Cards can be obtained through opening card packs or by crafting them with Arcane Dust. There are various game modes with the most prevalent being Standard and Wild.
Standard mode only includes the Basic and Classic collections alongside the expansions from the last two years. Once an expansion rotates out of Standard, it can only be played in the Wild format.
These two game modes are divided into Casual and Ranked modes. Players can climb the tiered ranking system in Ranked, while Casual allows for a more relaxed play-style.
At the end of each month the Ranked season ends, rewarding players with in-game items depending on their performance.
Arena has the player draft a deck of thirty cards from choices of three. These adventures offer alternatives way to play and are designed specifically.
Initially, Blizzard introduced an alternating series of Expansions and Adventures, with roughly three new sets released each year. Expansions are new card sets, containing between new cards, that become available to buy or win, as well as introducing new mechanics to the gameplay.
In , Blizzard changed their approach, and plan to only release Expansions in the future, through at least Blizzard has adopted a "Year" moniker to identify when expansions rotate and retire from Standard format.
Development of Hearthstone at Blizzard was inspired by two directions, according to developer Eric Dodds: To explore this new direction, Blizzard brought a number of people into "Team 5", named after being the fifth development team formed at Blizzard.
Of the game types they explored, Team 5 soon focused on the collectible card game approach, given that many on the team and in Blizzard had played such games since their introduction.
They also saw that new players to Warcraft may be drawn into the other games through playing Hearthstone. After about a year of starting development, the team had produced an Adobe Flash prototype of the game that offered the core card game mechanics and the unique heroes.
At this point, several on Team 5 were temporarily moved into other teams to complete the release of StarCraft II: This to month period was considered fortuitous by the team, according to Chayes.
Principal designers Dodds and Ben Brode remained developing Hearthstone , and the two were able to quickly iterate many ideas using both the prototype and physical replicas to fine-tune the game mechanics.
Card text was written in a way so that a new player should be able to immediately understand the effects.
From the beginning, the game was designed to be played solely online and to mimic the feel of physical cards to make it more accessible to new players.
Dodds found that past attempts to digitize physical card games by other companies left areas they felt were lacking, and wanted to improve on that experience.
Hearthstone starts with the player opening a box, during gameplay the cards waver and move while in their hand, and cards when played slam down on the board.
When attacking, cards leap across the board to strike the target; when a massive spike of damage is dealt, the board shakes; when a massive creature is summoned, the unseen audience gasps in awe.
The boards on which the cards are played can be interacted with in various ways, such as virtually petting a dragon, although the feature is purely for entertainment and has no effect on gameplay.
Unlike physical trading card games, "Hearthstone" was designed early on without any trading system between players. Hamilton Chu, the executive producer of Hearthstone , stated that "a key thing for us was focusing on [the user] McConnell came upon the idea of mixing Celtic music with blues rock —pondering the idea of "what if ZZ Top or Golden Earring had been transported back in time to the Middle Ages?
At this point, Blizzard opted to make Hearthstone free to play and while card packs can be bought with in-game currency earned through winning matches and completing quests, players can also buy packs if they do not want to wait on earning currency.
Blizzard provides regular bug fixes, updates, and expansions for Hearthstone. Hamilton Chu, the former executive producer for Hearthstone , stated that Blizzard intends to support the game for ten to twenty years.
Blizzard had originally envisioned to release Expansions in a staged approach as to not drastically jar the player community, creating the Adventure concept for the first post-release addition with Curse of Naxxramas.
The meta-game remained unpredictable for several months, helping to keep the playing community interested in playing the game and invalidating their strategies.
The solo challenges on Adventure mode also served as a means to help players understand some of the stronger archetypes of card decks and learn strategies to defeat them, helping them become better players against human opponents.
Development of the themes and mechanics for each Expansion and Adventure are often based on the current atmosphere around the Hearthstone community, according to senior designer Mike Donais.
In addition to new cards and mechanics, Blizzard has also worked to add new features to Hearthstone itself. The Tavern Brawl mode was in development for over a year before it was released in June ; the feature went through many iterations before the team was satisfied.
The introduction of the Standard vs. Though they will continue to design the game to maintain the appropriate balance for the Standard format, they will also monitor how future cards will impact the Wild format and make necessary changes to keep that mode entertaining.
They found that these cards were often "auto-includes" for certain deck types, and created a stagnant metagame around those decks, and opted to move them out of Standard.
As compensation, those that own these Hall of Fame cards received the arcane dust value of the cards they possess while still being able to use those cards in Wild.
To make up for cards moving out of Classic, Blizzard may consider bringing in individual cards from retired sets into the Classic set that they believe would be suitable for Standard.
Hearthstone was first announced at Penny Arcade Expo in March for Windows , Mac , and iPad , with an expected release date in the same year.
The game was released on March 11, ,  available on Microsoft Windows and macOS operating systems. By the end of March , the game had more than 10 million player accounts registered worldwide.
Single cards can also be viewed full screen by tapping and holding on a specific card, which is useful to read all the card details while using a smartphone display.
To mark the release of Hearthstone , Blizzard released the Hearthsteed mount for World of Warcraft players that is obtained by winning three games in Arena or Play mode.
Legacy of the Void  and Overwatch. Since the Blackrock Mountain adventure, each expansion and adventure have introduced an exclusive card back for players that pre-ordered it.
Hearthstone was the focus of a number of other tournaments during its closed beta, including those hosted by Major League Gaming and ESL.
Heartstone has also been apart of a number of esport demonstration events at international competitions, such as the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and Asian Games.
Hearthstone received "universal acclaim" on iOS and "generally favorable" reviews for PC, according to review aggregator Metacritic.
The game was praised for its simplicity, gameplay pace, and attention to detail along with being free-to-play, while the lack of actual card trading between players and any form of tournament mode was pointed out as the major shortcomings.
Eurogamer gave the game the perfect score of 10 and remarked that the game is "overflowing with character and imagination, feeds off and fuels a vibrant community of players and performers, and it only stands to improve as Blizzard introduces new features, an iPad version and expansions.
The only major drawback noted was that the "absence of extra features hampers long-term appeal". Later Hearthstone card expansions have also been well received.
Gnomes has also been positive, with Game Informer writing "the first expansion set for Hearthstone is a major step forward for the already accessible and fun game", and awarding it a score of 9.
Commentators have noted that Hearthstone can suffer from "pay to win" mechanics, that those that invest monetarily into the game to get new cards and packs have generally a better chance of winning, though it is possible to be successful without spending money.
Friedman does add that this cost is less an issue for casual players since it is still possible to rank well during each season play with fundamental deck types.
By September , there were more than 20 million registered Hearthstone players   and by January , there were more than 25 million.
Hearthstone has proved to be a popular game to stream and watch on services like Twitch. Forbes awarded Hearthstone as the best digital card game of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For other uses, see Hearthstone disambiguation. Because of the sporadic additions to the set, there are no definite release or removal dates. Watch out, Hearthstone -- here comes Artifact".
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The Winter Championship is the only event in the HCT cycle that is played using the Year of the Kraken as part of its then-current Standard format.
The Spring season and the remainder of the Championship Tour will use the new Standard year, the Year of the Mammoth, for their Standard formats.
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