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WARNING: Creation Crystals Are Not As Consumer-Friendly As We Once Thought

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Categories: News
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Rewind to E3

Back in June, at E3, I asked the producers of Skylanders Imaginators if we would be able to reset the Creation Crystals.

Mainly I wanted to know if the Battle Class could be reset. So far we had seen and been told that everything else could be changed at any time.

However, they had not mentioned the Battle Class.

At that time they told me that the decision was not final. It was an issue they were still debating.

Fast Forward to Gamescom

Two months later was our next major video game convention.

It appears that they have now made their decision.

Rob from Coin-Op TV as well as Game Informer have both reported that once you choose the Battle Class it can never be changed.

Why This Is (Objectively) Bad

For the past four years here on Skylanders Character List I've dealt with hardcore collectors, casual fans, and parents of casual fans on a regular basis. I like to think that I have a pretty good understanding of the Skylanders audience.

This year I have seen more optimism for Skylanders Imaginators than any other Skylanders game in the past.

It was poised to bring in gamers who shied away from Skylanders until they found out they could create their own character. It was attracting the attention of fans who had previously played Skylanders, but had taken a few years off.

That was…until this announcement.

Locking the Battle Class is scaring a lot of people away.

When your press release uses phrases like: “infinite possibilities”, “endless combinations”, and “hours of replayable fun”, it's extremely disheartening to see multiple restrictions.

Skylanders Imaginators will offer fans more choices than ever before with infinite possibilities to create! Now fans can create their own Skylanders with endless combinations of powers, abilities, catchphrases and much more that deliver hours of replayable fun.

I can tell you right now, it won't matter how many warnings you put on the packages or in the game itself, the general public will not read them or give them the credence they deserve.

While many of the hardcore fans have already started planning out all the characters they want to make, this is not who I'm worried about.

I worry about the casual fans who make up the bulk of the Skylanders community.

Example 1

Consider little Johnny. He just unwrapped his brand new Dark Edition. He takes his time and meticulously creates an awesome Fire Bowslinger.

Johnny has plans for the other two characters he wants to create, but has to take a break to run to the bathroom.

Meanwhile, back in the living room, Johnny's little sister has been waiting patiently and wants to try her hand at creating. So she puts the Life Creation Crystal on the Portal and selects a Bowslinger.

Johnny's little sister was so amused by the animation that she quickly grabs the Dark Creation Crystal and puts it on the Portal as well. Once again she ends up choosing the Bowslinger Battle Class.

Now when Johnny returns from the bathroom he is horrified to find out that he has 3 new Bowslingers. This was not what he had planned and he starts bawling.

Johnny's parents come in the room and they have no idea what happened. Even when Johnny calms down enough to explain what was wrong, they still can't seem to fix the problem.

Example 2

It's a simple fact that many families cannot afford to “collect them all”.

There are many families that just purchase the Starter Pack which means that they will only have one Creation Crystal to play with.

While it's great that they will finally be able to create their own character, it's unfortunate that they will never be able to experience 90% of the Battle Classes.

Example 3

I sincerely hope this doesn't happen, but I have already heard some people plotting these sort of actions “to teach Activision a lesson”.

Someone could go to the store and buy all of the Creation Crystals.

At home they could lock in the Battle Class on each and every Crystal and then return them to the store the next day.

Being none the wiser, the store employees would put the Creation Crystals back on the shelf to be sold again and dozens of unsuspecting victims would never even have a choice of which Battle Class they wanted.

The Big Problem

The big problem is that you're forcing players to make a permanent decision with absolutely no knowledge.

How do we know what makes each Battle Class special?

How do we know which Battle Class we enjoy playing as?

How do we know which Battle Class upgrades we like?

When leveling up a Skylander in the past we always had to make a choice of the Upper or Lower path for our powers.

However, this was okay because if we decided we didn't like one path or we just wanted to try out both paths, we could reset the figure. Sure we would have to spend some time leveling the character up again, but it was acceptable because the option was there.

You WANT kids to spend more time playing the game.

Who cares if they're spending their time creating figures or actually playing through the campaign?

They're having fun.

If a kid has one character in mind, there's a good chance they'll have a second character they'll want to create soon enough.

I highly doubt that all of the characters they want to create will be of the same Battle Class.

Let them have fun. Give them a “sea of options”.

My Personal Opinion

I consider myself a relatively hardcore collector. I don't have all the Chase Variants, but I try to get one of everything that is available at the retail level.

Personally I was planning on buying one Creation Crystal from each element and hoping that would allow me to experience and experiment with all the different combinations.

I think a lot of fans and collectors were prepared to pick up one Creation Crystal for each element. On top of the base game and all the Sensei Skylanders that's a sizable investment.

However, I think it is safe to say that NO ONE was or is prepared to pick up 10 Creation Crystals for each element.

While I know that no one is forcing me to buy anything, it feels unreasonable to require 100 Creation Crystals just to experience all the combinations.

I am 100% on board with locking in the Elements. Not only does this allow for some cool element-specific designs, but it will encourage fans to pick up a few extra pieces.

This is acceptable.

But by locking in a second option it makes these “infinite possibilities” start to seem quite finite.

Please Allow Battle Classes To Be Reset

Activision, Toys For Bob, or whoever is in charge of making this decision, please allow the Battle Classes to be reset as well.

I'm not asking for Battle Classes to have the same flexibility as the other parts and gear. I'm just looking for an option to wipe the Creation Crystal to its default state like we just brought it home from the store.

I understand that resetting a Creation Crystal would erase any levels and upgrades that I had earned with the previous character, but that is okay. As long-time Skylanders fans we are used to that functionality.

Not only will this earn you a tremendous amount of goodwill with your hardcore, dedicated fans, but it will alleviate hundreds and thousands of tweets, emails, and Facebook messages from angry, confused parents and fans over the course of the next year.