PDA

View Full Version : What if sealed/drafts were always free?



DanTheMeek
01-29-2014, 10:13 PM
.First off, yes, I'm very aware this will never happen, not asking for it to happen, really just more of a theoretical "what if..." sort of topic. Basically, I was talking with a friend the other day about how, despite how I can't get out of the first round cause of bugs, I'm really loving sealed tournaments like I've never loved them in a game before and that I think the reason is that they're free, so I don't feel this weight on my shoulders to have to succeed to get my moneys worth, nor is the decision to spend money and join the tournament such a trying one, I can literally just focus on the fun and play as often as I want with out worrying that I"m spending too much.

Which got me to thinking. What if an online card game had free sealed and draft tournaments? Obviously it'd still have to be a good card game, though Hex itself is proof that you don't really need to come up with a good card game, the fact that Hex hasn't been sued by wizards of the coast is pretty much proof that you can just slightly tweak a proven one people already enjoy playing sealed and drafting in, and then what if you then allowed sealed and draft tournaments to be free? Obviously they can't keep the cards afterward, but other wise there's no restrictions or differences from the actual formats. Would such a game be a huge hit?

I mean most people I talk to these days love drafting in particular more then any other format in card games, but a combination of cost and finding groups of people to play with limit the amount they did it. If you take away the cost, the amount of people available to play with becomes anyone that has any desire to draft at all, making the latter much less of an issue as well.

Now there would be the complication of what sort of prizes are reasonable to give, maybe a single pack whose contents are account bound so that they can never be traded or sold. Maybe something more or less, or dependent on the other features of your game. If the game were like hex, they could be purely single player prizes.

There's also the concern that because sealed and draft play is so popular, that making it free would take a huge bite out of your potential profits. But you could argue that the amount of players it might bring into the game might outweigh the losses if said players then go on to buy packs or pay for whatever your intended source of income is if you go for a Path of Exile or DoTA2 route and only charge for non-gameplay effecting things. Or maybe this mode is a one time payment then free for life sort of deal (though then you go back to limiting the people you can participate with). I think the number of people who backed for pro player levels purely to get the free draft a week shows that people are willing to pay up front for long term drafting access. It could even just be something you get free as much as you want while you've got a subscription like hex has (though I admit that might irk me as I hate subscription locked content...).

There's also the possibility that you allow paid drafts and sealed tournaments as well with large prize pools, traditional style, so those who play purely for winning big prizes have that as an option.

Regardless, its just a thought that occurred to me, and I can't off the top of my head think of a single online card game I've played that just lets you jump into a free draft at any time, either they have entry fees, or they are free but only occur like once or twice a week (rise of mythos comes to mind). As things stand, this thought has me feeling a little uneasy about hex simply because the realization dawned on me that once alpha is over (and maybe private beta depending on how that's handled) I'll probably not play in sealed or draft tournaments much, if at all, and I'm really enjoying them. As buggy as it may be, and even with out a single prize for winning tournaments, I'm enjoying endless free sealed tournaments more then I've probably enjoyed anything in an online card game in a long time. Its just a fun format, prizes or no, so its a shame it seems to always have a real money entree fee in every card game.

Malicus
01-30-2014, 12:42 AM
Limited has the highest profit potential for the company and is the most fun format for a ton of people - chances are any game giving away unlimited free drafts would simply make no money.

There are additional flow on effects to consider if cards do not become available from limited play since packs opened in limited keeps the price of singles lower and within range of a larger pool of players. In an environment where singles are only available from cracking packs prices will be higher as supply is restricted. This is further exacerbated by the removal of limited prize support which increases the supply of "packs" vs "packs purchased" by 50%.

Zomnivore
01-30-2014, 01:03 AM
Heres what I want.

I want a sealed deck sort of tier of competition. You can buy however many sealed decks you want....and that deck you can enter into a game with, against other sealed deckers based on win record for that specific sealed deck.

Then when you win against however many like you'd normally do or not, you get the reward like you'd gotten a win in a tourney without any sort of time restraints, or lose.

Boom.

Now you're not pinning for time to play a sealed tournament, can pick it up any time ya want or put it down after a round.

Also I've never played seal or understand any of how that works....so...

Malicus
01-30-2014, 01:23 AM
Heres what I want.

I want a sealed deck sort of tier of competition. You can buy however many sealed decks you want....and that deck you can enter into a game with, against other sealed deckers based on win record for that specific sealed deck.

