“Well, it’s your turn!”
With the upcoming release of Hearthstone and the recent rumors surrounding a possible League of Legends MMOTCG game, Blaine Smith of XMMORPG takes a look at the fundamental problems with today‚Äôs massively multiplayer card games.
Before we get into the meat of the discussion allow me to explain my background in relation to TCG and CCG games. Most of my personal experience stems from years of Yugioh. Having played over 300 matches, won 2 tournaments and retired undefeated (I say that like it‚Äôs an accomplishment but in reality my friends were just really bad) I like to think I have a basic grasp of the genres. However, I have no experience with the more hardcore card games such as Magic: The Gathering, so I‚Äôd place myself somewhere between casual and experienced.
There are two main elements that appeal to me when I begin playing online card games, collecting and strategy. These are two elements that MMO titles have captured almost perfectly, time and time again. I find very little difference between opening my shiny new foil pack of cards at the local Walmart to that of opening my virtual booster pack and when I spend hours constructing my decks both online and offline, I find the experience equally rewarding. So what‚Äôs the big problem? Why haven‚Äôt we seen an MMOTCG game take the market by storm?
In a word, greed. Practically every online card game is plagued by ridiculously priced micro-transactions which actually limit the most appealing aspects of the genre. Constructing your deck and collecting new cards are the biggest aspects of the genres but by building an impenetrable brick wall in front of both aspects, in the form of item malls, developers are crippling their own games.
When it comes to the typical free online RPG games, developers have had a lot of experience. They‚Äôve found ways to make free-to-play work and some titles, such as League of Legends, have not only proven its viability but made it a massive success. Why should players have to spend hours before earning a pack of cards? Why should we have to invest real cash to have the opportunity to build a deck?
The item malls and micro-transactions of future online card games needs to change. There are so many visual aspects that would sell well enough without completely screwing the average free gamer. Premium cards have animations that actually see a 3D animation of the card using an ability, or maybe they have an animated character tab or background. Games have proven that we‚Äôre willing to invest in cosmetic options, so give us some choice!