Poll - Is Hearthstone pay to win?

General Discussion
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The discussion is a never ending one but always just spotlighs the opinions of individual members who decide to write a comment.
I am curious to see what a larger player population of players thinks about it.

Please vote however you think about the matter, before reading the comments.

I tried to post a poll on reddit as well but maybe they were afraid of the discussion/results and unfortunately my topic was voted down so please vote on the following link instead of directing your hate - wherever it comes from - towards this topic.

http://www.strawpoll.me/13888155
It solely depends on your definition of P2W.

I personally use this definition: "If a game has a PvP element of any sort, and if you can use real money to buy any kind of advantage, then the game is P2W".

DOTA2 for example is not P2W, as nothing you buy has any actual impact on the gameplay.

HS is P2W, because people who pay money can get good cards more easily and thus have an advantage. For example, I have the priest DK but no Raza, I have the evo Shaman but no Doppelgangster, I have no other DKs nor a LK. All those are disadvantages, that result in worse decks. If I would pay money, I could acquire all these cards one way or another instantly right now, improve my decks and thus my chances of winning.
You write but you don't vote
I am f2p, I have had enough dust to make the top deck at every single point in hearthstone's history since Naxxramas (I typical don't but easily could have). So how can it be p2w when I can have consistently have the best deck for free? You can argue that its pay or play to win or even pay to have fun, as personally I'd find only having one deck extremely dull and whilst we're given enough to have the best deck every expansion for free, having multiple complete top tier decks requires significant additional time or cash investment.
its a card game, name me 1 card game thats 100% free with zero micro-transactions that is considered to be a good game? and if you can, why aren't you playing that game instead.

you pay using real money for EVERY card game, as thats how it works, you don't just suddenly acquire cards do you, you buy them.

hearthstone and afew of the other online versions of card games like, faeria, duelyst, eternal, these instead have a means of implicating a "free to play" alternative - yet not a single one of these games are even remotely based around being free, they all rely on micro-transactions using real money, they have alternates sure like ingame gold but thats how they can sell you idea of it being free, when ultimately, its not and is not designed to be free.
Your time and money is interchangable at a rate depending your not so strictly "trade" skills.
So everything that requires time is pay2win.

Aside from that, nothing is locked behind a moneygate. So it's not pay2win, like runescape with it's vip members was, which all you nerds probably loved anyway.
09/09/2017 04:13Posted by Ixnay
I am f2p, I have had enough dust to make the top deck at every single point in hearthstone's history since Naxxramas (I typical don't but easily could have). So how can it be p2w when I can have consistently have the best deck for free? You can argue that its pay or play to win or even pay to have fun, as personally I'd find only having one deck extremely dull and whilst we're given enough to have the best deck every expansion for free, having multiple complete top tier decks requires significant additional time or cash investment.


It seems that I didn't explain my point of view in enough detail. :)

Again: the person who pays money can get any card they want at any moment. Agree so far? Neat.

Is it an advantage to have any card you want at any moment? I think so. You probably agree here too. Great.

Now, can a player who spends no money whatsoever get any card at any moment? To make it short: no you can't. If you do a quest a day, and win three matches a day, then the rate of cards coming out by expansions and adventurers is higher than what you can gain by gold and dust by doing quests and winning games.

Or, to put it into different words: if you do a quest a day and win a couple of games, you will never have all cards in HS.

So, to sum it up:
Person who pays money: can have any card they want at any moment. A new expansion comes out? You can instantly get all cards. A patch changes the meta?
You can create any new decks instantly.

Person who doesn't pay money: can't do that.

That's an advantage. An advantage that is bought with money. As I said, according to the aforementioned definition, if you can buy an advantage with money in a game with a PvP aspect, then it's P2W.
As someone who plays to win I open 80+ packs day 1 of every expansion from saved gold. Between expansions I open any freebies plus the classic packs from brawls, plus 4 end of month reward golden cards (only the rare from 15). So on day 1 I can make the very best deck of every expansion for free and I have enough dust saved up do I can adjust to any change they make to still have the no.1 deck.

Now if you just open a pack every time you get 100 gold of cause you're going to be behind on day 1 but that's your choice on how you've decided to use your free resources.

