During a very busy gamescom, we had the chance to sit down with Gwent’s Community Specialist Pawel Burza to talk about the upcoming Thronebreaker expansion, the changes in the now-released patch and the way the Gwent community influences the game’s development. Enjoy!
Thank you very much for your time! How has gamescom been treating you so far?
It’s been great! The first Gwent Open tournament has been amazing so far, Shaggy looks like a really strong contender. We’ve also gotten a lot of positive feedback regarding Thronebreaker, so that’s nice to see as well.
There have been a lot of card changes revealed at gamescom. The biggest change that we’ve seen so far is the fact that gold cards are now targetable. Was this an attempt to make the game more interactive than before?
Exactly. One of our game designers openly talked about this change when we made it public. It’s a change that is supposed to make Gwent more interactive, similar to how we changed Weather before, which wasn’t very interactive either. The problem with golden cards was that we saw more and more archetypes creep into the game which would only focus on playing Weather, Removal, all the special cards and then play the gold cards at the end and you couldn’t do anything about it.
Also there was this problem we saw when you’re in the last round and you draw something like Alzur’s Thunder but your opponent plays a gold card so you had a dead draw. This wasn’t really fun, so we eventually reworked and changed it.
Let’s talk a bit about the upcoming Singleplayer campaign Thronebreaker. It looks absolutely fantastic!
Yeah, the team has been working hard on it. It’s unbelievable. The world is hand-drawn, we have choices & consequences which is something that we’re known for and we can finally tell some stories we always wanted to tell about the Witcher universe.
Regarding the 20 exclusive cards for Multiplayer that you’ll receive by purchasing Thronebreaker, will you also be able to get them in Kegs, craft them, or is buying the Thronebreaker campaign the only way to obtain them?
So you’ll unlock the cards by purchasing the campaign. As far as other ways of obtaining them, we’re still looking into this. As you know we haven’t put a pricetag on Thronebreaker yet, so we’re not yet sure on how we would like to sell the Thronebreaker package. This is something that is work in progress still.
Are you looking for community feedback as well?
Of course! If you know us, community feedback is very important to us. The history of Gwent as a standalone game is the fact that the community asked us to make it this full-fletched game that it is nowadays. We’re always listening to community feedback and they have some great ideas as well!
Talking about the esports side of things, you’ve already had a lot of success in the way that many professional players from other CCGs, like Hearthstone or Duelyst, have quit their respective games to focus on Gwent, such as Lifecoach or SuperJJ. That must’ve been quite a surprise for you?
It was honestly quite shocking when we heard about it. It was great to hear that they saw the idea behind Gwent, which was to have a card game that is based around skill, that has a few random effects but they aren’t dominant in the game. The professional players saw that you do have a heavy influence on the outcome of the game and that’s why they joined. We didn’t encourage them, we just tried to make a good game.
What else will we see before Gwent properly launches? You mentioned that we will see a new faction amongst other things?
You’ll see a new faction, new leaders for existing factions so ideally we’ll have four different leaders for each faction. We’re currently working on that and if you know us we try to give each faction the same tools as the other.
From what I’ve played at gamescom, Nilfgaard seems to get quite a few buffs with the new Spies cards being introduced. Is buffing Nilfgaard an objective you guys had before making this patch?
Well, Assassin is work in progress (laughs). But more Spies are really good for Nilfgaard. If you look at Nilfgaard at the moment, it’s basically only Reveal Nilfgaard or the Control list popularized by Mogwai, where you mill your opponent and get all the cards you need to win the game.
We want Spies to be a bit more prominent as that is what Nilfgaard is known for, they have lots of spies, they infiltrate their opponents. Which is why we wanted to introduce a few more units that work with this archetype specifically.
Impera Enforcers is getting changed accordingly and Menno is luckily getting changed – he would’ve seemed a bit too broken otherwise.
Yeah, with the new Spy cards, Menno would’ve been just… Too crazy (laughs).
From what I’ve played here at gamescom, Weather and Dagon decks seem to be largely unchanged. Is that something you’re looking at still?
As you’ve possibly seen from the Demo, there are a lot more cards that synergize with the Wild Hunt Archetype as a whole. We always liked having Weather in the game and Monsters are known for using Frost and Fog as a concept, so we want them to have these tools more than other factions. But we’re definitely looking at changing Dagon’s Fog decks a bit so it’s not as oppressive as it is currently. In any Gwent tournament that I cast or watch, every player basically bans Dagon, with only a few banning Emhyr Control because they can’t deal with it.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the Gwent fans on social media?
Please, keep the memes coming! (laughs) But seriously, thank you for your support, thank you for your feedback, I read it all. I can’t reply to everything but we all read it. Thank you for sticking with us, there is more cool stuff to come. I’m really excited for it and I hope everyone on reddit is as well.
Thank you very much for your time!