Aleco

The Problem With Purchasing Packs is Choice, Not Cost

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Standing on the shoulders of the Star Wars: Battlefront II controversy, the Hearthstone community has been voicing their concerns over the game's rising costs louder than ever. What can be done to fix Hearthstone's payment model?

Since the release of Star Wars: Battlefront II, EA Games has found itself in the midst of one of the most heated, unified, and prolonged attacks against a game studio in the history of the gaming industry. Infuratied by the game’s costly “pay to win” microtransactions, the online gaming community made a recent reddit comment by the EA Community Team the most downvoted comment in the history of reddit, an impressive accomplishment which EA can rest on their mantle next to their back to back "Worst Company in America" in awards.

Hot on the heels of this controversy, Blizzard released an advertisement for Starcraft II to spread the word about its recent shift to free-to-play which appears to take some serious shots at EA. It's a funny and well-crafted advertisement which is certainly worth a watch:

As we discussed on the Icy Veins podcast, it's a bit odd to see Blizzard to take an aggressive stance against other gaming studios. Not only does Blizzard have a tendency to play it safe with their marketing and advertising, but one could make the case that Blizzard is currently in the midst of a very similar (albeit far smaller) controversy over their payment model for Hearthstone.

There has nearly always been a vocal part of the Hearthstone community speaking out against the game’s cost, but the complaints against Hearthstone’s payment model are currently as loud as they have ever been. Just as Blizzard decided to capitalize on the EA controversy to advertise StarCraft II, the Hearthstone community is using the Battlefront debacle as a pedestal to shout their grievances from.

With such a significant portion of the Hearthstone community demanding changes to the current in-game reward systems and payment models, now seems as good a time as ever to have an honest dialogue about what kinds of changes will strike the fairest balance between our bank accounts and our Hearthstone collections.

A Fair Price for Hearthstone

Is there something fundamentally broken about Hearthstone’s reward systems and payment model, and what can be done to fix it? To answer that question, the Hearthstone community needs to be honest about what kind of game Hearthstone really is.

It’s far too easy to draw unfair comparisons between the cost of Hearthstone and the cost of other games. Take Overwatch for example. It’s undeniable that you’ll get a vastly superior return of fun on your investment of 40 bucks for Overwatch when compared against the $49.99 it will cost you to pre-order 50 packs of the latest Hearthstone set, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to compare the cost of these two games against each other. First and third person shooting games (Star Wars: Battlefront II notwithstanding) rarely cost more than $59.99 for an entire game’s worth of content, while card games are expected to charge their customers for packs of cards instead of charging for the game itself. So how does Hearthstone stack up against other card games? 

If you compare Hearthstone against the grandaddy of them all, Magic: the Gathering, Hearthstone is incomparably cheaper. Speaking for myself, the primary reason I switched from MTG to Hearthstone was to save money. Take a look at the average cost of a Standard deck, then take a look at the average cost of a Legacy deck (the rough equivalent of Wild). Want to play a round of draft (the MTG equivalent of the Arena)? That’ll cost you between 10 and 15 USD to play three matches of Magic.

Is Hearthstone starting to sound cheap yet? Well, it shouldn’t, because MTG and Hearthstone are also totally unfair comparisons. Magic is a trading card game, not a collectible card game, which means that its individual cards hold value and can be traded to other players. Though Magic is undeniably more expensive than Hearthstone no matter how you slice it, the fact that its cards can be sold at any time for real money means that the two games should be held to very different pricing standards.

It’s about as useful to compare the price of MTG to Hearthstone as it is to compare the price of a BMW to a John Deere tractor, yet I see comparisons like this being made all the time. I’m personally guilty of drawing comparisons between the cost of MTG and Hearthstone in a guide I wrote on this very site.

If we want to have a realistic conversation about what a fair payment model should look like in Hearthstone, then we need to be realistic about what kinds of games it’s fair to compare Hearthstone with. Not FPS games, not trading card games (TCGs), but only other collectible card games (CCGs). These are Hearthstone’s true competitors. Games which are free to download, charge money to unlock cards at an accelerated pace, and have no system in place to trade cards between players.

Here’s a quick list of the most popular non-Hearthstone CCG’s on the market:

  • Shadowverse
  • Gwent
  • Eternal
  • Elder Scrolls: Legends

Ready for a controversial opinion? Hearthstone should be more expensive than the other CCGs. It’s the oldest and most polished game of the lot, it has the largest player base by a mile, and it has vastly more cards, expansions, and free single player content than its competition. Before we can begin to discuss ways that we can improve the reward systems and payment models for Hearthstone we need to accept that Hearthstone has earned to right to call itself the premier CCG in the world. As such, a fair price point for Hearthstone is something higher than that of the other CCGs and something lower than Magic: the Gathering, which is where Hearthstone currently lies.

