Hearthstone beta opens to all in December.
Blizzard announced at BlizzCon 2013 that Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, its online collectible card game, will go into open beta next month.
Blizzard aims to release Hearthstone soon after the open beta test. The game will initially be available for PC and Mac, with an iPad version coming later. Android and iPhone versions are also planned further down the line.
You can read the full HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft BlizzCon FAQ below.
Q: What is Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft?
A: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is a free-to-play digital collectible strategy card game that anyone can enjoy. Players choose one of nine epic Warcraft® heroes to play as, and then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks. Players are able to cast potent spells, use heroic weapons and abilities, or summon powerful characters to crush their opponent.
Q: Why is Blizzard making Hearthstone?
A: We looooooove collectible card games and have been playing them since our Silicon & Synapse days. Creating a digital strategy card game felt like a natural next step for us, so we put together a small team and have been hammering away at Hearthstone for a while now. This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and we’re excited to be working on something different from our other games. Same goes for creating a game for iPad in addition to PC. It’s been a thrill to work on Hearthstone, and we hope everyone has as much fun playing it as we’ve had building it.
Q: Do I need to know anything about card games or Warcraft to play?
A: Not at all! We’ve designed Hearthstone so that anyone can get into it, no matter how familiar they are with the Warcraft universe or collectible card games. The game will teach you everything you need to know as you play it.
Q: What are the key game modes and features?
A: Hearthstone’s key game modes and features include:
Practice mode: Hone your abilities and test out new deck ideas against A.I. opponents of basic or expert skill levels, and unlock playable heroes in the process.
Play mode: Duel other players to level up your heroes and complete quests along the way. To see how you stack up against the competition, enter Ranked mode, where you’ll increase your medal ranking as you duel others in a tiered ladder system. Whether you’re a grizzled veteran, a curious newcomer, or fall somewhere in between, Battle.net matchmaking will pair you up against a worthy opponent.
The Arena: Put your skills to the test in this mode where deck-building is half the fun. Assemble a new deck by choosing from a selection of randomized cards provided for the match, and then duel other Arena participants for a chance to win rewards. Players can use gold or real money in order to gain entry into the Arena. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will unlock a chest of loot based on how well you did.
Quests: Players can immerse themselves in new, ever-changing quests that will reward them with gold when completed. Gold can be used to purchase more card packs or gain entry into the Arena.
Collection Manager: Browse your ever-expanding card collection, disenchant cards for raw materials to craft new ones, and build a variety of custom decks to suit your shifting strategies.
Q: What is the difference between Ranked, Unranked, and Friendly play?
A: In Ranked mode, you will move up through multiple tiers of medals based on your win/loss record. In Unranked play, you’ll still be matched with other players, but your performance doesn’t affect your matchmaking for Ranked play or your placement in the ladder. Both modes allow you to complete quests and level up. You’ll play ranked matches by default, but you can select the option to play in unranked mode.
Friendly duels are matches played against friends in your Battle.net friends list. Friendly duels do not contribute to your quest progression.
Q: What are the different types of cards in Hearthstone?
A: Once you’ve selected your hero in Hearthstone, there are three types of cards you can use to construct your deck: spells, weapons, and minions. Individual cards are included in either the “basic” or “expert” card set (see below).
Q: What’s the difference between “basic” and “expert” cards?
A: Basic cards are the “starter” cards that form the foundation of each hero’s class and are earned as you level up the hero. You can have up to two of every basic card in the game in your collection.
Expert cards are cards that can only be found in card packs, created using the crafting system, or won within The Arena (certain quests grant them as well). They’re distinguished by their rarity, which is shown in the form of a gem—common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). Generally, the rarer a card is, the more complex it is, often providing you with new strategic options. You can have any number of the same expert card in your collection, though only two of any common, rare, or epic card, and one of any legendary card, can be placed in a deck (except when building a deck in the Arena).
Both basic and expert cards have important roles to play in all decks, regardless of whether you’re just starting out or are a Hearthstone grandmaster.
Q: How much does it cost to play?
A: Hearthstone is free to play, and there are a number of different ways to acquire cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to buy additional card packs through an in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. However, there is no requirement to purchase card packs in order to play Hearthstone.
Q: What are all the different ways a player can acquire cards?
