Gwent wasn't needed in The Witcher 3, but standalone is perfect

The Witcher 3 STL mod

My Geralt had a lot of time for sunsets. He’d pull up on his not-so-trusty steed, Roach, and stare out across a lake - basking in the orange glow and watching the trees sway in the savage winds, taking it all in. Even monsters weren’t really a distraction. I’d imagine him thinking: fine, murderous group of drowners, I’ll lop off your limbs, but make it quick - I want to watch the sun as it ducks behind the horizon. 

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It was the end of the world, but my Geralt was a tourist. You wouldn’t think it from his ghostly complexion, but his travels across war-torn Velen, his visits to bustling Novigrad, and even his boat trips to craggy Skellige were just one big jolly. Don’t even get me started on when he trekked to the vineyards of sunny Toussaint, taking in the grandeur of its duelling peaks, or admiring the Disney-esque architecture of Beauclair Palace. 

The witcher funded these trips with monster contracts. Whenever there was an option to not take the coin for his gruesome labour my Geralt scoffed at the very thought. Imagine being that good with a sword and not rinsing peasants for every penny they have. Maybe he’d even use his sign powers to bend their minds to his will and squeeze out a few extra florens. Yes, you’re safe from the monsters, but you’re probably not going to survive the winter. Sorry - I’ve got massive, abandoned siege towers to stare at. 

Monster hunting was a means to an end, and it obviously helped that Geralt had some holiday moments that would stay with him forever. Remember that time you freed the vengeful spirit from the tree and it murdered an entire town, Geralt? Good times. He probably has a collage of photographs stuck to the wall in his Toussaint holiday home: the Bloody Baron swinging from a tree; undead babies; Roach walking on thin air; Gaunter O’Dimm spooning someone in the eye. But when it came to a contractor who said they could pay in a few days, Geralt would just kneel on the floor and sit, meditating the days away until his payment was due.  

Despite seemingly having all the time in the world, there’s one thing my Geralt didn’t have time for at all: Gwent. When there’s so much beautiful destruction to admire, as well as the threat of an impending apocalypse, and the hunt for a lost, dimension-hopping daughter, Geralt just couldn’t be arsed with playing cards. Eventually, every quest available on the Continent was completed, but those Gwent challenges remained, clinging to the quest page like monster blood on a silver sword.

Gwent The Witcher Card Game Open Beta Campaign Mode

According to GOG Galaxy, I’ve played The Witcher 3 for 130 hours and 18 minutes. At a guess, about ten of those minutes were spent in Gwent, if only to remind myself that there’s some amazing scenery I could be slowly panning a camera around instead. To me, Gwent was an unneeded distraction, pulling me out of the incredible world CD Projekt Red crafted, taking me away from the amazing stories, those unforgettable holiday memories.  

That’s why standalone Gwent is perfect. I can finally get stuck into The Witcher 3’s card game without feeling like I could be doing something better, something more meaningful. Not only that, but it has a story. In fact, CD Projekt Red say that it’ll have a 15-hour campaign that features as much dialogue as The Witcher 3’s Hearts of Stone expansion. That seems like a more worthy distraction than sitting in a tavern when I could be out earning coin and taking in the view. 

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QDP2(4 days 9 hours played)
1 Month ago

With 100+ hours into Witcher, the game is still installed for me to complete the second DLC should I ever need to. I agree that Gwent was completely un-needed. Never did I choose to play the title, even for the backlog missions to earn special cards. Gwent as a standalone screams the same thing to me though, why would I play this card-game when I could get stuck into something bigger, something grander, something more? Gwent had a very leveled-deck build inside the game, you either had good cards or you didn't. As you explored/looted/quested, you unlocked better cards that literally made the game easier to win.

I never really followed the prediction game since there were too many cards to learn, not enough care to invest into it. Breaking it apart from the RPG doesn't change that learning curve required, nor does it remove that sense of 'what else could I be doing?'. It simply puts it into my Steam library (through a non-steam game icon). It puts it into that list of titles competing for play-time, and for me it will still lose out.

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