Blizzard’s free-to-play Hearthstone thrown wide open

Blizzard’s free-to-play digital collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has reached open beta, and you can sign up to participate over on Battle.net. No final release date has been set.

Hearthstone is available for Windows and MacOS, with iOS and Android support in the works. Cross-platform play will be supported.

Each player’s card deck centers around a hero representing one of nine Warcraft classes, customized with a set of minions, spells, and/or weapons based on individual strategy and available cards.

There are currently over 300 cards implemented, with plans to expand on this as the game grows. Players will be able to acquire cards by crafting them and by winning or purchasing new card packs. There is no requirement to purchase card packs in order to play Hearthstone.

Hearthstone Open Beta Card

Hearthstone Open Beta Card

Hearthstone’s key game modes and features include:

  • Basic cards: Starter cards that form the foundation of each hero’s class and are earned as you level up the hero. You can have up to two of every basic card in the game in your collection.
  • Expert cards: Can only be found in card packs, created using the crafting system, or won within The Arena. They’re distinguished by their rarity, which is shown in the form of a gem—common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange).
  • Practice mode: Hone your abilities and test out new deck ideas against A.I. opponents of basic or expert skill levels, and unlock playable heroes in the process.
  • Play mode: Duel other players to level up your heroes and complete quests along the way.
  • Ranked mode: Move up through multiple tiers of medals. There are 25 ranks total in the ladder, starting at Angry Chicken and going up to Rank 1: Innkeeper.
  • The Arena: Assemble a new deck by choosing from a selection of randomized cards provided for the match, and then duel other Arena participants for a chance to win rewards. Players can use gold or real money in order to gain entry into the Arena. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will unlock a chest of loot based on how well you did.
  • Quests: Players can play “ever-changing” quests that will reward them with gold when completed. Gold can be used to purchase more card packs or gain entry into the Arena.
  • Players Near Me: You can opt-in to seeing other Hearthstone players on your local network in your friends list and challenge them to a duel.

Players will earn their first set of cards as soon as they start playing Hearthstone, while certain game modes and features will award additional cards through gameplay. Here are the different ways to get cards:

  • Practice Mode: Play against A.I. opponents representing different classes to unlock new heroes and basic cards.
  • Play Mode: Participate in traditional head-to-head matches to complete quests and earn gold for purchasing card packs.
  • The Arena: After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will open a chest of loot based on how well you did.
  • Crafting: Disenchant expert cards in your collection to receive Arcane Dust, and then use your collected Dust to craft other cards of your choosing. Basic cards cannot be disenchanted.
  • Card Packs: Purchase card packs containing five cards each using your Battle.net Balance or a variety of supported payment methods. One of the cards will always be “rare” or greater. In some cases, you can get more than one rare, or even an epic or legendary card.
  • Levelling: Participate in a duel against the AI or another player, and earn experience whether you win or lose. Once enough experience is earned, your hero will level up, potentially granting access to new cards for your collection. As you level, you’ll also unlock Golden versions of each class’s basic cards.

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Blizzard’s free-to-play Hearthstone thrown wide open

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