Pokémon TCG has halved the number of cards in online packs

A Silver Tempest pack with only five cards, in Pokémon TCG Live.

Screenshots: Pokémon Company / Kotaku

we did mentioned a large number of serious problems with the new Pokémon Company Pokémon TCG Livean alternative to digital card play that’s been around for decades, Pokémon TCG Online. But there’s another aspect that hasn’t been fully reported and, surprisingly, it’s not a bug: they’ve halved the number of digital tokens you get from your code card. And tell Kotakudeclared this to be “optimal” for players!

After making the extremely bad decision to move my account from PTCGO arrive PTCGL, I have a pile of regrets. While change is inevitable for everyone in the end—Online will be turned off as soon as Direct beta is out—pausing is a great idea for a lot of reasons. Firstly, as clumsy as Online maybe, it’s not at fault at all. Second, being a game titled “Trading”, the replacement removes all aspects of trading. Third, the move destroys any cards you have more than four with no compensation. Wednesday…yes, you get it.

A TCG match in PTCGL.

Screenshots: Pokémon Company / Kotaku

But when I noticed that the redemption card only saw five cards come out of the digital packaging, I assumed there was something wrong with the software. Over the past decade, every Pokémon TCG the product came with an additional piece of cardboard, which had a sequence of letters and numbers and a QR code. These unlock a bundle or equivalent digital item that you purchased, made available for online use. From booster packs to deck boxes, coins to sleeves, it’s a lovely bonus and allows for excellent card game play without having to meet in real life. And in each of those booster packs, you have to unlock ten cards for the online game.

Online booster packs work like IRL packages. You have an Energy, a bunch of common and uncommon Pokémon and Trainers, then a reverse void (or if you’re lucky, alternative art, Trainer Galleries, etc.), and a rare one. It makes sense, and feels very fair.

Now, depending on the version of the software you’re using, you can get the full ten, or be completely jumbled up with half of it. It sucks, and after contacting The Pokémon Company (TPC), Kotaku learned it was entirely intentional.

“For the main TCG Pokémon expansions like Sword & Shield [and] Silver Tempest, each code card is designed to generate five cards in Pokémon TCG Live,” TPC told us, “which reduces the odds of obtaining a non-leaf regular and uncommon card.”

This is the weirdest way to promote their own products, showing that receiving less than its because your money benefits their customers. And sure, yes, no one needs the 79 Burmy cards they already have built in PTCGO, but at the same time, they paid for them. Never mind that anyone trying to complete a collection might be chasing an unusual thing they happened to miss, and now their chances are halved.

Read more: 10 best Pokémon TCG Cards to withdraw from Silver Tempest

However, there is an (imaginary) economic reason for the decision not to benefit the players. Because PTCGL has sunk in so many overlapping and confusing game currencies, it has become a difficult balancing act to manage for TPC. One of these currencies is Credits and these can be used to buy not at all cards from any collection the player desires. So yes, if you want, you can get the Lost Origin Giratina alternative artwork, or the Evolved Sky moon-loving Umbreon—real life cards that can set you back $500 . Credits are earned by winning games and completing battle pass missions, but also by winning any more than four cards. Because Direct won’t let you have more than four, if you take another one it will be converted to Credits. And it looks like they’ve realized that if they let you take all the bulk from your code cards, you’ll get “too many” Credits. And this is not my convincing thought: TPC told us that for itself:

During game development, we’ve noticed that 10-card booster packs in Pokémon TCG Live often result in more copies of popular and uncommon cards. Once the maximum number of copies for a card type has been reached, the copies will be converted into Credits redeemable for any cards the player does not already have in their collection (max. maximum stars allowed). This problem has been mitigated with five-card booster packs, which further balance the in-game economy and contribute to a more optimal player experience.

Which means, they created a new in-game economy that doesn’t work very well, so halve the number of cards you get to fix theirs. Why are you limited to any four cards? No clue—obviously you can only play four types in a battle deck, but it doesn’t give anyone any unbalanced advantage to own surname. But because you are, and it breaks their new system if you don’t, hard enough you’ll lose half of your pulls. It’s more “optimal” for you.

However, put those codes in PTCGOand you will still get all ten, as long as the software is allowed to exist.

This is not even to say how disappointing the unpacking process is. Direct compare to Online. Previously, you scanned the code and created a collection for the next time. There you see a description of the packs, can click on each pack when you want, “tear” them apart and watch all ten cards pop out, any rare cards flipped for you to reveal. It was a lovely experience. Now, when you scan a code, you’re forced to open five cards at once, with no ritual and no feeling of opening a package. All completely confused design decisions.

Better news, TPC has confirmed to us that although very The new Crystal currency is IAP-friendly, with no plans to start allowing players to spend real-world money. “Pokémon TCG Live will continue to be a free game without any in-app purchases, making it accessible to all players.”


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