Thousand-Dollar Decks

Spellstone is still my go-to online CCG, because I always seem to have one going. I have been playing long enough that I now have a top-thousand deck, and I am increasingly meeting the players who pay for the servers to stay up. I used to mentally refer to them as “hundred-dollar decks,” but looking at some of these top decks I run into, no, these are definitely thousand-dollar decks.

Spellstone always has a couple of premium card “boxes” running, and buying one out completely costs $300-$400, depending on how you buy your RMT currency. The reason to buy one out is to get 4 copies of each premium legendary, because you upgrade and combine them into one quad legendary. You can get 4-6 quads out of a full box, limited to 4 copies of the same legendary. I see decks that have three copies of the same quad premium legendary, meaning these folks had to buy out at least three boxes, and those are for recent cards so these folks are paying ~$1000 for that deck and will need to do so every two months or so to keep up with the P2W curve and shifting environment.

I know in principle that people spend this much on virtual card games, but I did not really get it until I saw the fight in the P2W ranks of the game. I should know this because I played Magic: the Gathering when it first came out, but it is still surprising to see, and I wonder about things like stolen credit cards.

twitter screenshot referring to the Magic the Gathering 'power nine' as part of an investment portfolio

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Thousand-Dollar Decks”

  1. You should graduate from CCG’s to a real TCG – Hex: Shards of Fate. Players can trade cards and sell them to each other via an ingame AH.

  2. In Clash Royale there were dozens if not hundreds of accounts at level 13 almost instantly when the game was released, which the estimated cost to achieve that being in the range of 15k, so the number of people willing to drop large amounts of cash on a game is pretty high.

    It use to surprise me, but when you consider how many Ferrari’s are sold each year, its not at all that crazy.

  3. How big of an advantage does this give the $1000/month players? Does this interfere with your enjoyment of the game (assuming you are not one yourself).

    1. At the very top, the advantage is self-perpetuating in that the winners get exclusive event legendary cards, although few people and not in large quantities.

      As a non-F2P, non-whale player, the whales are annoying when you hit a string of them, but they are basically the soft cap on the game. There is a cap to how far you go in any given event based on how much time and money you have spent. When your guild runs into a top 25 guild in a pairing, you just lose. Come back in 8 hours. You will then be paired against someone 100 ranks lower. The individual events do the same on a shorter frame: $1000 deck, how did I get paired against this scrub, $100 deck, $100 deck, scrub, $1000, $1000…

      There is a narrow range within which you can have a good match, although a lot of that potential gets swamped by randomness anyway.

      So not much? But people mostly remember an experience by the most extreme event and the last one, and you always end at your wall, so I would expect this to have an exaggerated impact on enjoyment despite its relatively limited impact on gameplay.

      1. All of this is why if I get back into playing card games online, it’ll be an LCG (living card game). Let me pay $10-15 for an expansion that gives me all the cards. Spending $100s to get a deck where I can actually test my skill just isn’t fun when I can test my skill elsewhere for much less.

        That said, I think most people can relate to this, but there is something about opening packs in CCGs and getting a legendary. It’s like getting a legendary drop in Diablo. If you just had all the loot in Diablo to start, the game wouldn’t be very good. CCGs I think have a similarity there, but there’s other (cheaper) means of finding that thrill IMO.

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