View Full Version : Making Starters something people would want

03-15-2014, 06:59 PM
So it seems we've finally gotten some details on what the starters will be (in-game alpha store shows the 4 starters, which shards are represented, and the ratio of cards: 3 rare 8 uncommon 24 common 25 resources) and this got me thinking... will anyone actually want to buy these? Granted, starter decks are tricky business in any card game, but especially so in a otcg with an auction house. After all, any card you can get in the starter deck, you can likely get off the AH and probably for cheaper. Even if you try to make the value of the starter good by offering a lot of high rarity cards for a small price, by very virtue of being offered in a start deck, any included card's values will likely decrease on the AH, and the whole thing could still end up being more expensive then just buying the individual parts off the AH.

So how do companies get around this? Personally I know of three common strategies. The first, and the one I dislike, is to include exclusive starter only card(s) in the starter. In this manner the starters are still desirable because you HAVE to buy them to get certain cards, and their value remains fairly strong as largely only the people who actually want the specific card buy said starters, its not the same as a random pack where its not uncommon for a player to pull a rare card they have no interest in and promptly dump on the Auction House. In this system, if some one is looking to turn around and sell the exclusive card(s) on the AH, its more likely because they believe they can turn a profit from doing so, which usually means selling the exclusive card for just under the cost of the starter itself, then selling all the other parts for profit.

While that style does work, its one I dislike for couple reasons. The first is that its very common for a player to feel forced to spend money on cards they don't want (everything but the exclusive) to get the cards they do want. This is a bad feeling, like you're wasting money, being over charged for extras you didn't even want in the first place. The second is that often the exclusives aren't given out in playsets in the starters, meaning, for example, if the exclusive is the key card for your deck and one you'd want 4 of, you have to either pay just under the cost of a starter four times for it on the AH, or buy the same starter 4 times. Even if you really were buying it the first time to get started and thus all the non-exclusives were useful to you, the second, third, and fourth time you're unquestionably getting pure waste, and thats both frustrating and just generally puts a bad taste in players mouths. And yes that can, and almost certainly will happen whenever a player buys a lot of packs, they're going to get 5+ copies of cards (likely commons) and be disappointed, but at least with packs theres some unknown coming in, with starters you know before you ever spend a dollar that most of what you're getting is useless (at least until we get more details on crafting) to you.

That brings us to the second work around for starters. Randomized starters. These sort of starters don't have any set cards, instead they provide a random assortment of cards drawn from a more limited pool of cards then packs, such as only saphire and diamond cards, or only wild and blood cards that the developers believe are relevant to a shin'hare deck. In this case, on a cost per rarity basis they're probably a little less cost efficient then packs, but in exchange you get a much larger likelihood that you can actually build a focused theme out of the cards you open. This style is especially useful for big core sets where the the odds of getting cards not-relevant to the theme you want to play is much greater and gives players who only want to buy/play a specific theme a way to do so with out having to resort to the secondary market

I prefer these kind of starters to the former, but I can understand that some people might mistake then with pre-constructed decks, which they are not, and some would argue that because of the random nature, these may or may not actually make a good starting point for a new player based on how lucky or unlucky they are.

That brings us to the third option, which is similar to the first, but less annoying (in my personal opinion). That is, pre-constructed starters with exclusive alternate art cards. You're still getting something you can't from packs, making the starter seem like less of a waste over just buying packs, but you're not forcing anyone to buy them to get every card they need for their deck. They do still inherently decrease the value of the cards contained within, but not quite as much as if they were exactly the same as their non-starter counter parts, and unlike the random style, as they are set, there's not question that these are decks made to use out of the box for beginners. Ultimately this is also a style of starter I could get behind.

So what do you all think, are there better ways to make starters desirable, and do you think Hex will be doing anything to make their starters desirable, or do you think they'll really just be containing a handful of pre-selected commons, uncommons, and rares? If it is the latter, it will be interesting to see if anyone buys them and what the level of satisfactions is with those who do, since i know when I'm new to a card game and don't understand it I tend to gravitate to starters as, by the very virtue of their name, I trust that they will give me a good starting point and reasonable value for my investment. If the starters are 10 dollars as it was originally suggested they would be, guaranteed 0 legendaries, 3 rares, 8 uncommons, and 24 commons does not seem like an especially good value, even more so when considering that the cards within, if not alternate arts or in some way unique, will likely have reduced value over cards not available in starters. Of course no one is making players buy the starters, but I could easily see it being a bad experience for a new player if they buy one and find out later they kind of jipped themselves.

