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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.