As mentioned earlier today, Bunt is going to be launching their new build in the next few days. With MLB opening day just around the corner, I had a conversation with TOPPSMIKE about some of the amazing new features that 2015 Bunt will showcase. Before reading on, I think its clear that the team has listened to a lot of user feedback in making the new build more accessible and competitive. I am that much more excited after my conversation with Mike, as he and the team have obviously put in a tremendous amount of work surrounding the app. They really pulled out all the stops, and the 2015 season is going to be a blast.
NEW FEATURE: Bulletin System
As Mike explained in the article today, the bulletin system (like there was in ToppsKick) is a new way to get users any number of amazing new content in the game. Whether its packs, coins, reward cards, or maybe some funky new award – they can send it through the bulletin system to users.
Being aware of new cards and new rewards given for completing sets and other tasks has always been a relative buzzkill, as users were rarely made aware of when their spoils were made available to them. With this new system, Mike said that all changes. I like that a lot.
I would guess this is something that may be a minor impact to the overall functionality of the gameplay, but its presence opens up a ton of opportunities for Topps to communicate and provide things directly to the community.
NEW FEATURE: Contest League Play Structure
Gone are the main leaderboards where all users compete against everyone else. Replacing the main leaderboard are specific contest leagues that allow users to pick and choose how they want to play along. There will be contest leagues that group users by difficulties, boost levels and all sorts of new styles of play, and every person will have the opportunity to do it their way.
Mike provided a basic examples of three traffic lanes – easy, medium and hard. This is used in consideration of how certain users may not want to compete with the diamond VIPs on the hardest level, instead opting for the easier crowd where they can excel on a greater level. Of course, playing in the easier leagues wont be as lucrative in terms of prizes, but it will provide a competitive balance for users to compete at their own pace.
There will also be consideration placed on providing options for the hardcore “WATCH EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY GAME” user, along side the more traditional fantasy player who wants to set it and forget it. Every type of player will have their time in the sun.
Contest leagues can last from one game to one week, or longer, as only a few of the structures are finalized at this point. Obviously, user feedback and suggestions will open up new ideas, as will special events and situations that come up during the season.
Similarly, this opens up a throwdown type atmosphere to the gameplay, where different Contest Leagues can be created for specific games or even specific play criteria.
Here is the kicker: You will have to build specific play decks for each type of contest league. That means, if you have one Mike Trout gold, you will only be able to play that card in one league. If you have 9, you will have to determine which of them you want to play and for what league. What this does is create a more even playing field if high collection score users want to play in multiple leagues at once.
With league based scoring in play, its clear that its not always going to be easy to just dedicate a whole pitching staff any longer, unless you have a ton of cards. This will be an enormous play advantage for the first few weeks, even more so as everyone gets ramped up. This could assist in leaving the victory to the person who can do the math and pick the most applicable players. If you pick the wrong guy for your play deck, and leave someone else behind, your team could miss out on a performance from a guy on your bench. Basically, each user will need to play the fantasy element and pick wisely.
Like 2014, the play structure looks to be very similar in playing 9 cards at a time. From what Mike was saying, it doesnt look like they are changing that very drastically. However, they did mention the play timer would go away in a previous statement.
For those of us (like me) who dont have the math or fantasy skills to build the decks in the best possible manner, he said that there would be a “best deck” type of option that automatically selects your most applicable cards. Whew!
Really, the sky is the limit here, and you can bet they will go through the walls with the league ideas. I foresee a Beat TOPPSMIKE league in our future! He has already challenged us to try to get ahead this time around, as he promised to be a force to be reckoned with.
UPDATE: Scoring Structure
Most people will be happy to know that they wont have to completely relearn the way cards score in Bunt. Although hitters have been made a bit more powerful, the main structure is still similar to what it was in 2014, give or take a few points.
Additionally, defensive point structures have gotten much more rewarding, as the tougher a defensive play is to make, the more it will score. If a guy in your lineup scores on an Outfield Assist, gunning down a runner at third, you can bet you will get some nice points for it this year. Sure makes those defensive gurus a bit more valuable to play.
UPDATE: Weekly Sets
Mike assured me that all the fan favorite weekly sets from last year will be back with updated templates. Basically, the deGrom card he previewed is just the tip of the iceberg, and if the rest of the cards look as good as the Editor’s choice, we are in for a treat.
There will also be tons of new content, so dont think its just going to be a Sig, an EC, an FC, and others without a few surprises for the new year. The collection element is going to be a huge part of Bunt this year, including the potential for a Collector of the Week or something to that degree. Nothing is quite finalized yet, but Mike said that collectors will be very much a focus for 2015 as much as gameplay. For a game like this, where there are as many collectors as gamers, that is a big deal.
There may also be an update to collection score and other collection based elements to ensure a fresh start to the year while not abandoning the previous years, but that is something that he didnt provide much information on. More to come.
UPDATE: Boost Structure
For those of you who arent a huge fan of the massive boosts we saw during the post season, Mike said he isnt a huge fan of that either. We already know the basic boost structure from 2014 will continue in 2015, with Common being 1x and Super Rare being 2x. There is no guarantee that things wont accelerate as the year progresses, but for right now, 2x is going to be the common boost that most players will get to in the game. There will still be 3x black boosts, and maybe a VERY special other card that could go higher, but that wont come immediately, from what he provided.
UDPATE: Opening Day Set
Last year, the first inserts of the year were the Opening Day cards, with a special logo on the common base card. They were kind of forgotten as the year went on, as many of the collectors didnt see much of a premium with that type of a look.
Right now, Mike said the plan was to release them again with 30 subjects, but this time with a special photo variation and logo to differentiate the cards from the base. That should help to create value instead of just another white base card with a special logo.
UPDATE: More Photos!
Photography in sports is one of the most impressive around. The dynamic action shots have provided a backdrop for some of the biggest sports headlines of the last 50 plus years, and Bunt is definitely heading that direction.
As some of you probably realized, they tried to move away from posed photography as much as possible later last year, and I could not be happier. This year, Mike was saying the bank of available shots has grown considerably, and they are going to work with their design team to make sure every card has some unique element to it. Either a new photo, or a new way of looking at one that was previously used. Great news there.
Overall – I am shaking with excitement over what looks to be an epic year of baseball action. There are a lot of reasons to get pumped up now that we know how things are going to play out.
Stay tuned for more articles on collecting strategies and how to build your deck.
BIG THANKS TO TOPPSMIKE FOR THE EXCLUSIVE INFO!!