When you ask Hearthstone players what feature they want added to the game, “more deck slots” is pretty much the go-to answer. Since the game launched, players have only been able to add nine custom-made decks to the game, a paltry total when you consider just how important an arsenal of good decks can be to the game.
Blizzard have been reluctant to add the slots, however, citing concerns about making deck building complicated for new players.
Now it appears Blizzard finally is considering adding more slots—but as a paid feature.
Blizzard has added plenty of new features and content to Hearthstone since the game launched last year, everything from new card sets, cardbacks, and game boards to an adventure mode. While new cards have been part of paid expansions, as is typical of collectible card games, a new customer survey from Blizzard indicates that the company plans to monetize plenty more features, including deck slots but also “card back artwork” and “new art for each hero class.”
Deck slots have been a flashpoint in the community since pretty much the game’s launch. In a December interview with PC Gamer, Brode provoked the ire of the Hearthstone Reddit community by claiming that more deck slots could dissuade new players from even playing the game.
“We did a lot of testing early on in the game with brand new players,” Brode said, “and we found over and over again, back in our prototype days, people would enter the Collection Manager and say ‘Oh, this is not for me. I’m not interested in building decks at all, it’s too complicated. Maybe this game is not for me.'”
Brode added that Blizzard had “some cool ideas we’re talking about internally” and that a solution was actively being sought. Unfortunately, it seems one of those “cool ideas” is just making players cough up cash for the feature. There are a number of problems with this approach that could really affect the game’s direction. Unlike new cards and cosmetic changes like card backs, adding more deck slots is pretty basic functionality for a core aspect of the game.
We get it: this is a free game. It’s also a card game. To get the full value out of the game you either have to put in a ridiculous amount of time or put in some money. But allowing those who put money into the game to have increased functionality is not only a big deal for the large number of “free to play” Hearthstone players who don’t spend money on the game, it potentially creates two versions of Hearthstone—a free one, with limited functionality, and a paid one, with access.
Blizzard did not respond to a request for comment on this article.