Bethesda Softworks has announced that The Elder Scrolls: Legends is in open beta.

The collector card game was announced during Bethesda’s E3 2015 presentation and a closed, invite-only beta was opened up earlier this year.

Today, Bethesda is opening the flood gates and allowing anybody with a love for The Elder Scrolls and a penchant for Hearthstone to download the open beta.

With that being said, the comparison to Hearthstone is a bit of stretch. You see while Hearthstone is simple in its mechanics (get cards, pool mana, maybe win the game) Legends adds a bit more depth.

For starters the board is split into two lanes. Cards cannot attack cards in the opposite lane but can attack cards in the same lane. Some cards also have special conditions regarding lanes. Another unique feature of the game are runes. Once your Hero Avatar takes five damage one of five runes around the Avatar portrait breaks and you draw a card. Should that card be of the Prophecy variety it can be played immediately.

Choose your way to play

Once you’ve downloaded the game you will be able to play in one of five ways.

  • Practice – You versus an NPC
  • Versus Battle – You versus another player online.
  • Story Campaign – A 2-3 hour campaign that will introduce players to the world of The Elder Scrolls: Legends. This mode will also open up the first cards players will use.
  • Solo Arena – Players take on eight NPC players and a boss. Like Hearthstone’s Arena mode, players can loss up to three games before being kicked out.
  • Versus Arena – You versus up to seven opponents.

When you fire up the game for the first time you will have to complete Act 1 of the campaign which will guide you through the basics. Once you’ve completed that you should be able to try out Arena or Practice.

Getting the game

To access the game you’ll have to download the launcher (7MB) from the Bethesda website and then allow it to update. While that is busy now would be a good time to set up a Bethesda account (if you don’t have one already) as you’ll need one to sign into the client.

Once that is complete you can start downloading the game which clocks in at around 605MB for first time players.

Being the ardent Hearthstone fans that we are, we’re excited to try something a bit different. That said, we now need to decide between funnelling money into Legends or holding out to see whether we prefer One Night in Karazhan, the latest Hearthstone adventure.

Of course, we could just play both and write off ever seeing the outside world again.