Developed by Konami, at first glance you would assume that Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel would be a hard game to get wrong. Just add the majority of the cards from the beloved trading card game (TCG), add some fancy cosmetics for you to unlock through progression and bam: you have an easy to learn, hard to master, free to play a virtual card game to last for years.
The issue is that free to play games don’t make money.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
Within Master Duel, there is a currency that you can unlock and purchase called gems, which the player uses to purchase card packs that have a chance to contain cards of ultra-rare quality, which make up the overwhelming majority of the staple cards in your deck. This is fairly standard of Yu-Gi-Oh Master Deal, and card games in general, but in real life, you can just buy the cards you need instead of going through the pack opening kerfuffle – it is much cheaper. You can’t purchase cards with gems in Master Duel.
Instead, should you be unlucky and not get the cards you need from your packs (spoiler: you won’t), you can craft cards with points. Neutral rarity cards are purchased with NP, Rare cards with RP and so on, up to UR points. Each card you unpack can be dismantled into one of these currencies based on the rarity of the card. This grants 10, 15 or 30 of the points based on whether the card is normal, foil or prismatic respectively. Though this may sound fair, the issues with this system have started to reveal themselves. And that’s happened already over the two weeks since the game released.
Initially, the game’s economy seemed rather generous, with the player getting thousands of gems for just playing the game for the first 3 or so days of the release. The generous rewards, however, quickly turned into pitiful amounts of gems. Just 20 per login and battle pass tier, 20 for random quest completions. These pitiful amounts, too, have become increasingly hard to come by. Now, it may take a week or even a month to complete one deck if you play a few games a day. In fact, 1000 gems per ten pull (the optimal way to gain cards) is becoming increasingly more unobtainable for most players.
So, what can Konami do about it?
Fixing Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
For starters, upcrafting is a must. That’s if Yu-Gi-Oh Master Duel is to remain in the public eye for years to come. The ability to convert the abundance of RP the player base has. That goes into smaller but more necessary SR. And UR will make the game much less taxing on your wallet if you are to remain competitively viable. That is the primary request of the player base. Additionally, the more generous prices of the shop for your first few gem purchases should be permanent. This enables players who perhaps can’t play every day to still progress without costing nearly as much financially. Add in some more rewarding, well, rewards, and it’s infinitely more appealing to players wishing to stay around long-term.
Summary Of Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel
The issues inherent with the game’s economy are a real shame. This is the first time in history that Konami has provided a free to play, online Yu-Gi-Oh! game. So, it will be truly disappointing if it fails due to corporate greed. If they listen to the fanbase, the potential here is monumental. And it could soon compete with Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra for the title of best virtual card game. As expected of a game that’s around for two decades, the core gameplay in Yu-Gi-Oh! Master Duel is really, really fun.
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