Encrypetd data for a possible Hearthstone Test Client has surfaced in as part of an evening update to the Battle.net client. Public Test Realms (PTR) are used by Blizzard for almost all of their titles as a means of testing upcoming content updates before exposing the game’s core audience to it.
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The code could mean one of a few things: Hearthstone is getting its own Public Test Realm, Blizzard are testing out a new expansion or the test client will merely be to test future updates, balances and fixes. Considering the impact of a recent patch, which introduced a number of bugs to the game, it’s possible that this testing space will be used to better test future updates rather than a major expansion.
A further nail in the coffin of this Hearthstone PTR dream of ours came from the game’s lead designer Ben Brode, “There are real downsides to a PTR. Because we ship on so many platforms, it would take at least a month of cards being fully spoiled before they release.” So maybe not then, seeing as how much Blizzard seemed to enjoy announcing cards for Whispers of the Old Gods.
Thanks to Hearthpwn, who found the data.