Dec 5, 2014

Hearthstone - (free? or pay?) to play

Hearthstone is a game that I have been playing on and off for a while now.  Actually, to be fair, it has been pretty regularly (2-3 times per week), but for shorter (1/2- 1 hour) times.  It is a free game to play, but with options in the game to pay to accelerate access to some portions of it.  One thing I struggle with is whether to keep it free, or to spend a modest amount on it.

The items that can be purchased right now either the main single-player campaign (which was a previous expansion) or more card packs, which contain 5 random cards.
Opening a Card Pack
An upcoming expansion, Goblins vs. Gnomes, has over 120 additional cards, and come in separate card packs from the current cards.  I have been following the release of the cards a little bit and have been interested in the cards that I have seen so far.  This has led me to be even more tempted to spend some money on the game.  As part of the pre-release, all of the new cards were made available in the Arena portion of the game, where you build a deck by selecting one of the three random cards they present you (regardless if you have it in your collection).  They also gave a free entry, and I went on to have my best arena run ever, ending up with 6 wins before I hit 3 losses.  So far the new cards have lived up to my expectations.

Goblins vs. Gnomes Arena Announcement
Finished the Arena Run

Throughout my play time I have manage to save enough in-game gold to purchase 4 out of the 5 wings of the single-player expansion, and I haven't been saving for the last one since the cards gained through it don't seem as worthwhile for me.  I have been using the gold I earned recently to try and purchase as many card packs as possible prior to the launch.  I do not have a lot of the current cards, especially the more powerful epic and legendary cards.  This has led to times where I find that I am playing against a deck that just seems to have better cards and it really isn't a fair fight.  However, for the vast majority of the ladder games I play I find that I usually end up at a level where the other players have comparable decks and it is a lot of fun.

Playing my Mage Deck
The other option I have is to play the arena more.  For each entry of 150 gold you are guaranteed a minimum prize of one card pack, a 100 gold value.  The arena is designed to level the playing field as your card collection is irrelevant, but there is still some luck in which cards are presented for you to pick from.  As well, once the expansion goes live, all packs earned here will be of the expansion cards.  I could easily see myself doing this a lot more in the next little while.

For now my intent is to continue to try and play it as a free game, but we will see what happens once the expansion is released in full.