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Rarities and starter decks
CerebralPaladin

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February 26, 2013
10:15 pm
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There's an interesting set of inferences we can make from the starter deck box art (which depicts a Synapsis Oracle for Alloyin, a Grimgaunt for Nekrium, a hmm-frm for Uterra, and a Flameblade Champion for Tempys):

1.  It seems likely that the starter decks will include the cards pictured on them.  Anything else would feel kinda lame, especially for Nekrium, since people will be well familiar with Grimgaunt from the Demo.

2.  Any cards in the starter decks will be (at least effectively) commons.  Even if the distribution isn't flat (1 of Card A, 2 of Cards B, C, D, and E, 3 of the rest), there will still be a ton of starter deck cards floating around, and buying a starter deck will be a reliable way to get that mix of cards.  That means that if people really want a card from the starter deck, they'll either buy the starter deck or trade for it in a secondary market, not buy boosters to chase it.  Also, it would be lame to open a booster and get a card from the starter deck in the rare slot, since there's an excellent chance you already have a full playset of it.  The way to avoid this is to make the cards in the starter deck all common (or conceivably almost all common and one or two uncommon).

3.  Therefore, Grimgaunt Devourer will be a common (or conceivably an uncommon), despite its strength.

This seems strange, but the logic is still sound.

One possible way out of this conclusion is if the starter decks aren't preconstructed--if the decks aren't preconstructed, players won't complain about not getting a Grimgaunt in the Nekrium starter deck.  For example, the Alloyin deck might consist of 1 Alloyin Rare, 3 Alloyin Uncommons, and 26 Alloyin Commons.  That's probably a playable deck--even if the deck isn't carefully constructed for synergies, the inherent synergies within a faction should still make it effective.  Of course, that opens its own can of worms (notably in terms of the relative prices of boosters and starters), and it runs the risk of someone getting a really bad starter deck through bad luck.

What do people think?  Do people agree with my reasoning?  Is there another way out besides either making the pictured cards common or making the starter decks randomized?

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February 26, 2013
10:42 pm
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I like your analysis.

I believe the starter decks will definitely be pre-constructed. Since the game is unfamiliar to new players, they want to hand players a deck that is cohesive, easy-to-understand, and shows off the core mechanics of the faction. Additionally, they would like the four Starter decks to be roughly balanced against each other. Therefore, I strongly suspect that the Starter decks will be pre-constructed.

I do agree with your analysis that it makes no sense to put a rare card in the starter deck. (No one would be happy to open a booster where the rare slot is taken up by a card that is easily obtained from a Starter deck.) Therefore, I would expect the Starter decks to contain a mix of common and uncommon cards. 

However, it is possible that each starter deck contains one (or a very small number of) rare cards. (I would presume in this case that the rare card in each deck is the one pictured on the deck box.) The presence of a rare card might help them in marketing the Starter decks. That said, in the long run, I think putting a rare card in the starter decks just makes people feel bad when they open a booster containing the "wrong" rare. Since booster packs are going to be a larger portion of SBE's revenue than Starter decks, I think they want to make opening boosters feel as good as possible. Therefore, I think it is in their best interest not to put a rare card into the starter decks.

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bluebird503

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10:42 pm
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In other CCG games plenty of starter decks have 1 or 2 flagship rares, it's actually pretty common. I wouldn't assume anything about the rarities of Grimgaunt due to this, actually I would guess its a rare? :) .

 

I'm guessing it's preconstructed.

 

 

Strangah

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10:53 pm
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While I agree with the points you make, I find it unreasonable to consider opening a Grimgaunt (if it is a rare) as a rare in a pack to be lame. I think there are sure to be worse rares to open from the full set than Grimgaunt that will be worth less in the secondary market even with the great distribution of Grimgaunts that will inevitably be floating around.

 

On the other hand, it could be poignant to simply not have Grimgaunts and the other starter deck rares in the packs (even if it's only for a period of time). Those rares will be readily accessible through starter decks and through the secondary market. 

 

I'm sure that's not a perfect solution, but I'm guessing that StoneBlade has some sort of remedy for this problem, especially with such a Magic heavy background that has a similar issue. Or, they're okay with the starter deck 'rares' being very accessible.

 

Also, I wouldn't be upset to open a starter deck rare in a regular pack because presumably a starter deck will have one rare and be worth more than the pack will be. 

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CerebralPaladin

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February 26, 2013
10:56 pm
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Bluebird503, doesn't that cause a glut of those specific cards?  How does that function in practice?  Are people frustrated when they get that rare in a booster pack?

