We're back with another TRP Chat session! JT (jthomash2), Paul (pk2317), Randy (randy), Dave (dave), Patrick (shadowmeld), Isaac (isaacbv), Trubie (flexei), Stuart (theconductr), Michaela (memmek2k), and Mike (whisperni) discuss the announcement of a third Dungeons and Dragons set, and possible implications for the new distribution format.
randy: Ok. New conversation....
randy: Based on the information we see in these pictures.... thoughts?
shadowmeld: Yay, DnD.
isaacbv: Well, first are the questions:
What does "Double Rainbow Draft Mean?"
What kind of distribution?
How blind are the blind packs?
How is there "a new adventure every time" that is any different than the current format?
What does 9.99 get me?
shadowmeld: Double rainbow could mean 2 dice per card... Double the size of the rainbow? Hopefully that doesn't mean half the number of cards to choose from though.
pk2317: "Similar cost to collect" implies same number of cards, since those are more limited than dice. So $10 = 8-9 packs = 16-18 cards (as opposed to the 20 that $10 in packs gets you)
jthomash2: Or distribution that favors fewer total cards and their idea of similar is $/set not $/product
pk2317: If you count the 2 BACs it evens out. One "display" = $80 instead of $90 for a Gravity feed
jthomash2: Honestly, I'll need to see it in action, obviously, but I'm not sold on the idea that drafts needed this type of material change. I know some folks feel like they need lots of dice, but I've won drafts with 9 dice. Buying more usually isn't the answer.
isaacbv: Yeah, I don't think double dice makes the difference always. And as a collector, how hard is this going to be to get a full set?
pk2317: Other question - does "2 dice/card" mean twice as many dice, or does it just guarantee that there will be 2 versions of each character/action?
randy: Also, how many of us or people we know purchase a few packs on impulse at the shop?
pk2317: This definitely leads to less impulse purchase
randy: It's easy to throw $2 or $3 and get a chance at some SRs. But now, $10?
pk2317: Granted I usually get 10-12 packs at a time, but I suspect I'm an outlier there. I don't go to the store as much as I'd like, so I get fewer opportunities.
randy: So many people that get in to the game talk about the price point being a deciding factor. Now, even if you get the same number of cards/dice for that price, but it's a minimum of $10... that's big. I hope these don't start to replace gravity feeds
jthomash2: Totally agree. Testing something? OK. I buy the team packs. Flip the whole marketing design? Why?
isaacbv: I don't mind trying it, but would hate for it to be the new thing. I think they have to do it with D&D because it will sell.
jthomash2: I don't think sales drops are due to dissatisfaction with gravity feeds (outside of those issues 18+months ago). I think that was aou? I honestly don't remember.
pk2317: ASM - poor distribution
pk2317: See: Scorpion0x17
jthomash2: Thanks for the reminder
pk2317: AoU was just missing rarity stripes. And a few typos.
randy: And some rules
randy: Bingo Isaac. D&D has historically provided very fun in-set play
pk2317: This may be the question - how much product is moved by: A) Drafts, B) Gravity Feed purchased, C) Individual pack sales. Current format works for all 3, draft packs work for A and B but not C. So if C is negligible, this could still work (from their perspective). Assuming that buying a full display gets you a "guaranteed" rarity distribution
shadowmeld: Based on visibility in FB, individual pack sales happen more often than I expect, but then, folks don't usually make FB posts talking about their lucky pulls in a whole feed.
dave: Price point is right on the flyer we made for the store - this is the least expensive competitive CCG you can play. Our owner moved the DM stuff closer to checkout due to that and it's been a big boost. But this would change things. And it completely changes how Rainbow Draft works, which has been DM at its best. (edited)
shadowmeld: I do think it is more subtle than just "individual sales" though.
Q:"How much does it cost to buy DM packs right now?"
A: "However many dollars you have to spare"
Q: "how much does DnD3 cost to buy?"
