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A New Players Perspective - The Good And Bad


GrimBeard
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I recently bought my 5 year old son 2 theme decks from our local game store, our households first Pokemon card game purchase/s. We had loads of fun playing against each other, my partner joined in so we had a little 3 person competition. Everything was fun and as a standalone product the card game surprised me by how fun it was for adults as well as for children.

 

Later that night with everyone in bed I got bored and remembered the guy in the store mentioning the online game. I decided to give it a go - I enjoy games in general so it was an obvious thing for me to try.

 

I quickly got to grips with the online game and before I knew it, I was unlocking new theme decks, booster packs and crushing what I consider to be cheap decks (Relentless Flame and Soaring Storm). 

 

"What's next?" I thought. Standard, Legacy and Expanded, lets give it a go. It quickly became VERY clear that I needed a LOT of new cards to compete - no problem. Over the next few weeks we bought 6 more theme decks to use in the house and I used them online to gain coins to unlock booster packs. 

 

At the time of typing I've played 642 games. Won several online events. My longest winning streak was 14 games - if I remember correctly. I now have access to 2804 cards of which 249 are foils and there is 1398 different cards within that collection.

 

I've made, and had a huge amount of fun making, 3 Legacy decks and 2 Standard decks however I feel it's pointless to continue. Every match feels the same. I'm up against a player who does 180 plus damage on their first attack. It feels utterly futile. I'm guessing my 642 games played has to be more like 2,000 plus games and the collection has to be, well you do the math.

 

My issue is that there's an abundance of over the top decks in use. It makes me feel like there's no way to compete without using cheap tactics and/or over powered cards (GX, V and Tag Team etc).

 

When I started playing the game it was a case of play a basic Pokemon for example Bulbasaur and evolve it up to Venusaur whilst giving it energy and using it to beat my opponents active Pokemon using items, trainers and copying this process with my benched Pokemon along the way. Now all I'am seeing is that my opponents decks consist almost entirely of the rarest cards and/or the cheapest of tactics. The deciding factor doesn't seem to be who is best at the game, more who has spent the most money, time or both to gain access to certain cards.

 

I'd love it if there was a mode that was an even playing field for new players to build a deck and play against each other without being hit by a wall of GX, V and Tag Team etc cards. I've given this some thought and think I've came up with a possible simple solution. If each card is given a numerical value it would be possible for the players to compete with each other within the constraints of their decks overall value as opposed to how much money, time or both has been spent i.e. if player A deck has the total value of 100 then they came play with that deck against other players whose deck is within a range of 90 - 110. Figuratively speaking, at the moment, my deck is valued at 70 and I'am up against decks valued at 200 plus.

 

As above, I am aware the answer to my problem with the online game is play more to unlock more and/or spend more to get the chance to get more but to be honest, that's not an incentive as a new player looking to play the game with deck building in mind from the word go. 

Edited by GrimBeard
Fixing grammar.
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I'm tempted to just tell you "Okay.  Goodbye." and leave it at that.  I will ask... what kind of deck were you playing, and what makes you call a strategy "cheap"?  We see a lot of posts throwing around such terms, and I know I used it a lot when I was first exposed to even remotely competitive play.  This led to years of me copping an attitude that not only made the game less fun for others, but ultimately for me as well.

 

As it happens so often, I've noticed a pattern.  It mostly sounds like you experienced a lot of beginner's luck, and finally experienced actual, competitive play.  You're more or less describing how the game works, and blaming mechanics for problems that preceded them, and have in fact been argued about since the beginning of the Pokémon TCG.  A person's approach to the PTCGO can also matter; many rush to try and transition to competitive Standard, Expanded, or even Legacy Format decks when they just need to keep grinding at the Theme Format, so they can make a decent budget deck for the Format they want to play.

 

I do want to be clear that you may simply not enjoy how Pokémon truly operates.  There's nothing wrong with not enjoying this TCG.  I've been playing since 1999 and I think it has some serious pacing issues it just refuses to fix.  Yes, it should go without saying, but my experience is that most folks have a hard time accepting this concept.  In fact, that is how it works for most things online; fandoms can forget that people are allowed to not be fans.

