Each week PC Gamer probes the previous seven days to scientifically establish what rocked our world and made us despair for its future. As usual, we begin with the good stuff…
Starting on 26 April Blizzard is hoping to foster a greater sense of community in the game by encouraging players to congregate in the actual real you-can-touch-each-other-and-everything world. Dubbed 'Fireside Meetings', , the hope is that players will use these meet-ups to swap strategies, run tournaments, and gawp at each other's OP Warlock zoo decks.
The iPad version of Blizzard's all-conquering card-'em-up has just arrived on Apple's American and UK App Stores, having already been soft launched in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. You can get it by clicking here. But is the mobile version any good? And why, as PC gamers, should you care?
This Heartbleed stuff is no joke. The latest security flaw floating around the internet, which can compromise login information and super-secret data transmitted over OpenSSL protocols, has users terrified and content providers scrambling. Maybe you're concerned about your nightly Hearthstone arena runs or Malthael battles in Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. But don't worry: Blizzard says you're in safe hands when you log into Battle.net.
"New interactive corners!" isn't a phrase you'd normally associate with an exciting announcement, but Blizzard's Hearthstone does have some proddable boards. The game's new corners are attached to a somewhat more significant announcement: a new singleplayer PvE mode. Curse of Naxxramas: A Hearthstone Adventure will challenge players to overcome five wings of the Warcraft dungeon—flinging their decks at a series of bosses, in order to earn brand new cards.
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 could soon be giving the stamp of approval to their magic internet wizard cards. In a post on the Hearthstone forum, community manager Christina "Zeriyah" Sims revealed that the collectable card game's beta test was "drawing near to the end". While the free-to-play title is currently available to all in open beta, the approaching full release is a sign that the major fixes and balance tweaks are nearly complete, and should act as a good point for new players to jump on board.*
Update: Thanks for watching, everyone! If you missed Cory's triumph and tragedy, we've embedded the video here.
Hearthstone is a fantastic digital card game, and Arena is its best mode—build a deck from a random draft of cards and see how many wins you can rack up against players with similarly randomized decks. The better you do, the bigger your reward.
If you need proof (or just want to heckle him) Cory will start a Hearthstone Arena run at 5pm PT (8pm ET) live on the PC Gamer Twitch channel. Watch him build his deck, take it into battle, and choose the wrong card every single time. It'll be fun!
PC Gamer reviews free-to-play games when they're available to the public and charging real money - not, necessarily, when the 'beta' label is lifted.
"Lucky son of a bitch."
I'm playing against a mage. He has two hitpoints left, I have six. This is one of those games you look forward to - hard-fought, tense, down to the wire. I've got a taunt card in play, which means that my opponent's minions can't attack me directly. He needs to do direct damage with spell cards if he wants to end the game this turn. If he doesn't end the game this turn, I'll finish him.
Blizzard are slowly wearing down the regional heroes blocking each continent's open beta Hearthstone access. America was the first to go, and, as of today, Europe has also fallen. Why did it take a few days longer? Well, we do have a lot more castles. In a flash of spectacularly animated magic (read: a blog post) the promising collectible card game was unlocked for all of Europe to try.
Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft launched into open beta in North America on Tuesday. You can play it right now. And some of us were lucky enough to score a spot in the closed beta, giving us weeks or even months to learn the ins and outs of Blizzard's free-to-play online collectible card game. Here are some tips, strategies, and bits of beginner's advice to help you pick a class, master the arena, and even the playing field against Hearthstone's seasoned players.
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 "later this week," 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.
Before running away for a few days of holiday revelry and hardcore gaming, Evan, Cory, and Tyler gathered to reflect on the games they put the most time into in 2013. Watch the whole five-video series on the PC Gamer YouTube channel, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more regular content, gameplay footage, and conversations.
Holiday time means gaming time: this week Tyler, Evan, and Cory talk Battlefield 4, XCOM: Enemy Within, Hearthstone, and other games they've been playing over the holiday break. Listen all the way through for Cory's exclusive interview with Ananda Gupta, lead designer on XCOM: Enemy Within.
Blizzcon may be over, but you can still enjoy the show vicariously, through this gallery of photos. See towering statues of the heroes and villains of Blizzard's sprawling lore, triumphant champions enjoying their ultimate victories, and thousands of fans, soaking up the news and culture surrounding World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.
The frog looks worried for a reason. Blizzard's alarmingly moreish free-to-play virtual collectible card-battling game, Hearthstone, will consume untold man and frog hours when it goes into open beta next month. Blizzard's Chief Creative Chap Rob Pardo made the announcement at Blizzcon, which also hosted a Blizzard "fireside chat" containing a few interesting tidbits about the closed beta, and their plans for Hearthstone next year.
Hearthstone is a new card-battling game from Blizzard set in the WarCraft universe. You take the role of one of nine heroes, customise your deck (or roll with a standard preset) and then deploy monsters and spells against other players to destroy them, which levels you up and gives you virtual fun-bucks with which to buy packs of new cards. It's feels like PopCap have made a card game. Magic missiles whistle-thump against enemy cards. Big spells can obliterate the board in a quick, roaring conflagration. It's reactive, satisfying and simple, and you can play it right now if you happen to grab one of the 350 keys we have to give away below.