Before I start here, let me say that I am going to speculate. If I am way off, please let me know and Ill include your explanation here in the post.
Here is a common thread I am sure everyone has been experience lately – you want to trade your cards, but it seems like no one is giving you even close to a reasonable offer. Why is that? Its fun to trade, which is why I spend time in the fan feed, but it has become the most frustrating thing in the world over the last month. Here are my extended thoughts.
Spreading the Wealth
Because there are users who spend enough to be diamond VIPs, it should be clear that they control a good portion of any rare print run, to a point. If they want a card, it will be valuable because they can trade a lot to get it. They will likely overpay, as inserts that are windfalls to a normal user are chump change to them. Its the same concept in the real world. Bill gates spending 20 mil on a house is half his monthly salary. Its not a big deal to him. For everyone else, its a big deal.
Because the only hungry people are users that really dont have nice cards, it creates a wealth vacuum in trading. You want two sigs for your 350 Tulo? Sorry, too few people are rich enough to afford that, so you will get offers of Men of Action and base cards. All the Bunters out there who would pay market price for that card already have 3, so to them its not worth spending more to get it.
The gap between the 1% and the 99% in Bunt is growing by the day, as evidenced by how much set cards are worth before the reward expires. That 1% drives up the price because all of them want the award, and its a big reason why the floor falls out when the set expires. They maintain residual value because of what was paid originally, rarity, and because of team/player collectors, but not close to before.
Scary thing is, as the gap widens, offers will get worse. New players will continue to starve, and that will increase demand with no form of payment. The good thing is that the middle class in Bunt is getting stronger too, because the pack store separation makes it possible of for them to carve out a nice collection. The big spenders are relegated to certain packs, and that leaves value in the ones they choose avoid. That avoidance leads to more value which can pry bigger cards away from the richer users.
I know this is getting a bit off the tracks, but its crazy how much the economy in bunt can be compared to a real economy.
Fear of Rarity
One of the other main reasons that nice cards are hard to come by has to do with rarity of new releases, and the Bunt team’s desire to create scarcity on purpose. Scarcity means more money will flow into the app, because the rich will need the card, and the regular users will pay for a small chance at a big hit. Most users dont really understand how unlikely it is that they pull a rare card, so they spend the 20 bucks for a shot. I know because I do it every time.
Now, the big spenders who dont have a coin surplus will drop the million coins to pull a rare card, and that means a lot of money as well. Even if they dont spend now, spending from their surplus will mean they spend more later on. It also costs a lot to maintain Black and Diamond VIP, which will encourage more spending as well.
Because of this odd situation hoarding of the rare valuable cards like sigs and inserts is a big thing. They dont want to be in the cold when that next rare card comes. That’s why there are people with 3 Trout sigs out there. They need to be ready for anything.
There is also a big contingent of users who spend their coins to pull cards that can be sold online. Either to regular customer relationships built on the app, or through eBay. They can buy the coins in bulk because its so easy to recoup their investment through sales.
Its a vicious circle because they funnel a ton of money into Bunt to maintain their sales, which almost gives them a pass for activity against the rules. But, this also means a good portion of any print will be pulled to be sold, instead of pulled to be traded. Practices that circumvent the trading process means that the buyers of these cards will be less likely to trade them, as they paid money specifically for that card. Another vacuum results, unfortunately.
To be completely honest, Im not sure how you fix it, or if you want to fix it at all. The drive to fix it will be the loss of users who are unable to amass a collection, but fixing it may be at the cost of significant revenue generated through the game. There is such a delicate balance that you almost have to reward the 1% and the 99% simultaneously, which may be mutually exclusive. The VIP program is a way to mitigate some of that situation, but not all of it. It creates a carrot but also a stick in some cases.
The true weighted scale is a card cant have value without rarity, which is why the Men of Action and On Deck are a plague at this point rather than a benefit. You cant just give a card to everyone, because that puts supply far in excess of demand.
I think the true answer is transparency and education. Educate new users and be transparent with the 1% about what is going to be happening. Calm their minds about the future, show them what’s behind the curtain (if that hasnt happened already), and maybe open the floodgates on some of the hoarding.
Curious as well to see what would happen if a cap was placed on the number of cards one could pull of a certain insert? Could be both good and bad. If each user could only pull one of a new card from a pack, but could own however many they wanted, would it encourage more trading? Who knows?
This is why I dont envy any of the Bunt team. They fight this battle every day, and sometimes they make the wrong call. Its why I tend to be a bit more forgiving than others.