Blizzard's latest Hearthstone update affects Tinkmaster, Nat, and Ranked Play

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft tweaks arrive as the game nears its final release.

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The final release of hugely addictive card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is nearing, Blizzard has said, and the developer has slightly tweaked some of its cards to make way for the end of open beta.

Tinkmaster Overspark, a popular high-level card, has had his damage and health buffed up to 3/3 (from 2/2) but now features a far more controversial Battlecry power: transforming another random minion into a 5/5 Devilsaur or 1/1 Squirrel. He was previously able to select his target.

"Tinkmaster is now destroyed," commented user KPT on Blizzard's site.

Also, the enduringly frustrating to play against (but great to have) Nat Pagle has also been tweaked slightly so that the legendary fisherman has a 50 percent chance of drawing a card at the start of a turn, as opposed to the end. Blizzard says this will give the other player a greater chance to counter its effects.

"The release of Hearthstone is on the horizon, and we have a couple of additional changes to certain cards we feel it is necessary to implement before the game goes live. As we’ve stated, we plan to make very few card changes when the game goes live, and we will only make changes to cards if they are absolutely necessary," wrote Blizzard. "Making these changes now will ensure a more balanced state of the overall game into release."

On top of these card changes, Blizzard will also modify its Ranked Play system so that bonus stars will be awarded as players head from season to season--in the past players would have their progress reset with each season, starting again at Rank 25.

Now if you're at Rank 1 or Rank 2, for instance, the bonus stars will catapult you to Rank 16 at the start of a new season.

"Hearthstone is off to a good start, and I suspect that its popularity will further explode once it makes the leap to tablets," wrote Leif Johnson in GameSpot's review of the Hearthstone open beta.

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