My wife and I have been playing Netrunner since we purchased it at GenCon last year. Since then, we've roped many of our friends into the game and now there's a small but active group that's been playing almost since the beginning here in Maryland. We've bought every expansion, in my case right when they come out, and have built many, many decks and tried many strategies.
When Honor and Profit was announced, we all scrutinized the cards and considered them. This led to a discussion wherein we compared our thoughts and mentioned some of our favorites thus far, but in each case, we admitted that, while some of the new cards looked interesting, few if any of them was going to replace what we consider to be some of our mainstay deck builds and strategies.
This has been the case all throughout the Spin Cycle, as well. With a few rare exceptions (Jackson Howard comes to mind), not many cards have been released that kicked out an existing card in a deck build. The runner decks, for example, all tend to use the same core set of icebreakers (generally Mimic, Yog, Gordian Blade, Corroder, maybe also a Femme and/or Ninja) supplemented by Datasuckers, the economy cards rarely deviate much from Sure Gambles & Kati Jones as the backbone. When people play criminals, they play Andromeda . When they play Anarchs, it's Noise, Kate for Shapers, and HB, Weyland and NBN are almost always using Engineering the Future, Building a Better World and Making News, respectively. We experiment sometimes with other builds and concepts, but when someone wants to win, we all know what kinds of deck archetypes that person is going to play and what cards we're going to see in it.
Now maybe we're just a boring, conservative group of Netrunner players, but reading the recent Plugged-In Tour reports would seem to suggest that we are not alone in how we view the game. My reaction was to say "Hey, look, everyone else is playing the same stuff we are." I wasn't surprised, but it was telling.
The upshot of all this, and the general feeling of the players in my local group, is that Netrunner would benefit from a Magic the Gathering-style card retirement concept, in which older sets are rotated out of competitive play in favor of occasional Core Set reprints that might exclude cards that seem like auto-adds because they're so good. I realize that will cause some pain for those with limited resources, but I would deem it worthwhile for the overall health and perpetuation of the game.
Another option would be to limit or ban cards outright, although I think in the latter case that's a bit extreme. This strategy has served FFG well in past LCGs, but as of this writing, we have yet to see a limited card list for Netrunner.
I'm sure this has been discussed previously, and I was hoping to gauge the wider community's thoughts on the future of the game and whether FFG should take any steps to address the strong trends that suggest certain cards are perhaps too good for their cost. Or, do folks generally feel like the game is in great shape, and the way forward is to simply continue offering cards that add more diversity and new options, without removing or limiting any existing cards?
I'm in a bit of a bubble in that I interact and discuss the game with a small group locally, but I rarely go to Netrunner forums and see what the online opinions and discussions look like. I'm genuinely curious to hear what you guys have to say.
Thanks for taking the time to read my rambling. Now it's your turn. What do you think the future of Netrunner should be?