Today, I found myself in the midst of a heated discussion with some of the other locals in the
trollbox Trading Discussion channel on Discord. The subject at hand: how can core cards ever hold any value if they are handed out for free? How long will it take before the market is flooded with core cards we already have? How is Play To Earn ever going to work?
Up until a week ago, my thoughts on the core market were something like this: core is going to simply be an endless supply of cards entering the market, completely flooding it and flushing out any sort of demand. cores are gained for free and if plenty of people play, all the cards will hit the market and soon we will have thousands of everything to work with. so a smart person will just dump their cores for any amount of ETH they can get and buy chests/trinkets/Real Men.
Meanwhile, I was getting frustrated at the game. at this point I am level 70. outside of the recently obtained level rewards (3 legendary packs), I have yet to find a single legendary card. I found 17 epics so far (including my level rewards), 4 of which are doubles or more. what's worse, I am still missing some of the most basic commons and rares to build my decks with! how on earth am I going to compete if I dont even have a single bombfly, helian elite ir a second Starshard Bolt? I'll keep grinding for them, but it would be awesome if I could just pick them up from the market and play with them right now...
All of a sudden it struck me. How many levels must I grind if I want to find a single Frey, let alone 2? how many players have a tradable set at this point? I know for sure that I am dying to get my hands on one, how many likeminded people are there? I decided I need to put a bit more thought into my stance towards the core market. so I started with summing up what I (think I) know about core trading so far:
- you need 2 copies of a plain core to create a tradable meteorite card
- you need flux to create a tradable meteorite card
- the only way to get flux is by playing the game
- the only way to get core cards is through playing the game; there is no intention to ever sell core packs
- though I could not find any info on exact drop rates, so far in 70 levels I have yet to find a single legendary card, approximately 1 in 5 packs seems to drop an epic for me
- I could not find my exact match data, however I know I have played hundreds of games to get to lvl 70
Lets try some math.
lets say I find a single legendary outside of legendary level rewards when I hit level 100. I think I am pretty unlucky as a player, so lets make the average 2 legendaries per player at lvl 100, outside of level rewards. now lets add in the level rewards: 1 legendary pack at lvl 10, 4 legendary packs for each multiple of 25 levels makes for 5 level rewards by lvl 100 + 4 legendary packs for every 100 levels after that:
Legendary packs = 1 (the lvl 10 reward) + 2 (the 2 legs I find in the wild) + 4 (the multiples of 25 lvls) = 7 legendaries for the first 100 lvls + 6 legendaries for ever 100 levels after that.
The core set has 20 legendaries in it. for the sake of argument, lets say we find 2 of each legendary. no more, no less, for a total of 40 packs (yes we are that lucky). this would take 650 levels: 7 packs in the first 100 levels, the 33 packs in the next 550 levels.
So, 650 levels of grinding, assuming perfect pack draws, nets us exactly the packs we need to create a tradable copy of every legendary in the game. taking me as an example, I have played since the wipe as a pretty average player I dare say. I havent done crazy grinding and I haven't been too idle and passive. at my current rate of playing I would hit level 650 after a total of 390 days of playing.
but lets say I tried a bit harder and I had hit level 100 by now. its been 6 weeks since reset, so 100 levels in 6 weeks means 273 days to farm 40 legendaries from level rewards at perfect pack pulls.
This gives us an interesting unit to work with: it takes a player on average 273 days (under perfect draw conditions) to make a card tradable, or 273 players to give us a daily supply of 1 per legendary card.
lets compare this with the daily volume of one of the top legendaries. I'll go with avatar of magic. this card recently saw a lot of play and trades fairly well. in the last 5 days so far, Tokentrove alone traded this card 57 times for the meteorite level, or 11 daily trades rounded down.
To meet this demand under these perfect pack circumstances, we would need 3003 players daily to list their fused cores.
Now that we have a rough idea of a perfect scenario, lets see how it matches with the real world.
Immediately I consider a few things:
- So far, the level rewards are only giving out neutral legendaries. god specific legendaries seem to come only from the random rare packs (unverified but lots of people seem to agree on this one).
- 40 legendary packs to create 20 doubles is highly ambitious. in reality, pack draws are a lot more random than this.
- not every player lists all the cards they find right away.
hm so that ideal scenario doesn't really seem to hold up in practice. in fact, right now the god specific legendaries seem to be a lot rarer than I am currently anticipating: if I strip away all the level rewards from the equation, that means theres only a chance of 2 packs per 100 levels which will have a chance at finding any of the god specific legendaries...
I decide to ask Destroyer for an insight in his collection. Destroyer has consistently been one of the top performing players at weekend ranked events so he has gotten a lot of extra legendary packs. right now, destroyer is at level 180 and he has 31 core legendaries. that's way above average! lets see what he has:
31 legendaries. 2 god specific.
He does have way more neutral legendaries at ready to be fused, which is great. however, assuming he wants to keep at least one legendary per card for himself, right now Destroyer will have 8 sellable core cards out of his collection of 31.
Asking around a bit more, I am seeing a lot of similar collections: mostly neutral legendaries at fuse level, hardly any god specific legendaries, none ready to be traded.
I asked around what our daily player count was right now. according to Unchainedstats we are sitting at an average of roughly 900 daily players right now, which is far below the 3k daily players I estimated we needed to meet demand of the meta core legendaries. granted, for neutrals the stats may look a bit better. but frey? cerberus? Hector?
My conclusion: What the actual everflying fnurkelduck is up with these numbers!? according to this, days will go by without certain core legendaries even hitting the market...! if a trader wanted, he could just camp Frey (as an example), buy up any supply that hits the market and not worry about market competition at all since the next sighting might take days or even weeks to show up (at current play numbers). meanwhile, demand will definitely be there, even Destroyer with his 31 legs doesn't even have close to a full legendary set yet.. I dare say demand is vastly going to outpace supply. our current playernumbers of 8-900 are good for a daily demand of 11 Avatar of Magic. of course, that includes traders and such. but to meet that demand at perfect conditions (which don't exist), our playerbase would have to grow fourfold, which in turn would increase demand beyond what it can serve right now... in other words I believe there is a massive vacuum where supply would be and a demand which will not be met for years to come.
It's a seller's market all the way.
Now of course, since people can find these cards for free, this also means they will probably keep the first copy they find and
wont be likely to buy another one because they are already satisfied um yeah. so about those 15 Hadeses I have chilling in my wallet right now... this is a TCG. there are plenty of traders in the game stocking up on cards so they can trade them for other things in the future. or whatever other reason people may have to keep multiples. I haven't even touched on shining yet, what if someone has the wild idea to build a diamond Frey?
Right now I am hoping someone will drop by and tell me why I am horribly wrong about all this, core legendaries will be flooding the market, my math is terrible and its all gonna be worthless and not worth looking at. If this someone is you, please drop your reasoning in the comments here. because, frankly, I think Core Legendaries, especially the god specific ones, are gonna be a rare sight on the market, easily cornered by day traders and tremendously valuable to the f2p player who manages to find himself the pair needed to make a tradable card.