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All Things Warcraft: It’s Hammer Time!

Columns By Reza Lackey on June 08, 2015

It’s Hammer Time!

New Heroes are on the way to Hearthstone and the announcement has upset a lot of players. We take a look at what’s on the way and why I think we all need to relax.

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Last week Blizzard announced what’s next for Hearthstone and it has many of its players confused and upset. Some even really ticked off. Blizzard will soon be introducing new heroes to the game, the first of which will be the warrior and King of Ironforge, Magni Bronzebeard. Now the careful distinction to make is that these are new heroes, not new classes. Essentially these new heroes are a lot like skins similar to what you’d see in a MOBA. Here’s the teaser introducing the new hero:

The new heroes will come fully animated even if you have not achieved 500 ranked play wins. If you’ve already achieved 500 wins with the warrior class though, and want to use Magni, your hard work won’t go unnoticed - there will be a gold border around the hero, instead of wood, letting your opponent know you’ve earned the 500 wins.

Each new hero will also have new animations for when you activate their hero power. This is what it looks like when Magni uses his shield up ability:


Each hero will also come with new emotes and voice work while the types of emotes, “Hello,” “Well played,” etc., will stay the same. The play area immediately surrounding the hero and their hero power will also be uniquely themed which is something I wish the current heroes had as well.

Lastly, each hero will come with a new card back that’s themed for that hero. Here’s the design that Magni will come with:

So with all this cool new content what are people so upset about? It’s the cost. Right now the new warrior is priced at $9.99 which includes everything mentioned above. The new heroes, at this time, will not be available for in-game gold or be sold in any type of discounted bundle as they will be released separately of each other. The community seems to be very vocal about the price being too high for the content being provided. Right now in Hearthstone $9.99 can buy you 5 arena runs or roughly 6 packs of cards. The idea, as most of you know, behind adding skins to free-to-play games is a way for the developers to make money. This idea isn’t new and just like skins in other free-to-play games the $9.99 heroes are completely cosmetic and offer no gameplay changes or advantages. Not purchasing a new hero will not give you disadvantage in anyway.

So, is $9.99 too expensive for new heros? Well I think it all depends on what kind of value you will personally get out of them. If you’re a huge fan of the warrior class and tend to only play that and happen to hate the Horde, then maybe $9.99 is worth you being able to love and relate to the class even more. Additionally, if you’re someone who’s been playing Hearthstone and hasn’t spent a single penny, then maybe buying a few skins at their current price isn’t such a turn off.

Right now a Straw Poll of 31,397 people from Reddit, which we can’t guarantee all play the game, indicates that 53% of them will not buy any of the heroes where 12% say they will buy their favorite class or two. That 12% is probably close to the amount of Hearthstone resources Blizzard spent on creating these new Heroes, if not less, and for them these percentages might be completely acceptable. After all, we need to imagine they have some very smart people on the business side determining these prices. The bottom line is this, if you think $9.99 is not a good value, then don’t buy them. This is a true with everything in life.

How do I feel about the price? Two things. First, I really wish there was a way to pay for these using gold. It would give players a new goal to strive for or a new gold sink for those who have a ton of cards who are sitting on a lot of gold. Maybe down the road this type of feature will be implemented. Secondly, the price point comes down to the value you as a player see in it. I can’t tell you if it’s too high for you or not. Maybe you’ve already spent $700 on the game and another $9.99 is a drop in the bucket. Maybe you’ve spent nothing and want to give Blizzard $9.99 as a way of supporting the game you really enjoy. Maybe you think it’s a total rip off and want to keep your $9.99. There’s another argument that is being made that Blizzard could make more money by lowering the price a few dollars. Maybe. But as I said, I’m sure they have very smart people who have already figure it out.

Personally, I fall in that 12% of the Straw Poll where I may buy one or two for the classes I play most. I love this game and I play it very frequently. You may disagree or think I’m out of my mind. That’s how I feel about players who’ve spent hundreds on Clash of Clans or other free-to-play games that don’t interest or excite me.

The announcement of the skins has upset players in another way beyond just the price point. Many are frustrated that real-money cosmetic additions are coming to the game while many player requested features have yet to be announced or hardly discussed by the developers. The go-to example for this is the request for more deck slots which has been asked for since the game was in Beta. To this I simply need to say, “hang tight.” Blizzard is not spending all of their resources on developing heros or other cosmetic items - they’re undoubtedly hard at work on making this game the best that they can. They want to support the game as far into the future as possible and to assume that all they want to do is monetize cosmetic features is ridiculous. We know Blizzard will be at E3 this year so maybe then we’ll get a taste of the other aspects of the game they're working on. And who knows, the new heroes may also coincide with new gameplay features! 

Let me know what you think about the new heroes in the comments below and whether you think they’re a good value for you, not just the entire player base as a whole.