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Ebak

The Paradox Of FFG

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Hello guys,

So there's been some discussion lately around card packs and upgrades appearing in expansions forcing people to buy out of faction and the merit of wave card packs to avoid such situation.

The post was created by @Cloaker and I didn't want to co-opt his topic for a discussion on perhaps a wider issue so go check it out here if interested.

There's been a lot of discussion since the cancellation of a few releases in Wave 6 of reprinted material and this seemingly refocused and change of direction in the way Fantasy Flight approach selling the game to new and old players alike. We've seen that there are leaked plans for squadron packs and their name imply certain things that we can only speculate on but this combined with FFG announcing 'aces style' packs for reprints going forward it seems FFG might be going back on certain assumptions that were made when second edition was released.

I know there's a lot of people who like to say that FFG promised you wouldn't have to buy out of faction and that you wouldn't have to buy reprints and they would not include new material in the reprints. I could not find any citations for these comments but that doesn't also mean they weren't said it could be that I just couldn't find them so if you have references for them, please let me know and I will edit this post accordingly to cite those sources.

My own speculation appears to be this. The reprints haven't sold as well as FFG have wanted them to and after a very successful first few waves with brand new factions being released there was possibly as cataclysmic drop-off in terms of profit as waves became majority reprints with only one or two new ships. Certainly enough for me to recall speculation around some kind of investors call that lead to the cancellation of reprinted stuff and this reassessment of how they release reprinted ships.

How do people feel about purchasing expansions where they own some, but not all of the content. For the sake of argument, say FFG was to release an aces pack that contained a YT-2400 and a Z-95 and it contained the items from the conversion kit; Dash, Leebo, Blount and Cracken, but it also included the Iron Squadron members from Rebels as pilots for the 2400 and some random new named codename pilots for the Z-95? You already own part of that content, and surely they'd have the models in a different paint job, maybe even an entirely new sculpt for the 2400 based on its Rebels appearance. Would people feel cheated and lied to?

The obvious answer is yes, there will be people and while I can't blame them. I also can't blame FFG for doing this either. Good will will only take you so far and if you are releaseing content and it's not resulting in sales that will end up impacting the game too. FFG are trying to appease both new players and old players alike while also not completely ruining the good will they have in the X-Wing community. Some would argue about card packs and yes that's something that can be done, but only if it is economical for FFG to do that and it might not be; why invest in shipping two products one for new players and one for old players, when one product will fit both, sure there's duplicated content being provided but at least there's also new stuff for the existing players.

There will be a lot of people on here who will raise the roof and say "I am a loyal player and FFG owes me this as a loyal customer" and speaking as someone who has worked in a corporate business...a company owes you squat. Yes there is good will and customer service involved but that stops being a thing particularly when their efforts to appease you ends up costing them more money which (again speculation) is what might have happened with the reprints and the promises to not include new content in those expansion.

That being said it is important that FFG does do what it can to minimise the damage. The card packs released were a brilliant idea and I think they should be something that comes along with every few waves as a compilation of all the new cool stuff that's been out so far and might be a way of getting said new pilots into the hands of consumers who actively don't want to purchase reprints.  It rewards the holdouts by saying "here's all the new stuff in one pack". Speaking as a video gamer there's a lot of talk about investment to time ratio. If a game has DLC content that i enjoy I purchase it there and then and get it there and then. A year later, there will be a 'game of the year edition' that offers that game and the DLC usually at a budget price. Holdouts tend to get better value in the long run at the cost of not having everything immediately. Is it right?...that's an argument in itself but it's certainly something that happens and what I equate the card packs from the last wave to. If you held out, here's your reward, a discounted pack of everything rather than having to buy every faction.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and ramblings. I'd appreciate your own down below, please keep it as civil as you can.

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Just to be clear. This post was to discuss the complex relationships between a developer and its players and the difficulty of appeasing those players...while also still making money to justify investing money in the game. I get that there will be people out there who are very much on the side of the consumer and those very much on the side of the company. My own view is that it is much more complicated than that and both sides should also be considered and compromises made...but it all comes down to money.

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Heck, I feel annoyed that FFG is "making" me buy another Firespray - I already have two of the things, I just want the cardboard!

But I know they won't put any of that in a card pack, because Jango's Slave 1 is in no way a reprint or an out-of-faction product, so I'll have to suck it up and get the model if I want to play it.  And that's fine, since for them to do it any other way would be nonsensical, both in terms of profits and in terms of the logistics of letting people buy everything but the model.

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I definitely feel for single faction players, or even just original trilogy only players.

It’s a tough spot for ffg to be in: on one hand, they promise no out of faction buying. On the other, reprint sales aren’t what they hoped for as not as many new players have joined 2.0 as they thought might. So a lot of of us old timers don’t want to rebuy a ship for a generic upgrade, but we also want our new toys still. At the same time, there’s a long list of catch up for the other factions before they approach the original 3 in model counts.

I don’t see how ffg can win really. Too frequent a card pack creates sku difficulty, too little and it’s the “hey why am I buying out of faction?” For me, I can’t buy out of faction if I have some of all, however in this case I’m only buying one of three seppies releases (Jango). I don’t really fly them much, and I will get way more value on tabletop with 2x Nimbus and 2x eta2 than I will one of each including droids.

 

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6 minutes ago, JBFancourt said:

I have 3 different falcons at this point, but still can’t fly two together in the same squad....

