Gwent

Everything You Need To Know About Gwent Journey

Gwent Journey has been out for over a week now, but I saw online that people still had a lot of questions about it and I wanted to try and explain as much about the new system as possible. Jason Slama, Gwent’s Game Director made a very detailed post about the statistics and numbers that fueled their decisions with Journey so if you’re interested in that, definitely check that out here. I’ll recap some of mister Slama’s points in this article as well. We’ll start by talking about what Journey is, then we’ll talk about what it replaces and how that affects the resources you earn in game. Finally, we’ll cap this analysis off with a look at the total value of Journey and the multiple ways you can spend money on it.

The Journey or the destination?

So, what is Journey? At its core, it’s a typical battle or season pass but with the support of a progressing story which gets a new chapter every week. With Journey, you gain resource or cosmetic rewards for every level you reach. There is a total of 100 levels with the first level being free, meaning you technically only need to level up 99 times to reach the end of the Journey. Each level gives you one reward for free with an extra reward if you bought the Premium Pass. The free part of each level gives you mostly reward points with the occasional avatar while the premium section has a lot more variation in its rewards including reward points, kegs, titles, avatars, borders, card backs, leader skins and accessories and even some coin skins.

You can progress your Journey by earning crown points or pieces, of which you need 24 for each level. For each round won, you will earn a single crown point. So, if you win a match you always get 2 crown points while you get 1 or none if you lose. To complement this, the first 14 crown points you earn each day by winning rounds are doubled. This is called the Well Rested bonus and is viewable on the Journey tab. Currently there’s also a weekly cap on the crown points you can earn by winning rounds of 350 meaning that if you won 350 rounds in a week, you will no longer earn crown points. If you did this early in the week, you can still earn your extra 14 Well Rested crown points each day, you will just not get the point from winning a round in the first place.

On top of that, there are also two quest strings each week separated by Dandelion and Geralt with 3 quests each. Each quest you complete earns you an extra 20 crown points and you can complete Geralt’s quests even if you don’t have the premium pass. You will only get the 20 crown points rewarded for Geralt’s quests when you have the premium pass however, which are rewarded retro-actively when you purchase the premium pass later.

So, regardless of how much money you spend on the game, you can earn 60 crown points and thus almost 3 Journey levels from completing the quests each week alone, as well as up to 120 crown points and 5 levels with the premium pass. Quests also don’t expire so if you only start your Journey a few weeks in, you still start from the quests from week 1 and can work your way up the quest chain from there, earning crown points along the way.

The cost of progress

That’s how Journey functions but let’s talk about what it replaces and how it impacts what you earn. Journey replaces the daily crown rewards, so you no longer get 2 reward points for the first 6, 18 and 42 rounds you win each day, with minor rewards every 2 rounds. That loss in reward points gained is offset by the rewards you now get in Journey. But can you get as many reward points as before? Simple answer: no. But that doesn’t mean the system is worse than before, that’s where the statistics from Jason Slama’s post come in.

The biggest revelation to me was the indication of player activity. If we look at the statistics, we see that a whopping 64% of players didn’t manage to earn a single reward point on any given day. Only 35% of players managed to get the 6 rounds per day necessary to get the first 2 reward points and only 10% managed to get to 18 rounds and the 4 reward points. The maximum reward in the old system was only reached by 0.33% of players which is a strong indicator that the original daily crown system wasn’t cutting it, aside for those few very dedicated players. People didn’t seem eager to spend the time necessary to progress and that is exactly what Journey aims to improve.

Let’s focus on the majority of the player base, the ones who got 2 reward points per day or less, around 88,5% of all players. In the old reward system, you would need to win 6 rounds on a single day to get those 2 reward points. How long that takes to do differs from player to player and from day to day, but on average this takes around an hour to do. In Journey, one level gets you at least 2 reward points. To do this just by playing, this would cost you around 2 hours if you use the same calculation to get to 12 rounds and therefore 24 crown points, since they are doubled by the Well Rested bonus. A lot more time than before but we also have quests, giving you 20 crown points each. A single quest only takes 30 minutes on average to complete which also runs concurrent with your normal playtime. In those 30 minutes, I assume you won at least two rounds, which gives you enough crown points to level up once, giving you 2 reward points for 6 days of the week within half an hour, if you have the premium pass.

So, with Journey, most people get the same rewards as before or more within half the time it used to take. On top of that you still get reward points from contracts, daily quests, challenges and the end of season rewards. On the other side of the spectrum we have the few dedicated players, maxing out their rewards each day. For them, things have changed in the other direction. Since there’s a cap on the amount of crown points you can earn in a week, there is no way to progress Journey after a certain point just by playing. This was put in place to avoid people completing it too quickly.

Jason Slama’s post confirms that if you max out reward points in both systems, the old system was more lucrative, especially if you don’t buy the premium pass. If you complete Journey, you will revert to earning reward points through the old daily crown system until the new Journey begins. This sounds bad but again this is really only impacting players who max out rewards, only 0.33% of players according to the stats. And you get a bunch of extra cosmetics in return as well, so let’s talk about the value of everything you can earn.