I don't have a lot of experience with other CCGs, but it would seem like that would be a problem.

bluebird503

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11:14 pm
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CerebralPaladin said
Bluebird503, doesn't that cause a glut of those specific cards?  How does that function in practice?  Are people frustrated when they get that rare in a booster pack?

I don't have a lot of experience with other CCGs, but it would seem like that would be a problem.

Sometimes, it just depends on the cards, etc. Also how many starter decks are you planning on buying, usually you buy a starter deck when you first start playing, experienced players usually aren't buying them a lot at least in most games, there are exceptions. Certain starter decks/event decks in MTG people buy for "value" cause they have good cards like the goblins one from Onslaught was really good, the one with 2x skullclamps in mirrodin, I had to get one of those for a tournament once, the stoneforge mystic and the thragtusk ones more recently.

 

I haven't bought a starter deck since the one with skullclamps.

 

I've never been bothered by it in MTG, etc., there are simply so many rares, and also you get 1 from the starter deck usually, so you need a few more for a playset. If it is a strong card like Grimgaunt it will at least retain a value around that of the starter decks. There will ALWAYS be cards you don't want to open in packs, either you already have 3/4 of them, or they have no value and are "bad" rares, or they aren't the faction your building your deck for, etc. There is no way to make packs always be valuable unless they do something that would hurt their bottom line,  like let you refund packs if you don't like what you got, which defeats the purpose of having people open packs(variance). Idk I'm just throwing ideas out there. The way to fix this is to let you do something fun with the packs you open, this is why sealed and draft are fun, if I win a box of packs in mtg, I usually draft with my friends, no need to just open them all at once.

 

The only CCGs i've played with no rares in the starter decks is Shadow Era, another digital card game, and I think LotR CCG did something similar, don't quote me. :)

 

magic_gazz

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11:53 pm
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I assume the decks will be preconstructed and contain 1 or 2 rare cards.

I dont see the rares only being availble in the starter decks as that doesnt really make sense.

 

I belive one of the current "event decks" in mtg contains Thragtusk (one of the top rares in standard) and that card still has a $15 price tag. There also used to be preconstructed decks with Jitte in (almost broken equipment) but they were impossible to find as they all got bought out quick and the card stayed at a decent price.

 

bluebird503

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magic_gazz said
I assume the decks will be preconstructed and contain 1 or 2 rare cards.

I dont see the rares only being availble in the starter decks as that doesnt really make sense.

 

I belive one of the current "event decks" in mtg contains Thragtusk (one of the top rares in standard) and that card still has a $15 price tag. There also used to be preconstructed decks with Jitte in (almost broken equipment) but they were impossible to find as they all got bought out quick and the card stayed at a decent price.

 

Availability won't be an issue, unless they only sell a certain number of them, so you won't see the Jitte issue.

 

Hoywolf

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I also think these starter deck are just per-constructed deck. Its really the best way to feature a faction/abilities/etc from the get go. It could be that the cards on the box are the rares in the box.

 

 

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Kibler

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The starter decks are, in fact, preconstructed.  Their rarity breakdowns are similar (though not identical) to those of the existing demo decks.  

Hoywolf

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thanks for the confirmation Kibler! :)

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magic_gazz said
I assume the decks will be preconstructed and contain 1 or 2 rare cards.

I dont see the rares only being availble in the starter decks as that doesnt really make sense.

 

I belive one of the current "event decks" in mtg contains Thragtusk (one of the top rares in standard) and that card still has a $15 price tag. There also used to be preconstructed decks with Jitte in (almost broken equipment) but they were impossible to find as they all got bought out quick and the card stayed at a decent price. 

From a market point of view, I think that Magic the Gathering is a poor point of comparison. I believe that the volume of pre-constructed decks that Magic sells (in recent years) is tiny as compared to the player population. Whereas, since SolForge is a new game (that people are unfamiliar with), I believe that a much larger percentage of the player base will buy a pre-constructed faction deck. Additionally, the beta promotion will put a lot more starter decks into circulation. 

Therefore, I expect the starter decks (at least initially) in SolForge to have a much greater effect on card values than pre-constructed decks in Magic. (That is, the extra supply created by the Starter will account for a larger percentage of demand for particular card than is the case with Magic where [relative to the player population] fewer people buy pre-constructed decks.)

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Hoywolf

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I agree with Noeth, the digital market will be a whole lot different then any real card game, I feel that SBE should be able to keep a good check on prices. Besides they cant really run out of stock for starter decks. :p

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tristan

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I don't think there'll be an issue here. The ratio of starters to boosters is gonna fade to insignificance pretty quickly.

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At the end of the day there will only be 4 starter decks, so if they have 2 rares each that's 8 rares that will be worth less because of it.

