When playing the Topps apps, spending real money is a very polarizing situation for some users. Either you are free to play (F2P), and you dont want to spend, you are a casual spender, or you spend frequently. If you are part of the first two groups, it can be tough to recognize when the best time drop some real coin on digital coins. Im going to try to outline where I see the most opportune times to buy in – if that is your sort of thing.
One thing to mention, this post is written by someone who spends enough to make a considerable dent. Not everyone spends and not everyone has to spend. I am writing this for educational purposes, if not only because so many people have asked. If you dont want to spend, that’s perfectly fine with me. If you do, here are some of my tips.
First off, its important to understand that spending money through the coin store or through TapJoy, is the way Topps pays the massive bills for the staff and the app maintenance. Many digital apps can cost millions to build and as much to keep running, and spending is the only way that Topps can keep the lights on. Being that spending is what funds the apps, it should be obvious that they want to provide as much content to those people as possible.
If you have been playing any of the apps for any sort of length, you can see the collections that some users are able to accumulate. It usually isnt because they are some master trader. Most of the time, its because they spend real money to acquire coins or credits, and they can spend that much more on the cards that are released. This is exactly how it is designed, and for the most part, cannot be duplicated through trading. Some things you just have to spend for.
Over the last few years, spending real money has become a hotter topic than people might have expected. More purchase based programs have become a part of SWCT, Huddle, Bunt and Kick, in various ways, and it hasnt always been the most popular of scenarios. Rightfully so, as no one likes spending money when they dont have to.
When many of the apps started off, the coin economy was much looser. You could theoretically have tons of accounts whose sole purpose was to farm coins, and many did so. There were also many more sets that offered coin rewards instead of reward cards. Since the changes in 2014, Topps’ app protocol prevents this from being the case, as one device is tied to one account. It hasnt fixed things 100%, but the economy is much tighter as a result.
Similarly, insert program structures have changed dramatically, with many sets not providing pack access to people that arent willing to spend. Of course, the change to offer more guaranteed inserts per packs has also become more common, so it hasnt been a total loss for F2P players.
When you think about why these changes have taken place, it shouldnt be surprising. It might not be something you are happy about, but it should not shock anyone.
Because businesses exist solely to make money, not friends, it has never been something I resent Topps for shifting towards. I spend a considerable amount of money, but it is because I enjoy the game. If I dont like something, I dont buy it. I dont get upset about Topps releasing the set, as it is clear that they have a responsibility to their stakeholders to produce. Others, as I completely understand, can feel considerably different.
This isnt meant to be an article discussing why spending happens, or why it is good or bad, so I digress.
Let me start by saying its best to buy in bulk. Not only will you get more bang for your buck, but you can better approach certain targets knowing a set limit. There is a reason why some stores offer better deals when you buy a lot, and the same is true here.
Here is the cost per million when you break it down over each bundle’s price. When you see it like this, its easier to see why buying the bigger bundles is a much better idea. It does require a larger investment, which is why many people avoid them.
- $.99 (3000 coins) – $333 per million
- $4.99 (20,000 coins) – $250 per million
- $9.99 (50,000 coins) – $200 per million
- $49.99 (300,000 coins) – $166 per million
- $74.99 (600,000 coins) – $125 per million
- $99.99 (900,000 coins) – $110 per million
By looking at these rates, you can see that you are paying almost double the cash for that impulse buy as you are if you had planned ahead. Similarly, if you go to the cheapest bundle, you are getting in at triple the cost. All I can say is that if you plan on spending periodically, its best to buy the larger bundles, even if you are buying in at 300k instead of 50k. Any increase up the scale and you get more for your money.
Taking Advantage of Coin Sales
Periodically, there are offers of bundles that heavily discount the cost per million. When you see these sales in progress, it is a good time to break down and buy.
- $99.99 (1,000,000 coins) – Straight up $100 per million
- $99.99 (1,250,000 coins) – About $75 per million, best deal around
- $9.99 (90,000 coins) – $110 per million, great deal
These offers literally are the best that it gets, so if you see them pop up, and you are already going to be buying, this is where things swing a bit more in our favor.
In addition to getting everything at discounted prices, you can sometimes get cards for buying in at a top level, which includes the coins plus the card per bundle bought. At this point, the deal’s value becomes higher in game, as the cards will have significant trade value in addition to the actual coins you will still get in your account.
Taking Advantage of Pack Sales
In addition to discounting coin sales, they can sometimes discount pack prices as well, which is something that works out pretty even to a coin sale.
If a pack price is discounted by 50% it can cut the cost per million on the acquisition of that card as well. Although you will still pay full price for the coin bundle, the bundle will go further.
