Blizzard Entertainment today announced that its virtual card game Hearthstone would be getting a brand-new game mode called Battlegrounds. The mode is based on the popular auto battler genre that arose from the PC mod community earlier this year. Battlegrounds will feature eight-player combat that combines traditional Hearthstone cards and heroes with a customizable game board instead of a deck of cards. You can read a full rundown of how it works here.
Auto battlers, the official name of the genre that arose from the massively popular Dota Auto Chess mod, is a unique take on strategy video games that loosely incorporates elements of the classic board game. Since the Dota mod’s release in January, it’s taken a distinct corner of the gaming market by storm, with a standalone version of the mod called simply Auto Chess and an official Valve version called Underlords as well as scores of other clones.
Blizzard says its take on the newly minted genre will go live at 1PM ET on November 5th for one week of early access, which will be available to players who pre-purchased the Descent of Dragons expansion. An open beta will follow after.