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Concerns around Netrunner draft and organised play.


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#1 Mr Plague

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:21 PM

Hi all,

 

Just wanted to share my thoughts regarding the above topics and to see if others agree. I believe I am not alone. I'll keep it as short as possible (reading back over this I clearly failed) and to the point.

I want to talk about two subjects:

1) The validity and future of draft play
2) Organised play with regards to the schedule in particular

Netrunner draft - I think it's a fantastic idea (I adore drafting) but poorly executed as a tangent to the living card game model. The general feedback I've seen is that the draft itself was fun (and I absolutely agree with this), but afterwards the drafters have felt 'empty,' almost like being robbed. The kind of feeling you get after Mr Santiago has Siphoned you for the sixth time over.

The contents of the draft packs are completely useless to the existing player base with the exception of a few of the Core Set one-of's that have been included.

Some have tried to argue that it's great for a new player to get into the game as a response. I disagree - if said new player then asks me about their next purchase, it's going to be two core sets, three if they can afford it. The advice doesn't change and leaves the player wondering what to do with their c£20 worth of cards. The answer isn't pretty.

I can't figure out why they have been designed the way they have been and I know that as a result our LGS won't be getting Overdrive ordered in. There is no incentive to draft - there's no new cards, nothing to collect and no replayability. Sure, with Overdrive we get to see Lunar Cycle cards earlier perhaps than normal but that won't generate interest. I'm perfectly happy waiting for their respective data packs to be released with a playset of each card. 

Personally, I don't mind shelling out on the odd draft here and there but it's almost impossible to persuade my locals. There's nothing I can say that will be able to convince them otherwise because there is no selling point ESPECIALLY when the 'one-ofs' are freely guaranteed in the purchase of another core set for just a little more moolah.

Fixes have been mentioned in other posts - alt art cards, more 'draft only' cards but I think they're short term fixes and I believe the lack of true replayability is the real issue. If I'm spending $25 on a card game I want the money to go far, not be a sunk cost three and a half hours later. My suggestion (which is in theme with the LCG model in my opinion) would be to sell the draft sets as Cubes - a full draft set with pre-built packs for the first experience with instructions on how to re-build and modify the experience.

Expansions can then be released with details on how to amend the existing pool (in exactly the same way the Thrones expansions came with deck notes and suggested deck lists), creating new archetypes and encouraging the cube owners to play around with it. Unlimited replayability with a dynamic draft play experience. That would be awesome.

Sure, from a business standpoint, FFG aren't going to sell two copies of the same cube to the same playgroup but I very highly doubt there has been any repeat buyers of the current draft packs.

Of course, people could always take photo's of the draft packs and try to rebuild them, but after a while, that will get boring. I'm aware people have attempted to reverse-engineer the algorithm used for the packs but that just doesn't feel right. Give us a shiny new cube set and give us a framework. Coming from a Magic background, 'cubing' is THE most fun you can have with a card game like this. Cubes have their own identity and I think it's high time the concept is officially brought to the game of Netrunner that we all adore!

Organised play - Well then, about those things that I adore. I love tournaments, I love preparing for tournaments, I love travelling to tournaments and I love tournament reports. I have well and truly fallen for the game. You can imagine my dismay when I learned that after the National tournaments are over, that's it until next year.

What?!

As an ex-Magic grinder I find this disappointing - I'm used to high level play at least once a month. Why even bother releasing cycles between now and the next competitive season? There's certainly no reason to test as the metagame will be completely different after that many datapacks. 

I've heard rumours that another Plugged In/Chronos Protocol Tour type of event will be occurring to tide us over the remainder of the year. Hopefully even two. Please tell me something like this is actually in the works. It's at least something to keep the competitive juices flowing (ideally I'd have wanted more Regional tournaments and have them spread throughout the year with a Nationals at the end).

Hopefully I'm singing to the choir here, but I'd love to hear what other people think. Am I misguided or do you agree with me?

