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Monday, June 17, 2013

Hoard Packs: My Thoughts


I don't think any of us around for it will forget the day that the first Wizard101 Hoard Pack was released. And it wasn't necessarily a bad day. If you think this is purely a rant on Bundles and Packs or an entire advocacy for them, you'd be wrong. I want to do more than complain about hoard packs, I want to offer constructive ideas on how to improve them... and possibly note why they're alright.

Hoard Packs have now been a part of Wizard101 for a long time, and are just being introduced to Pirate101. And, for almost as long, people have complained about the packs. First, it was...

The Gambling Aspect

It has been long debated whether or not these packs are gambling. However, Jester has voiced his opinion, stating that they are not, in fact, gambling. The pack promises seven random cards, and clearly outlines your chances. Then, when you open a pack, you get exactly that - seven cards.

Jester compared it to a gumball machine. You're guaranteed a gumball. You put your quarter in, and you get your gumball. Some flavors taste better than others, but you always get that gumball.

Also consider this. That popular area with card packs for young collectors - it's targeting a young age group, and it's not gambling, and not illegal. The same is even true with "claw machine" which usually cost money and return nothing. Why, then, would something guaranteed even be close to gambling?

The final argument made is that it fits the definition of gambling.
Verb; 1.Play games of chance for money; bet.
You aren't betting crowns for crowns, you're getting a guaranteed seven cards. Argument invalid.

Complainers... It's Just What They Do?

Most people who talk against hoard packs are met with opposition of all sorts, mostly from people who believe that the person posting is just one who got unlucky when opening packs. I believed that for a long time. Sometimes it is, but a lot of the time, they have a point.

A good, sensible friend of mine who left Wizard101 before even hitting the "cap" for Pirate101 informed me that she left, at least in part, because of the intrusion of hoard packs and, consequently, beggars. She also noted that she'd probably leave Pirate101 when it became the same way. Boom! Then it hit me. Red flag, KingsIsle!

Another well-known community member, former Mercenaries For Hire owner, blogger, and #twizard Katherine Light, had an opinion as well. She noted that the wands in many packs, and the gear in recent packs, was quite a bit more powerful that than dropped in-game. And she's right.

A Question of Fairness

Crowns players have to pay for individual areas, but get to keep them forever. Subscribers get to play at their own, speedy pace, and never have to pay more than the set price. That should be even right there. But then, subscribers get a load of added benefits that really are very notable. So, is this gear just part of the few advantages of being a crowns player?

Well, on one hand, yes, crowns players get this sort of gear because they spend the crowns. On the other, the best gear in game is buried in these packs - doesn't that cheat some crowns players, too?

A Solution in Sight?

You have to ask the question - is there really a solution? You see, KingsIsle is a company wanting to make money, so they need something to sell these hoard packs. But, at the same time, what about the gear? Doesn't it have to be powerful enough that people want the packs?

There are a couple of solutions I see.

  • Off all but the top one or two tiers of gear as moderate to rare drops in various areas of the Spiral. This allows dedicated players to still obtain gear that is very close to the best, while reserving these special pieces for those dedicated enough to buying the pack.
  • Created packs for the cosmetic aspect. Currently, the gear designers, with all due respect, are not creating pieces that we're really interested in wearing for looks. If they were successful in creating wands, hats, robes, and boots, however, that we were interested in, I'd still buy the packs for sure! Different colored outfits would be easy additions that would see more packs.
  • Offer something non-essential that is still desirable. I won't talk too much about specific location teleportation amulets, as that's a future post, but offering gear that has some use beyond stats would sell packs without overpowering things.
  • Make the gear no-PvP. I'm really not for this, but it's an option. For the most part, the community using this gear doesn't like this idea. And the community who doesn't use the gear also doesn't like this idea, they just see it as a happy medium if they can't get the whole thing taken out.
What do you think?

Other Important Issues

A couple of other community members brought to light a few points that made sense to me as well. First, why in the Spiral is there another Azteca pack? First, Pirate101's tunnels and mummies, then Monquista's monkeys and creatures, then Wizard101's monkeys, then Grub Guardian's Azteca themes. Then Azteca crafted spells, then an Azteca pack in Wizard101. Then an Azteca pack in Pirate101. Now another Azteca pack in Wizard101? We need a new theme, here.

The other issue is pack release rate. Honestly, I think one pack a year is reasonable, and two is more than enough. But we've got way too many there now. It has gotten out of hand. Wizard101 has been quiet for months now, and so I certainly hope they haven't spent a load of time on this. I hope that they'll focus more on content than these packs. And a word of warning to Pirate101 - as my friend reinforced, if you want to keep a portion of your player base, keep those packs to a minimum!

A Closing Note

Now I'm curious - because I know you're dying to share, please comment with your opinions. The community has certainly influenced mine (and that can be a tough thing to do). Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral!

10 comments:

  1. Interesting and I agree with almost everything. The designs for the attire is not as stylish. But at the same time we must realized that some of this is based on what was worn back then. So we could show some respect. As well it's been a long time since they've unleashed any new content. And considering this is their second final(hopefully final world for this arc.) world. And they've got a pattern with their content. One is unleashed around Summer and another in Winter. As well though. They've failed at keeping things coordinated. For instance... Celestia wasn't all underwater, Zafaria the bright shining world all of a sudden turned night at the Grave Yard, Avalon suddenly turned Wyrd, and Azteca's weather is screwed up in the floating mountains. To top this off, they do seem to gamble things with their packs and it gets annoying with the beggars. So in my opinion seems to be leaning towards the negative side but I feel mutual about it...

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  2. OH! One other thing. I also feel like the Crown Players have a better chance. Not only are they getting things forever but they don't have to constantly spend crowns to visit places and you get as much time as you want. As well PVP these days has became quite difficult and boring so the Membership looses a bit of value there. As well it's harder to get crown items and sometimes they've got to beg meanwhile a Crown Player could be "raiding" Mirror Lake as many times as he/she wants...

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  3. In a way it could be considered gammbling. You are promised 7 items but they should be at least 7 exculsive items for crowns. I might not get a mount or gear but if I am presented with 2 snacks from the bazaar and a pixie treasure card and 4 housing items the same value of the Ravenwood banner (all items you can get IN GAME for gold at a low level), aren't we being cheated out a bit? I like how in Pirate101 we get treasures instead of useless stuff. Even though we didn't get an item, we still get some gold out of it instead of, well, nothing. Pirate101 also seems to have better drop rates for their higher tier items.

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    1. Thing is, you don't pay for seven unique crown items, you just pay for seven items, like it says. Central guides help.

      But I do agree that I liked the style of Pirate packs better. Here's hoping they don't mess it up.

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    2. Agreed... especially since they've got newer designers...

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    3. Agreed. But Swordroll, you are SO right about the gear being, uh, just a little undesirable for the looks. Just a little.

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    4. The attire does have some flaws. Plus some if just imaginative, as well the attire when transferred to the game is modified and gives it that not so fancy aspect. And alas to conclude, some of this attire is based off of real life attire from the past and with that need to respect that.

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  4. Lol can you please remove one of my comments I thought the first one wasn't submitted.

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  5. By the way for Pirate101 players, within getting a few Azeteca packs, I got mounts. Yes, I said MOUNTS.

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