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13 minutes ago, ScummyRebel said:

It’s a tough spot for ffg to be in: on one hand, they promise no out of faction buying. On the other, reprint sales aren’t what they hoped for as not as many new players have joined 2.0 as they thought might. So a lot of of us old timers don’t want to rebuy a ship for a generic upgrade, but we also want our new toys still. At the same time, there’s a long list of catch up for the other factions before they approach the original 3 in model counts.

I don’t see how ffg can win really. Too frequent a card pack creates sku difficulty, too little and it’s the “hey why am I buying out of faction?” For me, I can’t buy out of faction if I have some of all, however in this case I’m only buying one of three seppies releases (Jango). I don’t really fly them much, and I will get way more value on tabletop with 2x Nimbus and 2x eta2 than I will one of each including droids.

The best FFG can do is throw as many copies of stuff into as many places as possible.  Card packs, multiple ships in the wave, multiple ships in the next wave, etc, etc.  The more places an upgrade or such can be found, the more options a player has, the better the odds they can find some option that works for them.

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Posted (edited)

X-wing has a problem compared to some other minis games: People can't easily mix and match factions, or even pieces within a faction, because the power disparity between pieces can be so stark. People pick up random Land Raiders or Hammerheads in 40k because they like how they look and want to give them a try sometimes, and 40k supports that really well because armies are so big its pretty trivial to just 'toss something in' or to play jank, because the effect it has on your list is so small. If you already own 3 land raiders (A silly amount of land raiders, for reference, its like owning 3 VCXs in that you technically can use them all but its not a good idea, though note it isn't all you can run unlike 3 VCXs) you can totally pick up a 4th. As well as variant land raiders.

Did I mention that people really like Landraiders? They sell like 6 variants of them and I know people who have two of each, and it doesn't come across as exploitative because the sculpts are very different and the way 40k works is different.

So X-wing has a more limited scope of collection than 40k. On top of that, its a licensed product and can't just invent new things (Hi Primaris Marines!) to help sell stuff for a faction people own a ton of things for, so it can't release new things for an army, which is also really bad for sales because most players will want to 'main' a force, even if they aren't singleton players, and you need stuff to sell them.

So I think X-wing needs to make SOME changes to stay a living game. It just can't primarily make its revenue source re-sculpts and ship buys for cardboard from heavily established players that already own enough ships to make 20 lists, that isn't ever going to be sustainable.

The first big change would be to make points scale better and essentially make epic 'default' which 40k has (wisely) done. 40k used to have its epic variant be called Apocalypse, and while there are still specialized apocalypse rules, they instead made structural changes to how the listbuilding works to allow both mixed faction armies, scaling army point limits, and alternate objective modes all in its competitive mode, which helps force the meta to not stagnate, and helps foster collection. A big limiter to how many ships X-wing can sell is the just... sheer fact you can't use more than 5 X-wings at 99% of tournaments, and if you try to start collecting another faction, your starting from zero. So obviously epic as is shouldn't become the tourney standard, but slowly 'scaling up' the game and making the cut off between 'standard 200/3 vs 200/3 single faction' may be a way to help move product: If my local tournament has  300 point limit 2 faction nights, I both have more reason to get that pack with more X-wings when I own 5 already, or to get some random republic ship I need to get an upgrade card I am interested in, because hey maybe 2-3 clones/Jedi are just what my republic list needs for the Objective mode tournament. It also makes it easier to justify using bad ships: In Epic your less likely to lose a game 0 to 200 because you took one 'meme ship' for funzies, just like in 40k your less likely to get stomped because you got 4 land raiders, as you still have like 9 other units to pick up the slack. This alone would solve a LOT of FFG's problems, which is why it was so wild that Epic was not at all a priority for X-wing till, apparently, now. A randomized objective play as a more normalized mode of play, with 'serious' tournaments being the current deathmatch mode, is basically what 40k does (save for it uses an objective mode for its tournament, just a single standard one that is very well balanced, to prevent the game from being a boring matchup of super efficient units vs super efficient units) and it works pretty well: It keeps casual tournaments fresh because every game feels different and the structure of an objective mode means the unfun need to wipe points of the board is sidelined for the fun of struggling for control across different areas of interesting in a manner which ensures that even if your behind your still probably getting some dopamine as you manage to retake 4 of the 6 points you need before losing one or two again.

More frequent (but not overly frequent) balance patches until the metagame is more diverse ship wise could also help: I am not interested in buying more ships simply because the ships I like mechanically I already own, and the ships I like because I am a star wars nerd are bad. One update every 6 months is fine for a more casual wargame, but for one this cut-throat it leaves ships and factions just out of any game for quite a long time because if they 'get left behind' an update because 'the problem may be fixed by other changes' they can be SOL for an entire year.

Finally, I think transitioning to mostly focusing on cardboard products and slowing down ship production to mostly filling out factions and reprinting out of stock stuff like the Resistance Falcon or Bomber, Star Wing, K-wing, ect, is inevitable. Endless collection expansion isn't going to ever be a good primary model after a wargame reaches the level of veterancy X-wing has, and while reprints and maintaining ship stock is important, it isn't going to work long term for both keeping players engaged and buying. The problem is that, unlike 40k, I don't believe FFG can just manufacture boxes as needed, hence the waves. So I am not sure the fix there, maybe they will just be forced to do the aces packs, which I am fine with because they also are a great onboarding tool and way to jump to a new faction, which is kinda what new plastic is for anyway in a game this old.