Busy earning

On the free track of Journey, you get 11 Geralt inspired avatars if you manage to complete all levels within 3 months. The premium pass costs around 10 euros/dollars. For that money you get the Geralt leader skin as a start and 99 rewards you can earn by leveling up, containing extra Geralt skins, accessories, avatars, borders, gorgeous cardbacks, titles, kegs and extra cards. In my opinion, this is the first time in a while Gwent manages to really provide good value for your money.

If you only look at the cosmetics, you get around 50 of them, you get more of each type for less money than you would normally need to pay. Geralt’s completely customizable leader skin is the perfect example. Separate leader skins like the Ofiri Princess Skin, almost cost as much as the entire premium pass on its own. The same goes for cardbacks: the premium pass contains 4 gorgeous cardbacks, but the Shani, Yennefer and Triss cardbacks on the other hand currently still go for 8 euro/dollar apiece. Just goes to show how much value you get out of the premium pass if you play Gwent on a regular basis.

The less savoury side of the Journey monetization are the fast travel options. If you don’t want to wait, you can pay around 1€ per level to move to any level in the pass that is dividable by 6, giving you all rewards in between immediately. I’d like to think of these as ways to further support CD Projekt RED because you don’t really get value out of these purchases. They’re definitely not a must.

Conclusion

All things considered; Journey is a huge step up for Gwent. It has greatly improved the incentives to keep playing while trying to keep monetization as fair as possible. I don’t do this often, but I can really recommend the purchase of the premium pass since it boosts the incentives to play even more. On top of that, Journey provides us with a new adventure for Geralt and Dandelion, one that I look forward to reading each and every week. And that’s it for today, thanks for reading. 

So, what do you think about Gwent Journey? Got any other questions or reservations that I can clarify? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment down below so we can help each other out, that’s what we’re here for after all.

TROVNUT IS A GUEST WRITER FOR TEAM BANDIT GANG SO MAKE SURE TO CHECK HIM OUT ON TWITTER IF YOU WANT TO TALK TO HIM OR CHECK OUT HIS YOUTUBE FOR VIDEO CONTENT. ANY SUPPORT TOWARDS HIM IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED.

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Gascon’s Most Wanted #4: Lunaarcana

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Lunaarcana, your Twitch witch that finds joy in the boundless respect and the trust from her cultists. They talk about streaming on Twitch, what you can expect on her stream and also talk about her intriguing personality.

Babyjosus: Before I will ask you questions regarding your streaming; I want to try to let them get to know you a bit first. Could you describe yourself to the reader?

Lunaarcana: Hm, I’ve always been bad at that. I’m a quiet creative witch who is interested in art, history, fantasy, oddities, and video games. Anything that immerses me and stirs my imagination, really.

BJ: Sounds like you would have a lot to talk about on stream though. And I know you have been streaming quite a lot and have been doing it for a long time. I believe you even streamed before I did. How did you started streaming?

LA: Indeed. I began streaming early 2017, and first streamed Gwent in early 2018. I always enjoyed watching content creators on YouTube and Twitch. After some time and confidence from a few friends, I had finally thought “Hey, I’d like to try that!”. It’s been quite the journey!

BJ: Since you decided to become a streamer yourself. What has been your favorite moment so far?

LA: It is actually a bit difficult to put my finger on a favorite moment. But the silly moments, having fun, playing games with friends, or streaming in costume are my most memorable.

BJ: You have been around for a while now in the Gwent community. But, how did you get in touch with Gwent?

LA: Honestly, at the time I was streaming the first Witcher game, and I saw it advertised on GOG’s launcher. Of course, I enjoy The Witcher Lore, so I gave the game a try. It was the first CCG I had ever played, and the only one I’ve stuck with.

BJ: I believe your favorite faction is Skellige, where did your love for the faction come from?

LA: Yes, it is! I think what originally drew me to it was the interesting mechanics that painted an intense picture of the energy and lore the faction has. Which makes for equally intense plays and combinations. As most know, I have an interest in Norse & Celtic history and lore, so it definitely stems from that, as well.

BJ: You have been streaming Gwent for a long time. Have you ever felt burnt out when it comes to streaming it?

LA: I won’t sugar-coat it. I absolutely have. But I think that’s a normal response when you’re consistently engaging in one subject or playing a certain game. You can still enjoy something while needing a break to feel refreshed.

BJ: I know you also stream other games than Gwent, what other games interest you?

LA: Oh, I enjoy all sorts! But my favorite genres are fantasy, RPG, adventure, and horror. Silent Hill, The Elder Scrolls, and Stardew Valley are amongst my favorites.

BJ: I am aware that you have done a Philippa cosplay and Succubus cosplay on stream in the past. Are there any cosplays that I forgot to mention?

 LA: Ah, I almost forgot about my Witcher succubus outfit from Halloween. I’ve streamed Overwatch dressed as Mercy. And I’ve also done two different streams as Ciri where I played Gwent, and other fun games. I enjoy costuming, so I’m looking forward to creating more!

BJ: What can we expect from you when it comes to cosplaying in the future?

LA: My cosplay streams are usually done as special rewards for hitting a goal, but lately I’ve been getting back into photography, so perhaps more than I even expect. Here soon, I’ll be transforming myself into the dryad queen Eithné, the leader of Brokilon, actually. I’ve been having a great time posing as different Witcher characters and might have some vague future plans on continuing that.

