Gwent gets complete redesign ahead of October launch

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Perhaps I did not appreciate The Witcher 3 enough at launch. I have a personal reason: I was on deadline to churn out an interview for a 100 hour game and I had less than 48 hours in which to do it. It’s as if games journalism has some broken cogs? I dunno, spitballin’ here. But I keep dipping back into the game, finding new reasons to love it, and finding a new level of appreciation for just how many games live within this one shell. I’m simply never had time for Gwent, so I’ve been waiting for the game to launch proper to give it my full attention.

I’ve got to wait a bit longer for Gwent to leave beta, but based on yesterday’s announcement it seems like CD Projekt Red knows that the wait will be worth it.

The team announced their plans via a statement to the community, defining Gwent Homecoming as a period of revamping the entire game before full release. “The redesign will leave no stone unturned,” said CD Projekt Red. “It’s still something that requires extensive testing, but we’re that serious about making things work.”

From the community memo:

“We want GWENT to kick some serious ass and reignite your passion for our beloved CCG. We would like to ask you for your trust and patience. We need 6 months of fully-focused development to deliver what we’ve planned. Aside from standard season transitions and events like Faction Challenges or Warped Arena rulesets, we will release only two updates during this time. One in April — it will introduce the missing Premium Cards as well as faction specific board skins — and one in May, which will balance out the game (Wardancer included) with a new approach to “Create”. Six months is a long time, however, on the flip side, after Homecoming concludes, we will go out of beta and release Thronebreaker at the same time. Don’t worry about your progress, once Homecoming is complete, for a limited time, you will have the ability to mill all of your cards for their full value. Regarding our esports activities, for now, our calendar is not changing.”

The single-player story campaign for Gwent, Thronebreaker, has had its campaign scope expanded, while The Witcher 3 writing team works their magic. Here’s the teaser trailer from last year, promising the game would be out, you know, last year. Also, try to not sing Thronebreaker to the tune of the Bond “Moonraker” theme. That’s what I’m doing now with my brain and mouth.

And here’s the summy image released with the community memo, detailing what’s to be addressed in the next few months.

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Consider reading Brendan’s post on how to be a bit of an ass in the game in a very fun way.

19 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Sounds kinda strange. After all that, potentially ripping out so much of the design… Sometimes that’s what you gotta do, but it’s a kinda late, no? This is why I stopped playing the beta personally: don’t have the patience for arcane hugely intricate rulesets at the best of times and especially not when the goal posts change every other month. I’ll try the game when it’s finished I guess, at least the singleplayer, but at this point, for all its imbalances I think I prefer original Witcher 3 Gwent (which is a completely different game) as you didn’t have to memorize the highly specific effects of hundreds of unique cards to understand what’s going on.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Having said that, I’m not especially a fan of card games normally, and most people seem to prefer new-Gwent’s higher level of complexity, so what do I know?

      • Xelos says:

        Yeah, The incredibly specific skills on all of the cards are monumentally obnoxious. The game is a chore to play as you need to constantly reread and memorize specific synergies. I find it so…messy.

  2. ShineDog says:

    Gwent standalone has definitely moved away from what made Gwent feel unique and I’m glad they are looking to rework it back towards the original idea.

    Dropping the uniqueness of the three rows just makes it not Gwent.

  3. Disposable157 says:

    Bringing back the uniqueness of the rows would be nice. I just wish they could do something about the prevalence of Net Decks. Or at least balance them out a bit. As it stands, whenever I play against Nilfguard I know I’m either going to be playing against the Reveal deck or the Alchemy deck, which is just so tedious.

    • trashmyego says:

      “I just wish they could do something about the prevalence of Net Decks.”

      There is no solution to this. And this is an inherent part of card games. The meta will define what is competitive within itself. Digital card games provide a more fluid manner in which to combat this, instead of flat out banning cards they can instead retool them, but restraint is still preferred because any nerf is going to be adapted to – it’ll go on forever.

