Still one of the best single player games on the market at the moment, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt had an ace up its sleeve in the guise of one of the best card based minigames since Triple Triad! Gwent distracted and destroyed the noblest intentions of a certain White Wolf of Riviera for many a person’s playthrough in favour of sitting in a smokey tavern with ne’er do wells and miscreants to outmaneuver and best his opponent over the card table in Gwent!
As with any card based minigame that reaches the lofty heights of “a tangible and veritable distraction from the main game”, Gwent is defined by two di-opposed traits that perfectly work together symbiotically: Its simplicity and it’s depth. Each combatant has a side of the card table with three rows: Melee, Ranged & Seige which corresponds to where you can place each card. Each card has a value and you have to beat you competitor’s score for two of the three rounds in order to win the game. Four different factions offering wildly different methods of play. Sounds simple, no? But some cards have abilities, others are Gold, there are spies, medics, cards that can go on multiple rows, even the god damn weather can be used as a wild card to wreck your enemies’ perfectly laid out plans! Simplicity. Depth. Victory. Defeat. Glory!
Some time ago, there was an announcement that this wondrous past time was getting a full, stand-alone release! Invitations to the hotly sought after “Closed Access Beta” were sent out to a small selection of those that had signed up through the appropriate sites. Feedback had started coming out about the game immediately (what’s an NDA? Is it tasty?) and it appeared to be an instant success with those that had been lucky enough to get their hands on it!
The game is being brought out as a Free to Play title with micro-transaction based card packs to be unlocked for both level ups and, of course, real money. There is a spectrum of acceptability with regards to microtransactions, it’s still a somewhat fledgling business principle after all, far more at home on the mobile market than on the traditional video game avenue for sales. Luckily Gwent not only offers you a decent dividend for your cash, but also offers you plenty of options to build your deck without parting with a penny!
While still technically in Beta, the game is fully ready and playable with only a few feature still not present. Most of which are trivial, but the inability to play with friends is a noticeable absence. No official date has been announced for the release of the full, finished game yet, but what is on offer in the Beta will not leave many wanting much more (bar the aforementioned capacity for
destroying playing with your friends). Players of the Closed Beta that have logged on may have noticed a Master Reset has taken effect, removing a player’s level, ore and deck to allow for a fairer playing field for all players, new and old, to the Beta. The microtransactions have all been returned as Kegs (card packs) so no money will have been lost, but a little time will need to be spent to open and arrange the Kegs and Cards respectively.
This is likely going to be the most anticipated Free-To-Play title released for consoles in their history and I sincerely hope the wider community takes to the game with the same fevered level of interest that the Closed Beta has received thus far!