Blizzard Announces Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Today in an announcement at Pax East, Blizzard has announced a new title, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, which will be an online Collectible card Game. Blizzard showed off the interface that has been developed by a tiny team of 5 developers, and the reaction on twitter was absolutely incredible. If you have ever looked at the WoW TCG and wished there was an easy to play and understand online version, as I have, I think this will fill that desire quite nicely. The game will allow you to play 9 different WoW classes, with skills, companions, allies and heroes much like the TCG does. You will be able to earn and buy card packs, which they currently to expect to cost about a buck for 5 cards, though that price may change as they progress through the beta process for this new game.

The game will have over 300 cards at launch, and you will be able to disenchant duplicates, which gives you materials you can use to build the card you want. That’s right; you can craft your own cards! At the announcement Blizzard had one of their employees describe a match between two other employees, one playing a druid, and the other a Warlock, and from the match they showed it is going to be a lot of fun. The game will be free to play, but much like other F2P models out there, there will be the ability to get ahead via other means, such as the card packs. Once you have your deck, you will be able to find opponents with the BattleNet matching system, though no word yet on the ability to challenge your friends.

Blizzard did say they plan to have the beta for Hearthstone start this summer, with the release of the game on Windows and Mac before the end of the year, and an iPad version not long after. They have a playable version of the game for folks who are at Pax East right now in both Windows and iPad versions. The game will have the usual card qualities, common, uncommon, rare, epic, and legendary, and in an interesting turn, blizzard has said that anything you buy in the beta will be credited to your live account when the game launches, so we can expect purchasable cards to be available once the game hits beta. Will you be signing up for the beta? You can do so over in the Beta Profiles section of your BattleNet account.

The classes you will be able to play will be Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin, Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mage and Priest. Cards obtained will be either basic or expert, the latter of which will have varying levels of quality. Each card pack is guaranteed to have at least one rare or better quality card. The game will include a deck builder, if you want to let the game build your deck, or you can build your own if you want some more creative options. The interface will be a 3D animated interface, taking the traditional TCG to the next level. You will have the ability to examine cards more closely, to get more information on the card such as it’s background information and artist behind the art of the card.

Once we had the announcement over with, I took to the livestream I was hosting and twitter to get some reactions, and ask a few questions. In regards to the question I was wondering about most, the future of the TCG with this announcement, a lot of folks didn’t think this would overly impact the TCG side of things, but based on my understanding, this game would be fairly close to the TCG in game play, only in a digital form, so I can’t imagine the TCG will not lose some of it’s customer base. Some of the responses on twitter were:

  • @shamanrongar: @Medros #atapoll Both will continue, different game play and market. I can see adding WoW TCG cards with loot codes for #Hearthstone though.
  • @JHarrowell: @Medros Might actually encourage more people to play the TCG, I think it looks good. also it fits with the product slate
  • @DeGeiDragon: @Medros They are developed for different formats. Using some of the same art assets. Should be interesting to see the parallels.
  • @IvoryTiger: @Medros @PlayHearthStone Medros, I think there will be room for both, just like books, some people like paper and some like digital.
  • @Stormrazor1: @Medros Its evolving. I’ve always wanted to explore it without having to purchase physical cards

How excited are you for the new Hearthstone title? Do you want to see it come to more platforms and devices? What class will you play in your first deck?

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