The new solo adventure for Hearthstone is the biggest, most ambitious single-player content developed by the team, and boy-howdy you can see it
I’ll be the first to admit that I can sometimes become…frustrated, shall we say, at video games. I’ve never thrown a controller, mind you, but I have on many occasion alt-F4ed an online match-up due to a certain level of annoyance. I remember it got became particularly bad in early 2017 when I swore off a handful of shooters because of how they were making me react.
In the midst of this game vacuum, I needed to find something more zen. Something that was deep and intricate yet didn’t take itself so seriously. It was at this point that I discovered Hearthstone, and after two years of playing Blizzard’s card game, I’m so glad I did. Even though the competitive scene is still fun to participate in, I always find myself gravitating towards the solo adventures, games within a game that really have fun with the whacky interactions possible in Hearthstone. So now that The Dalaran Heist has been announced, I can confirm just how excited I am for it.
See, the beautiful thing about Hearthstone is just how crazy it can get. Plenty people swear off the game’s RNG based features as detracting from the core experience, and although that may be true for multiplayer games to some extent, it thrives in the single-player components. Continuing the trend of rogue-like gameplay introduced in Dungeon Run and expanded on in Monster Hunt, The Dalaran Heist is all about building the perfect team for pulling off the crime of the century. The League of E.V.I.L has banded together to steal everything that isn’t nailed down in the iconic World of Warcraft city. To do this, you’ll have to build your deck to survive the defences of Dalaran and make it out alive.
The Dalaran Heist is huge. It’s easily the largest solo content Hearthstone has ever provided players and you can see the effort the dev team has placed into it. Players will be able to choose between 9 new heroes, all retaining the existing in-game archetypes, and face off against different bosses to eventually claim what is wrongly theirs. The Dalaran Heist is all about customisation, playing how you want to play and testing out unique deck recipes to discover that the impossible win condition you accidentally stumbled into is actually doable.
Players will be able to switch out between three unique hero powers, three specialised starter decks and even adapt and change your existing load-out in the middle of a run thanks to a sly barman or two. Taking the groundwork laid by Dungeon Run, players aren’t just building a deck now, hoping they’ll pick up synergistic cards. If they don’t like the direction they’ve taken, or feel a change will be necessary to survive the more challenging bosses, they can now replace cards they think have run their course, adapting to any unfolding situation.
To make it through Dalaran, players will have to stare down a veritable army of goons each progressively becoming more challenging as you progress. While Dungeon Run had a pool of 48 unique bosses, The Dalaran Heist is boosting that number to 75 to ensure that no run feels exactly the same. Over the game’s five chapters, each containing a thematic mechanic such as unlockable treasure vaults in Chapter One: The Dalaran Bank, you’ll be constantly trying to plan for your next opponent, outwitting the game itself.
The Dalaran Heist is said to be difficult, the devs themselves confirmed it was the most challenging game mode they’ve ever developed, so expect it to take up a good amount of your time. The difficulty factor, alongside Normal and Heroic mode (for absolute masochists, I’m sure) as well as Anomaly Mode (or “Zany-Oh-My-God-What-Is-Going-On-Mode”) that unlocks after completing all five chapters means there’s a lot to do in The Dalaran Heist.
But what would a Heist be without making out with some ill-earned treasure? Players can expect to earn 15 Rise of Shadows card packs throughout the campaign and 1 Golden Classic card pack for completing it. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to snag a free legendary card, Zayle, Shadow Cloak and two snazzy card backs for completing Normal and Heroic Mode respectively. You’ll be able to join the villainous supergroup for 700 in-game gold per chapter, or if you prefer $6.99 per wing and $19.99 for all five wings and with all the content that’s on offer here in a game that’s free-to-play, that seems like a pretty good deal.
Look, I’ll cut to the chase here. I’m a big fan of Hearthstone. I’ve spent many, many hours chipping away at Dungeon Runs, Monster Hunt and Rastakhan’s Rumble and I still find myself slinking back in to try out new strategies. The Dalaran Heist seems to be promising the same random, unpredictable fun of those adventures…but just more of it. Taking those campaigns as a framework and building up from every direction is exciting because it challenges what Hearthstone can be. I’ve been adamant that Blizzard could make some seriously great single player content in Hearthstone and while their previous adventures have been good, this feels like proof that there’s more under the hood than just ranks and levels.
I think for the longest time the solo content of Hearthstone was seen as an add-on by the community, something to idly check in on once they were tired of ranked play for the day. The Dalaran Heist is standing up in front of the players and begging to be explored, offering an experience of longevity rather than just new expansion hype to be forgotten about once the meta settles.
I’ve played a lot of games in my short-lived existence and many come and go once you’ve got the gist of it. Yet two and half years later, I’m still playing Hearthstone. Sitting down with some friends and trying to solve a tricky lethal puzzle or support their ranked games never grows old; it’s relaxing to me. I don’t have to worry about reflexes or team mates letting me down, I can chat with my friends and play some Wizard Gambling, letting the conversation go anywhere it wants because we’re just hanging out. That’s what Hearthstone is to me: A Hangout Game. A low-pressure pastime that never fails to hold my interest or provide me and my friends with a good belly laugh when something unexpected happens.
The Dalaran Heist is launching on the 16th of May. Yeah, I’m a little excited.
Last Updated: May 14, 2019