PS. A while back the guys at stimhack.com produced an article on 4 man cube drafting with a Core Set and I assume this will work with the full Genesis Cycle. Try it for yourself with your LGS, again and again and tell me it's not the most fun you have had! I won't believe you! :D  
 



#2 Mr Plague

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Posted 25 May 2014 - 03:29 PM

http://stimhack.com/...with-netrunner/ - It's not letting me edit the above post for some reason. Here's the link to the aforementioned cube article on stimhack (if any of you stimhackers are reading this, thank you and I appreciate all your work).



#3 etherial

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 06:16 PM

Organised play - Well then, about those things that I adore. I love tournaments, I love preparing for tournaments, I love travelling to tournaments and I love tournament reports. I have well and truly fallen for the game. You can imagine my dismay when I learned that after the National tournaments are over, that's it until next year.

Depends on what you mean by "that's it". I run a tournament every month. My FLGS holds a tournament every week.



#4 Mr Plague

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:09 AM

We have regular casual tournaments too - but that's all they are, casual events with prize support. Nothing to really get my teeth into and prepare for. To have no such events (like regionals or tours) until early next year will likely mean I return to competitive Magic until next year - and you know what, I'd prefer to be playing Netrunner!



#5 etherial

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:58 AM

We have regular casual tournaments too - but that's all they are, casual events with prize support. Nothing to really get my teeth into and prepare for. To have no such events (like regionals or tours) until early next year will likely mean I return to competitive Magic until next year - and you know what, I'd prefer to be playing Netrunner!

So it's not fun unless it has a trophy?


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#6 Grimwalker

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 08:44 AM

I find this attitude where it has to be like MTG to be maddening.

To a first approximation, when someobody points to the way MTG does things, I'm liable to count that as something that I think is a bad way to operate. M:tG is a gargantuan mutant beast with a sales model and player base that is so different than anything else on the market that it's really difficult to draw applicable conclusions for other games.

 

"High level tournaments once a month?" Good god. The tournament calendar ramps up from Store Championships to Regionals to Nationals to Worlds in November, and then there's downtime until February, which is really the holiday season when most people will be having family gatherings and holiday shopping and it's a fine time to *not* be having major tournaments.

 

"Why even bother releasing cycles between now and the next competitive season?" I don't know, maybe they want to stay in business. Maybe the competetive scene isn't the be-all and end-all. Company metrics have indicated that only 10-25% of the playerbase is part of the tournament meta.


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#7 Mr Plague

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Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:09 PM

@Grimwalker - in my opinion that's part of why Magic is so successful; there is a thriving tournament schedule and it's the benchmark. Sure, MTG is an absolute Monolith, but why not aim high? The game is deep enough to contend. For a lot of players, the attraction to a game IS the tournament scene.

My other issue with the tournament schedule that I forgot to mention in the OP, is highlighted in your post. The Store Championships and especially the Regionals were all cramped together - some on the same day or weekend and not too far away from each other location-wise. Why not spread them out? Make them last. I'm not massively bothered about the frequency, I just don't like the fact that there's no major tournaments for half of the year. 

Our Nationals is this weekend for example, after that there is nothing. Worlds doesn't really count if you don't qualify (which most won't).

@etherial - I wasn't saying the casual events aren't fun, they are! Netrunner is a very social game. It's just not something I'm overly excited to be participating in. Add a little prestige to an event and I'm all over it, testing decks and matchups whenever I can. My point is my casual games of Netrunner get a little more purpose behind them when I know a big event is coming up, and for me personally, that makes the games more enjoyable.

At the end of the day, I'm part of this supposed 10-25% of the playerbase, and as a competitive player I'm dissatisfied. However, maybe I shouldn't be comparing every competitive card game to Magic, maybe that's a little unfair to ask of the game. I just can't help it I guess!



