Can we help Blizzard by brainstorming a new monetization model for HotS?
It's been over three years since HotS 2.0 (RIP mega bundles) and the accompanying changes to the way loot boxes/bundles were rewarded. So much has happened since April 2017 (when HotS 2.0 launched), including the end of HGC, the longer hero release cadence, and fewer development resources being devoted to the game.
As a huge HotS fan and player, though, I'm enjoying the game as much as ever.
No pro scene means better balancing for me. There are already so many heroes that I'll never feel like I've mastered every aspect of the game. The balance patches keep things fresh, and though I'm less enthused about the weather anomaly, I trust that it will mix things up. And I'm as excited for Mei (and was as excited for Deathwing) as any hero that has ever been released.
The thing is, the monetization model in HotS has always felt off, especially since 2.0. Outside of stim packs (meh calling them boosts), with the amount of gold and shards I have, there's nothing "worth" buying for me in real dollars. I'll buy gems from time to time simply because I want to support the game, but — and this is important — I never want to spend $.
There's simply no FOMO (fear of missing out). The game is in a weird place in that it's alternatively too expensive (see the $20 or $30 or $40 bundles for each color variations of a mount/skin during each event) and also too cheap for its biggest fans (I have thousands of shards and can buy anything I want in view of the events being spaced further apart).
Which is a bizarre place for HotS, and I feel like I'm not the only person in this situation: I want to support the game, but I don't want to spend $30 on a skin pack when I can just use the ample surplus of shards I already have to purchase that skin variation (or mount) that i want.
I just started playing a couple mobile games again (do you have phones?). The monetization models in those mobile games feel so sophisticated. I'm far less invested in those particular mobile games in terms of time or interest when compared to HotS, but I see very affordable "passes" that reward daily play and provide fantastic rewards. Or I see a $2.99 package and think, "why not?" Then I check HotS and see a permanently discounted bundle for 5 color variations of one skin/mount for $27 that strikes me as completely uninteresting to me as well as 99% of the playerbase.
That's such a shame!
There have been so many skins, mounts, etc. in HotS that are simply amazing. Any one of these would have been must-buys for me. For example, just off the top of my head: the train mount, mecha tyrael (heck, mecha anything), and the new lili skin that throws cheese (i don't even play lili, really, but that's a must buy for me simply based on principle).
especially the mount — i saw the train mount for the first time and knew it was a must buy.
why not add a low-price "HotS Pass" (like $5-$10) where you have to sign in and play a game each day, or have a series of "quests" you can unlock and award a spectacular skin/mount at the end? this doesn't need to be anything revolutionary, either.
i don't know what the finance/numbers people at Blizzard are thinking — maybe the bundles are the most efficient and highest profit generators, but that just doesn't seem true to me. I think they could do a lot better with paid passes/questlines for each Ranked season/Event.
These paid passes/questlines would accomplish two things: 1) it would bring in revenue in the form of massive numbers of purchased "passes"; and 2) it would bring players back and up the number of games played.
And this is simply copying another games' strategy. I'm sure there are even better ways to monetize HotS. I truly want the game to continue being such great entertainment for a long time. Anyway, I'd love to hear other suggestions.
Here's a basic outline for HotS Paid Passes/Questlines based on the upcoming ranked season using QM and unranked games played:
Keep everything the same for non-paying players. In other words, give a loot box at 5, 15, and 30 wins with the Tiger mount at 50 ranked wins. You can even make the event bundles available, too. And keep everything purchasable with shards (we don't want to alienate people who aren't spending money).
Introduce a $5-$10 pass that rewards players with a repeatable award of additional loot boxes every 5 (normal), 15 (rare), 30 (epic), and 50 (legendary) ranked OR QM/unranked wins, with a special color variation of (read: you can't get this anywhere else) La Gata de Batalla LiLi skin at the first 50 win mark.
if players win 100 games, in addition to giving them the loot chests (at 55, 65, 80, and 100 wins), give them an exclusive banner (we don't have enough of those, right? and they seem relatively easy to make!).
if players win 150 games, give them a Nexomania mount (the armed chicken?). again, a unique color variation.
if players win 200 games, give them an announcer.
just repeat (without the special 50 win rewards) for every 50 games thereafter.
I truly believe people would buy this — I know I would. And I would buy the pass for each event, too. We have 3 or 4 events a year — that would be anywhere from $20-$40 extra dollars from me that I'm not spending now and I think others would be interested in at least a few of the passes/questlines.
Thoughts? Any other ideas on how to monetize?
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