Marvel Snap Just Set The Bar For How To Handle A Player Revolt
Marvel Snap is just ending its second month of closed beta, and the digital collectible card game has already gone through a full-blown player revolt. It began in early July with the start of its second season, a Thor tie-in called Love And Thunder, and the introduction of a new monetization mechanic called Nexus Events. Thematically, Nexus Events were a reference to the Loki series on Disney+, but unfortunately they were less of an event and more of a loot box for new cards with exceptionally low pull rates. I’ll let you take a stab at how well this went over with the community.
Everything about the Nexus Events was a disaster. Not only was the game asking you to spend about $3 for a 1.5 percent chance of receiving a new card, but the messaging around it was terrible too. A big banner across the top of the in-game store read “Test your Might” as if there was any skill involved in pulling the arm of a slot machine. The shop prominently displayed the two new cards you could find, Jane Foster and Destroyer, with the description “Guaranteed 4-Star Reward Every 10 Open!” One would naturally assume this meant the exceptionally rare cards were the 4-Star rewards, but one would be wrong.
The cards were considered “super rare” rewards and had a pity time of 50 pulls. Smarter players than I worked out that that meant a $300 investment to guarantee each card, $600 total, and with two Nexus Events planned for each season, that meant a maximum investment of $1200 a month to keep your collection up-to-date. These Nexus Event cards would eventually make it into the collection pool for everyone to earn without paying, but this kind of thing is dangerously close to pay-to-win, and for many Marvel Snap players, crossed the line.
The community immediately turned on the game. Content creators made vitriolic videos admonishing the studio behind Marvel Snap and its co-founder, former Hearthstone director Ben Brode, for failing to keep his promise to keep unfair and predatory monetization out of the game. The response was extreme, with people on social media promising to never play the game again. Understandably, many felt like the introduction of loot boxes was an act of aggression against the player base and a death knell for the fledgling card game.
It only took the studio one week to respond to the backlash. While it was non-committal at the time, Brode wrote in the game’s Discord server that the team recognized it had missed the mark on Nexus Events and was discussing what to do about it. A week after that, Brode wrote another update, saying “We’re still working on what our future monetization/new card plans might look like, but we know for sure they’re not Nexus Events.” The loot boxes were removed from the game entirely at the start of this week’s reset, and additionally, players will receive a full refund for every gold spent on Nexus Event pulls, and every player will receive the Jane Foster card for free.
This is how you deal with a mistake, and though I certainly wish it had never happened in the first place, you have to give Second Dinner credit for handling things in the best way possible. The loot boxes existed in the game for only two weeks, but now they’re gone forever. Everyone that spent money on them is getting refunded, and as an apology, everyone is getting the (potentially) $300 card for free. While the ordeal will surely leave a bad taste for many, the resolution was more fair and generous than anything I’ve ever seen. Even when EA removed loot boxes from Star Wars Battlefront 2, it didn’t give everyone a full refund for the boxes they’d purchased – and it didn’t remove them in a matter of weeks, either.
Marvel Snap still has ways to spend money. You can purchase Variants of the cards in your collection to change the art style, and you can buy credits and upgrades to speed up the rate at which you earn new cards. There’s a monthly battle pass, which at $10 is more of an annual investment than most live service games – though considerably less than most CCGs on the market. There will be new ways to spend money in Marvel Snap eventually, but this situation proved not only that Second Dinner is willing to listen to the community, but that it’s committed to making the game a long-term success. Loot boxes might have killed Marvel Snap, but the response from the developers shows it deserves to live.
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