BJ: Oh, as a huge fan of the Scoia’tael faction it makes me excited for that cosplay! You also seem to prepare quite a lot for your regular streams. An example is the face paint. Any particular reason behind that?

LA: Well, simply put, that’s just how I like to do my normal makeup. I feel that makeup can be used as an artistic tool. Why not make my face a canvas?

BJ: Can’t disagree. Last time I stopped by your stream you were doing a ritual on stream; where did your fascination for rituals come from?

LA: I was doing a simple spell and explaining the history behind the Neo-Pagan holiday of the Spring Equinox, Ostara. My interest in spellwork, magick, and witchcraft started at a young age. I think about a decade ago now. I grew up introduced and interested in history and mythology. As I grew, I began researching even more, taking bits and pieces, and making it a part of me, in a way.

BJ: Could you explain the purpose of doing a ritual?

 LA: Hm, well. It really depends on your intentions. Rituals and spells can be different. But the purpose is genuinely up to the caster. Throughout history, rituals might have been done to bring a good harvest. Small magic incantations and spells could have been used by someone to bless a child, grant pleasant dreams, or protect a loved one. Or even more extravagant things such as making the seas calm for good sailing, or maybe bolstering your forces in a battle. The list is vast and endless.

BJ: I didn’t know, thanks for explaining it to me. I noticed you also do sign reading for viewers on stream, what is the reaction from people to this?

LA: I haven’t read anyone’s astrological sign specifically, as I’m not as knowledgeable in that subject as I’d like to be yet. But, on Wednesday streams I do rune casts and readings, or an oracle card reading as a reward. The reactions have been very pleasant! I’ve never received any negativity regarding it. Most of the time people are just interested and ask genuine questions if it piques their curiosity.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview, but I know you are quite the artist. Viewers can unlock doodles made by you and you also do a lot of art in your free time from what I can recall. Do you have any plans to publish an artbook?

LA: I certainly try to do art in my free time! It’s been a love of mine since I was young. Sometimes I get so busy and lose track of all my ideas. I always have so many! I’ve never thought about publishing an artbook, but that does sound like a really cool idea now that you mention it. Currently, I have a couple prints. But I’m trying to do more quality art first to really round myself out, and hone in my style.

BJ: Is there anything that you would like to share about yourself to the reader?

LA: I feel I tend to be too complex to conclude in short sentences, so if anyone ever wants to chat, I don’t bite! Haha.

BJ: You heard it here everyone. If you want to know how complex Luna is, you got to stop by her stream. Jokes aside, I want to thank you for your time, it was nice to get to know more about you.

 LA: Thank you for including me! I look forward to seeing more of these interviews with other members of the community.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF LUNAARCANA THEN YOU CAN FIND HER ON TWITTER AND TWITCH. IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE LUNAR CULT THEN YOU CAN DO SO HERE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #3: BarryWhite Hanson

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with BarryWhite Hanson, who is a Twitch Streamer that focuses on CCG content in front of the screen but who is the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format behind the scenes. They talk about the story behind his act, his passion for content creation and briefly talk about the future. So, fuck yeah?

Babyjosus: I saw you tweet about the COVID-19. How badly is it affecting you?

BarryWhite Hanson: I work in Audio/Video Production for medium to large events and galas.  While most businesses have a steady flow of income coming in all year, our business fluctuates for the majority of our busy season that pretty much covers expenses and whatnot for the year. Our busy season is usually March to July, and we walked into March essentially having all work basically cancelled or postponed due to the virus and quarantines.  What was looking like an amazing year for growth and expansion basically got shut down overnight.  I love the company and people I work for and they are very supportive of my streaming (my Anti Usurper PSA that went viral on the subreddit was actually filmed in our studio with our sales guy voicing the camera guy) so it pains me to not only be out of work, but to see the company hurting.  

BJ: First of all, I am sorry to hear that, and I hope things will be alright for you and the company very soon. Second, I don’t think I have ever seen your Anti Usurper PSA, you got to share that with me. But tell me more about yourself. What is the story behind BarryWhiteHanson and what made him start doing content creation?

BWH: As a kid I would use my parents VHS camcorder to film skits, music videos, and as I was older, stop motion animation. I always wanted to do entertainment in some fashion. I just love seeing happy people. And being a big music fan, I always loved seeing crowds uniting in that common energy of love for whatever was happening. It was what swayed me from pursuing web design in college and actually transferring to a college for Audio/Video Production. After college, I toured with bands and artists as a merch guy or a lighting guy, and eventually when I got off the road, became a full time sound guy for venues, so I was always surrounded by entertainers of some sort, or in entertainment but always was a behind the scenes guy. During this time, I started getting really into standup comedy and was regularly attending local open mics as a crowd member. One day, the host of the mic I was at said, “you’re funny, you’ve been to these mics enough, maybe you should write a 5 minute set and try and go up there” I did, and the rush I got was unlike any other the first time I heard someone laugh at a joke I wrote. From that point on I was hooked on comedic performance and being a performer myself, rather than just behind the scenes. 

BJ: That’s quite the story. And I have always wondered. Where did the name the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format come from?

