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Feedback from a TCG casual/newcomer


greendotz2

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So I’ve been playing TCGO for almost a month now, according to the loading view I’m on Day 23 so I thought I would offer my feedback and suggestions for what I personally think could improve the game. I apologise for the long post, clearly I have way too much free time :/

 

 

 

ANALYSIS

 

Ultimately there’s only one big flaw I’m pretty unhappy about and that is once you’ve completed all the trainer challenges the game just seems to stall. All-in-all I’m happy with the trainer challenges, they’re a great way to introduce a new played on how to play, the rewards are good and the pacing feels just right (also I’m glad the latest patch now allows you to use Basic Orange and Power Relay, adds even more variety to it). I feel the pacing of the rewards is done well. Many people have complained that it’s a grind but I feel that’s the whole point of a F2P game, if you decide to commit to the “free” element of it you have to be willing to put in more time than others who have made RL purchases. Also it’s not even that long, I was able to 4-star every trainer after about 20 hours of gameplay, that seems fine to me.

 

Maxing your rewards will give you over 1000 tokens and over 50 boosters. With that you can redeem one or two of the better theme decks, and if you’re lucky you’ll get some good supporter and EX pulls from your boosters. This is where the problem starts, this’ll be enough to build a half decent deck and have some fun in Unlimited PvP, but you’ll still get slaughtered in Modified PvP when you’re going up against decks that require to have four of the same EX and super rare A-Spec supporters. In short, you still need more cards, but the grind just becomes astronomical.

 

If you play a lot (and I really do mean a lot) of PvP you can earn 95 tokens in two days, a more casual player will take three days. This is a lot of work for a 5 card booster, a 5 card booster that doesn’t even guarantee a rare and is untradeable (so if you get any duplicates you’re screwed). I mentioned earlier that “grinding” is all part of a F2P game, but when you’re only earning about two 5 card boosters and your free 10 card booster each week it’ll take a newcomer about six months of heavy grinding just to complete a single set, that’s ridiculous.

 

 

 

POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS

 

 

1) Less stingy with prize tokens and redeemed boosters

I really think that you need to let up a little on the grinding aspect. I don’t understand why untradeable boosters redeemed with tokens only give 5-cards rather than 10 (I’d genuinely like to know the thought process behind this)? Working your **** off to earn 95 tokens in exchange for five useless commons and uncommons with no rare/holo guarantee just feels like a kick in the teeth. Just make 95 token packs give 10 cards. Also 1 token for every 5min+ PvP game is just too little. I’m glad to see that with the new patch “unflavoured” challengers are getting bonus tokens if they win, that’s definitely a step in the right direction. I still feel that it should be higher though, I figured something as follows;

 

1 token for a loss or a win under 5 minutes (no tokens if you lose in less than 5 min)

5 tokens for a win over 5 min

8 tokens for a win over 5 min against favoured opponent

Obviously that’s just off the top of my head, I haven’t actually put any thought into those numbers, but you get where I’m coming from.

 

2) Do more with the trainer challenge

Getting a free booster every five days definitely helps, but it just feels so fruitless. Back when I was getting 4-stars on every trainer I genuinely felt like I’d earned my boosters, not just received a hand-out. Once you have your 45 boosters the trainer challenge sections just kind of dies, I feel it would be great if it remained relevant throughout the game. Maybe once every month have a new unique trainer challenge, where you customise a deck from the Basic “colour” theme decks and see how far you can progress, the further you get the more prizes. This challenge would be time limited and only playable once (once you lose you can’t compete until the next month). It would keep trainer challenge interesting, help to promote smart deck-building for newbies and also help out with the grinding without making it too easy.

 

I realise this isn’t a very practical suggestion as I assume something like that would require a lot of work and regular updates but I feel it couldn’t hurt to share my idea. Also it doesn’t have to be the same each month, variety would help draw people in.

 

3) Card burn/crafting

 

*EDIT* turns out this has in fact been brought up. Regardless I'll still leave this point open.

http://www.pokemontcg.com/forums/showthread.php?35937-Idea-of-feature-to-address-excess-of-same-cards

 

I think this idea has already been suggested but I’ll mention it again. I would love it if I was able to destroy my cards in exchange for either tokens or another card of similar value (for example, destroy a common for 1 token or destroy 3 commons in exchange for a common of your choice). I understand why free cards need to be untradeable, if this burn/craft system was in place I feel it could give un-tradable cards some utility and also give some newcomers a taste of how satisfying trading can be (burning unwanted cards for specific ones they want). It would also make the grinding process feel less futile if you know you can always burn duplicated cards you don’t want for something useful.

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It’s also worth mentioning that at the moment this game if of course suffering from a lack of purchase for progress. I decided not to bring that up in my main post as I believe the gem system is currently still in closed testing. Aside from that the only other way to progress faster is to obtain the codes from RL boosters, which is not ideal at all for people more focused on TCGO specifically. Hopefully when the gem system is fully realised this problem will be alleviated.

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why can't people ever be satisfied with 4+ free theme decks, unlimited energy and 50+ free booster packs?

 

something tells me should they ever implement all the suggestions you put out there's just going to be some other person that says its not good enough and ask for more and more. They claim that implementing these changes will provide a better incentive for them to pay but truth is they just never.

 

This game has always been a pay to win, whether you play in real life or online, the guy who spends the most gets the better cards and makes the better decks. It is never part of the plan for those who play for free to be on par with those who paid. The fact that you can even make a half decent deck without paying a cent is already an incredible benefit as it is. You don't go into a physical game store claiming you want to play the TCG and expect them to just hand you a bunch of packs and decks to play.

