The Witcher 3’s Gwent Card Game Going F2P Standalone

That there Ian Video Games was telling the truth, you know: The Witcher 3‘s card game Gwent is being spun off into its own standalone game. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game [official site] will be free-to-play, and is due to enter beta in September.

Gwent, if you’ve not played The Witcher 3, is a card game where players summon warriors to the battlefield in three different ranges – melee, ranged, and siege – to put together a high power score than their opponent. There are cards to murder their men, of course, and various fancy abilities. Players only have ten cards across the best-of-three match, so caution is necessary.

I really like Gwent in The Witcher 3 as a diversion from all the questing and monster-slaying but I’m curious how well it’ll work as a standalone game. In TW3, too much is decided by drawing high-power cards immune to spell effects, and a limited pool of cards means you can’t be too creative with decks. Surely they’ve got some clever ideas up their sleeves for this standalone, though.

You can sign up for the beta if you fancy a go early.

Do check out the rest of our E3 2016 posts, previews, odds, ends, and gubbins.

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  1. Nevard says:

    I’m not going to lie, I’m kind of surprised that there was any demand for this.
    I just couldn’t find Gwent engaging at all.

    • Arkayjiya says:

      You’re surprised that there is a non-negligible amount of people who don’t share your opinion?

  2. phreddo says:

    Likewise, but I’ve never been a big ccg kind of guy. (and goodness, some of the gwent cards ingame were really expensive!)

    • Horg says:

      The way I see it, when you encounter a merchant with Gwent cards for sale, you were just keeping their gold warm.

  3. FCA says:

    I liked it, it was pretty much the best game-in-a-game that I’ve played, but as a standalone game it seems pretty limited. And I played pretty much every major CCG there was back in the day. Magic, Star Wars, Star Trek, Middle Earth, Pokemon, Young Jedi (OK, maybe that was more basic than Gwent), Deadlands, even the very shortlived Dune CCG.

    And F2P? Haha, no…

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Perhaps F2P will please the Gwenture capitalists, but I sure don’t like it. I might play The Witcher Adventure Game some day, but this is the first CDPR game that I can’t see myself playing.

  4. TheButler83 says:

    Excellent news, I loved Gwent so much so I ordered the hardcopy Gwent decks recently (Condottiere has similar mechanics and has been a good stop gap) and hopefully this will be more complex.

  5. SaintAn says:

    This is very sad news. F2P is always a scam, and if this dev is starting to scam people then they’re starting on the path of greed that Blizzard, Valve, BioWare and many other once great devs have gone on once becoming loved. They should make the game complete and everything unlockable in the game and cost a box price and have large expansion packs later instead of microtransactions.

    I’m sure some simpleton will come try to argue with me that real card games sell card packs, but leave out the fact that this is a video game and real card games have cards like Black Lotus that can be sold for thousands of dollars because each card you own has its own worth and can be sold or traded.

    • mvar says:

      I wouldn’t call F2P “always a scam”.. Path of exile is F2P and a pretty decent game. Hearthstone is quite fun even without spending money on it and ok, you’ll probably never build that awesome killer deck for free, but you can still have fun. Now Gwent, it was a nice touch in W3 but personally i found it a bit too simple and i definitely wouldn’t pay a full price for *that*. With F2P i might give it a try though and see if they enhanced the gameplay to make it interesting and comparable to HS

    • BlackMageMario says:

      You say F2P is always a scam, and yet DoTA 2 exists.

      • Emeraude says:

        Weird, your sentence started off like there would be a counter-argument at its end.

        • Kitsunin says:

          This just in, completely free game with fairly minor cosmetic microtransactions found to be a scam. Details at 6.

    • kidwhix says:

      Easily the greatest example of a balanced free to play game is TF2. The game requires you to spend no money and still be as good as everyone else

  6. k47 says:

    F2P is a mixed bag, with both good and bad business models. And so are games with a retail price, with good and bad value for their price (at both AAA and indie levels).

