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Want Hearthstone's newest hero? Play World of Warcraft to level 20.

And it just so happens that WoW is free up to that level

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

If you want the latest hero in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, you'll need to level up a character to level 20 in World of Warcraft.

That's the condition Blizzard set for Lady Liadrin, who is an optional reskin for Hearthstone's default paladin, Uther. We knew there was going to be some kind of tie-in when the game's latest patch hit yesterday. And the "reach level 20" requirement means exactly what it says; this will not be awarded retroactively for those with characters already over level 20.

Lady Liadrin is the newest alternate hero added to Hearthstone since three were put up for sale in June of last year. She's free and, conveniently, so is World of Warcraft — until you reach level 20.

You'd be forgiven for thinking this is a come-on to boost WoW's usership numbers. In November, after the MMO's number of active subscriptions hit a nine-year low at 5.5 million, Blizzard announced it would no longer report these figures.

Later that month, World of Warcraft's executive producer said the development team wouldn't be "focus[ing] on a how to make a quest that adds 100,000 more subscribers," but rather would be making the nearly 12-year-old game more accessible to newcomers and more inviting to lapsed players. This Hearthstone promo looks like one such method.

Hearthstone's newest expansion deck was officially revealed last week; Whispers of the Old Gods will launch in late April or early May, and will feature 134 new cards themed around the evil eldritch gods from Warcraft's lore.

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