Hearthstone: Battlegrounds is Hearthstone’s new easy-to-learn eight-player auto-battler. And now, Blizzard has finally opened open beta for the game. Here’s how Blizzard describes the new game:
Battlegrounds is everything you know and love about Hearthstone – familiar minion types such as Murlocs, Mechs, and Demons (oh my!), keywords, and cards – but played in a way you’ve never experienced before.
The new game will be featuring 24 characters from the game, includingRagnaros the Firelord, Millificent Manastorm, and The Lich King. Here’s how you play:
Each round starts with a Recruit phase, where you’ll hire minions and then position them strategically before the ensuing Combat phase. If any of your minions survive the conflict, you’ve won the round and your minions will buff your attack value before you attack the opponent and deal damage.
Your climb to the top begins by spending gold to hire minions from Bartender Bob at the Tavern. You start with three gold coins to spend on a Tier 1 minion drafted from a pool shared by all eight players. You’ll receive an additional coin each round until your purse overflows at 10 gold coins per round.
There’s a lot of strategy at play in the Recruit phase, as you’ll have to manage your gold economy and decide when to hire minions, when to sell them off to recoup a coin, and when to pay a coin to refresh the lineup. You can freeze the board for free and lock it in for the next round, and you can also upgrade the Tavern to gain access to stronger minions.
Your Tavern Tier has a big impact on the game—it increases the amount of damage you deal when you win a round, raises the number of minions you choose from in the Recruit phase, and gives you access to more powerful minions. Tier 6 minions include some of the most powerful cards in the game. The cost of upgrading the Tavern is reduced by one each round, but don’t wait too long, or your opponents may pull too far ahead when they start recruiting more powerful minions.
Mastering the Recruit phase is key to victory in Battlegrounds. Forming a Triple—by recruiting three of the same minions—combines them into a more powerful Golden upgraded minion as well as the opportunity to Discover a free minion. Minions with Battlecry effects apply their effect during the Recruit phase, so you’ll need to decide whether to sell them off immediately to make room for stronger units—or keep them around to make a Triple.
The Auto Combat phase can be unpredictable, but skilled players will find ways to take advantage of tribal synergies, well-positioned Deathrattles, and their unique Boss power to claim victory.
There is no Collection required to play. Players who acquire Descent of Dragons card packs, including free packs and those purchased using in-game gold or real money, will receive cool Battlegrounds bonuses. At 10 packs, players unlock comprehensive stat-tracking in Hearthstone: Battlegrounds (slated for release following beta testing); at 20 they can choose from three different Bosses instead of two at the start of each match; and at 30, players unlock the ability to taunt or playfully communicate with their opponents using a visual emote system.
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