I personally have, inside my deck:
- Vernon Roche card (it's the only card i was able to get from the gwent missions)
- 1 decoy + all the classic weather cards
- 2 spies (really useful expecially combined with the healer card and the decoy)
- 1 healer
- all cards around 4-5 atk (with a couple of 6)
I usually set up a lots of combos using, in fact, spies, healer and decoy but nothing of this ever works against the others who ALWAYS have 2-3-4 spies, 1 healer, 2 or 3 decoy, all cards with 8+ atk plus hero cards, 2 commanders horn etc etc...whatever strategy i try to build, they just have ALWAYS exactly the cards that they need to destroy it.
As i said, i think it's a really well made game, really funny and entertaining, the problem is not the game itself for me, just the heavy unbalacing between the rivals decks, and the card that you have.
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Also you did not miss the Barons card. If you werent able to beat him before finishing his quests the card is now in his office. And is one of the required cards for a good deck.
Actually i still didn't understand what happened on that mission because, after i've completed it, my objective was "search for the baron's card in his office" among with another main objective "search some documents" i think...in his office there was just a single chest to open and when i opened the main objective was completed, but if i look at my journal, the objective of "take the card from the Baron is red with an X near it" so i supposed i failed that one (i don't even know which is this famous card that the baron was supposed to give you if you defeat him.
Missing the masquerade party cards unfortunately is permanent. I'm guessing at this point they assumed you either liked gwent and had a decent deck or were entirely not interested and didn't care anyways.
I guess you're right on this...but still (always in my opinion) this is just a dumb way of thinking while developing a game like this one.
Few short answers seeing as these issues have been talked about to death. It's entirely possible to beat a lot of the initial gwent quests without adding a card. The Nobleman in the Vizima garden at the start of the game has a better deck then most and he can be beat at the exact time you meet him. Which is what I did for fear of not coming back.
I tried 5 times to defeat him without coming even close to a victory and i just thought "oh well...i'll came back later on with more powerfull cards"...that's it...
In the end, i always say this: maybe i'm the real noob here...but my idea still remain the same...a bit more of balancing could only make this already wonderfull game, a lot better and less frustrating