The biggest barrier for new players...

TshawnytschaTshawnytscha Age Unconfirmed Posts: 5 Just Dropped In
...isn't cards, it's mana runes.

As someone who has been playing for a couple months I love that there is a huge catalog of planewalkers to collect. However, there's really no way for me to effectively level them without an enormous amount of grinding or a near comical amount of cash.

First the grinding.  The most efficient means seams to be the heroic story encounters, which reward 250 mana runes per victory.  At 5 minutes a victory that's about 53 hours to level a single multi-colored planeswalker (160K runes).

Fine, let's skip the grind and just buy the runes, right?   The consensus drop rates for cards purchased from packs appear to be about 0.549 commons, 0.40 uncommon, 0.04 rare, 0.01 mythic and 0.001 masterpiece.  Multiplying those numbers by the disenchanting rewards (20,40,200,2000,5000), the expected value of an average card is about 60 mana runes (assuming they're all duplicates).  A 5 card pack costs 60 crystals (12 crystals/card), so we can say that the going rate is about 5 mana runes/crystal (or 5.67 runes/crystal if we add in the guaranteed rare from buying a premium pack).  The absolute best rate for buying crystals is 3.33 cents / crystal, which is equivalent to 0.588 cents / mana rune. That means leveling a single dual-color walker (160K runes) will cost $940!  Buying that planeswalker was only $22!

When booster crafting comes it will obviously require a shift in the mechanisms for collecting mana runes, and I hope it will be somewhat more forgiving to newer players.
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Comments

  • RhasgetRhasget Posts: 412 Mover and Shaker
    I felt the same in the beginning but I left all my PWs at  lvl50-55 instead. It's not really necessary to have all at 60 anyway.

    And then you take into account that you get eunes from other sources also. Your daily rewards give some, Training Grounds gets you some extra.
    When you can start to tackle the Heroic story missions they give you 1750 each the first time you win. Rewards from events will also add up the tally.

    I don't grind and went from zero last thursday (levelled up my last PW then) and have 29000 today.

    It seems a long grind but it only is if you intend to go from lvl 1 to 60 directly.
  • babar3355babar3355 Posts: 1,128 Chairperson of the Boards

    Yeah, this has always been an issue with the game and was dramatically increased when they removed quick battle. 

    The amount of runes you get now are slightly more than necessary to level all new planewalkers up to 60.  But what about every other PW that is not released in the current set?  Do the dev's really want the players to grind story mode endlessly before they can use their PWs at optimal levels?  This is the definition of making a fun game feel like a grind fest.

  • hawkyh1hawkyh1 Posts: 780 Critical Contributor
    edited August 2017
    how many level 60 planeswalkers are new players
    expected to have? none, a few or all of them? how
    many of those are expected to be dual colour level
    60's ?
    my thinking is as players keep playing, gradually
    they will acquire more cards, they will also
    accumulate the runes during that time to level their
    planeswalkers a little more.

    (your logic is off, 60 crystals = a 5 card pack, but
    each 5 pack does not equal 5 dupes. there's a
    chance factor that you get with an unopened 5 card
    pack that makes it worth more than 5 already
    opened dupes)

    HH
  • FirinmahlazerFirinmahlazer Posts: 401 Mover and Shaker
    I started when QB was still around but didn't play it much because I didn't have enough cards or decent PW to compete much. The same was also true for heroic story encounters. So what did I do? Played through as much story mode as I could over, and over, and over so I could get enough runes to level my PW. Then eventually I got with a coalition and things kind of came together. 

    My point being that runes are always going to be hard to come by at first and eventually you will hit a wall and have to grind. It sucks. The best thing to do is get with a coalition. Even if it's a low ranking one at least you can play in extra events and hopefully get some extra crystals to buy better cards. Also there's no need to buy every PW that comes through the vault. Get one of every color to start then go from there as you see fit.

    You did a lot of fancy math there. Not sure how card drop rates turned into the cost of runes but since there is no way to buy runes outright you could buy every new mythic for sale that comes with 10,000 runes. At $39.99 a pop you'd only have to spend $639.84! A whole $300.16 cheaper cheaper than your math. A real steal if you ask me ;)
  • OutersiderOutersider Posts: 119 Tile Toppler
    No one is trading in their dupes for runes anymore either in anticipation for the crafting system. It's not a good time for new players.... but what else is new.
  • TheDragonHermitTheDragonHermit Posts: 464 Mover and Shaker
    Some aren't opening their packs last I heard
  • BrakkisBrakkis Posts: 777 Critical Contributor
    edited August 2017
    Runes really aren't a barrier. Acquiring them is a nuisance sure, but it's not all that hard.

