I think that the downward trend in SWCT has created a lot of negativity over the last year plus, and its definitely warranted. A focus on heavy variants, sales, lack of follow through and a whole bunch of odd decisions seemed to have poisoned the well with a community that was once the strongest of any of the apps. There has been novels written on Twitter about the direction of the app, some of which is extremely personal and mostly negative. However, over the last few weeks, I have seen a shift in the force that might suggest some of that vitriol might be wearing away. So, based on that, what’s changed?
One of the main complaints of 2016 was the sheer number of Variants that were released with every set. Instead of creating additional content or finding ways to get people buying more quickly, they felt that quantity was better than quality. In recent sets, its been much more focused on letting the content speak for itself. That isnt saying variants dont exist, but more that the focus is on creating better designs and making the set themes interesting and cool.
Similarly, the packout gimmicks that forced people into spending money just to get access to a pack has been dialed back considerably, focusing more on simplicity and less on finding ways to squeeze another dollar out of the community, who has become so disgusted with that practice.
After a long long time of a directionless approach to the way cards are released, it seems like the team has finally recognized that there is more than just today and tomorrow when building a long term plan.
Although its not fully recovered in the slightest, or even close, Im seeing better approaches than has been used in quite some time.
Rebuilding the Coin Economy
For most of 2016, bundle purchases were a preferred method of pack delivery. Every insert had some sort of bundle attached to it, and as a result, the coin economy suffered massive issues with the way users thought about how to spend. Anything of value was rarely available in a coin pack, and users would save and save and save because they literally had nothing to spend it on.
In the last few months, it seems like the coin economy is slowly but surely being rebuilt, with a renewed focus on coin packs and delivering cards in a way that makes users feel less like they are digging into their wallet every time they want a card that was just released.
Similarly, cutting out people that use emulators and fixing some of the bugs might have contributed as well. For a long time, coin farmers with tons of accounts were able to drive down the value of coins by using the system to exploit the daily bonuses that came with each day’s reset. I dont think the issue is fully resolved, but from what I understand, its a lot harder to abuse the system with some changes that were made in the new build.
Set collecting is a huge part of SWCT, and delivering awards in a timely manner is something that has been a struggle going back to the Galactic Moments cards that took months to hand out. Im sure its a combination of the manual nature of building the award checklists and approvals on the content itself, but it was an issue.
I have seen more and more users that were saying many outdated awards were being fulfilled, and that the timing of things was much more of a palatable nature. I think this is probably something that many are thinking is minor, but I can assure you, its not. Some of the largest issues in the history of the apps have come around award deadlines, and that’s no joke.
It takes a lot of organization to run any app that is currently available, and I would guess that goes tenfold for a card collecting app built around one of the most meticulous communities of fans. I have noticed much better organization and fluidity lately, and I think that awards have been a good representation of that.
Improvements Still Needed
As I said, fixing the cracked foundation is the first step to fixing the whole structure. If the base of your building isnt sturdy, nothing else can really be truly fixed. There are some things that still need attention, and Im guessing it will be a year long focus across all the apps to restore the roar if you will.
The first thing that needs attention is the new build itself. There are still issues that are plaguing the release, and I have seen users on Reddit and the app talking about what is still going wrong. I think that allowing users to provide feedback on what they want to see different would be a great opportunity to build some good will, and might provide some bugs even I havent found yet.
Marathons are still a big issue as well too, as so many of them are unsold or unwanted. I think the original fervor around the marathons has died, and its time to re-evaluate the way the cards are delivered in this manner. Cards are sitting for weeks without selling out in some cases, and it might be time to move a new direction. Its going to take a lot of getting used to, but it will be for the greater good. In the meantime, its time to cut bait and start clearing out the old cards in heavily discounted packs.
Customer service and community recognition are similarly important, as its clear that the methods of management to this point have failed. The community wants the involvement they had when the app first started, and the producers need to do a better job being engaged and online. Community management is a full time job, so if it isnt going to be the people in charge of the app, its time to hire someone to run the ship as their main focus.
Again, lots of good trajectory for the app, good starts on some major issues that need to be fixed. I think that for 2017, things are finally on the right track, and we might see a lot of things happen that werent ever thought to be possible during the dark days.
Good points, except I feel I need to clarify one thing – they are way behind on awards. Last big award ceremony was in the middle of November. There are 84 current awards available, most with “coming soon” as the deadline. Rebels Blueprints is still waiting an award and that set concluded in August!
They have been handing out regular awards for limited time releases such as the current Empire Strikes Back and Silver S3 Expansions, but that’s it.