Adventure

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Choosing an adventure
Game formats
Wild icon.png
Each Standard year, any adventures released prior to the previous calendar year are marked as Wild format. The adventures are removed from the Shop, and players will be unable to purchase them unless they have already purchased at least one wing. Cards from Wild adventures become available for crafting and disenchanting for regular Arcane Dust amounts. For more information, see Game format.

Adventures are a single-player game mode in which the player participates in adventure-themed matches played against computer-controlled opponents. Adventures can be selected in the Solo Adventures screen, accessed through the Solo Adventures button from the main menu.

Adventures offer a unique way to play Hearthstone. Unlike other types of play, each adventure has a specific theme and identity, featuring heroes, cards, art and music in keeping with that setting, including some cards and mechanics not playable in more traditional modes. Past adventures featured wings that the player would unlock to discover new bosses to play against, using specially-prepared user-made decks, and new Class Challenges to play using pre-made decks. Adventures can be played in two difficulty settings: either Normal or Heroic mode. All adventures are played in Wild format, allowing the use of any cards in the player's collection.

Adventures must be purchased with gold or real money, through either the Shop or the Adventure screen. Only adventures which are currently part of Standard format can be purchased. However, if a player has purchased at least one wing of an adventure, they will be able to unlock all the other wings at any time in the future, even after the adventure has left Standard format.

Cards introduced to the game through a specific adventure form a new card set, and are initially obtainable only through the corresponding adventure, through defeating specific bosses and Class Challenges. Once the player has obtained a card from an adventure set, they are then allowed to craft and disenchant regular and golden copies for the usual amounts. Once an adventure becomes part of Wild format, its cards can be crafted without the player obtaining them first, providing players who had never purchased the adventure with a means of obtaining the adventure's cards.

Adventures are not available to new players until they have unlocked every class.[1] Practice mode is a type of adventure, but functions differently from the other adventures in that it is an introductory mode to new players. Practice mode is available to all players.

In early 2017 the developers announced plans to integrate future adventures into expansions as free content. Starting with the second expansion of 2017, each release will feature optional single-player missions, themed around the expansion and serving to illustrate its story, setting and characters.[2][3] These missions will be free of charge,[3] but will not award specific cards, although they may award card packs for the corresponding expansion.[4] Because of this the developers also plan to increase the base difficulty of the missions, but will be removing the separate Heroic versions.[5] Further details will be announced later in the year.

Standard format adventures[edit | edit source]

The following adventures are currently part of Standard format, and are available for purchase by all players. Completing encounters within these adventures will grant unique cards not obtainable by any other means. All cards from these adventures are currently valid in Standard format play.

One Night in Karazhan[edit | edit source]

One Night in Karazhan banner.jpg
Main article: One Night in Karazhan

One Night in Karazhan is Hearthstone's fourth adventure, released August 11, 2016.

The adventure features 13 bosses, spread across four wings (plus a free introductory encounter), as well as a more challenging Heroic mode, and 9 Class Challenges. The adventure features 45 new collectible cards, as well as a new battlefield and 2 new card backs.

One Night in Karazhan sees players return to the reimagined glory days of the mystical tower of Karazhan, when a young Medivh was not only the Guardian of Azeroth, but also its most eligible bachelor. After earning the admiration of all through foiling the schemes of the fiendish Arch-Thief Rafaam, emerging triumphant from the Grand Tournament, and resisting even the whispers of the Old Gods themselves, the player is invited to a magical one night-only party that is sure to be talked about for centuries. However, upon arriving, the player finds Medivh missing, and the tower's magical enchantments run amok, turning delightful tricks into deadly traps. It's up to the player to find Medivh, restore order to the crazed tower, and save the day - just in time for the tower's big night.

Wild format adventures[edit | edit source]

The following adventures are part of Wild format, meaning they are no longer available for purchase for new players, although those who have already purchased at least one wing can still purchase the remaining wings individually. The cards granted from these adventures can be crafted without needing to play the adventures, although doing so for the first time will still reward players with copies of the cards. The cards from these adventures are only valid in Wild format play.

Curse of Naxxramas[edit | edit source]

Curse of Naxxramas banner.jpg
Main article: Curse of Naxxramas

Curse of Naxxramas is Hearthstone's first adventure, released July 22, 2014.

Set in the Scourge necropolis of Naxxramas, Curse of Naxxramas is a five-wing adventure, with each wing representing one of the wings of the World of Warcraft Naxxramas raid instance, containing 15 bosses total. The adventure features a total of 30 new collectible cards, gained through completing various aspects of the adventure and a new battlefield. The wings of the adventure must be purchased with gold or real money before they can be played or their cards can be collected.

The adventure itself comprises a series of unique boss battles distributed among the wings. Players are able to tackle bosses in several different difficulty modes: the basic Normal mode, the grueling Heroic mode, or Class Challenges bringing strategic twists to existing boss encounters using special pre-selected decks.

Blackrock Mountain[edit | edit source]

Blackrock Mountain banner.jpg
Main article: Blackrock Mountain

Blackrock Mountain is Hearthstone's second adventure, released April 2, 2015.

Home to Ragnaros the Firelord and his fire elementals, Nefarian and the black dragonflight, and an army of Dark Iron dwarves, the adventure features 5 wings, with 17 boss encounters in total, and provides 31 new collectible cards for players to add to their collections, as well as a new card backs and a new battlefield. The adventure features a Heroic mode and 9 Class Challenges.

