CD Projekt RED has released a big statement via joint studio CEO Marcin Iwiński proclaiming GWENT will see a marked new update in "GWENT Homecoming", over the next six months.
Specifically, in that time there will be two content drops -- one this month that will "introduce the missing Premium Cards as well as faction specific board skins", and another in May that will " balance out the game (Wardancer included) with a new approach to “Create”". There will also continue to be events such as the planned Faction Challenges and Warped Arena during this time, while the esports calendar also remains unchanged. Here's what Marcin had to say:
Six months is a long time, however, on the flip side, after Homecoming concludes, we will go out of beta and release Thronebreaker at the same time. Don’t worry about your progress, once Homecoming is complete, for a limited time, you will have the ability to mill all of your cards for their full value. Regarding our esports activities, for now, our calendar is not changing.
As for details on Homecoming, Kasia and Rafał, GWENT’s leads, have broken down the project into the following key pillars:
- Turning GWENT into a battlefield
When you play GWENT, you are a leader of an army from the world of The Witcher. We want to put more effort into reflecting that in in-game mechanics and visuals. As an example, we would like to introduce a preferred row for some cards that would grant them additional benefits when put on that row. Also, rows in the front and back would always grant a different buff when a unit is placed there.
- Upgrading the board
Currently, rows don’t have direct impact on gameplay. If we count the hands of both players, we are looking at 8 rows in total. Our greatest visual assets — card art and premium versions of cards — are too small to shine in the current view. What we’re aiming for is a complete overhaul of the visual experience. The redesign will leave no stone unturned. We are even considering cutting one of the rows and leaving only melee and range. It’s still something that requires extensive testing, but we’re that serious about making things work.
- Fixing the coin mechanic
Currently, going second can give players a significant advantage. We heard you — we will ‘fix the coin flip’ and are already testing possible solutions.
- Revamping player progression
We have a lot of things planned for new and returning players. We will be offering a proper tutorial to ease first time players into playing GWENT. There will also be a new leveling system, achievements and a revised ranked mode — all with suitable rewards.
- Focusing on skill and player agency
We heard you discussing the “Create” mechanic. At first, we thought it would be an interesting addition to the game, but — as time passed — we realized that this form of wide RNG is not something that fits our focus on player skill. We will be extra careful with these types of mechanics in the redesign process. That said, if we manage to find some cards interesting enough to include, but ‘too crazy for Ranked’, they will still have their place in Arena and Casual Mode.
- Re-focusing on core gamers
We want GWENT to remain a deep game, where each faction has its identity and offers distinctive gameplay archetypes. We want rows to really matter in terms of gameplay, and gameplay itself needs to be engaging and rewarding.
- Bringing back The Witcher
Homecoming will bring back a darker aesthetic and mood, more in sync with the original Witcher lore. We’ll change the main menus and in-game shop, as well as work on a consistent UI and UX throughout the entire game.
We saved the best for last. After Homecoming concludes, we will launch GWENT along with Thronebreaker — our single player campaign. A dedicated team has been hard at work to deliver you a great new story from the Witcher universe. Expect goodness!
I haven't picked the game up in a while -- too many changes and nerfed cards for my liking, but it sounds like these guys continue to respect feedback and community, as well as what their final product will look like. I'm waiting for full release before jumping back in. Are you still playing? If so, what are your thoughts on all of the above and the game as it currently sits?