As many of you know, Netrunner is a game with a high barrier to entry for beginners. Even though jinteki.net already significantly lowers that barrier by providing access to the entire cardpool, there is still a lot to be desired in that matter.
A complete beginner to Netrunner (not having ever seen a physical copy or anything), after visiting jinteki.net for the first time ever, faces following problems:
Not knowing rules - has to either watch a youtube video, read a rulebook (which he doesn't have) or rely on met strangers to teach them.
Rules have tons of gotchas and weird interactions, with no one good place to learn them all.
Decks currently played draw from a huuge cardpool (currently about 1000 and counting) with often complicated mechanics.
To play or even just watch a game you have to register an account. That can be a huger block to trying out a site than most think. E-commerce sites which enabled guest checkout observed sales increase sometimes as high as 45%. (1) (2)
To play, you have to construct a deck. There are a few old Worlds Championship Winners' decks added by default to the account, but they are not necessarily easy to play, evenly matched against today's meta or even each other.
Even in the casual room, you can encounter decks that are really not friendly for beginner games, sometimes even if you name the game e.g. "beginner here, learning the game".
This change - adding a guest lobby - is attempting to solve problems 4, 5 and 6. Problems 2 and 3 are circumvented by limiting decks played in the lobby to only a few pre-constructed ones, carefully tailored for beginner use and balanced against each other. Basic strategy write-ups (targeted at people who never played even a single Netrunner game) for them would also be very useful, helping a tiny bit with problem 1.
Another change would be allowing spectators to be guests, except of course for no spectator games. Chat for unregistered players would be disabled outside of the guest lobby, to prevent abuse/spambots. Registered players would be able to join/create games in the guest lobby, but they would also be limited to one of the premade decks.
While I won't get around to implementing the above for a while (got a few other plans to finish first), I invite all Netrunner teachers here on Stimhack to brainstorm the decks to be available for the guest lobby. The decks should be:
- Simple to use and grasp, with clear victory path - obviously.
- Representative of their faction - while SEA Scorch package in HB is certainly possible, it's not necessarily very educational.
- Not necessarily core only, but sticking as close to core+deluxes as possible - let's make the shopping list as small as possible for potential beginners wanting to buy in. Let's say the recently growing in popularity 1+1+1 format per deck. (this is up to discussion)
- Current and legal - please think twice before including a card from Spin/Genesis cycle. The feature may not get implemented before rotation happens and even if it does, there already isn't that much time left. Also, limit 1 Astro per deck - this isn't archeology room!
Decks chosen from posted here will be used as the first iteration for the fixed decklists in the beginner room. After we gather some actual beginner feedback and winrate stats, it's possible they will be further tweaked / teched against some matchups to approach the holy grail, 50:50 winrate .
Ideas, comments and decklists welcome!
For technical discussion regarding this on github I created this thread: https://github.com/mtgred/netrunner/issues/1924