Just when you were done cheering for Blizzard’s axe to Diablo 3’s Auction House, yet another trick up their sleeve was revealed. The Beta game known as Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has been released early to the public this week. Hearthstone is currently free to download via Battle.net. The digital strategy card game is loosely based off Magic: The Gathering and other paper card games. Of course, this is a computer-based version featuring the tried and true premise of using spells, monsters, and enchantment cards to crush an opponent down from a set life count, in an epic nerd battle of strategy and wits.
The game is unique in that it features much of Blizzard’s World of Warcraft three-dimensional graphics, but without all of the chaos. The game even has a pleasant and mild guitar soundtrack I couldn’t help but replay on YouTube. Tournaments of the game have already been featured on Twitch.TV and the popularity seems ever-growing. It’s also stupidly addictive. Still, that humorous bent of dialogue Blizzard always includes is ever-present in this game, especially during the hokey computer tutorial battles. Also, animations really start to fly when the cards become more powerful, and decks start to work their magic by the end of each game (which can last a minute to an hour). Thankfully, time limits on turns are set, and players are notified with a lit fuse.
Playing games of Hearthstone will gain players coins to purchase digital cards to create custom decks of various magical skills and mastery. And similar to Diablo 3 (for now), money ($USD) can be spent to buy better cards to create more complex and deadly decks. The best part? You don’t have to hide your adolescent hobby from moms and significant others. Currently the game is available both on Mac and PC, and there is an iPad app version in tow. Check it out for yourself, and let us know what you think of your newly depleted social life.