Game prices usually fluctuate depending on a couple of variables. While the cost of making the game weighs in on the calculation, expansions and regular season passes can drive that price tag up and even beat the title’s base price. Because of that, card games can be costly to keep up with compared to other genres like shooters, MMORPGs, and MOBAs.
The prices can serve as a barrier for new players and be an additional factor for existing players to take into account since they’ll also need to keep up with new sets and other new in-game elements. Considering you’ll also need to unlock as many packs as possible to complete your collection in Hearthstone, it also raises the question of whether the game is pay to win or not.
The answer depends on the type of player you are. Hearthstone tries its best to stay accessible to new players, but it doesn’t require calculus knowledge to realize that you’ll need to spend your hard-earned money at some point if you want to keep up with all the meta decks.
If you’re looking to play competitively, there’s hardly a way around certain cards. Some high-ranked decks will depend on Legendary cards, the rarest card category in the game, and you’ll have little option but to try to get those cards. Without Arcane Dust to craft them, buying packs will be the only legitimate avenue. This makes Hearthstone slightly pay to win, but you’ll also have alternative ways to accumulate more packs.
Players who’d like to refrain from putting their money into the game can try to excel at the game’s Arena mode, which rewards players based on their score. Players assemble a deck of 30 cards in the arena mode by picking each card from three options. Once you assemble your deck, you’ll be able to queue for a match. Getting three losses will mean that you’re out, or you’ll need to score 12 wins before suffering three losses to beat the arena. From six to seven wins and onward, you’ll start to profit from your investment which will help you grow your collection without spending any cash since you’ll be earning cards, packs, and gold.
To sum it up, Hearthstone is a pay-to-win game only if you’re a competitive player who can’t wait to unlock all the cards. Other modes in the game won’t require you to have all the cards to have a good time, meaning there’s something to do in Hearthstone for all types of players if they’re willing to sink the time or money needed.