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Blizzard has revealed that the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's open beta is drawing to a close. Hearthstone community manager Christina "Zeriyah" Sims says that the official launch is just weeks away.
"I can't say exactly, but it is soon. Not months," Sims said on the Battle.net forums when asked about the end date of the beta.
Hearthstone has been in open beta since late January. The collectible card game can be downloaded and played by anyone with a Battle.net account. The launch date means less than it would for a traditional game release, then. Still, Sims says that the development team will release a "large" patch on Hearthstone's launch date to fix many bugs present in the game.
"We'll have a full write-up of what is contained within the patch on patch day, but we're also planning on posting something up here on the forums that'll spark some discussion in the community before that. Stay tuned."
Once the beta ends, players will no longer be able to earn the golden version of the Gelbin Mekkatorque card. This legendary card summons a gnomish engineer along with one of four random inventions to help you in battle. The golden Gelbin card is available for anyone who spends real-world money on either booster packs or Arena entry during the beta. The normal version of the card, featuring the same stats but less fancy visuals, will still be available for crafting after launch.
Some Hearthstone players believed that they would receive a World of Warcraft mount called Hearthsteed for participating in the beta. While the Hearthsteed's existence has been confirmed by Blizzard, they still haven't explained how players can acquire it.
"We have not made any announcements regarding the Hearthsteed," Sims said today.
It seems unlikely, then, that the Hearthsteed is a reward for playing the beta. The mount wouldn't be a very effective way to drive players to the beta if they didn't know they would receive it.
The launch won't affect players' existing card collections or character levels. Blizzard wiped player accounts once during beta after some major balance changes but don't plan to do it again ever. They also don't plan to give players the option to manually wipe their accounts so they can re-spend their money on a new collection.
Hearthstone's beta is available on PC and Mac. Blizzard has said in the past that the game will be available on iOS and Android devices in time as well. However, today's announcement has nothing to do with the mobile versions.
You can learn more about Hearthstone by checking out our beta preview from a few months back.