These are The Witcher 3’s best quests
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt contains upwards of 100 quests – and that’s only the named ones. There are hundreds of hours of scripted drama to enjoy, and although there are very few quests that fall flat, there are definitely a few highlights that particularly stand out.
These are our favourite quests in The Witcher 3. Be warned of the plentiful and detailed spoilers that follow – you should not read on if you haven’t finished the main quest and the bulk of the secondary quests yet!
Ciri’s Story: The King of the Wolves
The Ciri sections are a bit of a shock to the system after hours of Geralt. Our ashen-haired swordswoman doesn’t have access to signs, bombs, potions, food or equippable items, which can leave you feeling quite vulnerable.
On the other hand, she’s so fast. Ciri isn’t invulnerable during her dodges but she moves so quickly that players can learn to use this to their advantage, drawing lone foes away from the pack and dodging away as they converge again. It is a masterclass in learning to use space to fight instead of spamming from your inventory, and you can take these lessons back to Geralt to discover he’s even more lethal than you realised.
This is the first Ciri mission you play and it’s a corker; you battle packs of enemies as well as one big tough werewolf. All the rest of it is just to give you a breather before your fingers fall off in shock. The good news is: Ciri only gets better from here.
A Towerful of Mice
One of Keira Metz’s quests, A Towerful of Mice has you investigating a tower abandoned after a violent rebellion. Use a magical artefact to put together the story of the inhabitants’ final hours, and enjoy the eerie happenings inside the very definitely haunted ruin.
The source of the haunting is a memorable character with a horrifying back story, and however you choose to resolve the matter you get a pretty sad ending.
It seems there might be a bug with this quest; when the ghost and the dude have a pash in the tower, you and he should both see her as gross slimy Plague Maiden. If you instead saw a shaded out generic female model, I regret that you missed this memorable experience.
A Princess in Distress
This short quest is triggered during Family Matters, when Geralt first meets the local Peller – a kind of shaman. He’s having trouble with the local authorities and is quite suspicious of our muscled hero, which may be why he insists that Geralt rescue Princess, his goat, before he’ll perform a divination.
The quest itself is not very hard, although it does contain a battle with a bear, and it doesn’t take very long to complete. What makes it special is two things: the ridiculousness of the famous and powerful witcher trotting about in a forest ringing a silly little bell and calling for Princess, and the fact that Geralt knows it. The witcher’s disgusted muttered commentary throughout the quest is well worth your time, although by the end of it he seems almost fond of his little charge.
Family Matters is a lengthy quest with several notable moments, but there’s one particular plot point that really sticks out. You see, it turns out that Anna exchanged her liberty for the assistance of the Ladies of the Wood in ridding herself of the Baron’s unwanted child, just before she fled her abusive husband.
If you’re familiar with the kinds of folklore and mythology in which The Witcher is rooted you won’t be surprised to learn that the miscarried babe returns to trouble the family. You can elect to kill it as a monster and try to use its blood to divine Anna and Tamara’s whereabouts, or you can bind it to the keep as a guardian spirit.
The harrowing journey from the child’s grave to the birthplace of the lubberkin, with wraiths attacking on all sides and the Baron attempting to reconcile the squirming, misshapen thing in his arms with the daughter he had longed for and whose death seemed to signal the end of his happiness, is definitely memorable.
Ladies of the Wood
The entire Crookback Bog sequence, which arguably includes Family Matters, The Whispering Hillock and Return to Crookback Bog as well as later missions Bald Mountain and even possibly Something Ends, Something Begins, is marvellous. The Ladies of the Wood are terrific adversarial characters who play into myths we’ve been programmed with for centuries. Their controversial position as genuine benefactors of a doomed land makes them more nuanced than pure villains. It’s never totally clear who and what they are, or how they fit in with the world.
Exploring Crookback Bog as you track down the witches, dealing with them and seeing the consequences of your interactions later on, is eerie and fascinating. Visit their basement sometime; it’s worth the trip.
