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FatherTurin

What Do People Mean By “Pay To Win?”

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Armada is not "pay to win".  At least not yet.

Pay to win equates to buying that gives a player a distinct advantage, but few players purchase it.  The only way that really figures into a miniatures game is through power creep, rare upgrades, or limited edition stuff. 

Power creep isn't a problem in Armada, at least not yet.  In some games, later waves make them selves worth buying by making them straight up more powerful.  People that can continually invest large amounts of money in the new waves stay the most competitive through those expenditures.  Wave 1, 2, and 3 ships in Armada still make up the backbone of many fleets.  Every ship is still competitive.  No one really gets an advantage over another player by purchasing 6 copies of the Chimera. 

Sure, there are some more desirable upgrades hidden in expansions that may be less desirable to you, but there are lots of alternative and cheaper ways to get what you need.  X-wing really dabbled in this with the huge ships, and it honestly wasn't good for the game, and they've remedied it to a large degree with the conversion kits in 2.0.  I can't speak to whether or not the SSD is having the same effect here.  I do honestly believe they should sell upgrade packs of cards however.  Some upgrades exist only on one or two ships, and some of those are the most expensive ships.  Yes, there are re-sellers that part stuff out, and prize support has helped supplement some of the gaps, but upgrade packs would still be popular, and help dispel the concept of pay to win.

FFG doesn't do limited editions or unique prize support, so this isn't a factor.

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18 hours ago, CMDR Kastor said:

I own a Pelta, i do not have a chimera or ssd. I am now in a situation where i have to buy one of the two most expensive imperial expansions to make my mid price rebel expansion broadly competitive.

Not sure if thats pay to win, but it sure tastes the same.

If by 'pay to win' you meant 'must buy product to play the game', then yeah, I guess it's pay to win.  Armada is not pay to win in the standard sense of that term.

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When someone has enough experience with games that are pay-to-win, it is easy to import the concept to Armada, which isn’t really play to win.

 

i can get it feeling that way when you just start playing the game but only have enough cash to get started with a few expansions.  Once you are in, the cost per year is extremely reasonable.

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18 hours ago, player3691565 said:

It’s when you buy 7 cr90s  packs and 7 mc30 packs so you can run a CR90 tubolaser rerout Msu list.....

Topic was pay to win, not pay to get slaughtered by almost everything. There definitely skew fleets like this that are expensive to set on a table, but they are usually not that good or effective, so far from pay to win.

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30 minutes ago, BrobaFett said:

Topic was pay to win, not pay to get slaughtered by almost everything. There definitely skew fleets like this that are expensive to set on a table, but they are usually not that good or effective, so far from pay to win.

Yeah, but 6 TRC90s with an intensity firepower Pelta is interesting as an answer to an SSD.  Kind of like a vulture swarm in X-Wing.  Can you do enough damage before enough ships are toast?

The answer is probably no, but it would be interesting to watch.  

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3 hours ago, BrobaFett said:

Topic was pay to win, not pay to get slaughtered by almost everything. There definitely skew fleets like this that are expensive to set on a table, but they are usually not that good or effective, so far from pay to win.

At one point those msu fleets were beastly pay to wins.....just cus your very expensive fleet is no longer cutting edge does not mean it was not once a pay to win affair..... raider spam had its day in the sun as well

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, JauntyChapeau said:

If by 'pay to win' you meant 'must buy product to play the game', then yeah, I guess it's pay to win.  Armada is not pay to win in the standard sense of that term.

Did...did you even read what I said. I have already brought the product that allows me to play the game. But for that product to be powerful* many people have recommended to me that I must buy a second far more expensive product.

Regardless of if that is pay to win or not, it feels similar to pay to win. It's a negative feeling where the toys that I have are worse because I can't throw money at them.

*I realize the other commands are viable in purpose built lists, it's more that concentrate firepower is reliably useful in almost all lists.

Edited by CMDR Kastor

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8 hours ago, kmanweiss said:

Pay to win equates to buying that gives a player a distinct advantage, but few players purchase it.  The only way that really figures into a miniatures game is through power creep, rare upgrades, or limited edition stuff.

The bolded text is not part of my definition, but okay. The 2nd part cracks me up though because with FFGs print rates every expansion is limited edition. :P

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22 hours ago, player3691565 said:

At one point those msu fleets were beastly pay to wins.....just cus your very expensive fleet is no longer cutting edge does not mean it was not once a pay to win affair..... raider spam had its day in the sun as well

You memory might be shaky I think. 

