Now that the reins of the "World of Warcraft" Trading Card Game over to Cryptozoic Entertainment three years ago, Blizzard is back with a fresh take on a "World of Warcraft" collectable card game, revealing "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" as the studio's mystery project during PAX East on Friday.
Unlike Blizzard's last "World of Warcraft" TCG, which was discontinued in , "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" will be an entirely digital release, and the company doesn't appear to have any plans for a physical "Hearthstone" release at this time. Given the last game's relatively meager success, our money is on Blizzard sticking with their new digital plan for "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft".
Surprisingly, "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" won't simply be a rehash of the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game which was first released by Upper Deck Entertainment back in 2005, but we wouldn't be shocked to see some of that game's more-popular cards and/or artwork make the jump. In total, Blizzard's next collectable card game is expected to launch with 300 cards in the game's first set, though new sets are likely to follow soon after "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" is released.
The game is also making clever use of the Disenchant ability found in "World of Warcraft" proper, allowing players to destroy duplicate cards from their collection and use their collected reagents for the "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" card-crafting system. It's unclear if every card in the game will be craftable, but the system is certainly intriguing, and adds a new layer to the game which could only be accomplished with a digital release.
As far as the launch schedule goes, Blizzard isn't discussing an exact "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" release date at this time, but has confirmed that the upcoming CCG will debut on PC and Mac first. An iPad version of "Hearthstone" is on the way too, and all three iterations of the game are expected to drop before the end of 2013.
If you're wondering what a game of "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" might look like in motion, check out this video of a full "Hearthstone" match that was shown at PAX East on Friday:
Update: Polygon reports that Blizzard does have plans to try and implement cross-platform competition when "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" is released later this year. Unfortunately, player-to-player trading isn't in the works at this time, but potential "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" players will be happy to know that every card in the game will be unlockable without ever spending a dime.
"Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" is currently playable on the convention floor at PAX East in Boston, will enter beta this summer, and is expected to launch before the end of 2013. Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for all the latest on "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft" as new information becomes available.