The Hearthstone community would probably complain far less about the game's cost if its players felt as though they were being appropriately rewarded for their investments of time and money; superior products are allowed to cost more than inferior ones. However, there is a tangible gap between the time and money players are investing into Hearthstone and the feeling of “reward and accomplishment” they are getting in return. This is a problem which, quite frankly, the other CCGs just don’t have.

Win or lose, playing the Draft mode in Eternal makes me feel as though I’m steadily marching closer and closer to building the decks I want to play on the ladder. Creating a Shadowverse account bestows players with so many packs that it made me feel as though I owed the developers a debt of gratitude in return. Having played each of the other CCGs I mentioned earlier in this article (some much more than others), there is a strong sense of generosity and progress present in these games which is largely absent in Hearthstone. 

The unfortunate truth is that Hearthstone is so much bigger and more profitable than the competition that these games need to be generous with their players in order for them to stand a fighting chance. It's an extremely common business practice for smaller companies to undercut their bigger and better-funded competition. If the Draft mode in Eternal didn’t tangibly feel as though I was progressing towards a complete collection of cards then I probably wouldn’t play it at all. If Shadowverse didn’t immediately shower me with packs for creating a new account then it may not have held my attention past the tutorials. These vastly smaller CCGs are fighting an uphill battle by attempting to compete in the same design space as Hearthstone, making it a virtual necessity for their developers to be overtly generous to their player base.

Blizzard has earned the right to charge more and reward less to Hearthstone players than other CCGs do. What Blizzard has failed to do thus far is make its players feel as though the rewards offered by playing and paying for Hearthstone are worth every penny.

In-Game Rewards and Player Psychology

Blizzard has made some serious strides in the past few expansions by providing its players with more free content than ever. They’ve started giving out one free Legendary card per set, have started producing rich single-player content for every new expansion, briefly experimented with daily login rewards leading up to the release of Journey to Un’Goro, and have periodically run festivals that handed out free packs and Arena runs. These are certainly significant strides in a positive direction, yet players still feel guilty when purchasing packs from the shop. Why is that?
 
Let’s start by taking a look at the random Legendary reward which was introduced at the start of Knights of the Frozen Throne. It’s certainly a welcome prize, but how does it make players feel? I’d argue that in practice, the average Hearthstone player will end up receiving a shiny new Legendary card that they didn’t actually want. The majority of players will be crossing their fingers for a specific Legendary (such as the one belonging to their favorite class) and will feel disappointed when they receive one of the eight other Legendaries they weren’t hoping for. Newer players might only have enough cards in their collection to build a deck for one or two of the classes (I only crafted Druid cards for my first few months in Hearthstone) and will probably have no use at all for a random Legendary outside of those classes. What we have is a reward that is purely beneficial to players, yet somehow it often results in a negative player experience.

Player psychology is an incredibly important issue in game design, and it’s an issue that Blizzard has demonstrated the ability to masterfully navigate in the past. A famous example comes from World of Warcraft, where Blizzard was able to successfully morph one of the most complained about systems in the game into a system which has since been copied by nearly every MMO after it:

Quote

Players respond better to incentives than to punishment. That's a no-brainer, but Pardo (the lead designer for Wow) had a couple of funny stories from the WoW beta to back it up. He said that originally the Rest System in WoW worked like this: You started out gaining 100% xp, but the longer you played, the more that percentage dropped, eventually falling to 50%. This was to discourage players from playing more than a few hours at a time. Beta players hated this system -- so Pardo changed it by doubling the amount of xp required to reach maximum level in the game, starting players out with 200% xp gained, and slowly dropping it to 100% xp as they played. Same effect, same numbers, the only difference was the way the numbers were presented -- and people applauded the 'change'. 

He also said you don't want to fight player psychology. In the original beta, when a player was inspecting you, you'd receive a notice about it. The thought of being inspected creeped players out, and they said they didn't want people to do that. So rather than remove the inspect system, they simply removed the message, and everyone was happy.

- Anne Stickney via Engadget 

This notion of player psychology is undoubtedly playing an important role in the perceived gap between player investment and player reward in Hearthstone. The way that rewards and punishments are framed has a tremendous effect on player psychology, and it certainly seems as though Blizzard is losing the psychological battle with its player base. Without having to make any sweeping changes to the in-game reward systems, I’d argue that Blizzard could gain a lot of good will with its players by reframing the way that some of its current in-game rewards are presented. Let’s start by revisiting the random Legendary reward to see if it can reframed in a way which feels better its players.