BWH: So, about a year or two before I found out about Twitch, as I was still doing standup, I was asked to handle AV for some comic friends Sketch Comedy Group, Sensible Comedy, and was eventually asked to join and participate in skits and help with writing. I was also producing a comedy-themed video game show with another comic by the name of Winston Hodges. I had an absolute blast with both projects, and it made me think more outside of the box about comedy. I’ve produced music as a hobby since I was about 16, but it was always instrumental music or music for another lyricist. Being into industrial metal and acts like Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM, I always wanted to start some kind of musical project in that genre but could never find a vocalist. So decided to try something out by making a sketch for my Sketch Comedy Group, basically creating this aging goth character, with industrial music, but write the most happy, and “non-hardcore” and borderline goofy lyrics, yet approach the music video and the character’s envisioning in his head as if it was the darkest thing imaginable and I would handle the vocals. That’s where the phrase, “The Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format” came from. It was me basically kind of poking fun at the ego of some musicians, that basically try to project this god like idea of themselves that is unjustified. To give myself a title, to me, was pretty damn funny. I settled on BarryWhite Hanson as a name because I wanted a play on a name like Marilyn Manson, and thought: ‘’wouldn’t it be funny to just put the full name of an already established artist as the first name, and one of the most nonmetal band names for the last?’’. The venue I used to work for, let me film on their stage on an off day, a friend let me borrow his camera. And I shot, edited and produced it myself. People really enjoyed it and asked for more. I even had a friend who’s seen all my music endeavors say, “This is YOUR thing. You’ve finally found something that fits you and is 100% you”. So, I continued to put out content. Eventually the band Bad Motivator asked me to open for them at their CD Release show, and that got me to start performing my musical content out live.  When the video game show I was producing came to a halt due to me and the host having schedule changes with our job and him starting to travel more for shows, making it hard to film anymore, I found out about Twitch, and figured I’d give it a go.  I loved video games and meeting new people.  It just felt natural to me and I loved meeting new people from around the world.

BJ: So, what’s up with the mask and the wig? How did that become part of your act?

BWH: So, before the first music video, when I had the first song written, but needed to shoot the video, I decided I needed some kind of costume. I was still doing standup comedy at the time and didn’t want to overlap that project with my standup, so I figured a costume would give the illusion of someone else. I also wanted to have that goth vibe and the wild overly worked hairdo that you see with some of the newer metal bands. So basically, it ended up being me walking around a party supply store trying to find a costume. I knew I needed something that was easy to put on due to performing and sat there for about 2 hours trying different combos of masks, wigs and accessories and when I did the combo, it just made sense and clicked with me. Plus, when I’d perform I loved catching people off-guard. I’d hide the outfit in my bag at open mics at a bar and not put it on until I went up.  Imagine seeing some normal guy playing wonderwall on an acoustic guitar, and immediately after the next performer is a guy in a mask and wig screaming about cookies and playing a kazoo, haha.   Now it’s kind of a part of my brand with logos and whatnot.

 BJ: I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch for quite some time now and you have also been streaming other card games like Mythgard. What is it that makes card games appeal so much to you?

BWH: It’s a combination of things. One is that I love that CCGs are the type of games that it’s usually easy to learn the basics of a short amount of time but takes a while to master. So, the thrill of learning a new synergy, technique, and experimenting as you’re learning is a rush. It makes it more of a journey. Deckbuilding is really fun to me because it lets out my creative side. And when you make that deck that just works well, it feels so good. And I try to think a little outside of the box for it. As I started to get familiar with the game, I started crafting weird meme decks after seeing people like BeeBoBoop craft decks. As well as that, a regular in my channel, ImposterBuster, would come to me with these crazy decks for viewer battles and I just loved the craziness of when a meme lands. It doesn’t work every time, but when you do land it, it’s like hitting a hole in one in golf. I also love that all the CCG communities are tight knit, and the ego really isn’t as present as it is with a lot of other genres of gaming. People are willing to help out the newer people, make suggestions and overall the toxicity doesn’t seem to be there like you see with other genres. I remember my first night streaming Gwent, OceanMud popped into my stream and started hanging out, as well as giving me pointers on deckbuilding and basics I didn’t quite get yet.  To give you an example, I was making like 29 card decks until he told me to try and stick with just 25 cards, haha. He’s one of the more well-known Gwent streamers, so I thought it was cool that he took the time to help out a newbie with no viewers like I was at the time. So, I feel like learning so many different card games have been easier due to people being willing to help out and being welcoming to new players in general. I also like that it’s more laid back than a shooter or most other multiplayer games as far as streaming goes. Since you don’t have to keep your eyes on the game all the time like an FPS or MOBA, it frees you up to focus on your chat more. I play CSGO but prefer to not stream it as much, because I have to focus on the game a lot more and only really can look over at chat during downtimes. Gwent was the first CCG I really got into but since then I’ve branched out to Mythgard, Legends of Runeterra, and Magic. I’m also looking forward to Causa coming out too, after playing during their demo weekend. It also helps with burnout of playing the same game over and over. You look forward to going back to a game after a week or so of playing something else.

BJ: You truly are a card fanatic Barry. But going back to Gwent, what was your most memorable moment when streaming Gwent?

BWH: I’d say it’s a tie between SK-mania and the time I pulled 4 Roche’s in one round of a game. The Roche clip actually got featured on the Dandelion show, which was something I always wanted a clip on since I started playing. 

BJ: I really enjoyed it when you live streamed the SK-mania against JoshWitcher760 where you battled with only Skellige decks. How did you guys end up doing that?