 

If you are doubting what I am saying, let me explain in a bit more detail.  The reason I think at least some of this boils down to player skill, is based on the many similar critiques from other (mostly novice) players.  Most Pokémon-EX are no longer worth playing.  Not that you mentioned them, but they're still legal in Expanded and the same arguments were made about them when they were a contemporary game mechanic, so I'm mentioning them.  When new, most Pokémon-EX weren't good, but a few were great, important or dominant parts of the metagame.  If this approach was inherently broken, it is unlikely the power creep would have left so many of these cards behind so soon.

 

The majority of Pokémon V and Pokémon-GX (TAG TEAM Pokémon are a form of Pokémon-GX) aren't worth using in competitive Standard or Expanded Format play.  They have better HP scores and effects relative to their costs, but the end result is often mediocre.  However, when you're new to the game and don't know how to handle them, and/or can't recognize that a single-Prize Pokémon isn't actually competitive, even the worst of these multi-Prize Pokémon can seem daunting.  There are also many combos that I find questionable, but I've learned it is usually a different card that is more at fault.  Some of these cards were and still are great, while some were "worth it" when they were new but not anymore.  You need to understand that most of the card pool is "filler" when it comes to competitive play.  I haven't played a TCG where that was not the case.  I certainly thought I had, specifically when it came to the Pokémon TCG from about 2003 to 2006.  Every time I've investigated it,  however, I came to realize "Oh... I just didn't know what I was doing and mistook a lot of non-competitive stuff as competitive."

 

Again, let me stress, there are strategies and tactics I don't enjoy facing, and sometimes I don't enjoy even using.  I've even been at it long enough to contemplate and learn to explain why I don't enjoy them, and sometimes why it is more than mere personal preference.  The thing is, I know these strategies exist among single-Prize cards as well.  What you have said you don't like?  It was part of this TCG from the very, very beginning.  I could go into more detail, but this post is long enough.

 

So, if you've decided the Pokémon TCG isn't for you... you can still always just stick to Theme Decks with family.  Nothing wrong with that, and it might honestly be the smart approach.  Most of your criticisms, however, don't have a good argument behind them, GrimBeard.  I believe if you keep playing and learning, there are still things about this TCG you won't like, maybe even despise, but that you could still come to enjoy this game.  Also, that you'll eventually become the veteran player frustrated when a newbie beats a zombie horse.

 

Note:  Red text represents a massive edit from... October 10th?  Can't tell you the exact date because I thought I was done, then noticed a typo today and edited it again without thinking.  Which further required editing this note.  Go me! >_<  While I ought to have done a better job writing the initial post, I didn't.  There is a lot I assumed as "common knowledge" that wasn't.  There are a few edits not obvious from the color change, like deleting a word here and there.  Probably should have just used the strike through option, but it wasn't until the end of this massive edit when it occurred to me.

Edited by Otakutron
See note at the end of the post. Or else typos.
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39 minutes ago, Otakutron said:

I'm tempted to just tell you "Okay.  Goodbye." and leave it at that.  I will ask... what kind of deck were you playing, and what makes you call a strategy "cheap"?  It mostly sounds like you experienced a lot of beginner's luck, and finally experienced actual, competitive play.  There's nothing wrong with not enjoying this TCG.  I've been playing since 1999 and I think it has some serious pacing issues it just refuses to fix.

 

I think at least some of this boils down to player skill, based on similar critiques from other (mostly novice) players.  Most Pokémon-EX are no longer worth playing, not that you mentioned them but they're still legal in Expanded so I'm mentioning them.  The majority of Pokémon V and Pokémon-GX (TAG TEAM Pokémon are a form of Pokémon-GX) aren't worth using in competitive play, and while some were "worth it" when they were new, you need to understand that most of the card pool is "filler" when it comes to competitive play.  I haven't played a TCG where that was not the case.  I certainly thought I had, but every time I've investigated it, I came to realize "Oh... I just didn't know what I was doing and mistook a lot of non-competitive stuff as competitive."

 

Again, let me stress, there are strategies and tactics I don't enjoy facing, and sometimes I don't enjoy even using.  The thing is, I know they exist among single-Prize cards as well.  What you don't like?  Was part of this TCG from the very, very beginning.  I could go into more detail, but this post is long enough.  So, if you've decided the Pokémon TCG isn't for you... you can still always just stick to Theme Decks with family.  Nothing wrong with that, and it might honestly be the smart approach.

