Weekend Confirmed 185 - Grand Theft Auto Online, Card Hunter

By Ozzie Mejia, Oct 04, 2013 11:00am PDT

Grand Theft Auto Online has launched, but sadly, hosts Garnett Lee and Jeff Cannata (and Shacknews' Ozzie Mejia) are stuck at the beginning on a "Waiting for players" message. But one person was lucky enough to get in and that's "Indie" Jeff Mattas, who's here to give us his early impressions of GTA 5's new online mode. But not before a brief discussion about Steam Machines and Valve's new controller. After talking some GTA, the crew talks about Card Hunter and what makes it so great, before lamenting its trip down the free-to-play rabbit hole. The show wraps up with some talk of what everyone's looking forward to playing this holiday season, before flying off into the weekend with some new Finishing Moves and the post-show Tailgate.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 185: 10/04/2013

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If you're viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 185 directly.

Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here's the timing for this week's episode:

    Show Breakdown:

    Round 1 - 00:00:35 - 00:31:50

    Round 2 - 00:32:27 - 00:59:15

    Round 3 - 01:00:35 - 01:26:18

    Round 4/Finishing Moves - 01:26:57 - 01:55:27

    Tailgate - 1:58:51 - 2:12:01

The Press Row Podcast is the official podcast of Operation Sports, your home for sports video games. The best sports game writers in the business from Kotaku, Polygon, GamesRadar, Joystiq, PastaPadre and Operation Sports join host Rich Grisham to analyze the victories, struggles, challenges, and solutions that creators and consumers face in modern sports game design.

Follow the Weekend Confirmed crew on Twitter, too!

Weekend Confirmed @WeekendConfirmd

Garnett Lee @GarnettLee

Jeff Cannata @JeffCannata

Jeff Mattas @JeffMattas

Ozzie Mejia @Ozz_Mejia

Remember to join the Official Facebook Weekend Confirmed Page and add us to your Facebook routine. We'll be keeping you up with the latest on the show there as well.

Original music in the show by Del Rio. Check out his latest music video, I Brought It Here, featuring cameos from Jeff Cannata and Christian Spicer on YouTube. Get his latest Album, Club Tipsy on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page or Facebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

Click here to comment...


  • @Jeff Cannata
    Re: Cardhunter

    I played a ton of cardhunter in the beta. I beat all the story missions and went back and did the challenge missions that open (replay levels with special conditions like no party deaths, for guaranteed rares) and I never felt like I was missing anything by not spending money. At certain points the game gets more difficult, but at those points you don't need to get "better" items (which might drive you to spend money) you need "situationally appropriate" items which you probably already have but didn't realize you needed.

    I feel very very strongly that it is one of the "good guys" of free to play. They may work hard to entice you to buy things, but you are never penalized by not buying. Yes you can buy power, but you can get all that power for free by playing, especially as the game progresses and you get a lot of opportunities for guaranteed rares.

    I'd say keep playing without spending and you'll see, but you already bought in. Why did you buy in? The game didn't make you. You were having fun and you wanted to spend money so you did and you got a bunch of adventures and some free extra loot out of it. You didn't pay up because you couldn't keep playing if you didn't. You didn't pay up because the difficulty was insurmountable if you didn't. You payed up because you wanted to put money into the game. That's not nefarious, devious, or greedy. I think you really turn people off of games like cardhunter when you rail against their monetization model and in this case, I think the negativity about the payment model was undue. Cardhunter's microtransactions all fit nicely in the category of "Pay nothing and get a fully playable and fun game all the way to the end or pay and get a bit of extra on top" but on the show it was characterized as aggressive and compared to something like Candy Crush which would be more like "Pay nothing and have some fun until the game devolves into a joyless slog or pay to get a passable mobile experience"

    Definitely coming across as an apologist here but I really felt that presenting cardhunter as a game that would be fun if it weren't free to play was pretty unfair. It's way more fun than many games I've paid for without spending a single dime.

    Thread Truncated. Click to see all 5 replies.

    • I've played through most of Card Hunter myself and I agree: it is generous and enjoyable without spending a dime. Card hunter has no energy system that stops you from playing until you wait real time hours, no difficulty walls you have to pay to get past, it doesn't try and sell you consumable items to auto-win battles. It avoids most of the things that suck in the f2p genre, that Candy Crush and other free-to-play games are often filled with.

      But I also agree with the hosts in that simply being presented with endless purchase options and variations, having to constantly evaluate real-money transactions while playing a game... it's unpleasant. Ben Kuchera talked about this recently saying:

      "I’m finding it increasingly difficult to enjoy free-to-play games, even those that are designed well. This is most likely my own neurosis acting up, but the game becomes more stressful than fun to me, and I begin to second-guess every aspect of the game’s design. It’s like going into a haunted house and trying to scan the environment for the hidden doors where zombies and ghosts will pop up to scare me.

      I’m in the process of reviewing a popular franchise that recently went free-to-play, and I find it hard to relax and just play the damn thing without having this map to the monetization.

      Hitting a difficulty spike can make you unsure of whether the game has simply gotten more difficult and you must try harder to succeed, or if this is where you’re supposed to be putting coins into the slot in order to move forward. It’s hard to focus on the story of the puppet show when you’re straining to see the strings, and that’s how many of us feel when we play these titles."

      This sad thing this is true even in games like Card Hunter which aren't screwing you and sacrificing their game design to the monitization gods.

      That said, let me echo some third party assurances that you don't need to worry about the money in card hunter to get a solid 20-30 hours out of it. The only purchase I woudl recommend is the on that opens up all the dungeons, and even that is only necessarily because it's fun to have more battles -- you don't need the loot to win.

      Getting loot in this game isn't so a matter of straight upgrades but of getting new cards so you can build new kinds of decks and have enough options available to customize is just right to beat a dungeon.