Geralt

Signs of Comparison

For those of you who are unaware, Geralt is a beloved character and regarded as one of the most iconic in RPG gaming over the last few years, even so that he has his own series based around him, although 33% of it is based directly on him. There are many admirable things about Geralt, such as his voice, which I’m sure many of us have tried to imitate, his interactions with the most natural (and unnatural) things in the world of the witcher and how he remains nonchalant about them. However, in this article, I will be talking about a set of abilities he possesses that has proven to be quite a nuisance in the world of Gwent in the past few months. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I will be talking about the signs and how they are portrayed in the Witcher compared to in Gwent. As I was reading through the signs and their abilities, I realized their capabilities of getting stronger through sign upgrades as Geralt levels up in the game. That makes the signs in the Witcher far more complex and interesting compared to their Gwent counterparts.

Before I begin, I would just like to point out that I will not be covering the intensity or the stamina regeneration of the signs as they improve since every sign is capable of doing so. Instead, I will be focusing on additional abilities it gains when the upgrades are implemented. Without further ado, let us begin analyzing these signs.



THE PROTECTIVE POWER OF QUEN


When it comes to the signs, the one sign I loved the most was the Quen sign. Being able to abuse that shield every chance I got during combat got me out of some very sticky situations. Not only do I not lose damage when I get hit, but the shield could also stagger any monster or humanoid that tries to attack me. If I had a dime for every battle I used Quen throughout my playthrough of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt…I would have a lot of dimes.

In sign upgrades, Quen has the capability of being more of a nuisance to the opponents. The shield sign is capable of pushing back and sometimes knocking downs opponents, allowing Geralt for some free strikes. The sign can also reflect damage back to the attacker or use the damage to absorb Geralts vitality. Considering how hard it is to find means of restoring vitality apart from the use of provisions and the swallow potion, the latter ability is very useful for gaining a bit of extra vitality back to remain in the fight, especially when fighting in harder difficulties.

Now for those of you who do not know or did not play Gwent early enough to witness it, Quen was actually a card in Gwent. It allowed you to choose a unit on in your hand and boost all copies on your hand and deck by 2 and grant them shield. If they already had shield, it doesn’t stack. I know what you’re thinking, this kind of ability would make blue stripes commandos absolutely disgusting, but the thing is, this card is a pure set up and carry over card. It doesn’t give you any points on the field, so it is a card that did not see a lot of play and since 2017, it does not exist as a card in Gwent, but perhaps at some point, it might make a comeback with a viable ability.

 

THE MIND MANIPULATING MADNESS OF AXII


The next sign I will cover is the Axii sign. In the Witcher, Axii gives Geralt the ability to manipulate the minds of those when he needs them to either calm down, or get them to follow what he needs them to do or say. It is a very useful dialogue option when I found that things were getting tense during conversation, but be careful as any individual listening in on the conversation can detect the not-so-subtle Witcher if he attempts to cast it in the middle of a conversation and said conversation can take an ugly turn.

As Axii is improved throughout the game, it has the capability of turning foe to friend for a short amount of time, as well as increasing its damage output. This is a fun ability if you just want to take a breather from fighting or make your life a little easier and allow one of your opponents to fight his former allies for a little bit. This gives you one less person or monster to deal with for the time being. Axii can also become a double trouble of sorts by being able to influence 2 being at once, but this comes with a consequence as it results in the sign’s effect becoming a fraction of the sign’s full power.

 In the card game, it serves a different purpose. Geralt: Axii allows you to purify and reset the same unit. Unfortunately, this card does not see as much play as some of the sign cards that are coming up, and there are many reasons for that. The main reasons are Nilfgaard, Nilfgaard, and Nilfgaard. Ok, I will be more specific. Due to how Nilfgaard works nowadays, it’s really risky to boost units that have statuses, especially against Nilfgaard decks, considering that they have the most interaction with cards that have statuses. They have 3 faction cards that can purify units, they have plenty of poison cards, (at this point Assire counts as a second ball and they are capable to making more with the likes to imperial diplomacy and the infamous bribery. Of course, Axii could be useful in other factions, with monsters being a good option for it considering Monsters has the least amount of tech tools, but overall, there are better cards to use than Geralt: Axii and he becomes a liability in almost any deck.

 

AARD: THE TELEKINETIC THRUST

Before we start with this sign, I took that alliteration straight from the fandom page because it is a pretty good representation of what this sign does. For those of you who don’t know me, I really value my personal space, and so does Geralt. Whenever multiple enemies come toward Geralt at once, (hopefully from the same direction) he can always rely on Aard to push them back and continue the fight. Aard also has the capability of disarming opponents and stunning them. At times, I wish I possessed such abilities. Imagine just holding your hand out and immediately the person or object on the other side of your hand would just get pushed back or even break if they’re weak enough.

With regards to sign upgrades, Aard can improve the range and the damage output of the sign itself. It is capable of increasing the sign range in increments of 1 yard and increasing the damage output in increments of 40 points. Alternatively, the sign can change its hit mark from a cone to a radius that can affect all beings contained within said radius. The downside to this change in the hit mark is that the chance to knock down these opponents is decreased by a certain percentage when hit. Personally, I am not a big fan of the sign upgrades in this one since the upgrades are relatively simple, but they can be effective in dealing with swarms of enemies that all want a piece of the famed Witcher.

