Various Hearthstone boards were lit ablaze when I was sleeping, as the prices for Hearthstone packs were raised in many countries. The official post was put on the EU Hearthstone site. This thread is compiling the revised prices for different countries, and adding to it. So this begs the question: was Ben Brode’s rap concocted to drum up interest in a game that is getting more expensive? That we will never know, but I will touch on other observations and possibly a few facts.
Prices aren’t going up in America and Canada (for now)
I’ll admit it. I was a bit shocked to hear of the news, even logging into my store to see the new prices. My usual go to purchase, 15 packs for $20, was unchanged. I found out that prices were going up in a lot of other countries to adjust for the US Dollar. The complaints were so loud and rampant, I thought the markup was universal.
Something something complex global economy
Despite being an owner of stocks (Activision Blizzard included), I don’t know a whole lot about how economics and the market works. From what I know though, the US Dollar has been strong the last few months, as evidence by market shares being at highs (Dow Jones Industrial). I also do know that these high shares are a bit inflated, and an imminent fed rate hike will likely bring some shares down to Earth.
Anyways, these price hikes seem to be adjustments to the supposed strength of the US Dollar, and basic adjustments of currency exchange. I won’t pretend to know how things are going on in Europe, so I won’t comment on it. If you know how things are going in Europe, and around the world, let me know!
Prices go up all the time
No matter where you’re from, you don’t like paying more for the same exact thing. Life is basically a money game. You spend so much of your day working, try to pay for a lot of shit, and hopefully have extra money to spare. And what you do with your money, whether it be investing, buying a house, going on a vacation, spending it on children’s digital cards, dictates who you are, and what you are doing in life.
But let’s face it, prices go up all the time. Well, at least in America they do. Rent and housing prices go up all the time. Grocery items (Thanks Trump for Mexican Coca-Cola price hikes) go up all the time. Education is ridiculously expensive. Even in the sphere of gaming, I believe it is getting more expensive. The shift to microtransaction-based purchases is a way to get more money. If you’ve ever played Heroes of the Storm, they have all these sales for skins, and I’m sure Overwatch does as well. Microtransactions are a way to lure people to pay more for something they are invested in. But I personally have not been lured by these tactics. Guess what, I’m not paying $10 so my digital character looks cool or weird. I suck anyways, so I’ll just use what they give me.
Be mad at Blizzard, not Team 5
This one is important. I highly doubt Ben Brode, Mike Donais, or any of the other guys and gals from Team 5 had any say in this. They often get heat for anything bad that happens in Hearthstone, but this was most likely not up to them.
I’m f2p btw
The price hike really affects people who buy packs all the time. If you’re doing multiple 40 pack purchases, you will feel that increase with every transaction. People who who spend hundreds and possibly thousands on continual pack purchases are likely 1) professional gamers; 2) really rich and can afford it; 3) willing to spend; or 4) people who really shouldn’t spend that much but can’t control temptation.
While there are Hearthstone players all across the spending spectrum, I would wager that most people are like me. I am a one-time spender, paying real money once at the release of each new expansion. I have bought 40 packs before, but I have only spent $20 when MSG was released. So for example, if I live in the EU, I would spend for 15 packs once. I would’ve spent 17.99 Euro in the old/current pricing, and 19.99 Euro in the new pricing. This is a difference of $2.12 US dollars. I’m not sure if I would feel the pinch of $2.12 across a few months.
It’s also possible that a lot of true free-to-play people exist. True f2p people have become a meme, as it is hard to believe how many of these people actually exist. But if there are so many f2ps, there shouldn’t be that many complaints!
In the end, I don’t disagree that this sucks, it does. But price hikes are things that happen all the time! And real-life pressures are seeping into the realm of children’s card games.