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.
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.
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.