#8 etherial

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 08:15 AM

@etherial - I wasn't saying the casual events aren't fun, they are! Netrunner is a very social game. It's just not something I'm overly excited to be participating in. Add a little prestige to an event and I'm all over it, testing decks and matchups whenever I can. My point is my casual games of Netrunner get a little more purpose behind them when I know a big event is coming up, and for me personally, that makes the games more enjoyable.

At the end of the day, I'm part of this supposed 10-25% of the playerbase, and as a competitive player I'm dissatisfied. However, maybe I shouldn't be comparing every competitive card game to Magic, maybe that's a little unfair to ask of the game. I just can't help it I guess!

 

Netrunner has better casual support than any of the other *CGs I've played. Only VTES had better orgplay, and that has more to do with the fact that it was a dead game for 4 years and the player base was completely in charge. FFG is building the tournament scene as fast as they can, but they're the ones with their hand on the throttle, and I don't really blame them for keeping it in fourth gear.



#9 Grimwalker

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Posted 28 May 2014 - 09:14 AM

@Grimwalker - in my opinion that's part of why Magic is so successful; there is a thriving tournament schedule and it's the benchmark. Sure, MTG is an absolute Monolith, but why not aim high? The game is deep enough to contend. For a lot of players, the attraction to a game IS the tournament scene.

 

 

Except for the part that for a lot of players that's NOT the attraction to the game, and it's a fine decision not to build the game around a minority of the player base. I remember years back when I played WoW that they said "the game is not balanced around PVP," and the principle is the same: the game is not driven wholly by high end competition.
 

 

My other issue with the tournament schedule that I forgot to mention in the OP, is highlighted in your post. The Store Championships and especially the Regionals were all cramped together - some on the same day or weekend and not too far away from each other location-wise. Why not spread them out? Make them last. I'm not massively bothered about the frequency, I just don't like the fact that there's no major tournaments for half of the year.

Our Nationals is this weekend for example, after that there is nothing. Worlds doesn't really count if you don't qualify (which most won't).

 

Ah, well, evidently you're in Europe, and for whatever reason Europe's Organized Play is all jacked up. I don't know why.

In the US, February and March were Store Championships. Regionals run from April through July, so there's no cramping there. US National Championship is in August. Worlds is in November, and contrary to your impression, any player can show up and compete at any tournament, so qualification is not an issue. I'm going to Worlds and I finished in the bottom 50% of my regional. I will grant you that the way they chose to draw the US Regional Map and only allowed two tournaments per Region was a bit spartan as I could only make one of them and would have liked to have gone to more.

 

But, in the meantime, they're putting out Game Night Kits and anybody is welcome to run a tournament around one of those, or to market their own semi-prestige event if the demand warrants it.

 

Game of Thrones players put on the Moon Boy Classic and Valar Midwestis, and in ANR we had the first annual ChiLo City Grudge Match earlier this year.

 

 

At the end of the day, I'm part of this supposed 10-25% of the playerbase, and as a competitive player I'm dissatisfied. However, maybe I shouldn't be comparing every competitive card game to Magic, maybe that's a little unfair to ask of the game. I just can't help it I guess!

 

Sorry. I can understand where you're coming from because the European tournament scene I've heard has been a giant sack of headaches, but I don't think that's the issue with the game at large.



#10 booored

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Posted 29 May 2014 - 11:27 PM

Complely agree about the draft thing. The draft dosn't suit the LCG model. What makes it work in TCGs is that they are "real" cards you are getting in your packs. What we are getting is a fee for cards we already own and a entrence fee for playing in a orginised comp (if you are doing that). So we play twice, and get zip.

 

What they should have done is developed a Cube Draft system that used existing player cards that are released as part of the normal release. Then release that cube for free as a downloadable PDF. Players could get the fun of drafting and not feel ripped off and stores could have their own pool to run the cube for events. To save energy you could update teh draft cube only at the end of each cycle.


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#11 CommissarFeesh

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 06:33 AM

Going to say it again, even though I feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall.

