Hi everyone, Lorakko here! As a new content team member for TLG, I decided to introduce myself with a review of the Gwent Journey. We will talk about some basics at first and then proceed to calculations regarding Journey's efficient completion and its economy as a progression system.
I have prepared an interactive calculator for your personal Journey experience! Play with it and find a Journey scheme tailored to your needs. Making your own copy of the Google Sheet is advised, as on the public copy you may experience your data being deleted or overwritten by other users.
Basic Journey Mechanics
To fully understand the new system, you need to know something about its core parts, so that you can use the bonuses offered in-game in the most effective way to boost your progression. I will explain everything in the following accordion. You might find some of these obvious, but it's a full guide, so feel free to skip the parts that don't interest you.
In fact crown halves, well-known to every Gwent player since the beginning. You get one crown for each round you win, no matter the final result of the game. Every Journey level requires you to gather 24 crowns to advance. You can do so in a myriad of ways - you can find more details in the next few paragraphs.
It's a way of rewarding the players for regularity - up to 14 rounds that you win every day will count twice! So if you win your first game of the day, you will get 4 crowns instead of 2 and if you get defeated 1:2, you will get 2 crowns. Keep this bonus in mind and plan your Journey accordingly. Winning 28 rounds in one day would grant you 28+14 = 42 crowns, while equally splitting that into two days (14 rounds each) would give you 2*(14+14) = 56 crowns!
The sets of 6 contract-like quests added to the game every week. 3 of each set are bound to Dandelion's free path and the 3 others to Geralt's premium path. None of these tasks will disappear until the very end of the Journey, so over the course of 12 weeks, you will be able to do them whenever you want.
However, the weekly tasks can only be completed in the given order (starting from week 1). Each of these tasks grants players 20 crowns upon completion, which makes them the best way to progress the Journey, almost essential for it. Make sure to complete every task!
NOTE: Every player, no matter if they choose to remain F2P or if they buy the Battle Pass, will be able to complete the tasks for both paths. However, players that don't buy the premium path at the beginning won't obtain any rewards for Geralt's quests until they buy the pass. It's always correct to do all the quests even if you're a F2P player, just in case you want to spend some money in the future.
Weekly round limit
CONGRATULATIONS! If you play enough Gwent in a week and win 350 rounds, then the game won't reward you with crowns anymore. However, the weekly tasks and Well-rested bonus still apply, giving the grinders a chance to get their 14 crowns each day. You can play to strengthen your ladder position, but it won't affect Journey progress.
The weekly limit started at just 100 rounds, but after the community backlash, it was later raised to 350, effective since Day 6 of the Journey. Shotout to Jason Slama, it's good to see that CDPR listens to feedback.
The base of the basics and simultaneously the clue of Journey, levels are the steps you have to climb in order to finish your adventure. Each level is split into two parts: Dandelion's path granting reward points or avatars upon completion, and Geralt's path giving trinkets, reward points, kegs, cards, etc; for those who pay for premium.
Every level requires 24 crowns to complete. We start at level 1, so 99 to go, 2376 crowns needed in total. Journey levels replaced the daily crowns (the previous system of rewarding players for winning rounds every day). We will compare these two systems in the "Resources" part of this guide. Once you finish your Journey, you will still be rewarded by the old daily crown system.
An option for those impatient or lacking time to grind. You can pay for skipping some Journey levels. This can be done at the Journey tab between milestones, which are the levels that offer bigger rewards. It's also doable in the GoG shop, where you get a special offer of roughly -20% off while paying for 25 levels.
Journey Time Efficiency
In this section, I would like to talk about the possible ways of finishing your Journey. I will focus on the 3 main policies for spending money (F2P, Premium, Fast Travel) and I will suggest 3 different playstyles for each option (playing every day, playing 5 days a week, playing on weekends only).
Each model assumes that you want to finish the Journey just in time before it ends. They present a minimal number of games that you have to play, split equally between the chosen number of days with Gwent every week. This is supposed to give you the general idea of how hard it is to complete the Journey. For planning your very own experience, I strongly recommend using my interactive calculator where you can configure a plan that suits your needs.