That said, it... really is obvious they need to at have a cardboard pack AT LEAST every other wave filled with stuff for factions that aren't getting love, ships that have too few options, and to collect the generic upgrades. Hotshots and Aces (in my local area) did STUPID WELL (I have never seen a new product sold out at my local Barnes and Nobles, forget about TWO, and its apparently out of stock and 40 bucks on Amazon so... yeah... lotta people ate that up), so there is clearly a lot of demand for the ability to get a fat stack of new cards and exciting pilots for old ships. Combined with the fact that the reprints are just not moving and have resulted in multiple product cancellations probably caused by stores being told they should order more Saws Renegades and Imperial Raiders responding with "The **** I will!" and it becomes clear the future is cardboard.

I get the feeling there is some awareness there are a few problems based on how the current announcements both included stuff for epic and a commitment for epic support in packs (because 'non objective play single faction 200 points limit games being 99% of X-wing games' is probably the biggest obstacle to them justifying the sale of more minis), and the fact that the aces Packs seem like legitimately good value for starting your collection in a new faction, and I think easing into this is wise. It is also hard not to notice that the design of the PT era factions encourages you to get LOTS of the same ship: Jedi Starfighters are super cheap but have a expensive variant so you only need 3... but you COULD fly a swarm. Droid Starfighters? Swarms of 7 or 8 are viable even if they aren't meta. The Naboo Handmaiden+Padme combo means you can totally justify 3 of the Naboo Starfighter, even though it normally wouldn't be swarmed. Ect.

 But there is definitely something... low key wrong with X-wing even still. There is a severe content drought if your not a faction hopper that makes maintaining engagement very limited, and heavily limits the potential growth of the game. I don't even think they need to commit to '1 cardboard pack a year' or anything so much as introducing it as a concept that can be done as a one off. A 20 buck "Rebel Reinforcement" pack with new pilots for underserved ships would be a great addition to a wave that opens options up for other factions but doesn't require them to do anything special all the time on a set schedule, without removing the 'chase card' aspect of off faction ships, as they can just do their thing with a new cardpack collection down the road as one big hyped bundle, rather than removing the attraction of going cross faction to get cards now. 

Edited by dezzmont

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7 hours ago, Ebak said:

...but it all comes down to money.

People say this about so many things these days. It desperately undervalues the raw basics of human motivations and is mostly a faceless and simplistic assumption about the wants, needs, desires of other people.

Money does literally nothing. It's a medium.

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44 minutes ago, Cuz05 said:

People say this about so many things these days. It desperately undervalues the raw basics of human motivations and is mostly a faceless and simplistic assumption about the wants, needs, desires of other people.

Money does literally nothing. It's a medium.

 

30 minutes ago, Hiemfire said:

It's also a metric. A way to measure how successful a decision was and what resources are available for further goals.

Exactly. It's not that FFG aren't passionate about what they do or that they don't want to stick to what they've said in the past. The problem is, there's always investors to please and people who don't care about the product and only care about if the product is producing more money than it is costing to make.

If the game isn't selling well, questions could be raised on if its worth investing the money and resources on it at all. I'm not saying the game is selling poorly, but FFG went from waves that introduced a brand new faction where almost everything was new and sold a lot of copies...to a few wave of mostly reprints that probably didn't make nearly as much due to them being reprints and existing players having little incentive to buy the packs. All things are relative and someone somewhere looked at that and thought "Hang on, this games profit margins has dropped significantly here and not gone back up for x months, why is that?"

The question was asked and most likely a decision was made to rethink their strategy.

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Focus on a single part of one own public is the way to disaster. Games-workshop tryed that way producing tournaments only oriented games (whfb 7th and wh40k 5th editions, abbandoning vast part of his legacy such us metal miniatures Lotr games and Specialist Games) to discover how dire a mistake was trust this kind of market as "THE" market. They learned and built an all around marketing strategy, a complex and diversyfied one, skyrocketing their profits once again. Imho ffg is sloping down the same wrong way and has big problem in distribution in Europe. So imho things are to change and fast or the whole niche would implode: ffg has to decide if it is a boardgame house which produce also miniatures or a miniatures house which produce also boardgames and then support the market throughwholly and not "forcing" costumer to adapt. In italy xwing almost died because of those mistakes

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3 minutes ago, CapitanGuinea said:

Focus on a single part of one own public is the way to disaster.

Hot take: “the market” of xwing is one where folks want shorter (as far as mini games go) games. Nobody ever asks me to play epic or have a game with more points; I have to make inquiries ahead of time.

While more epic content would still be consumed by me and many others like Darth Meanie, I don’t necessarily think it’s what the majority of the market wants and won’t necessarily save the game on its own.

I really like the idea of card packs boosting up the old factions. I don’t necessarily need more rebel ships unless there’s actually a cool ship missing, new pilots and upgrades that reinvent old pilot? Yes please. I absolutely want to run starslash Arvel now to try that mechanic once the box is here.

I think they are (mostly) in the right track, and the biggest issue has been lack of love for some of the OT factions. I’d really want a faction with no new models to be getting more card product than a single pack that everyone shared in.

