Faeria’s Core Set Removed “For The Greater Good”

The developers of fantasy card game Faeria [official site] are cutting a major pack of cards from the game’s shop. Until now the game had offered a Core Set with 256 cards for $50. But developers Abrakam are ripping that out for “the greater good”, saying that it gave too much power to those willing or able to pump the money into their card collections, while others were grinding to earn the same cards in random drops. They explain everything in a candid blog post where they admit that the community is likely to be split over the changes.

Faeria is a fantasy CCG along the lines of Hearthstone but played on a hex-filled board of mountains and other obstacles that each player shapes and builds as they go along, trying to damage one another to death. I haven’t played it (still satisfied by Duelyst, thanks) but a lecherous peep at the thumbs-down reviews it has on Steam shows that some players felt it was too much of a ‘pay to win’ game. This may go some way to explaining the changes. But here’s the developers reasoning:

The major problem caused by the core set is that it deflates the value of grinding and progression in the game to too great an extent, by creating an uneven benchmark against which to compare to. Both our game data and survey responses confirm this conclusion that its impact on players who don’t buy the core set is too strong, and affects too large of a portion of our playing community.

We considered many alternate ways of working around this problem: by changing the price of the core set, splitting it up into chunks, or even the idea of returning Faeria away from the F2P model entirely – but each of these options would do too little, and with likely even worse side-effects.

In other words, buying the core set put those ‘paid’ players at such an advantage to regular ‘grinding’ players that it was making matches frustrating for the free loaders. And given that those grinders made up the majority of the game’s audience, the decision was made to side with them over the ones with all the dollah dollah bills.

But the decision will likely annoy others, the devs admit. Players who enjoyed the game – but who didn’t have time to grind up to accrue the huge libraries of cards of other high-tier players – would buy the Core Set and be happy. Now that the set is going to vanish, those types of players will have to hop on the treadmill just like everyone else. Which not only demands time but also arguably makes it more likely you’ll end up spending even more money on the game’s random booster packs just to get the full collection. And, as ever, the law of diminishing returns comes into play. It’s a very familiar free-to-play conundrum.

The developers say they are changing other things to make the treadmill a little faster, however. Instead of the Core Set there will be Starter Sets available to buy, for new players who want to a less-overpowered kickstart into the game. Meanwhile, those booster packs – containers of five random cards that you earn over the course of games, similar to Duelyst’s Orbs and Hearthstone’s own booster packs – are also becoming ‘Battle Chests’. These will be more or less the same as now but will also allow you to re-roll the highest rarity card you receive for another rare card at random. You can read about other changes in the full blog post. Unless you are already playing Faeria and know all of this already, in which case: WHAT IS GOING ON? DO YOU LIKE THIS?

This is all due to take effect on October 12 with the game’s upcoming patch. It is still in early access at the moment, so yet more balancing acts are likely to follow.

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  1. Ginhyun says:

    I’ve been playing Faeria for a little over a month now, and I’m pretty happy with the changes they’re making. I haven’t bought the core set (only a gold fountain, a $5 item that gives you enough gold for 24 packs over a period of 30 days), but that’s because I’m one of those perverse individuals who enjoys the grind.

    I can understand why they’re removing the core set, as it does feel a bit bad for new players to get matched against players who have every card at their disposal in max quantities. It’s also kind of a sucky position for the developers to be in, since the ability to skip the grind was something that they had used to set themselves apart from other card games, and its removal has definitely made some people (justifiably) upset.

    That said, I feel like the developers have been doing a very good job with the game. The upcoming patch has a bunch of changes that sound great (such as the Pandora changes and level-up rewards). Plus, they’re giving all of the players who started before the October 12th patch a gold fountain and a “starter pack” (though they’ve been pretty secretive about what’s actually in said starter pack…).

    I definitely recommend the game– It’s held my attention in a way that even Duelyst couldn’t.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Vandelay says:

    That is disappointing to hear. I am very much of the opinion that digital card games should look at ECG/LCGs as an example. Offering a core set, as they did for Faeria, is a step in the right direction.

    However, it sounds like they didn’t implement it particularly well. $50 is a high price to pay just for a core set. Mixing that with a free to play model is asking for trouble. I think they shouldn’t have the free to play option, instead replace it with a demo. Reduce the cost of the core set to about $30 and plan to have $10 expansions every couple of months.

    • Thurgret says:

      You’re quite right. The €50 tag (I think they converted dollars to euro on a one to one basis, anyway) was just too much for just a ‘core’ set of a CCG. I also dislike grinding, despite really rather liking their game. I am also unlikely to put money into booster packs, whereas if there had been a system with regular expansions, with defined sets of cards, I might have bought that.

      Maybe I should just go play physical card games.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yes, exactly. The random pack model isn’t good for anyone except the developers’ bottom line. Faeria offering a way to buy in for the lot was one of the biggest things making it stand out in the F2P CCG subgenre. $50 is high, of course, but as you say, at a lower core set price with periodic fixed-card expansions it would be pioneering a business model that’s far fairer to players and thereby carve out a very decent niche for itself. As it is, they just removed my only real incentive to bother trying it at all. I’ve already got one digital TCG to sink money into. Why on earth would I want another?

