Gwent: The Witcher Card Game
|Gwent: The Witcher Card Game|
|Developer(s)||CD Projekt Red|
|Genre(s)||Collectible card game|
Gwent: The Witcher Card Game[a] is a free-to-play digital collectible card game developed and published by CD Projekt for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game is derived from the card game of the same name featured in Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher novels and playable in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt video game. It will feature cross-platform play between the PC and console versions, although platform play between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions is not supported.
Following an open beta release in May 2017, it was officially released for Windows in October 2018, and was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on December 4, 2018. A standalone, single-player campaign mode, Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, was also released alongside the game.
Gwent is a turn-based card game between two players, with each game taking three rounds. Each player must play one card each turn from a deck of at least twenty-five cards. Each deck belongs to a faction that offers different play styles. Each faction has different "leaders" who each have individual abilities. As Gwent does not use a mana system like most traditional CCGs, card advantage is often what wins the game.
The Homecoming Update, which was released in conjunction with Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales, changed the game in a number of ways. The leader is no longer a playable card; it now gives the player an ability, and dictates how many mulligans are available to the player throughout the course of a match. The limits on how many gold and silver cards can be in a deck has been removed. Deckbuilding now uses a Recruit Cost system. Decks have a Recruit Cap of 165, with each card in the game having a Recruit Cost associated with it. The update also removed the siege row from the play area, leaving only the melee row and the ranged row. A new card type, artifacts, was added to the game. These do not contribute points to your side of the board but offer varying abilities.
The goal is to win two of three rounds by playing cards and spells to gain points called "power" on the board. A player wins a round by having more points on board than their opponent. Rounds end when either both players pass to the next round, or when both players run out of cards. The first to win two out of three rounds wins the game.
Round wins go toward daily rewards, awarding players with card packs known as "kegs," scraps, meteorite dust, or ore. Players can gain additional cards by buying kegs with ore or through microtransactions; each keg contains five cards, with the upside that the fifth is rarer than the rest and a choice between three is offered. Cards can also be crafted with scraps. Premium versions of cards can be crafted with meteorite dust. Ore is used to buy kegs.
The game features several modes of gameplay. The standard Casual Play mode allows players to challenge one another, whereas in Rank Play players compete in order to increase in a tier-ladder system. Ranked takes place across a month-long season, where players aim to increase in rank to increase end-of-season rewards. Player ranks do not degrade once earned, and work on a numerical system from 1-21, before entering into the top 1,000. Players are also assigned a matchmaking rating, which respectively increases or decreases as a player wins and loses games. Gwent has also had multiple seasonal events, inviting players to take part in themed events with premade decks. These events functioned like puzzles, where exact moves had to be made to win. Seasonal events normally award a player profile picture, border as well as a title.
Arena Mode functions as a draft mode, where players must build a deck from random cards. The player will pick one of four cards of identical rarity randomly shown. Twenty-six cards are drafted, and then a leader is chosen from 3 randomly shown leaders. The cards shown are from a pool of all cards, meaning decks can contain cards from all factions. There is no limit on how many gold cards or silver cards can be in the deck, and any number of duplicates can be drafted.
Arena Mode is themed around The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt character Gaunter O'Dimm, who offers contracts in the arena in exchange for rewards. A maximum of nine wins will award players with a gold card, as well as other rewards including ore, scraps and/or meteorite dust. The arena will guarantee players at least one keg as a reward, even with no contracts completed. Players have three lives and lose a life when a game is lost. The arena run will end when either a player quits and breaks the contact, when all three lives are lost, or when all nine wins are achieved.
There are also periodic 'special event' arena modes occasionally available. These have unique drafting rules, such as the Gold Rush, where all cards drafted are Gold cards or Law of the Jungle, where all cards drafted are from the Monsters faction. The special events generally last 1 week, and the regular arena mode is also available to play during the event.
The game had an estimated 100 staff members working on it. It was released for Windows on 23 October 2018, and for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 4 December 2018. The standalone single-player game Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales was released on the same dates.
Thronebreaker was nominated for the Herman Melville Award for Best Writing at the New York Game Awards, while the game itself was nominated for "Most Promising New eSports Game" at the 2019 SXSW Gaming Awards.
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