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Hands-on with Hearthstone for iPad

Fantasy, Launches, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

While I was part of the early beta crowd for Hearthstone last year, I haven't played it in quite some time. It wasn't because I became disenfranchised with the game but rather because I felt it truly belonged on a tablet -- and playing it on a PC just felt wrong somehow. So I've been waiting for Hearthstone to finally make the leap to the iPad, and when that happened yesterday, I was all over it like a murloc swarm on a noobie.

In many ways, Hearthstone is absolutely tailor-fit for mobile gaming. It requires minimal manipulation; poking, holding, and the occasional swipe is about as complex as the physical mechanics get. It's a turn-based thinker's game that gives you ample time to plot your strategy and get a few other things done between moves. On an iPad, that's pretty easy; I would read a book while my opponent took his/her/its turn.

The game actually kept me up past my bedtime because of the "just one more match" temptation, which tells me that the magic that fueled my interest in this game in beta is roaring more now than ever. But how does it actually handle on Apple's devices?

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Hearthstone comes to iPad

Fantasy, Trailers, Video, Launches, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

After a soft launch in a few countries, Hearthstone is now available to iPad owners worldwide.

Blizzard announced today that Hearthstone is on the app store as an alternative to the PC version. The title is available on iPads 2 and newer as well as the iPad minis. New and returning players will be treated to a free card pack as part of this release.

Hearthstone has a funny trailer for the Apple release, which you can watch after the jump.

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Not So Massively: Heroes of the Storm's new heroes, Dawngate's beta launch, and Diablo III's latest patch

Betas, Fantasy, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Launches, MMO Industry, Patches, PvP, News Items, Free-to-Play, Mobile, Hands-On, MMOFPS, Events (Massively's Coverage), Miscellaneous, Not So Massively, MOBA, Diablo III, Hearthstone

Welcome back to No So Massively, where every Monday we round up the highlights from the past week in the world of MOBAs, roguelikes, MMOTCGs, and other games that aren't quite MMOs.

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PAX East 2014: Hearthstone reveals Naxxramas single-player adventure

Fantasy, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Hearthstone is planning to revisit one of Azeroth's most notorious locations in the card game's first single-player adventure: Curse of Naxxramas.

Blizzard announced at PAX East that a new single-player mode for the game will be coming "soon" starting with a romp through the necropolis of Naxxramas. In it, players will journey through five wings of a dungeon, accumulate new cards, and fight bosses with their own unique abilities. Thirty new cards and nine class challenges will come with the adventure as well as a Naxxramas-themed game board.

Once it's released, Curse of Naxxramas will slowly unlock its wings over the course of five weeks. The first wing will be free, with the remaining four requiring purchase. It will release on all platforms simultaneously.

Massively's on the ground in Boston during the weekend of April 11th to 13th, bringing you all the best news from PAX East 2014. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, Landmark, or any MMO in between, we aim to have it covered!

Jukebox Heroes: Hearthstone's soundtrack

Fantasy, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Jukebox Heroes, Music, Hearthstone

A new Blizzard game is a reason for soundtrack lovers everywhere to celebrate because if there's one thing this studio does well (other than take goofy races very seriously), it's creating incredible scores for its games. Even though Hearthstone is a smaller title with a smaller score, I welcomed it nevertheless.

Composers Peter McConnell, Jason Hayes, and Eric Dodds clearly had a lot of fun creating the whimsical, relaxing score for this game, and I must say that the music is perfectly ideal for the material. It hearkens back to the many tavern themes from World of Warcraft without being a complete copycat.

You can actually download the entire soundtrack for free on the Hearthstone official site, but before you do that, why not listen to my favorite picks from the score?

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Blizzard is going on a PAX East road trip

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Events (Real-World), Expansions, Free-to-Play, Diablo III, Hearthstone

Blizzard is refueling the company RV and making a mix tape of John Denver and Megadeth for its upcoming cross-country trip to PAX East. The studio announced today that it will have a presence at the convention to show off Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor.

Blizzard will be at booth #848 from April 11th through the 13th. Hearthstone will be available to play not only on demo stations but on the iPad as well. Fans can also check out a hands-on demos of Warlords of Draenor, Diablo III for PS4, and Heroes of the Storm with new heroes.

The studio won't just be confined to its booth for the duration of the weekend, as it's planning a presentation on April 11th at 10:30 a.m. EDT about Heroes of the Storm. This presentation will be livestreamed for those who can't make it.

Hearthstone launches, offers players a way to earn a special World of Warcraft mount

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Launches, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Promotions, Hearthstone

Whoa, this sneaked up on us unexpectedly! Blizzard abruptly announced today that Hearthstone has officially launched and updated to the new patch.

The free-to-play card game has been widely available for some time now, but now it's all there for keeps. Today's patch includes golden hero and special card backing visuals as rewards for ranked play. Other changes include balance tweaks, a reconnect feature, access to multiple regions, and a whole lotta bug fixes.

Players can also earn a Hearthstone mount for World of Warcraft by winning three games in play or arena mode.

Get your Hearthstone Golden Gelbin card before beta ends

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, New Titles, News Items, Hearthstone

Hearthstone art
Hearthstone fans, it's worth noting that the game's beta is on its last leg. WoW Insider reports on Blizzard's announcement post, which, while it doesn't provide a definitive end point, does say that you've got a limited amount of time to claim your Golden Gelbin Mekkatorque beta reward card.

