Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is Blizzard's first F2P

Today at Blizzard's PAX East panel, the company announced Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The collectible card strategy game is Blizzard's first stab at the free-to-play model, allowing players to compete as heroes from nine WoW classes, all set in the Warcraft universe.

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In a series of video demonstrations, Blizzard showed off opening a "pack" of cards, trashing duplicate cards to make a more powerful one, and the deck-building tools. The game will either suggest cards that you might want to put in your deck, or just auto-create a deck by type. Playing one-on-one online battles will boost your medal ranking, which is managed through Battle.net. The game is aiming for a spectator element as well, as Blizzard showed off a game match with shoutcasting commentary.

Blizzard says it will have roughly 300 cards available at launch, among common, rare, epic, and legendary types. Each pack, which can be earned or purchased, will net you five cards. The brief glimpse at game showed an animated board with a battle between a Mage and a Warrior.

It will launch on Windows and Mac first, then iPad shortly thereafter. Blizzard is planning a beta this summer, with a release later this year. If you're attending PAX East, you can play it on PC and iPad this weekend.

The game is being developed by a separate Blizzard team of about 15 members, who are tasked with faster development cycles and experimental games instead of the studio's usual big-budget titles.

You can sign up for the beta and the newly launched official site.

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