Cr90 spam was always tough. And it still is in the right hands. Especially when you add in dumb stuff like truthiness used to play with madine and engine techs. It was also unbelievably fragile, lacked sticky damage (meaning if you stuck in the fight you would slowly lose ships and therefore damage potential. You had to rely on hit and runs and couldnt reengagel, and unlike the real "winning" msu lists of yesteryear (that weren't pay to win) it lacked the big punch of demo or admo to go last first and salt away a kill before the attrition damage started eating into your mov. 

It could be tough to table it, but similarly it always got narrow wins because it sacrificed too many ships to get a kill.

When cr90 spam was in vogue I was playing motti bombers, and those msu players always groaned when they saw me accriss the table cause they knew they were beat out the gate. They were hoping for ackbar assault frigates or or another msu they could kite cause those were about the only games they could make a good show in. 

All that to say, Armada has never in it's history been pay to win. It wasnt ever even really brought up until the SSD, so manufacturing some fantastic pay to win past is revisionist history. 

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54 minutes ago, BrobaFett said:

You memory might be shaky I think. 

Cr90 spam was always tough. And it still is in the right hands. Especially when you add in dumb stuff like truthiness used to play with madine and engine techs. It was also unbelievably fragile, lacked sticky damage (meaning if you stuck in the fight you would slowly lose ships and therefore damage potential. You had to rely on hit and runs and couldnt reengagel, and unlike the real "winning" msu lists of yesteryear (that weren't pay to win) it lacked the big punch of demo or admo to go last first and salt away a kill before the attrition damage started eating into your mov. 

It could be tough to table it, but similarly it always got narrow wins because it sacrificed too many ships to get a kill.

When cr90 spam was in vogue I was playing motti bombers, and those msu players always groaned when they saw me accriss the table cause they knew they were beat out the gate. They were hoping for ackbar assault frigates or or another msu they could kite cause those were about the only games they could make a good show in. 

All that to say, Armada has never in it's history been pay to win. It wasnt ever even really brought up until the SSD, so manufacturing some fantastic pay to win past is revisionist history. 

Well I’ve not met a long term serious armada player who has not spent money on extra unwanted ships such as Nebs, mc30s etc for the cards we needed for our preferred list to optimise it to give it the best chance of winning.....

Just because the game is well balanced does not mean serious committed ( who have the money)  players don’t ensure they have fully optimised lists do not pay extra money and so have better lists than a casual player ( or guy who has little money) who just gets the ships they want/can afford and manage with the cards that come with the ship......

There is no way a player who started early and just purchased wave one/two and left it at that could produce a list that can compete on level terms with a player who’s kept up to date with every wave and optimised his list with every card he wants from whatever set. That’s the definition of to pay to win in my book.

I had great success with many lists, but as the meta changed the lists became less competitive and I had to purchase new ships and redesign...that is Im afraid pay to win. 

And I beg to differ on MSU lists,  many types were very potent including all mc30, all glad, glad and raider etc all were very competitive at on point........I did plenty well with assault frigate lists early waves...until they stopped working well, then 6 activation fully optimised msu lists for a long time, but it just got harder and harder now it’s the old rad bomb.....I just keep adapting and paying to make sure I have a chance at winning.

 

 

 

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Just now, player3691565 said:

that is Im afraid pay to win. 

Kind of.

 

Its one definition of it.

 

But like "Cheese", "Unfair", "NPE", "Broken" and other such terms...  They're nebulously undefined.   

They really do need a solid baseline definition before an actual comparison can be made.

 

And even then, it changes.  I mean, Who would have thought that Heavy TurboLaser Turrets and Overload Pulse, widely considered poor cards since Wave 2, would be a potentially viable solution to dealing with Super Star Destroyers with DCOs stapled on?

 

A Wave 2 Limit has some absolute staples after all.  :)

 

For me, "Pay to Win" has a darker definition.  In the fact that all you have to do is Pay, in order to win.  In that instance, Armada has not been - because something that's always been a rallying cry for Armada's apparent balance is that you would almost always do better with what you are familiar and practiced with, rather than the "New Hotness"...  You can pay to equip all you like, but if you're like me, and can't roll dice for heck after all, you're still going to lose...  Pay to Win, again, to me, is that insidious level of boost where all you need to do is cough up the money and suddenly you start winning...  There's no dice factor, there's no tension, there's no chance of losing now.

