Across the globe, fans of the free-to-play online collectible card game Hearthstone are outraged at the drastic increase in prices for the game's card packs. This morning, Blizzard Entertainment, developer of Hearthstone, made an announcement regarding these price adjustments, but the tweaks have felt more like a price hike for most players.
Posted on the Hearthstone Battle.net forum, the news on the changing card pack costs stated that Android, Mac, and PC client purchases would be affected by an adjustment. Additionally, the announcement mentioned that global pricing and fluctuations in the market were taken into consideration when deciding to make the changes. The Hearthstone Blizzard team stated:
"We’d like to let everyone know that we’ll soon be adjusting the pricing of Hearthstone purchases made through the PC, Mac and Android clients, and through the Battle.net Shop. We regularly look at our pricing around the world, and from time to time we make changes such as these to align with local and regional market conditions."
One bundle not included in price adjustment is the Un'Goro expansion prelaunch pack, whose cost will remain unaffected until it launches in mid-April.
Closing the announcement post was a breakdown of the price changes, in both Euro and GBP currencies, that will hit the PC, Mac, and Battle.net purchasing clients. The scale slides from smaller bundles to heftier ones, and includes the Adventure Wing and Arena Ticket packs:
2 Packs -- 2.99 €7 Packs -- 9.99 €15 Packs -- 19.99 €40 Packs -- 49.99 €60 Packs -- 69.99 €Adventure Wing -- 6.99 €Arena Ticket -- 1.99 €
2 Packs -- 2.99 GBP7 Packs -- 8.99 GBP15 Packs -- 16.99 GBP40 Packs -- 44.99 GBP60 Packs -- 59.99 GBPAdventure Wing -- 6.99 GBPArena Ticket -- 1.99 GBP
Increases affecting the Android client can be found on the Hearthstone Battle.net forum, along with an additional list of changes divided up by various global currencies.
Following the announcement, the game's community responded in revolt, wondering why Hearthstone is the only Blizzard title (thus far, at least) to receive a price increase. In a Hearthstone sub-Reddit, players expressed both their concerns and their outrage.
One Reddit user questioned the motives behind the price hike, stating, "If exchange rate is the main drive then surely other games would also see EU revenue decline in USD? [Heroes of the Storm] is also a [free-to-play] game and there are loot boxes in Overwatch. Why does Hearthstone lead the charge in exchange rate parity?"
Some players became quite heated over the change in cost and argued that Hearthstone's popularity may be affected by it. "I'm absolutely baffled that they [Blizzard] think this is a good move," a Reddit user posted in a separate statement. "In a game which the cost of entry is super high for new players, they also decide to piss off their core fanbase. It's like 101 of how to sink your game, odd coming from a seasoned company like Blizzard."
Other fans put it all down to business as usual not just for Blizzard, but for any game developer or publisher: "Something is worth whatever people are willing to pay for it. Any successful business knows this. Blizzard knows this."
Additionally, one fan stated, "[It] sucks to have a price increase on something you enjoy," before mentioning that the outrage has been taken to such a "personal level that you'd think Blizzard is knocking on your doors and literally holding you upside-down to shake money out of you."
Some have even threatened to shift loyalty to other free-to-play online card games, most notably Gwent.
Overall, the price change is roughly an 11 percent increase for European fans and a 30 percent uptick for players in the United Kingdom. Given the fact that these regions are seeing the largest spikes in comparison to the current cost of packs, their irritation can be more easily understood.
As frustrating as price increases can be, they aren't entirely uncommon in the gaming world, something a handful of Hearthstone fans have pointed out themselves. In the past, the cost of Minecraft shot up in several regions, and even two popular gaming consoles, the Xbox One and the PlayStation Plus, have seen their price-tags move skyward.
The reasoning behind the increase in pack prices for Hearthstone hasn't yet been announced, but perhaps Blizzard will soon clear the air and the game's massive fanbase can rest a bit easier and return to enjoying trading and collecting cards as they've always done.
Hearthstone is available now.