Hearthstone has always been blasted for being overly expensive, despite being a free to play game. The passionate community has often chalked out alternatives for Blizzard to make the collectible card life easier but unsatisfactory results suggest that finding a working solution might be problematic for the developer. Thankfully, World of Warcraft is here to show the way into the holy light.
According to a revised subscription page on Battle.net from earlier this month, all older expansion packs are going absolutely free for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game on a permanent basis.
Blizzard was previously offering a Battle Chest that included the older content — six expansion packs to date — for a small sum. That is no longer the case. Those wanting to jump into Azeroth must now only pay the subscription fee, and purchase the latest expansion pack if interested.
“Get access to World of Warcraft and every expansion through Legion with your subscription—no additional purchase required,” reads the description.
This is a fantastic development for players starting out fresh because it opens up the massive lore-enriched world at an incredibly cheap price. Since the publisher has already moved forward with one game, why not adopt the same business model for the other as well?
What ails Hearthstone is the random factor (RNG looting) that makes it incredibly cumbersome to grind the right cards without ensuing frustration. Just pre-ordering or purchasing the latest expansion pack does not guarantee a full or effective deck. This forces players to either spend more time playing or start purchasing card packs with real money, which still showers loot randomly.
Making the older expansion packs free for Hearthstone has merit but there are a few notable things to consider beforehand. Firstly, unlike World of Warcraft, Hearthstone receives at least three expansion packs every year. In addition, cards are rotated into the Wild format — unbalanced and where everything goes — as soon as they are two years old.
This brings up a new conundrum for making older expansion packs free for Hearthstone, what is the point if the cards are rotated out from the Standard format in just two years?
In short, making older expansion packs free will majorly be good news for players who are into the Wild format. However, the free access will mean that those cards can be disenchanted to amass enough Arcane Dust for the creation of new ones. This will, hence, ensure a pleasant experience in the Standard format as well.
Since there are three expansion packs hitting Hearthstone every year, making the older ones free would be highly disastrous for revenue generation. You cannot expect post-release content to go free just after three months or so. There would be no point in purchasing them in the first place.
That being said, what Blizzard can do is set a threshold. Say, any expansion pack older than a year or two will be available for free to everyone. It goes without saying that should something like this happen, the player-base activity is going to skyrocket in Hearthstone.
Blizzard has previously tried to address the long-awaited request in regard to unlocking card packs at a cheaper and quicker rate. It is about time that the developer takes a much larger and bolder step.
In the meanwhile, the Boomsday Project is on its way to add another round of new cards to the ever-growing collection box in Hearthstone. The new expansion pack is scheduled to bring its band of mischievous scientists on August 7, 2018.
Finally, there could not be a better time to jump into World of Warcraft. The latest expansion pack, Battle for Azeroth, is scheduled to release on August 14, 2018, with a promise to rekindle the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.