[Infinity Wars] Expansion Plans

Summary: It’s been a few days since I first talked with the CEO of Lightmare, Elphie Coyle. It was originally planned to be my chance to play a quick game against him using alpha version of Infinity Wars, so I can write about the game on this blog as well as my Japanese blog.  Instead I spent that time asking several questions I had in my mind.  For two reasons, one I am not good TCG player but I love it.  Two I read/watched about game so many times, I felt like I knew basic mechanics yet had several questions in my mind.  One of the questions I asked were regarding to expansion plans.  So let’s see what his answers were:

*Note: Comment section is my personal comment.

First let’s look at what we know from official forum.

Q: What will happen with each expansion? Will we just get a new faction? Will an old one retire? Will any faction ever retire? It seems to me that eventually some should get retired, but you have promised all cards will always remain attainable.  Will you just end up slowing down the design of the older factions?

A: Our current line of thinking is to eventually stop focusing on some original factions. We still promise all cards will remain attainable. Beautiful thing about no printing costs, we can keep packs available to purchase.
We’ll have an “Unlimited” mode where all cards are available to play with and “Current” mode which is the 3 latest sets. And we can always do cool cameo’s wayyyy down the line of *old* factions.
Quote from: Elphie’

All great feedback. We are of course open to only having a set number of factions if that’s best for the game, but current plans are to open more worlds up and new factions, which bring with them new theme’s (Steampunk, Goth etc etc) as well as Mechanics. MTG has shown just how many freaking mechanics can be made for a game (even if many are just rehashes)

Comment: So it sounds like Magic the Gathering. Standard format, Legacy format etc.  Older factions retire technically from standard format, but remains available even after for other format.

From here were the Q&A I had with Elphie.
Q:  In Infinity Wars, it seems like factions seem to represent each of the parallel world i.e. somewhat similar to Magic’s actual Set (each of multiuniverse).  Which means, there is no true equivalent of fundamental color as in Magic e.g. Red, Blue, Green. Are these statement correct?
A: Yes.
Q:  In the future expansions, it sounds like you will be adding new factions with new scheme/theme, but why did you decide to take this approach in Infinity Wars?  Is there anything that you miss by not having five fundamental colors equivalent?
A:  Potentially we miss allegiance to a color, but people don’t seem *too* attached in Magic.  If anything it allows us to really flesh out completely new types.  We can have a “steampunk” and an “gundam” and “naruto” style factions later.  The idea is from a theming or mechanic perspective you can truly create it around what you like.
Q:  Regarding to the expansions.  What is a plan? How often, how many cards?
A:  *Plan* is for 90-120cards every 3 months, but we release cards every week up until official expansion launch date.  Those preview cards (about 3 a week) will be legal for casual play, but not for ranked mode.   So we trickle out the cards for an expansion then release the rest of the whole set.  People get to see new cards about every 2 days, and earn 1 of those cards.  Basically we’re creating the game that I would get ridiculously addicted to and spend all my money on.
Q:  With preview release, I am concerned a bit about frequent piece by piece release of cards in TCG because my understanding is that all cards should be balanced respect to set as a whole.  So if you take only few of cards from a set, they may be either under/overpowered due to lack of counter or synergy.
A: We’ll be very particular about which cards are released under the weekly quest mechanic and ensure that anything too tricky is left for the official release of the set.

Conclusion:

Only the time will tell whether what they are trying to achieve really works or not, but in theory if they do it right and works, it’s the ideal way to keep the game fresh.  90-120 cards every 3 months may not seem that many compared to some other TCG, but some games which try to release 200 cards per set frequently result in many cards that are nothing but filler (just to make up the total card count).  I hope Infinity Wars developer teams are not making any single card that is simple filler to meet the required number cards for the set.  So number of cards sound good to me as well as the frequency.  Well at least based on what it sounds, another great plan on Lightmare.
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