Return to Crookback Bog
One of the most noticeable examples of consequential choice plays out during Return to Crookback Bog, when Geralt accompanies the Baron and Tamara on a mission to rescue Anna from the Ladies of the Wood. It’s here you see the results of your choice beneath The Whispering Hillock to free, or kill, the fourth Lady whose spirit is trapped there.
If you killed the spirit, the orphans of Crookback Bog are gone – and Anna has lost her mind. The Baron is broken by this turn of events, but determined to do anything to try and heal his wife’s shattered mind. He and Tamara form an uneasy alliance.
If you freed the spirit, dishonouring your original contract and missing hints hidden in lore books that the tree spirit is no better than its former sisters, the nearby village is destroyed and its people slaughtered. The orphans vanish, run off into the swamp to meet their fates at the hands of wild beasts, monsters and starvation. Anna is transformed into a Water Hag, and should you reverse the transformation, she dies. Later, you’ll find the Baron has commit suicide in his grief. Welp. Well done you.
Also there is a fight with a Fiend, which owns.
Dandelion and Priscilla sort of disappear after Act Two: Novigrad, but if you help your old friend achieve his dream of opening a Cabaret you unlock this chilling secondary quest.
In true CSI: Northern Realms style, Geralt hunts down a serial killer who performs disturbing surgeries on his victims after pouring formaldehyde down their throats. You get to run the sewers with a crossbow-wielding medic, raid the morgue, nearly catch the killer in action, and burst in on kinky brothel scene in your pursuit of justice.
What makes this one especially memorable is that it’s very, very easy to get it wrong by provoking a suspect into attacking you, which closes down your investigation. Later, you’ll hear of another victim and realise your error, and can choose to continue your quest for the true killer. The battle with the real murderer is a heck of a lot of fun, too.
What I really like about this one is that it shows off some quiet complex characters – in fact, the bait and switch relies on you reading a character as a one-sided villain. I must say though: the surprise ending is rather let down by the real murderers absolutely ridiculous fibs should you exhaust his dialogue during the investigation.
If you’re on Team Yennefer, this is the most important quest in the game. Opinions are divided on the tempestuous sorceress, but if you’ve ever been hard pressed to explain why you’re dating someone with whom you regularly hold dramatic screaming fights or who has a tendency to treat people like disposable objects, you’ll probably find yourself attracted to the steely mage.
Perhaps it’s because of her very obvious disdain for everyone else that the occasional glimpses of Yennefer’s regard for Geralt seem extra precious – or maybe, as Geralt says elsewhere, he’s never been interested in comfortable situations, the adrenaline junkie.
In any case, Yennefer and Geralt’s love is complicated by their long separations, intervening relationships, Geralt’s amnesia and, of course, the genie that bound them together forever. In this quest, one of those matters is resolved at last – and we get to see a side of the pair’s relationship that is usually played out off screen (I don’t mean naughty bits, either). It’s a long overdue answer to the question of why Geralt keeps coming back.
A Matter of Life and Death
This is not the mission where you secure Triss as a love interest, but to my mind it’s the superior of the two romance missions. Romping through the party gives you a chance to see Triss as she was and would like to be again, when mages are free of persecution and take their place in society. Drunk Triss is funny and adorable, and the kiss the witcher steals is pretty special.
That said, the most interesting things that happen here are to do with Triss, not Triss-as-Geralt’s-girlfriend, as her role in the exodus of Novigrad’s mages is explored. She reiterates a theme that has been running throughout all our encounters with her – that yes, she loves Geralt, but no, they don’t work, and she has her own shit going on.
After that, it’s kind of a pity to talk her into staying at the conclusion of Now or Never, although the resulting ending custecene suggests the two of them did get it right eventually.
A much tidier quest than the drawn out Of Swords and Dumplings, Master Armorers has you collecting some rare tools – pick them up on your way through The Lord of Undvik – and then hunting down a high level griffin. There aren’t enough opportunities to battle the biggest, scariest monsters and really make use of all your high-level gear and abilities, so it’s a welcome opportunity.
