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Hearthstone leaves open beta, full release now available

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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 Hearthsteed mount (opens in new tab) 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 our review .

Omri Petitte is a former PC Gamer associate editor and long-time freelance writer covering news and reviews. If you spot his name, it probably means you're reading about some kind of first-person shooter. Why yes, he would like to talk to you about Battlefield. Do you have a few days?