At worst, a random Legendary card can be turned into 400 dust; enough to construct four Rares or one Epic. Instead of setting up a large portion of the player base to be disappointed by receiving a random Legendary they may or may not have really wanted, how would players feel if they were simply given 400 dust instead? This reward would be strictly worse than receiving a random Legendary, but I would guess that it would have been received much better by the average Hearthstone player than the random Legendary reward currently is. It’s not so bad to receive a free reward you didn’t really want, but it feels downright awful to dust a Legendary into one quarter of its previous value. Taking this one step further, imagine how excited players would be if they received 1600 dust (or a Legendary of their choice) for trying out a new set. This would give players a feeling of agency and control which is wholly absent from the current in-game reward model. The single biggest problem with Hearthstone’s current in-game reward systems and payment models is a perceived lack of player control. 

A Lack of Choice in Hearthstone’s Payment Model

The slow trickle of gold players receive for playing games leads to a slow trickle of packs, and this slow trickle of packs leads to even slower trickle of dust, the only resource players get for constructing the cards they truly want. Outside of grinding away on the ladder, the only other tool at player’s disposal for getting the cards they need to build competitive decks is to pay for packs.

The best rate that players can get on packs is $49.99 for a one time pre-order of 50 packs of the new set. The estimated average dust per pack is 102.71, assuming you dust every single card you open. 102.71 dust per pack times 50 packs equals 5135.5 dust, which is just enough to construct three Legendaries of your choosing but not nearly enough to build the vast majority of competitive decks in the current metagame.

If you assume that most of the players who pre-order every new set have the majority of the most popular Legendaries and Epics from previous sets, then it’s fair to assume that 5k dust will be enough for these players to build one or two decks using cards from the newest set. For a newer player with a thinner collection, it’s much more likely that they will be at the mercy of the cards they open in those 50 packs and won’t be able to afford the luxury of dusting most of the cards they purchased. One could make the case that $49.99 is a fair price for a player with a deep collection to pay to be able to immediately build a couple of new decks, especially when you take into account the amount of free content that Blizzard has been rewarding players with of late. One could also make the case that it isn’t. Regardless, I have a very hard time believing that $49.99 is a fair price for a new player to pay to maybe be able to construct a single deck that they may or may not have wanted to build in the first place.

Its debateable as to whether or not the issue with Hearthstone’s payment model is the actual value players are receiving from their purchased packs. One thing we can for certain is that there are no choices associated with opening packs that feel good for players to make. There’s really no two ways about it, dusting cards that you may or may not need in the future feels awful. A 25% rate of return for dusting cards feels like selling your grandmother’s jewelry to a pawn shop, yet choosing to dust or not dust cards is the only choice players are presented with after purchasing packs.

Why is it that the only choice players are offered after paying money feels bad to make? There’s nothing intrinsic to the design of Hearthstone which has to prevent players from having more authority over the kinds of cards that are being added to their collection, and I seriously doubt that it is Blizzard’s goal to associate paying money with bad choices. Returning to the idea of player psychology, if we could reframe the current pack purchasing system to offer players more choices, to offer them better choices, perhaps Hearthstone fans wouldn’t feel as disenfranchised as they are feeling right now.

An example of a way that Blizzard could offer players more choice in their pack purchases would be to give players the option to choose from one of nine “prerelease bundles”, one for each class. Each bundle could be guaranteed to contain one Legendary, two Epics, and four Rares belonging to the class of their choosing. Blizzard could easily adjust these bundles of 50 packs so that they have the same expected value as 50 normal packs. This would offer players with smaller collections a choice that maximizes the likelihood that they will actually be able to use the cards they open, while simultaneously offering the more hardcore players a better opportunity at opening the specific Legendaries and Epics they want most. All this upside can be offered to players without having to actually increase the total amount of cards and dust that players receive from their prerelease packs, and has virtually no downside for players when compared against the current prerelease bundle. I hope this example illustrates that Blizzard is highly capable of improving their existing payment model by providing players with more choices, and that sweeping changes to crafting and pack opening systems are likely unnecessary.

Conclusion

To recap, here’s everything we’ve discussed so far:

  1. Hearthstone fans are currently as upset as they have ever been with the cost of the game.
  2. As the premier CCG on the market, Blizzard has earned the right to charge more for Hearthstone than other CCGs. The onus is on other companies to undercut Hearthstone to attract players to their less popular products.
  3. The way that players feel about the rewards they receive is just as important, if not more important, than the quality of the rewards themselves. Hearthstone has room to improve from a player psychology perspective and should seriously consider reframing some of their current rewards if they are unwilling to increase them.
  4. The only choice players receive when purchasing packs is which cards they would like to dust after opening them. The very low rate of return on dusting cards means that the only choice associated with spending money on the game is one that makes players feel bad, yet there’s no discernable reason that pack purchases can’t offer players meaningful choices that actually make them feel good.