Then when you win against however many like you'd normally do or not, you get the reward like you'd gotten a win in a tourney without any sort of time restraints, or lose.

Boom.

Now you're not pinning for time to play a sealed tournament, can pick it up any time ya want or put it down after a round.

Also I've never played seal or understand any of how that works....so...

The without any lose creates a question - so you want to get rewarded for 3 wins even if it took you 8 matches to get there? The problem with that is not enough money has been paid to support that level of prizes. I assume you are talking about opening multiple pools hoping for the best build and you can do that but you have to drop from the tournaments.

As far as the time CZE has confirmed that they will work on asynchronous play to make it available which is the option where you get to play others with similair records and depending on the formats they release it in you would get prizes similair to records in a regular tournament.

chromus
01-30-2014, 01:59 AM
Unfortunately, this seems unlikely at best. There is indeed a lot of profit to be made from limited formats. Also, it is used as a way to supply the economy with newer cards to be traded around as Malicus mentioned (it also gives additional value to card packs as you get to play with them before adding them to your collection).

My hope is that CZE does not get greedy here; or in other words plan to monetize Limited play to the maximum as MTG has chosen to do. There used to be a super popular Limited format called "Leagues" in MTGO. It was basically a Sealed format, with 256 players I believe, that lasted 1 month which not only gave you the flexibility to choose when you played your games but also gave you the option to play with your deck as many games as you wanted during that 1 month. It was simply a great bang for your buck. It did have its issues such as win trading and people trying to get matched with lower-ranked opponents, but nothing that couldn't be addressed.

MTGO took down this format and basically forced anyone who wanted to play Limited to spend $14 on a 3-round draft (or more $ for 7-8 hour Premier Events). They blamed client stability as a reason for not re-introducing Leagues but as time passed by (perhaps 8-9 years now?), people realized the real reason is that it isn't profitable enough for them to bother.

Now, it seems Drafting will cost $7 retail in Hex, which is a good start compared to the current MTGO. However, CZE must have more economical & flexible (in when you play your games) Limited play options available similar to Leagues in MTGO, Arena in Hearthstone, and gazillion other cool ideas suggested by this community. Providing Limited players with more options might limit their profit potential in the short-run, but as these attract a much wider array of players, the game will grow in popularity and truly thrive in the long-run.

Hope you are listening CZE... ;)

Zomnivore
01-30-2014, 02:22 AM
I'm not taking any stock into how the structure of the tournament aught to be made. I'm just saying gee wouldn't it be nice to be able to fiddle with a sealed deck for however long you wanted, play a round, stop think about the deck really hard....maybe live your life doing something else for a bit...come back, play the game and not lose anything?

I mean...call me crazy but I think that would be wildly possible with todays technology, and you know...digital.

I don't understand the things that would do to affect pricing, how you'd match people etc. W/E affects that would have to the old traditional aspects of sealed... I bet would probably still be fine at the end of the day, once stuffs tinkered out by professionals who know how to tinker the specifics out.

Dammit, Jim! I'm a player, not a designer!

Also I'm not saying that it should be impossible to lose with a sealed deck...you should still be able to lose the tournament, I just don't see why you shouldn't be able to do all that stuff at your own convenience.

(not arguing for a free version)

Kroan
01-30-2014, 03:13 AM
Part of the appeal of sealed and draft is that they cost money. There is more excitement opening up something awesome when it's actually worth something.

BlackRoger
01-30-2014, 04:14 AM
There will probably be some limited format where you don't have to buy packs, like MTG's cube/phantom draft formats.

However, I feel that part of the fun of limited is that you don't get to play it all the time.
I mean look at Hearthstone's Arena, it was a blast on the first few runs, but after grinding it so much I feel more of a "been there, done that".
Not to mention, as people said here before, limited is a very big percentage of a TCG's income, if it doesn't cost money you're gonna have to redo your priciing strategy completely.

DanTheMeek
01-30-2014, 08:14 AM
Well I think most people would tell you that price structures of say a game like Path of Exile, Guild Wars 2, or DoTA2 are non-typical, and took big risks from the genre norms in going the routes they did, yet have found success. Just because something has worked one way doesn't mean it can't work other ways.

But again, as I noted at the very beginning of my long mind dump of a first post, I don't really expect this will happen in Hex, changing the pricing strategy in such a way would be a HUGE risk and innovation, and in a genre where so many companies are trying to inovate, Crypto appears to be doing anything but, taking one of the least innovative, safest, routes possible in just how much they've cloned MTG with their game. I don't mean to sounds like I"m knocking Cryptozoic or Hex, there's been plenty of other 'me-to' MTG clones over the years, and darn near every card game draws some amount of inspiration from the grandfather TCG of them all, this is just the must on-the-nose I've ever seen a mtg-clone.

