The community of Gwent is without a doubt a very diverse group of streamers, youtubers, pros, artists, writers and every-day players that share their thoughts, emotions and ideas with one another on social hubs and forums. Today, we’ve got an opportunity to interview a content creator falling into a category that could be easily forgotten about in such as wide selection, a developer. In our case it is not a developer of the game itself, but of a data gathering website gwentdata.com by the name of André Peres.
Q: Hi, thank you for sitting down with us today! First of all, can you tell us something little about yourself?
A: Hello, I am grateful for the invitation of Team BG for this interview. My name is André, I’m a Computer Scientist and a Brazilian Gwent player. I love digital games, mainly RPGs and I am also a very curious person, I like to know how things work and to analyze it.
Q: Working on such a project must require a lot of determination. How did you find your way to Gwent and would you consider yourself to be a „hardcore“ Gwent player?
A: My first contact with Gwent was in The Witcher 3, as I believe it must have happened to a decent part of the community. During my first playthrough, I didn’t have much interest in the cardgame and ignored most of the opportunities to play Gwent. However, in my second playthrough I really loved the game and took every opportunity to have a round of Gwent 😊 . After that, I figured that a standalone version of it should exist and searching for it I found that there was a beta version of Gwent Online. I immediately started playing. Unfortunately, at the time due to studying for a master’s degree, I ended up moving away from the game and only returned after HC when I had more time to play and get involved. I don’t consider myself a “hardcore” player, at least not recently, although I play Gwent every day in a more casual way, I like to test different decks and mechanics that are not very used in the meta.
Q: Could you introduce the website to us? How can we access it, what can it do and what would one use it for?
A: The website is called gwentdata.com (Yes, not a very original name 😊). You can see with the website the current Gwent Pro Rank stats and how each faction is performing. There are data such as winrate and playrate for each faction and an overview of the players with the best winrate per faction. You can also filter this data by date, and adjust the number of players in the sample (Top 100, 500, 1000, etc.). Data is collected every 4 hours. There are also charts showing the historical behavior, day by day, of the same data, showing how each faction evolved during the season. In addition to that, we have a table with the Leaderboard of the 500 best players, again with a filter and the possibility to sort the data. Also, an interesting feature is that you can see the individual profile of the players that contains a series of charts and information about their performance on the Ladder. It is important to emphasize that the site is still in the early stages of development and may have bugs and a lack of resources. The site can be used by people who are interested in more detailed Gwent data, can track the performance of each faction and the players at the top of the Ladder. If you are in Pro (in the top 2800), you can also track your individual performance, see what your status is and how you have progressed. I believe it is a tool that would help both the curious and competitive pro players.
Q: Where did the idea to make your website come from? Do you have any experience with similar projects?
A: Ironically, the idea came when CDPR restricted several data. This caused a certain level of discomfort in a part of the community at the time. Until then, I had not thought about collecting data at all, nor that it would be possible. Nonetheless, from there I started the project as a personal hobby, developing some algorithms, collecting data and analyzing it through spreadsheets. After the algorithms reached a certain maturity in the collection and compilation of the data, I started to work on a page to present this data that would create charts in an automated way. Basically, I showed it to some people in the community that were also fond of data, and they found it interesting, so I decided to create a page to share it with them easily. After that I also decided to make it public for anyone interested in having access to such data. Yes, I have some experience in data collection and analysis, I worked on some internal company projects and I also have a master’s degree in Computational Intelligence which helps in the development of the project too.
Q: What method does the website use to gather the data? Have you encountered any difficulties with extracting it from the game, or rather the players’ statistics?
A: Unfortunately, CDPR is not very generous when it comes to making data available, let alone raw data for analysis. So, the biggest source of data is the Gwent Master page and the public Profiles. Unfortunately, there are some limits to this. The Masters page, for example, allows you to consult only the 2860 players with the highest MMR. Despite this being a generous number, the way the MMR is calculated can cause for good players to end up appearing later in the statistics, as they possibly can focus on a certain faction until they have a good fMMR and only then work on the other factions which increases their MMR and makes them visible. There are several difficulties in collecting this data, as mentioned, but beyond that, there is also the fact that any player has the option to make his profile private, which makes it impossible to collect several pieces of information. This affects the quality of the data heavily. For instance, approximately 9.5% of Pro Ladder players have their profile set to private. In many cases, I do a manual data feed by looking directly at Gwent in-game profiles, as it is possible to obtain more information within the game than on the website.
Q: Do you have any plans for the website to the future?
A: For now, the only plans are to make more charts and add some search feature and filters, perhaps the publication of some data analysis articles. The lack of data makes development very difficult.
Q: CDPR regularly shares data with the community too, such as the monthly leader ability winrates. Would you say that the community is well-informed by the devs in this regard? Could something be perhaps improved in your opinion?
A: The monthly release of the leader abilities’ winrates was a great initiative by CDPR. It definitely helps the community to understand some changes made in the balance patches. I believe, however, that many things could be improved, such as the availability of an API for obtaining public data such as the leaderboards and some other information that is only possible to obtain within the game today and not on the website. Also, reverting the format of the Masters website to show the fMMR data of the players again, I honestly did not get why this was removed, while the opposite should have been done in my opinion. I believe that the more transparent the competitive scene becomes, the better it will be for everyone.
Q: Have you by a chance noticed any interesting phenomena coming from the visualised data that wouldn’t be as obvious in the game alone? I was personally shocked by the very low play-rate of NR at the beginning of this season… Dark clouds gather over Temeria indeed!
A: Yes, it is common to see some trends, though it is difficult to say if it would not be possible to observe in the game, as it depends a lot on the level of MMR the player is at. A phenomenon that I always find interesting is the popularity of Nilfgard, even when the faction is underperforming, its playrate is greater than one would be expecting. Apparently, people really like the faction, maybe because they find it fun or feel more comfortable with the play style. There are also temporary changes due to a particular deck becoming popular. Recently, for example, there has been a huge jump in the popularity of Nilfgard after the release of a certain deck. Indeed, NR is going through a bad phase in its popularity, despite having presented slight improvements on the last days it is still well below the others. Scytheman and Vesemir nerfs, and Yrden being a thing have made the faction become much less attractive perhaps. Furthermore, the new cards didn’t help too much with rekindling the interest. What I realized is that normally any nerf NR has a significant impact on the popularity of the faction. NR is my favorite faction and, although I don’t like the witchers deck personally, it is very sad to see it so low on the ladder.
Q: Is there any way we can help you as a community? Are you searching for more people to help you with mantaining or expanding the website?
A: As it is a small project, no more people are needed right now, however, any suggestion is always welcome. I believe that the best way to help as a player is to turn your profile public, because your profile can still be seen inside the game if you are on pro, and thus restricting it only makes the data analysis difficult, but does not prevent anyone from accessing it if they want to do the extra step.
Q: Final Question: If you were forced to name your first-born child after a Gwent card, which one would it be and why?
A: Hard question. I’m thinking if it was for a girl, I always liked the names Yennefer and Philippa. Not to piss off Triss fans, I’ll stick with Philippa 😊, I like the name and I think she is a super interesting character from the Witcher world.
With the last and arguably most important question having been answered, I would like to thank again to André for sharing with us his insight into the fascinating world of Gwent data and also to you, our dear readers, for making it to the very end. If you were interested in this topic make sure to let us know by commenting and we will see you next time.