Once Hearthstone releases, you'll still be able to craft a non-gold version of Gelbin, but you'll need to get the gilded card sooner rather than later.

Hearthstone and Destiny expected to show Activision the money

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, MMO Industry, News Items, Trading Card Games, MMOFPS, Destiny, MMORPG, Hearthstone

After reporting earnings that beat expectations for last year, analysts are expecting Activision to have an even better 2014 monetarily thanks to Hearthstone and Destiny. Although Blizzard's Hearthstone hasn't released yet, players have been able to purchase card packs in beta, and while Bungie's Destiny isn't even in beta, it's already doing well with preorders. The company's eggs aren't in any one basket, either; add in all the other games and it looks to be a banner year. Doug Creuts, an analyst at Cowen & Company, noted to investors:
"We believe Activision Blizzard is the best-managed company in the video game sector. We also believe that Blizzard is the single best, most consistent content-creation asset in our coverage universe. We also expect current cornerstone franchises Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Skylanders to continue generating strong revenue and operating profits for the next several years."

Hearthstone will have an official spectator mode

Betas, Fantasy, Interviews, Previews, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Hearthstone

Blizzard confirmed that a spectator mode is coming to Hearthstone, allowing players to sit in on others' play sessions.

The news comes from BlizzPro, which talked with e-Sports Manager Kim Phan about upcoming plans for the game. Phan said that Blizzard is starting to take the e-Sports potential of Hearthstone a lot more seriously these days and has a list of features that it would like to put into the game, including a spectator mode. This mode won't be in the game by launch but should be put in "shortly after."

Hearthstone is currently in open beta.

The Stream Team: Slinging cards in Hearthstone

Betas, Fantasy, Video, PvP, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, Hands-On, Livestream, The Stream Team, Hearthstone

Blizzard Entertainment's addictive digital collectible card game is now in open beta and Massively's Mike Foster is itching to dust off his decks and smash some unwary opponents. The Hearthstone arena is a harsh place, however, and Mike's lust for battle could be the very thing that destroys him and his powerful cards. Can he emerge victorious, leaving a mountain of rectanglular corpses in his wake?

Tune in at 1:00 p.m. EST and find out.

Game: Hearthstone
Host: Mike Foster
Date: Saturday, February 8th, 2014
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST

Enjoy our Stream Team video below.

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Hearthstone enters open beta testing

Betas, Fantasy, News Items, Free-to-Play, Trading Card Games, Casual, Hearthstone

Hearthstone open beta announcement banner
Blizzard die-hards and CCG fans alike have reason to celebrate today because the Hearthstone open beta is officially live. Plenty of players have been dabbling in the game since it entered closed beta testing in August of last year, but now anyone can jump right in and get started with Blizzard's latest money machine.

As long as you've got an active Battle.net account, you can just head on over to the Hearthstone official site and join the fun. The official announcement post assures players that no further wipes are planned, so from here on out, you're playing for keeps.

Blizzard sues Hearthstone copycat

Betas, Fantasy, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Legal, Hearthstone

Legend of Crouching Dragon
Blizzard isn't taking kindly to a Chinese ripoff of its Hearthstone and is suing to protect its upcoming online card game.

Blizzard and its Chinese partner NetEase filed a suit against mobile game Legend of Crouching Dragon and its developer Unico to the tune of $1.65 million and possible closure of the game for an infringement of intellectual rights.

Legend of Crouching Dragon uses characters from Romance of the Three Kingdoms and bears a striking similarity to the design and function of Hearthstone. The mobile game has been in beta for both Android and iOS platforms.

Hearthstone promises fewer card changes in open beta

Betas, Fantasy, Trading Card Games, Family, Dev Diaries, Hearthstone

All CCG and TCG players fear "the big nerf" that will change a beloved card, and in turn, an entire deck. However, such changes and tweaks are part of any card game, and in a blog post today, Lead Designer Eric Dodds explained the team's philosophy behind keeping Hearthstone balanced.

Dodds said that such changes need to be made when cards cause non-interactive games, are frustrating to play against, are causing confusion, aren't intuitive enough, are too strong compared to other cards with a similar cost, or are too weak. "Hearthstone is at its most fun when you're solving an interesting puzzle each turn," he wrote. "Your opponent's minions, your minions, and the cards in your hand are all pieces to this puzzle, and when your opponent removes parts of the puzzle, it can be less fun to play."

Even with these reasons, Dodds promised that the team plans to make "very few card changes" when Hearthstone goes into open beta. "Giving you confidence in your cards and the play environment is very important to us, and each card change we make potentially undermines that confidence," he said.

Perfect Ten: Online collectible card games that will tap your heart

Opinion, Trading Card Games, Humor, Perfect Ten, Miscellaneous, HEX, Hearthstone

Card Hunter
While it might be a stretch to put collectible (or trading) card games in the same family as MMORPGs, it's hard to deny that their audiences are pretty similar and quite open to a little crossover between genres. Massively has made mention of TCGs as their numbers and popularity seems to be on the rise online. That led up to the day that my editor came into my office, smacked an Elmer Fudd Pez dispenser out of my hand, and told me that I better do a top 10 list on card games "or else."

"Or else what?" I chirped before thinking.

"Or else you'll be our full-time Darkfall columnist," my editor said.

So hey! We're talking about card games today! How about, I don't know, 10 of them?

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