    If you reaaaally believe deep down that it’s a matter of “F2P is always a scam” or seriously call it “the path of greed”, then I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe I shouldn’t try to tell you anything, in case I get to be called a simpleton too.

    • k47 says:

      This comment was a reply to SaintAn, but oh well.

    • Emeraude says:

      And so are games with a retail price, with good and bad value for their price (at both AAA and indie levels).

      But at least you know the admission price beforehand. You don’t have that luxury with F2P, and there’s no ceiling. And any F2P system in place as far as I can tell is going for an approach that is all about making a minority over-pay the price of admission.

      Which is, well, something that quite bothered me with the Overwatch debate. As I see it, what people who say “this is only cosmetics, so it doesn’t matter” are actually saying is:

      a) It doesn’t matter to *me* (which in itself is fair enough), so why should we collectively care?
      b) I don’t care that the practice is predatory – specifically tailored to make people with certain psychological profiles pay in spite of themselves, and for of certain number of those beyond what is reasonable – as long I’m not the victim, and as long as I can profit from it. That second one is especially important since people will tell you that the influx of money is necessary for continued development of the game, and to prevent the segmentation that would happen with DLC packs.

      But then those are other possible payment schemes. A bite-size subscription based model could have been adopted. With fairer practices across the board for it. But then everyone would have to pay. Not just the segment of people for whom cosmetics matters and who are susceptible to the predatory skinner box practices.

      Oh, well, sorry for the rant.

      • k47 says:

        I mean, I’m with you on not liking Overwatch’s model. I don’t like full retail games that also feature microtransactions. And even if I didn’t have a problem with them, the microtransaction model itself is pretty badly implemented on Overwatch. But that’s another topic altogether from this, and not a topic that I want to get dragged in since I don’t even play Overwatch and I simply see it from outside.

        And back to the topic, look, I agree that F2P has its issues, and that badly or greedily implemented hurts consumers (and also IPs) a lot more than just a bad retail game with a fixed price. I play a mix of games, some are F2P, some are retail. There are arguments about which is better for each game, which is safer, which is more fun, etc etc etc. But I was just arguing against the position of “F2P is always a scam” which is simply not true, and invalidates many other discussions that are worth having about this business model.

        And bottom line, while I don’t trust blindly in CDPR to just accept whatever they put out just because they are CDPR, I’m willing to see what they can offer on the CCG market and not immediately rule it out just because I don’t love the business model.

      • BBJoey says:

        the admission price to a “free to play” game is “free”. hope this helps

        • Emeraude says:

          It’s not free. It’s subsidized. Others are paying for those that don’t.

  7. Horg says:

    I had a quick look at the website to see if they had announced any significant changes to Wild Hunt Gwent. It’s light on mechanics details, but one point that stuck out was matchmaking. They say players will be match made based on an approximation of deck power, which should work really well for a FtP title. They probably will sell card packs, but a deck score matchmaking system would mean you shouldn’t get your starter deck put up against the guy with every gold card. That would be harder to pull off in more complex CCGs as deck strength becomes harder to gauge the more mechanics are in play. Also, there’s a single player campaign. Hard to argue with free single player.

  8. Hunchback says:

    I don’t understand why people are so stuck-up about F2P now. F2P is totally legit if done correctly and IS NOT a scam. Freemium is a whole different story but there are real F2P games that are perfectly fine and the only thing you are restricted from is cosmetics (DOTA2, SMITE, TF2, Unreal Tournament…)

    Stop calling any F2P instant bullshit, before even trying to see what’s free and what’s not.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Not sure about F2P – could go either way – but otherwise, sign me up!

  10. ColdAsIce says:

    Did no-one bother to watch the E3 video then? It’s not just the Qwent from W3 shifted onto it’s own platform. They are producing all sorts of new cards and balancing the game properly.

    You will be able to earn cards for free too.