Rumors are a normal part of game development. Such is the case with Heroes of the Storm. With Heroes being in Alpha and with little information for fans to go on, the rumors are swirling unchecked. One of the most popular rumors swirling around the internet is that Heroes of the Storm, much like Everquest Next Landmark, will allow players to purchase a Founder's Pack. While some may be thrilled at this idea, I think we should be a bit more hesitant in embracing it.
Founder's Pack Explained
If you are unsure what is behind the idea of a Founder's Pack. Let me explain; Founder's Packs are incentive packages that game companies (in this case Blizzard) put together and offer up for sale to fans. These packs are appealing because they give early access to the game, as well as other added bonuses such as special mounts, armor, or even pets.
Usually Founder's Packs come in various types
and at various price points. The more money you spend, the more stuff you
get and the sooner you will get access to the game. As mentioned above,
this was the way the Founder's Packs for Everquest: Landmark were laid
out. While we don't know for sure if a Heroes of the Storm Founder's Pack
will be incoming or exactly what it will contain, we know for sure that it
will dig into our real life pocket books in order to obtain it.
Free to Play?
The problem with this is that Heroes of the Storm is supposed to be a totally free to play game. Like Hearthstone before it, players will not have to spend any money to own it. The game can be downloaded and played as much as you like, totally free.
Totally free, unless you want early beta access. For this privilege the game will suddenly go from absolutely free to costing us money. Even if it isn't a large sum, why are we being charged to play what is supposed to be a totally free game? One can argue that if you don't want to pay for it, you don't have to purchase the Founder's Pack. This is, of course, true.
With that in mind, this is the first time any Blizzard fan has had to pay to get early access to anything. All other games before Heroes of the Storm have dished out beta access free of charge. This of course meant that some would be left out, but the grand majority of fans would be left out, but to charge for the privilege just seems like a cheap gimmick. Besides, aren't they making enough money off of us already?
Case in point, the Heroes of the Storm in-game store. Here players will be able to spend their real life cash on in-game items. Not unusual or unexpected for a free to play game. In fact, it would be more surprising if the store wasn't included in the game. Profits from this store are expected to help to pay to keep Heroes of the Storm alive.
While I am not a big fan of in-game stores, I think they are harmless enough. This is especially true when they appear in free-to-play games. To add the option to also pay to be a part of the beta seems to be an un-needed expense.
To Each Their Own
Many will argue that opting to pay for the Founder's Pack is optional. You don't have to do it. This is very true. However, many fans will feel they need to purchase it, simply because they are dedicated to all of Blizzard's games. Of course, each of us must choose our own path and it is fine if some want to purchase their chance to be a part of the beta. With that being said, I believe this is a slippery slope.
How long before all Blizzard's games will ask players to pay a fee to help them test a game. This, in my personal opinion, is a service that should never have a price tag on it. After all, aren't we doing the developers a favor by trying out their game?
In my case, I won't be purchasing any Founder's Packs, even though I would love to know I could count on being involved in the Heroes of the Storm beta. I just can't validate spending real cash on something that I believe should be absolutely free. Why should I pay to play what is supposed to be a free to play game?
Of course, invites will probably also go out to other members, but it stands to reason that the grand majority will go to players who choose to dish out the cash and pay. I can only hope that this Founder's Pack idea is a passing fancy and none of us feel as if we have to pay to play a beta, an imperfect version of what will be a free-to-play game. This is one rumor that needs to remain just that.
Would you pay to guarantee a spot in beta testing for Heroes of the Storm? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!