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Disney Lorcana’s online sales event ends in disaster after DDoS attack

‘We are officially ending our website sales of Rise of the Floodborn’

The evil witch, Raya, and Beast in a collage of images from Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn Image: Ravensburger and Disney
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The launch of the second set of cards for Disney Lorcana ended on Monday after a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack on publisher Ravensburger’s website. On Monday, Disney Lorcana’s official Facebook account announced the DDoS attack. In a statement sent to Polygon, Ravensburger said it is not deterred by the incident, and that additional direct-to-consumer online sales are planned in the future.

“While we are not able to offer more specific details at this time, we want to apologize to consumers who had a negative experience during our launch today,” Ravensburger said in its posts on X and Facebook. “We truly appreciate your support and are committed to improving your experience of future launches.”

Technology company Queue-Fair, which managed some of Ravensburger’s site infrastructure, confirmed the attack on Tuesday.

“Queue-Fair can confirm that we experienced an unprecedented challenge yesterday when both our systems and the Ravensburger system were unexpectedly targeted by the most aggressive DDoS attack we have seen during yesterday’s product launch,” said Queue-Fair, which was founded in 2004, on X. The company said that it estimates nearly five million bot accounts were involved.

“The more measures we put in place to counter the [attack], the more aggressive the attack became,” the company added.

Disney Lorcana is a new collectible trading card game (TCG) competing with two of the biggest names in the industry — Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon Trading Card Game. It does so by pairing similar gameplay mechanics with Disney’s beloved stable of animated characters. But while the game has reviewed well, including here at Polygon, actually getting cards to play with has been difficult for your average consumer.

To get more product into the marketplace, Ravensburger announced a full reprint of the game’s first set of cards, titled The First Chapter, to coincide with the launch of Rise of the Floodborn. And yet, even with two sets available more or less at once, it still seems that market prices remain high and availability of cards is still an issue.

In hopes of mitigating these pricing issues even further, Ravensburger elected to try and sell cards directly through its own website for a limited time. But the DDoS attack foiled those plans, locking consumers inside malfunctioning queues for hours.

“Our team has worked extremely hard to solve this problem over the course of the day, but unfortunately that has not been possible,” Ravensburger said in its posts on X and Facebook. “As of now we are officially ending our website sales of Disney Lorcana: Rise of the Floodborn.”

Ravensburger told Polygon in a statement Tuesday that it will attempt online sales like this again in the future.

“We at Ravensburger understand the frustration with how yesterday’s website launch went, and we are committed to ensuring that future web launches can be successful,” Ravensburger said. “In the short term, we will be reallocating Rise of the Floodborn item quantities to other channels to ensure that those products are purchasable during the holiday season. In the medium and long term, we are taking all steps necessary to define a clear roadmap to ensure our future website launches are successful.”

At issue in these early sales is the very concept of a “manufacturer’s suggested retail price,” which many in the trading card industry seem to ignore. Take, for instance, a box of 24 booster packs — by far the most economical way to get a bunch of cards at one time for building decks. These boxes have a suggested retail price of $144, and Ravensburger is sending them to local game stores first before fulfilling orders to big box retailers or online giants like Disney and Amazon. Theoretically, that gives consumers a chance to support local retailers, and it gives local retailers the opportunity to build up repeat business — and a healthy local community of competitive players.

But with some rare cards fetching five-digit prices at online marketplaces, speculators have moved in to snatch up as many unopened packs as they can find. That’s driving the so-called “market price” — which is privately tracked by eBay subsidiary TCGPlayer and other secondary marketplaces — closer to $250 or more per box of cards. That price inflation is causing some independent retailers to choose to raise their own prices at the register, lest they loose an opportunity to flip unopened boxes themselves online at the inflated price. Still others are holding firm.

Meanwhile, Rise of the Floodborn itself is an excellent set of cards. It expands the available mechanics in the game, filling in gaps in the design goals and increasing the complexity of the overarching metagame. But the metagame just isn’t much fun when finding cards is so challenging.

Update: Polygon has updated its original story with additional statements from Ravensburger and its technology partner, Queue-Fair.

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