      The regular complaints and oft labeling of ‘Net Decks’ in the digital card game communities now is perplexing. It’s merely the availability of information and known strategies, it’s basic literacy in the game’s mechanics and current card pool. It’s always existed, and the internet is NOT a new thing in relation to card games. The knowledge and meta issues have always been there for card games and they always will be.

      • Disposable157 says:

        Sure, but there are things that can be done about it. When Hearthstone split into Standard and Wild the Net Deck problem was reduced massively because all the tournament players stayed in standard whilst those that wanted more interesting decks went to Wild. The problem never really went away but it did get reduced, so you’re coming across as a little fatalistic. ‘there’s nothing that can be done to completely solve the problem so there’s no point in trying’ sort of logic.

        • Someoldguy says:

          What I find tedious about this is it feels like if somebody invented chess today, within months people would be complaining that it was too simplistic and you were always playing against a handful of standard “Net” openings. The best games don’t have to have a million arcane rules to memorise and good players absolutely do seek to learn from the best, while the best try to evolve new strategies to overcome the old.

          • Disposable157 says:

            It’s actually less of a problem with physical games because a big part of it is community – the tournament meta for Warhammer 40,000 for example is awful but that doesn’t affect me because I exclusively play against my friends. That’s not really an option for Gwent.

            I get that you think I’m just complaining but I don’t think you appreciate how tedious it is to have fully 40% of the games I play in Gwent be against the same two decks. The chess analogy really doesn’t work because both sides are mirrored, the only balance problem is First Move Advantage.

          • Someoldguy says:

            Yeah, I wasn’t levelling the accusation at you in particular, just the meta in general that a game has to have massive variety to be worth playing. Chess, go, bridge and games like them are classics because there is very satisfying gameplay to be had even with fixed pieces and standard moves. If that isn’t true with modern digital card games it’s because the game itself isn’t that good, or you’ve just played too much of it. Gwent works in Witcher (and similar minigames in previous RPGs) because in general you’re only playing a couple of games at a time then moving on to other tasks. PLaying Gwent and only Gwent for a whole day? No thanks!

          • Someoldguy says:

            By contrast I spent several years in a Bridge club where we shuffled and dealt those 52 cards repeatedly for an evening a week without feeling it lost its appeal.

        • Zamn10210 says:

          That’s not even really true of Wild in Hearthstone anymore. For a while homebrews were very prevalent in Wild, but the meta is much more figured out now and above rank 10 most people are playing meta decks. Above 5 everybody is.

          That’s exactly the point of course. There was initially a shortage of information about the Wild metagame as most players focused on Standard but that’s no longer really the case. The existence of a defined metagame with ‘net decks’ is inevitable.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    Unconvinced that a 6 month redesign is enough to fix the game. It’ll just be a perpetual beta.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      But if anyone can put a decent single player campaign into a CCG it’s CDPR. The multiplayer was ok, but it’s not what I’m interested in.

  5. Quickly says:

    I do hope the new board design can become as elegant as the version seen in the original game. Was one of the main things that put me off the standalone Gwent, in addition to the rather ugly choices of type design for the counters.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Actually, yeah that does seem like something worth overhauling. It’s not *bad* as such, but I definitely preferred the rustic quality of original Gwent to the more clean app-like art-style of standalone Gwent.

  6. KillahMate says:

    I’m actually singing it to the ‘Goldfinger’ theme.

    Throoone…breaker!

  7. timzania says:

    I really wanted and expected to like Gwent, and I’ll probably try it again once it’s out of beta, but I don’t think the game can fundamentally work. Without card costs (aka some kind of mana/economy system), plus the cards having only a simple “strength” value, there isn’t much of a skeleton to build a game around. The result is that the entire interesting part of the game is kind of a Rube Goldberg device built around card text and interactions, which is too wonky and abstract to be fun.

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