Blizzard announced its first free-to-play title at PAX East on Friday and it isn't the Dota many expected. Instead, it is a free-to-play strategy card game called Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft' for the PC and iPad with beta applications being taken now.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft promises a simple but "epically engaging" game that will be "instantly accessible to players regardless of their familiarity with Warcraft or collectible card games," according to a press release from Blizzard.
Players will be able to login to Battle.net and instantly play against the computer in practice matches or friends in two different competitive modes. The game will allow players to choose one of nine Warcraft heroes, and then take turns playing cards from their customizable decks to cast spells, use weapons or abilities, or summon characters.
"Play Mode" features traditional head-to-head battles, with players facing off for a chance to increase their medal ranking and earn card packs along the way. And for a different type of challenge, players can enter "The Forge," where they start each match by building a deck from a new set of cards, and then use that deck to duel other Forge participants.
Blizzard says Hearthstone will release with hundreds of cards featuring Warcraft spells, weapons and characters. Cards can be collected from winning games by purchasing card packs or "disenchanting some of their existing cards to craft the ones they're missing."
Beta signups for Hearthstone are being taken now at the game's website.