You are either on board with all the variants that are sure to come out, or you are not. I dont see many fence sitters these days, and there sure are a lot of vocal people who seem to think the apocalypse will be painted with different shades of SWCT base cards.
With such a difference of opinion out there, what would make both sides happy? How do you build a base variant that silences much of the annoying complaints from people that donr really see the appeal?
Since the launch of the app, there has been over 300 different colors used in the base. My favorite happens to be the most recent in the purple gradient, but I digress. As a way to seemingly shorten production times, and make money off people’s tendencies to follow certain characters, Topps instituted the variants.
They didnt actually start out as bundle purchase, however. They started out as rare cards in extremely cheap packs a few weeks after launch. The green cards were inserted at extremely low rates in 500 coin packs, and just like we saw with the faction cards, had a prize pack associated with pulling them.
It morphed into an expensive foray into character hoarding, with some of the base cards (printed as low as 1/1) costing $100 a pop. So far, we have seen a very similar type approach with series 3, and im curious if there is a way to keep it fresh without pissing off the entire app.
Change the Pictures
Although some of the ancillary characters might not have alternate photos to use, many of the sidepiece to main characters have hundreds. Although new approvals have to take place, a way to keep people on their toes is to offer alternate photos of characters. This might not be universally available, but it would be really cool to make sure there was a NEW element to each release besides the backgorund.
Use Parallax Effects
This is one thing that SWCT has not yet really explored, and a base variant that uses the parallax effect has a lot of possibilities. Think about the depth of a card with space themed backgrounds that makes the photo pop off the front. It would be awesome. I would really like to see what they could come up with, especially as more base variants are released. It has been used in Huddle quite a bit this year, and most of the time with some great visual results.
Offer Hoard Rewards
Instead of incentivising people to buy the packs just because they exist, add another element to it. Offer Den exclusives for the first few people to reach a goal. Shred X number of cards from the new variant to get X. Get to X number of cards of X character from this variant and get their next variant. SWCT’s community is based around trading, and its time to make the most of it. Not only will it get people to buy more packs, but encourage people to seek out even the weaker characters.
Instead of specific card counts, I would love to see more timer based releases. People go nuts for low count inserts, and its time to exploit two elements of the product that will contribute to bigger value. A timer creates urgency, and urgency creates value – especially early on. The shorter the timer, and the higher the cost, the lower the count will be. It will be a scramble to get your hands on the base variants of the characters you collect, and that is a way to not only inspire trading, but also more pack purchases.
This is the way I would go. Offer a pack that will separate users into a track. The first pack is free, and sets your course. The next pack contains the first variant at X rate, and so on and so forth until you reach the end. You cannot switch tracks until you hit the end, so everyone will need to choose wisely. If set up with cost and value in mind, this could be big. Pack journeys create artificial need to keep opening packs, especially as people get in further. At the same time if the incremental cards are all good, and the final prize is even better, I have seen people spend millions of coins.
Instead of just going with colors or changes to the border of the cards, change the background to reflect something other than color. Do a first order Kylo Ren, or a light side vs dark side variant for Anakin. Something like that would go a lot further with people who might now see the cards as worth collecting.
Overall, people resent the variants because they feel bored with them. The pink ones and the marathon aspect was a great start, but I feel like we can go further. With so many different pack out options now available, the producer’s imagination can dictate the popularity more than ever before.