BWH: Me and Josh have always joked back and forth with each other and one day someone posted a clip of Josh playfully trash talking me in his stream as a joke on my discord. So, I played along and said something back and me and him just kind of went back and forth in the discord and eventually I, knowing that Josh’s favorite faction is SK, threw out that I was the superior SK player. IamFLAGG suggested we do it WrestleMania style and hype it up. So, I made a pro wrestling style trash talk video to play on that idea, and Josh did a rebuttal video. Me and him talked about it and both thought it was funny and wanted to play it up.  So, we set a date. Initially I just planned on playing the matches but had the idea to put him in voice chat with me so we could trash talk as the match was going on, as that’s not typically done in a standard competitive card game. It was so much fun doing it that way and really added to it.  

BJ: Are you planning to do things like SK-mania again? Because I sure had a lot of fun watching that.

BWH: I definitely would love to. There’s only so many factions so we’d eventually run out of factions, so I’m working on different kinds of things we can do in that format.  

BJ: Speaking of Skellige. What do you think of the new leader ability?

BWH: It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like a reverse discard. It’s great with Morkvarg. 5 damage AND you put a 5-point unit down? Sounds like fun to me! I liked a lot of the new leader abilities that they are coming out with. I think it’ll definitely shake things up a little bit and maybe force some of the people that have played the same decks for almost three seasons now to explore more. 

BJ: You have been a lone wolf for quite some time, have you ever considered joining a Gwent team?

BWH: I’d love to. While I’m by no means pro, I try to bring something a little different to the table in my streams by injecting humor into things and making it have more of the vibe of playing cards with your friends around a table. Where you feel like you’re just hanging with friends and while you are playing cards or a board game, you’re not as worried about winning or losing because you’re just having fun and enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Some of my favorite streamers put off that vibe when I watch them, and to me, it makes me enjoy the stream more.  I’d love to help produce content for a team someday. 

BJ: Do you have any future plans when it comes to content creation?

BWH: I’d like to start releasing more YouTube content. I’ve focused a lot more on my Twitch, and since I have a new PC that makes it way easier to edit on, it’s a lot easier for me to do stuff like that now.

BJ: That’s cool. And are there any other card games you want to delve into when it comes to content creation?

BWH: Causa is one CCG that’s coming out that I loved and am patiently waiting its release. Really cool new mechanics and a cool concept in general. The devs are really nice, I enjoy their dev streams and think they truly are putting their heart into the game. Looking forward to creating some content for them as well.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Is there anything you want to say to the reader?

BWH: Just say no to Harmony lol. But seriously, be open minded. Expand your deck knowledge and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not a big fan of NG. However, I would play NG decks to learn what did what, so I knew what to look for and what to avoid. When SY first came out and people complained how overpowered it was. I played some SY to learn which cards to focus on when playing against it. Get experimental and don’t be afraid of losing. I’m not opposed to net decking, even though I don’t do it myself, but I feel like if all you do is play decks already made by someone else, you sell yourself short of the joy of learning a good counter or the sense of accomplishment of making your own unique deck that works for you.  Also, as I say at the end of a lot of my streams, “Be Good to Each Other” I feel like that statement encompasses so much in a few words.  

BJ: That’s some great advice Barry. This is also the end of the interview. I want to thank you for your time and for the talk. Hope to catch your stream sometime soon again!

BWH: Thanks! This was a blast!  

BJ: The feeling is mutual.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF BARRYWHITE HANSON THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #2: Freddybabes

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Freddybabes, three-time official Gwent tournament winner and participant for the upcoming World Masters tournament. They talk about Gwent Masters, streaming Gwent on Twitch and take a little peek at what’s to come for the Gwent superstar.

Babyjosus: Where were you when you heard the news about Gwent Masters being postponed due to COVID-19?

Freddybabes: I was at home and in the middle of a preparation session testing my lineup when I saw the news.

BJ: I can understand that it must have felt like a bummer to hear it only a couple of days before you had to compete. Does it have any consequences for you not being able to compete?

FB: The main thing that hurts is feeling so ready to play, being in the mindset of preparing as hard as you can and then having the rug pulled out from underneath your feet so to speak. It’s quite difficult to reset mentally and get back into a positive frame of mind. Other than that, the feeling of wasting some of your lineup ideas sucks and of course the delay in gaining any money is quite a big deal. I was personally working on the assumption that I’d have an extra $5000+ dollars this time next month so you can imagine how that can disrupt your life.

BJ: Yeah, I can imagine. I hope the situation around COVID-19 will calm down. And correct me if I am wrong but I believe you prepared the last Challenger with BeardyBog. Did you prepare with him this time again?

FB: That’s correct. This time I had some small help from BeardyBog but also from several others. I won’t say any other names in case it gives away some information for the next tournament.

BJ: That’s fine with me. Out of a scale of 1 and 15. How confident were you about your lineup?

FB: I would say around a 12. After playing some more games recently and seeing the meta develop I would probably lower it to 10, haha. I definitely felt a bit rushed for this tournament and tried so many different decks and strategies it was very difficult to settle on one.

BJ: Do you think your lineup will drastically change now that Gwent Masters is postponed?

FB: For sure. The tournament won’t happen for months most likely if not longer so there will be updates and changes before the tournament takes place. This will make my previous lineup redundant.