When it comes to being card in Gwent, Aard is the closest to lore with its ability. It allows the player to damage 3 enemy units by 2 and move them back to the ranged row. At 10 provisions and 2 power, Aard has the capability of dishing out some damage, not to mention disrupting row locked cards. However, this can restrict the movement ability in a sense. Running him in a guerilla tactics deck with crushing traps, weather, and Triss plus Lacerate is a good addition. The main con of this strategy is that everything has to be unleashed on the back row since Aard cannot push the units to the front row, but he proves as a good set up for such attacks. Compared to the 2 signs that are coming up and are considered to be the 2 most used sign cards in the game, Aard is my favorite since it acts a set up card as opposed to a finisher card.

 

THE CONFINING CIRCLE OF YRDEN


One of the two cards that are considered the most used in the game is Yrden. Geralt takes on a number of very unnatural beings as part of his line of work for coin. Some of those beings are so powerful that potions or magic (sometimes both) are required to weaken them so Geralt can slash and stab them with his silver sword. One of the tools he uses in his arsenal to achieve such means is Yrden, which casts a magic circle on the ground that weakens enemies and allows Geralt to deal more damage to them. A prime example of this use is against wraiths, which are corporeal beings that cannot be damaged with a sword unless they are caught in the circle of Yrden. It causes them to become corporeal and therefore vulnerable to Geralts sword attacks. Additional effects include slowing down some fast opponents and the capability of inflicting status ailments to them.

Upgrading this sign allows Geralt to case it with a bigger radius, making it capable of slowing down and damaging more enemies, and increasing the output of the damage. The more interesting ability of Yrden is that they can destroy projectiles passing through the area. In a sense, Yrden acts as a shield that can prevent arrows from going through to hit the Witcher. If you feel like sapping some enemies during combat, Yrden has you covered as well since anyone trapped inside the circle can have their life force and essence sapped, dealing some residual damage to them while engaged in combat. This is a useful sign for taking on some of the more unnatural beings the Witcher world has ever seen.  

When it comes to Gwent, Yrden has the ability to reset all units in a row. (Thank goodness it does not inflict statuses on them, we’ve seen enough statuses in the game) This is a very useful card when you take on decks that like to rely on boosting units. Examples being swarm uprising and Nilfgaard decks that use Cahir and/or thirsty dame since their conditions for boosting are easily achieved. Another deck that can struggle against Yrden is Greatswords and Dagur, since they rely on the pain of other units to make themselves stronger. Slapping Yrden onto the board completely nullifies all the power they have acquired throughout the round they are used in, no matter the length of the round itself. Just the thought of Yrden puts a sense of fear in any players minds, especially those that even consider adding boosting mechanics onto their decks. However, that fear is overshadowed by the fear of the last sign.

 

THE RED-HOT RAGE OF IGNI


Of course, we are talking about the Igni sign, which unleashes fire to your opponents as you get to watch their pain as they burn to the ground. While not actually powerful enough to kill them, it gives you the opportunity to strike since they will be occupied with their burning flesh. Other than that and being able to start fires by igniting torches and candles, the Igni sign doesn’t do much of anything else, so that’s the end of that on the Witcher 3 side.

The fires of igni get more intense as the sign as levels up, leading to the point where the fires can permanently melt the armor of Geralt’s enemies in increments of 15%. If they thought the searing flames hurt, wait until they feel the slash from Geralt’s sword or the strike from his cross pierce through their weakened armor. That pain is unbearable to the common enemy and even some of the Witcher World’s more ferocious creatures. The fires can also last longer as streams of flames can be continuously cast from Geralt’s hand to his enemies, dealing damager over a longer period of time and in addition, they can also leave a mark on his opponents, or they can also leave flames as well. That’s cool too since the improved igni has the potential to inflict burning on any being it strikes. The flames of Igni unleashed from Geralt can leave a field full of flames and charred flesh.


In Gwent, the Igni sign has been one of the most consistent cards in terms of its ability. Ever since closed beta, igni always had the ability to destroy the most powerful unit(s) in a row if the total power of said row was equal to or greater a certain threshold. In the back of opponents mind, they never want to catch themselves having a row with multiple units having the same power, especially if they are the highest units. As of recent patches, there has been dispute about Igni regarding subtle changes to it, such as provision and the threshold of power to allow it to destroy the most powerful units. Igni has also been a source of player’s griefs as of late, often complaining about Igni being added to decks that don’t necessarily need its services. I guess one could say Geralt:Igni is capable to starting fiery debates.



FINAL WORDS


If you made it this far into the article, it means you either agree with the things I have mentioned throughout the article, you enjoyed reading the article, or you have nothing better to do so you decide to do the sensible choice of reading team bandit gang’s articles.  This article is meant to provide a description of the use of the signs in the lore and compare them to how they are created as cards in the game, as well as some uses one can utilize with the addition of these cards in decks, and also a sign that QUEN NEEDS TO RETURN. What are your thoughts on the signs? What is your favorite sign either in the Witcher or Gwent in card form? Let me know your opinions in the comments section.

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.

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