Anyway, back on topic, I also wanted to mention that another reason I even bring the topic up at all is that when talking to said friend, this friend suddenly became interested in slacker backer backing, just for the chance to play sealed and hopefully later draft for free. This is the same guy I pestered through out the kickstarter campaign, trying to get him to donate anything to get a great deal on cards, be able to play with me, and get early access, and he would have none of it, yet for the chance to play sealed/draft games as much as he wanted for free, even for just a few months, 50 bucks suddenly seemed reasonable to him. It really made me wonder if there would be a market for this, if a game could be successful who threw caution to the wind and tried to make there money else where, using draft and sealed modes to draw players and keep them having fun rather then as a direct source of income. I don't know, maybe it wouldn't work, its a big enough piece of their financial pie that I don't blame Crypto or any company for not gambling on such an idea, but I still can't help but wonder...

ossuary
01-30-2014, 08:19 AM
What if the packs still cost money, but there was no entrance fee? Again, purely theoretically, would that affect your willingness to participate? If you have a shit-ton of packs, it's no big deal to open them in a tournament vs just cracking them, and if you're really good or have good luck, it's slightly easier to "go infinite" since you won't have to come up with the entrance fee on top of your pack winnings.

Rieper
01-30-2014, 08:44 AM
No entrance fees, means no prizes. This means rare drafting will be done even more, because there is no advantage to winning a draft tournemant anymore. The fee is only there to make up for prizes and not much else, and even thats a bad buniness, since 8$ doesnīt even cover the price of 12 packs.

Also they have swiss draft, just pick this as you draft then. ONLY 1 person here goes away with 0 packs as rewards(3 players get 1 pack each, 3 players get 2 packs each and 1 player gets 3 packs. Last player lost all matchs and gets 0). THere really isnīt anything to gain from a draft without fees and still using paid packs. And if you always the guy dead last, to be honest you should rethink play draft anyway.

Yoss
01-30-2014, 09:21 AM
To those hoping for Play-When-You-Want (asynchronous) tournaments, please note that CZE has officially put it on their list of planned features. My unofficial list also has it reported:

http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=32188
It is currently listed as items 5 and 6 under EARLY BETA

BlackRoger
01-30-2014, 11:12 AM
It really made me wonder if there would be a market for this, if a game could be successful who threw caution to the wind and tried to make there money else where, using draft and sealed modes to draw players and keep them having fun rather then as a direct source of income. I don't know, maybe it wouldn't work, its a big enough piece of their financial pie that I don't blame Crypto or any company for not gambling on such an idea, but I still can't help but wonder...

I actually played 2 games that gave you something like that:
Kings and Legends, and Hearthstone.
Both are good games, and I put my money into neither of them.
There were more then one factor for that, but a large part of it was that at the end of the day HS's Arena/Kings and Legends Draft were possibly the best of these games, and if I didn't have to pay a penny to participate, why pay at all?

I don't neccesarily agree wth CZE's prices and decisions, but I think they are right with this one.
They can't make a tournament structure that will match each and every one of our tastes, and what they have currently planned appeals to a large part of the player-base.
As I said before, I'm sure there will be some free form like cubes and guild tourneys and whatnot, but saving the best formats for paying players isn't a bad choice.

Lawlschool
01-30-2014, 12:58 PM
Limited is already win-win, not sure why anyone would want it to be free aside from a reluctance to pay money.

If you plan on buying packs at all, you should play Limited formats with them rather than just cracking them. If you play Sealed, all you lose is $1, since you get to keep all your cards. If you play Draft, you can increase the value you get from the packs by selecting the cards you want to supplement your constructed decks. And if you play Swiss, like Rieper mentioned that almost guarantees you an extra booster or two for just your entry fee and time.

Plus, thanks to the magic of the AH, if you're someone who just wants to play Limited formats you can always sell all your cards on the AH for plat to reduce your out of pocket costs.

GhundiPI
01-30-2014, 12:58 PM
With sealed currently being free in alpha, it is already showing one typical issue; people drop out when they cannot get a 'good set' of cards. What would be the problem with people dropping? Typically it will snowball into a large percentage to even a majority of players doing exactly the same, just destroying the essence of the format.