BJ: Your friend GameKing will also be participating in the Gwent Masters. How would you feel like if you had to play against him?

FB: That would definitely suck. We were already quite sad to see that there was no chance of us playing in the final due to the bracket. If the bracket is reshuffled, then it would be nice for one of us to not have to eliminate the other. Overall though I’m friends with several of the players so it will be sad to play against them as well.

BJ: I am sure they will reshuffle it. But let’s see what CDPR ends up doing regarding the bracket. What are you going to do with the extra time that has been given to you?

FB: I plan to play a lot more and immerse myself in Gwent so that hopefully I feel less time pressured for next time. I also plan to experiment more before the tournament itself so I have an idea of what spicy things might actually be secretly good.

BJ: I ask this question to everyone else, but could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: I got into streaming after making a Gwent deck guide which became quite popular and I wanted to share my insights on the game as at the time, in beta, I was a high ranked player. I really enjoyed streaming and interacting with the community, so it just became a natural way to spend a lot of my time.

BJ: I noticed you started streaming Gwent on Twitch again after being absent from streaming. What made you decide to stream again?

FB: With the virus causing tournaments to be delayed or cancelled and there not being much to do outside I figure I need to do something with my time which I would normally just spend preparing for tournaments or trying other games. Streaming makes sense as I’m no longer feeling burnt out after having such a long break from it and I can simultaneously prepare for World Masters further.

BJ: I can relate to being burnt out on Gwent. What’s your story?

FB: I think at some point Gwent and streaming became a job for me rather than a hobby, probably mostly because I joined team Complexity, so I had a fixed number of hours I had to stream in a month and responsibilities to maintain while streaming. Once I left Complexity I realized how burnt out I had become, and without the financial incentive to stream anymore it felt right to just stop. Thankfully, a long break can help with those feelings, I think, although it’s still important to never overwork yourself, especially when it comes to something such as streaming.

BJ: Since I am a fan of your work, I know you have been making videos for YouTube as well in the past. On one of your recent streams you mentioned that you are not sure if you should go back to content creation on YouTube. Could you elaborate what you meant with this?

FB: YouTube has always been challenging for me to pursue because I tend to get caught up in the numbers and analytics of it more so than with other platforms. When my content becomes irregular on YouTube, I see big decreases in the performance of the videos which makes me sad, if I’m being honest. I enjoy making videos a lot, it’s just a matter of becoming consistent with them again or learning to overcome the negative feelings that come with the analytics. That being said, I’m planning on starting to make videos consistently again, hopefully this time for a longer period.

BJ: It’s nice to hear you are planning to on start making videos again. I always enjoyed them but do hope you manage to stay positive when doing so. By the way, I know you are still sharing a place together with the ImpetuousPanda and I hope you don’t feel uncomfortable with what I am about to ask. But do you have any plans on living together with your girlfriend?

FB: I definitely want to sometime in the future yes. Most likely I will stop living with Panda once our contract ends and find somewhere new, either just for myself or with others but we’ll see.

BJ: What can we expect from FreddyBabes in the future?

FB: I’m really wanting to return to my roots and stream somewhat regularly and hopefully make some videos on the side. It’s a very cool feeling to interact with the community after a long absence. Obviously look out for me in tournaments as well when those finally end up happening.

BJ: I think that’s all from me today. Do you have anything you want to say to the reader?

FB: Thanks for reading and thanks to you BJ for taking the time to ask these questions. I hope everyone reading stays safe and healthy and happy in these strange times!

BJ: The same goes to you Freddo.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF FREDDYBABES THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #1: TheFoxBride

Welcome to ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a new series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with TheFoxBride, the creator of the Whispers of Oxenfurt: A Witcher podcast. They talk about the origin of the podcast, the birth of his latest project called ‘’Real Witcher History’’ and basically everything else regarding his love for the Witcher world. Oh, and I believe Gwent was mentioned too at some point…

Babyjosus: How are you holding up during these dark times of the COVID-19?

TheFoxBride: A lot of Witcher content, a lot of working out, and a lot of petting my cat…that’s not a euphemism.

BJ: Could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: The most interesting thing about me is that I used to be a college basketball coach and sports have dominated my entire life as I have played or coached them nonstop since I was four years old. While it was a busy job, there was time in the offseason to be completely hooked by a game called The Witcher 3. I read the books and noticed there were no podcasts about the Witcher in English, so I started one. Shortly after that I was contacted by the Lore Party network and out of that came our podcast about the show, Wind’s Howling. I have always thought it is better to create than consume, so I did.

BJ: How long have you been doing the podcast?

FB: I started it in August 2018 and only have three chapters left to do in the final novel. After that I plan on having content creating guests, especially Gwent streamers/youtubers, who have read the books and we will discuss their favorite short stories, or chapters from the novels. I did this once already with DevilDriven and it was a blast.

BJ: I bet Jinzee, the Queen of Lore, is on your list for future guests?

FB: There is a ton to cover so anyone and everyone that is interested!

BJ: Where did the name Whispers of Oxenfurt come from?

FB: It is my favorite song from the soundtrack, as well as my favorite city from the continent. If I were forced to live in that world, a college city would probably be the most fun. 

BJ: I noticed you have done 43 episodes for your podcast, for how long do you think you can keep doing the podcast?

