Marvel Snap's Patch 3.0.1 went live on Tuesday night, bringing with it card nerfs, buffs, changes to the Collection Level Road, and the ability for players to use emojis to react to cards when played.
It also brought with it a firestorm of player outrage.
The reason for this firestorm was the game's first Nexus Event, called "Test Your Might," and featuring a brand new card in Jane Foster, as well as an assortment of card Variants and Avatars.
Here's what was known about the Nexus Event prior to Tuesday: In exchange for in-game Gold or real-world currency, players could "open" during Nexus Events and have a chance of getting any of those various prizes. There were certain items that would be of a higher rarity, and thus less likely to drop in any given "open," but developers assured players that if they opened enough they would get all of the Nexus Event's rewards.
Many players pointed out that this sounded like a loot box but, because there were no details about Nexus Event pricing or the odds of opening the featured cards, nothing substantial could be said about it. That all changed Tuesday night, when the "Test Your Might" Nexus Event dropped and with it came the details about what exactly players could expect from it.
Test Your Wallet
First off, let's establish what this Nexus Event is, and we'll let the game do that in its own words.
The in-game explanation of Nexus Events
It starts off sounding OK: base cards for a new card and an old card and a max of 200 "opens," if you feel like you want to get everything in the Nexus Event. It doesn't sound great but it doesn't sound awful.
Unfortunately, once you keep reading, it gets worse. First is the "1.5%" odds of opening a Super Rare reward, which sounds atomically low considering that the Super Rare rewards are Jane Foster and Destroyer, AKA the main reason this Nexus Event exists. The game tries to allay our fears by assuring us that we're guaranteed one within 50 opens, but that's hardly a reassurance.
Added to this consternation is the section on Rare rewards, which tells us we have a 9.5% chance of getting a Rare in any given open (and are guaranteed at least one within 10 opens). For those of you unwilling to do the math, 1.5% plus 9.5% is 11%. So, what makes up the other 89%? We're so glad we asked that question.
What you can expect to get for your money
The "other" 89% of opens will contain: Credits and Boosters! You know, the things you get for playing the game? Now, it should be pointed out that the amount of Credits and/or Boosters you can get from a Nexus Event are greater than what you'll get by just playing the game. But that's not really what you're trying to spend money on when you buy a Nexus Event, is it?
If you buy into ten Nexus Events, you're unlikely to receive much more than one Avatar and a bunch of Credits and Boosters. That doesn't sound so bad, does it? Not if the Nexus Event is priced reasonably, right? Right? Right?
The Cost of Playing With Nexus Events
Screenshots of the Nexus Event and the in-game Gold shop (Source)
To open one Nexus Event, it costs 180 Gold. If you buy Gold from the Shop, you can get 300 Gold for $4.99, so with that conversion 180 Gold is worth $2.99. If, instead, you buy the biggest deal (8000 Gold for $99.99), 180 Gold is worth $2.25. Either way, you're spending over $2 for a 1.5% chance at a card or a 9.5% chance at a cosmetic, and you're more likely to walk away with some Boosters.
If, instead, you spend the equivalent of $22.50, you are GUARANTEED... one Rare cosmetic. If you buy 50 packs, you'll be spending $112.50 for a GUARANTEE... of either Jane Foster or Destroyer. If you buy into the Nexus Event with the sole purpose of getting the new card, you can spend $112.50 for what is effectively a coin flip. And the odds don't get better if you already have Destroyer, because you would still need to open 100, spending $225 in the process, to guarantee the one new card. Don't believe us? Here's Ben Brode explaining the Nexus guarantee system.
Quote From Ben Brode
Am I reading it right that it could take me 150 pulls to get Jane Foster, if I got Destroyer and his variant at 50 and 100? Or would I be guaranteed to get one of each in the first 100 pulls?
Ben Brode: yes, that is correct
if you already have Destroyer the maximum is 100 pulls (Source)
That's from the official Marvel Snap Discord. To give you some understanding of the player response to the Nexus Events, Ben's reply has 123 downvotes at time of publication, against only one upvote.
Obviously, these are maximum numbers we're dealing with, and in theory (or in practice) a player can get lucky and open the card they want after "only" spending fifty or so dollars. But... isn't the illusion of "getting lucky" the entire reason why so many people say that loot boxes in video games are predatory?