A: "How many 10$ bills do you have to spare?"
isaacbv: A $15 draft is tough with 2 kids. Now how much will it cost me?
pk2317: Wondering how much it changes - forced BACs is a different aspect, but can actually open a newer strategic aspect (how do I Draft to complement my BACs instead of how do I choose my BACs to complement my draft)
dave: If it's one pack, just $10 but minimal team building, you only pass one way, etcetera. If it's two, $20.
pk2317: Aside from that, you're still starting with a pile of cards and drafting from that
dave: That could be true but should the quality of your draft hinge on the quality of the two cards you get?
isaacbv: Also, who was complaining about rainbow draft as a format in its current iteration?
pk2317: If there's one guaranteed r/SR in each pack, then some people will just Rare-draft that first pick each time
shadowmeld: @pk2317 solid point on the limited BAC strategy aspect, I do personally like that aspect, but worry that in trying to provide that, they hurt the parts that work.
dave: If there's one per pack then you get eight rares per $80 feed instead of 14-17 for a $90 MSRP feed.
pk2317: That's why I'd guess 2 R
randy: I get trying to keep people from drafting whatever, already set on their pre existing BAC win con
pk2317: Or 1 R 1 SR
dave: No way they guarantee an SR per pack. Not if they're sticking with eight.
pk2317: Nonono. You either get 2 R or 1/1
pk2317: Maybe 1 pack in the box has 1/1
jthomash2: Yikes. 2/90 to 1/80?
dave: I can't find a breakdown that makes that work without either having just as many UCs as Rs, which inflates their value artificially, or as many UCs as Cs, which makes them too common.
pk2317: Could adjust to some cases having 1, some having 2
dave: It's worse for the game mode and it's worse for collectibility.
jthomash2: ... Assuming nothing else changes, yes
dave: No to mention we'd have to change the name of the TAZ segment...
pk2317: 16 cards = 10 C, 4 UC, 2 R? Or 9/5/2?
isaacbv: So on another aspect of it-how cool that we get another D&D set?
jthomash2: there goes Isaac, trolling a perfectly good gripe session with something positive, haha (edited)
randy: I know, right?
dave: I thought it was 8 cards?
shadowmeld: I repeat, YAY DND!
dave: D&D is great but not if it hurts my favorite way to play the game. It's hard to separate the two sides of this.
jthomash2: Um, does this mean no foils?
dave: That's the thing - no clue.
isaacbv: Maybe. But really-I love D&D as a draft set. FUS especially
shadowmeld: I'm ok with no foils in draft packs, or even just no foils in DND. But the super hero sets really benefited from that addition.
randy: I think we are all in the camp of being surprised that they are changing the draft format. I mean... is THIS what needed the most attention? That aside, we are spuculating a lot on rarity, and distribution of rarities
dave: Right. The whole problem is that they've introduced this huge format impacting, wallet-impacting change, but absolutely zero details. If it was any other company you might give some trust that they will get it right. Has WizKids earned that in the past three years? The changes could have even more of an impact but we don't know because they didn't tell us. So how do we say "this will be fine" when they give little info other than "get cool dice faster"?
shadowmeld: There have been some great improvements in many aspects of DM lately, but I am hesitant to believe that changes to the draft format were needed. Mind you, changes to the BAC aspect are warranted, it creates a more limited feel, but the increase in dice seems to be the opposite of a consideration in gameplay.
isaacbv: I'm fine with saying this will be fine. I'm sure it will be different, and I look forward to trying it. And I love D&D. And I want to give them the benefit of the doubt with the push they have had the last 2 months. To me personally they have earned that.
dave: Plus I don't WANT cool dice faster. The cards are what do things. I want cards.
jthomash2: In all these comments is a theme I relate with. It's the fact that this, my favorite game, has issues that are probably bigger than "something was wrong with draft that this version fixes"
jthomash2: Maybe many of those are resolving. But have we seen anything larger than an OP kit without some sort of error?