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Reading your interesting info about your suggestions i release that somehow you manage to find the weak points a trainer challenge and a pvp have!! It's truth that after you unlock also the 3 special prices for every city actually after that the trainer challenge die!! The overall wins somehow keep the trainer challenge a little more interesting but still knowing that an overall win give 1 token and 36/36 overall win give a completely nothing is a little disappointing though!!

The pvp is a little more worst!! It's truth that pvp give invitive tokens reward but even if play a lot of hours i think you must be extreme lucky to unlock 95 tokens even for tow days because the most users usually surrender for the first turn!! But actually the weak point of pvp is still it has no any mode to allow you to make your oun deck without ex cards and the same time opponents are not able to use ex cards agaist you!!

For trade as long as the dev team cannot figure out how to stop the users who use more than one acounts to trade themselves don't except to see tradeable free cards on this game!!

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why can't people ever be satisfied with 4+ free theme decks, unlimited energy and 50+ free booster packs?

 

something tells me should they ever implement all the suggestions you put out there's just going to be some other person that says its not good enough and ask for more and more. They claim that implementing these changes will provide a better incentive for them to pay but truth is they just never.

 

This game has always been a pay to win, whether you play in real life or online, the guy who spends the most gets the better cards and makes the better decks. It is never part of the plan for those who play for free to be on par with those who paid. The fact that you can even make a half decent deck without paying a cent is already an incredible benefit as it is. You don't go into a physical game store claiming you want to play the TCG and expect them to just hand you a bunch of packs and decks to play.

 

Firstly I’d just like to say that I have in fact sunk £35 into this game (for around 85 boosters) which is a lot more than I have put in for any other beta, so I think I’m entitled to give my opinion on things I think would improve the game. It’s beta for a reason, the game is unfinished, there’s going to be many more changes to come. Do you think they put a suggestion/feedback forum for decoration?

 

Also you appear to be comparing this to be the same as the real life TCG. If people want to sink their money into trading cards that's perfectly fine, they know what they're getting into. To me I treat this as a video game and judge it compared to other video games that run the F2P model. Pay to win is a sure fire way to alienate any potential newcomers to the game. The pay system needs to be balanced. The free route needs to be difficult but at least doable (solid grinding for six months to complete a single set is not doable). That’ll get people playing the game for longer and eventually possibly entice them to make RL purchases to PROGRESS (not to win as you put it). The way the game is constructed at the moment it feels like a trial, you play for about 4-5 days and then it shuts you out and you’re stuck with whatever you have. Also there’s no direct way to even make RL purchases at the moment (with the gem system still in testing), so it makes your view point seem a little redundant, unless the TCGO is just a subtle marketing ploy to get more people to buy the real life cards.

 

In fact if you want a good example of a F2P model in a trading card game just look at Hearthstone in its current beta. That’s a game where if you put in the work it’s not too difficult to fully complete one of the nine decks by just grinding away. Yet there are people have spent hundreds of $ on the beta alone, so it can be profitable. Those people have around 6-7 of the 9 decks completed, in about 4-5 months the people playing for free will catch up with them. Having a doable free element does not break the game, but demanding money for any kind of progression will turn people off without even trying it and stifle a steady flow of potential new customers.

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Lots of assumptions in the above most from you view point. Have you considered the view point of the company supporting this game? I am sure they wish to have a successful game too.

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Lots of assumptions in the above most from you view point. Have you considered the view point of the company supporting this game? I am sure they wish to have a successful game too.

 

I don’t pretend to know what the people behind PTCGO’s intentions are. I’m just an anonymous individual posting my feedback on a game that’s currently in open beta. Whether they decide to act on it or completely ignore it is up to them. As a "beta tester" and user who would like to see this game do well my part is done.

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Yes people do like to bring up the Heartstone example when they talk about free to play. Heartstone is a new TCG and its collection of cards is so much more limited, it is my understanding that the number of cards in that game does not even reach a fraction of what you find in the Pokemon TCG. So perhaps the solution is not to award more tokens to player, but instead limit the variety of cards down to 500 so that the free players can catch up.

 

Also its worth noting that pokemon originally did come from Japan, and when you consider the amount of MMO games available in Asian countries, while they adopt the free to play model, they are also often pay to win, so its not surprising that PTCGO chose to adopt this model as well. its sounds unprofitable in your views having played played other MMOs from your native country but in Asia it is not unusual for people to spend tonnes of money on pay to win games.

 

I don't believe the feedback/suggestion area is for decoration, I do find a lot of the suggestions ppl give here to be contructive and they aim to improve the user experience in the game, but I find too many players have repeatedly put in suggestions for more tokens solely for their own benefit. Adding more token rewards is to me one of the most unhelpful suggestion people can give because this is not a difficult thing to do and the dev teams could easily change a number on their code to make it work, the fact that they chose not to despite numerous people begging for it indicates some reason behind it. There are so many other more useful suggestions that people have put out like a spectator mode or different challenges and play styles or feedback on user interface which are far more constructive.

 

I do however agree that the analogy of a trial is the best description for this game, playing for free essentially gives you a "lite"version of the game. and yes the TCGO is indeed quite a small side project at the moment and only a subtle marketing ploy. If you haven't noticed there are still a lot of features lacking, and lot of bugs that need to be ironed out and it doesn't allow for actual tournaments. The aim of this game at the moment is not to attract a larger userbase that the TCG, the fact that the gems system is not working yet is proof of that, its just to give real life tcg players more value to buying booster packs. I think it would be fair to say that a large proportion of the players in the PTCGO with tradeable cards buy the booster packs in real life. Heartstone does not have a physical card userbase so of course they would need to attract the online userbase, because what other options do they have?

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