It’s been an exciting day for iOS users anticipating Hearthstone. In addition to the news that an iPhone version would eventually hit, along with some hands-on time with the 'tablet' version, one area we’ve also learned some info on deals with the way players will earn new cards in Blizzard’s virtual CCG. Considering Hearthstone is Blizzard’s first free-to-play game, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into its freemium elements.

Hearthstone Announcement Art

At launch, all cards in Hearthstone can eventually be obtained without spending any money. Some are acquired via single player PvE missions while the rest are earned during card packs. Card packs can either be bought with gold (in-game currency) or with real money, with bulk discounts for buying multiple card packs with real money at the same time. Decks can only have two identical cards at any one time, so if collect more than that amount, you can disenchant them for Arcane Dust, which can be used to craft specific cards.

When discussing how Hearthstone approaches card collecting, the developers stated that they are focused on balancing the distribution of cards between what they consider are their three main “types” of players: the Hardcore, Casual, and Thrifty players. In addressing its players, Blizzard plans to roll out the introduction of new cards in two different ways. The first is through what they are calling “Expansions.” While details were scarce as far as what these Hearthstone Expansions would actually entail, we did find out that Expansions will be reserved for debuting cards that drastically change Hearthstone’s meta-game via the introduction of new mechanics. This appears to be Blizzard’s answer to the hardcore Hearthstone players.

For both the casual and hardcore players, we learned about the the second method of card collection, called ‘Adventures. These are focused single-player PvE experiences that pit players against a series of bosses and take place in specific storyline environments and as you play through the specific adventure you unlock the new cards associated with that story. Adventures will be thematic in nature and, based on what we’ve seen, will feature new cards that offer alternative strategies, but won’t necessary dramatically alter the meta-game in the same way as expansions. As a player that isn’t necessarily the biggest PvP buff, I’m a big fan of Adventures as it provides new single player content with meaningful rewards in new cards.

As for the thrifty player, we learned about a few current stats in the beta, mainly that 44% of the current top tier of players have reached that point without spending any money. Obviously there’re two different schools of thought for that stat, but I found it impressive that Hearthstone is currently balanced to the point where cards earned during normal play are more than enough for players to remain competitive. Of course, this can all change with the introduction of Expansions and Adventures, but the game in its currently form doesn’t necessarily put that card buyer ahead of similarly skilled (and outfitted) players that don’t make those real money purchases.

We also learned that the plan is for new Adventures to come out at a relatively ‘quick’ (for Blizzard, anyways) pace compared to Expansions. However, neither Expansions nor Adventures will be available at the formal launch of Hearthstone out of beta and it hasn’t been announced what (if anything) Adventures and Expansions will cost.

Mage vs Warrior-1

In addition to the above news on Hearthstone’s IAP, we also had the opportunity to interview several members of the developer team and ask questions related to both the overall game and the iOS versions. While specific information was scarce, we did receive confirmation that the iPad version is slated for “very soon” after the PC/Mac launch. In addition, when the iPhone version comes out in the latter half of next year, expect the UI to be different in order to fit the full version of the game on a smaller screen. Hearthstone will also work over cellular data and should use “very little” bandwidth for games on the go.

Unfortunately, there are no plans at this time for voice chat, although that may change in the future. In addition, despite the relative imminency of the iPad version, Blizzard declined to let us know exactly which models will be supported. Finally, one last interesting tidbit is that all of Android (tablet and phone) is slated for the second half of next year, meaning that the iPad version will be the only mobile version for quite awhile.

We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for Hearthstone and let you know as soon as it hits the iPad. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky enough to have a PC/Mac beta code, there will be no more resets in the beta so any progress you make now will immediately be available on your iPad when that version hits.

  • hourglass

    This is by far the lamest thing Blizzard has ever done.

    • PresidentZer0

      And it kinda shows how seriously they take ios gaming

    • Tizz986

      How do you figure? A lot of people already enjoy this game and it's not even feature complete and out of beta yet. You don't like CCGs? That's cool, some don't, just don't play. That doesn't make it "lame" though.

      • ste86uk

        I really am looking forward it too but there are a lot of WoW haters out there so I expect some complaining

      • themostunclean

        A lot of those WoW haters are former WoW lovers. Unfortunately, the franchise has seen its heyday and is spiraling into oblivion. Subscriptions are plummeting FAST (700,000 lost in 3 months, averaging 2 million lost a year) and things like desperately trying to appeal to Eastern gamers and releasing freemium titles are just nails in the coffin.

