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Closed beta begins for Bethesda's Elder Scrolls-themed Hearthstone rival

The Elder Scrolls: Legends
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The Elder Scrolls: Legends, a free-to-play strategy card game that might remind you of another certain F2P game that's popular with lapsed slot machine addicts, is now in closed beta. “Selected registrants” will begin playing the game today—and may already be doing so!—while additional players will be invited behind the velvet rope over the next few months.

Bethesda said TES: Legends is “built with all levels of players in mind,” with easy accessibility for beginners and plenty of depth for the more competitive cardslingers among you. It features a single-player campaign which will serve as a tutorial and “jump-start your collection” of cards, as well as multiple online modes. Decks will actually have “classes,” based on the RPG-style attributes used to craft them: Strength and agility will give you an Archer deck, for instance, while intelligence and willpower combine to make a Mage deck.

Legends also brings plenty of eye-candy to the card table, which despite its strategy underpinnings will be an important part of elevating it to the status of full-on Hearthstone competitor. And that's really what will make or break it: Legends may be very good in its own right, but making meaningful headway in a field that's already so thoroughly dominated by a well-established (and, superficially at least, very similar) competitor is inevitably going to be an uphill fight. But hey, it's not like Bethesda hasn't been down that road before, right?

To be fair, I think it looks promising. TES: Legends offers enough uniqueness, like the Sol Forge-style "lanes" on the game board, to at least potentially differentiate itself, and Bethesda is one of the few game dev outfits that has both a property of sufficient standing—The Elder Scrolls—and the development muscle to compete with Blizzard on an equal footing. You can find out more about The Elder Scrolls: Legends, and sign up for the beta, at legends.bethesda.net.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.