It is mildly interesting… and somewhat amusing to me at least… that in the midst of a lot of navel gazing about selling early access to online games caused by the state of H1Z1 and its entry into the field (along with the long, long Landmark early access experience) that Blizzard should choose this week to pop onto the stage and offer an early access package of their own.
I’m not sure Blizzard as a company was even aware of H1Z1, much less the minor stir it caused, though I am sure the devs in the company were.
Anyway, if you play any Blizzard games you probably know by now, via email or the big ad on the front of the Battle.net launcher, that Heroes of the Storm, having finally settled on a name, has a Founder’s Pack available for $40.
When viewed from the right angle, it is more of the same, selling early access to a game that will eventually be free to play. We have seen this deal in a lot of games over the last few years. It just so happens that at this very moment there is considerable ill will against selling early access, at least in our small corner of the web, due to SOE’s ideas on how far along a game should be before it starts demanding money in order to play.
Of course, if we are angry about people selling unfinished games, then Heroes of the Storm probably shouldn’t worry us too much. People blogging about it describe a game that sounds pretty much ready to go, even by Blizzard standards. That makes it almost the antithesis of the state of H1Z1 (or Landmark a year back) charging for early access.
In fact, the only criticism I have seen of Heroes of the Storm as a game… as opposed to the business model… has been that it is a dumbed down version of the MOBA genre. Basically, the same criticism that got leveled at Hearthstone by fans of collectible cards games, as though, here in 2015, we hadn’t quite figured out what Blizzard’s standard play was. They go for a different audience, people not in the hard core, which is probably why Hearthstone is the only CCG on Raptr’s most played list for December.
Of course, unlike CCGs, that list is dominated by Blizzard’s MOBA competition. It will be interesting to see where Heroes of the Storm sits on that list, if it makes it to that list, six months after is launches.
As for the Founder’s Pack itself, it looks like very standard fare for the launch of a free to play game. You get some heroes, some skins, a bit of the in-game currency, and a special item that will mark you as a founder. Here it is a mount. In World of Tanks a couple years back, it was a special edition tank. The only difference is that they Heroes of the Storm beta isn’t open yet, and may never be, so if you want in before launch you need to pony up $40 for the Founder’s Pack for one last item, beta access.
I can wait.
But I am not big on the MOBA genre in any case. It has the same problem that the RTS genre does for me, in that every battle becomes a repeat of the last. My issue, not the genres, so it was unlikely I would be buying the Founder’s Pack in any case.
I did think about it though, when I saw it included a mount, on the off chance that it might also be a mount in World of Warcraft. We all have our price. But the mount is just in HotS. And with that I stopped even toying with the idea of the Founder’s Pack.
I will likely still give it a try. And I am still holding out hope for a mount of some sort. That is, after all, how Blizzard got me to download and play Hearthstone.