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Marvel Snap prices are creating a divide between creators and players

Marvel Snap prices are a tricky subject with the growing community of players, with plenty of arguments as to why the game should or shouldn’t change

Screenshot from Marvel Snap promo video of Vision hugging Scarlett Witch for Marvel Snap prices feature

Marvel Snap prices are a contentious subject. Since the arrival of the game in late 2022, fans have aimed more and more complaints at Second Dinner for how they handle both the in-game microtransaction system, as well as how new cards are dished out. Now, the community is so vexed about card availability that it’s starting to turn on content creators, with the divide widening by the day.

The reason for writing this piece is that I am a big Marvel Snap fan, I’ve spent money on the game, and like many other Marvel Snap players, I now spend the time when I’m not playing watching someone else play. So, I consume a lot of Marvel Snap content, but something took me by surprise this week when checking out one of YouTuber Cozy Snap’s regular tier list videos.

After a short introduction to his pool three tier list, Cozy Snap breaks the classic “hey guys like and subscribe!” YouTube character for a moment and admits that responses to his videos recently had been “pretty discouraging” after they were, in his own words, “blasted with dislikes”. The reason for this? Cozy Snap makes meta deck guides, but with things the way they are, only a handful of players have all the meta cards, with a majority of them not spending on the game. So, essentially, the content isn’t relatable, but he’s not the only one having this problem.

More and more Marvel Snap creators are changing tack from meta deck guides, of which only they and a few select players outside of the content creators can actually create with the cards they own. Instead, we’re seeing more pool two and three tier lists, and more beginner or low-collection level-orientated deck guides, and despite the best efforts of the content kids, these end up all being very samey, with little to distinguish between them besides the creator’s voice.

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For an example of how random the card distribution can be in Marvel Snap, I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve spent around $200 in-game, through three premium season pass options and a couple of bundles I felt like treating myself to. After all of this, I’m at around collection level 2,300, picking up roughly 190 collector’s caches along the way. Still, I don’t have multiple pool three cards like Magneto, Death, and Dracula, all three of them being staple cards in specific decks. That’s not even mentioning pool four and five cards I don’t have. It costs 6,000 tokens to pick Thanos up from the token shop, and I average anything from 400-600 tokens a week without spending any of my own money, so even if you’re reading this under the warm spring sun months from now, I still might not have the galactic titan in my roster.

It’s not just card collections that are driving the divide between Marvel Snap players and the content creation community, it’s variants too. Popular Snap and Hearthstone YouTuber RegisKillbin openly admits to not using variants so as to make his videos more relatable. The same goes for a host of other Snap streamers who are presumably sick of having to explain how many variants they have and how much it cost, while people like me sit at home doing the math while trying to raise our hanging jaws from the floor.

For those playing Marvel Snap since the beta, the card availability issue is nothing new, and if anything, it’s at least better than it was. While I wasn’t around in-game to experience the apparent travesties that were the Nexus events, a gacha mechanic quickly removed in mid-2022, there are reports of players spending in excess of $200 dollars and picking up nothing worthwhile. Unsurprisingly, Nexus events didn’t last all too long in the game, with a special “I survived the Nexus events” title handed out late last year for beta players to wear like a badge of honour.

Screenshot of Galactus over a town from Marvel Snap promo video for Marvel Snap prices feature

The latest controversy surrounds what Second Dinner call the ‘pro bundle’, an option to pick up a bunch of credits for $99. That’s the most expensive bundle in the game so far. Sure, it does say ‘pro bundle’, and right away you know that free-to-play players won’t pick it up, but the problem isn’t for them, it’s for competitive Marvel Snap players in countries like Canada and Brazil. You see, as it stands, the bundle pricing isn’t equal in all locations, with the Brazilians and others having to pay an extra $10 dollars compared to U.S markets,

So it’s clear that Second Dinner is still finding its way with card distribution and has been for a while. That doesn’t mean it’s not trying, though. This is by no means a hit piece. If anything, I’m on the side of the developer in the sense that a limitation on your available cards pushes you to try new things, and if you’re anywhere below rank 50-or-so, you can for sure create a deck from pool one-three cards worthy of playing some games. The problem arrives in the later ranks, where the whales and long-time players run free.

If you’re not familiar with the term “whale” in this context, it’s borrowed from crypto-bro terminology and essentially means the big money investors. In this case, that means the streamers and rich kids, not always the same thing, buying endless supplies of gold that they can trade in for credits to reach unfathomable heights in their collection level. So, these types have access to all the in-game meta cards like Galactus and Thanos while the rest of us have to make do with the luck of the draw. I say the rest of us, as a willing purchaser of three season passes, even I can feel sometimes an advantage as a play against a deck I know has a missing piece of its puzzle, and I can almost feel the frustration from the other side of the screen.

Kingpin art from Marvel Snap music video for Marvel Snap prices feature

Of course, in saying all this, it’s still pretty early days for Marvel Snap, and despite some grumbles from the community, it doesn’t look like the kind of thing that could scupper the taste of Second Dinner’s superhero card game in the long run. I mean, after less than two months on the market, the title picked up the best mobile game award at Geoff Keighley’s game awards before announcing $30 million in revenue at the beginning of January.

There also seems to be general goodwill from both the player community and content creators towards Second Dinner, most notably in regard to it’s chief Ben Brode. Unlike a lot of developers, especially those at the top of the chain, Brode is keen to communicate with those that love the game, with him regularly taking to Twitter to explain balance patches and the intentions behind in-game mechanics like the token shop and collection levels.

The problem is that if the divide continues to widen between content creators and players, then the creators might have to adjust their content to suit audiences further, turning from deck guides and tier lists to analytical pieces on in-game microtransactions and the pricing of cosmetics. We’ve seen this before with Diablo Immortal, which too earned big profits in its first few months, but later saw its own community turn against the title for its reliance on pay-to-win mechanics, or the perception of them, with the most popular videos on YouTube all surrounding the issues rather than actually pushing players to engage with the game.

Screenshot of Venom's massive tongue trying to get the hero from the Marvel Snap music video for Marvel Snap prices feature

I personally don’t want to see a slew of “Marvel Snap costs too much” videos, or at least not more than the ones I’ve already seen, but if something doesn’t change, I do fear that pricing is a big part of future coverage and content. I know what you’re thinking right now, you’re thinking “hypocrite! That’s all this article is about!” and you’re right, but let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute, influencers and content creators are the superstars of this industry in this day and age, and if you lose them, you’re probably done for. My words are cautionary, their’s are cataclysmic.

So, these next few months for Marvel Snap are incredibly important. There’s a chance that this issue could just go away, with only one card arriving a week, it’s possible that by the end of 2023, the free-to-play gang are caught up, and the content creators can go back to making “ruin your opponent’s life with THIS meta deck” highlight reels. But right now, it’s a tricky time for the developer, content creators, and some players stuck with a collection lacking in meta threats, with the distance between each party slowly increasing with every expensive bundle or series five card drop. Unfortunately, as I’m not Uata the Watcher, I can’t tell what the future holds, but I sincerely hope that Second Dinner pulls off some heroics and make Marvel Snap that little bit more financially viable, if anything, just so I can break some hearts with Thanos. Snap snap, baby.

If you’re a big Marvel Snap fan, be sure to check out our guides to Marvel Snap cards and Marvel Snap decks. We’ve also got a Marvel Snap tier list, ranking the best meta decks you can use, even if you are lacking in pool four and five cards.