randy: I mean, banning Bard and competitive draft were 2 big wants.... we did get those. If the wording/ruling side of the game could just hold serve...
dave: To Isaac's point, I understand to an extent, but I can't give extra credit for doing what should have been done anyway. 1TA has been a problem for two years. I'm glad it was addressed but what took so long? And why right in the middle of a WKO series? Bard has been dominant for a long time. What took so long? And so on.
isaacbv: And we got rotation. And new competitive level prizes.
jthomash2: Just after they're no longer Modern legal*
dave: Other side of the coin, we have meta-relevant rules questions that have been hanging for two years. Credit where credit is due, recent announcements are absolutely things that are better for the game. Yes, absolutely. But I can't spin removing the impulse buy potential and completely changing the format that even some of the worst critics of the game feel is the best part of DM as positive. You don't mess with my favorite format without the gloves coming off.
flexei: Obviously late to the party and don't expect this to be part of anything but if this DOES work out, I do indeed see valid reason to change draft. The fewer players needed is kind of great if you're a struggling store and want to do a draft, 4 person drafts blow currently. Less that 4 is totally undoable unless you draft a boat load of packs.
jthomash2: but, among other reasons, it's because it's not balanced for that. Will this be?
dave: It's like a cat bringing a dead mouse to you and looking at you like "isn't that great?"
@jthomash2 Without understanding that no, it's not great for us.
Trubie, interesting that you feel that, we've done 4P drafts without issue.
isaacbv: I will either keep playing or stop playing if it becomes something I dislike. The minimal player part addresses a community concern Im sure
flexei: 4 person works out ok if you up the packs to 15 I think. Otherwise distribution is really lacking.
jthomash2: When legit won conditions do not exist at common, that's true of 8 player drafts
dave: But all this does is give you extra dice, not anything else. Again, the *cards* are what do things. The dice are just nice-looking proxies.
memmek2k: Cool-looking. /troll
shadowmeld: If we get two versions of each character, a common and UC/R/SR then dice are fine.... If
dave: Again, we can only speculate because they didn't tell us. It's not like they didn't know this would get to players.
flexei: I still think it has potential and appears to be following he mold of Heroclix battle royals, which are my favorite way to play that game. Also more dice helps a lot, especially when stuff like swarm is about (and prevalent in D&D).
randy: Legit question, how much do casual players struggle with dice counts in constructed?
isaacbv: Agree @flexei
@randy "Struggle" - what do you mean?
randy: We typically all buy feed(s). Having enough dice for a card isn't an issue. Casual players that only draft. Maybe pick up odd packs...?
isaacbv: Ah. I dunno. Some of our locals ask to borrow here and there
randy: Do they just not have enough dice to be able to build with?
shadowmeld: With multiple man, I was able to get my dice easily, and I have been handing dice out locally.
flexei: Hard to answer when there's players like us about who can rain dice on those stinking casuals. :P
randy: Filthy casuals...
jthomash2: I mean. I'm gonna play this regardless. But 1) I don't think drafts needed an overhaul, 2) pricing could be an issue, 3) I very much dislike random BACs being shoved down my throat.
dave: Right that's where the interaction part comes with these. You're supposed to talk to people. Trade. Etc.
shadowmeld: That's one reason I liked foils. Gave my locals stuff to trade me for my extra rares. I already give away dice, commons and uncommons.
isaacbv: But what's the format change @jthomash2 ? Do you have to only play the BACs or are they options? Can you just being your own anyway?