Its undeniable that Hearthstone has some room to improve on the systems which are currently under fire from its player base, but at the same, the player base needs to be a little more realistic about what they truly deserve from Blizzard. Hearthstone is an incredible game which provides its players with loads of free content, but at the same time, that doesn’t mean that its devoted fans don’t deserve more than they are currently receiving for their money. It seems as though Blizzard and Hearthstone fans need to meet each other halfway.

Blizzard doesn’t need to make sweeping changes to its in-game reward systems and payment models to silence their unsatisfied customers. By offering players a greater degree of choice than they are being offered today, players will feel as though they are getting a much better return on their investments of time and money. There will always be a vocal minority of the Hearthstone community who feel as though they deserve more for their money, but when that minority turns into a majority as it has in today’s Hearthstone community, it’s time to make some changes.

- Aleco

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"EA you are bad because you make a game where some players can win without skill" says company that created a Paladin class.
I know that's a whole different thing on a whole different level and no one really cares about PvP but still I find this hilarious :P

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Please don't argue for 400 dust instead of a random legendary. I don't care how bad the psychology might be, there isn't nearly enough free stuff, and potentially lowering it by 1200 dust is just unthinkable. 

After years playing the game and trying to get all the edges I've finally got to a point that I can pretty much have all I want when a new expansion is released, so please don't sabotage me. 

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Hearthstone* is as pay-to-win as it gets, imo. I'm a 'free' player. I have spent money on Hearthstone in the past but I've been unemployed for the last year and have been getting licensed to start my own business. So, I've had better things to spend my money on. I've gotten lucky with a few legendary's...had enough dust to buy into my Rexxar DK right off (i like playing hunter as bad as it is overall) and got my Druid DK as well as my Shaman and Warrior DK.  But, don't play/win enough to get enough free packs for the RNG to hit often enough. Maybe all the priests I run in to are all hardcore 'free' players but I doubt it. And, to see that damn priest deck at least once every day (I play anywhere from 4-8 matches a day) with at least the 3 necessary Legendary's if not the 4 or 5 that make it deadly clearly (to me) says that they spent cash money to build that deck, one way or the other. Maybe there is some nuance to the game I'm missing or maybe that one deck is all they have as they have dusted every other card but you can't play this game for free and expect to get much above 15 on the ladder. The best I've been able to do is 12 and that was on a month I probably played 12-15 matches a day with the druid deck.

I'm not really bitching...I think Blizz is mostly generous with the free packs at release and I'm looking forward to the adventure mode. Off topic, but i do wish the class balance was better. I like playing 'thematic' decks...I don't want anything in my hunter decks but beasts and other hunter themed cards. And why would Garrosh ever have any Alliance themed npc working for him? ;) And how is 'mech' druid even a thing?

 

 

Edited by Tupi
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1 hour ago, Aleco said:

Blizzard has earned the right to charge more and reward less to Hearthstone players than other CCGs do

What? How? What does this even mean? How do a gaming company 'EARN' to charge people more, while rewarding them less, even compared to other CCGs? You went on ahead to write it again then.

I assume that it is because of how popular it is, am I wrong?

Popularity of Hearthstone is not completely related to how the game is constructed. If it was, game would be dead already, except a handful of examples, not a single game increases its popularity over 4 years. It is a Blizzard product, and let's be honest here, if they would sell water (like standard water that we drink everyday), for 5 times as the price as the one we could get from a normal market, many people would buy Blizzard water, because it has the 'label' on it. This is how HS is succesful right now.

I have been playing HS for 2 years, and ES:Legends for almost a year now. I prefer playing HS over ES:L in general, but I should say this, reward system in HS is terrible, and I am not talking about the free packs given for choosing 'Who will be the luckiest over the weekend?'. For example, in ES:L, every 3 game won gets you two rewards, some amount of gold (some value between 15 and 50) and a card (could be anything from common to golden legendary). Then, there is a vs AI thing, which gives you low (like really low) amount of dust. In HS, you get a 100 gold for beating every class on expert and thats it. Oh, and you get 10 gold for every 3 wins, which caps at 100.

2 hours ago, Aleco said:

An example of a way that Blizzard could offer players more choice in their pack purchases would be to give players the option to choose from one of nine “prerelease bundles”, one for each class.

If Blizzard would ever do this, it would be expensive af. Also, there is no balance to it, I mean, who would pick Hunter bundle, with all useless legendaries, and mostly useless epics (giving hunter the worst possible legendary is an accomplishment btw)

As almost all your HS-related posts are good, and I enjoy reading them, I disagree with so many things you wrote here, especially the one I quoted at the beginning.

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1 hour ago, Kuster said:

Please don't argue for 400 dust instead of a random legendary. I don't care how bad the psychology might be, there isn't nearly enough free stuff, and potentially lowering it by 1200 dust is just unthinkable. 

