Alongside quest mechanics and two new heroes, the planned update to Hearthstone’s auto-battler mode will bring with it a new paid season pass that will give buyers access to a premium tier of its reward track.
The first reward of the track is two additional hero slots, which will not be obtainable any other way. This means players who don’t pay will be stuck choosing from two random heroes, while those on the premium tier will have the choice of four. Previously this expanded choice could be bought with gold earned while playing the game, but not anymore.
Explaining the change, Blizzard wrote: “We want Battlegrounds to be played and loved for years to come. This change will allow us to continue to support and make content for the growing Battlegrounds community. Though the ability to choose from among four heroes at the beginning of a match is changing to a paid-only feature, all players can still play Battlegrounds for free. We’re committed to maintaining hero and gameplay balance so that the choice from four heroes is more about optionality than power.”
Battlegrounds has moved to a P2W model.
I have been a Hearthstone player since 2016 and (primarily) a BGs player since the game mode came out but today I decided to delete the game.
Understand that the company needs to properly monetize the game but this went too far IMO. https://t.co/NGTK0q2VYB
— Maurice (@MREisenmann) August 24, 2022
“I’m actually seething over this Hearthstone Battlegrounds change,” wrote Zonino on Twitter. “I knew it was coming because they had created a fair system that allowed you to earn the battleground perks and 4 hero choice…but Blizzard can’t leave well enough alone.”
“Despite what they say, changing the 4 hero choice to needing real money makes the game pay-to-win,” they continued.
“Oh boy, I do not like the new monetisation plans at all,” added Ondřej Mrázek
To make matters worse, the season 2 update for Battlegrounds will also introduce premium currency Runestones, meaning players will now have to buy the in-game currency before making a purchase in-game.
Adding a new currency instead of real money purchases is so transparently predatory. Like there is no good reason for it. It’s solely a change to try and get people to spend more money than they need to. https://t.co/Yaf2MyZGi7
— Callum (@CDL92) August 24, 2022
“We’ve chosen Runestone bundle sizes to exactly match the top selling products, and minimise wasted Runestones,” explained Hearthstone features lead Chadd Nervig, which also confirms that some Runestones will be purchased unnecessarily.
Earlier this month, Blizzard Entertainment explained how Diablo 4 will follow a live service model but promised that monetisation will not have an effect on the game’s balance.
In other news, Destiny is the next of many Fortnite crossovers.