Blizzard's first foray into free-to-play isn't an MMO, or an online action or strategy game – it's a collectible card game based on the popular Warcraft universe. Today at PAX East (even as it was showing off a special build of Diablo III for PS3), Blizzard revealed a free-to-play strategy card game for Windows, Mac, and iPad called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.
In Hearthstone, players build decks of cards based on nine familiar Warcraft character classes and duel each other for the chance to win new cards to further build out their decks. PAX East attendees are the first to get a hands-on taste of the game, but Blizzard promises a beta test for the game very soon.
“We’ve always loved collectible card games at Blizzard, so it’s been exciting to bring everything we love about the genre to life in Hearthstone,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “We’re putting a lot of focus into creating a fun new game that’s easy to pick up and play, but also has a lot of depth. We can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
The game will offer a practice mode against computer AI, and multiplayer battles against friends and strangers via Battle.net. The game also offers a 'Play Mode' for head-to-head battles, with players facing off for a chance to increase their medal ranking and earn card packs along the way. Then there's 'The Forge,' where players start each match by building a deck from a new set of cards, and then use that deck to duel other Forge participants. Players will also be able purchase new card packs if they so choose (it is a free-to-play game so you have to expect that there's something to buy at some point).
To get an early look at the game and to sign up for the beta test, visit www.PlayHearthstone.com.