Why Blizzard avoided card-trading for Hearthstone

Hearthstone executive producer Hamilton Chu outlined some of the possible future plans for the game, including eSports tournaments, and expansions like extra packs, boards, and heroes.

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Blizzard's digital CCG Hearthstone kicked off its beta recently, and already has some passionate fans. Like most other card games, there are a number of features coming down the pipeline, like support for tournaments, eSports, and expansions. However, one feature that Blizzard doesn't plan on adding is card trading.

"We decided to go away from that," executive producer Hamilton Chu told IGN. "Obviously that's something that you think about. But a key thing for us was focusing on what the game was about--getting new cards in your collection, crafting your deck, and playing the game. When you have trading, that brings in a bunch of other stuff with it. Some of that is really fun, like haggling with people or searching for the best deal or playing the market to see how values go up and down. But that's just not what Hearthstone is. Hearthstone is focused on these other aspects of gameplay."

"After launch, there's a lot of possibilities," executive producer Hamilton Chu told "There are tournaments, eSports, or even single-player content. We're really looking forward to getting this in the hands of the players and seeing what really resonates with them."

Blizzard is planning to launch Hearthstone this year for PC and Mac, with an iPad version following shortly after. Expansions are also possible, with new card packs, play spaces, boards, or hero classes all being tossed around. Chu said that if they think of an idea for an expansion, they'll "come up with other business models that make sense around it."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 26, 2013 10:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Why Blizzard avoided card-trading for Hearthstone.

    Hearthstone executive producer Hamilton Chu outlined some of the possible future plans for the game, including eSports tournaments, and expansions like extra packs, boards, and heroes.

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      August 26, 2013 10:47 AM

      Also since it's F2P it gets around people making dummy accounts to get a free booster from whatever tutorial they have and shoveling those cards off to a "main" account.

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      August 26, 2013 10:56 AM

      I think some limited form of card trading would be a nice thing to have, but given all the work that would go into protecting against fraud and creating a whole marketplace, I think I'd rather have the effort spent on other stuff. I'd like to be able to spectate games, have more classes and heroes, and have some sort of 4-player mode, maybe even a raid-deck scenario. Disenchanting cards provides a pretty good and less complicated alternative to trading cards for getting what you really want without the random chance element.

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      August 26, 2013 10:58 AM

      no trading means more grinding (/paying) for packs

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        August 26, 2013 11:14 AM

        I started putting together a new deck last night and discovered that I needed more cards. After grinding out enough gold to get a couple boosters by finishing some daily quests, I still didn't have enough, and it was hard to resist the urge to just go pick up a bunch of boosters for $10. Yeah, this game hits the sweet spot between feeling so close to having the deck you want, and needing to pay a little bit more to get it.

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          August 26, 2013 2:11 PM

          Dust man, It's all about the dust. Made myself some sweet OP owls last night.

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            August 26, 2013 2:26 PM

            I don't have enough cards to have duplicates yet, but I'm starting to think doing arenas is a better use of gold than just buying packs outright.

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              August 26, 2013 2:39 PM

              Oh yeah, for sure. I haven't bought any packs with my gold, just arenas. You're guaranteed a pack anyways.

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              August 26, 2013 2:40 PM

              Also, you don't need dupes to disenchant cards! And you get a pile of dust for disenchanting your first card too.

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                August 26, 2013 2:55 PM

                Oh, didn't know that.

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                  August 26, 2013 4:11 PM

                  Yeah, if you want to get good cards fast then just focus on the class you want to play. Disenchant anything that you can't play.

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        August 26, 2013 4:17 PM

        Building a good Hearthstone deck is a hell of a lot cheaper than doing the same in MTGO, unless ofc you're good enough to go infinite.

        If we're comparing with paper MTG Standard then there's no contest, maybe $50 against $200-$500. Of course, the higher cost of MTG is offset by the fact that you can sell your cards and get some of your initial investment back. There are pros and cons to both methods, all that matters is that its a really fun game.

