Partner Program

Favoritism in the Gwent Partners Program during Reveal Seasons

Introduction

A reader unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the Gwent community might falsely assume that they might have discovered the only gaming community fascinated with vegetables, well leeks to be more exact, and presumably healthy lifestyle. Have all the news segments and articles about obesity and junk food among this sedentary subculture been fabricated out of thin air? Well, that’s unfortunately not what this article aims to delve into, but allow me nonetheless to place this topic question on the window sill of my article, for any crafty passing-trough writer to steal.

The legendary Gwent “Leek Season” describes a period of approximately a month before the release of an expansion for the game, during which content creators that have entered the official Gwent Partners Program as well as CDPR themselves and other affiliated individuals such as artists, or popular personalities from the Gwent community reveal cards that will be coming to the game in the upcoming expansion. Seems pretty cut and dried, not? Well, it might be, but not in the sense you might think at first perhaps.

The aim of this article is to analyze the process of card reveals with a focus on the peculiarities of what precedes the revelation itself, that is the selection of the limited number of Gwent partners that will get reveals, and to provide partial insight into how the distribution of card reveals is made among the partners. Ultimately, the article seeks to provide an alternative to the established system through the means of constructive criticism as well as arguments for the change.

 

The Case

I think I should introduce the body of my article by stating that I am a Gwent partner and I have experienced two expansions with their two respective leek seasons (Master Mirror and Way of the Witcher) and I have not had a reveal before. Before I started working on this article, it was rather difficult for me to find a position where I could dodge any bias and judge the situation fairly and objectively considering I am a cog in the machine that I aim to rewire, if not to dismantle, by my words, nonetheless, I believe that thanks to the method that I have chosen to use and a few rules that I made for myself, the article should be as fair and as objective as possible.

What was my methodology then and the reasons for it? In short, my suspicion for a very long time was that some partners are prioritized in the selection over others, therefore I have gone through every single season of card reveals and noted who got a reveal before, nonetheless due to the fact that there were numerous variables in play in each and every season, be it the number of reveals, preceding expansions, cards revealed by CDPR, etc. I have decided to only focus on the state of the latest expansion, Way of the Witcher. The potential article covering the whole entirety of Gwent expansions reveals therefore rests for now right next to one about the healthy lifestyle of the Gwent community.

Alongside individuals that have had a reveal before, I have also naturally noted the ones who haven’t and finally made a special category for CDPR’s official reveals and affiliated individuals (tournament casters, faction ambassadors, etc.) as well as anomalous cases (e.g. card artists). More than three categories could be made, but considering how small the selection pool of one expansion is, I decided to not divide the numbers any further for clarity as well as to minimize the impact of abnormalities.

 

The Gwent Faction Ambassadors have been proudly bearing their banners for almost two years now, one of their privileges being regular card reveals of cards from their chosen factions. 

Finally, to take emotions out of the equation, as I will be technically speaking (or writing) about some of the most beloved members of the Gwent community, I have decided to not mention who I have placed into which category, in fact, the analysis will stay completely anonymous, each individual being represented just as a numerical fraction. Thanks to the fact that all of the card reveal threads have been archived on Reddit, I can and will share all of the sources that were used for making this article at the very end for anyone that would like to verify my data.

Mentioning verification, I do believe that some individuals could be placed in two categories based upon how you judge their involvement with CDPR. A perfect example of this would be chat moderators for CDPR’s Twitch account, which I have personally decided to not include among CDPR and misc. but one could place them there, therefore the approach that I have chosen to go with does not evade statistical flaws completely, which would disappear if a larger pool of compared reveals could be used and more categories to be made, but for the aforementioned reasons, this isn’t an option in my opinion. Furthermore, there was also a case of an individual who got a reveal before, albeit not for their personal channel, but for a project with another creator. This case I have counted as a repeated reveal, especially considering the other co-creator also had numerous reveals before. Also, one case of a Gwent team getting a reveal appeared, this one was counted as the first reveal, despite the fact that multiple members of the said team had been given reveals before.

Ultimately, a very limited amount of reveals from previous expansions had no traceable link to whoever revealed them and therefore the sources are not perfectly clear either, paradoxically though, two out of the three categories would not get reduced, even if the links were there and I believe that this imperfection in fact only emboldens the argument that I want to make. That being the fact that some partners are prioritized over others as the only outcome possible from the uncharted reveals could possibly be an increase in size for the “had a reveal before category” in the latest and future reveal seasons.