Now is the game pay to catch-up for new players? Short term, definitely. If however you can tolerate being behind for a while you can catch-up in standard at least e.g. forgetting about WoG, Kara, MoG, going light on Un'Goro, FT, next expansion would put you slightly behind for April 18 but be on par completely by April 19.
The topic of pay to win people always go on about money. But money isn't the only form of currency, time is also a currency that people forget about. Unless you are consistently get free packs for doing nothing all games are pay to win. But if your enjoying your time "spent" then you don't mind "paying time" to play a game.
A game is P2W if the paying users have access to resources that are not available to non-paying users. This definition is an industry standard and it is different from the average player perception as well illustrated in this, and many other, threads.

In Hearthstone all users have access to the same resources. This said the difference between the paying and non-paying users is that paying users pay with money and non-paying users pay with time. A good example of this is Amnesiac that played the HCT finals last year and is a F2P player.

Hearthstone would be P2W if paying users paid to have 60 life or had exclusive cards.
Well spoken Vlad.

A poll is useless, as many people make the mistake to extend the term P2W way too far.

It would be better to poll if people find Hearthstone too expensive. As in: the time and/or money investment needed to compete with a big collection is too much.
09/09/2017 12:44Posted by Vlad
A game is P2W if the paying users have access to resources that are not available to non-paying users. This definition is an industry standard and it is different from the average player perception as well illustrated in this, and many other, threads.


Really? Where do you have the information from, that this is some sort of official definition? My information is based on a poll of a large online gaming community on what definition of P2W they think is the most accurate, and "buying an ingame advantage for money" got the most votes.

Hearthstone would be P2W if paying users paid to have 60 life or had exclusive cards.

But that's the situation at hand: as explained before, a person who spends no money will never have all HS cards, which basically makes a part of the game exclusive to those who pay money.
Uhm, poll deleted? .......
Hard to say .... some legendaries are pretty strong but on the other hand my bf just started playing 3 month ago and already has 3-4 in his collection (Lich King and Elise which he craftet) and he is 100% f2p. Of course he had my help and I told him what to craft and what better to dust but that's knowledge and something you can also get by watching twich and youtube.

What I'd rather say the game is Luck2Win. How far you get/how fast is entirely up to this game's rng. Either you draw very good cards you need very often and face opponents who are weak to your strategy or you are unlucky, most of your packs are 4 white cards and 1 blue one and your opponents seemingly have the perfect counter-deck to yours. For most players it's something in the middle. What pushes this game further down the line however is his really high dependency on luck even with most cards you play. That's why the rng decides who wins and who looses.
Really? Where do you have the information from, that this is some sort of official definition?

I work in very large F2P games for some years now.

09/09/2017 14:16Posted by Orya
But that's the situation at hand: as explained before, a person who spends no money will never have all HS cards, which basically makes a part of the game exclusive to those who pay money.

This is factually incorrect. The vast majority of paying users don't pay 400€+ every expansion to have the full collection. As I've explained there are cases of players that do really well in the game without spending any money. They simply optimise their resources better than most.

You are putting this as if it was black or white. It isn't. There are people that make the pre-purchase, there are people that buy packs every month, there are people that don't buy packs at all. The difference between all of them is effectively how many decks can they build, not the quality of their best deck.

In Hearthstone you pay for access to content. You don't pay to win.

EDIT: Missed Mandatar's post.

09/09/2017 13:04Posted by Mandatar
It would be better to poll if people find Hearthstone too expensive. As in: the time and/or money investment needed to compete with a big collection is too much.

Indeed. It would even better if it differentiated between short term players and long term players. For instance I know a lot of people that after a couple of years in the game are as comfortable with their collection as someone like me that has put money in the game.

So the cost problem is mostly right after the entry point of the game, when new players are exposed to the PvP part. That's where the problem is more severe, I believe.
09/09/2017 15:14Posted by Vlad
So the cost problem is mostly right after the entry point of the game, when new players are exposed to the PvP part. That's where the problem is more severe, I believe.

But that's the case for any TCG you want to get into. So is that really a problem or is it simply something the Genre comes with?

