If you play HearthStone, you have probably heard of the big changes coming to the game. A few days ago, Blizzard announced that they would completely change the way players would duel in their card game. But is this a simple evolution or a forced adaptation to the current market?
Traditionally on HearthStone players build a deck based upon their own collection of cards. The more cards you possess, the more strategies you have at your disposal. It’s a well-built system that pushes players to wanting to own as many cards as possible, thus often spending a few bucks here and there to achieve this. From now on, thanks to the “standard” mode, a selection of cards from the current issue or expansion of the game will be available to all players. Players fighting in this standard mode will only be able to use these cards until the next rotation with the next expansion. Behind this huge update façade, it’s a true revolution in the economic model used by the company… and this begs some obvious questions no?
What could push Blizzard to change a model that worked so well? Numbers show us that all the green lights are there. In November of 2015, HearthStone bosted 40 million players and during summer of the same year the Superdata cabinet estimated that the card game generated 20 million dollars per month in revenue for its editor.
Today we don’t have any clear answer to this. Only food for thought, like this, taken from a conversation with a friend: Michael Dewit. He’s a veteran of the French competitive esport scene and a lawyer specialized in intellectual property. We will try to transcribe this conversation to show you the thought process behind it.
We have tried to get in contact with Blizzard who did not answer any of our emails or Tweets. Unfortunately void of communication from them I’s hard for us to find answers to our questions. For some pro players we didn’t need to look too far though, the game simply needed an update:
«I find the announcements made by Blizzard simply essential. With a growing number of expansions and without a regulation system for the metagame, players were going to become bored. Actually this was starting to be the case and would explain the slight decrease in the number of players towards the end of 2015! Today there are only 4 or 5 decks that are really playable for more than 700 cards… Even if the game is excellent, the game must evolve in the directions players want and I think this is what they’re doing with the standard format. We’ll need to check, but Blizzard is not inventing anything. They’re only following an evolution path previously used by other card games.
Concerning a correlation between the government’s actions and the changes coming from Blizzard, I don’t really believe in it. First of all I’m not a fan of the state’s intervention in regulating games. We see how little good this does to poker… French pros no longer live in France. I think we can already consider the game to be competitive! »
Thomas “TheFishou” Guedj
So can the thinking process of a national government really have such influence on the strategies adopted by a company of such global reach and that weighs a few million dollars? Is it a factor that could push Blizzard to adapt? What signals is Blizzard sending out by changing its economic model in such a way? Is this simply an update for the game?
We believe our readers to be, for most, heavily involved in esports and we would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What do you think of this change?