First off. I really enjoy Netrunner. I just recently picked it up, and just learning and working with all the cards and the system is great. I wouldn't have registered and posted here otherwise. As a caveat to all of this, this is my first LCG by FFG, so if this is all old hat, well….
Here is an old hat again.
When I was at GenCon and asked about the game "oh, you don't buy packs. when you buy a set, you have all the cards." I thought, how sweet is that. It's not really the cost, but the hunting, haggling, and debating of where/when/why/how much of getting the cards I needed was a headache that distracted from my enjoyment of card games. I don't watch antique roadshow. I don't flip houses for a living. I just want to play the games and design the decks. Taking all that nonsense that was unfortunately necessary due to the economics of a pack centric card game systems had an entirely different allure.
In truth, that was probably primary reason for picking up the game. (Of course, it' specifics led me to Netrunner, but if it was just packs or something else, I doubt anything about the system or world would make the sale.)
I open the box and what do I see? OOoo cards! I thumb through them reading them. Figuring out different synergies and deciphering the secrets of the game systems.
And then I go… Wait.. I only have 1 of this card… Isn't it 3 cards max for a deck… and i just have 2 of this card… and… wait… what?
I'm genuinely concerned that I lost some of the cards. How could I be so careless? I just opened the box moments ago? Yet, Moments later, I get a sneaking suspicion, check the instruction manual and… okay. 28 corporation cards each… ummm… everything seems right… i look up the information on the corporation cards, i look at the symbol list, until i see the blurb about starter decks and the symbol indicating how many of each card I should have….
I am confused.
So I started this post, half way in it I thought, "well maybe I deceived myself. maybe, this was more my assumption than anything else." so, i check the back of the box. Doesn't say anything about this. I look at the website.
"A Core Set provides everything you need for a complete and self-contained game experience, but if you choose to go beyond the Core Set, monthly expansion packs provide fresh content at an easily affordable price. These monthly releases offer enough new content to keep the game immersive and strategic, while remaining accessible and digestible to casual players."
Ahh… well I guess, it's technically complete. It's complete in the same way a starter deck in Magic is complete, though more so in a certain context. (Though the way the word "complete" is rendered meaningless by the phrase "more complete" sums up my point).
"LCGs® have no rare or promo cards that need to be chased. This ensures that games are determined by a player’s deck building skills and play strategies, rather than who spent the most money in pursuit of hard-to-find ultra rare cards. The fixed format means that every player has equal access to every card needed to build his or her deck."
Ahhh… well, I guess there are no rare cards. I mean, since you don't define a card as rare in the classic Magic the Gathering way, you didn't say anything technically untrue. Of course, if I have one of one card and three of another card, there is certainly an element of being rare in a Websters Dictionary sort of way. And due to this, I'm pretty sure that spending more money to get 3 of a card that you only got one of, could and would be a common element to winning games. It's a stable set of money, sure, but to say that a person with one core set "ensure that money is not an issue" is something that isn't really true…. oh wait, right. you defined rare to mean you have no rares and you limited the context of money only to rares. alrightie.
Again, if this is all "business as usual", well frankly, I'm new to the business.
But, to be blunt, if the expansions are structured in a similar way, I'll probably just take the hit on buying the core set and walk away. The nature of rares in pack-centric card games is part of the nature of the beast. You buy a pack, and you might strike rich. You might hit mud. But that is part of what it is. And, yes, it can game you, but you can game it right back. And while that's not my thing, at least it never tried to imply that it was anything other than what it was.
So this is a long way of saying "Netrunner, you disappointed me."
Now, I'm sure some people will defend it by saying "if you compare how much going into other card games are, even buying three sets is really not all that expensive".
And I honestly, wholeheartedly agree. But on the other hand, would you pay 120 dollars for a set that contained 3x of each of the cards? The funny thing is that I would probably be willing to pay more than most for such a set. And ultimately, I may still in fact do that if it turns out the expansions are complete in, ahem, my definition of complete.
So that's my… confession? criticism? confusion? not really sure.
Is there a rationale to this that doesn't devolve to simply "the business model that was chosen"?
Am I the only one who thought it was going to be different?
Are the expansions going to follow the same distribution formula?
Are the other Core sets going to follow this distribution formula?
Do the other living card games follow this distribution formula?
And don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to make any sort of moral claim or judgment here. But simply, the business model of "a truely complete core set with complete expansions" was something that I wanted to buy into. If that's not what this is, then, that's all well and good. I wish you all the best as it's a good system and set. But it's just simply less than what I was looking for.