I managed to snag a seat at Blizzard’s PAX East panel this morning where they announced their latest game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. This new free-to-play digital, collectible card game is due to be released sometime later this year.
This is a bit of a different turn for Blizzard, which they freely admit, but it’s one they feel both hardcore CCG players and novices will embrace. You’ll be able to hone your skills in practice mode if you’re new or jump right in and duel other players online if you’re ready to go.
The initial release will include 300 different cards that’ll come in packs of five. You’ll be able to earn these cards through playing the game, but they’ll also be available for purchase at about $1 a pack. This is free-to-play, so you don’t need to spend a dime, but if you want to build the ultimate deck you’re probably going to end up dropping a few bucks.
In keeping with their theme of making this easy for anyone to play, you can have the game create a deck for you so you can get right into playing. If deckbuilding is your thing, then you can do that, too. In addition to Practice and Play modes, there’s Forge which exists solely for you to make that perfect deck. You’ll also find cards of different rarities, just like with a physical CCG.
They played a video of a duel and it was bright, engaging and easy to follow. There will be a certain familiarity for those who’ve played other Blizzard titles, but it certainly doesn’t require any prior experience in their world to play.
The digital medium is fully embraced with lots of sound effects, including plenty of wonderful snark, as well as constantly moving and changing graphics. Even opening the package of cards comes with flashes of light and dramatic bursts of sound.
If you happen to be at PAX East, they’re offering demos of the game on the show floor, but if not, look for the Beta sometime this summer.