Video game developer Blizzard says that despite its lack of experience with the free-to-play business model, it is making sure that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will balance microtransactions and fun gameplay.Rob Pardo, the chief creative officer working at Blizzard, tells GamesIndustry.biz that, “we're so gameplay-driven that oftentimes when you talk to folks like that-monetization strategists or economists-they really attack it from the 'how do we maximize revenue' side.”
The developer explains that his team has offered microtransactions in World of Warcraft, for transfers between realms, but the scale is nowhere the one that will feature in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
Blizzard is so committed to the free-to-play model that it is working with an economist in order to make sure that players never feel like they are paying for content that’s not attractive.
Pardo adds, “We feel like if you are going to add microtransactions, you want to add something valuable and people really want to give you money. The free-to-play games that are really successful do that really well.”
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is designed to appeal to those who like the core Blizzard property but also appreciate collectible card mechanics, with a focus on the best-known figures of the strategy and MMO universe.
The game will allow players to collect a number of characters and powers and challenge other members of the community, based on a complex matchmaking system.
The team says that content that players will be able to pay for will never directly affect gameplay.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is set to launch on the PC and Blizzard is unwilling to talk about a potential launch date.
The studio is currently also working on a game called Blizzard All-Stars, which will use Multiplayer Online Battle Arena mechanics and is also expected to use a free-to-play business model.