 3 is really good at engaging players with meaningful and memorable quests, and Heart of Stone delivers more. The usual “sniff out the trail and find the monster” quests are here too, but we also get some more variety in how Geralt interacts with the world. Shani, a character and love interest from the first Witcher, also makes an appearance.

Hearts of Stone is a very story focused game with some great characters and quests. It does not add a lot of new map locations or fluff, but is a solid ten to fifteen hours of great story telling. For this alone, it is the best of the two expansions. Unless you just want more.

Geralt and Rainbow - Touissant

The Blood and Wine Expansion

If you are still itching for more Witcher 3 after 70+ logged hours and want to go for 70 more, then Blood and Wine is for you. This expansion opens up a whole new map location, full of its own towns, side quests, monster nests, and more. Blood and Wine takes Geralt to the country of Touissant, the “French” part of the Witcher world.

In Touissant, Geralt will go on a main quest in a hunt for a serial murderer, fight vampires, and even go adventuring in a twisted fairy tale theme park. Want to fight the big bad wolf as Geralt? Then this is for you.

Whereas Hearts of Stone is story focused and does quality over quantity, Blood and Wine is all about quantity. More quests, more map locations, more hidden treasures. This expansion also adds a house for Geralt to upgrade and decorate, more Witcher gear to find, an a new Gwent faction.

The Gwent faction and the gear are fine, if those are things you are interested in, but the house I felt came too late. By the time I started Blood and Wine, I had already beaten the main quest (something which I recommend doing before finishing this expansion – for the ending) and Hearts of Stone. While I was happy to beat up vampires, the house felt unnecessary. Attached to the house is a garden for herbs (I had already crafted every potion and deconcoction I could), a bed for sleeping to get a small boost (which wasn’t noticeable) and a lab for creating mutagens to help you explore the added skill tree (I already had more than enough of all mutagens.) Thanks to being thorough in the game, the house offered me no real value at this point in the game and is something I would have appreciated a lot more if it was available from the very beginning of the game. I suppose if you start the game with the expansions and unlock it early, it will be.

Touissant is beautiful though, a land of colour as opposed to the drab or cold places in the base game. The sun sets are stunning, the landscape feels much more alive; it’s just a joy.

It’s also too big. Some side quests have you travelling across the map killing monsters and it really feels empty compared to Skellige, Velen, or Novigrad. It could definitely have been smaller without sacrificing much of the experience.

Which Witcher 3 Expansion Is Best?

Both are good but satisfy different aspects of the main game. Touissant is great, and has a few great moments that tie into the main storyline of Witcher 3 but playing through it became an endurance test. Hearts of Stone adds less, but makes up for it in quality.

At this point, picking up both in the next seasonal sale should be pretty cheap and easy. However, if you only can get one, Hearts of Stone is you like story, and Blood and Wine for more basic Witcher 3 goodness, without as much depth. Both are good, and you really can’t go wrong no matter which Witcher 3 expansion you get.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.