Should Top Cards Have Newbie Loss Prevention?

The trend towards lower and lower count cards in the Topps apps is quite evident, and for the most part, very alluring to the collectors out there. At the same time, not every one of the cards is kept in circulation, as many times the packs are so readily available, anyone can pull the cards – including users who leave and never come back.

With this in mind, especially on cards with counts below 5, is it worth our time to newbie-proof the packs, thus preventing this situation from happening? Is it something more than just potentially losing the card for good? There is also some interesting discussion to be had about experienced users exploiting lack of economic knowledge to secure the card through ways of low integrity.


There is merit to not going down the path of putting measures in place to “scare away” casual users from trying to score the ultimate prize. The idea that anyone can and should have access to any card available, is a premise that has existed in trading cards for a long time. Having that unattainable card in packs generates buzz, and the fact that anyone can pull it adds to the tension. The tension generated can easily spur people to buy in for more than they normally would, especially if the card(s) stay in packs longer than expected.

Some of it has to do with human nature in regards to FOMO – or fear of missing out. No one wants to be that guy who was about to hit the buy pack button, only to see that someone else has pulled the card. It literally happened to me yesterday. Luckily, I have been around long enough to understand that not everything is within grasp. it doesnt bother me any more. For others, that isnt the case.

So, with that, should everyone have unabated access to packs with super low count cards? I dont think the answer is simple, but there are situations that might help any newbie who hits the jackpot on one pull of the lever.

  1. Require a purchase – before permanent access to the pack is granted, a bundle must be bought. Basically, if you are ready to make a purchase, you are likely not going to disappear. Even if its a .99 cent bundle, it should prevent the 1 trade newbies from diving in.
  2. Increase pack price above the daily bonus – this isnt as good of a way to make this stick, because a 15k pack price will still allow anyone who has saved up to buy the pack. All this will do is prevent larger amounts of packs from being opened at a time.
  3. Lock the card immediately after it is pulled – if the user has available locks, the card should come out of the packs with the lock in place. If the user chooses to unlock it, they can. This may make the card invisible to blind trades until the user unlocks, but if the other measures are in place, it likely wont be someone who doesnt know what to do. This will prevent the blind trade vultures from swooping in and giving nothing for a top prize in the game.
  4. Use a popup with trades containing a 1/1 – have it say something like “A card in this trade is one of the most valuable cards in the app – please be cautious of scams or low value trades. Consult the article comment section for advice on this trade if needed.” This MAY help newer users to understand what they have, and prevent vultures from ridding them of their treasure for nothing.
  5. Require a specific collection score or trade rating count – this could serve as a way to keep cards out of the hands of users that may still be prime for attrition. If you put the collection score indicator at 55 or 60, with a trade count requirement of 50 and above, new users wouldnt be eligible to participate in the top offers. This could serve as an incentive for getting more involved, but it could also accelerate their desire to leave. This could also make it more difficult to use alternate accounts to pull packs for top cards, which looks to be a common occurrence.

Bottom line, protecting the cards that the game loves the most is important to me. As much as I want a new user to experience the thrill of a pull of a lifetime, the risk is just too great. Either the card is traded for nothing, and the user doesnt benefit from the value, or the user leaves and a card is lost forever.

Because there is no attrition timer, with a method for collecting lost cards, its entirely possible that some of these types of cards will never be recovered. For apps that are quickly becoming run by the lowest count examples of every card, this is a huge issue.

If a method for retrieving cards is created, this might be a different story. However, its clear to me that something should be tested to help us all out.

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4 Responses to Should Top Cards Have Newbie Loss Prevention?

  1. @PorterMan20 says:

    No offense, but that is the dumbest article I’ve ever read. Why should digital cards be different than regular cards? If a newbie pulls the card, and leaves the game, how different is that than putting a card in ones bike spokes? Or buying cards and keeping them in your PC and no one else will ever get access to them? The same can and should be true with digital cards. Packs should remain open to all. How do you know that a newbie pulling an insanely rare card won’t pull them in more & get them to use the app and spend money?

    It reads like you’re trying to steer the best stuff to only people who pay money into the app. That is a quick way to ruin it. As getting new users / buyers is critical to the long term success of the app.

    IF anything needs to be done, it’s the recognition of the secondary market & seller protection by eBay / Paypal. Or Topps figuring out a way to set up a secondary market that protects their players / users from scammers while allowing users to sell cards that they no longer want. If an account gets cancelled by Topps, there’s an opportunity to recover those “high cost” cards that would otherwise disappear into the ether.

    • SCUncensored says:

      Hey, that’s why I write! I have one opinion, others might have different ones.

      To be clear – I am DEFINITELY saying we should steer cards to people who pay to play. That is the NATURE of pay to play. Why would I want to pay if someone who doesnt pay has the same shot at pulling the cards? That doesnt provide incentive at all!

  2. I agree with many of your points here, but disagree with others. I think all cards should be available to anyone who wishes to pay, so $0.99 would be the most I would accept as a barrier to entry. The 1:10,000 chance of pulling a 1/1 Huddle card with a 5K pack provides both the balance of being highly unlikely a newbie will pull one vs that one lucky shot that someone does. I have no problem with some newbie pulling a 1/1. I do think that there should be an attrition timer or some other method of checking that the account that owns the 1/1 is valid and there is a living, breathing human behind it, but at the same time, tough luck for me if I never get lucky enough to pull one myself. My favorite player has already had two 1/1 cards this year, and they will never leave the hands of those lucky owners. How is that different than if the card disappears into an oblivion from a dead account? I know there are cards in my collection that are never going anywhere either.

    In any case, I think the system is ok the way it is, but could be improved with some small barrier to entry to ensure real people are trying to get these cards. There are enough high priced, low odds packs and cards to keep most of the special stuff in the hands of the paying customers. Things like Legends, Limiteds, etc. that even if 1 or 2 of them end up in a dead account, there are still some available on the market. 1/1s are the ultimate democracy card – anyone can get one, but it’s insanely difficult for everyone.

  3. kapgar says:

    I’m sorry but absolutely ANYBODY should be able to pull a card and it doesn’t matter if they trade it for too little or too much or disappear entirely. The same thing happens in physical card world. As a kid, I traded cards for too little or too much. It’s part of the collector learning process. As for them staying in the app, people come and go. There’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to keep their cards whether they got them with free or paid-for credits. Are you going to demand a person’s estate return cards when someone dies?

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