flexei: Going to jump in again in regards to Basic Actions.. I've got 2 new players who were very Basic Action starved. They weren't sure if they wanted to spend $40 on the new Turtles set. I gave them all the promo BACs we had, but a new way to get those BACs would surely make them happy. I'm also fighting the temptation currently to get a 2nd TMNT2 set just for the BACs (Melissa stole mutation and momentum)
memmek2k: I think that if the BACs in the packs are randomized from all the printed BACs, I'm more okay with it. But if it's just a replacement for not having a starter with the set... :/
isaacbv: Yeah, more BACs for new players is important
jthomash2: Fair. But the tmnt issue has little to do with d&d draft.
shadowmeld: I'm BAC flush, but also think the BAC format is solid. Additionally, BACs with rarity?
flexei: BACs with rarity maybe if just art is different?
dave: I also thought that the justification for annual starters was to keep down the number of BACs.
shadowmeld: Just because there are two BACs in the pack doesn't mean those BACs will have the same distribution.
jthomash2: But the thing is, we'll just give away extras anyway. And if it's bring your own, including them is like offering half max dice in team packs
randy: Not all BACs are created equal. I get stuck with Barkskin, you get Blessing.
jthomash2: More waste
flexei: ... and giving away extras is more to hand to new players to get them started
shadowmeld: The BACs are added to the draft, according to reports.
randy: I did not hear that
shadowmeld: From Matt "MSRP is 9.99 and is the equivalent of 9 packs with 2 basic actions in each pack for play. Players keep the basic actions in their pack and draft the cards like normal. Best part imo is that these drafts can be run with any even number of people, including 2."
dave: As a separate pass?
jthomash2: "Keep" does not sound like "add to the draft"
shadowmeld: Yeah, maybe I misread that. I read it as "keep in their pack" not keep from their pack
flexei: I imagine you could play it either way... just obviously a player can't take more than 2 BACs.
dave: What about the pack that is missing two BACs? Or have two of the same? We still have packs with mismatched dice.
shadowmeld: Same solution as current, get a new pack.
shadowmeld: Though that becomes a store expense.
dave: $10 vs $1
flexei: What about the pack I open and is just full of rat turds?
jthomash2: It's one thing for a store to replace a single Foil pack for those issues. A $10 draft pack though? Yeesh
randy: Especially when only 8 draft packs come in a display
jthomash2: We've all opened the double Lolth pack. Is there an equivalent to expect with this? Sure,that's worst case scenario talk. But we've seen that happen on occasion (asm, recent heroclix issues). I mean, if this comes out and is balanced for 2-8 players, then fantastic. That's not my expectation.
flexei: Well, d&d3 could have every character at cost 5+ and be terrible to draft no matter how it's drafted. Very unlikely though.
randy: I personally hope for a "best of" BFF and some new stuff thrown in as well
dave: And that's the thing that no pack change can fix - if it's not a good draft set, it won't be fun to draft.
randy: And finally... can we finally get a global that gives the Monster affiliation??
dave: Doesn't matter how you distribute it. If the win cons are all at UC and one player got one and the others didn't it's still the same thing. But with more dice?
jthomash2: We have said d&d were among the best sets. Balance and draft. But imagine if bard was draftable.
flexei: Well, I'm optimistic about the set and the draft change.
jthomash2: Design will make or break this model. And despite my complaints, I admit it is probably not the other way around.
isaacbv: Samsies @flexei
dave: I would agree but for the BACs and cost.
jthomash2: Isaac had a point. If the intention isn't to pigeon hole BACs, but to increase distribution, what does it matter? And if the design works, cost is in line. I'm speaking of set design, in case that wasn't clear. I mean,if it drafts like wol or fus...
