Hearthstone open beta launches in North America

Wes Fenlon at

The time for begging, hoping and forum-scouring for invites is over, and the time for unrestricted access to Hearthstone is here... for many of us, at least. Blizzard just launched its Warcraft-themed free-to-play card game into open beta in North America, with other regions rolling out "within the next few days," which means you'll see a big purple "Play Free Now" button on the Hearthstone website if you live in the US or Canada. If you've been waiting for your shot at card battling greatness, love Magic the Gathering, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, wait no longer.

Hearthstone's open beta rollout was originally promised for a December launch, but it took a little longer for Blizzard to open the gates to the entire PC community. More than a million players were in on the closed beta, and Blizzard is still in the process of balancing the game, as we wrote yesterday.

Playing Hearthstone requires a Battle.net account. We'd also recommend an iron will, or you may find yourself paying handfuls of real money for digital cards. Grab the beta client right here. Here's our most recent impressions of the game, too.