  3. Cockie says:

    I’ve been playing Faeria for a while know, mostly F2P (I bought the 20-booster starting package and that’s it) and though I liked the fact the core pack existed, I understand why they removed it., as they’ve a fairly small playerbase atm, aside from other issues.
    It’s already very generous when it comes to grinding (it’s not hard to get at least a pack a day even if you play only a match or 2-3, and you get a free mini-draft like HS’s arena each day) and they want to make it even more so, so I’m not that worried.
    Unlike HS, when I get beaten in Faeria I never feel it’s because my opponent had better cards but generally because they outsmarted and out-tactic’ed me.

    Incidentally, Brendan, you should really try Faeria too, it’s quite fantastic. :D

  4. kwyjibo says:

    I’m not convinced they removed the core set to improve the player experience, but just simply to sell more cards.

    The core set is a bargain. It is significantly cheaper buying it in one go rather than buying boosters. This is obvious, so the audience either buys the core set, or buys nothing. But though the core set is a relative bargain, it’s still $50, which is a significant price for a game, so the take up is low.

    By removing the price cap, instead of forcing people into the $50 or zero tiers, people can spend whatever they’re happy with and not feel they’re getting a worse deal.

  5. Zankman says:

    I honestly like everything about their changes, as well as their approach to the whole thing (aka running EVERYTHING through the community beforehand).

    With the addition to the Pandora mode changes and bonus free stuff, I don’t see how one can even begin to be disappointed with these changes.

    As for you Mr. Caldwell, do the right thing and play Faeria.

  6. shadowmarth says:

    I loved the “core set” option (a bit
    of a misnomer as it includes a full play set of ALL cards). I bought it. It allowed me to play any deck I felt like and experiment wildly. That is the most fun part of these games, and hiding it behind a grind or a F2P model is very distasteful to me.

    That said, they are already a way easier grind than contemporary examples, and are looking to make it even easier. So w/e I guess. They’re not taking my cards, and as a result I have such a stockpile of gold that when they release a new set I can dive deep immediately without spending any more. Shame no one else can.

  7. Slaadfax says:

    Most of the reasoning behind games going free to play seems to be so that they can sustain enough of a player base to allow moderately effective matchmaking, which in turn provides enough of a paying player base to keep the servers running and maybe provide some new content.

    Going for a pay to play model in a crowded field just doesn’t work so well unless you’re a company with staggering market presence (Blizzard, basically) because people will just trundle on over to the competition.

    Hopefully it works out for them; Faeria is one of the few digital CCGs that isn’t completely kneeling at the altar of Magic: The Gathering.

  8. Morcane says:

    Well, at least this makes sure I can scratch one card game off the play list. Thanks guys!

  9. -Spooky- says:

    Buy a TCG Core set for just 50 bucks? What a bargain. Try to grab a full core / new edt. set from MTG – for just 50 bucks .. *lol

    • Heroes182 says:

      As long as you skip the 10-15 chase rares/mythics, you probably could…
      You can get a full set of Commons from current sets for €0.99 on magiccardmarket.eu, and If you don’t mind waiting until a set rotates out of standard, its even cheaper than that!

  10. RedMattis says:

    I’m really really disappointed. The very reason I picked Faeria was because I could pay a ~reasonable~ sum of money to get all the cards. I’ll have to withdraw my recommendation to my Hearthstone playing friends.

    “It doesn’t take 500 hours to get the cards, or cost 500£” is no longer true. I hate to be dramatic, but I will show myself out. As someone with a full time job and basic sense of personal economy the game is not attractive anymore.

    Btw. fairness? The game isn’t made any more fair by selling power for 500£ instead of 60£. This is clearly just about making more money.

    • MisterFurious says:

      Ah, there it is. I was wondering how far down I would have to scroll before I came across a “fuck the peasants” comment.

      • RedMattis says:

        @MisterFurious says:
        Did you even bother reading what I wrote? The Hearthstone model favors only Whales and the more obsessive fans of the game. It does not favor Dolphins and Minnows. The later which I guess would be the “peasants” as you so defensively called them.

  11. adrienctx says:

    I’m playing Faeria f2p for several months, and I won’t miss the full core set purchase at all. I (and many other friends) actually enjoy the grind in Faeria. It is way, way easier and faster than in Hearthstone.
    Easier: the basic (green) cards are already quite good, so you can build a very decent deck after 2 hours of play.
    Faster: f2p rewards are very generous. I have a near-complete collection (minus useless legendaries) after about 5 months of casual f2p.

  12. MajorLag says:

    The solution to “people don’t like grind” was “give them the option to pay instead”. That seems fair enough for a free to play game, devs gotta eat and all. But if your solution to “people don’t like that other people are skipping the grind” is “make everyone grind!” then I’d say you’ve got a bit of a screw loose. Grind sucks. People put up with it because they either have a ton of time to waste or… actually I can’t think of an or. In f2p, it’s pretty much a requirement due to the profit model, but since you can make profit by also allowing people to skip the grind, why wouldn’t you? Or better yet, find an alternate model that doesn’t require grind?

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