Card Hunter $20 purchase plan
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 26 June 2013, 10:04 am
As you might have noticed, I rarely have images in my blog posts. Which is mostly due to the observation that my blog is read a lot during office hours, so I consider it an advantage if my site doesn't look like a game site. :) That is not to say that images can't seriously enhance a blog post. And so I'm happily linking to Azuriel's post on Card Hunter Free2Play which has some very nice images of purchasing options.

I have a rather different opinion about Card Hunter's Free2Play model and available stuff for sale. To understand Card Hunter, you need to consider the target audience. Look at the last image in Azuriel's post, showing the cover page of a Card Hunter adventure. There are two options here: Either you are too young to recognize the style, and thus the style evokes no special reaction in you. Or you have been playing D&D in the 80's and you are hit by a wave of nostalgia. It is pretty evident to me that Card Hunter targets primarily the second group. The kids are probably not THAT interested in a turn-based game anyway. But if you played D&D in the 80's, you are now 30 years older. For most people that means that you disposable income has gone up significantly. Collectors pay crazy money for toys from the 80's due to nostalgia. Paying $99 out of nostalgia for Card Hunter is really not such a big deal, especially since the game is so great.

Having said that, I consider that the best value you can get for your money in Card Hunter is the following plan: Spend $20 for 690 pizza IMMEDIATELY, before even playing the first game. Then, also immediately before the first game, sign up for the Card Hunter Club for 1 month (-300 pizza). By that you get the extra items from the club membership right from the start, which is when you need them most. Play the game until level 6, at which point you will get access to the Defense of Woodhome adventure, the first "locked" treasure hunt adventure that can be unlocked with pizza. At that point buy the "value bundle" for 300 pizza, which unlocks all the additional treasure hunt adventures, a great investment for both the extra items you get and the extra content to play through. That leaves you with 90 pizza from your purchase, plus some free pizza you get. For example you don't need to spend money on pizza to buy a starter pack for multiplayer, you get enough pizza for one free pack at the point in the campaign when you are officially introduced to multiplayer. In my opinion the best investment for the 90 extra pizza is transforming them into 450 gold and buying 25 simple chests early in the game for the gold, or a mix of simple chests and items for 5 and 25 gold from the different stores.

While I personally went for the $99 package, that was purely to vote with my wallet for Card Hunter. Anything beyond the $20 purchase plan I outlined above is giving you significantly less bang for your buck. Because only at the very start of the game are you really short on items to build a variety of decks with. Getting one month of Card Hunter Club, the treasure hunt adventures, and some simple chests gives you enough items to play the game for quite a while. Unlike other games the better low-level items are useful until you are much higher in level: It isn't before level 36 that you have enough power tokens to put higher level items in all slots.

Now obviously I have only played the beta which ends at level 20, out of a possible 50 for the full game at some later point. But in my experience it is a lot of fun to play through the various adventures more than once, for example to try out different party set-ups. If you have some typical mixed party at the start, you'll be surprised how different an all-dwarf or all-elf party plays. And if you play through the adventures more than once, you will collect quite a lot of items. At first you'll be happy about any new item, then comes the point where you barely look any more at the commons, until finally you're only ever interested in rare, epic, and legendary items any more. And if you have sufficient items in your collection for a number of different decks, there isn't much reason to keep spending money to get more items. You can get the purely cosmetic figurines, but those are hardly a must-have purchase.

Card Hunter is perfectly playable for free, although you might have some difficulties starting from level 8 if you don't replay adventures to gather more gear. The $20 purchase plan proposed here is providing a somewhat smoother start with more deckbuilding options early on. In the long run all further purchases have diminishing returns, because most of the time you buy additional random items and the chance increases with each item that you get something you already have. And even if you get a new item, it is most likely only marginally better than a similar item you already own. Unless you are really looking for every tiny advantage you can get for competitive multiplayer, anything above those $20 is just pure luxury. And $20 for such a great game like Card Hunter is really cheap.
Tobold's Blog

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