A: Players will earn their first set of cards as soon as they start playing Hearthstone, while certain game modes and features will award additional cards through gameplay. In addition, players will have the option to purchase additional card packs through the in-game store using Battle.net Balance or other supported payment methods, such as major credit cards. Here are the different ways to get cards:
Practice Mode: Play against A.I. opponents representing different classes to unlock new heroes and basic cards.
Play Mode: Participate in traditional head-to-head matches to complete quests and earn gold for purchasing card packs.
The Arena: Build a deck by selecting one card from each of a series of randomized card choices, and then play against other Arena participants. After winning or losing a specific number of matches, you will open a chest of loot based on how well you did.
Crafting: Disenchant expert cards in your collection to receive Arcane Dust, and then use your collected Dust to craft other cards of your choosing. Basic cards cannot be disenchanted.
Card Packs: Purchase card packs containing five cards each using your Battle.net Balance or a variety of supported payment methods. One of the cards will always be “rare” or greater. In some cases, you can get more than one rare, or even an epic or legendary card.
Leveling: Participate in a duel against the AI or another player, and earn experience whether you win or lose. Once enough experience is earned, your hero will level up, potentially granting access to new cards for your collection. As you level, you’ll also unlock Golden versions of each class’s basic cards.
Q: How many cards are available in the game?
A: There are over 300 cards in Hearthstone. Some cards are granted as you unlock and level up your heroes, some are earned from completing quests, and others are found inside card packs that can be purchased with gold earned through completing quests or by competing in the Arena. We plan to introduce additional cards over time.
Q: Can I trade cards to other players or sell cards for real cash?
A: No, Hearthstone is not designed to support these types of transactions. The crafting system gives players a way to easily and quickly disenchant cards they don’t want—and create the cards they do want—without the complexities of a trading system.
Q: Can players choose to battle against their friends in addition to taking part in match-made duels?
A: Of course! You will be able to play against your friends via your Battle.net friends list.
THE LAUNCH DETAILS (SO FAR)
Q: When will Hearthstone be released?
A: We are in beta right now, and are aiming to have Hearthstone fully released this year. That being said, we’re also going to take as much time as necessary to make sure Hearthstone is as fun and polished as possible.
Q: On which platforms will Hearthstone be available?
A: Hearthstone will initially be available for Windows® and Macintosh®, with a version for iPad coming later. We also announced at BlizzCon that we would be supporting iPhone and Android in the future.
Q: Will Hearthstone be localized? Which languages will it be available in?
A: We’re planning to localize Hearthstone in the same languages as World of Warcraft wherever possible.
Q: How do Hearthstone and World of Warcraft relate to each other?
A: Both games take place in the Warcraft universe, and World of Warcraft players will recognize a lot of aspects of Azeroth in Hearthstone. That said, you don’t need to know anything about World of Warcraft to have loads of fun in Hearthstone.
THE GAME MECHANICS
Q: What makes Hearthstone different from other card games?
A: We’ve designed Hearthstone to be easy to learn so that anyone can get into it—but it’s also deep enough that even the most elite duelists will find it a challenge to master. Hearthstone is designed around short, action-packed duels that generally take 10–15 minutes to play.
Q: How many players can play in a multiplayer game?
A: More than one, but fewer than three.
Q: Which heroes are featured in Hearthstone?
A: You’ll be able to build a deck based on one of nine epic Warcraft heroes, each representing one of the original World of Warcraft classes: Druid, Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior.
Q: Wait, what about Monk? Where’s Death Knight?!
A: The roster of heroes represents the nine classes that were available at World of Warcraft’s launch. It’s still too early to discuss our plans for heroes aside from these, though the game will continue to evolve over time. So practice patience, young monk! And death knight, you’re immortal, so you can chill for now too, right?
Q: Will additional content be available in the future?
A: We plan to add more content and additional cards as the game evolves, but we don’t have any details to share just yet. Right now, our focus is making sure the game is as fun and polished as possible right out of the gate.
Q: How does Practice mode work?
A: In the game’s Practice mode, you play against a computer-controlled hero of any class at one of two different difficulty levels. Challenging that hero will unlock it for play and expand the types of cards you’re able to add to your collection. Players will earn a fledgling Mage deck just by launching the game, but that’s only the beginning of the journey. . . .
Q: Can I create new decks or modify my current deck?
