Yes, with LCGs, it is helpful to get in on the ground floor. Unlike games with rotations (e.g., Magic), the cards are forever a part of the card pool (unless there are restrictions/bans, but that hasn't happened to too many AGoT cards yet, and no SW cards -- and, when it does, it doesn't mean that you don't want the packs that those cards were a part of, so it really isn't an issue with respect to buy-in).
So, with something like MTG Type 2 competitive play, the buy-in at any given time is roughly equivalent; you need a few booster boxes of whatever the current core is, and also some of the expansions that are currently legal in the format.
But, with LCGs, the buy-in continues to grow the longer that the game has been around.
Upkeep is another issue entirely. I am talking specifically about buy-in here.
I have been playing AGoT since the LCG, as well as SW. Netrunner looks amazing and excellent. But, since I didn't get into it around launch, I simply never will. Everyone is different. That is just me. I think that LCGs are the most fun when you are with them from birth.
It is also worthwhile to note that to buy into an older LCG is still more cost-effective in the long term than trying to keep up with a CCG like MTG. Booster boxes, last I checked, were 80-90 USD, and you would need a few for the current core set, and a few of each legal block...you would be spending hundreds and hundreds to have a nice solid card pool to play from. You can get into even the oldest LCGs for less.
Edited by divinityofnumber, 27 August 2013 - 01:35 PM.