GAMING BLEND

Hearthstone Open Beta Launching In December

By Pete Haas 2013-11-09 08:59:43 discussion comments
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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's beta could be opened up to all players soon, Blizzard revealed this weekend at BlizzCon. The company also detailed some new features and platforms on the horizon for the multiplayer card game.

Blizzard's Rob Pardo announced during the convention's opening ceremony that the open beta could go live as early as December. He warned that it could get pushed back to January, though. The company has invited over a million players into the closed beta since it began in August.

At a panel discussion for Hearthstone, designers Eric Dodds and Ben Brode said that they were fairly pleased with the game's current balance. The top character class seems to change on a daily basis. Going first in a match only seems to confer a slight advantage over the player going second. Additionally, the optional cash purchases aren't wreaking havoc, as 44% of the current 3-Star Masters have spent no money.

Still, Blizzard's not done tweaking the game. They plan to nerf Mind Control, Starving Buzzard and Unleash the Hounds in the near future. All three were apparently a bit too powerful in some match-ups.

Ranked Play will be overhauled soon as well. Every month, players will restart at rank 25. As they rack up victories, they'll rank up. If a player manages to get above rank 1, they'll become a Legend and their regional rank will be shown on their icon. All players who participate in ranked play will eventually be able to earn special card backs. Furthermore, if you play 500 ranked matches with a class, you'll earn a golden version of that class with special animations.

Blizzard's long-term plans include new spell effects and animations, and allowing players to reconnect to games in progress. They'll also release the game for Android, iPhone and Windows 8 Touch in late 2014 to supplement the previously revealed PC, Mac and iPad versions. Expansion sets will provide new cards for players to collect. Blizzard is also going to release adventures, single-player challenges that teach players new strategies and unlock small sets of cards.

You can sign up for the Hearthstone closed beta by opting in through your Battle.net account. You don't need any other Blizzard games attached to the account in order to be eligible to play.
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