Information about how to unlock the Mutations tree in The Witcher 3 Blood and Wine. How to develop new Mutations and unlock extra ability slots.
How to Unlock the Mutagen Upgrade Tree
By the time you reach Blood and Wine, the four base skill trees will be showing their limitations. By the time Geralt’s level is in the mid-30s, You’ve likely unlocked the most useful skills, and have run out of the twelve slots you have to equip skills in. Given that you could easily hit level 45+ in Blood and Wine, this is a bit of a bother. At least, if you care about progression aside from new weapons and [armor sets]. Fortunately, there’s a solution, you can unlock a new skill tree in Blood and Wine - the Mutations tree. To do this you must complete the quest Turn and Face the Strange, which you can start just by heading into the square near The Gran Palace signpost in Beauclair, where a messenger scamp will deliver a letter to you. It’s a bit involved, so check out the linked page for more details.
How to Unlock New Mutagens
Once you take advantage of Professor Moreau’s research, however, you’ll get access to a new, albeit somewhat simple tree populated with twelve new mutation slots (six Basic Mutations and six Advanced Mutations). They’re split into the three color-coded branches found in the base ability tree - Signs (blue), Combat (red) and Alchemy (green). Basic Mutations have only one color (and hence require only one Mutagen color to unlock) while Advanced Mutations are a combination of two or three trees (and require two or three Mutagen colors to unlock). Unlocking any mutation will earn you the Weapon W achievement/trophy.
Investing in these new Mutations requires the expenditure of a varying number of Ability Points (gained by leveling up and drawing from Places of Power) and Greater Mutagens (created by combining lesser mutagens via the Alchemy crafting menu). The first three Basic Mutations require two Ability Points and one type of Mutagen, while other Mutations may require three or four Ability Points, two or three types of Mutagens (varying amounts of each) and other Mutations (you must purchase Toxic Blood before you can purchase Euphoria, for example).
How to Level Up the Strengthened Synapses Ability and Unlock New Ability Slots
As you purchase Mutations you’ll level up the “Strengthened Synapses” ability - the large node at the center of the Mutations tree. The higher the level of Strengthened Synapses, the more new ability slots you’ll unlock on the main tree; you’ll level up Strengthened Synapses after purchasing your first two Mutations, earning you one new ability slot, and will continue to unlock another ability slot every two Mutations purchased thereafter (two ability slots at four Mutations, three ability slots at six Mutations and finally four ability slots at eight Mutations).
These new ability slots allow you to equip more abilities from the main trees, and are located in the middle of the traditional twelve ability slots. Just keep in mind two things; first, mutagen bonuses don’t apply to these abilities and second, you can only equip certain types of abilities to them, based on what Mutation you have activated at the time. If you have an alchemical Basic Mutation activated - say Euphoria - you’ll only be able to equip alchemy abilities in these new slots. If you activate a combat-related Basic Mutation you’ll only be able to equip combat abilities. If you activate an Advanced Mutation, you’ll be able to pick a mix of abilities, varying depending on the Mutagens used to unlock said Mutation. You can only have one Mutation active at a time, and while it would seem like these new ability slots would be ideal for general abilities (since they don’t contribute to Mutagen bonuses), they can’t be placed here due to their lack of ability tree affiliation.
Fittingly, this is a fine place to shovel Ability Points for the rest of Blood and Wine, and with only twelve Mutations, it’s hard to go wrong. If you’ve invested heavily in Alchemy (highly recommended), then it’s easy to recommend the Euphoria Mutation, which will massively boost your sword damage and Sign Intensity based on your Toxicity level (the upper limit varies depending on your current maximum Toxicity). Simply chug a decoction and enjoy a massive boost to your combat stats for the decoction’s duration.
Developed a mutation.