One of the great things about the Yu-Gi-Oh! Goat Format is its low barrier to entry. Much of the Goat Format Community is online, where every card is free. If you are fortunate enough to be a part of a real-life Goat Format community, it's not too much worse. Decks can consistently be obtained for less than $100, and with a static card pool and banlist you don't have to worry about constantly having to buy new cards to keep up. However, this is a double-edged sword. A low barrier to entry also means a low barrier to exit. You may leave the format at any time without feeling very "pot committed."
How Konami Keeps Low-Performing Yu-Gi-Oh! Players
It is inevitable in any game that some people will do worse than others. However, a sustainable game must either keep its lowest performing players or rapidly replace them. If the lowest performing players quit the game, there will become a new group of players who are the lowest performing. This will cause a chain reaction until there are no players in the game left.
How does Konami prevent this from occurring? A lot of it is their marketing and business model. They describe their game as a casual, luck-based game and intentionally downplay its competitive aspects. This is similar to how poker keeps its low performers. They believe that their game is "all luck anyways" and that their fortunes could change at any moment. Maybe today will be my lucky day.
To support this idea that fortunes can change, Konami prints new cards and bans old ones. This allows players to say, "Maybe I didn't do so well this month, but things will change next month." In addition, Konami's prices make people feel committed. It's easy to walk away from a game, but it can be hard to walk away from a $1,000 collection. When I quit competitive Yu-Gi-Oh!, I owned a $10,000 collection, fully knowing that I would be selling it for about half of its market value.
This is the "addiction model" for gaming. Make people feel like they can't quit even if they want to. Things can get better! Your friends will be sad to see you go! Look at all how much you've already invested in those cards! You wouldn't just abandon them, would you? This is similar to how abusive partners will make you feel trapped in a relationship that you really don't want.
It's All About Fun, Really
There are a lot of games out there, and I'm not trying to tell anyone which ones to play. Your goal should be to play the games that you personally find the most fun. Don't let anyone tell you that your favorite game sucks. Don't let anyone convince you to play a game that you don't enjoy. If you're no longer enjoying a game, please quit. I hate to see people torture themselves, and I hate to see people endlessly complain about a game that they have no intention of quitting.
My goal as a co-founder of GoatFormat.com is to keep our format fun and our community healthy. We can't rely on the addiction model to get people to stay. You really can leave at any time. I just ask that you do your part to give the format a chance, temper your expectations, and think about why you signed up to play it.
Have a Good "Why" for Goat Format and Remember It
Ask yourself, "Why am I playing Goat Format?" I see some players who start playing the format in order to rack up a bunch of wins and show people how good they are. This is not a good reason to play any game. Of course, if they start off doing poorly in the format, they often find themselves rage quitting and posting videos on YouTube about how Goat Format is really overrated and skill-less.
I'd encourage you to adopt a growth mindset and not expect that you're going to start off crushing the game. As an example, when I started playing Blizzard's Overwatch, I was initially ranked in silver for competitive play. After getting better, I was promoted to platinum. The journey of learning more about the techniques of good play was part of the enjoyment. Had I quit right off the bat because I wasn't very good, what would have been the purpose of that?
Write down why you're playing the format. Everyone has their own reasons, and we've outlined many of our own at Why Play Goat Format? You might get frustrated after a few tough losses, but the reasons why you're playing the format should be just as valid as they were before.
I would also encourage you to set learning goals rather than results-oriented ones. Saying "I'd like to get to platinum on the ranked ladder" or "I'd like to win 60% of my matches" doesn't make it any more likely that it will happen and mostly just serves to frustrate you. Rather it's just better to focus on how to get better. Set goals like "review my play in 3 matches this week" or "build and test a new deck."
Join the Goat Format Community
Probably the best way to avoid quitting the format is to immerse yourself into its community. The best way to do so is to join our Discord server. We're doing our part to support new players and keep the community healthy by banning toxic behavior and having a channel called #goat_questions for our newer players.
Patrick Hoban dedicated an entire section of his book Road of the King to how to leverage your player networks in order to get better. In our Discord, you have the opportunity to interact with many good Goat Format players who can help you improve your game. Making friends and getting help from them is a great alternative to quitting and great way to better enjoy your time playing the format.
Until next time, let us know what your experience has been with players quitting the format in the comments below. Did any of your friends quit Goat Format? If so, why? What do you think works on preventing frustrated players from leaving the format?
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For more on the reasons why we think you'll enjoy Goat Format, be sure to read Why Play Goat Format? If you're new to the format and need to help getting started, try read our guide on Getting Into Goat Format.