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57 minutes ago, CapitanGuinea said:

Focus on a single part of one own public is the way to disaster. Games-workshop tryed that way producing tournaments only oriented games (whfb 7th and wh40k 5th editions, abbandoning vast part of his legacy such us metal miniatures Lotr games and Specialist Games) to discover how dire a mistake was trust this kind of market as "THE" market. They learned and built an all around marketing strategy, a complex and diversyfied one, skyrocketing their profits once again. Imho ffg is sloping down the same wrong way and has big problem in distribution in Europe. So imho things are to change and fast or the whole niche would implode: ffg has to decide if it is a boardgame house which produce also miniatures or a miniatures house which produce also boardgames and then support the market throughwholly and not "forcing" costumer to adapt. In italy xwing almost died because of those mistakes

An even surer way to disaster is making drastic changes to a long-established game with an entrenched player base. If the changes you mean are things like more epic support or campaigns, then fair enough - I don't begrudge that getting some releases, I just probably won't buy it myself. If you mean something more drastic like making epic the tournament default, that risks alienating the people playing and supporting the game as-is to chase people who aren't playing the game, and that's a big risk. Personally, if that happened, I would give it a try once but I'd seriously consider leaving the game.

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14 hours ago, Ebak said:

I know there's a lot of people who like to say that FFG promised you wouldn't have to buy out of faction and that you wouldn't have to buy reprints and they would not include new material in the reprints. I could not find any citations for these comments but that doesn't also mean they weren't said it could be that I just couldn't find them so if you have references for them, please let me know and I will edit this post accordingly to cite those source

19 minutes into it but he walks it back almost immediately.  He basically said the plan was you that will never need too buy out of faction he gave himself some room to manuever. 

Now one thing I want to say is although they talked about mono-faction support nobody was saying it was a good idea.  FFG wants you playing multiple factions there are numerous upgrades and ships in wave 8 that encourage this (scum or separatist boba, or the v wing being able to use TIE only upgrades).  Which I think is great.  For the majority 1.0 I collected scum and rebels but only played imperials and sometimes it was great, occasionally meh, and sometimes really frustrating.  There where waves where my lists were just obsolete.   

I get that some people either due to time constraints, hobby budget, or personal preference faction lock themselves.  I do think FFG needs to structure card pack support better (every june there is a card pack).   Also they should see if OT faction players are okay with new content in future reprints. 

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One of the things I think about is how at the beginning of MtG it wasn't thought to be a big deal that Ancestral Recall was so good. It was a rare and folks were not expected to have a pile of them. I wonder if a similar mindset is at work with some of these upgrades. They are restricting them as an attempt to keep five of them off the table. It doesn't work because there is always that guy. The trick is being okay with not needing to be that guy. 

I am coming at this from the angle of not looking for variety while only playing a single faction. I see why folks get in a twist about cross faction stuff but lucky for me I can do without having to have stuff right away. The benefit of being a filthy casual I suppose.

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13 hours ago, dezzmont said:

the future is cardboard

I think this is so painfully true. I don’t know how many copies FFG printed of HS&A, but I do know it was roughly half or a third of what they should’ve. There’s magic in a $20 pack that puts a nice fresh sheen on a big swath of ships across the game. They could do this twice a year and rake it in. Even folks with smaller collections or a smaller set of factions would have plenty of reasons to open their wallets for this.

 I do think it’d be nice to see a push for another official play mode that opens things up more. For some reason FFG keeps flirting with missions, Epic, etc., but they never seem willing to take that relationship to the next level. Seeing an official push (with tourney support?) for a 300/9 Epic play mode (or something like that) would be one way to get people’s attention. For example, I mostly haven’t cared about Hyperspace, but because of FFG pushing it like they have, I at least know what it is. But if we’re mixing in Epic ships, or figuring out some way to do meaningful cross-faction play, that lets me put more toys on the table, which gets me towards what I want anyway.

The comparison to 40k is odd for me, though. 40k was my first love, but I eventually got tired of chasing the crazy expense, huge hobby time commitment, extreme game time length, and ever-advancing power creep. I think FFG’s been successful at putting forward a fast, tight, balanced, and endlessly appealing “standard” game, and I see the breadth and depth of factions as much more of an asset than a problem. In many ways 2.0 represents the anti-40kish thing of all: pursuing true and durable game balance while still leaving plenty of room to grow.

But tldr, I think more cardboard would solve most of the game’s woes, and going wholer-hog into epic type stuff would fix the rest. The real “problems” lie in rewarding people with massive collections for putting them on the table, and providing more pilots to keep old factions fresh. Handle that, and FFG can keep riding this thing out for a really long time.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Dasharr said:

If you mean something more drastic like making epic the tournament default, that risks alienating the people playing and supporting the game as-is to chase people who aren't playing the game, and that's a big risk

 

7 hours ago, ScummyRebel said:

While more epic content would still be consumed by me and many others like Darth Meanie, I don’t necessarily think it’s what the majority of the market wants and won’t necessarily save the game on its own.

 

Yeah. 40k made 'epic the default' in a really subtle way that made it possible to make 'deluxe' things like Imperial Knights (A paired down version of apocalypse only stuff like Titans) and superheavy tanks viable in the default mode, and made 'scaling point games' feel normal. You still played 2,000 points most of the time, but it wasn't a 'wacky special thing' to play 1,500, 2,500, 3,000, or 4,000. They also had a mode called combat patrol, which was basically a more focused and balanced method of playing small point games in 30 minutes.