03-15-2014, 07:23 PM
New players will invariably buy starters. They are self selling items by design.

I can't argue with giving more bang for buck (maybe a chest or two?) in standard starters, and randomised starters could be fun.

And starters will be tempting for PvE players looking to break into competitive play. Just thought I would put that out there.

03-15-2014, 08:29 PM
You are looking at starters from a value standpoint based on the rarity break-down of the cards included.

Alternatively, you should look at starters for the value they provide to a new player. A starter is meant to represent a deck theme. One that capitalizes on synergies with cards to combo and win games. It is a taste for new players to get a feel for how the game plays, and for a particular color/class.

This is why the first starter (non-trade-able) is free for all new free accounts. You can buy additional starters for instant access into new themes, or alternatively, if you just want a quick taste, could ultimately create new accounts to try those other starters for free.

Buying starters for their teaching value is probably higher rated than buying them for their individual card value. If you are new and starting out, and $ value is your main focus. You will find a way to work around this system.

03-15-2014, 08:33 PM
From what I can remember, I believe they stated that the free starters will be different from the starters on sale.

03-15-2014, 08:35 PM
Nah. That's a common mistake. I used to remember how it started. But as far as I know the free starter is just one of the decks anyone can buy. Likely you can choose which to start with. The cards from that deck will be untradable, then you can buy the other starter decks if you're interested.

03-15-2014, 08:53 PM
Nah. That's a common mistake. I used to remember how it started. But as far as I know the free starter is just one of the decks anyone can buy. Likely you can choose which to start with. The cards from that deck will be untradable, then you can buy the other starter decks if you're interested.

Wasn't it confirmed to be different to the store decks? I swear this was confirmed somewhere.

Besides, it would actually make sense. We are missing wild/diamond as a deck, and while we dont need to have every combo covered, it would make a decent choice for a free deck.

03-15-2014, 09:06 PM
KS were told they would get different starters than the other starters that you could buy from the store (with them being better.) Now to respond to the OP I think option 3 would be the best solution. This would help new players get another starter to help expand things more easily without them just spending more money for the convenience factor of it being in one bundle. Maybe not all 3 rares from each starter from the store being alternate art, but I don't see anything wrong with KS getting the alternate art cards from those starters too (as long as it was included in the starter decks they could get from the KS).

03-15-2014, 09:30 PM

Well, there's an answer that supports different starter decks. But I'm still pretty sure that's wrong. "Shrug"

03-15-2014, 11:21 PM
The four sample decks in the card manager match up with the dummy Store page, only the Orcs deck is missing out on some Uncommons (probably will substitute two-of 3 different cards based on what has come out periodically with patches since alpha started) - but I fully expect those to be the "official" starters that people can choose from, even Kickstarter backers

03-16-2014, 01:05 AM
The option I like most is not listed in the OP. It's been done in MTG with decent succes; include one or two boosters in the intropack. This ups the value of the intropack as well as introducing new players towards customizing their deck with cards found in boosters.

Seeing as the current (kickstarter) intro pack are listed at $10 value, they certainly have to add something to the current listed ones to make that value a reality.

03-16-2014, 08:23 AM
So the link Gwaer included was the only info I was aware of on starters, does anyone have a link to where they changed there stance on this as some of the people posting here seem to be suggesting? If they did change their stance, and the free starter was split up into 4 separate purchasable starters you get to choose from, that could mean the KS starters are something else entirely and just aren't in the store yet.

