A fortunate handful of Hearthstone players who've spent time away from Blizzard's card game/wallet vampire are finding a bundle of free card packs waiting when they fire up Battle.net. Here's a player who got 150 packs as a 'welcome back gift', and another who thought it was fake until they logged in and found 150 packs waiting for them as well. Not everyone's been receiving the same unusual amount of generosity. This player only got 20 packs, which is still nothing to sneeze at.
What's going on here? As a Blizzard spokesperson told PC Gamer, "We run many different limited and targeted tests such as this to better determine what drives former, new or current players' interest, which is a common industry practice. This was a region-specific test for Hearthstone in the UK and France for a subset of relevant players who were first randomly sorted into groups before being assigned a corresponding offer between 20 and 150 packs."
While targeted tests may well be "a common industry practice", I've never logged into Gwent or Magic: The Gathering and got a mountain of free cards this big. Hearthstone does have more competition than ever with the continuing popularity of games like Legends of Runeterra, and it seems like there's a new singleplayer deckbuilder every week, the latest being the Witcher-themed Gwent: Rogue Mage. A big bundle of free stuff is certainly one way to tempt back players who've bounced over to another card game.
As for why some players received different amounts of free packs, Blizzard's spokesperson said, "It's entirely random. Relevant players are randomly sorted into various buckets and assigned a corresponding offer, in this case a number of card packs." The minimum is 20 packs, and the maximum is 150 packs.
The welcome back gift is a region-limited offer only available to select players in the UK and France, and it ends on August 5, which is the last day the packs can be claimed. If you're not one of the lucky few there's still a chance you might get some freebies in the future, however, with Blizzard's spokesperson saying, "We will continue running tests like this as they can be a powerful tool for learning more about our players."