Tobold's Blog
Friday, September 06, 2013
Card Hunter state of the beta

It has been silent on the Card Hunter servers and forums lately. But that is not because people don't like the game. It is because release was announced for September 12, which is already next week. And thus on September 10 the beta servers will go down and everybody's collection will be erased. So most people, including me, decided to wait for the release before doing any more card hunting. What I did before the reset was spend my remaining pizza on epic chests, just to look what I would get. Nice yield, with several legendaries as well. I was able to "waste" the pizza that way because I will get all the bought pizza back on release.

Now the release announcement also announced the Basic Edition Special, a $25 goodie bag which contains the stuff I previously recommended to buy plus 9 figures. And now I received good news for all Card Hunter beta testers: Every beta tester will receive those same 9 figures for free. Which means that you can get the rest of the Basic Edition Special for $20 worth of pizza. What I found especially nice was that for people who have trouble doing the math, Blue Manchu is very explicit about the advantages:
If you were wondering about buying the Basic Edition after launch, rest assured that you are better off just using your re-credited beta pizza to buy everything separately. With these free costumes, you can buy the rest of the contents of the Basic Edition for pizza, and enjoy the same or better discount that you would have received had you bought the Basic Edition bundle.
So the Basic Edition definitely isn't an attempt to get more money from the 40,000 beta testers, as some had feared. Nice move, Blue Manchu!

You may consider this a silly and trivial gripe; however, "pizza" is the stupidest possible name for an in-game currency purchased with real money.

I understand why it's called that. I get the tongue-in-cheek humor -- it's just not that funny to me.
I'm currently playing Card Hunter on my Acer Iconia W3 tablet (running Windows 8.1). It works rather well, although frequently my clicks are seen as scroll commands, forcing me to recenter the game board, which is annoying. But it is still fun to be able to play the game on a tablet.
Tobold, this is a game I would have no idea even existed, but because of your blog will certainly play.

Sorry that you quit ;)
I only "quit" the beta, I think I'll be rather active after September 12.
I take a somewhat dim view of the "optional" subscription model. Games with mandatory subscriptions are honest about what they are and customers can plan accordingly. When a game claims to be "free to play", only to offer a subscription that a non-subscriber cannot duplicate by spending money on a non-time-limited basis, they are generally selling a lie.

The approach strikes me as especially misguided for a product like this one, which sounds better suited for more casual play. In the short term, a player may read Tobold's recommendation and pay for a month on day one - either that player never comes back but at least the dev got money or else the ticking clock convinces that player to come back a few times until they are invested in the game. Setting aside the manipulative psychology, I'm not convinced that this is in the game's long-term best interest. It does not sound to me like this is a product that will have indefinite staying power. They may come to regret using a fee to incentivize players to finish quickly.
Green Armadillo @5: I think you have got hold of the wrong end of the stick here. You cannot exactly 'duplicate' the subscription, but you genuinely don't need to be in the Adventurer's Club.

I agree it may take a long time to get eleven extra epic items as free random drops, but (1) they do drop and (2) epics are by no means gamebreakers in Card Hunter. Lots of epics will rarely if ever see service.
I don't remember which game it was exactly, might have been Wildstar, but on announcing the business model of the game one of devs said that it didn't matter what business model they announced, somebody out there would hate it.

Its the same really for Card Hunter. I probably wouldn't play Card Hunter for very long if it had a mandatory subscription. I'd play it only as long as I still play a lot every week, but as soon as my interest would diminish a tiny bit, I'd worry about paying for nothing and quit the subscription. That would be a horrid business model for Card Hunter in my opinion, as I can much better imagine it with the actual Free2Play model and me playing on and off.

In the end you have to ask yourself: Would you refuse to go to a restaurant only because they don't offer an all-you-can-eat buffet? Or do you decide on which restaurant to go to based on how good the food is, and cope with their business model?
A rare example of honest game company. Maybe I should give them those $5 anyway? Oh wait...
Now I am in a quandary. I like the game, but I wasn't planning on splashing any cash until I had some free time in a couple of months. If I give them some money now I get the free character icons, but I risk my interest having wained by the time I do want to play. I'm not entirely sure what to do.
You could always cross your fingers and hope that they keep the 'Basic edition Special' on sale after launch.

It's marked as a promotion, but it's not such a giveaway that it wouldn't work as a permanent offer to new players.
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