Just a few days after Blizzard
prophesized the impending end
of Hearthstone's beta, it's decided to surprise everyone by releasing the Warcraft-ified online card battler after three months of testing. The game is free to play, and the only requirement to get started is to hit the giant purple Play Now button at the official site.
Blizzard's adding some extra in-game bonuses in celebration of the game's abandonment of the beta label. Winning three matches in unranked Play mode gets you an electric-blue
for your World of Warcraft character to stylishly block everyone's access to the mailbox. If you rack up an impressive 500 wins in ranked Play mode, your chosen hero portrait turns golden and gets a couple extra special animations while casting spells or fighting. Everyone knows "Grumpy" Garrosh Hellscream could use a little more bling in his life, at least.
More usefully, today's patch adds a new recovery feature. Accidentally disconnecting from a match isn't a disaster anymore, as you now have a minute to reconnect and pick up where you left off with no penalty.
If you want to know how Hearthstone fared during its beta, or if you need more thoughts on the game before trying it yourself, check out