Rating the Gem Only Bundles… So Far

Anne EliseNews

On November 6th, 2017, Blizzard announced that there would be a change to release heroes: they would come with skin bundles that could only be purchased with gems. To say that this was met with community displeasure would be, well, an understatement:

“Gem-only skins sounds like a terrible, greedy idea to me, after all 2.0 has seen through…”

“Read between the lines: ‘Our sales have been dog poop since launch of 2.0, with this change we hope some people will once again spend money on this game’ -Blizzard.”

“I saved my shards for nothing if I can't even forge any of the cool ‘gem-only’ skins.”

“The old pricing system was way more clear than this gem scam garbage”

(names withheld to protect the very guilty people who bitch on forums)

And that’s just from the first page of the forum post. I didn’t even scroll down halfway before I had more than enough content for this article. Strong opinions come with all Blizzard games. If you doubt that, go to Blizzcon wearing a shirt that says “Proud Hanzo Main” and let me know what happens.

Anyway, people did not and do not like this. There is content in a free-to-play game that must be bought, and while you can grind out gems through leveling rewards, that would take a lot longer than what seems reasonable. This problem is compounded by the fact that people have been confused by the gem system since 2.0 was announced. I had a very passionate debate one night with a fellow player who insisted that we would still be able to buy whatever we wanted whenever we wanted with gems because he hadn’t actually read the entire 2.0 press release. It’s simple:

  • You buy gems
  • You use gems to buy weekly sale items or for loot boxes
  • The item you want to go on weekly sale never goes on the weekly sale
  • You buy loot boxes instead
  • You don’t get the item that way either
  • Every legendary is a duplicate
  • You get shards, but not enough to make what you want
  • You go on Twitter and bitch about it

And, you know, I think I’ve seen this business model before:

And while it’s fun to point all of this out and find and make memes, I sat down to write an article that just rates the gem-only bundles and asks the very simple question “Is it worth it to buy this bundle?”

For this, we will use the commonly accepted “Fry” rating system of:

  • "Shut Up and take my Money!"

    For the bundles you must buy

  • "Not sure if"

    For skins you could probably do without unless you are a completionist

Dark Queen Alexstrasza Skin Pack

  • "Shut Up and take my Money!"

I swear, I’m not just a lewd fangirl who has been lusting after Alexstrasza since… forever. These skins look a lot like they are inspired by Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty. You know, the last great movie Disney made all the way back in 1959 (fight me, Disney fans). If you haven’t seen it (how could you have missed it), Maleficent at the end of Sleeping Beauty is the best dragon to ever appear in cinema and every dragon in a movie since 1959 has tried and failed to live up to her level of awesome. This pack is a must buy for the Dragon Queen.

Farstrider Hanzo Skin Pack

  • "Shut Up and take my Money!"

    Hanzo mains

  • "Not sure if"

    Everyone else

OK, part of me wants to be a lewd fangirl over a mostly topless, hot elf man. Then my brain comes back online and I remember “Oh yeah. It’s Hanzo. Fuck.” This almost makes Hanzo tolerable to play. Almost. But you would still have to accept that you are a terrible person. A good looking terrible person, but a terrible person nonetheless.

Fel Reaver Blaze Skin Pack

  • "Not sure if"

If this skin replaced all of Blaze’s lines with just the Fel Reaver sound from Burning Crusade that still strikes fear in the hearts of World of Warcraft players whenever they hear it, it would be a must buy. If this skin made the other team constantly hear that sound, then they could charge double for it. Instead, the skin just alters Blaze’s fun-but-cheesy dialogue, and it’s just not what I want from a Fel Reaver.

Hellwarden Maiev Skin Pack

  • "Not sure if"

Can I “nope” this? It’s breaking a tried and true rating system which has stood the test of time, but I’m gonna nope this. It’s not different enough from her base skins to justify any money. Maiev is pretty cool and badass, but this just isn’t working for me. Does it work for you? Is this really different enough from her base skins that it justifies a purchase? I don’t think it is, and if you think it is, please tell me who you are so I can sell you all sorts of useless junk that is just like the useless junk you already have.

Ruinwalker Fenix Skin Pack

  • "Not sure if"

OK, I get the appeal here. Make him like one of the elemental things in World of Warcraft, but Fenix is just so sleek and cool, as are all things Protoss, that this seems like a downgrade. In fact, since release, I have yet to play a game with anyone using this skin. I’m sure there are some die hard WoW Shamans out there who have to have all things be elemental who are rocking these skins, but they are never in my games.

Wastewalker Deckard Skin Pack

  • "Shut Up and take my Money!"

I am so alone on Deckard Cain. I hate him. Oh, not his kit or how he plays in Heroes, that’s all good; I fucking hated Deckard Cain in Diablo III. I cheered when he got taken out by a butterfly. I don’t understand the people so passionate about this incompetent asshole that I just want to delete from my memory. But you know what makes Deckard Cain cool? Imagining him in a Mad Max-style wasteland! I can get behind that! SUFFER MORE, YOU OLD FOOL!

So far, I think the gem-only bundles have been about 50/50, unless you hate Hanzo, then out of six bundles only two have been worth it. The bottom line is that this game needs to make money, but if Blizzard wants us to spend our money we need better things to spend it on. I want to spend my money on this game but I don’t think that they make it easy. At least skin events are going off without a hitch…

Wait, did Blizzard just paraphrase non-Luchador and sayer-of-dumb-racist-shit Hulk “I’m Sorry I Swear I’m Not A Racist” Hogan in an official tweet to promote a Lucha-themed event? Really?

At least the lootboxes are working correctly upon release, right?