I don't think Epic needs to be the default, but there are clearly problems caused by X-wing being a 'one format' game. I don't see X-wing making it long haul when so much effort has been put into it being an almost pure plastic product (which was a mistake for a game with a 'collection limit' per player), without making 'wanna play a 300 point game?' or 'Want to draw a scenario?' seem more normal.

Part of why scenario play is a good idea is that it makes larger games that take the same amount of time roughly easier. A 4000 point game of 40k doesn't take twice as long as a 2000 point game, its like half an hour to an hour longer.

 

2 hours ago, Frimmel said:

One of the things I think about is how at the beginning of MtG it wasn't thought to be a big deal that Ancestral Recall was so good. It was a rare and folks were not expected to have a pile of them. I wonder if a similar mindset is at work with some of these upgrades. They are restricting them as an attempt to keep five of them off the table. It doesn't work because there is always that guy. The trick is being okay with not needing to be that guy

Ancestral Recall is so broken it is banned in Vintage and Legacy. It isn't a 'not needing to be that guy' card. It is so broken that even existing as a 1 of in a deck makes it way too strong.

You can't balance a game by printing absolutely busted stuff and then saying 'pretty please don't do things that are clearly in your benefit.' That isn't how games work. You need to account for optimal play rubbing up against sub-optimal play.

Printing super strong chase cards in products that mandatorily have most of their price put in plastic as a design choice isn't an attempt at balance, it is an attempt to money gouge, and its famously hated. I don't think FFG is doing that at all mind (in fact, they go out of their way to make cardboard so 'meh' that it tends to be a 'feels bad' moment in its own way) but that used to be a problem with 1.0: 3P0 was a 'chase' card for example that caused a HUGE amount of resentment because 1.0 3P0 was so strong that lists that didn't run it were just plain not viable. One of the promises of 1.0 was no super expensive chase cards like 1.0 3P0.

2 hours ago, Frimmel said:

I am coming at this from the angle of not looking for variety while only playing a single faction. I see why folks get in a twist about cross faction stuff but lucky for me I can do without having to have stuff right away. The benefit of being a filthy casual I suppose.

I suspect single faction players would be a lot more patient if the faction support in X-wing wasn't so comically imbalanced. A lot of this sentiment I think comes from the "Its been 84 years" effect: What is low key going to be the most popular faction with I would suspect most star wars fans has gotten no real support for the entire history of the edition holy ****.

That isn't a minor issue. That is a 'How the **** did they think this was gunna go? Did they really expect stores not to get mad that they are mostly putting out reprints no one is buying because OT factions have too much plastic out there already? Did they really expect casual players to run out and buy 3 N-1 starfighters to get passive sensors on the Imps, forget about Rebels who really haven't gotten any good cards out of the other factions? Is Starbird Slash REALLY going to be a singleton in a 3 ship pack with ships I don't care about that probably is going to run 60 dollars?

Are they really gunna try to tell me that for X-wing to survive I need to buy 180 dollars worth of Resistance ships to run 3 A-wings with that in rebels? Or 5 copies to run it in a resistance swarm for 350 flippin dollars? For 6 pieces of cardboard? If so? Hard pass, good luck sustaining the game on people willing to do that, hope it was worth trading the ability for the game to have a casual player base at all and putting it 'all in' on the whales.

But I don't believe that is required. I believe this is an attempt to get me to pick up one resistance pack while I wait for the card pack. Which I would be willing to do and think is a fair way to try to subsidize the cost of the design of new ships... in another circumstance where it hasn't been 2 freaking years for rebels to get access to 5 new pilots in one pack. No thank you.  Please, just give me an option to make a reasonable investment to update my collection.

And I get the desire to create a sense of a 'limited time offer' on getting new cards for old factions based on packs coming out well after the card is released. But, I must stress again that Rebels and Imperials have been waiting for any level of support for over 2 years. I would be willing to get a resistance pack for 'early access' to a singleton copy of a card that was also meant for rebels if I got anything of note in the last year outside of H&A which is mostly 'dead' cardboard. I am not willing to wait what is likely to be over a year because they aren't going to release a new cardboard pack with 3 cheap copies of Starbird Slash at the same time they release a singleton or duo copy in Phoenix pack, which I am also probably not going to buy because I don't want to spend 50-60 bucks on more X-wings and A-wings. That isn't entitlement. I don't want to be forced to buy plastic I don't want to 'subsidize' the game. I am paying money to get percieved value from objects which are ultimately valueless because I WANT to support X-wing, but I am not going to do that if X-wing, at a time where it needs to be giving me chocolate and roses and holding up a boombox outside my bedroom saying 'Sorry for all the reprints and silence' is trying to force not just more reprints on me, but get me to buy them with super expensive products.

 

46 minutes ago, CoffeeMinion said:

The comparison to 40k is odd for me, though. 40k was my first love, but I eventually got tired of chasing the crazy expense, huge hobby time commitment, extreme game time length, and ever-advancing power creep

40k is an applicable comparison because its the most succesful wargame on the market and has avoided a major problem X-wing has had to keep product moving, exploiting 14 year olds and churning through its playerbase after players get dissolusioned of making gameplay flexible while keeping structures in place.

I actually left 40k myself. However, 40k had its own '2.0 esque' renascence' which was a major part of why it got the number 1 spot back from X-wing, after major leadership changes and changes to their model that were less focused on a super young playerbase and constant overturn. There are still things to really not like about it, but a goal of theirs in the 'modern 40k era' was to preserve collection value while encouraging new collection, and a few ideas really clearly give it a leg up on X-wing, such as how 'single army players' are rewarded, not even through chase cards, for starting new collections because every 40k army is in theory compatible. 