I apologize if I was unclear, but that was a thought experiment and not a suggestion. I would certainly never advocate for that! I was trying to point out that the way that rewards and punishments are framed has a huge effect on player psychology.

3 minutes ago, FanOfValeera said:

What? How? What does this even mean? How do a gaming company 'EARN' to charge people more, while rewarding them less, even compared to other CCGs? You went on ahead to write it again then.

I assume that it is because of how popular it is, am I wrong?

I too have tried out the vast majority of CCGs which are currently on the market and think its fair to say that Hearthstone is the best game of the lot - by far. When I say "earned the right to charge more", I'm stating that Blizzard is making a superior product to their competition and has "earned the right" to set their prices higher because of it. I don't have the figures to back this up, but as a much bigger game studio than their competition I think it's fair to guess that Blizzard pours far more time and money into developing Hearthstone than other companies do on their CCGs. As such, it makes that they charge more for their products than their competition, similar to how a Ferrari charges more for their cars than Toyota.

Now, all of this isn't meant to justify the exact ratios of money spent to cards earned that Blizzard has currently settled on. Far from it, in fact! I brought this up because the Hearthstone community frequently uses the price of other CCGs as a reasonable comparison point for how much Hearthstone should cost, yet they fail to take into account that as a superior product, Blizzard isn't obligated to charge as much as their competition. Should they charge less than they currently do? Probably, but that's a different question than the one I was attempting to answer.

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Having choice is incredibly important for an interactive medium like videogames. A good (albeit unreasonably controversial) example comes from WoW's change to the talent system. The old system was an illusion of "choices".

Most talents were meaningless, giving only small %-increases. Change: Infuse those increases into the base stats. Issue: player psychology (pp)- you feel robbed, because you don't get to spend these points. This is an example for how misleading pp can be. No, adding those back in would not make the talent system better (better meaning more depth, choice and individualization). But it gives players feedback, which is just as important.

Most talents didn't change the way you played the class, but the new talent system "usually" does (not for every class and every spec, which can be criticized). I feel much more connection to my class (regarding gameplay, which is a big factor for me) and I get to individualize it, even depending on my mood (if I'm lazy I spec into ascendance on my shaman, if I want a more hectic playstyle I go for icefury)!

The point I want to make with this (and I could go on and on about this), is that the ability to choose matters a lot. It comes down to fundamental sociological aspects of human interaction. We want to be able to choose our role in society and we hate it, when we feel forced into certain roles (popular example being beauty standards). Since we play games for entertainment, because it's a choice to play to begin with, we feel awful when it looks like we have to play the game a certain way to accomplish something in it. This holds true for every game. The fact, that hearthstone is of competitive nature multiplies these effects. That's why we have 9 classes to choose from, several different modes with varying factors of player control, more than one viable playstyle (aggro, control, midrange, ...).

I think Blizzard thought: "We give players different modes to choose from, so if they don't like to grind for packs, they don't have to by playing arena or brawl (sometimes)" but since in essence it's a CCG the constructed mode matters much more to a large portion of the player base and the card-acquisition-process is bottlenecked heavily through the shop.

an alternative to your ideas on how to solve the issue here might be that you earn more by simply playing. 100 gold per 3 matches is miniscule compared to the amount of packs you have to buy and even if you buy packs it's still a lot of dusting. it feels way better to get cards you don't own.

here's the idea: By playing a certain class you accumulate a chance to receive a random card of that class you don't own two of at that point. this incentivizes time investment, rewards playing a class and you have some level of control by playing a class you want cards for (and in the process get to know class mechanics and improving class play). the amount of chance to receive a card might even be related to third factors like win/loss, rank, length, playing with a friend/at a gathering, etc.

PS: I'm full aware that this system relates to the legendary system in WoW and it's partialy inspired by it but in the process trying to improve on it (since I see one the biggest issue in a lack of feedback/control over the randomness of the drop chance)

PPS: I'd love to get feedback on my concept, but please be constructive.

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2 minutes ago, Solanaar said:

here's the idea: By playing a certain class you accumulate a chance to receive a random card of that class you don't own two of at that point. this incentivizes time investment, rewards playing a class and you have some level of control by playing a class you want cards for (and in the process get to know class mechanics and improving class play). the amount of chance to receive a card might even be related to third factors like win/loss, rank, length, playing with a friend/at a gathering, etc.

PPS: I'd love to get feedback on my concept, but please be constructive.

Though this specific suggestion would need to be seen in action to know how effective it is in practice, I think you totally nailed the essence of what I was trying to get at with this piece. This idea gives players a sense of control over the kinds of card they are earning while investing their time into the game, which is exactly the sort of thing that Hearthstone is lacking right now! I'd love to see Blizzard implement a system like this.

