Stealing fortunes from one of the great cities of Azeroth has never been more fun…and more of the same.
A few weeks back I wrote a piece on why I was looking forward to Hearthstone’s latest single-player campaign, The Dalaran Heist. I’ve spent far longer than I should care to admit playing and replaying the previous rouge-like Dungeon Run and Monster Hunt modes, both of which managed to offer up the same formula whilst still constantly keeping things exciting. So after seeing The Dalaran Heist in action, to say I was excited to sit down and play it myself is a bit of an understatement. Truthfully, The Heist has been taking up a good portion of my down time lately. When not working on research or writing for this here Internet magazine/blog (what the Hell are we, anyway?), I’ve been chipping away at each chapter, constantly coming back for more. The Dalaran Heist is very good, despite some issues I have with it.
Before I discuss those issues, let me first point out that The Dalaran Heist is BIG. The effort placed into creating so many unique encounters, everything from special voice lines that can only be triggered by special interactions all the way to entire mechanics that fundamentally change the way you look at Hearthstone leads to a rogue-like experience that is nearly always different. New and returning “treasure” cards all sprinkle a hint of extravagance into your deck, often times swinging the entire game in your favour. It feels great to be in the throws of defeat only for your opponent to pull the Kadoom Bot you slipped into their deck and go down in a hail fire. It’s the high highs only luck can bring, as well as the knowledge of how to build the most efficient deck possible to ensure the win. You can’t pick cards to add to your deck willy-nilly, you gotta think that stuff through!
There’s a lot of things to consider when planning your next heist. Which hero should I pick? What passive should I add to my deck? Should I add a passive? Maybe an active treasure card would be better. How will it effect the cards I’m adding? I’m always on my toes trying to think of ways to best synergise my deck. Settling on a strategy that was proved ineffective was never a train-wreck either. Jumping back into a new run is quick and accessible, never feeling like I was wasting my time but rather experimenting with what worked, because there’s a lot to experiment with.
With Normal and Heroic mode, 5 different chapters with unique mechanics, 9 different classes (each with 3 hero powers and decks to unlock) as well as an unlockable anomaly mode to make everything W E I R D, it’s clear to me that the the dev’s decided from the start that this would be a substantial addition for Hearthstone’s single-player content. All the resources were clearly funnelled into quantity, which isn’t a bad thing, don’t get me wrong. I just…look, we’ve seen this sort of thing before, you know? Monster Hunt and Dungeon Run were very, very similar to The Dalaran Heist, just with fewer features. I enjoyed that Hearthstone was doing more experimental single-player content, like the Puzzle Labs within which I spent ages joyfully trying to find lethal in those devilishly designed conundrums. Those breaks from what has become a standard were fresh, and while The Heist is good it’s more a tried and tested formula at this point.
I really do enjoy playing through The Dalaran Heist. It’s a low-stakes, no pressure game to relax and get the brain juices a-flowing. But I’m afraid the novelty of building a deck and fighting off against a series of increasingly powerful enemies is losing its sheen. Despite all the fancy new additions and the overflow of content to sink into, The Dalaran Heist just…didn’t have the magic of those first rogue-like modes. Perhaps this is a symptom of the Hearthstone team finding a successful formula and trying to polish it to perfection. I appreciate the building on from a successful formula, but I still feel there was room to do even crazier stuff with this single-player outing.
There Dalaran Heist is a good, well-designed and incredibly safe single-player campaign. I’m gonna continue playing it, that I assure you. I just don’t think I’ll have the same gleam of excitement in my eye as I do so.
Last Updated: May 31, 2019