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Is the new Standard Hearthstone a Blatant Money Grab?

by - 6 years ago

When the Standard format was first announced, I saw a lot of players crying foul. Plenty of people were saying that Blizzard’s main motivation behind the decision to rotate sets was just to force the players to spend more money buying the new content. But despite new information coming out and explaining how this process went through, players everywhere wouldn’t budge from this stance. Instead, some took the announcement of having 2 expansions and 1 adventure per year as an even bigger money grab.

So is this new Wild/Standard thing just a way for Blizzard to squeeze a few more bucks out of us? Lets look at things in perspective.

Do you want to play standard?

First things first, Wild is still going to be there. If you want to use all of your cards you’ll still be able to, and you will still have a ranked Ladder. Having the official tournament’s restricted to Standard shouldn’t really affect most players. The biggest problem with the Wild/Standard split might be queue times from matches, but I doubt that you will have to wait more than minute to find a Wild match.

Real talk here, if you are a good player that has enough time to put into this game to grind out the legend ladder and try to get those juicy HCT points. You shouldn’t have a problem acquiring all of the new cards with gold. Plus, if set rotation was a scheme to steal our money, Wild would have next to no official support. That is not the case here, Blizzard has committed to keep Wild relevant with its own ladder, which will still get you monthly rewards.

The reasoning behind set rotation

There’s a good reason for having a set rotation, and this reason goes beyond selling a few extra packs here and there. First things first, a set rotation gets rid of problematic cards without needing to drop the nerf hammer. With Piloted Shredder, Doctor Boom, and Mad Scientist out of the way, Blizzard will now be able to produce reasonably powered cards to compete for those slots. Having those old cards be ever-present in the meta means that Blizzard would have to keep making stronger cards that upset the balance and make the old content useless. In a way, if you allow the power creep to go unchecked, older cards are rotated out naturally.



More importantly, set rotation opens up the design space. With less cards in the format, there’s less possible game-breaking combos to be made between new and old cards. This way we can get even cooler new cards. Who isn’t excited about new cards with game-changing abilities?

Set Rotation is just healthy for the game, and a lot of the professional players were asking for it, the guys that really play this game a lot are happy about the change, and that says a lot about it. Specially when you consider that Wild will still be available if you don’t have the time to truly compete with the top dogs.

But was a rotation needed that soon?

Here is where things start to get iffy, Hearthstone is a game that doesn’t print a lot of cards. With expansions bordering 125 cards and adventures closer to 40, you don’t really have the huge amount of cards that would warrant a rotation. Blizzard themselves admitted this, but they claim that they wanted to get ahead of the issue. Address it before it becomes a problem, and let everyone get used to the rotation. The set rotation Blizzard proposed doesn’t really make a lot of sense if you look at how many new cards they’ve released yearly, but that’s why they are changing things up. Having 2 expansions and 1 adventure per year should make the amount of cards released per year at around 300, a notable increase over the current numbers that have the yearly average well below 200.

The rotation wasn’t REALLY needed yet, but considering  this new release schedule, it was going to be needed sooner than later. Plus, we get the benefit of getting rid of those old overpowered cards that were holding the meta hostage. When you combine this with the fact that they refuse to rotate the classic set, Blizzard is showing that they are trying to put the player first, and really facilitate the change.

But they are making more cards, that means I’ll have to pay more

There’s no way around that one. By printing over 50% more cards yearly, there will be more stuff to buy. Yeah, we finally got those greedy Blizzard guys, right?

Well, you are free to look at it that way, but the fact of the matter is that Hearthstone wasn’t producing enough content. Maybe Hearthstone is your first card game and you got used to their pace, but traditionally Collectively Card Games are very fluid. CCGs print a lot of cards that keep the game from getting stale, that keep the relevant decks changing often, and make sure that you are not stuck playing the same old matches for years at the time.

It’s not like Blizzard was printing a lot of cards and they suddenly decided to print more and more. This increase in production was much needed, and while we’ll probably have to pay a bit more to stay updated, it’s going to be well worth it. You might disagree on this point, but keep in mind that a lot of players are going to be happy about having more cards to buy, its not like Blizzard is just imposing this over us. There was demand for more content, and Blizzard is going to supply it.

