With Bunt slowly trucking along as we get to the eventually beginning of the 2015 season, I think that there are a lot of reasons why everyone should be VERY excited for the new build of the app. That being said, I still think there are a lot of reasons why things still need some major attention prior to that launch. Here are some of my top items, and I encourage you to do the same.
As a whole, there are a lot of issues that stem from interactions with other users. This includes Topps to the Fans, Fans to Topps, and Fans to other fans. Although I dont think that new messaging systems or any of that would be anything but cosmetic, its interesting to think how that might improve the gameplay experience. I also think that there are a lot of reasons why new structures to article comments and other things would be easier to follow, instead of having to piece back through the threads on your own. Something as simple as a search box might solve some of that, especially on the articles where things get busy.
In terms of Topps to the Fans, social media has served an enormous purpose to help spread the awareness of the game itself, as well as the promotion of its programs. There needs to be major attention placed on using Twitter and other means to communicate with fans who raise issues, have questions, or just want to talk to someone about the game they love. I have suggested a creation of a Topps Digital Support handle, that will function concurrently with the zendesk form, but that is still up in the air. Its just more important to show people they are not being ignored, even if the request is personal rather than universal. At the same time, I understand there are some losers out there that will try to game the system, but those growing pains will dissipate when they discover how much oversight the team has on their accounts.
The idea of the VIP system is a GREAT one, and TOPPSIAN deserves a ton of credit for running it basically by himself. However, at the same time it remains one of the biggest question marks in the game, only further exacerbated by people’s lack of understanding surrounding qualifications.
For those of us who understand, we know its hard to publish static targets for how much is needed to reach each level, and publishing those numbers may actually put some users in a bad spot with the whole app knowing how much they spend monthly. I get it, there are a lot of people who will say “How am I supposed to compete with a guy that spends $XXXX dollars per month?” Similarly, it might be tough to predict spending targets a month in advance, knowing that things change on a dime. All worth consideration for why the VIP targets arent published.
That being said, there may be more users that might be willing to buy more knowing that the next level of VIP is just a few purchases away. Its a double edged sword, but transparency is always better than being in the dark from a customer perspective. There are cons to being in the know, but its better to make them known.
Competition – Daily and Weekly
I mentioned back in April that single day leagues would be awesome. Both Bunt and Huddle have found a way to make that a regular thing now. Its great for people who might not want to spend the entire week in front of a TV or mobile device following along.
The main focus of competition is that the people who buy into the game can amass a significant advantage against those that are free to play. Although I support that advantage fully, there needs to be more universal competition. This means the people that spend should maintain their paid advantage, but the free users should also get an opportunity to play in a spectrum that is competitive for them too. Im not sure how that happens, but I am open to ideas. One idea I had prior was to organize people by season points, so that the top people play against the top people, so on and so forth. That gets complicated and hard to manage, which is an issue in itself.
Another form of competition would be user vs user that I would love to see, where a user would be able to wager coins or cards to be paid to the person who wins. It could be a week long thing or a day long thing, but both would be so freaking awesome.
Lastly, the ability to create league based point chases would be cool too, so its not just user vs selected user, but user vs a number of selected users. You would be able to compete against your friends in a way that would be very fun.
I understand that people are scared that Bunt is going to turn into Huddle, but I can guarantee it will not. Because of league licensing situations, Huddle has to take a different approach that doesnt need to happen in Bunt.
For 2015, I would like to see more of a focus on crowd sourced card creation, with a larger opportunity for users to help pick checklists or weekly payout cards, etc. With the signature series cards dominating the trade economy, it would be awesome for those team’s fans to help choose the player for their team. Give fans more power to choose the cards they want to collect. We saw this a bit with Voter’s choice, but that is just the beginning, I hope.
Its unfortunate that the Best of Bunt cards werent worth as much as they should be. However, when you are competing on a week long platform, more rewards should be given to those that can manage to get to the top. Team champion banners are great, but additional coins should be provided as well.
Similarly, if there is a way to do a Best of Bunt type reward based on teams, that would be really cool, even though I know how much extra work it would be to build 30 cards instead of 5 or 6.
When you see the way Topps Kick delivers out their awards, I believe that is the best way to do it. Give the top players all the cards, not just the level they finish. Those cards should have boosts attached to them, so they become more functional and not just a trophy.
Somehow, some way, hitters need to be relevant on an inning by inning basis. Im sure this is a hot topic in planning for 2015, but it might not be as popular as I think it will. Pitchers are the currency in which Bunt is traded, and many users may not appreciate a large scale switch.
That being said, we all like playing our favorite guys, and if that’s a hitter, good luck. Play timers and play counters prevent a big focus on switching in hitters, although that might all change for all we know.
It would be interesting to see what might happen if every position on the field had to be represented at all times, with multiple cards being stacked for bigger points boosts. Like you have to play a 2B the whole game, but if you have 8 of the same guy, stacking them gets you more points. Something like that would change the dynamic and make it very fun to pick your lineup on a more fantasy based situation.
Overall, I have the utmost confidence in the team to deliver an awesome app, especially now that TOPPSMIKE has a new set of hands to help out. I guess we will have to see what happens.