In any case, its also worth noting that in the store the starter packs are listed as having the same price as a booster pack. Originally I assumed that was just a default value they put there sort of as a place holder, after all starters were supposed to be 10 bucks... but what if these starters were different then the 10 dollar starters and DID cost the same as a pack? That might actually make them a good value for new players. For 2 bucks you can either buy a pack that could have legendaries and treasure chests and all that... but will be all over the place and none of wihich may actually be usable to you until you buy a ton more packs, OR you can pay the same price and buy a themed starter thats playable out of the box and gives you 3 rares for the price of 1 in exchange for no chance at a legendary, no treasure chests (?), and the fact that by virtue of being in a starter at this price, all the cards are probably very limited in value on the AH.

This also brings to question how they'll handle the free starter if they have changed there stance as being suggested here. I assume the cards will still have a no-trade/sell tag affixed to them, but if there are going to in fact be 4 free starters to choose from instead of one generic one as we were originally lead to believe, you end up in a situation I see a lot in other F2P card games, where people are making multiple accounts to try out every starter. This was a non-issue if every account got the same free starter, but if they are going to get to choose, then I think it would be beneficial to give new players a way to switch between the free non-tradable starters so they're not encouraged to keep remaking accounts. Maybe they can switch as much as they want for the first week but then after 7 days the next time they sign in they have to choose one and stick with it?

I don't know, still seems like more annoyance is being caused if this is the direction they're going instead of just having a single generic free starter of non-tradable cards for every account, and I'd really like a source on this as this is very contradictory to what we were originally told (as Gwaer himself linked despite being one of the people saying thats not the case anymore). But it really would explain a lot if those starters were the same price as a pack, and not 10 dollars, cause 10 dollars for whats being offered really does seem like a bad value and a bad way to introduce new players to Hex's cost per content pricing structure. Yes it gives them an easy jumping off point, but in todays digital age its really easy to just look up a deck list off the internet and buy the cards you want off the AH, and while in some ways starters may sell themselves, again, if I was new to the game, and I spent 10 bucks one of these things, assuming there are no exlcusives or alernate arts, I think I'd be rather unhappy once I played more and got a better understanding of the games economy, and the last thing the game should be doing is including something with potential of upsetting new players, even more so for those who are willing to spend 10 dollars of real money for a starter.

03-16-2014, 09:28 AM
I couldn't find a source attached to the answer I linked, so I'm not sure that ever was actually the case. It has been too long since all the KS discussions and I don't remember where I learned what I think I know.

03-17-2014, 05:00 AM
I feel like this may have been covered at one of the Q&A sessions. Definitely not GenCon, because you were there, Gwaer, and I'm sure you would remember. :)

But that would explain why you couldn't find it in a forum search. I can't remember what I heard last either. Part of me thinks it's just the standard starter decks except we get X of them for free depending on tier, but part of me also thinks they are special because they were specifically made distinct from the untradeable free one all people get with their account. Maybe we need a CZE person to weigh in on this, where it's been so long and the details have shifted. I know it's still a bit early to talk about rewards, but it would be nice to know. :)

03-17-2014, 05:14 AM
It very likely could have been a Q&A that I was at. I generally just remember facts and not the silly details like who said it or when. =P

03-18-2014, 02:51 PM
I've generally been under the (admittedly not hugely informed) impression that the free starter was just an account bound version of one of the starters you can buy from the shop.

Basicly, it's different from the shop starters in that it is composed of account bound cards, not in that it's a separate deck-list that's common to all accounts.

Anyway, I'm of the opinion that the role of starters is to be a quick easy way to get a deck that plays a particular archetype well enough to go up against other starters. The main uses are:

new players who don't know the game trying out different archetypes
a fairly well balanced standard that can be used to take the "pay to win" out of constructed without replacing it with "RNG for the win"
an easy way for a novice player to get a baseline deck as a starting point for a new build of their own.

As such I'm against randomized starters (to unreliable), and I see no real need to "encourage" people to buy starters with special starter exclusive cards.

I mean worst case scenario no one buys starters and CZE has to make all their money of packs and tournament entries (this shouldn't really affect how much CZE makes, just how the make it). More realistic scenario, new players frequently buy a starter or two when they're learning the ropes and every once in a while a more experienced player picks up a starter that strikes their fancy for some reason or another (usually not strictly speaking an optimal choice, but by and large people are bad at actual optimization problems).