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          August 26, 2013 4:38 PM

          well the economics of Magic are different due to very different demand once that secondary market exists. We've very quickly seen how much prices for digital items inflate in high demand games (D3, LoL, Dota 2, etc). There're very few people playing Hearthstone right now even if there was a way to trade.

          In any case, I don't really care either way, I just think it's very much influenced by the desire to keep you grinding. That said, there's a ton of money to be made by Blizzard if they do allow trading and only spending a virtual currency like MTGO does.

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            August 26, 2013 5:07 PM

            Yeah, Blizzard could make even more with a marketplace through which people can buy/sell cards. I've sold cosmetic items on Steam for over $100, and Valve got a percentage of that. At TI3 they released a limited quantity of high value items. They make money on the initial purchase and on the secondary market, its basically printing money.

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      August 26, 2013 2:13 PM

      I want to play this game so badly. Gimmie a key already :(

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      August 26, 2013 3:51 PM

      I stopped playing Scrolls because I kept getting nonstop demolished by people with 3x the number of rares that I had. And learning to trade meant I had to learn the economy, the meta-value of all cards, so I didn't get swindled. And I just wasn't willing to figure that out.

      So, I'm fine with this, personally. Though I tend to be on the less social side of gaming.

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        August 26, 2013 3:55 PM

        That's a good point. I remember back when I played Magic, I probably got ripped-off by my friends who all had subscriptions to Scrye magazine or whatever and wouldn't let me look up the price index when I wanted to trade something.

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        August 26, 2013 4:12 PM

        Yeah that really pissed me off. People who'd have decks of like nothing but creatures and would steam roll you right out the door :(

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      August 26, 2013 4:12 PM

      I have a key but haven't tried it yet. Is this game tied into WoW in any way? Some of the comments lead me to believe that this is supposed to be a game within the game (WoW). Am I wrong?

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        August 26, 2013 4:17 PM

        It's a card game based on the WoW trading card game, so it has heroes and spells named after things in WoW. But it doesn't tie-in any more than that, at this point. You definitely don't have to play WoW to get a fulfilling experience, and WoW players aren't at any advantage over non WoW players.

        That said, there's plenty of people who would probably take your key if you're not sure you want to play.

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          August 26, 2013 4:34 PM

          Thanks for the info. If it was tied into WoW, I would have handed out the key...

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            August 26, 2013 7:00 PM

            Oh in that case it's totally tied in to WoW.

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        August 26, 2013 4:32 PM

        I'll buy you a steam game worth up to 50 dollars for your key

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      August 26, 2013 7:21 PM

      It intereferes with their microtransaction system. They make money off people taking a chance on card packs to enhance their decks. Of course it wont be added, it'd reduce their sales as people would trade for better cards rather then spending time or money on acquiring them.

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        August 26, 2013 7:25 PM

        They already have a mechanism for people to get cards they want without more time and money, crafting.

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        August 26, 2013 7:54 PM

        Running a marketplace could be even more lucrative, just look at what Valve is doing with DOTA 2 and TF2. They make profit on the initial transaction as well as sales made in their own secondary market. A DOTA 2 cosmetic selling for $70 nets Valve a $10 cut, with the rest going to the seller.

        The main thing about Hearthstone is that it is incredibly streamlined. There is no mucking around like with other digital CCGs, you push the button and you're in a game with an opponent. Even the Arena mode doesn't have the same constraints that a regular draft mode does, you make your deck at your own leisure and then you play when you're ready. No waiting for games.

        It feels like removing a market for users to buy and sell cards in is one more method of simplifying and streamlining. Obviously it is there for users to spend money on decks, but that's every CCG.

        Allowing people to sell cards alongside selling boosters can be more profitable for Blizzard. Would someone want to farm the 3200 dust needed for their legendary or hope for it to drop in a booster, or would some people just spend $80 or whatever on that one card to get it right away?

        Valve creates money by controlling the supply of rare/valuable items and taking a cut from secondary transactions. What's to say Blizzard can't do the same and make more money on top of booster sales?

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