        So instead of giving us a new epic, we get a card battling game? It seems like even Blizzard is now content to just let WoW die a slow whimpering death.

      • ste86uk

        I don't think WoW could have ever lived forever but it's had a damn good run no matter how long it keeps going from now. But it was due to eventually fall behind with limitations compared to what you can do now.

        As for a TCG game I love them and don't think it's a bad choice at all, being a former player of WoW having familiar characters ect will make me like it more than a lot of these random TCG games where I don't want to play or collect because they look terrible.

      • anabolicMike

        Everything dies. The internet is a fickle beast. Look at digg! Anyway, I'm kinda interested to see what they do next. Hmmm. If they made a client that ran on iPad or high end android tablets that could be interesting. So many people play games on their phones nowadays. My parents who are in thier fifties play games on mobile. I bought my mom a tablet for Christmas and she doesn't put the thing down! I've never seen them show any interest in games.

        I have an old galaxy a phone I dropped of for my 85 year old grandma at the hospital. Loaded it with solitare games. Loves it. I wonder if consoles and PC games are taking a hit because of mobile gaming.

    • Panzerbush

      That would be Diablo 3.

    • toxiccheese

      Sorry but your wrong. It's getting amazing buzz on PC. Announcing it for iOS is very exciting news.

  • hourglass

    Did my comment just vanish?

    Anyway, thanks for nothing Blizzard. This is just a pathetic attempt at wringing money out of a different market.

    • toxiccheese

      You mean the PC market where this is targeted? We are lucky that they even announced an iOS version.

      • mclifford82

        It was always planned for iPad. Only the iPhone/Android ports were a new announcement.

  • ImJPaul

    As much as I enjoy wow, this card game thing is getting out of hand.....

    • mclifford82

      Way out of hand. Next thing you know motherfuckers are going to start having fun! Then what will you do? Will you be able to rage enough to counteract their mirth?

  • Aaron Glimme

    I've been playing Hearthstone for a few weeks now, and it's tons of fun. Can't wait to have it on my iPad. If you like CCGs, and I do, it's a great quick playing format with lots of interesting card interactions.

    • rabidnz

      Like yu-gi-oh

  • metalmandave83

    I can't wait.

  • kaezul

    I've been playing the beta for about a month now and absolutely love it. It's easy to get cards with all the daily quest they offer. I haven't spent a dime on the game. I can't wait until I can play it on my iPad and iPhone!

    • SpikeGuy

      Agree 100%. Very fun game you don't have to spend money on to have fun and do make progress. I can't wait for the iPad version.

  • ste86uk

    Can anyone tell me if it needs a constant connection? I seen it says a data connection but using low bandwidth, but for the pve parts of the game mentioned without pvp will a connection still be needed?

    Regardless I'll still be getting it but I'd love to be able to play when I'm stuck on airplane mode too.

    • andrew9oh7

      Yes it's always online.

  • Caminagetcha

    Looking forward to This..... Hope it gets on the ipad soon :P

  • JackyLau95

    Do you need to be connected to the internet to run this app?

    • andrew9oh7

      Yes

    • ste86uk

      I just asked that barely 2 comments above.

  • JoelCave

    Been in the beta and it's definitely far more polished, compared to Solforge, which is tedious and too much luck based. Am a fan of Blizzard and didn't mind plonking some cash on it; I think it'll definitely be a mega-hit when it's (finally) released.

  • DemoEvolved

    This is a small group within blizzard, but still super skilled team you ca tell by the fit and finish of the game. They have tons of free marketing being that it's wow theme. I think solforge is better in some ways, and already on iPad soon to be on iPhone. If solforge can get draft tourneys working for the right price and a way to trash commons for coin they have a shot to compete.

  • rabidnz

    Why is this getting hype already...

  • jebaugh

    I've been playing the beta for about a month and it's great. Well-balanced and easy to get new cards through the leveling system. Excited to see it on iPad.

  • Bruciato

    Awesome game, for free. Yes please. I generally dislike Blizzard but this game is a real diamond.

  • ste86uk

    Wondering if anyone in beta could message me?