Opinion Piece

My brief love affair with Idr and the importance of playing bad cards and failing

When Idr was initially teased, I was excited. It was a monster card that did something out of the ordinary and lent itself (in my admittedly overeager estimation) well to the at the time beleaguered MO swarm archetype. Hindsight is a better teacher than the theorycrafting of one excited MO main. Deckbuild after deckbuild trying to make the plucky centipede work led me to the inevitable conclusion that the bug was bad, the worm had turned and the many-legged freak was, in fact, a flop. And there are players all over, many of whom are either new or experienced, who are going through the same experience with fever-dream deckbuilds that usually end up as discarded dreams at the bottom of the deckbuilder after a few crushing losses. Bear with me now as I explain how that’s a good thing.

I’m not saying you should go out and play all-in harpies but if you have fun playing a deck that is sub-optimal then I encourage you to do so! Find the fun where you can. My argument here is that playing bad decks and more importantly failing will make you a better and more knowledgeable player. The best players that inform the meta with their deck picks aren’t just shaking the deck builder until a good deck falls out. They are playing sub-optimal decks and, through often exhaustive trial and error, rebuilding them into behemoths you see and fear on the ladder today. The difference between the pros and the perma-low-pro players is in experience. Think of it as the opposite of Bruce Lee’s famous quote, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

I’m not afraid of a player that has only played thrive their whole career. I’m terrified of the player that has tried out every other combination in the game at least once.

Seriously, try it. The next time you match into the big-dog meta deck think about how well your cards interact with their deck and how easily you were able to execute your win-condition. Think: “do I have anything in my deck that can give me the advantage over their deck?”, or “could I have out-pointed them?”, or “what cards do I never seem to be able to use?”. Approach the deckbuilder with those questions in mind. Assuming you’re rank 1-3 or a high-MMR Pro Rank player, odds are you’ll be running into the same few decks that define the current meta and you’ll have a much easier time sculpting your deck to give you a leg up. Doing so will not only create a depth of knowledge about the cards and systems that you may initially overlook but it will also offer a fresh perspective on some of the better cards in the faction. Not to mention: once the monthly patch rolls around you’ll have that much more experience with the cards that are receiving some much needed attention. The players that will benefit the most from the inevitable archespore buff will be the players that have attempted to use archespore in the past.

In the end, you won’t learn how to ride a bike by using training wheels, and you can’t learn Gwent if you let someone build your deck for you. So I’ll be over here trying to make Idr work. Who knows, you may see my deck in a meta roundup one day.

Carrost is on a 1 month trial for Team Bandit Gang’s Content Team and has quite the skill-set for when it comes to content creation. While he has been playing Gwent for over a year, he is relatively new to streaming on Twitch. His charisma and passion for memes is something that we liked about him. Not to forget to mention that he is a Voice Actor in his daily life and you can expect to hear his voice on a few projects that we have planned on the Bandit Gang YouTube channel. And at last, Carrost is a talented article writer as you have all been able to witness today yourself, so keep your eyes peeled on this man.

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!