Hearthstone Officially Launches
While it seemed like enough people were in the perpetual Hearthstone beta that it seemed like it may as well been considered released, Blizzard announced that it’s free-to-play card game was officially open for business to all gamers.
On Tuesday afternoon, Blizzard officially announced that the inn was open and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was launched for all gamers to play.
Hearthstone was first announced by Blizzard back at PAX East last March and has been in open beta since this January. Now, it’s available to download through Battle.net.
For those who haven’t played it, Hearthstone is a card dueling game in the same style as Magic: The Gathering but, to my MCG-untrained eye, seems a little easier to wrap your head around at first. You can choose from nine different deck styles and heroes representing those decks. Your deck consists of thirty cards with attack, health and mana attributes listed. The objective is to drain your opponent of his/her 30 health points to win a match.
There are four game modes for players to sink their cards into after the tutorial. There’s Practice in which you play the AI and unlock new decks and cards without spending actual money. Play mode is the multiplayer ladder mode in which you can compete in Ranked games to scale the 26-tier ladder or Casual unranked games. Speaking of unranked, you can take on players on your friends list in Duel mode. And there’s Arena in which you draft a deck of 30 cards and try to win up to the 12 game maximum with it before accumulating three losses.
Keep in mind that this is a free-to-play game so there are microtransactions in the game. You can pay real money to buy card packs and the Arena mode requires you to pay in-game gold to enter (or actual money to buy the gold to get you into Arena).
If you haven’t played Hearthstone, you appear to be missing out. It seems to be very popular. Hearthstone very quickly shot up the live stream rankings on Twitch and Hearthstone Let’s Play videos garner a lot of views on YouTube. People seem into it so now that it’s out and free, it might be worth a try. I think even I’ll get back into it even though I got tired of being massacred by the AI. I should warn you that a little CCG experience helps you out with this game since I can’t seem to find much in the way of Hearthstone beginner’s guides online.
While the game is available to all users on Windows and Mac today, the planned iOS and Android versions of the game have yet to be released. Blizzard has not indicated a timeline for their release.