Gwent: Hearthstone’s First Rival?

Collectable and trading Card games have always been popular. Obtaining new cards that you need for your strategies and to defeat your opponent, or just have a full set or get that one with the artwork you like, you can spend many hours and a lot of money on this hobby. Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Pokémon TCG and more have been staples in collectable and nerd circles in the last twenty years with things now changing and going online.

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It didn’t take long for these games to embrace the internet. Traditional card games such as poker, blackjack, etc. have long been playable on the web, with places such as New Jersey Online Casino showcasing the hundreds that are available. Online collectable card games didn’t catch on as much for a while but that changed in 2014 with the release of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Blizzard adapting their mega World of Warcraft franchise into a free to play card game has been a rousing success. Taking a fast paced card game that you can play against the A.I. or real players captured the world’s interest and has remained a popular game with a huge eSports scene. Reports show the game has had 700,000 million players as of May 2017, achieving all this in just three years.

Hearthstone’s popularity would obviously attract competition and other developers getting in you it’s success. One of the major devs to do this would be Bethesda with The Elder Scrolls: Legends. Like Blizzard, they adapted their popular fantasy-based RPG series and made it into a free to play online card game. The game launched in March 2017 for PC, with iOS and Mac version following with an Android release expected sometime this year.

Bethesda wouldn’t be the last to try and emulate Hearthstone’s prosperity and that’s what bring us to Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. It’s an understatement to just say that The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was a winner, as it achieved multiple game of the year awards and over six million copies were sold in just the first six weeks. One thing that contributed to the popularity of the game was Gwent, an in-game card game that could be played against other citizens of the world. With Gwent being popular in itself, CD Projekt have adapted into a full game.

The public beta for Gwent has just been launched, allowing players an early look. The turn based, two-player game has each participant with a deck of twenty-five to forty cards, playing best two out of three rounds. Users will utilise factions and spells to conquer their opponent, with rewards of ores, scraps and cards. Ores are used to buy kegs that contain new cards, while scarps and used to create specific cards. Micro-transactions for more ore are obviously available.

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What makes Gwent different from many card games is your hand. Rather than drawing an opening hand and then adding and drawing more cards, you draw ten random cards at the start and they are your resources for the rest of the game. Though there are some ways of adding new cards, you have to manage the whole game with only your starting ten, which means you have to think about long-term strategies, rather than just doing the most powerful plays as quickly as possible. This can cut down on the RNG you get in card games, as a player is less likely to luck into the card they need. Also, with a limited pool of cards at your disposal, powerful, possibly game breaking combos become much more difficult to pull off. To balance all of this, no cards have costs so you can always play any card you draw.

Gwent has a solid fanbase before the game even launches and with a freshness from other card games, it could be the next big thing.

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