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Blizzard's collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft draws heavy inspiration from their MMORPG World of Warcraft. In a new interview, Hearthstone lead artist Ben Thompson said that it's possible that the two games could become intertwined someday.
"Sure, I think that fantasy is sure floated around from time to time," Thompson told AusGamers when asked if WoW players would be able to challenge each other to Hearthstone matches within the MMO. "Something like that could be cool, but right now we’re really focused on making Hearthstone the best game it can be. Maybe there’ll be cool interactions down the line, but for now we’re really focused on Hearthstone a great stand-alone."
In Hearthstone, players take on the role of legendary heroes and villains from Warcraft lore. Each character represents a player class from WoW. They can utilize different sets of abilities, weapons and minion cards in their head-to-head battles. For example, a player controlling Gul'dan the Warlock can summon demons and rain down hellfire on opponents.
Hearthstone and WoW are already symbiotic. WoW players will have some basic curiosity in Hearthstone because it utilizes familiar mechanics and characters. On the flipside, Hearthstone players who never played WoW might be inspired to check out the MMO after being exposed to the universe.
Making Hearthstone playable within World of Warcraft would be one way to tie the games together but it's far from the only possibility. I could see Blizzard making certain Hearthstone cards available through WoW. Maybe you could earn a booster pack for a certain number of Achievements? Or maybe leveling up a character in WoW to specific milestones (every 20 levels?) would earn you a card for the corresponding Hearthstone class?
Alternately, Hearthstone could offer bonus items for World of Warcraft. I think WoW players would flock to Hearthstone in hopes of getting new mounts or pets, if they're already willing to shell out real-world money for them. Perhaps the best-ranked players in Hearthstone's competitive play could get access to exclusive WoW titles? None of these possibilities would surprise me at all.
As Thompson said, though, Blizzard still has to finish Hearthstone. The game is currently in closed beta on the PC and Mac so there's still plenty of polishing to be done. Once they release the game on those platforms and also finish the iPad version, maybe they'll have time to start working on WoW tie-ins.