No matter how fast or slow you release new cards in such a game, it will be too fast for some and too slow for others. People who play a lot get bored and need shakeups. Their meta can stabilize in a matter of days, or even hours. People who don’t play often get left behind when too many new cards are printed. I kept up for a long time, but not I’m way way behind.
The thing is that Netrunner is more viable as a non-competitive game. You can just treat it like the other two player board games on the shelf. Keeping up with the joneses only matters if you go to tournaments or play with strangers. If you never plan to do that, then just get whatever cards you want and do whatever you want. Who cares? Just one core set has a ton of fun to be had in this manner, and the new core set seems to be even better than the first since it eliminates all the oppressive cards.
Also, they did just release a non-rotating expansion. It’s Terminal Directive. It actually includes a Legacy™-style scenario. I haven’t tried it, but I heard that it’s bleh. It still contains a bunch of regular tournament-legal cards even if you don’t play the scenario. Between most cycles they seem to release a “big box” expansion that does not rotate. Only the data pack cycles rotate.
To be competitive you don’t even need to buy every data pack. You can build a deck online and figure out which data packs have the cards you need. There are some packs that have few, or no, cards that are really worth playing. That’s one major player complaint is that a lot of recent packs were mostly full of crap. They didn’t shake the meta because the cards in them weren’t worth playing.
Also, as people quit the game you can load up on cards for cheap if you buy their set.
Lastly, even if you do spend $500, that’s cheaper than just one deck in some M:tG formats. Yet, that $500 got you 3 copies+ of every single card. Hell, that’s cheaper than some individual M:tG cards. It’s also even cheaper than digital card games like Hearthstone. To be competitive at that, you can spend hundreds per year, and still not have every card. And those cards are just bits in a database! You get cardboard for your money with Netrunner!
This new core and rotation does seem good on paper, so I’m into it. For the first time I’ll be able to see what the game is like with no evil or hated cards to be seen. Theoretically people will actually have to play real Netrunner. No crazy combos. No Vamps and Siphons. No Blackmail. No insane econ engines. Just good old running. Exciting!
Still, I just don’t have time to play Netrunner as much as I used to. If I stop playing, no regrets. Thanks to this game I met a lot of great peoples, played a lot of great games, and had good times. Well worth the price of admission. But hey, I won’t complain if it lasts a little longer either.