FYI Hearthstone already helps new players by giving them basic cards for free outright so they can play without spending anything.
09/09/2017 15:31Posted by NotFX
But that's the case for any TCG you want to get into. So is that really a problem or is it simply something the Genre comes with?

You are right, it is. However HS is a F2P game and F2P strategy wise, the player lifecycle is:

Acquire the user -> Retain the user -> Engage the user -> Monetise the user

The first is solid, not many games have 70 million accounts. The second I can't evaluate without numbers but is related with the initial battles with the Innkeeper etc. The third one is where I have my doubts. F2P games offer enough content for the user to be engaged. Users that purchase to be engaged often leave these games quickly so the engagement strategy must be thinking about long term monetisation, not short term.

Long term monetisation is reflected in allowing a sufficient amount of content to be available to everyone so that the users that want more later monetise. Short term monetisation is tied in with resource starvation. The balance changes from game to game obviously and since I don't have HS's data I'm writing on a vacuum.

I believe Team 5 is doing a much better job currently. Resource wise, KofFT is much better than JtU and MSoG. I still think they can improve because the focus on making more content available for free is focused on the expansions, not the overall initial collection but as long as it is working, they won't do anything different.
09/09/2017 15:14Posted by Vlad
I work in very large F2P games for some years now.


Ok, thank you for your information, but it doesn't convince me. That according to you in your field of work your definition is used is by itself no reason for me to adopt it. Especially as your definition does not seem logical to me.

To repeat: you say that P2W means that money gives you access to ingame resources you have otherwise no access to.

Here is an example why I think that definition is not logical:
Imagine that Blizzard adds a new feature to HS. At the start of every match, you can either pay 10$ or 100.000 gold to start with 100 life instead of 30. According to your definition, HS would still not be P2W, as you could get that buff with gold all the same. However, if Blizzard would do something like that, gaming websites and discussion forums would be flooded with articles and discussions regarding how much P2W HS has suddenly become. That is why I think that your definition makes no sense. That is why I think your argument involving that definition makes no sense.

This is factually incorrect. The vast majority of paying users don't pay 400€+ every expansion to have the full collection. As I've explained there are cases of players that do really well in the game without spending any money. They simply optimise their resources better than most.

You are derailing the subject here. I didn't say that you have to spend 400€ for every expansion. I said that a regular player who spends no money on the game can not get a full collection of HS cards, because the rate at which Blizzard pumps out new cards is too high compared to the gold and dust gain from quests and simple wins.

You are putting this as if it was black or white.

That depends entirely on the question you are asking.
The question "Is HS P2W?" is a yes or no question, or as you put it "black or white". The question "If HS is P2W, how strong is the P2W impact?" is an entirely different matter.
09/09/2017 04:13Posted by Ixnay
I am f2p, I have had enough dust to make the top deck at every single point in hearthstone's history since Naxxramas (I typical don't but easily could have). So how can it be p2w when I can have consistently have the best deck for free? You can argue that its pay or play to win or even pay to have fun, as personally I'd find only having one deck extremely dull and whilst we're given enough to have the best deck every expansion for free, having multiple complete top tier decks requires significant additional time or cash investment.


Thank you.
As a free player I find your experiences very encouraging.
They did make 1 new player friendly change Vlad in the guaranteed legendary in the first 10 packs, which is actually pretty huge for new players, even if they just dust whatever they get from the set that's about to rotate.

@Jania
Yeah, you do have to remember I have been playing for years and whilst I can't comment on how easy it is do your daily quests each day or at least make sure they never fill up and you burn one, as a newer player (when I was new there were no quests :/) I can definitely say that doing just those quests is enough to be competitive and allows you to make some fun decks, not all by any stretch, but a fair amount.

The hardest part will be if you care about basically being 1 expansion behind i.e. getting to the point where you feel you can save gold. In the past the adventures gave you some breathing room, as well as if they released sets with weak legendaries you didn't particular care about *cough*TGT*cough* but now that seems tricky. Naturally you should get to the point where your STANDARD collection rivals my own, the only difference will be that I'd have it day 1 of an expansion and you'd have it by the very last day i.e. 4 months later.

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