A few years ago I sat down and calculated how much I spent on Hearthstone. I wish I could say I was shocked, but I’ve been playing since the beta and always knew the game was expensive to keep up. But when the number hit around $2,500, I actually felt a sort of stark resignation. Anyway, I stopped counting and kept playing, so shame on me I guess. I mention this as an introduction because this week Blizzard released a survey among other things, asking Hearthstone players if they would be willing to pay a monthly fee to access various subsets of the game’s card collection.
Here are the offers that were brought up as options in the survey:
- Monthly subscription (all Standard cards for 1 lesson): a $10 monthly fee for access to all standard cards in 1 class of your choice
- Monthly subscription (all Standard cards): a $20 monthly fee for access to all standard maps, including the current expansion
- Monthly subscription (all Standard cards): a $10 monthly fee for access to all standard maps except for the current expansion
- Monthly subscription (top deck for 3 lessons): a $10 monthly fee to access the current top performing deck for 3 classes of your choice
The research notes that the cards in all of these subscriptions would be “uneditable,” which I think means you wouldn’t be able to disappoint them for making dust (for very obvious reasons). I’m not going to comment on my perceived value of any of those options as I’m clearly a hopeless whale who doesn’t understand the proper cost of things.
That said, it does strike me that, 1), it’s a good idea for Blizzard to consider new ways to make it easier for players who don’t have a sizeable collection to get back into the game. The company has been more daring in trying to entice players to return recently, even going so far as to offer up to 150 free card packs just to log back in. And 2), a $10 or $20 fee will still feel like a lot in a world where we’re already bugged by multiple monthly gaming and streaming services, so I’m kind of skeptical about its likely adoption.
The survey also includes a bunch of other intriguing options. Console and Steam Deck versions of the game are mentioned, as well as a standalone app for Battlegrounds, a tournament mode (LOL), in-game live events and cosmetics of all kinds. Very similar to the course of a Hearthstone survey. But there’s also some more bizarre stuff, like fully realized 3D gameplay (which seems unlikely given the rough reception that got the 3D Arthas portrait), a player-to-player card marketplace (no one mentions artifact!), and even bi-weekly balance patches.
I would expect most to none of these ideas to ever see the light of day, and the usual caveats apply to companies that do these types of marketing surveys all the time. Still, it’s an interesting insight into the friendly things Team 5 is thinking about. The game’s default format feels like it continues to struggle these days, so maybe it’s time for more radical changes. At least we know we’re getting patch notes tomorrow, with Blizzard teasing 18 buffs and seven nerfs. Rest in pieces Demon Hunter quest, you will not be missed.