Hearthstone Open Beta Delayed Until January

Wannabe Hearthstone heroes will have to wait just a little bit longer to get into Blizzard’s addictive collectible card game.

In a post on the official Hearthstone website, Blizzard announced that the open beta, originally penciled in for sometime this month, has been bumped back to sometime in January 2014 for additional tweaks and polish.

“The development team has been working hard to get this out before the end of the year, but our highest priority is that Hearthstone has an awesome launch when all gates are lifted and everyone can download it and play at the same time,” Blizzard stated. “We’re close to the open beta—very close. And to enter this final part of our beta phase, we need your help. Keep trying out new decks, reporting bugs, and giving your feedback on our forums. That’s the best way you can help the team get Hearthstone into everyone’s hands as soon as possible.”

That news comes with one huge exception: if you opted in to the Hearthstone closed beta via your Battle.net account before December 16, Blizzard says you’re now welcome in. Check your inbox, because there should be a Hearthstone beta key waiting for you. If you opted in after the 16th, you’re out of luck for now, but Blizzard did note it will be sending out more opt-in closed beta invites until January 7.

Once you do get in, I think you’ll see it was well worth the wait. I’m a Magic fan, so I was already into CCGs, but I love what Blizzard has done to up the tempo of matches and streamline mechanics. Yes, this is one case where streamlining actually works. But don’t just take my word for it. Game Front’s own StarCraft 2 pro, Ryan “State” Visbeck, believes Hearthstone is poised to become the next big eSport.

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