 

The Data

Finally, let us take a look at the data itself. The reveal campaign for the Way of the Witcher expansion has brought us exactly 71 card reveals. In spite of that, there can be found 75 cards on the WotW reveal page, but 4 of these cards are tokens that were not given a reveal of their own, these being Red, Blue, and Green mutagen and Saber-Tooth Tiger: Stealth. Interestingly enough, there was in fact another token that was given a reveal, that being Witcher Student, which will be naturally counted among the normal card reveals.

If we break down the 71 cards into the aforementioned categories, the largest group becomes what I decided to dub “Regular Reveals” (CDPR, Faction Ambassadors, Casters, Community hubs’ representatives) with 30 reveals that add up to 42.25% of the entire card reveals’ pool. The numbers are much closer with the remaining two categories that I have named “First Partner reveals,” for, surprisingly, partners that had their first times with this expansion, and “Recurring Partner Reveals,” for partners that have had at least one reveal before, but some of them in fact have had even up to 4, potentially even more if we count in cooperative projects! These two categories split the pie (And there is a lot of pie analogies and metaphors in this article, isn’t it?) by getting 22 reveals (30.99%) and 19 reveals (26.76%) respectively.

For even closer comparison we can omit Regular Reveals which leaves us with 41 and sets the numbers to 53.66% for First Partner Reveals and 46.34% for Recurring Partner Reveals.

Taking into account all the statistical factors that I’ve mentioned before, that is among others a rather small card reveal pool, individuals with ambiguous categorization, forced simplification, and more, we cannot make any final statement that would unequivocally prove anything, nonetheless, we can observe that a very high number of partners is getting their second, third, or maybe even fourth reveals, such high amount of them in fact, that they almost even out with first-timers.

 

The Questioning

Now you might be asking yourself, does it even matter? Surely some content creators deserved getting more reveals, right? And I wouldn’t disagree completely, though I would like to present an opposing view to such mentality. Yes, some people have been making their name in the Gwent community, uploading, writing, streaming, or competing for years, nonetheless, while it makes sense in their individual cases, what sense does it make in the greater scope of things? What sense does it make for a brand new content creator that is wondering whether they should or shouldn’t apply for the Gwent Partners program? Is it even worth it to enter a group of fellow creators, provided that those who win win more and those who don’t win are either ignored or pushed to the sidelines?

Now, to be fair, the Gwent Partners program isn’t only about card reveals, in fact, it is very generous towards those who enter it, nonetheless there is so little coming from it on the basis of involvement and cooperation from your side that in the end, the reveals is all that it can boil down to in the case of your active participation unless you enjoy providing regular feedback (which you can also on the CDPR forums or community hubs) or participate in the very sparse Partners tournaments.

Furthermore, it can be so impactful and beneficial for a new or a smaller content creator to be able to shout: “Hey, I exist! I’m revealing a card for the game that I love and while you’re at it, feel free to check out my channel and help me out.” Creativity has no bounds and small steps like this, if done correctly, can jumpstart a new channel, bring a bunch of new followers, gain some public awareness. For instance, I have never before heard of Xioniz, but thanks to his very clever card reveal I have visited both his Youtube and Twitch channels and had a good time there, despite him making content predominantly in Polish, simply because of the card reveal, of the way I could be introduced to him as someone that cares about what they do and they do it with passion. On the other hand, I dare to argue that for larger content creators with established viewer bases that already are in the public eye and have ties to other individuals that they can cooperate with and mutually expand their viewer bases (which is exclusively what the Recurring Partner Reveals category consists of), it is almost negligible whether they get a handful of new followers or not from getting a bit more attention thanks to the card reveal, in the end, it is more of a fun and exciting opportunity to get a sneak peek for what is to come.

If CDPR wants to stay on good terms with the most successful of Gwent content creators, why not engage with them in some way that goes beyond the Partners program? Add easter eggs to the flavor texts of the new cards, allow them to participate in PTR’s, make card arts with something that is connected to them, or even use their resemblance and their personalities to give life to completely new characters, I could see it already… But I’m digressing here! The topic of shortcomings of the Gwent Partners Program has been also brought up before by my fellow teammate, Babyjosus. 

Back to the topic, I simply do not know why are “those who already won” prioritized over those who are only starting their climb to the top, presumably because the prior are considered to be reliable long-term participants in the program or literal “partners” and CDPR wants to stay on good terms with them. That being said, while I do not want to take away anything from them and I think they deserve what they were given, at the same time I would like to give what they have to the small, fragile, and growing partners, that might actually find a great use for the spotlight. For as long as this “VIP reveal club” is a thing and the selection is done purely on the personal choice of whoever is in command, a strong aftertaste of favoritism will be left in the mouths of those who hoped to get a chance for a card reveal but were not chosen over someone who had 3 reveals before.

