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Author Topic: Promo cards  (Read 20726 times)

DeckBuilder

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Promo cards
« on: August 13, 2013, 08:01:53 AM »
I keep seeing card names I don't have, despite buying all expansions (available in the UK).
Ballista
Meditation Amulet
Gravikor

I then realised these were promo cards and I read that they will be released eventually.
Sectarus (which is so out of place in that expansion) is evidence this is being carried out.

Now I realise "Kickstarter" donations are deserving of special unique rewards.
I certainly don't begrudge anyone who donates to the gaming hobby like that.

But these promo cards seem to be everywhere.
I don't know what people have done to deserve them.
But they have access to abilities that none of us mere mortals have access to.

I am a huge fan of AW and wish them every success with this game.
Just like FFG revised expectations of component quality (from AH!), AW have raised the bar further.
Unfortunately CoK costing me than FvW seemed odd (by all means move to paper boxing).
But overall, I am constantly singing the praises of "this independent games company called AW".
I hope AW shame FFG to similar Return On Investment (I doubt it as FFG is like Apple, once the upstart etc).

However, their decision to give access to cards with competitive abilities only to limited sources (outside of their Kickstarter base who deserve it) may possibly create a two-tier community...

I do appreciate that Tom Vassel's weighty recommendation is worthy of a "thank you" gesture at Dice Tower so AW are simply being nice, rewarding their advocates/evangelists and what they perceive to be the most active base (US games convention goers). As a marketing professional, I appreciate this is simply sensible promotion marketing.

However, this does create a bit of annoyance from the others. Is it really fair some players can cast spells that others simply can't? This is in a LCG where every expansion is bought by fans.

I would have no problem if these rewards (exc. Kickstarters who deserve all they get) were special artwork foil cards signed by the artist or Bryan Pope himself. The marketing promotion rewards should be "collector" cards and certainly not competitive cards that I've got and you haven't because I paid a donation to Dice Tower.

I really want Mage Wars to become as big as Magic (more accessible and fun, Magic is more cerebral). That is why I'd urge the Arcane Wars Marketing Department to think twice before releasing competitive spells to a very limited base. Why not just stick to foils, hallmarks, different artwork, signed etc? Or if it has to be a brand new spell (which then takes up space in a later expansion out-of-place), at least make it for some niche casual play strategy and not competitive.

Just to reiterate: I am a huge fan and will continue purchasing the product (barring further significant value erosion beyond CoK compared to FvW) no matter what AW do on this subject. But as a marketing consultant by profession, I can see the hole they are potentially digging by not promoting a "level playing field" when it comes to access to spells.

Keep up the good work in all other areas (well, apart from the GenCon tiebreaker and ToL pre-emptive errata to allow for more temples). The product is very good, very accessible and just ticks the Ameritrash "fun" box. So well done guys for providing so much fun to all of us.


« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 08:14:37 AM by DeckBuilder »
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Doma0997

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2013, 08:24:43 AM »
While it may be true that people that go to the conventions and get those promo cards, as well as those that did the dice tower kickstarter to get them may have access to those cards sooner, all that does for them is give them a little extra time to playtest them in their builds. The promo cards are not legal for tournament play until they are released to everyone.

Alpha

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2013, 11:38:19 AM »
There are two reasons why I don't mind the fact that there are promo cards.
1. As DeckBuilder pointed out. "These were promo cards and I read that they will be released eventually."
2. As Doma0997 pointed out. "The promo cards are not legal for tournament play until they are released to everyone."

WOOOOOOO MAGE WARS!

Alpha

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2013, 11:40:57 AM »
I do wish I had a Gravikor though... grrr...

rcone002

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2013, 12:39:52 PM »
I do wish I had a Gravikor though... grrr...

Understand your frustration. Gravikor is sweet! Hopefully it will be in Druid vs. Necromancer....
You could always make a proxy - since it's not legal in competitive events now anyway, perhaps your opponents wouldn't mind.

DeckBuilder

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 02:28:25 PM »
Exactly. People do play Gravikor. While others wish they had one.

How many tournaments are there? Now compare it to the competitive games played (is there any other type?).

In 99.999% of games played, promos cause imbalance. Some players have an advantage that all others don't.

This is worse if a card is just sprung on you. What? All my angels lose flying? Where is the skill if you can't even anticipate what your opponent could play?

I have not faced a promo-only card yet. I know what every spell distributed does, its cost, quick/full action and range. I can gaze at my opponent's mana and anticipate. But I know nothing about promo cards really beyond what I surmise from references. When I finally face a promo card (rare in the UK), I think I will feel hard done by.