I can live with that, especially as with the amount reached via the kickstarter/pre-order means the value of cards from the first set will be pretty low anyway.

Also there is a good chance of their being 1 good tournament level rare and one complete junk rare, if the starter decks are $6 each that's a good way to keep the price of that card in check as it can never go above that.

Cile

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I'd expect the starters to have roughly 19 commons, 10 uncommons, and 1 rare, (some being duplicates of course.) I don't expect the 1 guaranteed rare to be an issue, as new players they are going to want to keep their rare, not trade it away. Any found in a booster can go towards a play set as they'll only have 1. If someone really wants that one specific rare then yes they can but it in a starter (unless SBE limits 1 of each starter/account), but they will end up with a lot of commons/uncommons they already have a play set of or don't want. If you can purchase 2 boosters for roughly the same price you get commons/uncommons you don't already have and 2 rares, likely you can trade 1 for the card you wanted. No one's going to buy the starter just to put the rare on the market, so the market's not going to get flooded. (The commons/uncommons from the starters will be lower priced though.)

Also, while the rare I would expect to be good, a large chunk of the commons / uncommons in the starter won't be, as there will be cards in there designed for new players to learn aren't very good and replace them. (Not that they'd be strictly bad, but situational and not that suitable for the design of the deck)

tristan

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I expect 2, possibly 3 rares per starter.

I strongly suspect a correłation between the number of iñstances of a card in the demo decks and that cards rarity. ie cards which appear once/twice/thrice in the demo decks will likely be rare/uncommon/common in the main set.

This fits Kibler's statement.

 

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CerebralPaladin

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Thanks for the info, Kibler!  This suggests 1-3 rares (the Nekrium/Uterra deck has 3 singletons, the Alloyin/Tempys deck has two), 5 or 6 unique uncommons (each doubled, perhaps; N/U demo has 6 doubletons, Alloyin/Tempys has 5), and the balance (maybe 18 cards or thereabouts?) as commons, perhaps in sets of up to 3.  Of course, some of the cards may not have the "rarity" that their frequency implies.

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With 30 card decks (compared to MTG's 35-37 non basic lands) in the last set I'd expect a similar 2 rare set up.  1 copy each of two cards gives you a likelihood of drawing 1 each 'level' which feels fair.

 

But

 

A couple of pointers.  I see these decks as NOT FREE content ($4.99 last I heard) so these are not the decks from the start of the campaign.  These are a head start on where the silent majority of the player base will see themselves and should be positioned as something that is very desirable and gives a good head start.  Maybe you get to choose one per account as part of the campaign completion bonus (which I'd heartily approve of as a reward for say 20 hours play) but at the start you seem to get factionless learning cards.  

 

I could also see these having 4 rares, with two being what people are calling 'constructed playable' rares and two being of a lower power level.

 

 

I do think most people are a bit upside-down in their thinking about these rares too.  I believe that a lot of the 'face' rares on the starter decks will be worth more than their background rares from the same faction.  

Firstly there is the playset factor.  If I buy a Starter Deck and want more GrimGaunt as I figure he is the best card in my new deck then I know what it is and to trade for it.  Other cards I may not have seen may indeed be better, but if we go with the assumption that there are more players lower down in the pyramid then by the time I find this out I probably already have my GGD playset.  More demand = price rises

but naturally not usually more than $5 – but here we have a second issue – what if I don't want to spend real money.  While someone with cash (or KS credit) can buy the cards, if I want the Intro deck for 'free' then I have to trade for all of the cards – this makes the more visible cards worth even more.  I expect that the cracked 'tickets' value of some bundles will be more than the cash value at various points.

The third reason is the card selection itself.  WOTC FutureFutureLeague had Wolfir Silverheart as the key green 5 drop going into the multicolour block. We the playerbase decided it was Thragtusk and it's price soared.  It is no coincidence that Thragtusk has consequently shown up in multiple pre-con decks since it's printing and has remained stable in price.  Choosing a card to go in the Starter Decks that is one people will be after keeps the price to sane levels – if it becomes a $5 card and I can buy an infinitely large number of Starter Decks then I can crack them to sell for slightly over $5 worth of in game currency (due to point 2).  This hopefully puts a natural ceiling on the price of around $6 worth of in game currency for any rare in a Starter Deck.

 

All of this is only really true in the short term though, and unless the free player-base is massively smaller than the people buying starters & boosters then I see good 'face cards' from pre-cons being the first big chase rares of the game.

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JoshTheStampede

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I don't really see that last part happening. A rare in a starter deck has a natural cap in price of the cost of that starter, since you can always go buy the starter and be guaranteed that card. A good defining rare that is only available in packs has no such ceiling. 

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