The Beginning

Solo Adventures have been around for almost as long as Hearthstone itself.

Starting off as “Adventures”, these modes would contain 4-5 Wings to progress through, each with multiple bosses to fight. You could unlock Wings by spending gold, or real money, and you’d earn new cards for every boss defeated.

In 2017, with “Knights of the Frozen Throne”, Blizzard decided to replace Adventures with “Missions”. Gone were the days of paying to play. You would still face bosses; however their defeat would no longer earn you cards (with one exception). Instead, rewards were usually card packs or card backs.

Historically, these modes have shown bursts of flavor that feel unique to Blizzard. The characters, voice acting, environments, and mechanics showcase how much fun the artists and developers can have with their work. However, they’ve all faced one similar problem: Being chewed up and spit out by players. Simply put, there’s limited reason to keep playing once you get your reward.

That brings us to Hearthstone’s newest addition in the Solo Adventure category…

The Dalaran Heist

Launching on May 16th, Hearthstone’s next Solo Adventure will be “The Dalaran Heist”. What makes it so unique compared to previous Adventures and Missions? Well, it’s going to include elements from both, while adding A LOT more incentive for multiple playthroughs. The Wings are now referred to as Chapters, which cost 700 gold, or $7, each, and there will be five Chapters total (with the first Chapter being free). You can also unlock all five for $20.

Each Chapter contains unique bosses and a unique “Rule”. Rules are effects that last throughout your run. The Chapters, along with their Rule, are as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Dalaran Bank – Your opponent’s board starts with a 0/3 “Cache of Cash” minion on it. If destroyed, both players get two coins.
  • Chapter 2: The Violet Hold – Each player’s board has one “Imprisoned Minion” on it. Imprisoned Minions are untargetable, and contain a minion who will become active after a certain number of turns.
  • Chapter 3: Streets of Dalaran – Each player’s board is taken up by three “Cart” minions. Carts are untargetable and stay for the length of the game.
  • Chapter 4: The Underbelly – All minions have their attack and health swapped.
  • Chapter 5: Kirin Tor Citadel – There are four additional encounters to face.

An important thing to note here is that only Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 will be available at launch. The rest will be released over the coming weeks. After you complete each of them you’ll receive three Rise of Shadows Packs.

Looking to change things up? Well, that brings us to our next new feature, “Anomaly Mode”. This mode is available once you have unlocked all five Chapters, and will change the Rule for your run into something random. One example is “Wild Magic”, which makes all spells cast an additional time (with the targets chosen randomly).

Villains and Decks

Now that you know how to play, it’s time to talk about what you’ll be playing. The Dalaran Heist allows you to choose from one of nine Henchmen in The League of E.V.I.L. Each Henchman represents a class from Hearthstone, and will fight The Defenders of Dalaran in a format similar to Dungeon Run and Monster Hunt.

When you play for the first time your Henchman will start with a standard Hero Power and deck. You can unlock addition options quickly, though, as you complete mini-quests throughout your runs. One quest example is to freeze 30 minions, while another is completed by drawing 100 cards. For those who really want to roll the dice, there is also an option to start your run with a completely random deck. Already, you can see that this Solo Adventure provides deep incentive to keep playing past your first run.

Next up is a feature that has been highly requested, which is true deck manipulation. Have you ever picked a card in one of your runs thinking it would get use, only to feel the regret build up after every boss? (Shout out to the three C’thun buff cards I pick that always pay off. Always.) The Dalaran Heist is now introducing “Friendly Encounters”, which allow you to replace the cards in your deck, buff minions, and more. Now you can have a bit more control over your game plan the later a run goes.

The Ending… and the Beginning

Once you’ve crafted your path to victory and defeated all five Chapters, you’ll be curious what’s waiting for you on the other side. Thankfully, Blizzard has given players a good reason to play until the end. The first reward is a Golden Classic pack, along with a Golden copy of “Definitely Not Whizbang”, aka “Zayle, Shadow Cloak”! This card acts very similarly to Whizbang, the Wonderful, and will build you a random EVIL deck every game.

The second reward is access to Heroic mode. By some accounts, Normal mode is a bit under-tuned, so if you enjoy a challenge then Heroic will be waiting for you. In addition, players can earn two special card backs for completing Normal and Heroic modes.

For those interested in their metrics, the game will also be keeping track of your wins per Hero, Hero Power, Deck, and Chapter, so you can have a deeper understanding of your progression.

The most intriguing part of all this? The Dalaran Heist is only the first part of a three-part story, which will be told over each expansion from Year of the Dragon. This is something that has never been done with Solo Adventures, and I’m personally looking forward to how it develops.

Thoughts

Above all else, Blizzard set out to create a Solo Adventure with high levels of replayability. On paper, I’d say they succeeded with The Dalaran Heist. With the ability to change everything from your Hero Power, to your deck, to the Rule that each game must follow, there’s an incredible amount of content to explore. Exponentially more than we’ve seen in the past. Will this translate to a higher play rate in PvE content as this story plays out? Only time will tell.

What this has done is show that Blizzard wants to create more reasons to log into Hearthstone. It also shows a commitment to more content development than we’ve ever seen in the past. Both points are something worth championing, and gives hope that the development doesn’t just stop here.

(Editor’s Note 5/15/2019, 10:18am: Added more information regarding rewards for completion.)

Author,

rudeclouds (Twitch, Twitter)

Rudeclouds is an avid Hearthstone player and streamer. Although there is a competitive focus through hitting Legend each month, their real priority is creating a positive community built from people who spread love, kindness, and good music taste. Rudeclouds also runs a program called The ECBAH Project, which donates 20% of the stream’s revenue to charity every month. If any of that interests you, please feel free to stop by any time!

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