If you've managed to somehow exhaust every last drop of content packed into Geralt's gargantuan vanilla adventure from earlier this year, then you're no doubt preparing to tuck into The Witcher 3's first drop of DLC - Hearts of Stone - later on today.
It's not the biggest slice of extra content that's planned for the game - next year's Blood and Wine expansion should prove to be a far meatier experience - but you can still expect to get around 10 hours of adventuring from this first update regardless. Hearts of Stone also introduces the Runewright to the game, an artisan capable of crafting all kinds of powerful weapon and armour enhancements to help you on your journey.
We're currently working our way through all of the main and secondary quests in Hearts of Stone, and building a comprehensive guide to the new DLC that will help you tackle even the trickiest of boss fights. You'll also find a list of all of the new Enchanting recipes available from the Runewright, and we'll be updating this section of the guide regularly as we unlock new tiers of weapon and armour upgrades.
A quick word on the layout of our guide before we start. As you play through the expansion, you'll find yourself completing main quests alongside side quests and we're writing up our walkthrough for each of these as we go. If you use the Next and Previous buttons in this article, you might stumble upon things somewhat out of order. Either bookmark this index page to jump straight to the content you need, or use the links at the bottom of each page to move cleanly through the content.
On this page
The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone - getting started, Evil's Soft First Touches, Toad Prince
How to start the new content, complete the first quest and finish your first boss fight.
The Witcher 3 - Dead Man's Party, Open Sesame!, The Safecracker, Breaking and Entering
Completing the first handful of quests in Hearts of Stone.
The Witcher 3 - The Caretaker, Witcher Seasonings, Scenes from a Marriage
How to complete Witcher Seasonings and Scenes from a Marriage, then kill the Caretaker.
The Witcher 3 - Wraith from the Painting, Iris' Greatest Fear, Olgierd
Our guide to the fight with the painting Wraith.
The Witcher 3 - Without a Trace, Rose on a Red Field, Drakenborg
Finishing up all of the side quests in Hearts of Stone.
Other The Witcher 3 guides:
The Witcher 3 main guide
Our Witcher 3 guide explains how to craft the most important items, find every ingredient, track down every beast and win more games of Gwent.
The Witcher 3 main walkthrough
Our complete walkthrough for the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, with a step-by-step guide to completing every main story and side quest in the game.
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine guide
All quests and contracts, Witcher Gear locations, and the new Mutations system explained.
The Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone walkthrough
There are two ways of starting the first slice of Witcher 3 DLC. If you've got a save with a level 30+ character, simply load it up. If you've not got one, then the game will helpfully create one for you within the New Game section of the menu. Note, however, that you should aim for a recommended level of 32 before getting stuck into the new content - 64 for New Game Plus.
However you get started, once you're in the game proper you'll notice a new quest in your log - just head to the Seven Cats Inn south east of Novigrad and read the noticeboard to get the ball rolling.
Evil's Soft First Touches
Head for the Seven Cats Inn just outside Novigrad and read the noticeboard. Once the short cutscene has finished (which unlocks Enchanting: Startup Costs), follow the marker to the Garin Estate where you'll come across a bunch of jokers. Endure their wisecracks, then head upstairs and speak to the chief to find out more. On your way out of the building, you'll be accosted by a woman - express interest in her story and you'll unlock the Rose on a Red Field. secondary quest.
Head to Oxenfurt and then enter the sewers via the ladder. Activate your Witcher Sense as you head down the narrow passageway, then examine the two sets of footprints. Fight off the Drowner in the first chamber, then use Witcher Sense to examine the corpse near the grating in the south-east corner of the room. Head into the next chamber and a cutscene will play out, reintroducing a character from Geralt's past.
Use Aard to knock out the right-hand corner of the wall and head for the marker. Watch the cutscene, drop down the hole, fight off a few more Drowners, then examine the body. Head deeper into the sewers, fight off a small pocket of Drowners, then use Witcher Sense to examine the patches of slime and corpses. Follow the new marker and prepare for a boss fight when the next cutscene finishes.
Boss Fight: Toad Prince
The Toad Prince is a bit of a swine to fight. He has a ranged attack that will poison you, he can stun-lock you with his tongue, he has a stomp attack that deals a lot of damage, and he's hard to get behind as he can turn 180 degrees in the air.
He is, however, vulnerable to Northern Wind, Golden Oriole, Cursed Oil, and Yrden, so we found the best strategy was to cast Yrden, run in for a couple of swipes of the sword, beat a hasty retreat, then run round the edge of the room while healing and chucking bombs at the beast.
After defeating the toad you'll pass out and come to on a ship heading to Ofier. During a lengthy cutscene another familiar face will be reintroduced, the weather will turn a bit nasty, and you'll eventually end up on a beach facing off against a group of Ofieri warriors and a mage.
Make sure you re-equip your armour as soon as the fight begins, and concentrate on taking the warriors out before dealing with the mage. He's got a teleport ability and a handful of ranged attacks, but by dodging and using Axii to temporarily stun him he should be fairly easy to dispose of. Alternatively you can just run away - they won't follow too far.
Whichever method you choose to deal with the fight, head for the marker once you're safe and wait for midnight. Naturally there's nothing at all suspicious about meeting a mysterious stranger at a crossroads and having him offer you your heart's desire in return for one small favour, so agree to it then head for the marker. Work through the dialogue to complete the quest and unlock the next part of the story.
- The next part of our walkthrough explains how to complete the Dead Man's Party quest.