Over the last few weeks, Star Wars sets have changed a bit. Where it used to be that a set had one or two variants, now they have four or five. In some ways, this can very good for the people who want to collect, where as other times it can be annoying. I wanted to walk through some of my thoughts after spending time chasing some recent sets.
Its worth discussing that the first of the weekly sets had 2 variants to it. Nightbrothers had the base, the red and the inverse black. I mean, this isnt a brand new concept, and it should be expected that Topps wants to maximize the potential of each potential set. Maximize is a relative term, as it can mean anything from profit to accessibility. Although none of the weekly sets have had a variant – YET – the subsidiary inserts have had a relative pattern of parallels. To say this is brand new, isnt really accurate. To say they have expanded upon an existing structure is likely a better way of looking at it.
Why More Parallels Are a Good Thing
I have said it time and time again, no one likes to open packs and walk away empty handed. Its literally the worst feeling in the game, other than getting your stuff stolen by a scammer. Adding more content to packs is something that many people will find to be welcome, even if it means that the card counts have to be higher to justify it.
Lets be completely honest with ourselves and really think about it. Is anyone really upset that they pull a few extra inserts in their packs? I want to see that argument played out, because I fail to see how that is something to be upset about. Even if the inserts themselves have very little value overall, they do provide something that Star Wars has been lacking since the pack structure change.
Accessibility for free players is a huge thing for the majority of the people who play the game. Although there is a contingent of users who are spending a crapload of money every day, there are others who are trying to scrape by with what they can. Topps wants to get as many people to buy those credit bundles as they can, and if you are basically guaranteed an insert from certain sets with the cheapest bundle bought, that could inspire a lot more purchases. With more purchases comes more people who are looking to trade, buy and sell their cards, which is good for the overall economy.
Why More Parallels Are a Bad Thing
The only real argument I can muster on this one, is continuity and complexity of the sets. With more parallels, there are so many different elements to chase, especially when the packs can be separated into Master and Regular flavors. I have had a few instances of opening a master pack of a set and not getting the cards I was expecting, mainly because they were only available in the regular packs.
When you consider how complicated some of the releases have been, to the point where the packs get messed up (Gold Annakin situation from yesterday), it might be better to think about a more straightforward approach. I like that they are trying to keep things fresh, but let me walk you through what the release was like for the posters:
- White posters were only available in the flash pack, which was available at very specific times
- Blue posters were only available for 48 hours
- Gold posters were a bundle attachment
- Green and red were the normal inserts
I mean, for a new user, that is a daunting structure to understand – made even more difficult when trying to trade and determining value. The Shadowboxes set is a pretty similar situation in number, but very much more straightforward. I think the simplicity of the release should be something of major focus, and that gets more apparent each time a new set comes out.
Bottom line, I expect the Topps team to do what they can to get the most money flowing through the pipeline. I had a very fun time tracking down all the blue posters, and busting shadowboxes packs too. This discussion is one I am seeing more and more frequently, and if you feel things should be done a certain way, I would encourage you to make your voice hear in a constructive way. Topps does listen quite a bit, and they value that type of feedback. I hope more people find a way to give as much as they can.