After a months-long run in closed and then open beta, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has finally entered into the public realm. Not that much has changed since entering open beta, but now the free-to-play game is available to all gamers on PC and Mac, and should be as close to a "finished product" as we're going to get.
Since the launch of its closed beta Hearthstone has been generating a ton of buzz, reinvigorating the collectible card game craze, only with the requisite Blizzard flair. Much like with World of Warcraft, Hearthstone wasn't first to the collectible card game market, but now that it's out few are talking about anything else.
When it first debuted Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was a very exclusive club, reserved for only those lucky enough to nab a closed beta invite. Early beta testers also operated under the knowledge that their decks would be completely wiped once the game entered open beta, which it did last month. Now that the closed portion of the beta is past and the game is officially out, gamers are free to build their killer decks and try to tackle either the various AI opponents or real life players in the Arena.
Additionally, in advance of the game's official, public debut, Blizzard released a new balance patch that makes some slight changes to a few cards, specifically Tinkmaster Overspark and Nat Pagle. Post-patch, the Tinkmaster Overspark card is now a 3/3 and its Battlecry ability, which turns a minion into either a 1/1 Squirrel or a 5/5 Devilsaur, is totally random. Previously, players could determine which minion underwent the change.
Nat Pagle, on the other hand, now requires one full turn (player and opponent) before its "50% Chance to draw a card" ability kicks in. That way, an opponent can potentially take out the card before a player draws a card.
Obviously, the collectible card game is a very niche genre, but gamers might be surprised to learn how approachable, and more importantly how fun, Hearthstone is. The game truly hones the genre into something special, and well worth recommending. And now there's nothing stopping gamers from checking the game out.
What has been your experience with Hearthstone thus far? Do you enjoy the game? Is there anything you would like to see Blizzard improve or change in another patch?