Maybe I'm too competitive for my own good. Blessed with more disposal income than my peers, I try to curb my wallet advantage. But I guess I can always trawl E-Bay to get these cards that others could play against me?

This game is not the same as say promo cards in (great fun) Spartacus. There exist powerful promo gladiators but they may never appear at auction and if they do, they can be gained by any player. Here we are talking about allowing an uneven playing field in the overwhelming majority of games played. How can that be fair? A better paradigm is Magic because it has 2 opposing competitive builds. Magic promo cards are usually very good cards (some unplayably too big in tournament but loved by casuals) with new artwork and foil or embossed. But they were never cards that did not already exist.

As a marketing consultant, I would advise a client thus: because these unique promo cards are so competitive, this is not a good idea in the long run...

I say this because I love the game and want it to thrive.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2013, 02:40:29 PM by DeckBuilder »
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baronzaltor

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 02:33:43 PM »
A lot of promos are also from the Organized Play Kits too.

So, if you can work out league play with a store in your area (or if there already is one) you can get an influx of promo cards into your play groups.  Each kit has 4 different promos in multiples to give to the Winners, Coordinators, and accomplishing other game objectives during the sessions.

Doma0997

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2013, 03:32:44 PM »
I'm just a little confused i guess. I mean, they are not legal in tournament play, and they have the foil mage wars symbol. If you're worried about seeing them in casual play, just be like hey, no using unreleased promo cards until they are put into a set we can all buy. I wouldn't use a promo card against a friend without telling them i want to test it first. It's not like the people who get promo cards are the only ones ever getting them, they are getting them early and they can only be used in friendly games..

haslo

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2013, 04:00:18 PM »
Yeah, saying "let's not use promo cards" when making an appointment for a game should be an easy thing to do :P

I also find that the promos do give players the possibility to focus more on certain strategies than would otherwise be less competitive, but I haven't found any overpowered ones yet...


Alpha

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2013, 04:01:45 PM »
In 99.999% of games played, promos cause imbalance. Some players have an advantage that all others don't.?
Yes, promos can give an unbalanced unfair advantage to a player that has them compared to someone who does not. HOWEVER I think that if you went anywhere in the world to play a friendly game of Mage Wars or even went to a competitive scene that if you said "We should play without promos so that our game is fair since not everyone has access to them and they are OFFICIALLY NOT ALLOWED IN OFFICIAL Mage Wars tournament play" everyone would be fine with that.

Think about Magic the Gathering for example. You could make yourself a deck from aaaallll the cards ever printed, however when you go to play, competitively or not, the majority of players will require you to adhere to the rules of a format. Lets take the "Standard" format for example.

http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=judge/resources/sfrstandard

Even though Magic has many many cards the format restricts which you are allowed to play. They even have ban lists for cards that become overpowered.

Think of Mage Wars the same way. Sure there are these promo cards but when it comes down to it, they are officially not allowed in tournament play. So when you play Mage Wars, just follow Mage Wars tournament play rules.

Alpha

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2013, 04:05:34 PM »
Same goes to the OFFICIAL Arcane Wonders errata cards Battle Fury, Hand of Bim-Shalla and Temple of Light. The 'official' text on these cards was changed but the text on my physical cards at home most definitely didn't. (sad face) So what prevents me or anyone else from following the old text on the cards when playing? Well the fact that the old text is 'officially wrong' and not legal in official tournament play.

Official haha

Doma0997

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2013, 05:21:49 PM »
Well you can play with the old wording, but i feel you would eventually come across that odd game where someone tells you that you're playing it wrong. If you're playing for your own personal enjoyment, do what you wish, but i know I'm trying to get a competitive scene going where i am, so i have to keep up to date on everything.

sIKE

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2013, 05:41:28 PM »
I run decks with both Promo's and without. If you play on Octgn, its deck builder includes most Promo's. So you can get the chance to play with them if you would like. If you are a fan of Vassel go out to the Dice Tower web site and click on the Donate link. You might find something there that will bring a smile to your face. Even the guys across the Pond can take advantage for another buck......

With all that said, I really do enjoy playing the Promo's. Ballista rocks along with the Temple High Guard. I look forward to the time these are officially released!
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DeckBuilder

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2013, 06:05:12 AM »
Thank you for being so honest about you loving playing your promos, sIKE. I would love playing them too.

Look guys. I know I'm having a bit of a moan because I can't buy these promo cards normally from a retailer. But I can't be the only one who feels this way, surely? Doesn't anyone see the 2-tier play that this will create?

I only have a vague idea what these cards do from references (Ballista is like Akiro's Hammer for every mage, I assume?) but when I am strategising (book-building), I just feel frustratingly restricted because I do not have, say, any Ballista to build zonal control better.

