Gamasutra talked to Game Designer Dean Ayala and Producer Melissa Corning at BlizzCon, asking them about the reasons behind making Hearthstone: Battlegrounds and the team’s long-term strategy. From a gameplay standpoint, the answers were simple. “We play a bunch of games and we’re inspired by a bunch of different things,” said Ayala, who added that the creation of Battlegrounds didn’t come from some executive dictating the need to chase a trend.
Nor is their foremost desire to make a quick buck, at least not right away. As Ayala said, the goal is simply to get people into the game, and that they’re “not really that concerned with what happens with revenue and Battlegrounds in the next 3 months.” Corning added that the mode doesn’t have a monetization strategy at the moment and will be dictated by how much support the players want for the mode.
That’s a great approach for the developers of a game (or game mode) to take, but there’s a reason I started the title of this article with “Hearthstone Battlegrounds Devs” and not “Blizzard.” Someone at Blizzard certainly has plans for how Battlegrounds will be monetized, but that might not be a conversation that the game designers need to be a part of. On the other hand, seeing as how many free-to-play games are designed from the ground up with monetization in mind these days, it might not be the best idea to leave the people actually making the game completely out of the loop either. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk, and one that we hope Blizzard will navigate properly.