 

When you ask, "what kind of deck were you playing" I presume you're referring to the themed decks? If so, I go with whatever I fancy playing at that time. I have 24 of them unlocked. I mostly prefer Luminous Frost and Galarian Darmantian most outta the themed decks.

 

When I say "cheap" I mean no thinking is needed. For example, I consider the Relentless Flame theme deck to be cheap i.e. no thinking is required to use it and I'd estimate 8 wins outta 10 should be expected by whomever is using it.

 

You'd have to be specific with when you expected myself to have "finally experienced actual, competitive play" for me to respond accurately and honestly i.e. when playing Themed, Standard or Legacy, maybe a mixture?

 

Dunno why you're pointing out that it's okay to dislike something. I'd guess everyone agrees with that. So to confirm and add, I agree, it's okay to like or not like everything and anything. If you're presuming I dislike Pokemon cards online, you're wrong. I find it fun both online and offline. 

 

I was going to address each thing you brought up but to be honest, I found your response passive aggressive and condescending. I hope my response doesn't also. So yeah, am done here. I may be wrong, after all tone can be hard to pick up on online. If I am wrong, my bad, apologies.

 

Have a good one and all the best with your matches. 

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If you happen to read this GrimBeard, despite your goodbyes, I believe you said what is mostly true in one of your sentences.

 

5 hours ago, GrimBeard said:

The deciding factor doesn't seem to be who is best at the game, more who has spent the most money, time or both to gain access to certain cards.

 

The deciding factor is who is best at the game but you need the money (packs are the online currency and allow you to trade for everything you need for a better deck), and time to get to a level to compete. If one person has a better deck than the other, they will almost always win. But if both players have decks equal in strength, it will come down to skill and luck to decide the victor. It just takes dedication to the game in time, money, research and skill building if you want to rise to the top.

 

Good luck fellow trainer, may this speech drive you onto farther success.

Edited by Raticate555
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1 hour ago, GrimBeard said:

I was going to address each thing you brought up but to be honest, I found your response passive aggressive and condescending. I hope my response doesn't also. So yeah, am done here. I may be wrong, after all tone can be hard to pick up on online. If I am wrong, my bad, apologies.

 

Straining to be as polite as possible and give you the benefit of the doubt is what my "tone" indicated.  I debated not answering, but it is a lose-lose situation when someone makes that kind of post: ignore it, and others who don't know better take it as fact, but if address it, you'll more often than not simply earn that person's ire.  When that person's folly seems owed to ignorance, it also places you in the difficult position of "How much of what I think is obvious needs to be explained to this person?".  Perhaps I was being condescending... or maybe you're being too proud of yourself?

 

I guess GrimBeard is done, so for any other new players reading this, here is some sound advice:

  • You may have a lot of valuable things to add to a discussion.
  • Check to see how many threads already exist about what you want to discuss.
  • Answers to what you want to say are there, or at least, you can get an idea of what the other side thinks, which will still let you make better posts.
  • If the thread(s) aren't too old, consider posting on one of those.  If there hasn't been a response in more than a few weeks, probably don't post to the thread.  If there hasn't been a new post in the thread in several months, definitely don't necropost.  If this sounds obvious, look around; you'll we usually only go a few months between someone reviving a thread that is a year or more old. :)
  • When you do start a new thread, remember you might be wrong, or don't understand everything.
  • Also remember that, while still new to you, this could be a dead horse everyone is tired of beating.

Why doesn't this apply to experienced board users?  It does.  We're not perfect; I may look back on my previous post, or even this one, and eventually decide that I was condescending or hostile.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't be the first time.

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On 10/5/2020 at 10:41 PM, Raticate555 said:

If you happen to read this GrimBeard, despite your goodbyes

 

When I said "so yeah, am done here" or anything else of that sort I just meant that in regards to the individual that I was responding to.

 

I'm the type of person that isn't interested in reading a strangers - some of the following may/may not apply here - baseless pov, pointless argument/s or bad attitude/mood. I never see a reason as they've already announced via response/s their intentions and that they're not open minded or in a position of good faith. So I just don't see the point hence "am done here" i.e. with that person.

