Diablo Immortal-style loot boxes criticised for “killing” Marvel Snap

Marvel Snap, from ex-Hearthstone director Ben Brode, is currently in closed beta, where it has faced fan criticism over its Diablo Immortal-style loot boxes

Marvel Snap, the upcoming, superhero card duelling game from former Hearthstone director Ben Brode, is facing criticism from players during its closed beta period, owing to microtransactions and loot boxes which some fans say could end up “killing” the game.

Particularly contentious are Marvel Snap’s newly launched “Nexus Events”, whereby players can spend real money to purchase in-game gold, which is then exchanged for the opportunity to win powerful cards. Ten chances of claiming the cards, or ten “pulls”, currently cost 1,800 gold – the minimum a player can buy is 300 gold for $4.99 USD, meaning that ten pulls costs precisely $29.94. The percentage chance of winning one of these cards, which in the first Nexus Event are designed after either Mighty Thor Jane Foster, or the archvillain Destroyer, according to figures published in game is 1.5%.

However, Marvel Snap features a “pity” system, whereby a card is automatically awarded to a player after 50 pulls – this may be a new card, or a duplicate of a card that a player has already obtained. Since it takes 50 pulls to trigger the pity system, and there are, in the shape of Thor and Destroyer, two ultra-rare cards to earn during this Nexus Event, it means that players would need 100 pulls minimum to absolutely, completely, totally guarantee both cards, and that’s if they receive them both first time, without getting any duplicates.

Ten pulls cost 1,800 gold; 100 pulls therefore cost 18,000 gold. The most gold you can buy at one time in Marvel Snap is 8,000, for $99.99 USD. You can also buy 2,600 gold for $34.99 USD.

Some quick maths, then, reveals that the quickest way to accumulate the 18,000 gold needed for those 100 pulls is to spend $234.97, exactly, on 18,600 gold. That would guarantee you enough pulls to trigger the pity system twice, in turn guaranteeing two of the ultra-rare cards – but remember, there is no guarantee that you won’t get the same card twice, meaning that in order to earn the full complement of ultra-rare card rewards, you may have to spend more.

Gold can be acquired through free-to-play means in Marvel Snap, but as outlined by YouTuber Jeff Hoogland, who also explores a range of other spending possibilities in the game, the ultra-rare Nexus cards, in this case Thor and Destroyer, do not become available for acquisition via F2P means until two months after they are made obtainable through in-game purchases, creating an incentive for players to spend on gold and pulls, or else risk falling behind their competitors’ decks.

Commenting on Hoogland’s video, players have expressed disappointment at some of these mechanics.

“So disheartened with this,” writes one viewer, Tru3Prophet. “Was going to go all in on Snap, even possibly make content around it closer to release. Now…it seems like it’s going to be dead on arrival.”

“Makes me sad to see these prices,” writes another, Alexander Nelson. “What a great way to work towards killing what could be a great game.”

Diablo Immortal, the action RPG from Blizzard has also faced criticism in recent months for its use of similar monetisation systems, with the UK government calling for increased protection for children from videogame loot boxes.

Marvel Snap meanwhile is still in its closed beta period, with a full release expected later in 2022. During the beta period, developer Second Dinner has invited players to provide feedback through its Discord channel.