I'm also making an assumption that you win 50% of your games and that you don't lose 0:2 often enough to count losses that won't give you any crowns. All this to present you an estimated number of games (and rounds) needed, as thanks to Slama's post we know that the average game of Gwent takes 12 minutes. Based on that, I can calculate the time needed to complete the Journey in different models (such as F2P vs Battle Pass).
We are 1 week into the Journey, but I will run the numbers for full 12 weeks in the accordion below, and I will assume that we are at the first level of our adventure. If sheer theory doesn't interest you, I once again recommend skipping this part and checking out the calculator.
CDPR is doing a great job and the premium pass is full of beautiful trinkets, but if for some reason you don't want to share your hard-earned money with them, the Journey is doable solely on Dandelion's path, totally for free.
Every week, you will be able to get 60 crowns from the weekly tasks for a total of 720 crowns. If we subtract this from the grand total of 2376 crowns needed to grind 99 levels, you need to get 1656 crowns just from playing.
That's 138 crowns per week, almost 20 crowns each day. Thanks to the existence of the Well-rested bonus, you need to win 10 rounds per day for this, which should take approx 6-7 games, so about 1.5 hours a day.
If you want to take two days off, you can easily make it. Winning 14 rounds a day, about 9-10 games for 5 days a week, resulting in about 2-hours-long sessions. If grinding doesn't scare you and you don't have time on weekdays, you can complete the minimum on weekends. The downside is that not all of your games will be within the Well-rested bonus. You would need to play 55 rounds per day, 36-37 games on both Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 7-8 hours per day.
For those who buy the Battle Pass, progression in Journey would be so much easier due to rewards for Geralt's quests. These can grant another 60 crowns each week. This makes for a total of 1440 crowns, which requires you to gain only 936 crowns by playing (78 crowns per week, about 11 crowns each day). With the Well-rested bonus applied, you need about 6 rounds won daily, which is only 4 games - less than 1 hour of your precious time.
2 days off Gwent every week results in having to play 8 rounds per day, so about 5-6 games for 5 days a week, which is only 1.5 hour a day! All the weekend players have to be aware that it would require winning 25 rounds on both Saturday and Sunday, so about 17 games, 3-4 hours on both days.
Fast travel (+25)
For those of you who really want the trinkets immediately, or lack time over the next 3 months and don't want to miss out on the Journey, there is an option to skip 25 levels (it basically means buying 600 crowns) with money.
You still need to win exactly 2 rounds every day, so play 1 or 2 games in less than half an hour. If you don't have time for regular logins, you can jam 14 won rounds on any day of the week, playing about 9 games every week.
NOTE: You will probably need to spend most of that time on finishing weekly quests, as the number of games needed in this model is so low that we cannot omit them in time calculations. If you finish the tasks and still play some ladder, you will most likely manage to finish your Journey just before 12 weeks.
Resources and Generosity of the Journey
Many people have accused CDPR of forcing a "pay-to-progress" policy by changing the previous progression system into the Journey one. First of all, the old system will come back for everyone who finishes the Journey (or when the time is up). Secondly, you can only compare the time you need to finish the Journey (depending on the way you play) with the same time frame for the old system.
The most common argument was that there are fewer reward points to be gathered throughout the Journey completion than it was possible during the old times. This is true in some cases, but only when specific conditions are met.
Most of the time, Journey is more generous in terms of reward points. You miss out on the so-called lesser daily rewards (15 units of ore, scraps or meteorite powder) but you are compensated with a lot of new trinkets. You can find a detailed comparison of the two systems in the following accordion.
The table above shows the comparison of the new and old progression systems for each of the four old daily milestones most of us got used to. We compare resources gathered in the time needed for completing Journey, as the old system is reintroduced once the Journey is finished. That's why P2P seems to be getting fewer rewards in comparison to F2P. With Battle Pass, you will end your Journey faster, reap all the new rewards and go back to the old system.
