Some Quick Thoughts About Hearthstone
So in case anyone missed it, about two weeks ago Blizzard (makers of World of Warcraft, Diablo and Starcraft) announced their latest title, Hearthstone, to be launched at some point in the immediate future. Now don’t get too excited, it’s not a major mmo or rpg title, it’s a CCG (Collectable Card Game) which is going to be online-only featuring the classes used in World of Warcraft as the themes of the decks with heros from the warcraft lore portraying them.
Now this was kind of an unexpected move by Blizzard. Everyone knows since pairing up with Activision (makers of Call of Duty) they have been busy pouring resources from the virtually-unlimited amount of money I assume those two companies make into their big titles like Mists of Pandaria, Heart of the Swarm and converting Diablo 3 into a console title. If that wasn’t enough on their plate, with Blizzcon coming up people (being me and the rest of the internet) are expecting the announcement of another WoW expansion as well as some news (hopefully) on their still undisclosed upcoming mmo code-name ‘Titan’.
So here they are sidestepping our expectation mid-march by announcing they diverted a team of about 10 to come up with this microtransaction-based online only card game to keep their millions of warcraft fans happy.
And to be honest, I think this is a great idea.
Not just for my own interest in Hearthstone, which does exist due to a misled Yu-Gi-Oh playing youth, but in terms of the amount of money and popularity this game could see. I mean, here are a few quick things that spring to mind:
- By making it online only, they aren’t competing with their already semi-popular World of Warcraft TCG (tradeable card game) which uses real cards
- Similarly, there aren’t a lot of competitive only card games which promote quick and easy matchmaking like this one will
- They also are tapping into a fan base which already exists: Warcraft fans, so they have 10 million potentially interested customers already on the line
- For a microtransaction based game – it is very cheap. With 300 cards confirmed to be in the game so far, and the going rate being $1 for a pack of 5 cards theoretically you could have every card in the game for $60. Other card games can cost up to $10 just to get 8-10 cards at a time.
- Matches are designed to be short, so they fit in perfectly with people already waiting for things to happen in other Blizzard games, like waiting for a raid in WoW or fitting in between a few matches of Starcraft
All in all, it looks like a smart game which is filling a niche that either doesn’t already exist, or is so small that there is definitely room for growth. Also, it looks simple yet complex and a lot of fun to play. If you haven’t checked it out already, head over to worldofwarcraft.com and check out their hearthstone portal. Smart business and good gaming often go hand in hand together, and its smart moves like this that keep Blizzard on top.