 

Armada, I feel, has never had that.

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2 minutes ago, player3691565 said:

Maybe a better term is pay to be competitive. 

Even then, what is "Competitive" ?  :)
 

Absolutely, a good player can be competitive with Luck, maneuver and a very limited sub-set of abilities...  Back in Wave Thor, I ran a tournament with a custom handicap system that capped you to waves based on my version of a seeded ranking in previous battles and tournaments...  A Wave 1 Triple Tap Demolisher List won out.  So, hey :)  That's my anecdotal and thusly completely irrelevent evidence today :D

 

 

 

Armada is distinctly Pay to Play by virtue of the Tournament Regulations requiring you to have the actual printed cards and official models and equipment, limiting 3rd party product to a small sub-set of pieces.   IE, there are no proxies allowed in tournament settings and such like that.

Now, I admit, to some, that's not exactly a good thing itself, as they want to be free to do what they want with that sort of thing...  But as far as frameworks go, its not a bad one as I see it.  Additionally, because the tournament prizes we have are identical in rules to original product and just as official, we're in a good spot there - its not like variant prizes given out are actually better in some way than the core (that's a whole other level of Attack Wing nonsense to avoid).

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, player3691565 said:

Maybe a better term is pay to be competitive. 

Armada is definitely “Pay to build exactly the fleet that I want, because it’s the latest hotness” (I didn’t see many people talking about how strong IF was until schmitty won GenCon with it).

 

however, that does not equal pay to WIN.  How you play your list is much, much more important than the list itself.  Just look at schmitty’s list - it was extremely upgrade light.  The man won by skill, practice, and innovation, not by bringing 5 copies of difficult to get, or new, items.  He used a wave 1 admiral for crying out loud!

Edited by Maturin

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As a counterpoint to all this nonesense. I've never won anything without borrowing stuff from @Dr alex

The game isnt really pay to win, its have friends to win. There is no single card you need so its easy to bring something entirely different to your mates. If everyone needed the same things that would be different. Its not.

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On 8/22/2019 at 11:54 PM, Hedgehogmech said:

Besides, I know no Armada players who wouldn't lend stuff to another player!
 

Maybe because we didn't meet yet? I borrowed and lent upgrade cards for tournaments. We changed cards in our local group before we went to Store Championships.

And I even won a Store Championship with borrowed cards only. I forgot them at home (because I made a last minute change and forgot to put them back). All gamers were nice and helpful giving me cards that I could play.

After I won the day with their stuff their have been lots of funny comments about that ...

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1 hour ago, Triangular said:

Maybe because we didn't meet yet? I borrowed and lent upgrade cards for tournaments. We changed cards in our local group before we went to Store Championships.

And I even won a Store Championship with borrowed cards only. I forgot them at home (because I made a last minute change and forgot to put them back). All gamers were nice and helpful giving me cards that I could play.

After I won the day with their stuff their have been lots of funny comments about that ...

😂

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I guess it’s coming to light (for me at least) that there are a ton of different definitions of “pay to win.”  Outside of the video game context (where the concept was, if not born, at least puplarized), I just don’t see a true pay to win aspect in non-collectible games.  Except, of course, wizkids.

Wizkids, in case you didn’t know or weren’t aware, makes heroclix and also made “attack wing” games, licensing the flight path system to make games based on Star Trek and D&D.

Heroclix is a collectible game, so almost by definition pay to win.  Someone who can afford to buy a brick of boosters (12 booster packs) will almost always trounce someone who can buy only 1 or 2 (barring some amazing luck).  Heroclix also has extra assets that are scattered throughout boosters that someone buying a brick or case will get most of.  Then there are organized play prizes, which take the form of ridiculously powerful game pieces, not alt arts or acrylic tokens like FFG did.  These pieces are often available on the secondary market, and many of them dominate tournaments.  Hence, pay to win.

The non-collectible games did not escape this approach.  You buy what you want and you know what you are getting.  However, D&D had utterly absurd organized play bonuses like a white dragon that was insanely powerful and inexpensive, and until later waves had some responses to it, was utterly dominating.  Star Trek had this, but even more damning literally gave out better dice in organized play packs.  D12s with better results, dice with less blanks, etc.  THAT is pay to win in the miniatures game context.