What the Community Says
There has been a hodgepodge of moral outrage against what many players see as a huge misstep for Second Dinner and Marvel Snap. One need only glance through the official Discord or scroll through Reddit to see that players are pissed. Jeff Hoogland made a video that details how expensive Nexus Events make the game, while Zeddy simply made a video explaining why he doesn't want to play Marvel Snap anymore. If you look at Twitch VODs, you can see titles ranging from comparing Snap to Diablo Immoral (Blizzard's notorious predatory cash-grab mobile game that released to a huge uproar against its monetization only a few months ago), to shouting at the devs, to "trying to keep a positive mindset." (Source)
On Twitter, we've even got people using math to show that Nexus Events are even more of a waste of Gold than initially thought: If a player wanted to get Credits, it would be more efficient to buy them directly from the Shop than to spend Gold on the Nexus Event. Since a Nexus attempt has a 44.5% chance to give the player 120 Credits from 180 Gold, it's a better idea to spend 400 Gold on 500 Credits in-game (Source). Of course, Second Dinner has lowered the cap of purchasable credits in the shop, because... well, let's let Ben tell you why.
Quote From Ben Brode
Why lower the cap of purchasable credits? Is this to incentivize getting credits through nexus events? Thanks
Ben Brode: We imagined folks who wanted credits would buy nexus events instead of the credits from the shop. The original increase of purchase limit was just to fix things temporarily until we could launch Nexus events (Source)
112 downvotes. No upvotes.
Our Thoughts on the Matter
It's easy to see that Nexus Events are neither as rewarding as players hoped, nor as enticing as the developers had wished. Anyone who played Hearthstone for its first few years under Ben Brode remembers that the game wasn't very generous beyond Daily Quests and the old "10 Gold for Every 3 Wins" system, but this goes beyond that. There's a difference between "not being generous" and "actively scamming your players," and these Nexus Events feel a lot more like the latter.
The silver lining is that Marvel Snap is still in beta, and Nexus Events will undoubtedly undergo changes as the developers receive player feedback and iterate to find a way to both make money while keeping their playerbase from rioting. They've been constant in their refrain that they monitor player responses and use that feedback to make changes in the game.
Well, Second Dinner, players are talking. It's up to you to listen.
Have your own opinions on the Nexus Event system? Share your rant thoughts in the comments below!
It's really unfathomable how they went from a $15 premium pass, which also includes a brand new card, to this. They're not even in the same plane of existence.
I can accept them keeping to their philosophy of untargeted card acquisition and the 'make the best of what you've got' style of deck building - players will have to change their mindset but it could be good in some ways.
I can also accept if they want to put some targeted card acquisition behind a straightforward $200 paywall for the whales or content creators who absolutely can't wait - again not great but fine whatever, the game remains fun for non-whales.
But what we have here cannot be excused as differing philosophies or mere misjudgment. There is clearly bad faith on the part of SD and their actions were wholly intentional: they knew asking for $200 upfront would be rejected by most people outright, so instead they resorted to psychological tactics and couched the whole shite in loot boxes and misleading imagery to trick people into thinking they could get what they wanted for a tenth of that price.
Whatever they do to 'course correct' down the road and however favourably you may look upon the game then, just remember how low SD was willing to go when deciding your next in-app purchase.
And my interest for this game has completely gone away. I already thought it looked bad but the overpriced microtransactions in a beta has sealed the deal for me.
Brode is getting a lot of flak for being greedy, but I think he might just be clueless. Or more specifically, he doesn't have a good handle on what players want from progression. He seems to have this idea that a lot of players will be happy just playing the game, progressing slowly, and having no way to get specific cards. That might have been true for a casual Magic player in the 90s, but today players NEED to have a way to get the specific card they want. It seems like if he wanted to shake everyone down for money, he could charge a lot more to let people open packs and get other cards specifically.
When you can pay to get certain cards early (through the monthly pass and these Nexus Events), his belief seems to be that since it's just a couple cards, it's no big deal. If you want to pay for it, that's great, but if you don't, it will be available through the normal progression system in a couple months. That's not at all how other people see it, though.
So what the game needs is a way to pay a moderate amount of money to get specific cards you want. Right now, the F2P system misses the mark in one way (no control), and the paid system misses the mark in another way (way too expensive, while still not having much control). Again, I don't think it's just greed, because it seems like they left a lot of money on the table by not giving you ways to get more control over your collection. The question is whether they can course correct. At least it's still in beta, but on the other hand, this requires a pretty big change.
They know exactly what they are doing. They are trying to scam the mega whales for all their worth before they make a half hearted apology and slightly scale the price to where only regular sized whales can feast. Stop being a Brode apologist it's pathetic
I called him clueless and said I'm not sure if the game can fix itself. That's not a defense of him.
