Blizzard's online collectible card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now out of open beta after only a month and a half. The easy to learn, difficult to master card game had been in closed beta for several months prior to opening up in January. To celebrate, World of Warcraft players even have the opportunity to earn a free mount without having to farm dungeon or raid bosses for months on end.
People that played throughout the closed and open beta will start off with a minor advantage, as there was no card wipe. This was done intentionally to combat complaints from the large number of players that purchased card packs and arena passes from the in-game shop using real money. Several bugs that have been constantly reported for a long while throughout testing have been resolved. In addition, a few new features have been added to the game:
- Golden Hero: Win 500 ranked matches with a Hero throughout any number of monthly seasons to permanently transform them into a golden, animated version. This animated version will automatically appear in place of the regular Hero during future games, showing everyone your experience and accomplishment with that hero.
- Colored card backs: There's no official word on how these are unlocked yet, but presumably you can choose whether or not to apply a different colored back to your cards once you have them unlocked.
- Gold cap: Accounts can now carry a maximum of 20,000 gold. While it will probably be a very long time before the average player gets anywhere near this cap after the various changes to the amount of gold awarded from play mode over the course of the beta, a gold cap was introduced to counter exploits.
- Ranked play resets: Players who climb the rankings during each monthly ranked play season and end a season at a higher rank than 25 won't necessarily start their climb to the top at the bottom after every reset. This is to combat complaints of newer and less experienced players not being able to climb the ladder at the start of a season because they get paired up with top tier opponents.
To celebrate Hearthstone's official release, Blizzard is giving away the magnificent Hearthsteed mount to World of Warcraft players that win a grand total of three matches in play mode. They don't have to be ranked, they don't have to be consecutive, and they don't have to be with the same hero. Just win three matches and the mount will be applied to your WoW account.
Fans who have been waiting for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft's official release need not wait any longer. Blizzard is notorious for not making promises on time frames concerning beta releases, but the sudden official launch is a welcome surprise for many who expected another test season or two. It's time to sheathe your sword, draw your deck and a cup of ale, and play some Hearthstone, especially if you want that mount in World of Warcraft.