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Freemium games and obligation

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I'm a fan of CCGs. The most fun part to me is being able to experiment in creating wacky deck combos and optimizing my own personal strategies over time through play-testing.

I'm also a frugal person. Sadly, this is largely incompatible with the CCG world. I used to mostly play 'proxy' magic with my friends as I refused to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on pieces of cardboard. I later moved on to Hearthstone and while I enjoyed the game, I couldn't stand how expensive it was. I would gladly pay $60 and $40 for each x-pac if I got all the cards.

As is, that level of spending, which would be very high for any other video game, would get me a tiny fraction of the cards available. Even if I combined this spending with 2 hours a day of mostly un-fun obligation grinding to farm the in-game currency, I would still wind up with less than half of all the cards. To obtain the full set, it would require either a house downpayment or a mere $1000 – $2000 + the obligation of logging in every day to grind the monotonous quests every day even when I don't feel like it.

I largely agree with the points in this article: https://www.pcgamer.com/daily-quests-arent-fun-theyre-tedious/. I like to "game hop". I don't like to play the same game for more than a month without at least a couple month break in-between to recharge. That keeps the games I come back to fresh and interesting and enhances the replayability. All of these card games use this predatory F2P daily quest economy that turns the games into a chore to play.

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As far as I'm aware, there is no way to play these games casually, say only play 2 months out of the year, without spending literally thousands of dollars a year if we want the full experience. To me, without having all the cards to experiment with and try out wacky combos, the game is not nearly as fun. I don't care about playing super competitively or having any "meta" decks. I just want to fuck around every couple months. I'm willing to drop $20 or maybe even $40 every time I feel like coming back to the game for a while, but as is the entry and maintenance price to play these games is absurd.

If someone would come out with a non-F2P-model CCG, where one has to pay to play but can buy all the cards for $60 + $40 for each expansion just like a normal non-CCG game, my life would be complete. Why is this so unreasonable to ask for? I don't mind paying reasonable amounts for things, but I will not waste my life turning a game into a chore just to avoid paying. Why is there no happy middle ground like this? Sigh 🙁

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