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The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

New Game Modes Explained

Nathan Garvin

Every adventure begins somewhere, and in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, it begins by choosing various options in the main menu. First you’ll need to choose which sort of game you wish to start, and your options include the standard “Fresh Start”, two different DLC-focused quickstarts and New Game+. This page will discuss these game modes so you know which one is best for your gaming goals.

New Game Modes

When you start a brand new playthrough of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt you’ll get several options where you can choose the scope of the game mode you wish to start.

The following options are available for a new run of Witcher 3:

  • Fresh Start - Default mode, everything reset from scratch for 100%.
  • Hearts of Stone Only - Main quest completed, Geralt receives higher level gear, gold and items.
  • Blood and Wine Only - Main quest completed, Geralt starts out even higher level with better gear and items.
  • New Game+ - Keep your level, gear and money but start the story and quests over again.

You can find greater detail for each option below.

When starting a new game you can choose between a “Fresh Start”, two pre-generated DLC save states, or New Game+.

Fresh Start

The default game mode, you’ll start a new game from the beginning of the main story and can complete the entirety of the game’s content. Standard beginning-to-end, story, side quests, exploration, character building from scratch - all that good stuff. If you’re starting The Witcher 3 for the first time or making a new save to attempt a Death March! run, you probably want to select this option.

Hearts of Stone Only

You’ll begin the game with the main questline completed, with a Geralt leveled and equipped to get right on into the Hearts of Stone expansion. You’ll be Lv32 with relic-quality gear, have 20,000 gold and 42 skill points to distribute. You Gwent deck will be quite under-developed, which could make playing Gwent rather difficult unless you go around buying and winning cards (generally from innkeepers).

If you pick a DLC-only playthrough you’ll start out with a pregenerated Gearlt leveled and equipped for the task at hand.

Blood and Wine Only

Similar to the “Hearts of Stone Only” option, above, save that your Geralt will be a tad more developed. You’ll start out at Lv34, will possess relic-quality gear and the same 20,000 gold, but you’ll have 44 skill points to spend and somewhat better Gwent cards. This is good considering how Gwent plays a bigger role in Blood and Wine, but you still might need to wander around buying and winning more cards.

If you start a New Game+ playthrough you’ll keep your levels, gear and abilities. Enemies will scale to keep things challenging on your second run.

New Game+

If you’ve already completed the game you can pick the “New Game+” option to retain your levels, money, gear, but start the story over from the beginning and can replay every main quest, secondary quest, Witcher contract and treasure hunt over again. In fact, every undiscovered map marker will be removed from your map and repopulated, allowing you to clear it again, gaining any relevant treasures and rewards - including extra ability points from Places of Power. Enemies will also scale to be competitive again, so you won’t be wading through your second playthrough smashing tomato cans. On the downside, your Gwent collection will be wiped and you’ll need to recollect all your cards again, and while you’ll gain new ability points via leveling up and Places of Power, you don’t gain access to new ability slots, so you won’t be realizing the same gains you did with a “Fresh Start” Geralt.

Most players should just choose the “Fresh Start” option to start a new game from the beginning with a Lv1 Geralt. After making this decision you’ll need to choose the Difficulty and whether you wish to Simulate a Witcher 2 Save.

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Guide Information
  • Publisher
    CD Projekt
  • Platforms,
    PC, PS4, Switch, XB One
  • Genre
  • Guide Release
    24 June 2015
  • Last Updated
    12 July 2024
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Nathan Garvin (Haeravon)

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You are Geralt of Rivia, a professional monster-hunter known as a Witcher. You’ve fully regained your memories since your miraculous revival and escape from the Wild Hunt, and have cleared your name of the false accusations of regicide. In the wake of the assassination of Foltest, king of Temeria, the north have been rent by warfare as Nilfgaard launches its third major invasion, and the northlands have been united under the insane king Radovid. Overshadowing these petty politics is the mysterious return of Ciri - Geralt’s adopted daughter, who is now being pursued by the Wild Hunt.

The guide offers the following:

  • A full walkthrough that’s more than just a listing of quests-it’s an “ideal chronological order” that will get you through the whole game and allow you to see and do everything the game has to offer.

  • Side quests, including monster contracts and treasure hunts for obtaining powerful Witcher sets.

  • Descriptions of decisions, quests, and events that influence the various endings of the game.

  • Crafting and Alchemy information.

  • General strategies on how to take down foes large and small, monstrous and humanoid, boss or mundane.

  • Information on how to complete all the Gwent quests and obtain all the Gwent cards, including detailed Gwent strategies.

  • Trophy/Achievement information.

MASSIVE UPDATE: 7th September 2016 ongoing

  • Added DLC quests “Fool’s Gold” and “Scavenger Hunt: Wolf School Gear”.
  • Organisational changes in the Velen section of the walkthrough to reflect the increased level of Griffin School Gear.
  • Organisational changes throughout the walkthrough to provide a “no skulls” path through the game.
  • Added Death March difficulty tips and commentary throughout the guide.
  • More XP reward numbers included.
  • Walkthrough now includes additional information based on patch changes.
  • Various typo and grammar fixes.
  • Added DLC pages for Blood & Wine, Heart of Stone
  • Lots more quality of life improvements

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