If you feel like draft isn't worth it, because the cards don't have any ongoing value, then YOU ARE NOT THE INTENDED MARKET.

I want to play draft simply because it's an alternative format with different challenges. I won't be doing it often, because yes, that price tag is more disposable cash than I have to regularly sling around, but I'm still going to enjoy the experience.
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#12 etherial

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 07:36 AM

Complely agree about the draft thing. The draft dosn't suit the LCG model.

Which is why they initially didn't release one. But there was a large section of the fanbase clamoring for one, and FFG decided to give it a go anyway. And while some people think Overdrive is an indication that Cyber War was a failure, its existence is proof enough that FFG thinks there's enough fans who will draft to make continued support worth it.


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#13 Grimwalker

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Posted 30 May 2014 - 09:31 AM

the card pool for Cyber War was pretty limiting. I could see it getting stale fast.



#14 booored

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Posted 31 May 2014 - 09:51 PM

Going to say it again, even though I feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall.

 

 But there was a large section of the fanbase clamoring for one, and FFG decided to give it a go anyway.

 

 

My point was that they could have very easily integrated a draft format using a CUBE draft system. Which would use existing cards form the pool already released in the normal format. All they would need to do is release a free pdf, or add it to the game knight kits with instructions on how to build a cube with the current legal pool. Then everyone has the draft format we all want and it is not a money drain or fills us with tons of useless unusable cards.


Edited by booored, 31 May 2014 - 09:52 PM.

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#15 etherial

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 04:01 AM

 

Going to say it again, even though I feel like I'm hitting my head against a wall.

 

 But there was a large section of the fanbase clamoring for one, and FFG decided to give it a go anyway.

 

 

My point was that they could have very easily integrated a draft format using a CUBE draft system. Which would use existing cards form the pool already released in the normal format. All they would need to do is release a free pdf, or add it to the game knight kits with instructions on how to build a cube with the current legal pool. Then everyone has the draft format we all want and it is not a money drain or fills us with tons of useless unusable cards.

 

Players have been designing their own cubes since the day the game came out. Please send these "useless unusable cards" to:

 

Gregory Stuart Pettigrew

61 Village Court

Berlin, MA 01503

 

and I will take good care of them.


Edited by etherial, 01 June 2014 - 04:01 AM.

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#16 booored

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:04 AM

Of course we are all making our own cubes,, but I mean as a official variant for events and ranking. Not a bunch of mates making a private cube. The entire draft format is a total fail and they had so much better options that would have provided the exact same game play experiences for players but with out any of the problems people are complaining about.


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#17 CommissarFeesh

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:16 AM

Except that cube-draft is NOT the same experience. Yes, you end up with a weird deck, but drafting from a cube and drafting from sealed packs is different; hence the two formats existing in the first place.

#18 booored

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 05:30 AM

how is it not the same.. it is exactly the same. You open packs, you pick a card and you pass the pack on. You have a set pool the packs are built form so a understanding of the pool leads to better pack picks. What exactly is different:?
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#19 CommissarFeesh

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 10:39 AM

My apologies; my understanding of Cube drafting was incorrect. I have now looked into it and found out where I went wrong.

However, there is still a difference in the contents of the cube 'packs'. Unless you are somehow weighting the card distribution like FFG does, you're not going to end up with a good distribution of cards; you're going to end up with some kind of bizarre card soup. Some of those decks might end up being barely playable.

Edited by CommissarFeesh, 04 June 2014 - 10:40 AM.


#20 TragicTheBlathering

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 05:16 PM

Cubes are weighted. There is a ratio the cube designer makes for common, uncommon, rare and mythic (it is a format derived from magic) but works well in LCGs, I use it for CoC for example. You split the cube into separate shuffled piles and the draw from them accordingly to make each individual pack. So just like a normal draft pack you a interesting distribution of cards that have different face values. 






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