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Japan and Gen Con

So, have an uncharacteristic amount of shenanigans going on soon.

First, a week from now I will be in Japan for ~14 days. The last time I was over there was back in 2005 during a college exchange program, so this will be quite interesting going back. I would not expect a lot of updates for those two weeks, but you never know. Beyond the normal touristy schtick around Tokyo, I do plan on stopping by things like the Ghibli Museum. If you have recommendations of similar attractions that might be interesting given the scope of this site, feel free to let me know.

Second, and possibly more relevant to our mutual interests, I will be at Gen Con 2014 this August. I’ll actually be hanging with my ex-WoW crew the majority of the time, but if you are going and would like to share an awkward greeting IRL, I’m game. And speaking of games, I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to Gen Con; the event registration page is about the most unfriendly UI I have ever seen. So if you know of interesting panels or whatever that I should check out, let me know. Seriously, ain’t nobody got time to manually browse 1558 board game events.

Oh, and I guess Blizzard is releasing the Naxx expansion to Hearthstone two days before my flight. Fun times.

Hearthstone Naxx Pricing

Can I make a post via bluetooth keyboard on the deck of a beach condo with my smartphone getting 2 bars of signal? Let’s find out!

Anyway, as you may or may not know by now, Blizzard released the official Naxx mini-expansion pricing scheme for Hearthstone. Needless to say, it’s a bit convoluted. As promised, the first wing is free to everyone… who logs in sometime during the first month. The other wings are 700g apiece, or $6.99 each. Unless of course you buy them at bundled prices, which knocks it down to roughly $5 per wing.

I honestly don’t know what to think about these prices. A daily quest will reward you with 50g on average (40g is the lowest + 3 wins is 10g) so it sorta makes sense to tie things to two weeks of dailies per wing. Since the wings are going to be gated to one per week already, this means you will have a slight pressure to either purchase the later wings or fall behind, but not by too much. And this sort of assumes there won’t be any gold rewards for actually beating any of the bosses (which could go either way).

But the thing I come back to is, of course, the opportunity cost. A booster pack is 100g. So, basically it costs 7 booster per wing to unlock, with the total being 28 boosters (2800g). The lowest RMT cost of packs is $2.99 for 2 boosters. The cost of unlocking all of Naxx assuming you log on post-patch is $19.99, which is the same price as 15 boosters.

So… yeah. Depending on whether or not you are morally opposed to spending any money on a F2P* title, it seems as though your choice is either spending $20 or grinding out the equivalent of $40 worth of boosters. I can’t check my Hearthstone account at the moment, but I have around 1400g saved up, I think. Even though I am halfway there, I am not entirely sure I want to commit to a month or more of dailies all to save money and end up getting $20 less boosters.

Perhaps this is  exactly why the pricing is so convoluted in the first place; Blizzard accountants working their dark magic to get people on the fence to pony up the cash. But Jesus Christ, man, remember those days when you didn’t have to do differential calculus to figure out if something was worth buying? I suppose the good part is that I’ll be able to see if the rest of Naxx is worth getting based on the free wing first.

Then again, anyone who doesn’t end up getting all 5 wings is just going to be hosed in Constructed Ranked play. Unless, of course, Blizzard has made the expansion cards perfectly balanced and optional and not power-creep-y at all.

Yeah, about that.

On the Blizzard Front

Remember when I talked about Blizzard news? Seems like just… today.

The big Hearthstone news is that the pricing information for the upcoming mini-expansion, Curse of Naxxramas, was revealed supposed to be revealed today. Normally, snarky posts like mine are kind of the reason Blizzard isn’t more forthcoming with information and release dates… but, you know, Naxx is still (?) going to be released this month. While I can understand how bugs and other issues can delay something’s release, the delay on pricing strikes me as odd. Like… is there still some debate? What variables could possibly be involved?

On average, someone can earn 420g per week by doing a daily quest, er, daily. There was “leak” a few days ago on some French website that suggests 600g per wing was the pricepoint. Going by the date stamps, the leak occurred after the announcement that July 1st wasn’t going to be the price reveal, although I’m not sure whether that strengthens or weakens the conspiracy theory that Blizzard is doing some roundabout market research. I suppose things might get awkward if Blizzard ultimately revealed that the actual price was 1000g or whatever, but again, I’m not sure what a few more days gets them. Other than people stockpiling gold for a few more days and possibly using real monies to purchase packs. /tinfoil

As a note of possible interest, I pretty much stopped logging on to Hearthstone more than a month ago. While I would like to say that it was because of the current absurdly non-interactive metagame (Miracle Rogues and Freeze Mages and Control Warriors, oh my!), the truth is a bit more mundane. Specifically, I was getting tired of getting creamed by netdecks. I don’t have anything against netdecking per se – it’s largely inevitable regardless – but it sort of necessitates a specific counter-strategy I don’t find particularly compelling anymore. “Warlock daily? I guess I’m playing Zoo or Handlock.” Sure, I could skip those quests or play my own goofy deck. And I did, for a while. But 420g doesn’t seem all that much when you go 3-8 every day. So I stopped. And like any MMO, the cessation of daily log-ins heralds the end.

I’ll be back for Naxxramas though, assuming the gold price isn’t absurd.