Hearthstone enters open beta

Blizzard's digital WoW spinoff CCG, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, has now entered open beta in Australia.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read

Blizzard's digital WoW spinoff CCG, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, has now entered open beta.

(Credit: Blizzard)

If you've been hanging out to get in on the Hearthstone action, you no longer have to sign up and wait to get in: the game has officially opened its doors to open beta, and it's all in.

You'll still need a Battle.net account to play, but players in the US and Australia can join in the fun right now through the Hearthstone website, with other territories being rolled out over the next few days.

(Credit: Blizzard)

The game itself combines World of Warcraft with collectible card gameplay in a title that is designed to be accessible to WoW veterans, CCG experts and newbies alike. It's free to play, with in-game purchases available in the form of card packs, which can also be obtained through completing quests — at this time, there is nothing in the game that can't be obtained for free.

"We looooooove collectible card games and have been playing them since our Silicon & Synapse days," the Blizzard Hearthstone team said. "Creating a digital strategy card game felt like a natural next step for us, so we put together a small team and have been hammering away at Hearthstone for a while now. This is something we've wanted to do for a long time, and we're excited to be working on something different from our other games. Same goes for creating a game for iPad in addition to PC. It's been a thrill to work on Hearthstone, and we hope everyone has as much fun playing it as we've had building it."

In addition to open beta, the game has added a new Ranked mode that allows you to enter month-long competitions to reach the top rank out of 25, a Players Near Me feature that allows you to find friends and local opponents, and a Recently Played Opponent feature, that allows you to easily find a stranger you have played recently for a rematch.

The team said it will be performing no more wipes of the game, so any cards you collect from this point on will stay in your decks, meaning you can start playing for realsies. The full launch of the game will be coming later this year on Windows and Mac, with iPad, iPhone and Android versions coming further down the track.

You can check out our hands-on here, and Blizzard's official guide here.