Don’t I feel silly for singing all of Marvel Snap’s praises just last week for being an incredible new card game? While my stance on the core game itself remains the same, the drop of the new Nexus Event is quickly shaping up to be a potential turning point for Marvel Snap’s direction.
For context, Nexus Events are a type of in-game event that developers Second Dinner have been hyping up for the past few weeks or so. Marvel Snap is still in its beta phase, but with Nexus Events being teased for this month, it was exciting to see what the developers had planned for its first major content drop. We always knew that the Nexus Event would include new cards, variants, and avatars for players to unlock. What we didn’t know, however, was that the Nexus Event wouldn’t be an event at all in the conventional sense of the word, and would instead just be a gacha-style lootbox system getting added to the game.
Here’s what the Nexus Event is: there’s simply a new option in the Shop menu that allows players to perform pulls with Gold, which is the in-game premium currency. 180 Gold gives you one pull, and 1,800 Gold gives you a 10x pull. You’re guaranteed to get a Super Rare reward every 50 pulls, and one Rare reward every 10 pulls. The Super Rare drop rate is set at 1.5%. Sound familiar yet? It’s the same kind of gacha system you see in plenty of mobile games today.
Before I go any further, I should note that on a personal level, I enjoy playing gacha games in my spare time. I’m used to hoarding tons of in-game currency and blowing them all on a limited banner that I’ve been waiting for and getting that dopamine rush from finally snagging an ultra rare pull. That’s not to say that this isn’t an inherently predatory system, because it is, and it’s designed to hook players and entice them into spending money for more pulls.
And that’s not to say that I think this gacha system should be considered acceptable in Marvel Snap, because it shouldn’t be, especially when the developers have been so vocal about ensuring that this isn’t a pay-to-win game. To be clear, the two cards featured in the Nexus Event are Jane Foster and Destroyer, and it’s likely that they’ll be added to the collection pool after the event is over, allowing F2P players to eventually get them when their Collection Level is high enough.
However, what we need to consider is that increasing your CL is a massive grind and getting to those new cards would literally take you weeks if you’re not spending money on Gold to buy Credits for card upgrades. It’s also important to note that while Marvel Snap isn’t “pay-to-win” in the sense that you’re paying money for power upgrades to your cards, you are essentially paying for more deck-building options that would give you an advantage over other players who didn’t choose to pay.
Jane Foster and Destroyer aren’t particularly powerful cards in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that Marvel Snap’s first big, hyped up Nexus Event has just turned out to be a big lootbox fiesta doesn’t bode well for the game’s future. Toss in a bunch of crappy rewards like Boosters and small amounts of Credits you can get in a lootbox, and it just makes the system feel even worse.
A more acceptable version of the Nexus Event could perhaps have been the addition of new missions or quests for players to attempt over the course of a week, and as we completed them, we’d get rewards in the form of extra Credits, and eventually unlock the featured cards at the end of everything. As a free mobile game, you’d obviously expect there to be some sort of paid option that allows you to bypass all of those missions to get the featured cards immediately. But there’s none of that, and it’s essentially just a system that wants to encourage players to buy Gold for gambling, and that is truly disappointing.
Marvel Snap was billed as a fun digital card battler that you could do well in if you took the time to learn it. It was billed as a game that rewarded skill and actively pushed back against pay-to-win mechanics, but the Nexus Event flies in the face of that.
I’d love to see Second Dinner turn things around after all the community backlash, and the game’s future will likely be decided in the next couple weeks as the developers respond to the feedback. With how fantastic the gameplay is in Marvel Snap, and how powerful the Marvel brand is, backlash like this isn’t going to kill the game, but it’d suck knowing that it could’ve been so much better.
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