This is especially painful as this expansion was one of the first where the selection was done purely by CDPR. To explain this, in the previous expansions Partners were asked to let the person in charge know whether they want a reveal or not in a dedicated text channel which usually resulted in an avalanche of requests and demands on what type of card would people want and how their viewers would be excited by it, etc. In short, convince us that you’re more worth it than the guy next to you. I personally have been very disappointed by this approach as it brings the worst in people in my opinion. Individuals who haven’t been active on their respective platforms reappeared magically, people who had had a reveal or two before presented their preferences for what they’d like to get this time, and worst of all some of them were actually selected because why not. I think I cannot judge anyone, in fact, I’d be guilty too because we all want a card of our own, but for as long as this is meant to be a program without any hierarchy, where all are given equal opportunities to participate and cooperate, such approach just feels flawed and corruptive. In fact, the influence of “asking and potentially getting” has been so strong that many requests were made in the respective channel this year even in spite of the fact that they supposedly shouldn’t have affected much and while I cannot show messages of other people without their approval, many of the ones who asked were given reveals and at least one of them was given the exact type of card they asked for, that being a meme card.

I have asked for a reveal before once, not really expecting anything. This reveal season I didn’t do so both because I have grown critical of the system and because I wanted to stay as unbiased as possible.

 

The Proposal

So, what would be the solution? Before I present my take on what would make the system fairer in my eyes, let me mention that it’s completely up to CDPR to do whatever they want with the Partners Program, it is purely their initiative and in fact, there is no legal involvement of the individual partners, no closure on how many reveals they have to get or anything like that, so nobody is bound to do anything, everything is based upon goodwill. Furthermore, I can see pros and cons for both the established system and for the one that I would like to propose, therefore, one could object to mine just as critically as I have been trying to throughout this article to the current system and that is completely fair and a correct thing to do.

I personally believe that in order to make anything as fair as possible you need to take the human factor out of the equation. Without anyone deciding who deserves it more than anyone else, who would fill a certain category well and how to make it so, so that nobody would feel offended, but also without anyone trying to not to mix their personal preferences and opinions in the selection process, without any person being tasked with a burden like this, it would be much easier to find a state of balance, perhaps seemingly unfair sometimes, but unfair in a “fair” way. How to achieve that you might ask and what does it mean in the first place? Well, there are multiple ways with their respective nuances, but I’d personally argue for just making a list of all the Gwent Partners, alphabetical, randomized, it wouldn’t matter as much in my eyes for as long as there would be one criterion followed and that is: “Those who have had a reveal before go to the bottom of the list. The more reveals you have had, the further down you go.” When a new expansion arrives, you could go from the top down taking only Partners that haven’t had a reveal before, and once the reveal campaign would end, you would just take those who got a reveal before and placed them on the bottom. Next expansion the process would repeat. When new partners join the program, you either shuffle them among those who haven’t had a reveal before or put them on the top. Once you’d have no partners without first reveals, you’d move on to second reveals. Over time, as new partners regularly join the ranks of grizzled veterans, a healthy mix of first-timers and recurrent partners could be achieved in every expansion.

The arguments for this system:

  1. Treats all partners equally.
  2. Is very beneficial for new partners.
  3. Simplifies the selection process.
  4. Introduces more creators to the community.
  5. The chances of each partner getting at least one reveal are higher.

The arguments against this system:

  1. While the selection process is simpler, making and updating a list of partners is required.
  2. It isn’t as beneficial for old partners (especially those who have had reveals before).
  3. Prevents CDPR from highlighting certain individuals.
  4. The chances of getting your second or more reveals are lower.
  5. Introduces new creators that might not be seen as reliable (might leave Gwent for something else).

 

Conclusion

In reality, I could easily see the current system stay unchanged, all that is need for a more fair environment to be achieved is to reduce the amount of recurring partner reveals. You can still highlight anyone that deserved it in that period of the year, but the numbers shouldn’t be almost 50:50 in my honest opinion. If we take into account how many partners there are (This list is obsolete, by the way, there are many, many more!) and that some people were given a reveal almost every single expansion season despite being on the same level as anyone else, participating in a system like this may feel very, very underwhelming and might even discourage people from ever asking for a reveal in the future, it certainly discouraged me.

Whatever the situation will be when the future expansions come out, I hope that as many new partners as possible will get a chance to cooperate and show proudly what they have achieved. Not only what they build on their channels, blogs, and ladder reports, but also where has that all lead them, that they became the official Gwent Partners and can cooperate with those who made a game that means so much to them. Merry Christmas and thank you for reading this article everyone!


Sources

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!