Instead, FFG offers organized play prizes that are fun status symbols, to say nothing of the fact that alt art versions of upgrades that are difficult to come by are the exact opposite of pay to win.  If you really need TRC, you can find it for 7-10 dollars on the secondary market, rather than bundled in a $30 ship.  Intensify Firepower is around $10 from a quick search.  Again, I dispute the assertion that these cards are necessary to play a ship effectively, but if you remain convinced, those cards are available, and FFG has done their part in making them available.  Plus, with card packs being announced for Legion and X-Wing, it’s only a matter of time (say, the release of Clone Wars Armada) until they do the same for Armada.

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m certainly glad FFG didn’t release “upgraded” dice with no blank faces for $300, because that would be pay to win.

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I am fairly sure that a company who wanted to run a pay to win scheme would keep at least some stock to sell to players.

 

I do resent having to buy a whole ship to get a card or having to chase it down through a second hand market.  Why ffg can't sell all cards for £1 each is quite beyond me.

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"Pay to Win" has certainly been a critique of various Armada builds that were pushed to the extremes of maxing out various elements and requiring lots of duplicate purchases:

For instance, I believe it was the 2015 or 2016 US Nationals that were won by someone running eight generic YT-2400s, which would require buying eight Rogue & Villain packs.  An earlier Worlds was won by someone running maxed A-Wing squadrons (which is, what, 12 squadrons of A-Wings or six Rebel Fighter 1 packs?).  Before Turbolaster Reroute Circuits were a fairly ubiquitous promo alt-art card, there were people (we had one in our small local meta even) who ran seven CR90s with TRCs, which required having access to seven CR90s and seven MC30 expansions, and this list enjoyed a not insignificant amount of competitive success.

These are the most "extreme" examples I can come up with from memory, but the "Dollar Value" of various Armada builds can vary greatly, and sometimes lists which spam a lot of the same item in duplicates gives the perception of buying a lot of duplicate items just to run one particular list (duplicate items that won't even all be used again in a future list outside of the one currently be played).


Does Armada have elements of "pay to win?"   I suppose so, as with any customizable game the players who have the most stuff in their collection to build from will probably have some advantages over players with less stuff (I mean, they certainly will never have a disadvantage...).  So new players may feel like they haven't "paid enough" to be able to fairly compete, and this is true of any growing game (imagine if most of the best competitive lists use a mixture of objectives from CC and RitR... now new players just running Core Set objectives will be disadvantaged as Second Player vs players who have three times the objectives to choose form when list-building, while a new player may not want to just shell out a bunch of additional money for objective cards, some new squadron cards, and a bunch of campaign stuff they won't use when they'd instead rather be adding ships or squardon packs to their options with that money.

Is it as bad as it is in some collectible games?  No, but it does exist.

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7 hours ago, flatpackhamster said:

I do resent having to buy a whole ship to get a card or having to chase it down through a second hand market.  Why ffg can't sell all cards for £1 each is quite beyond me.



Because cards sell ships packs.

Remember, there was a time when a non-negligible group of players were buying, four, five, even six MC30s to be able to run TRC90 spam lists. 

Think of how many fewer SSDs would be sold if Imperial Players could instead spend $10 and get all the new commanders and officers available in the SSD pack...

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1 hour ago, AllWingsStandyingBy said:



Because cards sell ships packs.

Remember, there was a time when a non-negligible group of players were buying, four, five, even six MC30s to be able to run TRC90 spam lists. 

Think of how many fewer SSDs would be sold if Imperial Players could instead spend $10 and get all the new commanders and officers available in the SSD pack...

Does any miniatures game people have heard of actually sell individual cards for a buck?  Does any deckbuilding game, for that matter?

 

That’s not a thing.  And the fact that you can make a competitive list by spending a lot of money is simply not what pay to win means.  It would be pay to win if you couldn’t make a competitive fleet of the same caliber more cheaply.  Which you could then, and still can now.

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7 minutes ago, The Jabbawookie said:

Does any miniatures game people have heard of actually sell individual cards for a buck?  Does any deckbuilding game, for that matter?


As a matter of fact, FFG just revealved the first "card-only" packs for X-Wing, some of which will be packs that include a slew of the more recent upgrade cards so players of the classic factions can get those cards without buying the newer faction's ships.  Not sure exactly how many cards come in each pack, but it looks to be like a lot more than 1 Card per Dollar spent. 

That said, 2.0 X-Wing is a new, strange beast and FFG needs to keep finding ways to breathe life into it and keep it going, as it's (anecdotally) taken a big drop in player activity since 1.0.

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