Gwent

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!