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Recently, those of us waiting on
Blizzard's newest game; Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, got a little
taste of the good stuff. Poster Zeriyah treated us to an inside look
at the essentials of the Area, Hearthstone's build and battle mode.
We also gave our own rendition of this information in our post Hearthstone:
Heroes of Warcraft - The Arena. This
new information got our blood pumping and we found ourselves
wondering, what exactly is going on with Hearthstone and when will we
be able to finally get our chance to check out the beta?
Apparently, we weren't the only ones
feeling this way and so we were treated to another Blizzard blog post
from Jason Chayes. This post updates us on the state of Hearthstone
and gives us some insight on what exactly Blizzard has been up to
since the announcement of the game. Check out the information we have
plucked from the blog post below:
Feature Development = Finished
We've been seeing previews of cards,
heroes, and keys for months now. All these little goodies are great
for wetting our appetites and giving us the impression that a lot has
been complete in Hearthstone. However, that impression might not be
exactly the right one. Jason tells us that while they are all working
overtime to complete Hearthstone and meet the end of summer deadline
previously given, they aren't quite done yet.
Don't let that bit of news get you
down. The team has completed a major milestone and completed the
feature development portion of the game, which is pretty important.
Jason lists things like the Arena, quest tuning, and UI updates as
examples of all that has been completed as the feature development
portion of the game design ends.
Call the Exterminator!
Unfortunately, feature development is
only a small portion of what needs to be done before Hearthstone is
ready for release. One of the things that stands in the way and needs
addressed by the team is a slew of those nasty bugs that always
plague new and sometimes old games. Hearthstone, like most new games,
has plenty of them and they will all need to be addressed before the
game will ever be ready for beta testing. While beta testing is
considered the place for players to discover bugs, the team feels the
big bugs, the ones that will take away from the core experience of
the game need to be removed before testing.
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Europe, Korea, and Taiwan
So far, discussion has centered around
the North American beta, which will be the first beta of Hearthstone
released. Jason tosses out a little nod to the other locations that
will be seeing the game beta sometime soon letting them know that
their input is important too. So important that a dedicated game beta
will be released for each of these locations with fully localized
builds. These betas are set to launch shortly after the North
Spend Cash, Get Gifts
If you haven't gotten the memo yet,
players will be able to spend real cash inside Hearthstone. This is,
of course, no surprise after the Diablo III real money auction house
and the virtual items in the Blizzard Store. Typically we would
expect to wait until the release of the game proper to actually
purchase items, especially since nothing in the beta will carry over
to the actual game, but Hearthstone will be an exception.
Players will be able to spend real cash
on the Hearthstone beta to purchase card packs but also gain entry to
the Arena. Of course, some things won't work right and, as mentioned
above, none of these stuff will likely transfer to the actual game
and spending money kind of seems unappealing. The team recognized
this and in order to encourage players to test out the real money
purchase feature they will offer a reward for making a real-money
purchase during the beta test. The gift will be a golden version of
Gelbin Mekkatorque and will be available in both closed and open
testing. This card is extra special because it will not be available
through crafting or a lucky hit inside a card pack. While the details
are sketchy if this card will carry over to the game once it is
officially released, changes are high that this will be the case.
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Hearthstone Beta Prognosis
So will the beta be released by the end
of summer date previously given? We can't really say. Ultimately, as
with all Blizzard games, it will be done when it is done. What we can
say is that it looks like the Hearthstone team is working hard to
give us a beta that we will all enjoy testing.
Jason notes in the blog that even once
the beta is released they want to keep the initial number of invites
small, so many of us won't be seeing any Hearthstone action for some
time. However, it is not all bad news here. Eventually more invites
will roll out and when Hearthstone goes into open testing everyone
who signs up will get a chance to play. As long as they have created
a Battle.net account and downloaded the client of course.
Even players who use iPad aren't being
forgotten here. Jason reveals that just recently two team members,
one on an iPad and the other on a PC, went to the mattresses in an
exciting cross-platform duel. So, even though Blizzard might not get
the Hearthstone beta out by the end of summer, it is coming and if
you are like me, you are more than willing to wait.
When do you thinking the Hearthstone
beta will be released? Have you already signed up to be chosen for
testing? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below!
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