Moreover, the quest actively challenges the fantasy trope of masterful dwarf smiths, which is a lot of fun, and there’s a great bit where a Nilfgaardian shoots at Geralt with a siege bolt. Plus at the end you can craft Superior Witcher Gear. Look at the stats on that. Cor.
Of Dairy and Darkness
Geralt explores the ruins of a mage’s laboratory and discovers he had an obsession with cheese. Some other stuff happens and there’s some great loot to be found if you get here early enough, but in general it’s the cheesefield you come for, and the cheesefield you remember.
You may be gratified to know that CD Projekt RED didn’t make tyromancy up. It is as real as fields of divination go. I suppose it makes as much sense as haruspicy or hyomancy.
No Place like Home
There is no fighting and not even much exploration in this interim quest, and yet I personally rank it as one of if not the best in the game. If you’re a big Witcher fan or have just come to know and like the characters, I think you’ll agree.
Putting aside the eye-rolling sex scene you’ll optionally experience if you’ve been romancing Yennefer, the quest has Lambert, Geralt and Eskel sharing a few drinks at the table. At one point Eskel gets lost and is found napping cuddled up with a goat. Later you can optionally dress up in Yennefer’s trousers and drunk dial a mage. None of this description does justice to what is a genuinely warm and funny series of events.
I had to restrain myself from tweeting spoilers all the way through this quest, and the first thing I did after finishing it was to text a similarly obsessed friend and insist she crack on and see it so we could fan out together.
Perhaps the most effective aspect of No Place Like Home is the way it bookends the next quest, Va Fail Elaine. This quest is similarly short on action, but has a very different tone that makes it somewhat uncomfortable to endure. It’s sort of like the bitter medicine to go with your sugar.
Child of the Elder Blood
Although Child of the Elder Blood kicks off a rather disappointing and confusing last minute plot twist, it also hosts some extremely important moments in Ciri and Geralt’s relationship. Over the course of this quest you can make multiple decisions that have a significant impact on Ciri’s development, and as such, on which ending you eventually see. You also get to see new aspects of Ciri’s personality, such as her frustration with her fate, her distrust of those who attempt to use her and her insecurities regarding her worth beyond her magical inheritance.
If you choose to accept and validate Ciri’s emotional responses rather than shut her down and focus her on the matter at hand, you’ll see one of the nicest scenes in the game. Geralt playfully invites Ciri to channel her frustrations – as he may have done with a snowball fight in an earlier mission – and the two of them have a great deal of fun together. Yennefer looks on, shaking her head at their childishness but supportive, in a perfect illustration of what holds their strange little family together.
On Thin Ice
It’s very rare for the final few missions of a game to live up to what’s come before, but On Thin Ice manages it and then some. In reward of your efforts to date, you get to face off one on one against the big baddies you’ve seen time and time again, instead of being fobbed off with a cutscene, a quick time event or a wave battle.
Both of the boss battles are rewarding – tough, with interesting enemy abilities, and calling on everything you’ve learned so far. Those who prepare well will have enormous advantage in Geralt’s battle, which is quite satisfying, and it’s pretty awesome that Ciri gets to take on one of the bosses, too – especially as she’s been getting more and more badass with every appearance.
Something Ends, Something Begins
How you feel about the epilogue mission largely depends on which one you see, I guess, but I found virtues in them all. Each of them focuses on Geralt’s relationship with Ciri, which is the heart of the game, and even the “good” endings are a little heartwrenching, as the witcher’s foster daughter grows into an adult with her own life.
Epilogues are hit and miss, as sometimes it’s better just not to know, but Something Ends, Something Begins is more than just a “and then they all lived happily after”. For that, please see the ending cutscenes – although because this is The Witcher, happy endings aren’t on the table for everyone.
Now tell us yours
There are so many great, intense battles and absorbing story moments in The Witcher 3 that we can’t possibly have listed all of your favourites. Correct this terrible oversight in the comments below.