The April Fools' Day gags are over and Blizzard is now returning to business. The developer today announced that Hearthstone has been officially released for iPad - but only in certain territories.
The game is currently available on iPad only in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Blizzard explains this limited release as something of a beta test. Hearthstone fans in those countries will help the developer "make sure [the game is] awesome" before it rolls out across the world. Blizzard does promise, though, that fans in other territories won't have much longer to wait to get their hands on the mobile version.
Hearthstone is Blizzard's attempt at a fully-digital collectible card game. It is Warcraft-branded, featuring villains, heroes, enemies, and other characters from the popular World of Warcraft MMO. The game is free-to-play and features microtransactions that players can use to purchase card packs and entries into Arena mode.
The PC version of Hearthstone was widely tested in beta form during 2013 and was released in its final form just last month.
The game itself features mechanics similar to the popular Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, but with a few differences. Hearthstone is tuned for faster-paced gameplay and more direct player confrontation that is emphasized by the game's animations.
As anyone who has played Hearthstone will know, the game was quite obviously designed with mobile platforms in mind. The game is played on PC using only a mouse and the cards, numbers, and buttons are all large - design decisions that will translate well to tablets.
The iPad version functions almost identically to the version players have gotten used to on PC. All modes, including ranked games and Arena are available in Hearthstone for iPad. The mobile version also syncs with other versions of the game, allowing players to pick up where they left off on whatever device they choose, complete with their full collection of cards. The iPad version is still free-to-play with the option to buy card packs or Arena sessions.