 

I'am certainly not done with the Pokemon game. The game is still fun.

 

I agree with the remaining parts of your reply - thanks for contributing. Although I may not be the most experienced at the game, the nature of progression has become painfully obvious and accurate in the way you described. 

 

Edit: Can't help but add that I just got a notification that someone down voted the above text. The above text stating the card game is fun and I don't spend time on strangers negativity... lol 

Edited by GrimBeard
Adding an additional thought or two
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2 hours ago, Raticate555 said:

If you happen to read this GrimBeard, despite your goodbyes, I believe you said what is mostly true in one of your sentences.

 

 

The deciding factor is who is best at the game but you need the money (packs are the online currency and allow you to trade for everything you need for a better deck), and time to get to a level to compete. If one person has a better deck than the other, they will almost always win. But if both players have decks equal in strength, it will come down to skill and luck to decide the victor. It just takes dedication to the game in time, money, research and skill building if you want to rise to the top.

 

Good luck fellow trainer, may this speech drive you onto farther success.

This is by far the most informative and accurate response. I find the Pokemon TCG to be highly skill-based. However, as with EVERY trading card game in existence, the cards exist to make money, and you will have to spend money to buy competitive cards if you want to remain competitive. That being said: as I have played many TCGs over the years. People with "bulk" cards, will never be able to compete with those that have spent the money to buy the actual good cards in a set. From my experience, I would say though the Pokemon TCG is the best and cheapest TCG to play. The MOST competitive card in the Pokemon TCG (Computer Search) is in the Expanded format and costs around $100 a copy (and because it's an Ace-Spec card, you CAN ONLY HAVE ONE in your deck anyway), and most of--even the BEST--Pokemon cards can be acquired independently for less than $4-5. This sounds quite high. But by comparison, there are MANY cards in similar card games (cough, Magic The Gathering) that easily go for more than $20 each. And in that game, there aren't nearly as many cards that allow you to search your deck for what you need. So you'll want 4 copies of most cards... (so... $20x4=$80 for just one deck slot!)

 

 Part of the reason for this is that the Pokemon Company--generally (aside rant: PLEASE PRINT AN EXPANDED REGULATION BOX IN ENGLISH)--does a pretty good job of reprinting powerful cards, making them cheaper to build Pokemon TCG competitive decks than in other games. You can build a solid competitive Pokemon deck for $50 or less (the cost of 2 theme decks), whereas in some MTG formats, you're looking at easily a $150 minimum. 

 

TLDR; TCGs are fun. But TCGs are an EXPENSIVE hobby. Pokemon is one of the cheapest. If you like the game, I would stick to playing theme deck events and earn coins to increase your collection. Then build a deck that you like and build it physically if you'd like. TCGs can be a VERY high-skill type of game. However, it's not necessarily an "even-playing field" sort of game unless you spend the minimum.

Edited by bls61793
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On 10/6/2020 at 1:13 AM, bls61793 said:

Pokemon is one of the cheapest... I would stick to playing theme deck events and earn coins to increase your collection. Then build a deck that you like... 

 

Yip I totally agree. I really should have mentioned price in my original comment. I was and still am shocked at what you get for the price of Pokemon cards. Theme decks are 2 for £20 in my local store which is really cheap for what you get imo. Booster packs are only £4 in my area and they contain 10 cards I believe (?) with guaranteed shiny etc cards. There's genuine value in the cards - bare minimum that value is lots of fun.

 

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head regarding what my plan is i.e. "I would stick to playing theme deck events and earn coins to increase your collection. Then build a deck that you like". 

 

I agree with the rest of your reply that I have knowledge on and the rest was highly informative. Thank you and thanks for contributing.

 

Edit: Found a shop yesterday that sells a pack of two boosters for £3.99 - great value.

 

 

Edited by GrimBeard
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On 10/5/2020 at 6:23 PM, GrimBeard said:

I recently bought my 5 year old son 2 theme decks from our local game store, our households first Pokemon card game purchase/s. We had loads of fun playing against each other, my partner joined in so we had a little 3 person competition. Everything was fun and as a standalone product the card game surprised me by how fun it was for adults as well as for children.