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Another problem that flows into the "feel being rewarded" thing is the games' current (talking about standard) health. The majority of the players, no matter if they play/pay a lot, a bit or just F2P, is not hanging out in the legend rank, not even getting close there to earn the rewards (they only read about and hear and see others getting them, which makes them feel bad too) and playing sometimes funny decks. The majority of the players have limited resources (time/money/mood) and currently they have to play a lot against no-fun-at-all decks. After doing that then spending the hard earned gold and even money on packs they get a Moorabi.

A big thing is after spending time to get gold (and currently, as I said, often against no fun decks) they already feel not great. Then they spend their gold on packs and get nothing just dust most of the time or something like Mindgames (a card I personally got over and over in the past) and that happens with other bad "high rarity cards" too. Then they feel really bad.

Even worse when this happens after spending real money. As someone said here before, they feel guilty.

Long words but what I wanted to say is, in my opinion you can't point the problematic only at the reward system. I know you can easily catch people with rewards even if they don't make good use of them, ppl like to get things, but if the overall game play experience is getting worse, reworking the pay/rewards system (which really needs some rework) will not be enough.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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There is a problem when hardcore WoW gold farmers have easier access to the new packs through WoW tokens than a "FTP" Hearthstone player who farms their quests and 100 gold per day (3 wins for 10 gold, cap of 100 per day).

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16 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

 After doing that then spending the hard earned gold and even money on packs they get a Moorabi.

Literally got that exact card yesterday. And a Treachery for good measure (in a different pack, obviously).

I know I can dust them, but it's still rather disheartening when they're basically worth 1/4 of their value right off the bat. 

As someone who is mostly free-to-play (save for buying a couple of the expansions last year), I'm finding the pay-to-win aspect of the game rather depressing. I don't mind losing because I played badly and/or my opponent played well or such. But it's really not fun when my opponent is basically playing nothing but Legendaries and Epics - all of which give far more value for mana than the (mostly non-Epic, non-Legendary) cards I have to play with.


Something else I'd like to bring up though is the removal of Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord from Standard. Yeah, I get that they were strong and could be a pain, but I'd like to offer a different perspective. See, as a free-to-play player, I simply can't afford to chase the best legendaries in each set, let alone all the class-specific ones. But having Sylvanas Windrunner (which I finally crafted  after tearfully dusting 4 other legendaries I'd managed to accumulate) meant I had a good legendary that I could put in any of my decks and which would improve most of them in the process. Now though, I might as well abandon Standard entirely. I don't have the funds to invest significantly in the new expansions, so I just get slaughtered by the people who can.

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2 hours ago, Kenny4eyes said:

There is a problem when hardcore WoW gold farmers have easier access to the new packs through WoW tokens than a "FTP" Hearthstone player who farms their quests and 100 gold per day (3 wins for 10 gold, cap of 100 per day).

Sounds more like the wow players are capitalizing on a market inefficiency, and the FTP HS folks are unwilling to keep up. 

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You should not feel like playing another game to get value in the game you actually want to play in the first place.

34 minutes ago, TheShredder said:

Something else I'd like to bring up though is the removal of Sylvanas Windrunner and Ragnaros the Firelord from Standard.

I'm not a friend of moving cards to the Hall of Shame because the primary thought behind this is to make us use/buy cards from new expansions rather than sticking to the basic/classic cards a lot of players have already in their collections.

But to be fair here you got fully refunded in dust value when they removed them from standard. I know that doesn't change the bad feeling brought with that.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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I have no idea how other games handle this, but your "goal" when opening packs is to get a legendary card, isn't it?

They have the most value, the announcement is the most enthusiastic, they are in many ways the strongest.

You say that people are disappointed, if they don't get the legendary they want. That is true.

But not just because the greedy players want a specific legendary.

No, players are disappointed, because Blizzard manages to make quite a bunch of legendaries garbage.

You open tons of packs and at last you get a legendary. You feel great. For 5 seconds. Until you klick on the card. Then you get a kick in the balls.

Do you know how it feels if the pity-timer kicked in (39 packs without legendary) and on your 40.th pack you get a totally useless one?

 

Well, I do.

Out of my 6 legendaries there are 4 that are garbage.

I opened 112 packs, got 4 legendaries (+1 Deathknight, + the one guaranteed in the first 10 packs) - with an average dust of 92.

 

Guess if I feel just the slightest bit tempted to buy packs for real money.

Let me think...

No.

Paying real money to get that kind of garbage? I'd have more fun getting 112 bucks and lighting a fire with it. I could do this with an audience and get some interesting reactions out of it. And who can claim he started a fire with real money?

 

Getting legendaries should be rewarding. In my case in most cases it is just a kick in the balls.

Blizzard could start to balance legendaries.

Not to make some of them a must have, some of them a nice to have and some of them trash.

 

But hey, I should be grateful.

