The Happy Hearthstone 5 – Free to Play

Free to play is still a pretty controversial business model, stirring up specters of the money-grubbing games of yesteryear in some gamers. But a ton of games have proven the business model can work wonders, ensuring players get what they want and have fun without being nickel-and-dimed to death.

This week, we take a look at how the business model might work for Hearthstone. Speculation abounds, but we call out anything that has been confirmed by Blizzard on the show.

Audio version:


  • Derrick is on the show this week
  • Topic: Free to play as the business model
  • Reasons to be happy this week

Who is Derrick?

  • History with card games
  • History with Blizzard games
  • Are you a cheapskate or a big-spender?

Free to Play in General

  • This is Blizzard’s first F2P game ever
  • What does that mean?
  • Microtransaction controversy
  • Examples you might be familiar with

Microtransactions We Expect To See (Speculation)

  • New skins for the avatar
  • New hero to unlock
  • Buff to boost chance to find gold cards in packs (just visuals)
  • Card packs
  • New voice-over packs
  • Playmats
  • In-game Tournaments
  • Technical account conveniences: name changes, inventory moves between PC and iPad

Microtransactions We Don’t Expect To See (Speculation)

  • Rent cards temporarily
  • Purchase more powerful cards than you can get in packs
  • Game Modes
  • XP potions

On A Technical Level

  • Probably Paypal
  • Diablo 3 Hook-up
  • authenticator

Buying Card Packs

  • Only confirmed purchase so far
  • Planned $1 per pack
  • Pack = 5 cards
  • 1 guaranteed rare
  • Each other card slot has a chance to have higher rarity

Why Buy Packs?

  • Thrill of opening for random cards
  • Build out your decks with more/better cards
  • Use to play in the Forge

How To Earn Free Cards

Every time you play a game, you earn the most basic “starter” level cards

Every other card is an “expert” card and can be earned from 4 sources:

  • Opening packs, which can be won periodically by playing
  • Purchasing them from Blizzard directly?
  • Crafting them (we’ll discuss this in-depth in future)
  • Earning achievements in-game

What We Want To Come “With The Box”

  • 1 hero starter deck (your choice)
  • 3 packs dedicated to your hero deck after you pick
  • 1 free pack every time you “level” via XP system (if there is one)
  • 20 avatars (like LoL)

Card of the Week