Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Beta Update

A look at the state of the Hearthstone beta and other recent information provided to us by Blizzard about the game.

Hearthstone Header

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.

WoW Cockroach

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 American release.

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.

Gelbin Mekkatorque Gold Card

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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