I'm just trying to figure out why the game is set up this way, because it's actually a horrible way to earn money. Gamers are begging for a chance to spend money to craft the cards they want, and they're being ignored. That seems clueless to me.
call clueless some1 that works in this kind of business for so much as director is indeed pathetic
As much as I feel like Ben Brode holds the majority of the responsibility, I would also say that the rest of the dev team which are also ex-Hearthstone devs and card game veterans should very much know their own player base. Not to mention they advertised this game as F2P while locking cards behind a paywall.
Also no one is begging to spend money to craft cards. That is literally the opposite of what people want. We want to be able to chase towards cards while not spending a cent and not actively getting screwed over by RNG. You can't call their actions as clueless because if their reactions to boosters have not been clear enough, they don't want you to get cards fast without paying. Their business model literally is a gacha system. Pay money, get a chance to get what you want or get faster progress.
Clueless? Not so much. He has many experience in this. How many years do you think he got in HS before eventually set up SD?
No. Once your mindset is to grab money, it's always gonna be like that. It's pretty hard to remove bad habit you know.
Maybe the one that are clueless are the people like me who believed in him that he was a good person and is willing to quit HS because he cared. And that hope has been killed. He is the bad guy all this time.
A side note. Nexus Event is twice a month, with pity timer of 50 box to get 1 of 4 super rare items. (2 cards, and 2 cosmetic)
50 box is equal $112.5, thats $450 max if you get cards last, x2 events and thats a $900 total for a month.
Even HS is still in the $130 every 4 months. Marvel Snap is a scam.
seems ben brode leaving blizzard and hearthstone has been very good for the game and its economy, bye bye ben stay with your mobile game we won't miss you
I haven’t gotten access yet but that’s a big red flag right here.
At this point, the HS economy looks amazing even though it’s still the cost of 2-3 AAA titles a year.
A nexus event could have been a cool, story driven event that rewards you with one of two cards. If they charge the second one, so be it. But that’s just a limited time “promo”.
Also, did anyone realize that the pity timer kicks in before you actually hit the drop rate of the card? So you can’t reasonably expect anything else than 50 opens for a card
Original Hearthstone felt to me like twice as expensive as it should have been. This is more like 20 times.
I don't think there is a way to recover from this. They have clearly decided to balance their economy around the megawhales; even if they make changes, they're not going to slash prices to levels where normal players can participate.
Honestly speaking, this is a great write-up of why the Nexus Events are terrible. However, it doesn't really encapsulate why they're disappointing.
This was an update that many and I mean MANY hoped for to be the positive turning point for Snap after tons of initial feedback being negative about the terrible card acquisition rate. They had talked about changing the collection system for a while and said that the Nexus Events will fix that. Many people (including myself) were saving up all their gold for these Nexus Events in the hope that it is an easy way to get cards. Not only that, they were teasing Nexus Events with ambiguity that I believe you would be nuts to think these """EVENTS""" are anything else but loot boxes.
I don't think the cost is the only reason why this is bad. Many people would still have been severely disappointed to know that they have added loot boxes and less agency for card acquisitions. Not to mention, the changes to the collection level road which is meant to be mostly positive and what the players have been asking for, turned out to be opposite. Effectively they changed rewards that are meant to give a random card from Pool 3 to be a chance to get a random card. They made the rewards more common so maybe this was a good thing.
However, the past updates have been actively making the game worse. They removed random card variants (skins) and added a mystery reward which might give 10% to get a random card variant while the other 90% of the rewards are bad. They added a season pass that contains potentially meta breaking cards (one already is meta breaking) to be exclusive for people who pay and those who don't will have to wait and try their luck months after. Then, when people wanted ways to get more credits because it felt like they were capped too low, the response is by capping even more things other than credits.
All in all, it just feels like every response given by the devs have been tone deaf and every action have been screwing the fanbase by squeezing more money out of them. To think that this would happen in the closed beta where there are people who still have gotten no access and will fall behind in the global release.
I once thought that Ben Brode makes stingy economy in Hearthstone because of the direction of higher seats in Acti-Blizz. But now it's clear that wasn't the reason at all.
The beta isn't over yet, and he already create one big outrage within the fans. It won't be long before this turns into the 2nd "Blizzard".
My hopes were all burnt out.
Remember when people usually told Ben Brode was awesome? Remember now how he really was for the game? LOL. A good disciple of Bobby, let me tell you guys.
Charging money during a beta is hilarious. Consumer protections, pls
They get to keep the cards after beta ends
I get it, but you're buying into a system that might drastically change. It's weird. Would be better to reset + give credit at least? Idk.