It’s time to pull up a chair and break out those card cases, because Blizzard’s second World of Warcraft based card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has officially launched. The online only CCG has been available to everyone in Open Beta since late January, but with the introduction of today’s 126.96.36.19944 patch the studio now feels they’ve set Hearthstone up with enough bug patches and balancing to send it off into the wild blue yonder.
On the surface, for those already playing Hearthstone there aren’t many visible changes. Players can now earn animated Golden Hero portraits after winning 500 ranked games with any given hero and participating in each season of ranked play will grant a special card backing specific to that season. However, long time beta players will undoubtedly notice many of the beta’s persistent bugs have been alleviated, particularly those dealing with minions swapping battle positions and cards stacking on top of each other. Disconnecting also no longer immediately results in a loss now, as players are now given 60 seconds to re-log if they happen to be disconnected from a match.
Only two balance changes were added in the patch with Tinkmaster Overspark and Nat Pagle both receiving changes to their special abilities. Tinkmaster is now a 3/3 up from a 2/2 and has had his ability to transform creatures changed from being player controlled to random. Nat on the other hand, now has a chance to draw a card at the start of the players turn instead of at the end making it easier to deal with in the early stages of a game. Blizzard went on to state any changes made from here on out will only be done if they are “absolutely necessary”.
In the near future, Blizzard intends on adding an observer mode and is currently working on iPad, iPhone and Android versions, although there has been no official news regarding their release.