New players sometimes ask for recommendations on the first Data Packs they should buy. Some Netrunner Otaku on Reddit made this Data Pack summary listing: http://bit.ly/QmwxiX
(I hope they keep it up! Kudos to you sir.)
For reviewing cards in circulation, I recommend visiting a card browser like:
Ono-Sendai or CardgameDB
These browsers let you view cards by Data Pack or type or faction, etc., and will show you all the incredible options available in this fantastic game.
Personally, I think every Data Pack is worthwhile – none of them are a complete loss. If you’re serious about playing competitively at tournaments, you really should get all the Data Packs eventually because every card you own is modified by the cards that follow. A great example of this is the Core Netrunner set – there are cards in there that saw little play ’til recently, because of their synergy with a just-released pack.
Don’t think that every person playing Netrunner is a tournament junkie. It’s simply not true. Don’t be intimidated by the game just because it plays so well in a tournament setting, and all the podcasts tend to talk about tournaments and store championships, etc. Play it for the love of the deck-building experience and strategic play it provides. The LCG format makes playing the game a level playing field for all gamers – without the sometimes stupid expense of CCG collecting. (The LCG format will probably be the main format for card games in the future. I bet it will.)
So go get some cards dammit. And I will see you online.