What is a secondary market?
A secondary market exists when a product, after being bought from the original source, will be split up and sold in individual pieces. The sales are not conducted by the original producer, nor by an approved seller, but by regular people. Normally, this comes about because the original source for the product has some mystery quality to it. In the case of most CCGs, it is the presence of “Packs”. Inside the packs, the buyer doesn’t know which of the possible items are inside. This opens the opportunity for two things, trading and a secondary market.
The rarity determines the likelihood that you will find a certain card when opening a randomized or semi-randomized pack. Magic: The Gathering packs, for instance, have a standard distribution of: 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 rare or better. I haven’t seen anything in DWWA indicating that there is a distribution within packs. I have personally found at least one rare or better in every pack I’ve opened, with one pack having no commons at all. This, though, is no indicator and it is perfectly possible that you could open a pack with all commons. (I’m sure someone will offer more information on this, the community is good about that.)
Rarity in DWWA is unique because of the “frames”. These esthetic augmentations of the cards come in separate packs and affect how many of a certain card/frame combination exist. These frames have no effect on gameplay. This is similar to - but not the same as - Pokemon’s foil system. A single card in Pokemon can come in normal (the equivalent of the core frame), foil, reverse foil, full-art, alt-art, or secret-rare varieties. Some cards are only available in certain varieties while other cards exist in all varieties. Similarly, all cards produced in DWWA thus far are available in every possible frame (At the time of this posting, there are 17 “alien” frames).
Frames and the NFT ideal
Having NFTs as the cards for the game creates all sorts of possibilities. Not only can DWWA access a secondary market as people sell their individual collections, but the access is open to NFT markets as well. Currently, there is a simple export feature to bring your cards to Opensea, a website dedicated to the sale of NFTs. I hope the DWWA admins are able to open the out-load features to other markets as well, but Opensea seems to be getting a fast and heavy response to the rough opening with DWWA. Porting cards back into the servers for gameplay is not yet available, but I’m sure they’re working on that.
This open market is wonderful because of all the different combinations between card and frame already available. Over 200 individual cards with the possibility of more than 20 different frames makes for a large market before the game even hits activity. In addition, more cards and frames are in the works.
The significance of the card-frame combination might be lost on people not used to a collector’s market. Each piece is numbered and limited. This is the key to the NFT or collector’s market. Each time a combination is created, there is a first - or serial 1 - piece. That first piece has a much higher collector’s value than the other copies of that particular combination. There are other numbers that are valuable because of significance (like the serial #10 of the Tenth Doctor)
The frames in DWWA are very different from the uniqueness of physically produced CCGs in another very significant way. Games like Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering have their specialized cards randomly inserted into the regular packs. To get the non-core packs in DWWA, you need to purchase a special pack that has only that frame (or a small selection of frames). In addition to the special frames costing more, they are available only for a limited time (or limited pack count). Right now, 9 frames are already unavailable for purchase in packs. This is very much in keeping with Sinclair Lewis who observed, “People will buy anything that is ‘one to a customer’”. He was reflecting on the increased value of things that have a limited supply. Thus is the genius of the serial 1 craze. There’s quite literally only one of each.
While there’s no way to tell how the gameplay is going to feel, we know that it will affect the value of the cards. Once the cards see some action, they will begin to accrue experience. For cards in the core frames, this means an eventual graduation of frames. For other cards, it means wins.
The ability to win a game will depend on many factors, not the least of which will be the cards held in the deck. The player that can put the best combination of cards together (and use them properly) will win games. Winning games will increase the value of the cards used to do so. Winning tournaments will increase the value exponentially.
This does have consequences, though. As the winning cards see spikes in value, guess what happens to cards in the losing decks, or worse, cards that don’t appear on any list? If no player is willing to use a card, and it doesn’t see any playtime, the only value left will be to collectors.
I’m already making speculations on what cards will be in the top tier decks and grabbing multiple copies of limited styles of these cards. I anticipate that at least half of my picks (purchased mostly under $5 USD) will increase in value ten fold once players get to use them in a tournament.
Risks and Rewards
So with all of this affecting the prices of cards in the secondary markets, the risks will be high and the rewards, astounding. These cards have a collector’s value in the IP, an investor’s value in the NFTs, and a functional value for the game; it’s a trifecta of value. The investor who knows how to read and manipulate each market will reap the greatest returns.
Where can I learn more?
Of course, one of the best places to learn about DWWA is the official website.
There is a comprehensive wiki for the game here:
HSY wrote some articles on the functionality of the systems in DWWA. Links to these articles are here:
My other articles also holds some information (I hope):
Images provided by various artists at Pixabay.