FB: Until I no longer feel I can contribute something new or creative. The ability to make people think about something relevant to them, or the world in general, is crucial for me. If one person learns something new from a historical or philosophical reference, then it’s worth it. It’s probably the coach in me but “don’t speak unless you have something to add” came up a lot in my scouting meetings.

BJ: You mentioned before that you got hooked by The Witcher 3. How did your fascination for the Witcher world started?

FB: It was a natural fit as my college degree is in History and I have always loved Medieval Europe. It was a truly dreadful place that gets romanticized far too often, but real life is often more dramatic than fiction. I took a graduate class over the Venetian Bridge Wars, seriously, google it, and it’s wild that this stuff actually took place. History reads like a fairy tale to me, but the lessons aren’t as obvious.

BJ: Have you read the Witcher books many times?

FB: Certain parts I have only read once, but due to the research needed for all my projects I have reread certain parts a dozen times. “Sword of Destiny” is an easy to go for great short stories.

BJ: I saw you also started a YouTube series called ‘’Real Witcher History’’, could you elaborate what made you start this series?

FB: I have been a teacher for ten years, so the desire to educate and help others is important to me. I have a passion for history and the Witcher, so why not combine them into something that would interest people?

BJ: Fair enough. Are there any other projects in the making?

FB: I am stretched thin enough so unless someone gives me another idea…

BJ: Maybe I might be able to give you an idea someday haha. So what can we expect from you in the future?

FB: In a few hours I am recording an episode for Wind’s Howling and wrapping up my Whispers episode for Chapter ten of The Lady of the Lake, so no slowing down anytime soon.

BJ: No slowing down huh? That’s the spirit! I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch together with your fiancée Lindsay, what do you like so much about streaming Gwent on Twitch?

FB: I just want to entertain others and have a good time. I aim for it to be the least serious Gwent stream as I only really play casual and seasonal with either lore, meme, or themed decks. Channel points are aimed at asking questions about history, Disney, spinning a workout wheel, or choosing a shot for me to drink. Lindsay definitely helps as we play off each other well and keep things active. 

BJ: I heard some birds whisper in my ear that you were doing an all-day stream for your birthday on the 26th of march. Hopefully I manage to stop by and wish you a happy birthday!

FB: I have been very fortunate in life and will use that to raise money for a charity. The recent ‘’Not Quite Masters’’ tournament that raised money for Doctors Without Borders was great as that is a charity I have supported for years. People as lucky as me need to give back when they can, especially at times like this.

BJ: I don’t want to pry but what do you mean when you say you have been fortunate in life?

FB: I have had parents who have supported me emotionally and financially throughout my life. I quit teaching back in 2012 to coach college basketball, sold my house, cashed in my retirement, and became a graduate student making $200 a month. I was able to move back in with my parents with no bills or liabilities, and without that my life would be drastically different. They worked incredibly hard, so I could chase my dreams and live a pretty easy life.

BJ: That is very nice of them. And it sounds like they wanted the best for you. One last thing. It’s out of curiosity. Where did the name ‘’TheFoxBride’’ come from?

FB: It comes from the Japanese saying, “Bride of the Fox”” or “The Fox’s Wedding”. It means several things, but mainly I just thought it was a cool name. It is also the name of a sake for sale at the liquor store I worked at.

BJ: It’s been a pleasure to talk with you but also to collaborate with you on the latest video for the Bandit Gang YouTube channel that is coming out soon! May we work together again in the future.

FB: Until then…

MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED ON OUR YOUTUBE PAGE WHERE WE WILL RELEASE THE UPCOMING VIDEO WE MADE IN COLLABORATION WITH THEFOXBRIDE ABOUT THE STORY OF A BANDIT GANG WITHIN THE WITCHER UNIVERSE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WHISPERS OF OXENFURT PODCAST, YOU CAN VISIT THE WEBSITE AND FOR WIND’S HOWLING YOU CAN VISIT HERE. IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF THEFOXBRIDE THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

 

Is The Gwent Partner Program Worth Striving For?

This article was written by Babyjosus and edited by Banditpig.

What is the Gwent partner program?

On April the 25th CD Projekt Red (CDPR) presented the Gwent partners program to the community. This program is focused on supporting Gwent content creators who would like to grow their channels, participate in closed PTR sessions for upcoming expansions, share their feedback about the game, and simply keep in touch with CDPR in the Gwent partners discord. Once you become a Gwent Partner you will receive an official badge to display on your streams/videos, as well as a unique in-game title: Royal Envoy, as well as the Partner Cardback. Aside from that you have a chance as a Gwent partner to get featured on the official social media channels as ‘’Creator of the Week’’. You can apply for the Gwent partner program if you publish Gwent content regularly, for a growing audience. All you need to do is to send an email to CDPR and tell them about yourself and your channel. As you can tell the exact requirements of joining the program are quite vague, so it’s up to you if you decide if you are worthy of applying for the Gwent partner program. CDPR will then review your application and after some time you receive a response.

Many content creators, including myself, decided to apply for the partner program in the beginning. The reason that I applied to the partner program was because of the closed PTR sessions. Everything else was a nice bonus. As you’d expect, many of those who were accepted decided to share their success on social media. My impression which is based on posts that I have seen is that you get easily accepted to the partner program if you are member of a popular Gwent team, even if you rarely or haven’t published any Gwent content yet.