The Ratio between Adventures and Expansions


A lot of players have argued that having a 2:1 ratio of expansions to adventures is going to make the game way more expensive than the current 1:1 ratio. Personally, I’m not that sure about it. To this day, I have never paid for a pack of Hearthstone. But I did pull out the trusty credit card to pay for Blackrock Mountain and League of Explorers. Since Blizzard lets you craft cards, you don’t really have to buy an insane amount of packs, you just need to get a few here and there to get most of the useful commons and rares, then you can craft whatever epic and legendary cards you need for your deck of choice. In contrast, I needed to have the adventures right on release so I could cover the PvE encounters in this very site. At least for me, I think the game is going to get even an cheaper game when it comes to real money, but your mileage might vary. If you are a collector, or the kind of player that just has to have every viable deck in the meta, I feel your pain.

One of the big arguments is that Adventures are “safe” cards, you bought the wing and you got them all. Indeed, Adventures protect newer and less experienced player from Crafting and Disenchanting the wrong cards. But unless you really, REALLY, want to get the entire set in your collection, doing all your daily quests and the occasional good arena run should be more than enough to get a healthy amount packs to get by, especially now that we are getting the weekly Tavern Brawl pack and the “End of the Month” rewards.



There are plenty of valid reasons to support these great changes that Blizzard is implementing on Hearthstone. Yes, the game is going to become a little bit more expensive, but this is more of a side effect rather than the cause behind the changess. Thinking that Blizzard decided to overhaul Hearthstone just to make an extra buck is incredibly narrow-minded, and if were  preparing to march over to Blizz HQ with Pitchforks and Torches, hopefully this article helped you overcome that blinding rage and realize that all of this scary new stuff will actually improve the health of the game and make Hearthstone better than ever.

But if you are still angry, maybe these old but good Lifecoach reactions will cheer you up. Or perhaps you want to see my Top 5 list of best Hearthstone Expansions and Adventures.

Disclaimer: Contrary to popular belief, Dannie Ray is not getting a cut of those juicy standard mode extra bucks to write opinions that support Blizzard’s decisions.



posted in Hearthstone Tags:
JR Cook

JR has been writing for fan sites since 2000 and has been doing Blizzard Exclusive fansites since 2003. He helped co-found BlizzPro in 2013. You can hear JR every week talk about Hearthstone on the Well Met Podcast published on iTunes.

0 responses to “Is the new Standard Hearthstone a Blatant Money Grab?”

  1. stewbacca says:

    Money grab for free-to-play game. Right.

    • einstein says:

      find a better game where you dont need to use money on to get everything. you can buy everything for coins. I mislike the idea that the cards is more overpower then the old cards. thats my problem. like novone uses old gods exspasion longer becuse the next expesion was to overpower for that. would rather let them make cards who are the same op as the old cards

  2. Phillip Norton says:

    “What interests Trump, however, are the suggested plans for 2016 and 2017. Rather than continuing a cadence of expansion-adventure-expansion-adventure, Blizzard lays out a timeline with two expansions per year — one at the start, one near the end — and a single adventure between them.”

    This should be made clear that this is something SUGGESTED as of September 2015. Both here and on Hearthpwn I’m seeing this 2:1 being treated like a fact when nothing official has been announced.

    • Dannie Ray says:

      Well, you are right there. But that changes just makes too much sense for it not to pan out. Since they are rotating calendar year sets, they need to make relatively the same amount of sets and cards every year.

      • Phillip Norton says:

        That is a good point, but as we have seen before they don’t always follow the same formulas, so while it makes sense it might not be the only option. Since standard is a 2 year block they could do 2:1 one year and 1:2 the next and would always have 3:3 in Standard. I just want to make sure we leave a few chickens uncounted until they hatch 🙂

  3. SuperUai says:

    As I constantly say on Facebook groups and on my YouTube channel, yes, this was a money grab move, BUT it was a benefical move to everyone, win-win-win situation. Blizaard wins the money, Players win more deck building challenges and easy to enter game and Tournaments get more decks variety. Fantastic.

    If you look at Magic: The Gathering history, you will find the same problems that Hearthstone will be having in a near future. The worst problem being the short sale of new expansions. It is simple math: If they don’t sell, they don’t need the product anymore and goes bye-bye.

    Once again, it starts as a “Money Grab Move”, but has so many good consequences, that it is more than welcome for them to do it.

  4. Chad Leach says:

    Will be dropping hearthstone, I see no reason to pay for a game that will be completely unusable competitively later on. Sad but not unsurprising move from blizzard.

  5. einstein says:

    P2w and here is a good reson. each expension is more overpower then the last and you need to get the cards there to get to chellenge other players. if you use the last expension you will be at a disadvantge. this disscusion wouldnt be here if hearstone dint make each expension more overpower then the last one. soon will classic cards and basic never be used becuse the expension is to overpower. and this a econmic plan to sell products. works well, but you will get more angry players