In short, free means it will have no consequences, which means no legitimacy for the format. It may be fun as a way to practice, or as an introductory format to beginners. And I do not doubt that somewhere down the line (maybe even very soon after release) it will be implemented. But for Hex to be considered a valid tournament game, it will need formats with consequences, which is what paid-for limited formats provide.

Yoss
01-30-2014, 01:01 PM
With sealed currently being free in alpha, it is already showing one typical issue; people drop out when they cannot get a 'good set' of cards. What would be the problem with people dropping? Typically it will snowball into a large percentage to even a majority of players doing exactly the same, just destroying the essence of the format.

In short, free means it will have no consequences, which means no legitimacy for the format. It may be fun as a way to practice, or as an introductory format to beginners. And I do not doubt that somewhere down the line (maybe even very soon after release) it will be implemented. But for Hex to be considered a valid tournament game, it will need formats with consequences, which is what paid-for limited formats provide.

I can imagine CZE giving out one free tournament entry (but you have to supply the packs) with each new account that plays for X number of PVE hours or completes Y content and also supplies a valid credit card number (to prevent account spamming).

Zomnivore
01-30-2014, 01:22 PM
To those hoping for Play-When-You-Want (asynchronous) tournaments, please note that CZE has officially put it on their list of planned features.

http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=32188
It is currently listed as items 5 and 6 under EARLY BETA

Ah that must be what I've been hankering for.

Currently a tournament seems like a pretty big time commitment...I've had trouble finishing 30-45min of league because of randomness.

Disordia
01-30-2014, 01:54 PM
To those hoping for Play-When-You-Want (asynchronous) tournaments, please note that CZE has officially put it on their list of planned features.

http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=32188
It is currently listed as items 5 and 6 under EARLY BETA

You say this as if CZE ordained this list as their schedule of feature delivery. You really should be careful on that, and at least keep your proselytizing to relevant threads.

Yoss
01-30-2014, 01:56 PM
You say this as if CZE ordained this list as there schedule

Did you read the thread?

"Please help me build a list of all the stuff we know is coming, the stuff we hope is coming, and the order we want it in (no dates)."

That's the first sentence.

How about thread title that starts with "Unofficial"?

Lawlschool
01-30-2014, 01:58 PM
You say this as if CZE ordained this list as their schedule of feature delivery. You really should be careful on that, and at least keep your proselytizing to relevant threads.

Chark did confirm that asynch was something they plan to implement: http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=32002&page=16&p=335956&viewfull=1#post335956

Disordia
01-30-2014, 02:06 PM
Chark did confirm that asynch was something they plan to implement: http://forums.cryptozoic.com/showthread.php?t=32002&page=16&p=335956&viewfull=1#post335956


Did you read the thread?

"Please help me build a list of all the stuff we know is coming, the stuff we hope is coming, and the order we want it in (no dates)."

That's the first sentence.

How about thread title that starts with "Unofficial"?

I know this and I have read it. My point that you've both missed is that your post in this thread reads like this is their list of planned features and their schedule.

Yoss
01-30-2014, 02:50 PM
I know this and I have read it. My point that you've both missed is that your post in this thread reads like this is their list of planned features and their schedule.

Edited post 12.

Shivdaddy
02-01-2014, 05:46 PM
If they were always free;

1. Game would die because of no money
2. Half of the event would enter and not play because of no penalty
3. Would not be fun because of #2

Vorpal
02-03-2014, 12:18 PM
It could only be free if you didn't keep the cards you built your decks with.

And I would still expect there to be some sort of in game currency cost that could be obtained via in game actions.

YourOpponent
02-04-2014, 11:22 AM
Kings and Legends do free sealed tournaments. They give a small amount of silver (the non paying currency in the game) and some pvp points based on how you win. Of course you don't get to keep the cards from it, but there is the option that when you're opening packs you can pay the cost to keep the next tournament pack you will be opening before it's opened.

They have been doing free sealed that way for 6 months I think now...with their being gold tournaments (the paying currency) on the weekends where you pay gold to get in and can win gold back. The entry fee on that is 100 gold. If I remember right the tournaments are 4 round swiss pairing. One win is zero gold, 2 wins 50 gold, 3 wins 200 gold, and 4 wins 400 gold.

Granted though...in Kinds and Legends there is normally 1 sealed tournament a day and 1 constructed tournament a day...so the way they stay in business is primarily people buying booster packs for battle in the arena in constructed play throughout the day...much like our 1v1 proving grounds.