Good point. However the article did not say that MTG is cheaper than LCG.
The main concern in the article is to debate on the future of LCG in the long run. Yes, for anybody to jump into any LCG, it is slightly simple and cheaper than MTG as one need only to get a core set and selected chapter packs. On the surface it looks like an easy entry to the competitive LCG scene. But FFG made its vey subtle that to fully exploit then true potential of each house (faction in Android:Netrunner) capabilities, one needs to invest in ALL of the chapter packs (Data packs).
My arguement stands that in the end it will be very costly to a newbie to dive into Netrunner or LCG in general. Here in Malaysia already we are seeing the signs that Warhammer Invasion has stopped getting new players in (or maybe slowed down) as it is hard for newbies to keep up with player who started playing Warhammer Invasion when it started. This in return makes Warhammer Invasion a non growing game. Only a handful of people play the game. Those who were into it from the start. I myself felt put off knowing that i have missed more than 4 chapter packs.
Imagine if i would want to start AGoT? How many chapter packs have i missed? I may not know much about AGoT but i am sure i have missed quite a lot and it would be an uphill task for me to buy the chapter packs, learn the game breaking combos and cards that encompasses from the entire AGoT production. For Netrunner, the game is less than 8 months old and already have 3 Data Packs. Already it is costly for a newbie to start. This worries me as the more data packs being released, the lesser the people will pick this game up. They will feel that they are too late.
I am spearheading the Android Netrunner community in Malaysia and have organized 3 tournaments so far. The average attendance is between 8-10 perople only. This worries me a lot as Android Netrunner Malaysia Facebook Group has more than 56 members. Only 10 out of 56 that came for the tourney? That's very low. There might be few key observations on what causes the small number of tournament turn ups:
1. Prize not so stunning / appealing. Game Nightkits? Seriously?
2. Tournament format stability- The first tournament was a coreset party which only involves coreset. The second was coreset + Datapack 1 and the 3rd was coreset+datapack1 + Datapack 2. You can do the math on what will be included in my upcoming tourney..
3. Gameshops not growing this game aggressively. Locally, only 1 game shop that fully support this game with weekly demo plays and casual meetups.
4. Star Wars LCG stole the thunder from Netrunner. Few people in the group dropped this game upon the release of SW LCG. (Hear that FFG?)
Based on the 4 factors above, as the community leader, i am worried about the future of this game. It will be too many data packs to pick up and the tourney prizes are not too appealing. As it is, Malaysian community has already missed out on the Regional registration as Shops were not to keen to register for it mainly due to low number of players in this game. It's catch 22. Players need to play more of this game for visibility in the game shop to make this game popular and more newbies to start pick this game up:
1. Tournament prizes need to be more than Game night kits. Personally, since you played AGoT, do you really enjoy your Game Night kits? Or would you wish that the prizes can be more appealing i.e cash prizes and such?
2. Point ranking system.I am not sure how players in other parts of the world, but coming from an asian country, we are very competitive and ranking matters. Hence we always feel that we need to know who are the best so that we can learn and play better and be the best too. MTG have DCI to manage the global point system and sanctioning tournaments. FFG needs it too.
3. Tournament format should be fixed similarly like MTG ( Modern/ Vintage / standard, etc). For example, Netrunner standard should include Coreset + datapack 1-3 and Netrunner Modern should be Coreset + the complete data pack cycle (Datapack 1-6). This way, new players will know that if they want to be competitive then they have to invest in Standard format. Following up from this, FFg should provide a form of calendar for the tournamant format so that the game will not be stale. This way, who ever pick up this game during standard will finally try to complete their data pack collection upon Modern season as they need to have a complete datapack series. Slowly but surely player felt that they are not too far behind to keep up having to focus on Standard before. In the end, FFG still wins and players gets to complete their data pack series.
4. Distribution of Datapacks is uneven. Whenever MTG releases its expansions, it is always globally synchronized. Currently, Datapack 3 is already out in the US and we in Malaysia still drooling over without any solid news when will it reaches our shores.
I apologize if i seem to be pro-MTG but i could not helped it as MTG was a big part of my life before. But due to rare chasing which costs money, i quit 6 years ago. Android Netrunner seems to fill in that void but i foresee it maybe a dead investment if FFG keeps treating its LCG this way. Also MTG is THE most successful card game ever and we should,learn from them. Immitation is a form of flattery i'd say. Learn from the best to be the best!
I do hope this ramblings of mine gets noticed from FFG and we can see this game shaping up and keep growing.