<Warning: Long Rant Follows>
Lavatos Heros - I feel they made the right move on this. Honestly, while the idea of using my hard earned cards for something else is intriguing, everything I've heard about this game is that it really isn't anything special and that implementing it would be a lot of work so I'd much rather they do as they are, focus on making the game we do have better before putting in the time to implement something like this.
Napolean - Eh... don't really care on this. I guess if its easy to implement I've got nothing against them working on it, but since it doesn't sound like its going to really add much of anything to the existing game not really psyched about it either. This would probably mean more to me if its annoucement had been coupled with the annoucement of the FM lotto being implemented so that FM meant something to me but as is I can't help but feel like if I wanted to play a tradition card game like this I'd just go to yahoo games or a similar site.
Organized Play - You'd think I'd care about this more, especially as some one who both entered for probably 8 or so years of my life and ran tournaments weekly at local card shops for a good 6 or so straight years of my life. I've gotten tons of prizes and even a giant trophy from tournaments I've won and I've got litterally hundreds of people who I run into all the time who still apparently remember me fondly as a tournament director for so and so card game even though I'm always ashamed to admit to them I don't remember them. Despite that, there's a reason Organized Play finally getting off the ground doesn't have me feeling giddy. Outside the training arena, Alteil in many ways is already like always being in a big tournament. The prizes come in the form of weekly gran or treasure battles, and though your not "eliminated" for losing, you are punished with less gran/no treasure battle prizes, so that sensation of "this isn't just a casual duel, I NEED to win" is pretty much always there. Organized Play can make those prizes bigger, but I honestly don't think a more stressful "must win" atmosphere is something this game lacks or frankly needs. That said, I will admit that drafts and other tournament styles that involve all players playing on equally terms is something that could be good for the game, a nice change for the norm, but measures must be taken to assure the same IP address can not re-enter such a tournament as abuse of that kind really screwed up the previous tournaments of that kind.
Premium Features - I like the idea that if you've spent money at some point, you gain access to one or more of these premium features. It's my experience that once a person invests money in an online game, even a small amount, they're more likely to stick with it long term, so anything that encourages people to make that first gran purchase, even just a small one, I think will greatly improve player retention. That said, it sounds to me more like these features are just going to be things your going to buy with gran. If thats the case then I neither care for or against this. Are there features I might be willing to pay gran to get, maybe, not sure, but I have enough complaints with other aspects of alteil right now that I can't see myself spending real money on gran regardless so its a moot point.
Beginner's Packs - These have potential, the idea behind them is a good one, but first one didn't really wow me. Hopefully they've learned from comments on the first one and the future ones will be better. Time will tell how these change and shape up, but obviously as a vet, these aren't really aimed at me anyway. I'm still not really sure why these go away though, what reason is there that some one whose beginning now shouldn't be able to access the old beginner pack? As for the gold packs, depends how they're done, for instance if they're done similar to the bronze boxes I proposed previously, then I'll be very psyched about them. If they're just a really expensive pack that guarentees a 3*... eh. It'll help the big spenders complete their sets of 3*s, but I fear it'll be too expensive to really be useful to anyone else, we will see.
Lupos Watchdog - On its own this doesn't really mean much of anything but obviously it was explained to clarify the next item...
Achievement System - Ok I admit until I read this I was feeling kind of "really... thats it..." but then I read this and got very excited. The idea has great potential to vastly improve the game play experience of both new players and veteran players a like. It'll have to be implemented correctly, and hopefully alot of these achievements will be repeatable (as it sounds it will be by the claim of being able to grind for point cards) but if done right this single feature has tremendous potential to revolutionize the game.
Project X - The concept is a good one, will be interesting to see how this project shapes up. Obviously its still in the idea getting phase so it'll be a LONG time before we actually see anything of this, but at least nice to know that it is being worked on.
Project Sun and Moon - Too cryptic a description to have any opinions at all on this one.
Point Card Costs - The first big thing that struck me right off the bat is that there is talk of more ways to get point cards, but not a single comment that the point card cost system is being fixed. Not even a "Also we know the cost system for point cards is really horrible right now, but theres nothing we can do to fix it" statement. Honestly I really think fixing the costs should be a higher priority then giving out more point cards, once the cost ratios are fixed then more ways to get point cards will become an area of interest but for now, your still ruining yourself if you spend on anything less then a 5*. People, myself being one of them, have posted many times on ways the point card system could be altered such that the point cost for 1* through 4* cards would be accurately proporationate to the value of 5* cards. I don't quite understand why this is something that hasn't already been changed, I assume something is blocking the process, but with out word as to what that something is it just ends up being a strange confusing mess.
Better Match Making - One of the biggest complaints I hear time and time again is that players feel over matched by their opponents, that they're being paired against players infinitely stronger then them, and its rarely fun playing some one you know you can't beat. Pretty much all the best, most time tested, strategy games have a system to rank players and match them up with players of similar skill level. This game already has a similar system in place to rank players skill, RP, yet does not seem to make use of it for match making, meaning a player with 1400 RP can routinely expect to hit "find match" and end up facing down a 2000 RP opponent. I admit I don't truly grasp just how hard improving the match making system would be, but other lower budget online card games (Urban Rivals come to mind) have pretty successfully crafted systems for this purpose so I find it hard to believe its impossible. I know you can't do everything at once, your priority in this past year was on the achievement system, but I'm pretty heavily disapointed to hear not a single comment that this change was even being looked into.
FM Lotto - Actually this isn't that big of a deal to me. Its a little head scratching as to why it isn't even mentioned for the coming year, or heck, why it hasn't been implemented already, but I have a sneaking suscpion that this really won't solve as many problems as some people think it will. I would have liked to at least have been given some reasoning as to why it isn't going to be implemented if indeed it isn't on the 2010 to do list, but hey, a heck of a lot of stuff was covered, some things are just going to get left out.
I'm very interested in the achievement system, and mildly interested to see how future beginner packs and gold packs will shape up, but after reading the state of the game I have no reason to believe the terrible cost to content ratio is going to be improved, and that coupled with the lack of improvements to the match making system make the odds of my coming out of retirement, encouraging my friends to come back to the game, and my spending money on alteil again, not especially likely, at least in 2010. Here's hoping I'm wrong.
The bunnies of Lavato have special abilities, like 'Action Skill: Make Carrot Disappear.'