I think right now, the sets we are seeing released are easily some of the best looking in the history of the app. Each new insert is cooler than the next, especially as the Topps design team finds new source material to build cards out of.
The issue is that collectors are becoming increasingly disenfranchised with chasing down cards, as mentioned prior. They are looking for the easiest way to get their fix, many not caring about card count or even the character on the card. Dont get me wrong, they all want the sweet new goods that arrive, but they dont want to have a hard time getting it.
I dont blame them, as the cost and effort to acquire some of the rarer parallels is getting more and more difficult, especially with the sheer number of available sets floating around. Here are some suggestions I have on how I would like to see things change in the way inserts are built. Be aware that my feedback is without knowledge of app and staff limitations.
Provide More Information
Right now, when an insert set is released, so little information is provided about the chase that we literally have no idea what to expect. Its probably intentional, but it causes more issues than it solves. Im not saying that all the details have to be provided up front, but there are a few main things that should be included with each brief:
- Set Size
- Card Counts
- Award structure
- Set length (in days available and release schedule)
Right now, we only get what is coming with each release, no information about how many cards, or how long the set will take to complete. The mindset is to get people to continue to buy in knowing that this card COULD be last, but I would say more people might jump on board if the sets were revealed much more up front.
Make Set Releases Shorter or More Frequent
Star Wars is an epic space opera. Its sets are rivaled in length, as many of them are extending out well past where they should. With only one card released per day, many of the sets are extending out into weeks and months instead of the short and sweet presentation that might make things a bit more palatable. Either shorten the number of cards in a set, or release more than one per day, as people are losing interest due to the increased timeframe necessary to reap the fruits of one’s labor.
If the one card model continues, and there is enough content to run 10-20 examples – do so in multiple series.
People will cite that there are cards left in packs for days as it is, but that speaks more to lack of interest in chasing the set as it does the quality of the cards. If people get bored, they check out. If people get frustrated, they check out. If ANYTHING NEGATIVE at all happens, they check out. Its just a fickle bunch. Therefore, play to the attention span and get the sets done more quickly.
We also understand content takes a while to create with Star Wars, so we can understand if a ramp up is needed. I know you cant just flip a switch, but the goal should be to get more done more quickly. If Star Wars is the juggernaut it looks to be, more resources may need to be dedicated to make this type of situation happen.
Vary Insert Release Structures
Not every set needs parallels, and not every set needs to be released in a pack that costs 5k with 5 cards. Using creative ways of disseminating the inserts is a really cool way to get people engaged, especially if the method matches the madness.
I was expecting more pack journey types of content, where you had to pull one card to get access to the next, or even just a low cost pack that feeds into a higher cost pack when you pull the tiered insert.
Hell, let the fans choose their own subject in the series by offering pack votes every day. Make a fan’s choice type of set that feeds off of crowdsourced checklist building. Maybe then we can say for sure that Han Solo does not deserve his fourth insert in a row.
Offer a VIP Program
I think its time. Its time to bring VIP to Star Wars.
That doesnt mean it needs to be the exact same thing it is in the other apps, but the people who spend money should get similar benefits in the app that they do in other games. Give master access for longer periods of time to them. Give them special inserts. Make them feel like the special contributors that they are.
A few months ago, I might have said this would be a detriment to the quirky community that SWCT had become, but I think some of that luster has sadly faded away. Although the community is still stronger than many of the other games, its getting to a point where users are starting to fall in line with patterns from the other apps. At that point, its better to embrace the change, and think of fun things to reward people who spend the real money.
Offer Better Awards
I hate saying this as a suggestion, but the award should mirror the effort it takes to complete the set. By offering varied awards, the set will become more of a chase for the people who want to go for it.
Think about this – complete a set and get the award card. At the same time, you are entered for a chance to get one of 10 special award cards that are drawn at random from all users who completed the set. Complete a parallel and get more entries or something like that.
I would also give special awards for people who collect the master set – basically every card in the set in all parallels. Maybe offer preview inserts from other sets as a reward, or even extended access to special parts of the Cantina. Go nuts, because every additional thing may be able to increase value and therefore sell more packs.
Its also not a bad idea to encourage trading within the set, as awards can be structured to incorporate this element as we saw with the Dark Side set. Give the people who trade the set the most a special card. Give more hoarders awards like we saw with Space Paintings. Although I realize every element like this takes more work on the back end, its worth it when you see the reaction of the collectors.
Lastly, coin awards are overrated, unless they are substantial. I mean, 15k or 30k wont even get me part of the way there. If you offer 100k plus, well, that’s different.
Bottom line, I want to see the inserts remain the top chase in any of the four apps. For a long time, you couldnt get anything without a fight because everything was fresh and popular. Now that the app has a few miles on the odometer, I dont want to see things change. Hopefully some of this will work out to everyone’s advantage, including Topps.
I would also encourage you guys to submit your own ideas any way possible. Even though you might not get a direct response, I assure you they listen to all constructive suggestions.
I agree almost 100% with you, beside your last point, they’re not listening and they’re not interested in Feedback, but Topps will have to learn their lesson very soon.
I wrote them already several complaints and although they’re very fast with their replies in the app they just give you empty phrases. As you mentioned there’s no VIP system and you get helpdesk like replies (on Bunt at least Toppshanford is usually writing back for Black VIP’s and they do take care).
Everything else you mentioned is absolutely right, the sets have no structure e.g.:
Intergalactic: Finished all of a sudden after 5 cards
Clone Attack: Was MIA after 3 cards and was just re-born today
TK: Now at 19 cards, but first award givena after 14 cards
BoW: Now at 10 cards and no hint for how long the chase will continue
With also a lot of other sets totaly unclear for how long the chase will be …
I’m sure you’ll write another article about it soon, but with the “Reflections” chase this is now really getting out of control. The odds are ridiculous, but still there will be 2500 printed, so someone will get them with so many users at SWCT and already clear with the first cards on ebay that the value is not even close to that amount of money you would have to put into credits to chase it. Topps will have to learn very soon that the current system won’t work for long and I’ve stopped purchasing credits. So if they want to have people spending money on the app (and not on ebay) they need to start to turn it arround and yes a VIP system would be a good thing to get frustrated users back.