    I've only been playing since late April 2017 and only joined a coalition in late June.
    - I have Nissa 1, Gid 1, Ob Nix, and Koth at 60
    - Kiora at 58
    - Dovin at 45
    - As well Lili 1 & 2, Nissa 3, Gid 3, Chandra 1, and Jace 1 all at 20.

    just finished all the Heroic Encounters... yesterday (Not 100%, just beat them) and finished getting 100% in the Origins story about an hour ago. I still have half of Zendikar to 100% (Part 3 & 4), the near entirety of Heroic Encounters to 100%, and Events + TG to play in. That's a lot more runes.
  • bken1234bken1234 GLOBAL_MODERATORS Posts: 2,830 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited August 2017
    Some aren't opening their packs last I heard
    Most don't open packs for a higher chance to get exclusives or new cards. I have more than 100 cards from the new set so I'm saving until they drop the rest of the set. 
  • Mainloop25Mainloop25 Posts: 1,646 Chairperson of the Boards
    You can get most pw's up to level 30 relatively quickly, but what most new players don't realize is that you don't need to buy every new pw. You can get away with buying a new one every month and a half or so, then leveling them up one at a time. 
  • Tilwin90Tilwin90 Posts: 662 Critical Contributor
    To be honest, I kind of agree that players should be able to level up their planeswalkers by... well... playing. That would make so much more sense experience-wise. You could still leave the option for people to level up their boys (and girls) with mana runes.

    For elite players runes are still not that big of a deal. I have almost all planeswalkers I need, so now I am sitting at 100k runes waiting for the next relevant walker to drop (not very excited to get Elspeth myself, so probably looking forward to see what Samut can do at level 60). But for newer players I can see why this is a huge pain.

    Heck, I was a new player once and it was very difficult to get my first planeswalker (Chandra) at level 60. When I got her there sure, I felt this super feeling of accomplishment, but it was a necessity before I could go true PVP. Low level walkers can work if you have the good cards, but if your card base is also handicapped severely, you need to at least step up your PW.
  • TshawnytschaTshawnytscha Age Unconfirmed Posts: 5 Just Dropped In
    My original message may have been misleading.  Rune scarcity isn't a barrier to new players winning (see my recently updated profile picture), but it is a barrier to fun.  For example, when you're starting it encourages you to  fully level a single walker and then use the same walker for every PVE event, leading to unnecessarily repetitive game play.  It punishes players for leveling mediocre walkers.  My level 52 Gideon1 is essentially a waste of 45,000 runes. Because low- to mid-level planeswalkers typically have low-impact special abilities, it leads to similar game play across planeswalkers, more so than at high levels when planeswalkers are distinguished by access to unique and powerful abilities.

    I also fear that D3 might address rune scarcity for new players by rotating old planeswalkers out of standard, which seems a terrible solution to me.  Just let players buy runes at a reasonable rate.  That way they're available to newer players who are still rune strapped, but can continue to be ignored by established players that have huge numbers unspent.
  • hawkyh1hawkyh1 Posts: 780 Critical Contributor
    My original message may have been misleading.  Rune scarcity isn't a barrier to new players winning (see my recently updated profile picture), but it is a barrier to fun.  For example, when you're starting it encourages you to  fully level a single walker and then use the same walker for every PVE event, leading to unnecessarily repetitive game play.  It punishes players for leveling mediocre walkers.  My level 52 Gideon1 is essentially a waste of 45,000 runes. Because low- to mid-level planeswalkers typically have low-impact special abilities, it leads to similar game play across planeswalkers, more so than at high levels when planeswalkers are distinguished by access to unique and powerful abilities.

    I also fear that D3 might address rune scarcity for new players by rotating old planeswalkers out of standard, which seems a terrible solution to me.  Just let players buy runes at a reasonable rate.  That way they're available to newer players who are still rune strapped, but can continue to be ignored by established players that have huge numbers unspent.

    are you saying that if you leveled your level 52
    gideon1 to level 60 he would have access to
    unique and powerful abilities?

    imo joining a suitable coalition is one of the best
    ways new players can get more fun out of the
    game.

