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The Witcher 3 Adrenaline Points and special attacks explained

Fight harder and smarter.

The Witcher 3's Adrenaline Points help fuel some of Geralt's numerous abilities to help you cut through the monsters of Temeria and Skellige, but it's also one of the RPG's more confusing systems.

Most of the abilities you need Adrenaline Points for are only unlocked once Geralt's reached later tiers of his skill trees, so if you're just starting out, you don't need to worry about managing Adrenaline.

We'll show you how Adrenaline Points work in The Witcher 3 and how you can use them to your advantage next time you're fighting monsters.

What are Adrenaline Points in The Witcher 3?

Adrenaline Points are a resource you build up in combat in The Witcher 3, which you can then spend or use to fuel certain abilities. That's why they seem so useless at first. All the abilities that they're used for have to be unlocked as Geralt levels up, meaning that, for a while at least, your adrenaline points won't serve any use to you.

How to get Adrenaline Points in The Witcher 3

Adrenaline Points build up every time you strike an enemy, and they slowly decrease when you're not attacking anything. They're marked on your screen by the little red bar beneath your stamina, and as you fight enemies you should see it build.

Adrenaline functions as fuel for certain abilities in combat.

Certain abilities - mainly those in the combat tree - can boost the speed at which you gain Adrenaline Points, meaning that as you get stronger, you should be able to start filling that bar more rapidly.

How to use Adrenaline Points in The Witcher 3

There's no definitive way to use Adrenaline Points, as many abilities use them in different ways. Depending on what abilities you've unlocked, Adrenaline Points can stop you from dying, charge up your spells, unlock new moves, or increase the chance of instantly killing an enemy.

They're more of a battle currency than anything, gained through killing and spendable on all matter of advantages in combat. Look through the character skill trees to see what abilities you have that are already linked to them, and if you don't have any yet, look around to see what's available and what complements your combat style the best.

What are Special Attacks in The Witcher 3?

There are two special attacks in The Witcher 3, though both of these have to acquired as abilities before Geralt can use them.

Whirl is a rapid area attack where Geralt spins his sword around, hitting any close enemies multiple times in quick succession. You can trigger this by holding down the light attack button once you've unlocked and equipped the skill in the character menu. While it doesn't cost stamina or adrenaline to use this ability at first, continuing to hold down the button and spin in circles will start to drain both of these before long, meaning you can't keep it going forever.

Rend is a downwards, two-handed chop that takes some time to charge, using up stamina but also ignoring the target's defences. Rend's damage increases with how much adrenaline Geralt has stored up at the time. You can activate it by holding down the heavy attack buttons after equipping the skill.

Different abilities utilise adrenaline in different ways, as seen by holding the cursor over them in the character menu.

Whether you're just starting The Witcher 3 for the first time or need a refresh after a long time out of the saddle, check out our Witcher 3 walkthrough for all the essential info, including how to get the best ending and which quests you should actually do in the wide, open world.

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