Now,if it's more asm, then that's an issue anyway. And open BACs and cheap price wouldn't change that, really
dave: One pack or two? If one, you only pass one way and miss strategy and are beholden to what goes through the people to your right. If two, draft now costs $20 not including prize support.
jthomash2: Poker only deals in one direction and that's a fun game :troll: - I think most of my criticism comes from making assumptions. If it's one pack with sufficient cards,maybe you pass half one way and half the other? Who knows? Obviously not us.
dave: Right. Again, that makes it a bad announcement. However you feel about what this could turn out, it was a bad way to spring it.
jthomash2: There's no reason a set can't be designed to be drafted this way. If it is, we all probably win. If it's not, d&d3 won't save DM
dave: I don't think the game is in a position to afford a miss. Rotation is great and helps a great many things; why not let that settle before thinking about changing your distribution model? With this, we will have had three distribution models in three years.
jthomash2: I agree. But I know wk wouldn't make a decision they don't believe is in their best interest. Whether or not it actually is (or is in the best interest of the game) might be up for debate, but we know they're behind it with their interests in mind. And if the work is done to set it up for success (design) then it could be good.
dave: Perception is reality. I wonder what retailers think of their proclivity towards constant shifting? I didn't see Golden Age discounts to mirror the Attack Wing discounts - were they warned about that shift? What about retailers that might have a couple hundred dollars of inventory stuck in Golden Age sets? Doesn't sound like much but retail margins are thinner than ever, and unless you're one of the Big Three CCGs, it's tough to have your money tied in inventory.
pk2317: As I said before - I like the BAC aspect. It levels the playing field somewhat: everyone will functionally have 4 "random" BACs each game (their random 2 and their opponent's random 2). BACs can be bought by either player so it doesn't really matter who brings them. Doesn't matter if I get Blessing and you get Barkskin - either player can buy them. No more Vicious Struggle-only draft games
memmek2k: @pk2317 - I disagree, I think that wisely choosing BACs is a fundamental element of draft strategy. If you bring Magic Missile/Power Bolt and didn't draft something in case you go second, that's on you.
jthomash2: And if design is not up to par, those games will be garbage. Say I get two cheap BACs but you get characters like storm /strange. Like draft now... It hinges on tight design
pk2317: Absolutely Draft needs good design. Especially when the whole packaging is literally built around it.
jthomash2: But, to Isaac's point, if it's open, then no sweat.
pk2317: But I don't have an issue with the BAC aspect. Less I need to bring with me to draft, different strategic aspect (draft to BACs instead of BAC to drafted cards). D&D has historically had some of the best overall BACs
dave: BACs only shape drafts in the worst draft sets.
pk2317: Virtually all of them are playable. And integrate especially well with D&D mechanics (Magic Missile burst ability, Gear BACs). I just wish/hope they change the subtitle to Basic Action Spell / Basic Action Gear
dave: There's a lot that it *could* be. Right now I can't get past the fact that they're trying to fix something that really hasn't been broken outside of sets that were bad for the format.
pk2317: Was it "broken" to have a starter for each set? They're trying a different distribution model. Time will tell how well it will work. And either way, new D&D and new D&D BACs
theconductr: Are they expecting you to buy just 1 or 2 to draft?
jthomash2: Including 2 BACs tells me they think 1 will be enough.
theconductr: Not sure how this is a plus for shops either in terms of draft. And how in the world do you collect this set? Or in terms of product control on the shelves. You always have to have at least what, 4 realistically?
pk2317: It's probably easier to have people buy 1 "thing" than count out exactly 12 "things" for each draft. One of the bigger time-sinks is getting each person set up with 12 packs (In my experience)
dave: Good TOs get there early and group them out. If it's one, you get two BACs that you can't control.
pk2317: How do you group them out if you don't know how many will show?
dave: you put extras away afterward. Even if you set up too few that's a lot of time you've hacked off.
whisperni: Gonna be honest, the lazy gamer in me, likes the idea of just showing up and having my deck basically given to me to play. Some days I am just not in the mood to think, I just want to sit and play.
memmek2k: @whisperni I'm down if the draft pack works. I'm just now sure how well it'll work. I'm afraid to get my hopes up, but I really want to hope.
As a whole, it looks like we're not against the idea, but not sure Draft needed a format/distribution change. We're open to being pleasantly surprised, and cautiously hopeful. What do you think?