    (maybe try something like painted bluffs to make
    your gideon1 more fun to play)

    HH
  • TheDragonHermitTheDragonHermit Posts: 464 Mover and Shaker
    My original message may have been misleading.  Rune scarcity isn't a barrier to new players winning (see my recently updated profile picture), but it is a barrier to fun.  For example, when you're starting it encourages you to  fully level a single walker and then use the same walker for every PVE event, leading to unnecessarily repetitive game play.  It punishes players for leveling mediocre walkers.  My level 52 Gideon1 is essentially a waste of 45,000 runes. Because low- to mid-level planeswalkers typically have low-impact special abilities, it leads to similar game play across planeswalkers, more so than at high levels when planeswalkers are distinguished by access to unique and powerful abilities.

    I also fear that D3 might address rune scarcity for new players by rotating old planeswalkers out of standard, which seems a terrible solution to me.  Just let players buy runes at a reasonable rate.  That way they're available to newer players who are still rune strapped, but can continue to be ignored by established players that have huge numbers unspent.
    If you are having trouble with G1 you could try what I do: buff Iroas's Champion with the first ability to give it flying, vigilance, and regenerate and make it as powerful as possible then watch it decimate everything untill it gets destroyed or bounced. Unless I am thinking of a different Gideon.
  • SlypenslydeSlypenslyde Age Unconfirmed Posts: 32 Just Dropped In
    I'm a new player. I've been playing for 3 weeks. I already don't give a flip about mana runes (which I like to call "XP runes").

    I only just bought my 4th planeswalker, the rest are all around level 50. It's going to take some work to get them from 50-60, and I don't care. Nissa, Chandra, and Gideon are pretty damn powerful around 50, and I'm losing the games I lose because "I didn't find the right cards" or "the opponent's deck was too strong". PW levels past when you unlock the L3 only tend to serve to get you in harder matchups where you lose more.

    Liliana was my 4th. I bought her last night and immediately got her to 10 with the runes I had stored up. Then I started kicking butt in the lower-difficulty Story levels. She's level 18 now? I don't like the deck I built, and I'm not going to solve that with XP runes. I need to open more packs and hope I get some more synergy in my cards. By the time I collect the runes for a Premium Pack, she's going to be level 35 or so, that's how it worked with Gideon. This is good, slow progress.

    I don't really think I consider someone who starts playing, grinds out 695 gold, and buys Koth as their 2nd PW then immediately grinds to Lv 60 and Platinum as a "newbie". They may not have played long, but they're a min-maxer shooting for maximum power in the shortest time. My friend started the same day as me, pulled better cards, and is consistently placing in the top 20 of his events without spending a dime. He's already won 2 top 5s. For free. So I don't think the barrier is XP runes. The barrier is "Life sure is easier if you pull Lightning Runner on your third day."

    I feel like there's two real barriers to newbies, and one is much easier to tweak than the other.

    The "easier" one is Color Mastery. I opened a TON of uncommon/rare vehicles at first, and my Chandra deck went through a few iterations because I had a long lucky streak of opening great red cards. I hit silver mastery very fast, and my matchups got a lot harder. That friend I mentioned who top-5s? He's still in Bronze because he never had to change his decks. Ever. So not only does he have better cards, he faces weaker opponents. In theory my prize payout is better, but I'm not super happy with "15 more gold" compared to his "guaranteed AHK rare". I think it should probably take more effort to navigate the tiers of color mastery, or your decks should be weighed by "What's the rarity makeup of the deck?" before proceeding.

    The harder one is card quality. I played for 3 weeks before getting a creature bigger than 4/4 for a Nissa deck. I don't have any very aggressive creatures in red, so Chandra tends to play Vehicles.dec. Gideon's a one-trick pony: cast a ton of supports and reinforce the hell out of Sacred Cat. Liliana is "use a lot of removal and hope that works (actually it doesn't)." Meanwhile my friend keeps showing me screenshots of turn 2 60-damage plays. 

    I think booster crafting's supposed to be the answer for that. It would be nice if I could build chromatic packs, or get guaranteed rares, or otherwise try to get more things to shore up my weaknesses. I'm not waiting on maxing my PWs. I'm waiting on getting cards that make them worth maxing.

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