Still here hey? Ok, I suppose I should write some more about it. First of all, I would like to give a massive shout out to Garret, Dills and Jocelyn from the Angry Chicken Podcast for the beta key. Not only did they do a give away with over 100 keys (102 to be precise), they also have, in my opinion, the best Hearthstone podcast around right now. You can find it here, or if you can catch it live, here.
On to Hearthstone. I wasn't kidding when I said wow describes it perfectly. For a beta game it is insanely polished and everything just oozes quality. I did have some issues when I first installed the game, but it seems like that is a server side issue that Blizzard is aware of and working on. Once you get to start playing, the game drops you straight into a series of training matches, ending with you fighting against Illidan.
When the training is finished there are a few things that should be done immediately. First, unlock every class. That will grant you access to the arena, some gold, and much needed levels. Once you have done that, have a go at getting one class to level 10 for more gold and free cards. After that go forth and build your decks.
I have some experience with Magic The Gathering, and most people will compare the two for obvious reasons. There are those out there who have said that the game is a simplified version of MTG. I can see where they come from with that argument, but have to disagree. Hearthstone is different enough that I don't feel like I am playing MTG, but rather a completely new card game. The hero powers and mana crystals add to the game and help to streamline the experience. The lack of instant cards scare me a little bit, as I tended to play a lot of them in Magic, but those are something that could be added down the track if required (and to be clear I don't think they are at this stage).
Blizzard have done a fantastic job of making a simple enough experience that anyone could pick it up and have fun, but also making the game deep and complex enough to interest existing card game players. It's still in closed beta at this point, but at BlizzCon they announced that open beta could be expected in December (although perhaps later because Blizzard). If you do get into the closed beta, expect there to be some bugs and server issues. If you don't, fear not. You will get to play this game soon.
As always folks,