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The latest season of competitive play for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft will draw to a close soon. Blizzard announced today that Test Season 2 will conclude on Friday, January 31st.
"Thank you for helping us test our second Ranked Play season!" Blizzard said on Battle.net. "This season is intended to conclude at 11:59 PM on January 31st, so be sure to wrap up your climb up the ladder before that date. Once the season is over, everyone’s ranking will be reset back to Rank 25, and Test Season 3 will begin!"
Each of the 25 ranks in Hearthstone has its own unique title and medal. You can climb the ranks by racking up wins. Above rank 20, losing will hurt your standing. You'll be matched up against players of equivalent rank while you move up the ladder. Winning streaks help you progress faster below rank 5.
Blizzard said in the past that every season will be about a month long. Test Season 2 is 22 days long, while Season 1 was 30. Maybe the schedule will conform to calendar months now that Season 3 is beginning at the start of February.
Eventually ranked play for Hearthstone will bring many rewards. Simply participating in a season will earn you special card backs for your collection. The specific card backs offered will change from season to season, so a consistent player will assemble a nice array of options over time. After you've played 500 ranked games with a class, you'll gain a golden version of that class' hero card with unique animations.
These perks aren't implemented for test seasons, though. You're simply playing for bragging rights. If you hit Legend, the top rank, you can't lose that status until the end of the season no matter how many losses you rack up. If you're among the top 10,000 Legend players in your region, your specific region rank will be displayed on your icon.
Participating in test seasons is obviously good preparation for the "real" seasons, too. Blizzard doesn't plan to wipe card collections or class levels so you can keep using the strategies you've learned in the past.
Hearthstone is Blizzard's first free-to-play game. Players duel each other with cards inspired by Warcraft characters and abilities. Additional cards can be bought with gold earned from wins or with real-world cash. The development team has indicated in the past that they plan to release expansion packs over time, some of which could include Diablo or StarCraft characters.
The game's open beta launched last week following five months of closed beta. All you need in order to play is a Battle.net account and the Blizzard desktop app. Blizzard hasn't revealed when the official launch of the PC/Mac version will happen, though. It's also not clear when the game will finally come to iPad.