The Witcher 3’s story is massive one, spanning multiple frontiers in Geralt’s hunt for Ciri, his surrogate daughter. And yet, if you can easily miss out on some truly amazing side quests that provide stories as engrossing as the main plot, and rewards that are too good to pass up. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of the best side quests you shouldn’t pass up in The Witcher 3.
This Velen side quest may not be important to some, but if you’ve played the Witcher 2 it may have a more special meaning. If you either imported your Witcher 2 save where you spared the Witcher Letho, or told the Nilfgaardian court that he’s still alive, you’ll be able to run into the former Witcher. You can do so by picking up the quest The Fall of the House of Reardon, or by simply investigating the abandoned and trap-laden manor in the middle of the Velen woods. This quest serves as a nice callback to the events of the previous games, and your actions here can also ensure that Letho can help you in turn later in the story.
Early on in the main story you’ll meet the mage known as Keira Metz in Velen. After completing the main quests Hunting a Witch and Wandering in the Dark, take up Keira’s offer to meet at her home in Velen, where you’ll be able to take up the quest, A Towerful of Mice. What starts as a simple quest to lift a curse on an island gets a lot more complicated as you learn of the terrible truth behind the events on Fyke Island by talking to the spirits of the dead, and end up having to make a tough choice that’s not likely to make all parties happy in the end. On the plus side, this quest puts your one step closer to romancing Keira Metz.
Most Witcher 3 fans agree that the character known as the Bloody Baron is one of the most intriguing, despicable, and saddest characters you’ll meet during the main quest. After you help out the baron determine where his wife and daughter have gone, you can stick around to continue helping the Bloody Baron – but things will get even stranger. All of the choices you make around the bog will reveal their consequences at the culmination of this story – intertwining the lives of the baron and his wife, as well as the fate of the Crones, orphans, and the mysterious Whispering Hillock. As you can expect in The Witcher 3, you won’t be able to find a true happy ending for everyone involved.
Once you’re able to visit the Skellige Isles, look for the Arinbjorn noticeboard to take on The Phantom of Eldberg contract, which will then open up a new side quest. Geralt will be tasked with helping Madman Lugo’s son, Blueboy, as he investigates the Cave of Dreams. The cave is a pretty trippy place, which will cause Blueboy and his crew to deal with all sorts of horrifying visions, culminating in Geralt having to face his own worst nightmare. This fact alone makes the quest a very intriguing one, and worth checking out when in the neighborhood.
While you’re in Skellige, once you’ve completed the main story quest Nameless, you can decide to pursue romantic intentions with Yennefer, by finding the same djinn that entwined the star-crossed lovers fates. The quest alone provides a great look back on their complicated history together, and as Geralt you can decide just how much of your feelings for Yennefer are due to the djinn’s granted wish. Of course, it’s also worth looking into this quest as one of several that cement your relationship with Yennefer.
On the opposite side of the romantic coin, this quest in Novigrad begins after taking on A Matter of Life and Death, and is one of the necessary steps to proving your love for Triss Merigold. Instead of just focusing on Triss, this quest has a bit more stakes involved, as Triss needs your help getting her and her fellow mages out of Novigrad to escape to Kovir. Your fight to free them from the grasp of the Witch Hunters will not only affect the city of Novigrad, but also if you’ll allow Triss to leave and become the leader of the mages at Kovir, or seduce her into staying by your side.
This late game side quest in Novigrad only shows up after you’ve finished a long chain of quests that include An Eye for an Eye, A Deadly Plot, and Redania’s Most Wanted – and you’ll also need to gain Djikstra’s favor during the main questline known as Final Preparations. What sets this side quest apart from others is that it will have a huge impact on the war that’s been looming in the background of Geralt’s story, as you’ll get the opportunity to help assassinate the king of Redania. Depending on your actions, and how you decide to act once the job is done, Geralt stands to make a huge impact on the fate of the land.
Everyone loves Dandelion the Bard, and after you save him during the main quest A Poet Under Pressure, and follow up with the Cabaret side quest, you can undertake this murder mystery as well. What follows is a fun and length investigation into a serial killer lurking in Novigrad. And like any good murder investigation, you can easily get things wrong and attack the wrong suspect – a fact you’ll only find out once you hear that the murders have continued despite your rush to judgement. Be sure to pick up this quest if you fancy Geralt as the star of CSI: Novigrad.
This particular quest takes place in the Blood and Wine DLC, and may not be for the faint of heart. By this, I mean if standing in line, filling out forms, and dealing with bureaucracy give you pause, Paperchase will make you tear your hair out. In this quest Geralt finds out a man who owes him money has instead deposited it into a bank under his name, and what follows is a painfully realistic interpretation of trying to get anything done in a bank or similar government building. The good news is you can decide to end the quest by getting in a fight. The bad news is if you want to get the better reward, you’ll have to wait a whole week to get a bit of extra coin and a sword for all your troubles.
Scavenger Hunts may not exactly be “side quest material” as there isn’t a whole lot of story involved, but it’s extremely worth it to know there’s a ton of excellent gear out there you can easily miss if you don’t know where to look. By exploring new areas and stumbling upon blacksmithing diagrams for certain Witcher Gear, you can learn of scavenger hunts to track down the remaining weapons or armor parts, and then even learn how to upgrade them as you progress through the game. Each set covers a different Witcher “school”, and can help you take down enemies in whichever style you prefer. For these reasons, you should always keep an eye out for these diagrams, and check out where to begin your hunt for each of the Witcher Gear sets:
- Griffin Witcher Gear
- Feline Witcher Gear
- Ursine Witcher Gear
- Wolven Witcher Gear
- Viper Witcher Gear
- Manticore Witcher Gear
There’s arguably a ton of more incredibly interesting quests out in the world of The Witcher 3 to peak your interest that we haven’t even scratched – and luckily we have guides for every side quest, interactive maps, and much more in our Witcher 3 Wiki. If you’ve already scoured the Northern Kingdoms and beyond, let us know what your favorite quests were, which had the best stories, or if they had a reward that really stood out!
Brendan Graeber is a Guides Editor for IGN, and wishes he had a Hyperbolic Time Chamber to replay The Witcher 3 before Cypberpunk 2077 comes out in just a few months. Follow his attempts to ignore his increasing backlog of games on Twitter @Ragga_Fragga.