It isn't perfect by a long shot. And X-wing is a fundementally different game so some of these implementations wouldn't work (Ex: Being able to run Boba with Vader to encourage cross faction 'exploration' to get people to be willing to pick up their favorite cross faction ships knowing they could use them prooobably would come at the high high cost of the competitive scene completely collapsing) but there are still lessons to be learned from GW going from 'The bad guys' to honestly pretty reasonable.

Like a good lesson is that 'going whole hog' on Epic probably ISN'T a good idea, but making epic pieces 'less special' is, if that makes sense.

Apocalypse worked because it allowed for truly ridiculous stuff, like the famous 'donut game' which was this giant 18 table ring of games. I remember my first apoc game was combined with Battlefleet Gothic and was a 'table hopping' game as you moved from combat zone to combat zone on different planets. But it was this 8 hour indulgence that could never be normal. Instead they took the parts of Apocalypse that were useful to the main game that didn't seem like they would traditionally 'fit' like fortifications, mixed faction armies, and super-heavy units, and changed the army building rules to make them playable even at 2,000 point standards with the detachment rules.

Epic probably shouldn't be standard, because while its less of an indulgence (Having players 'jump' from table to table to reinforce other 'sectors' would be fun though!) it still is a big one. The things to take from Epic to get the benefit of extending collection longevity per faction can work even if they are very specific in scope. Like making an objective app that is part of the 'standard game' where 'competitive mode' is one mode and 'standard' mode is another that creates an objective, and then asks for point limit, is a subtle way to keep 200/3 the primary competitive mode while still making '300 points, secure the cargo' more 'normal' to see, which just so happens to  make owning 7 X-wings valuable!

Edited by dezzmont

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Ebak said:

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and ramblings. I'd appreciate your own down below, please keep it as civil as you can.

With the increase in the number of factions, I've restricted myself to focus on 4. The original three, and Galactic Republic so I have a vector to get some of the new shiny stuff if it doesn't show up for the old factions.

I want FFG to make money, because I like the game and I want it to do well and keep putting out product.
But I'm not a charity, and I'm not going to toss money at FFG for stuff I don't want. I could buy a Starviper to get access to Afterburners in v1, for example because I might actually play with the ship. But I'm not going to buy one ship out of a faction I don't play just for the upgrades in v2.

I don't have any great insights. These problems of game balance, power creep and product bloat have affected every successful miniatures game, and no one has come up with a magic bullet solution so far. I think it's a balancing act where no one is really completely happy.

Edited by Koing907

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, dezzmont said:

Are they really gunna try to tell me that for X-wing to survive I need to buy 180 dollars worth of Resistance ships to run 3 A-wings with that in rebels? Or 5 copies to run it in a resistance swarm for 350 flippin dollars? For 6 pieces of cardboard? If so? Hard pass, good luck sustaining the game on people willing to do that, hope it was worth trading the ability for the game to have a casual player base at all and putting it 'all in' on the whales.

I'm pretty much going to abstain from commenting because I am likely to just go off on one how you are making a lot of assumptions and making a comment would be breaking my own rules, so I will break it down to this:

I don't think you and I will ever see eye-to-eye on the business strategy of the game. I do think some of your arguments have merit. However, we don't have a crystal ball that we can look into to see how the game will go. I don't think pushing Epic on people will work. If anything it might have the opposite effect of people dropping the game and that will just offset the people who end up buying more to play the format.

That being said I do think FFG should push their weird formats more. The problem is...people don't seem interested. At the X-Wing system open it was rare to see people break off from the main event to play side events because...people wanted to play the main event. People like 200/200 and those of us, myself included, that like the more unsual formats are few and far between and within the wider communities the more usual format is mostly considered 'novelties'. There are some standouts exceptions such as the UK Team Championships, but even that is restrictive in certain ways.

Getting back to the business strategy.

New players didn't purchase reprints because they already had everything and the game hasn't expanded enough to get new players to cover the difference. FFG is now thinking there is no worth in reprints without new content and so is making content to sell a model, new and old cards to appease both new players and old players. A card pack would only appease old players but would discourage new players because they then have to buy a supporting product to use it. Creating two products with the goal of everyone having their cake and eating it do may not be a good move for them as a business. I do not know, they are the business and most likely have boffins breaking down the over-under of this.

What I do know is FFG cancelled reprints and have said they will be doing card packs but also aces pack. I think we'll find there is a mix of them supporting older factions with new content in card packs and squadron/aces packs, but not necessarily two products that have the same content. For example if you see new content in the aces pack, you might not see all of that content in the card pack, maybe upgrades, but probably not all of them.

That being said, I also appreciate I myself am an extremely niché market. I have the disposable income to be able to support all factions although I do have a preferred faction. I also acknowledge this means I will likely have access to the upgrades compared to people who restrict their factions who might have to wait for a product to be released that gives them what they want.

In an ideal world where logistics, production time, and cost to get an item to market wasn't a factor. I completely agree that every faction getting something every wave would be ideal...but I also respect why that is and unlikely an unrealistic expectation.

At the end of the day, not everyone will be pleased. The goal isn't to please everyone, just have everyone be content.