In all my time with Hearthstone I have never gotten the feeling "hey, I could spent a few bucks to buy a few packs" (one exception: The welcome starter package). I know: Spent 50 bucks and you'll get a useless legendary for it.

If it would be otherwise I would feel tempted to invest some money.

But the way it is? No. Well, thank you Blizzard. Let everything be as it is, increase prices if you want. No surer way for me to save my money.

Edited by WedgeAntilles

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I totally understand it. It's something that requires work and they want to get paid for it and make profit. And that's totally ok but the whole system, the money cost, rewards system etc is no longer customer friendly. I am already thinking really hard about pre-purchasing or not.

Players are absolutely willing to pay for something they like but it should be reasonable. I mean some ppl go out several times per week, spent their money on drinks, maybe some food too, but they (most I guess) feel never guilty about the money they have spent.

Maybe it's better I spend the 50 bucks on beer? (I live in Bavaria, so we have really good beer here) 

Edited by Caldyrvan

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Glad you wrote this article. I agree with most what is said but that's obviously not why we're here in the comments!

Quote

Blizzard has earned the right to charge more and reward less to Hearthstone players than other CCGs do.

I take issue with this, especially with the phrase "earned the right". If their product is unambiguously and objectively better than the competition, then yes, that's earning a right to charge more for it. However, you merely state that Hearthstone is the biggest competitor. You don't argue it's the better product (to be fair, it would be beyond the scope here to compare all the major CCG's). Cynical me says they're just really good at pulling at the strings of our addictive tendencies. Is that 'earning' the right to charge us more?

So, small edit, I've noticed you reacted to this before:

Quote

When I say "earned the right to charge more", I'm stating that Blizzard is making a superior product to their competition and has "earned the right" to set their prices higher because of it.

And to be fair, in the article you do make some arguments:

Quote

Ready for a controversial opinion? Hearthstone should be more expensive than the other CCGs. It’s the oldest and most polished game of the lot, it has the largest player base by a mile, and it has vastly more cards, expansions, and free single player content than its competition

I've added the emphasis where I think you intended, on "should be", i.e. it has the right to be.

But actually, there are only two real arguments in here ("most polished" is rather vague, older doesn't equal better per se, and the game's player base is a measure of popularity, not of quality) of why it is a superior product: a) it has more cards; and b) it has more free single player content. Both arguments can be refuted: a) it also has a metric ton of trash in its card pool; and b) this is simply not true. They only put out a free single player adventure in KotFT. All adventures (i.e., the single player content) before were for sale.

In my opinion the statement that they  "earned the right to charge more" because of an alleged "superior product" is way too strong to play off without going into detail of why it is so superior. What with all the kerfuffle surrounding the 'loot crate' controversy, I think my assessment that Blizzard is just very good at addicting players is equally valid, if not more.

/edit

Quote

Hearthstone ... provides its players with loads of free content.

No, it doesn't. Most of the 'free content' requires you to win games to grind gold, and it's pretty stingy at that. Real free content has come very few and far between (like arena tickets, Volcanosaur, Fight Promotor, Marin the Fox).

Hearthstone chains players with addictive mechanisms and the illusion of 'free content' (i.e., in-game currency) to maintain a big player base, because a big player base is the product. I'm glad more and more people realize this.

Edited by Pdinny
elaboration, formatting
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5 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

I'm not a friend of moving cards to the Hall of Shame because the primary thought behind this is to make us use/buy cards from new expansions rather than sticking to the basic/classic cards a lot of players have already in their collections.

But to be fair here you got fully refunded in dust value when they removed them from standard. I know that doesn't change the bad feeling brought with that.

It's less about the bad feeling and more about the fact that, by removing the two best legendaries from standard, they've made it even harder for budget/free-to-play players to keep up with those who can afford to sing hundreds of pounds into the game (and who can afford to craft the best legendaries from each new set).


Serious question though: I still have 1600 dust from Sylvanas and I want to invest it in another legendary. What do you think would be the best long-term investment? 

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Even though I am not with blizz often but I understand that auto include cards are bad for new things.

For your question: a bit off topic and hard to answer without knowing details about your collection, preferred play style or class. 

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3 hours ago, TheShredder said:

Serious question though: I still have 1600 dust from Sylvanas and I want to invest it in another legendary. What do you think would be the best long-term investment? 

If you’re low on dust and want to get the most use in Standard out of anything you craft, you should spend your dust on cards that come out in the April expansion. They’ll be in Standard for two full years, whereas stuff that comes out in December is only in standard for a year and 4 months.

Unless there are any Classic set legendaries (that may stay around forever) you want. But still, would depend on your playstyle. e.g. if you prefer fast decks, Leeroy is probably the classic legendary you’d get the most use out of. 