As you can see, the old daily system granted a small amount of resources each day, but Journey doesn't do that directly. However, F2P players get 11 new avatars. P2P players get them too, along with 9 regular and 9 premium cards, 4 faction and 4 premium kegs and loads of other trinkets. What's worth more? That depends on your own preferences.
The more you played with the previous system, the worse was the average pay-off for your attempts. Journey fixes that, while still favoring the regular players by introducing the Well-rested bonus at 14 rounds daily. Let's see what happens if we run similar calculations by this new standard instead of focusing on the old one being the one-and-only.
By winning 14 rounds each day, you will finish the F2P Journey in 9 weeks and 2 days. The old system would grant you 130 reward points, which is 35% less than Journey. Players with Battle Pass can finish Journey in 7 weeks and 4 days, which in the old system would give 106 reward points, that's 56% less than Journey!
How come the Journey suddenly looks much better when both 6 and 18 daily rounds seemed to grant more rewards using the old system? The answer lies in the question itself. The old system was balanced around people playing in an inhumanly regular manner.
You were given reward points for winning a certain number of rounds and all the progress made after moving past it (but before the next fixed number) was lost at midnight. You only won 5 rounds today? Sorry, no reward points for you. You won 17? That would be a shame if you needed 18 for a better reward, so you won 11 rounds for nothing.
To prove the point, I prepared a graph for the rewards given to a F2P player throughout his Journey, depending on the number of rounds won every day. If you want to experiment and see how Journey works for irregular numbers of rounds won each day, check out the interactive calculator which should leave no doubt that CDPR are still the most generous card game developers in the market and the Journey system is very well designed.
The green line represents the amount of reward points you get by finishing Journey. It grows steadily until it reaches its maximum. As a F2P player, you have to play a certain number of rounds to finish the Journey, so the growth part is tied to the level of Journey you finish it on. When it goes fully horizontal, it means you will have finished Journey in time.
It doesn't start at 0 because we can safely assume that every player can do the weekly tasks (and they give you crowns for almost 1/3 of the Journey) and it's in theory possible to do them without winning even 1 round.
The brown line is the amount of reward points you would get in the same time frame using the old system. Why does it have such a weird shape? That's because it's calculated by multiplying the daily reward from the old system by the number of days the Journey lasts when playing a given number of rounds every day.
Time isn't directly visible in this graph, but we know that when we play more rounds daily, our Journey will be shorter, thus the multiplication factor of Journey time decreases the more rounds we play every day (until we hit the weekly round limit, which is visible as the two horizontal parts of the brown line in the second half of the graph).
The spikes on the brown line represent the second multiplication factor - the number of reward points gained in the old system (2 for 6 rounds, 4 for 18, 5 for 42, 6 for 66) - changing rapidly. The figures created by the lines crossing are our gains and losses between the systems. So if you were capable of winning EXACTLY <6; 7> or <18; 25> rounds each day for 2-3 months straight, then you are losing some reward points on the introduction of Journey.
Try adapting to the new system, the old one will be back in 3 months. And if you are an actual human being, sometimes incapable of maintaining such precision, you are gaining a lot with the new Journey system.
I didn't include the Battle Pass line, in order to keep the graph clean (it's complicated enough already) but it would be similar to green, definitely a bit steeper, and it wouldn't ever cross with the brown one. So if you have the Battle Pass, make sure to take the best out of your Journey experience, you are getting more rewards than ever.
Journey is an incredible addition to the game. It is fresh, endearing, well-thought-out and easily accessible for everybody. To fully enjoy it, you must know what you're dealing with and how to use it. I hope that this article and the calculator that supports it will help you on your path.
To wrap it all up, I would like to thank the Gwent team for creating this game and constantly improving it. Big applause for Jason Slama, Burza, Alicja, ThorSerpent and many other CDPR employees on the community front line, who have the guts and the patience to stand with us even when some people are eager to whip out their pitchforks, often unnecessarily, as it recently happened. Cheers!
If you have any questions, catch me on the TLG Discord. -Lorakko