 

Later that night with everyone in bed I got bored and remembered the guy in the store mentioning the online game. I decided to give it a go - I enjoy games in general so it was an obvious thing for me to try.

 

I quickly got to grips with the online game and before I knew it, I was unlocking new theme decks, booster packs and crushing what I consider to be cheap decks (Relentless Flame and Soaring Storm). 

 

"What's next?" I thought. Standard, Legacy and Expanded, lets give it a go. It quickly became VERY clear that I needed a LOT of new cards to compete - no problem. Over the next few weeks we bought 6 more theme decks to use in the house and I used them online to gain coins to unlock booster packs. 

 

At the time of typing I've played 642 games. Won several online events. My longest winning streak was 14 games - if I remember correctly. I now have access to 2804 cards of which 249 are foils and there is 1398 different cards within that collection.

 

I've made, and had a huge amount of fun making, 3 Legacy decks and 2 Standard decks however I feel it's pointless to continue. Every match feels the same. I'm up against a player who does 180 plus damage on their first attack. It feels utterly futile. I'm guessing my 642 games played has to be more like 2,000 plus games and the collection has to be, well you do the math.

 

My issue is that there's an abundance of over the top decks in use. It makes me feel like there's no way to compete without using cheap tactics and/or over powered cards (GX, V and Tag Team etc).

 

When I started playing the game it was a case of play a basic Pokemon for example Bulbasaur and evolve it up to Venusaur whilst giving it energy and using it to beat my opponents active Pokemon using items, trainers and copying this process with my benched Pokemon along the way. Now all I'am seeing is that my opponents decks consist almost entirely of the rarest cards and/or the cheapest of tactics. The deciding factor doesn't seem to be who is best at the game, more who has spent the most money, time or both to gain access to certain cards.

 

I'd love it if there was a mode that was an even playing field for new players to build a deck and play against each other without being hit by a wall of GX, V and Tag Team etc cards. I've given this some thought and think I've came up with a possible simple solution. If each card is given a numerical value it would be possible for the players to compete with each other within the constraints of their decks overall value as opposed to how much money, time or both has been spent i.e. if player A deck has the total value of 100 then they came play with that deck against other players whose deck is within a range of 90 - 110. Figuratively speaking, at the moment, my deck is valued at 70 and I'am up against decks valued at 200 plus.

 

As above, I am aware the answer to my problem with the online game is play more to unlock more and/or spend more to get the chance to get more but to be honest, that's not an incentive as a new player looking to play the game with deck building in mind from the word go. 

 

Hello @GrimBeard

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the forum and starting such an interesting discussion! :) 

 

I'll be forwarding your thoughts to the development team. 

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9 hours ago, Mod_GuruLot said:

 

Hello @GrimBeard

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback on the forum and starting such an interesting discussion! :) 

 

I'll be forwarding your thoughts to the development team. 

 

Hi @Mod_GuruLot,

 

No problem about sharing feedback. I hope I provided a decent suggestion, praise and concern throughout this thread.

 

Thanks for your response and all the best.

Edited by GrimBeard
Fixing grammar.
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10 hours ago, GrimBeard said:

 

Hi @Mod_GuruLot,

 

No problem about sharing feedback. I hope I provided a decent suggestion, praise and concern throughout this thread.

 

Thanks for your response and all the best.

 

Hello @GrimBeard

 

Pokémon strongly encourages players to submit feedback and ideas, so that this game can offer the best experience to all of you.

 

Even though not every suggestion can be implemented, all of them are always read and paid attention to.

 

Thank you again!

 

 

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4 hours ago, Mod_GuruLot said:

 

Hello @GrimBeard

 

Pokémon strongly encourages players to submit feedback and ideas, so that this game can offer the best experience to all of you.

 

Even though not every suggestion can be implemented, all of them are always read and paid attention to.

 

Thank you again!

 

 

 

@Mod_GuruLot That's the strong impression that I got browsing this site. I totally get that not every suggestion can be implemented but it's great to know that users are listened to and encouraged to interact. 

 

Thanks for being so positive and again, thanks for your response and all the best.

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