Edited by Bozonik

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I love getting golden cards. The best part when you open packs is when you get a golden one.

Because they are worth more dust - yes. And they look very nice. But mostly because it gives me a choice. If it is really bad I can get another one right away. Or I can try it out and later choose to swap it. If it is an epic or a rare I have been missing I keep it. Then when I later get the normal one and end up with 3, I do not get dissapointed. I am happy because now I can use the dust to choose a new card.  

Dusting cards hurts. No matter how lucky you should feel for getting 4 legendary cards in say 20 packs - dusting them to get the legendary you really believe you need is not fun. And it really doesn't matter if it was time (gold) or money that was invested in the packs. You keep thinking that you will end up needing one of the cards later. 

There was a period where I actually was more happy getting a doublet legendary than a bad one I did not have. I did not hurt so much to dust the one I had.

Blizzard have now adjusted the legendary drop so you do not get doublets and the "pity-timer" is set to 10 first time you open packs for a new expansion. That helped my collection ... I am actually very happy with the change. But now I feel that the golden legendary's I have and use are "wasted" because I cannot draw doublet so I can choose another. That feeling is so illogically because with over 100 diiferent legendarys's the matamatical chance of getting a doublet to one of my golden is 10 times less (approximately 1% / 100) than the chance of getting any golden legendary 0.1%. I think I miss the choice. 

Aleco is right - More choice Blizzard 

Rgds

PanPan

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I agree, but please no so called rework that just looks and feels better but does not increase the rate of cards you get.

I think the gold cap is bad too. I understand why they had to cap the max gold earned by won games but still, when you have time and mood to play HS, maybe you're lucky and have a nice win rate you may be at this cap soon. Ofc it doesn't stop you to play more and just enjoy the game but there is still an awkward feeling.

But to behonest I have no idea how to solve this issue.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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I feel amply rewarded when buying packs.

It does help to know that 100 gold = 100 dust, and that every pack you open gets you closer to a free legendary.

I think just being able to see a progress bar for each expansion for your 40 packs, and making the bonus legendary a SIXTH card in that pack would help psychology a lot.

Maybe to add some hype, at 10 packs you get a free common, 20 a rare, 30, an epic, 40 a legendary, and then the bar resets.

It wouldn't be much of a difference from current, but people might feel better about it.

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On 22.11.2017 at 1:19 AM, TheShredder said:

It's less about the bad feeling and more about the fact that, by removing the two best legendaries from standard, they've made it even harder for budget/free-to-play players to keep up with those who can afford to sing hundreds of pounds into the game (and who can afford to craft the best legendaries from each new set).


Serious question though: I still have 1600 dust from Sylvanas and I want to invest it in another legendary. What do you think would be the best long-term investment? 

I didn't get it. How removing two legendaries from the classic set affects newcomers badly. If you had the cards, you got the dust anyways, so that you can craft two new legendaries, or a bunch of epics and rares. If you didn't have them, now you don't have to craft them.

For the question part, if you only play standard, go ahead and craft a class legendary from the classic set, best ones being Tirion Fordring, Edwin VanCleef, Archmage Antonidas and Grommash Hellscream. You could craft a DK, as it is a rather safe investment. If you alsp play wild, craft whatever you want to.

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3 hours ago, FanOfValeera said:

I didn't get it. How removing two legendaries from the classic set affects newcomers badly.

I think it's not great in general. Even though I understand there are/were cards which had a certain strong impact on the game and they had to deal with. But the way they are currently on is to move cards out or nerf them to the ground and make them unplayable. As I said before, one thought behind this is to make new expansion more attractive then basic/classic cards.

With the basic and classic cards being more and more removed or nerfed you are more confined to get (buy) new exp. which will leave standard eventually and so on. As I said, there are reasons sometimes to deal with some problematic cards but basic and classic sets were meant to be in forever, but as they currently do they will become more and more less reliable/valuable.

If they would try to balance that a a bit, e.g. slightly buffing a never used basic/classic card or when an expansion rotates out move one or two cards (which are playable but not problematic) from that set to classic. So the overall amount/pool of cards which you can rely on would mostly stay the same. But this would not increase the amount of money we nice customers spend.

Edited by Caldyrvan

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2 hours ago, Caldyrvan said:

I think it's not great in general

I think it is the best idea Team 5 ever had about anything. Standard rotation already keeps broken cards and synergies in check, but not all of them. One of the biggest problems for the classic set is that, it is not useful for all classes equally, and if Hall of Fame rotation can be used to balance all classes, it is wonderful.

For the neutral cards, Azure Drake saw play in 9 classes, literally. Ragnaros the Firelord was used in 7 classes. As we all know, Hall of Fame rotation is there to sell more packs; that, I agree with. However, it has freshened the meta as a side-effect. I think there should be even more cards under that category, but that could be me.

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