Blizzard Entertainment is stepping out of its comfort zone, and for the first time, has set out to create a game that is much smaller in scale and more easily accessible than the company’s previous games, while maintaining the epic player experience that the company is so well known for. Hearthstone: The Heroes of Warcraft is a card game based on Blizzard’s MMORPG, World of Warcraft.

Hearthstone: The Online Card Game of Epic Proportions

Development

The game was developed by a small Blizzard team of about 15 seasoned developers, or “hardcore ninjas”, called Team 5.   The majority of the team has worked for Blizzard for years and can handle multiple tasks, allowing the company to create a high quality game while keeping the development team small.

Familiar Aspects of the Game

Veteran WoW players will recognize many familiar sound effects, spell effects and class mechanics that has made World of Warcraft so much fun to play. HearthStone opens a window into the characters and the land of WoW. Players can choose a card to play as one of 9 World of Warcraft heroes in this collectible strategy game. The Heroes in the game  include all of players’ favorite characters; Warrior, Shaman, Rogue, Paladin,  Hunter, Druid, Warlock, Mage, and Priests.

Game Modes

There are three game modes in Hearthstone: The Heroes of Warcraft.

Practice Mode allows players to work on perfecting their skills and strategy by pitting you against a normal AI. Once you are comfortable with your skills, you can then play against an Expert AI to train yourself to take on the games best players.

Play Mode is the most basic way to play. You can go online to be matched randomly with another player. Using strategic plays to beat your foes will earn you medals and new card packs. The card packs you win will go to your Collection of cards and provide you with new minions and spells and open up new usable strategies for use in future games.

Forge is a unique game mode that starts with a bunch of random cards. You can pick and choose which cards you want to use in battle, and build an entire deck from the cards given. You will then play against another player who has built their own deck the same way.

Beta and Platforms

The game is available for Windows and Mac with future plans for an iPad version. Hearthstone is currently in beta. To sign up for beta go to http://us.battle.net/hearthstone/en/, and enter your battlenet account information to get started.

[Images via macrumors & imgur]