Everyone, get in here!

Hearthstone Battlegrounds open beta begins, free packs for everyone!

Hearthstone
Hearthstone battlegrounds hero choice

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Hearthstone’s latest auto battler game mode, announced at BlizzCon early November 2019, aims to give old players nostalgic familiarity while giving newcomers another way to play and enjoy the hugely successful digital card game. After a week of early access for Blizzcon attendees, the new auto battler is now open for everyone.

Battlegrounds went live at 10 a.m. PDT on November 5 for a week of Early Access. On November 12, the open beta was released where everyone was able to jump straight into Battlegrounds.

A whole host of bugs has been fixed for the patch update 15.6.2 which is now live. Blizzard Community Manager Kurt Ocher briefly mentioned some of the things the company is working on for future Battlegrounds updates for the players. New heroes and minions, including: “a couple of very familiar faces,” could be returning in later updates and patches. We will keep this article updated as and when new patches and updates go live.

How does it all work?

With 24 different Heroes each with their own unique hero powers, the strategic 8-player chess-like experience tests your strategic and in-game knowledge, so, be sure to read up on how the minions work. In Battlegrounds, rather than building a deck of cards, you’ll construct an ever-evolving board of Minions to battle it out until you are the victor! (We hope you are, anyway)

Coin here is king

Hearthstone battlegrounds minion purchase

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

As a match progresses, you’ll be granted an increasing amount of Coin to be spent upgrading and modifying your lineup of minions prior to battle. Most things you do in the Tavern will cost you Coin, and Coins can’t be saved up to be spent in future rounds (sorry you hoarders out there). During a typical combat phase, you will be pitted against a randomly chosen opponent and your recruited Minions will battle to the death.

The status of all other players, including which opponent you will face off against next, will be visible at all times on the Leaderboard to the left of the board, but you’ll have to wait until the battle begins to see your next opponent’s Minions and positioning.

Hearthstone battlegrounds combat

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

With all the excitement around the 8-player greatness, it should also be mentioned that the Hearthstone Battlegrounds open beta is currently only supported on mobile devices with more than 2 GB of RAM. This means that some older phones and tablets may not be able to run Battlegrounds, so make sure your device is up for the task before downloading.

So… what on earth is an auto battler? A simple answer is that elements from the classic board game chess are implemented in a strategic way in video games, dubbed ‘auto chess’. With more and more game studios picking up this newly founded play style, you can expect a whole host of differences when playing something new besides Descent of Dragons or Battlegrounds.

The main idea of the auto battler genre can be traced back to a mod on Warcraft III. At the beginning of this year, the massively popular Dota 2 took up the concept with Dota 2 Auto Chess, released in January this year. The mod quickly built steam, prompting Riot Games to launch their response, Teamfight Tactics, in June of 2019. The League of Legends auto battler mode is even slated for a standalone release on mobile sometime in 2020.

Hearthstone Battlegrounds is free to play for everyone with a Hearthstone account.

Sam Batty

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