Edit: As someone who owns a lot...and i do mean a LOT of X-Wing models. The reprints still appealed to me, I am not a painter and I actually like seeing and getting the different repaints and that's the one reason I purchased some of the reprints. I liked the paint job, or because of articulation. Again. I respect that I am the exception and not rule however I would always argue against the whole idea of "I'm getting another model" with "yes, but it's in a new paint job, and you are also getting new content, which you want. So with all respect, you can choose to suck it up or just not buy...but if you choose not to buy that is your choice and it pretty much abstains you from complaining you can't get access to those cards."

Edited by Ebak

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5 minutes ago, Ebak said:

In an ideal world where logistics, production time, and cost to get an item to market wasn't a factor. I completely agree that every faction getting something every wave would be ideal...but I also respect why that is an unlikely an unrealistic expectation.

I think there is a middleground between '3+ years to seriously get a support pack for rebels at this rate' and 'Tons of new rebel pilots and cards every wave yaaay.'

Like I get FFG needs to make money and holding back and being a bit of a tease is part of that. In other scenarios where Hotshots and Aces had really strong pilots and maybe we got one new ship in the last year, I would be more than happy to wait a year to get an affordable way to get a x3 of important cards that were in a 60 dollar 3 ship product. Rebels in theory have the most support of any faction, we could 'suck it up.' But the content drought is so bad that the current plan of 'A 1x of card openly intended to help the rebels in what will likely be a 60 dollar non-rebel product' feels... totally unacceptable and signals a huge disconnect with the problem.

A big part of the current scenario that makes things hard is the current situation is so terrible FFG basically... needs to make bad short term choices here in order to pull the 'Put out a boombox playing my fave song near my bedroom window holding chocolates and flowers in the rain' play, before pulling back to a more reasonable level of teasing and being coy with products so I will buy juuust a biiiiit more.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, dezzmont said:

I think there is a middleground between '3+ years to seriously get a support pack for rebels at this rate' and 'Tons of new rebel pilots and cards every wave yaaay.'

No, I completely agree and hopefully with the reprints being repackaged as new content, I think we'll see more of that.

My only comment I will say dezz, is that. You're asking for more content. If FFG provides that content but you just don't like how they are providing that content, AKA "What?! I have to get a pack with MODELS?!" the argument really starts to fall flat for me there.

It is completely reasonable for Rebel, Imperial etc players to get more support than they are now. The problem is, the response will be "Okay here's an aces pack with two or three models, old card stuff and new card stuff" that will appeal to both new and old players. The next argument is "but I can't just get the card, waah" just...I appreciate the perspective, but you're now not just complaining about not just about getting content, but how that content is marketed and suggesting it should be marketed to appeal to specific markets when FFG are trying to appeal to both markets and there are two distinct markets: New players, existing players.

Edit: Just to clarify. I'm talking about a specifically marketed Rebel expansion with models, not an out of faction pack. While I understand your frustration with the resistance pack. It's not like the resistance can't use that card and FFG are just putting that card in that pack because 'lol, suck it reb players'. If anything the cards existence and wording points that Rebels will get access to that at some point, but it may be another wave or two and most likely in the 'Phoenix squadron' pack that is coming out.

Edited by Ebak

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27 minutes ago, Ebak said:

New players didn't purchase reprints because they already had everything. FFG is now thinking there is no worth in reprints without new content and so is making content to sell a model, new and old cards to appease both new players and old players. A card pack would only appease old players. Creating two products with the goal of everyone having their cake and eating it do may not be a good move for them as a business. I do not know.


What I do know is FFG cancelled reprints and have said they will be doing card packs but also aces pack. I think we'll find there is a mix of them supporting older factions with new content in card packs and squadron/aces packs, but not necessarily two products that have the same content. For example if you see new content in the aces pack, you might not see all of that content in the card pack, maybe upgrades, but probably not all of them.

Yup, all this. A lot of our new players in my group bought a conversion kit and some used ships; or they found a few enough to make it worth an investment. 
 

Not a ton needed all the reprints, some of them they did pick.

Since reprints don’t make money; ffg had to adapt. I can’t fault them for doing what they are doing.

Personally, I’m super excited for the Ace packs like the Heralds of Hope, and looking forward to the OT ships getting them. I’m happy to buy plastic of the same old ships in fresh paint with new pilots and upgrades. Yes, it’s frustrating Rebels got exactly 4 pilots and a handful of upgrades in HS&A as their only content over 2 years, but I’m sure Phoenix will be worth it to most of us. Honestly, I’d take the aces style reprints over an esoteric ship from some comic once somewhere maybe that I don’t recognize as Star Wars.

I have some of all factions because I’m a junkie (and I converted 4 factions entirely from 1.0 so buying the others wasn’t too hard with no new content to pick up). 

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, Ebak said:

My only comment I will say dezz, is that. You're asking for more content. If FFG provides that content but you just don't like how they are providing that content, AKA "What?! I have to get a pack with MODELS?!" the argument really starts to fall flat for me there.

 

I don't even mind having to buy A model as long as I can get a playset. If Phoenix Cell comes with extra copies of the new cards so I can also use them with my old ships? Fantastic, I might even be persuaded to get 2 if they are cheap enough. If not? RIP X-wing.

But I am not willing to drop... what... 200 dollars to get 4 cards? No. Hard pass. I am on a teacher's salary, I play X-wing once a week. I can't afford to pay 200 dollars on plastic to get 4 cards. The main value of X-wing as a product in the first place is that it is very easy to buy game expansions that significantly change how you play for 30 bucks.