As for them not being overpowered, maybe so but they are pivotal. Out of the available-to-buy cards, Sectarus sticks out as a once-promo card. There may be others but there isn't an official list let alone description of them out there (so we mortals can anticipate them in play). Now I contend a Curse-focused Warlock strategy 100% needs Sectarus. Ballista for zonal control. Seems to me these promo cards are pretty important "pieces" when assembling certain strategies.

That's what's galling. You feel handicapped when strategising. The solution you say is to insist no Promo cards. But then you are crippling the opponent's build who relied on those cards when building their book.

So what happens then is you get formats, like the multiple formats in Magic. You get "Promo cards allowed" format and "No promo cards" format. This is mentioned by sIKE who has books in both formats.

There is also the assumption of play balance. With each release, there will be new threats where current spells are insufficient counters but also new counters to those new threats. We assume that these timed releases are playtested so that cards remain balanced. But with the preview cards, we get these cards early without their counter. Cards are released in bursts because they shake up the meta in combination. But a promo card breaks that paradigm. It's out-of-place, early without its counter cards.

Here's a hypothetical example. If Bridge Troll was a promo card and available before Circle of Fire (staple in Warlock, Fire Wizard and many other builds), it would obviously be stronger during that period of time. Because it was not released in its proper timing. A card's strength is influenced by the meta so early releases imbalance.

I appreciate the AW forum is where there will be the totally die-hard fans who would never criticise aspects of the game (even if it is meant as constructive criticism). Also the active base who benefit most from promotion  marketing. But I ran the gauntlet here as this is the one place where maybe your voice may be heard by AW and your thoughts considered.

I suspect there may be a silent consumer base out there who feel second class. I suspect that if you compare units sold (core sets) vs. maximum promo cards of 1 type out there x2 (assumes everyone with 1 copy of most common promo card has 2 core sets on average), you will find the second class players are the majority. As the game rockets up in popularity (it will as it is a very good product), assuming the same penetration of promo cards out there, this majority will only widen.

What is happening here is that the very sensible promotion marketing strategy to excite and reward activists and advocates will backfire by creating more resentment than evangelism. You see it everyday when you see offers "unavailable to existing customers". All I am advising here (with the best intentions as none of my local meta have promos either) is AW reconsider the current "competitive unavailable preview cards" strategy that works really well when small but, as the game grows bigger, they have to transition out because there are diminishing returns in the trade-off of exciting activists vs. outsider resentment. Just make these promo cards less pivotal to the competitive strategies (e.g. the same level as Sunfire Amulet, a cool card albeit prolonging games moving against tournament format, certainly not a "sideboard" card like Eagleclaw Boots which can be key in certain match-ups). Apparently promos are already foil so this must continue. But I certainly think foil/embossed versions of existing cards will still be valued ("bling") without creating an uneven playing field.

This isn't an attack on the game, just sound advice from someone who is paid to consult on company marketing strategies. Because, let's make it clear. I really love this fun (yet deep) game. The value-for-money components of the core set and forcemaster expansion made me a big fan of Arcane Wonders. I wish them every success for shaking up the gaming industry's cost-component expectations (they could have pitched at FFG level which was the gold standard after Eagle Games ended). That's why I'm spending time explaining why their current "small company" promotion marketing strategy needs to be phased out to just cools cards, not strategy-pivotal cards.

Finally, thank you AW for hours of entertainment. I hope the game goes ballistic.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 06:14:31 AM by DeckBuilder »
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jacksmack

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Re: Promo cards
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2013, 08:51:19 AM »
I completely agree with OP.

For me the current promos take the game 1 step in the direction of a CCG
Lately i have been annoyed by the promos and CoK and it has actually made me step away from the game for more than 2 months.

Here is why.

The Promos will take up signifigant space in the strategy threads - threads i cannot participate in or learn from because i dont have access to discussed promos.
Also - as OP has explained - the promos are not balanced because they counter cards have not been released, which is why i would never play with promos unless BOTH me and my opponent had access to ALL promos, and still i would prefer to play without.

The CoK was more than 1 month later released where i live, and i bought it as soon as i realized it was available -which is what I believe is  2 or 3 days after it actually WAS available due to me getting tired of checking stores homepages every day.
Anyway... As it takes quite some time for me to build a spellbook i didnt really feel like doing this 1 month before release in the US... add this that it was available almost 1.5 month later and the result for me was no spellbook making in 2.5 months.

I realize that there probaly aint much you can do about the CoK release not being released at the same time in different regions of the world but that, and for me seeing more and more promos released that i dont have access to just took away my inspiration.