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What is up everybody, SimplyJeff is back and today I will be talking about something new and exciting, Cardfight!! Online. Cardfight!! Online (referred to as CFO) is being developed by Bushiroad, and while there is no set release date, their goal for release is later 2015. I heard rumor that it may hit shelves in October of this year, but as of right now I believe that is speculation. Is CFO what the Vanguard community needs right now? In this post, I’m going to discuss my OPINION of free to play games as a whole and CFO. I’ll say it again, this is all my OPINION. If you are the type of person to be bothered by opinions, feel free to close tab. And, away we go!

I’ve been a gamer ever since I could figure out how games work. My first memorable video games were Mario Party 4 and Pokemon Fire Red around age 7 and 9, respectively, and I have loved watching the video game industry evolve over the years. However, the modern gaming industry has taken a turn for the worse. Companies only care now-a-days about making all of the money they possibly can before customers wise up and stop playing. One type of game that embodies this better than any other is the Free to Play games. The concept of a Free to Play (referred to as F2P) is a great concept, and if done properly, such as the case of Team Fortress 2 by Valve, makes for a great game. However, with Farmville and many games like it, the game “developers” force you to choose between patience and your wallet. Jim Sterling of the Jimquisition does a great video on this here if you’d like to watch. Just a warning, there is frequent swearing in it, so it may not be best for kids.

Even games like Candy Crush and Pokemon Shuffle, which yes, do offer a game to play rather just a countdown clock that can be sped up with dollars, will often throw in extremely challenging levels for the sole purpose of making money. While it can be said that the choice to pay is an option and one should expect challenging levels in a video game, the levels I am talking about are levels that are darn near impossible to beat without the use of ridiculous hours of grinding or nagging your Facebook friends for the 30th time that day, unless you throw the game your hard earn dollars.

Now, how does all this apply to CFO? As all of us know, card games are quite addictive. Opening a pack of cards and finding a Legion Rare (my first LR was the Yggdrasil/Norn pairing) will fill your heart with so much excitement that you can’t help but squeal like a little child, even if you’re an adult like me. I fear the Bushiroad may capitalize on this and limit the quality of imaginary digital cards you can find to how much extra cash you’re willing to pump into it. Yes, it can be argued this happens in real life as well. However, in real life, you actually hold the cards. You have a piece of physical property that won’t go away when the servers crash or when you forget your password. One of my favorite card game video games was Yu-Gi-Oh! Worldwide Edition: Stairway to the Destined Duel for the Game Boy Advance, because for $30 or $40, I honestly can’t remember, you could have all of the top tier cards if you found them in packs in game that you would get if you won a battle. There was drive to be the best because you got an award, making each pack worthwhile and special. I fear that, with microtransactions, CFO may very well become Dragonvale, or Dungeon Keeper Mobile, where the cash you earn, the system there to measure your progress, will be useless compared to a currency you can only purchase.

And now, my final thoughts. I understand Bushiroad needs to make money from CFO, and if the product they design is a product worthy of money, then I have no problem paying up. However, I have become so skeptical of the gaming industry as a whole, that I feel Bushiroad may not be able to resist the temptations of abusing the F2P system. I know I may sound like I’ve been hating on micro transactions in general, and that’s not true. I have no problem with them. I’ll happily pay a few bucks to get some really cool in-game card sleeves, mats or other cosmetics, if I enjoy the game. I’ll even buy a pack of cards in game, but only if the in-game currency is balanced to obtain and actually meaningful to the game itself. I don’t want to feel like I will be forced to pay in order to fully enjoy the game. CFO comes at a very crucial time for Vanguard. With new mechanics coming out, their market is growing. CFO being released on Steam would be huge for the community and will (hopefully) boost the popularity of Vanguard. However, I do hope Bushiroad learns how to be modest in the in-game purchases. Enjoy some of the money, Bushiroad, or you will see none of the money.

 

You can read more on the psychology of free to play games here in an article by the Huffington Post. Also, support the CFO greenlight on Steam here if you are interested.

Well that’s it for this post. Once again feel free to contact me on reddit here or leave a reply on this thread for suggestions on what I should do next. I’ll try to get my posts out in a timely fashion, but do ask for understanding if I don’t. SimplyJeff, signing off.