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Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft officially launches

The collectible card game based on World of Warcraft has officially left beta and is now freely available on PC and Mac, with new features and treats.

The collectible card game based on World of Warcraft has officially left beta and is now freely available on PC and Mac for all, with new features and treats.

(Credit: Blizzard)

After entering open beta in January, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has officially launched, with gameplay features released in full. The game is available for free PC and Mac download via the official website, with an iPad version coming "soon" (although Blizzard does have a flexible definition of the word), and iPhone, Android and Windows tablet editions in development.

"We saw some reports early on that Hearthstone might destroy the planet," said Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime. "We're pleased to see that the game has been released and the planet is still here... though we apologise for all the lost productivity."

With the launch comes a few new neat features, including a treat for players of MMORPG World of Warcraft: the Hearthsteed, a magnificent mount unlocked by winning three games in Play mode.

The latest patch, completed just in time for the launch, adds some new gameplay features too. The first of these is the Golden Hero, which can be obtained by proficient players. How proficient? You have to win 500 Ranked Play games with a specific hero. What you'll get is a sparkly golden border, a special animation and a golden animated Hero Power.

You can also get special card backs to replace the default card back artwork and make your pack look fancy. These can be obtained by competing in official Ranked Play seasons.

Meanwhile, on the more technical side, a reconnect feature will give you a 60-second window to log back in and pick up where you left off a game if your connection was interrupted, and gold has been capped. Players can now only have a maximum of 20,000 gold, and cannot accrue any more unless they spend some. "This cap is intended to combat certain methods of gold acquisition that violate our Terms of Service. The spirit of fair play is extremely important to us, and we will continue to monitor gold acquisition activity closely to ensure a fun and enjoyable game environment for everyone," Blizzard said.

Golden Heroes. Shiny! (Credit: Blizzard)