By Anni Simpson on March 11, 2014 at 11:05pm
Blizzard’s already had a big launch week with the pre-release sale of "Warlords of Draenor", but they powered through another major announcement by releasing "Heartstone" today, shifting the title out of its beta test state.
“Hearthstone” is Blizzard’ free-to-play trading card game set in the “Warcraft” universe. You can play as one of nine heroes using neutral and class-specific cards to battle against other players in ranked matches, casual matches, or arena. Players are randomly given quests to complete daily, which reward gold. Gold can be spent on booster packs or arena keys. Players who really want boosters or arena keys can pay real money for access, as well.
The release of “Hearthstone” brings a handful of changes including:
- Card Backs: You can access your card backs through the “Settings” menu.
- Golden Heroes: If you win 500 ranked matches with a single hero, you earn gold trim for your hero, as well as new animations. The number of matches won is listed under your hero before you begin a match.
- Ability to Rejoin Matches: Disconnecting is no longer an immediate loss. You have 60 seconds to rejoin a match before you lose. This won’t help you much if you experience actual connectivity problems or power outages, but it should help you through recent Battle.net connection problems and spotty connectivity at home.
- Improved Bot AI: Expert bots now offer players an actual challenge.
Blizzard is celebrating the release by rewarding “World of Warcraft” players with a “Hearthsteed” mount. To earn the mount, you just need to win three ranked matches. Blizzard is also rewarding “Diablo III” players by giving you a booster pack if you pre-purchase the “Reaper of Souls” expansion for “D3.”
“Hearthstone” spent over a year in beta. Closed beta invites were emailed to players last January, and the beta opened to the public in August. Players did not lose crafted decks or cards since the release.