During Christmas, my app stores (Steam, GOG) have insane sales. These sales are so big that you'd be forgiven for thinking they were going out of business. I'm not sure if I've mentioned my DLC policy, but here it is: I only buy DLC on sale, and only for games I've played and liked. These were on sale, and so were the Fallout 4 ones. I got them all. Fallout 4 will be my next RPG reviewed.
This started a while ago. I looked on the map around Novigrad, and saw a whole chunk of the map empty. I hadn't gone there. So being the in-game adventurous type, I headed out there. At some point on the road, the game told me to turn around. I asked "What? Is this DLC-ville?" Turns out: it was. It ended up being the area that Hearts of Stone happens.
The first monster you go after is attracted to blood and alcohol. Like blood and wine? What? I thought I wasn't playing that expansion yet! I double checked to make sure, and yes, there had been no mistake. Further on, you need to summon a ghost and go out on the town with him. The rub is that only Geralt can see or hear him. After some negotiating, the ghost possesses Geralt, and they go to a wedding party, with one of Geralt's girlfriends. That ghost was such a jerk, but it was hilarious to see Geralt talk and act that way, alternating with people thinking that Geralt is talking to himself.
The whole quest line about a man with a heart of stone, and someone I thought was a genie who's going after him. I thought that this was strange, because I thought Geralt is supposed to have the heart of stone. Emotions are allegedly removed from witchers, in order for them to maintain neutrality and level headedness. This man took it to another level, and yet I've seen Geralt be more emotional.
Soon after accepting this quest line, I noticed about every other person came from the same far off land. That's suspicous. I found one that was a master rune smith. I've been applying runes and glyphs to my equipment all throughout the game, and went as far as I could go. This rune smith could go even further. I spent my tons and tons of gold I had been amassing the whole game, and invested in this man's business. He got going again (he lost his previous equipment at sea), and I got very sweet and powerful upgrades.
As aluded to, Blood and Wine is the second expansion. This was so big that a few publications considered this for RPG of the year, even though it is merely an expansion. For the first time I remember in the games, Geralt isn't in a battlefield, swamp, ghetto, or any crappy looking place. The Duchy of Toussaint is a region to the south of the rest of the game. I think it's supposed to be southern France: there are vineyards and knights everywhere, and the names of things aren't fully pronounced.
Even though it is a conquered land, there has been no war here, and everything is bright and colorful. It's where a fairy tale might happen. But make no mistake: A thread of vengeful honor and anger runs through this place. The duchess hired Geralt to investigate a series of murders. Vampires soon get involved, and it will all culminate in a night of blood and fire.
Going about my business, I discovered an extra upgrade level to Witcher equipment. Sign me up! Except when I realized that the armor needed some special metal that was about 10,000 gold a piece, I balked. I'd rather find some myself! As of yet, I've had no luck.
As always, the sidequests are well done. One involved tripping balls so hard that I was having conversations with my horse. I became a knight in one, only to lift a curse in the end. Another unlocked a whole new skill tree of mutations with new mechanics. I unfortunately did not explore that as much as I hoped, since it ate skill points almost indiscriminately. I'm level 85 at this point, and skill points are rare, and I like my spec, so I'm not redoing it.
As a reward for coming, I got a house, complete with it's very own historic vineyard. The place looked like it had been nice once, but it was a dump, so I dumped a lot of gold into it, and made it great again. During the main quest of the original game, I choose Yennifer instead of Triss. The ending of the game said that we'd have a quiet, happily-ever-after retirement in the mountains. I think this is exactly where that will happen.
Goodbye, Geralt. It was a pleasure knowing you.