Update: another round of hearthstone beta key invites have been sent out!

Update: You can get some free hearthstone keys in Singapore!

Just when I was talking about vicariously Hearthstoning due to a lack of beta key, Blizzard started their next round of invites and one landed into my email!

closed beta invitation

So naturally I took it out for a spin!

Update: uploaded a video on csteo youtube, shows Hearthstone playing fine on a 2011 macbook air 11″

Started with the installation process:

Took the key in the email and keyed it into my game.

hearthstone beat acc creation
bnet dl screen

Started downloading. Blizz is packaging their launcher client with hearthstone.

bnet beta hearthstone installation

I think the 300 mb is for the blizzard bnet launcher beta (their version of steam client i guess), the actual hearthstone looks to be abotu 3.5 gigs.

bnet beta login

Finally ready to go!

Here are some random screens, from playing with players, opening a pack and some familiar characters from the introduction!

player game priest unlocked open packs opening a pack paladin unlocked illidan illidan ... blizz sense of humor tempest keep millhouse manastorm victory hogger

My Impressions:

I’ve only played a few matches, managed to play one with a friend too who got it today and was online. What I liked actually was the lack of communication except where the person is your friend so you can just chat normally. I think this takes the heat out of the usually confrontational PvP games, which is basically hearthstone. (no pve mode it seems, c.f. Hex) I think having played it I probably differ from what I said in the previous Hearthstone piece, it feels more like Starcraft and Diablo PvP (as it would/should have been) just that it is far more accessible. It really is easy to pick it up and go in. Although you may lose, the matchmaking seems a tiny bit bonkers, there was a bit of a lag and suddenly there’s someone with tons of never before witnessed cards. Might be due to the invite day flood overwhelming matchmaking?

The lack of communication makes it pretty casual to start it up, play for 5-10 minutes and switch it off. No netraging or QQ or the usual toxic stream of taunts and not so nice exchanges. Then when playing with friends you can still chit chat and random talk.

It feels very polished, and very well done as you would expect from Blizzard’s previous games. What I liked was the subtle humor here and there within the game. You have the self referential 4th wall remarks, the random text in usual artefacts one would glaze over in games such as loading screens and a general lightheartedness that gets you going!

There’s a few quests here and there, the game is supposed to allow you to grab pretty much the cards eventually without having to pay a cent. Beta testers who buy something will get a gold legendary card however. I wonder if its an entirely unique card, or a hologram/foil version of an existing one?

(Havn’t tried arena yet, still have a few more characters to unlock, drafting mode would be pretty cool so I’m waiting for that)

I’m thinking this may well be a funnel where I can clear my battlenet balance hahaha, if Blizz doesn’t implement some other way of exiting battlenet balance.