Is the hardcore mode that noob-friendly? I mean, winning 10 matches in a row can be difficult, even against an AI. If you use a Continue, the price actually rises to 32-34 credits (if you lose after 8-9 fights, buying a red dragon can be very tempting...just to save time), and failing too many times might just annoy players and have them quit, leaving with nothing for the credits they spent.
On the other hand, i doubt (most) veterans have any interest playing normal mode...at least from what i experienced in the first 2 HQ. You might want to consider splitting the 2 modes into different entities, and of course reduce the entry fee for each of them.
Hardcore mode is not newbee-friendly. that is for sure.
It's like when you play against Kate but harder (difficult and the fact of the need of a 10 victory row). You need a deck with "hard-hitters" (not exactly 5-6-7 damage, Oxen is a too a hard-hitter, except against Gheist/Roots) and that kind of deck is not cheap. Without that kind of deck you can beat the AI, of course, but it becomes a lot harder.
And honestly, deleting some prizes...I think it isn't good. It's like a punishment for those who plays later, but you still ask for the same amount of (high) credits.
And about that Cr in future prizes: Are we talking about just de 30 stars of each HQ or we must count the stars from hardcore mode? I guess including the ones from hardcore mode, otherwise prizes of those extra stars need to be higher and i doubt so much (so, so, so) that that will happen...
A Cr rounding 200k-300k clintz by it self is not that good knowing how much credits UR is asking.
By now the feeling is that the fee must be lower and then rise in future HQs. In the end we will see, but honestly, keep on faith after that 2015 (and part of the 2014) it's not easy.