What is my issue with the Gwent partner program?

For the latest expansion, Merchants of Ofir, there was no closed PTR nor a reveal campaign for partners. Which was one of the only benefits of being a partner. During the closed PTR sessions partners were given the opportunity to test out new cards and give their feedback on them. This allowed partners to discuss card abilities with the developers and help identify bugs and balancing issues before general release. After the closed PTR sessions some of the partners were given a card to reveal which they could then post on their social media. CDPR never explained what their reasoning was that they decided against a PTR involving the partners, leaving us with speculation ranging from they don’t trust their partners not to leak any content in advance all the way to the panic that the communities reaction to no content was becoming louder and pushed Merchants of Ofir out rapidly, which is partly why the partner discord was filled with daily bug reports for both cards and visual effects which would normally have been ironed out. Some clarity on this from them would be very welcome. The Gwent Partner program is to have an appeal to content creators, I feel that it is vital that CDPR bring back access to the closed PTR sessions and the reveal campaigns for partners. Without this, the benefits of participating as a Gwent partner are hugely limited. A fellow Gwent partner said the following about the Gwent partner program:

”In the beginning there was access to closed PTR where your feedback helped improve the state of the game. There was even a streaming partner cash tournament to help bring in bigger numbers to a streamer’s audience. Although the streamer tournament ended up being a one-off event, CDPR followed up partner support with card reveals for a new expansion, which helped create a minor amount of hype around a partner’s stream. However, it appears now that CDPR don’t really want to support their partners anymore. They literally took the only two perks for being a partner away with the most recent expansion.”

Another point of attention that I want to bring up is that CDPR hasn’t been featuring partners in the ”Creator of the Week” for some time despite creators continually making Gwent content. The last time a partner was featured was November the 7th when LordBushWook was featured. This is a missed opportunity for partners to grow their channels and for Gwent to gain free advertising via social media. By comparison Magic: The Gathering Arena feature a creator every day and Hearthstone feature at least 2 a week and regularly plug content/streams of partners. Which is something that CDPR has done in the past. For example, I remember that CDPR tweeted about Ceely doing a subathon where she cosplayed as Ciri. They could do this more often if you ask me.

How do other games run their programs?

It’s odd to me that there were content creators that got denied even when they regularly published content related to Gwent. That is why I think the requirements for the partner program are unclear and flawed. If you look at other partner programs for example, it’s a lot clearer what the requirements for acceptance are;

To become a partner for League of Legends, your content needs to be at least 30% about League of Legends based. If you stream on Twitch you also need to average 50+ concurrent viewers in the past 30 days. If you create content on YouTube you need to have at least 5,000+ average views on your video content in the past 30 days and at least 1000 YouTube subscribers. Another example that I want to give is the Mythgard partner program. For Twitch you need to be an affiliate with at least 500 followers and 10+ average concurrent viewers, while for YouTube you need to have at least 5000 subscribers and 500 views. This is, in my opinion what CDPR should have done when they decided to present the partner program for Gwent. If you know what the requirements are as a content creator, you can set goals for yourself and work towards those.

What would I do?

First, I would look at the current Gwent partners and kick the inactive ones from the program to make room for new content creators to apply for the program. In order to do this, I would like to see the current requirements changed. A suggestion for the requirements could be that when you are a partner on Twitch or YouTube, and you publish Gwent content frequently, you get accepted to the program. If you are an affiliate you would need to have at least 500 followers and 25+ average concurrent viewers on Twitch. Similarly, on YouTube you would need to have at least 1000 subscribers and 500 views. Writers that would like to apply to the partner program wouldn’t be able to join with the requirements that I suggested, that’s why I think there should be different requirements for writers. To ensure that it’s worth striving for the Gwent partner program I think CDPR should review their Gwent partners periodically. So, if a Gwent partner is inactive or doesn’t meet the requirements, that Gwent partner should get removed from the partner program in my opinion. Second, I would bring back closed PTR, the reveal campaign and the ‘’Creator of the week’’. In the end the partner program is there to help support your community, both the content creator and the viewer. An idea would be that partners are getting the opportunity to give away a variety of kegs (or other rewards) during certain releases. This could vary in 5, 10 and 20 kegs for example. This could also be the featured Gwent partner of the week that gets access to do giveaways. The content creator is benefiting from the higher viewing number and the viewers by earning in-game cards. Another idea is that the Twitch drops are increased in the stream of the featured Gwent partner of the week. These drops could also very well be in-game cosmetics than the ones we are currently used to receive.

Conclusion

We don’t know what the direction of the partner program is now. And it’s being overshadowed by Gwent Masters, season 2 and the release of Gwent on Android. I hope that Gwent partners will be used more in the future. Because as it stands now, the only reason to apply for the partner program seems to be cosmetics. For me personally that’s not what would make me strive to become a Gwent partner. And with Gwent Masters being postponed due to the COVID-19, its giving CDPR an opportunity to make use of their Gwent partners to promote the release of Gwent on Android with giveaways. The partner program has a lot of potential but it’s not being used to its full extend. The biggest asset Gwent has is its community of loyal players and content creators. CDPR should engage them more and make content creators strive to become a Gwent partner!