If you see pack prices discounted and you are looking to acquire the card in question, this is a good time to buy in as well.
Coin Card Purchases
Recently in Kick and Huddle, there are new bundles which will come with a pack of cards containing a certain amount of coins. Basically, you buy a bundle for X amount, and the pack is free in addition to the coins already associated with that bundle.
The top prize has been anywhere from 150k to 250k in coins, which makes these purchases almost a no-brainer if you are into that type of thing. I have bought in for a significant amount when these happen, as the cost per million is reduced by how much you pull. Its basically a pull of a slot machine, which is a bit odd in its own right, but the rewards are usually good enough that you can do quite well on less of a real investment.
Buying Cards Through Bundles
This is where things can get quite controversial. These purchases usually require a user to buy a bundle, receive little to no compensation in coins and recieve a card or chance at a card in return. SWCT has used this model for the base variants, numbered as low as 1, and Huddle has used this for boosts and other cards.
We have also seen Bunt offer this as an alternative for using coins on box purchases, usually at an even exchange rate, which makes sense. In addition, they have also done packs for purchase on sets like Inception.
These purchases are usually meant for mid to high spenders, and frequently require a large(r) purchase to complete the offer. If you are not someone with money to burn, these types of things probably arent for you. If you are looking for a specific card, eBay is probably a better option anyways, as the cards can frequently sell below the cost to acquire them through packs.
Some of the cheaper pack bundle purchases can be as little as .99 cents, but read the fine print next to the buy button. Spending 19.99 may get you a guarantee, but .99 cents might only get you a 1:10 shot.
NOTE: Sales on the bundle packs have been frequent, so try to avoid the “I MUST HAVE THIS NOW!” and read how long the bundle will be available. In some cases, it can be very much in your interest to wait until a sale happens before buying in. It is worth noting that sometimes the sales do not come, and you will be forced to employ other means to get the card.
As recent as this past weekend, Topps has increased the payouts on TapJoy, which can be accessed through the “Earn Free Coins” button when you are looking to buy.
These deals can frequently offer tangible goods for sale, that also pay out coins upon purchase. This is basically Topps using affiliate marketing 3rd party vendors to generate revenue. Instead of paying $X dollars for digital goods, you can usually get digital goods and tangible goods as well. Its not a bad deal, and sometimes the cost per million can be very low.
When the deals are increased, this is even more incentive to use tapjoy, as long as the deal is profitable. Many times you will have to provide personal information that can lead to spam, so keep that in mind.
Using “Increase Daily Bonus” Sales
I like to look at this as an annuity option. You pay up front for a specific price, and your daily bonus will increase by X coins per day. This is something that can be very lucrative if the cost per million is low. Read through the bundle price, see the total you will receive, and do the math. If it comes out even to current prices, there is no incentive to purchase. If its discounted, it might be a deal worth buying in.
Based on the text in the bundle, you might even be able to stack these on top of each other, which can further accentuate the deal in question.
In Kick and Bunt, the VIP program exists to further incentivize spending within the apps, and that is a big reason why some people spend as much as they do.
To become a VIP, you must spend real money, and to reach the upper levels of VIP, you must spend A LOT of money.
My rule of thumb is that the VIP payout is likely 15-25% of the total amount spent, and it fluctuates month to month based on total app spending per capita. If you spend 100 bucks to get VIP in march, you might not get VIP for the same 100 bucks in April. This is especially true for offseason vs regular season time frames.
VIP payouts can be some of the best cards in the game, including top inserts and custom cards. Read the prizes thoroughly and decide if/how you would like to participate.
Buying vs F2P
Again, this is all strategic, as with any game. The freemium model is as profitable as it is, because impulse is a hell of a drug. So is instant gratification, for that matter.
You can have fun in the game as a F2P player, but you have to find the edges in which to exploit. Tapjoy is a part of that, as is the Fan Feed. At the same time, you are not a supporter of the app other than your game participation, so very little of the content will be readily accessible to you. That is the point of the sales model, and it is something you will have to come to terms with quickly.
It is worth mentioning that a little money can go a long way if you take the right approach, but also realize it is very addicting by nature. Again, the rush of ripping packs is there for a reason, as it is with physical cards as well.
Be mindful of the pricing and take advantage to stock up when the deals are good. You will see how much the game will change.
New User Tips is a running series on Digital Card Central – If there are any other questions you have about the nuance of the game, please do not hesitate to tweet me @SCUncensored or through a same card trade with a message in the game.
If you have ideas for future New User Tips – please let me know!