A: Absolutely! Customizing the perfect deck to suit your play style or to counter a rival is a huge part of Hearthstone. As your card collection grows, the in-game Collection Manager will help you create, save, and edit multiple decks for whatever situation or play style you can think of.
Q: What if I’m new at deck-building and need some help?
A: We want anyone to be able to get into Hearthstone and build a deck without having to understand all the nuances of deck building. To that end, we’re developing a feature that will examine your deck and card collection and provide suggestions for what you should add.
Q: What comes in a card pack?
A: Each pack comes with five cards. Your chance to receive a particular card depends on its rarity: common (white), rare (blue), epic (purple), or legendary (orange). You’re guaranteed to receive at least one rare or better card per pack. Each card in the pack also has a chance to upgrade to a “Golden” version of the same card.
Q: What is a Golden card?
A: All cards found in a card pack have a chance to be upgraded to a Golden card when the pack is opened. This upgrade will affect the appearance of the card—it will animate and look extra cool— but not its power. Cards can also be crafted into their Golden version and acquired while leveling.
Q: Does Hearthstone support asynchronous play?
A: Hearthstone is designed to be a fast-paced experience. That being said, we recognize that players may want to play the game in short bursts with their friends over a longer period of time, so we’re looking into the possibility of supporting asynchronous play.
Q: How does The Arena work?
A: You’ll be able to purchase entry into the Arena with either gold or real money. Once you’re in, you will build a special Arena deck, choosing one card at a time from a series of card options until you have a full deck of 30. You’ll then duel with that deck against other Arena participants until you win or lose a specific number of matches. At the end, you will open a chest of loot based on how you did that can contain a variety of rewards like gold, card packs, and more!
Q: How do I disenchant and craft cards?
A: Expert cards can be “disenchanted”—giving the player a resource called Arcane Dust but destroying the card in the process. Once a player collects enough dust, they can use it to create any card in the game, including Golden cards, permanently adding that card to the player’s collection. The amount of Arcane Dust received and/or the cost of the card created depends on the card’s rarity (common, rare, epic, or legendary).
Only expert cards—that is, cards that come in card packs or are earned through playing in the Arena—can be disenchanted. Basic cards (i.e., cards with no rarity indicator) cannot be disenchanted.
THE TECHNICAL STUFF
Q: How do I pay for cards?
A: Windows and Macintosh players will be able to purchase card packs within the game using their Battle.net Balance or any other Battle.net-supported payment method attached to their account. On the iPad, players will be able to make purchases using the payment methods they’ve associated with their AppleID in the App Store. The exact process will differ slightly for each region. We’ll provide further details as we get closer to launch. Players will also be able to use gold to purchase card packs.
Q: What are the system requirements for Hearthstone?
A: You can check out our system requirements for Windows and Mac on our support website.
Q: Will I be able to add friends in Hearthstone and chat with people?
A: Yes! The folks in your Battle.net friends list (both BattleTag and Real ID friends) are available for games or conversation. Players will not be able to chat with anyone who is not on their friends list. However, players will be able to choose from a variety of emotes for basic communication during games.
Q: How can I communicate with opponents during a game who are not on my friends list?
A: We have an emote system that lets you communicate in a safe way with random folks you are playing with online. You can thank, congratulate, or threaten your opponent with the voice of the hero you are playing.
Q: Do you need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone?
A: You will need a Battle.net account to play Hearthstone on PC. If you don’t already have a Battle.net account, you can create one at http://www.battle.net.
Q: Do you need a World of Warcraft, or any other Blizzard game accounts to play Hearthstone?
A: Nay, ye do not!
Q: Do I have to play in the region I live in? I want to play with my buddies in that other country!
A: After the game is released, players will have the ability to connect to other game regions when playing Hearthstone, but their progress, card collections, and friends lists will not be shared across regions. Ye have been warned!
Q: Will there be parental controls for Hearthstone?
A: Yes. At launch, parents will be able to use Battle.net’s Parental Controls system to restrict their child’s ability to make purchases within Hearthstone.
Q: Can I play on the iPad against someone on the PC, and will my card collections carry over between the two?
A: Yes, Hearthstone will have cross- platform compatibility to allow iPad and PC players to all be in the same pool when matchmaking. Your collection will also be available across both the PC and iPad versions of the game.