Beta for Hearthstone: Heroes of WarCraft on the way, should arrive before summer's end

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Aug 08, 2013 01:54 PM EDT

With World of Warcraft continuing to lose subscribers by the day, Blizzard will have a lot riding on Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft if it wants to keep the Warcraft name alive. But since announcing the title in March, they've shown little of the new IP, but it won't be that way forever. A beta should be here in a relatively short period of time.

"We hit an important milestone last week when we finished implementation of all features planned for the release of the beta," Blizzard's Jason Chayes said in a developer update"While we're psyched to have wrapped up feature development, it doesn't mean we're done quite yet. Our overall focus has shifted onto fixing bugs and improving our infrastructure so that it can support a larger number of players."

Great, so we should be seeing the beta...when exactly?

"We're not days away from launching the beta, but we're not months away either," he said. "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." 

It's still early into August, which means there's still plenty of time left for both summer, and the Hearthstone beta to make an appearance. The beta will focus on North America with an emphasis on Mac and PC, and separate tests in Europe, Korea, and Taiwan will follow. The number of invites will be small at first, but Blizzard will increase the testing audience down the line. An iPad version is in development, and cross-play has been confirmed. 

Those who've drained their bank accounts playing WoW these last few years should be happy to know that Blizzard is going the free-to-play route with the card battler Hearthstone. But if you want to spend your hard earned bucks on the game, you're more than welcome to. Like most other free-to-play titles, the complete game (as well as the beta) will include an in-game store to help you get better cards and an edge on opponents. In fact, those who do sink a few bucks during the beta will net themselves a 
golden version of Gelbin Mekkatorque.

Interested players can sign up for a chance at the beta here.

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