Blizzard: Hearthstone beta test starting "soon"

So far, it seems like everyone who’s tried out digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has fallen in love with it. The new project from Blizzard has been floated around the place, shown off at the odd event and behind closed doors, but hasn’t yet been made available to the rest of the world. Blizzard now says that things will all change in a matter of weeks.

The studio has officially finished implementation of all the features it plans to include in the release of the Hearthstone beta, which means that those doors will be opened up soon enough – “we’re not days away”, says Blizzard, “but we’re not months away either”.

At the Hearthstone announcement we committed to going into beta testing before the summer was over, and the team has been pulling out all the stops to make that happen. Sometimes that has meant ditching meetings to fix a gnarly bug, and it’s often meant working long hours to get that additional layer of polish in. It’s a pretty intense time, and what keeps us going is that we’re just as excited as you guys about the release of the beta.

Putting things into perspective – this week alone, the team squished 187 bugs in the game, added 30 new golden cards, and ate two boxes of donuts (yum!).

While this is great news for the game’s development as a whole, it’s worth noting that the upcoming beta test will only be for North America, initially. The studio is working on fully localised beta builds for other parts of the world – Europe, Korea, Taiwan – but they won’t be ready in time for the planned launch.

The beta will give you a chance to test things out properly, inclduing spending real money to pick up new card packs and Arena entry. If you take that risk – remember the system may not work correctly – Blizzard will give you a nifty “token of appreciation”: A golden version of Gelbin Mekkatorque, available through the closed and open beta tests.

Somewhat predictably, beta access numbers will be limited, with more and more gamers rolled in over time. An open beta will kick off “a bit later in the testing cycle” – so make sure your Battle.net account is updated if you want in!

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