Part of the appeal of X-wing is that you can expand your collection with small purchases and you will get everything you need for 30-60 bucks depending on ship size, and if you like it get a ton more. Aces packages are a great single time purchase. If, with phoenix cell, they were like 'Here is an A wing, an X-wing, and an attack shuttle, and also here are 6 copies of this A-wing card.'

21 minutes ago, Ebak said:

but I can't just get the card, waah

To paraphrase Ebak: I am not a god **** charity. I am not going to, and this is essentially your argument, subsidize the bad choices of FFG in terms of plastic production in order to keep the game artifically alive if it doesn't care at all about the value I percieve I am getting. This is a transactional relationship. The fact that it is convinient to you, a faction hopper who likes to get everything, that I would basically be funding the entire line by being forced to buy reprints that already had all of their production costs paid off besides running the factory and plastic, that I don't want to get new cards, doesn't mean its a good idea, that players are going to do it, or that it is good for X-wing. I would rather YOU pay an extra 10-20 dollars per ship, or for the aces packs for existing ships to be dirt cheap so that FFG could pass those savings on to me a bit. 

 If FFG wants to nickle and dime me over every single copy of a card intended to support my faction with new options, I ain't gunna play, and a lot of people won't play, and you will have a problem.

So like... yeah. No. Screw that opinion, this is not a 'wah' problem. I think it is completely fair to want new ways to fly existing ships that doesn't require me to spend 200 dollars to get the content for my lists. I would be willing to spend maybe 40 bucks to get a nice amount of cards in numbers needed to outfit a reasonable number of ships as a pure cardboard pack. I would be willing to spend 30 bucks to get a playeset of new cards with ONE plastic figure.

But I am not made of money, and if X-wing literally requires us to be buying reprints in those numbers so that a playset of 2-3 new cards costs 200 dollars, I hate to break it to you, but its already dead, because it is fundamentally non-profitable.

I 100% get the need to adapt reprints to be something people will actually buy. I am telling you I do not intend to buy reprints if I need to buy a ton of copies of them to get the cards, and that is bad news for you, and that I think most of the people who aren't buying reprints are telling you exactly why they won't and you don't want to hear it.

I WILL buy heralds of hope, because to me it isn't a reprint. I probably won't buy a rebel reprint pack unless its low key also a cardboard pack as well (As in: full playsets, not just enough cards to run the pack, and stuff to actually breathe new life into the faction).

Edited by dezzmont

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Just now, ScummyRebel said:

ersonally, I’m super excited for the Ace packs like the Heralds of Hope

Dude, off topic but I am super hype for X-Wing right about now. I've not been able to play X-Wing since July of 2019 due to other committments. I planned to return to it in 2020 unfortunately Jury duty interferred with that at the start of 2020, and then COVID-19 hit...

I unfortunately haven't plucked up the courage to try TTS as it just doesn't feel the same and I miss the people I gamed with. I was excited about the LAAT/i and new expansion but the recent annoucement have given me the jumpstart I needed.

I am at least glad I was able to make the 2020 System open in Milton Keynes.

My relationship with X-Wing is complicated. The amount of money I invest in it makes people think I am a super serious hyper competitive player. Spoiler alert: I am not. I am very casual in how i approach the game and I am a guy who just likes to keep his options open and while I am a competent player I am by no means a high tier competitive player as much as @Jarval likes to say I don't give myself enough credit.

What i will say in relation to @Jarval, who is known in my local community as a very highly skilled and respectable player, is that I have been known to surprise him and any time I have a game with him it's always been fun. THAT is an achievement I am proud of and a reputation I like to cultivate.

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Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, dezzmont said:

But I am not willing to drop... what... 200 dollars to get 4 cards?

That is a very realistic expectation. We don't know the full detail regarding these sets, but at least in old aces sets they used to include multiple cards even if there was just one of the ship models. That being said if you wanted a lot you'd have to buy two, but I've never known myself to need to purchase more than two packs. Saying they are a one time purchase really depends on what your expectations are. I think assuming its a 'one and done' is miselading yourself a little.

It also depends on the price point. Is it going to be 2 ships like the old aces or 3 ships like the new squadron packs? There's a lot we don't know about, but I think we should at LEAST give FFG the credit to think you won't need to buy an expansion an unreasonable amount of times...and no, in my opinion, more than once is not unreasonable. Two is reasonable if you want to field a full squad or whatever, three is...debatable for some, athough for me it does verge on "come on FFG!"...four is most certainly unreasonable.

Think of it this way. Hotshots and aces included 2 B-Wing sfoil cards. I ended up purchasing that card pack twice...mostly for those Sfoils. I simply sold on the cards I didn't need and people wanted. Sometimes you just have to suck it up if you want it. The joke's on me, I've yet to run more than 2 B-Wings in a list. However, when I play Epic...

Edit: Trying to recall how many copies of each Aces pack I purchased in first...

I think it was Imperial Aces, although i will fully admit it was more for the models than the actual cards so I will discount that. I think it was Rebel Aces. I think I purchased two? That was to get 4 B-Wing/E2 cards and 6 Chardaan Refits for the A-Wings. I definitely got use out of the Chardaans...but I also could have just borrowed from some friends looking back.

Edited by Ebak

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