The League of Explorers[edit | edit source]

The League of Explorers banner.jpg
Main article: The League of Explorers

The League of Explorers is Hearthstone's third adventure, released November 12, 2015.

The adventure contains 4 wings, with 13 boss encounters, as well as a Heroic mode and 9 Class Challenges. In addition to the usual boss battles, the adventure also debuts a new kind of encounter - where the player must survive through several rounds of traps, ambushes and environmental events to escape to safety. The adventure adds 45 new collectible cards, as well as new card backs and 2 new battlefields.

The League of Explorers sees the player following four famed adventurers - Elise Starseeker, Reno Jackson, Sir Finley Mrrgglton, and Brann Bronzebeard - on a journey through some of Azeroth's most exotic and dangerous locations, on a quest to recover an ancient Titan artifact - the Staff of Origination. As each wing is completed, players gather pieces of the Staff, and put them on display in the museum. However, the League of Explorers are not the only ones searching for the artifact, and danger waits within the shadows.

Setting[edit | edit source]

Most adventures, such as Curse of Naxxramas, Blackrock Mountain and One Night in Karazhan, are set firmly in World of Warcraft lore. While Curse of Naxxramas is specifically based on the Naxxramas raid, Blackrock Mountain incorporates several raids and dungeons from the Blackrock Mountain zone, and One Night in Karazhan reimagines the setting and characters from the Karazhan raid. In all three cases, the adventures feature specific bosses, abilities and characters from the corresponding instances.

The game's third adventure, League of Explorers, departs from this formula somewhat. The adventure comprises a journey through several areas, most of which are already well-known, including some bosses which have been previously featured in World of Warcraft. However, while the previous adventures simply recreated instances, LoE creates an entirely new narrative, including a storyline that moves beyond established events within World of Warcraft, and features several encounters and characters original to Hearthstone - including the adventure's arch-villain.

Wings[edit | edit source]

Each adventure is split across multiple 'wings'. Each wing comprises a small sequence of boss encounters, with rewards from defeating each encounter as well as from completing the wing. Each wing features a number of bosses as well as one or more Class Challenges. Each boss must be defeated in order to unlock the next boss in that wing.

All adventures currently feature 4-5 wings, with the wings unlocking one per week following the adventure's initial release. Each wing must be purchased or otherwise unlocked using in-game gold or real money before it can be played. Wings are also released progressively, and cannot be unlocked until they have been released. Each wing can be purchased separately, or can be bought in multi-wing discounts if using real money. Wings must be purchased in order, and unlocking certain wings may require completion of previous wings.

Encounters[edit | edit source]

Main article: Boss
Prince Malchezaar(42084).png

Each adventure comprises a series of encounters or boss battles, regular matches with a few specific differences.

Each encounter features one or more computer-controlled heroes or "bosses". These unique heroes feature their own emotes and dialogue, and generally represent major characters from World of Warcraft. As in regular matches, the player must defeat the boss in order to win the match. In some cases, defeating the first boss will cause them to be replaced with a second boss, who must also then be defeated in order to win the match. Each boss must be defeated in order to unlock the next boss in that wing.

Each boss comes with one or more unique Hero Powers, and their own deck, which generally contain some boss cards, special and often extremely powerful cards which are not available to players. Bosses' decks are not subject to the 2-per-deck rule, and may contain a mix of neutral cards, boss cards and class cards from a variety of different classes, otherwise unseen within the game. The combination of boss cards, boss Hero Powers and specially prepared decks make boss encounters unique and potentially very challenging, often with a specific theme or mechanic to the encounter. Boss abilities are frequently "totally unfair",[6] featuring powers far beyond those available to players.

Almost all boss battles have the player going first, and the boss second. This means that the boss will generally get The Coin. One exception is Patchwerk from Curse of Naxxramas.

Unlike other modes of play, boss battles do not feature a turn timer. This allows the player to take as long as they like to assess the situation each turn.

Certain boss encounters may also feature special limitations, such as the Heroic Loatheb encounter, during which it is not permitted to use Alexstrasza. These limitations are not announced within the game, but can be found in each boss' wiki article.

Escape encounters

Introduced with The League of Explorers, the "escape encounter" is a variant on the standard boss encounter, in which the goal is not to defeat the enemy boss, but simply to survive for a stated number of turns. Bosses in escape encounters are Immune, and cannot be defeated conventionally, usually representing the environment or location through which the player is escaping, rather than an enemy as such. Escape bosses have no deck, and do not directly play cards, instead using their Hero Power each turn to bring special events and obstacles into play, which the player must survive. Current escape encounters are Temple Escape and Mine Cart Rush.

Normal and Heroic[edit | edit source]

Adventures have two difficulties: Normal and Heroic mode. The difference lies in the bosses, with Heroic bosses featuring more powerful Hero Powers and special cards, as well as more Health and/or Armor, and in many cases different decks.

Normal mode is the default mode for playing adventures, designed to allow players of all abilities to participate in and complete the adventure. For less experienced players Normal mode encounters can vary in difficulty from easy to tough, but should be beatable with a little experimentation with different classes and/or deck types to match the design of the encounter. For more experienced players Normal mode is generally relatively easy. Defeating a boss in Normal mode is required to gain their card rewards and to progress within the adventure; for this reason they are designed to ultimately be beatable by all players.

In contrast, Heroic mode is intended to offer a more substantial challenge. Heroic bosses usually require several attempts to defeat even by experienced players, and generally require the construction of new and specific decks in order to counter the boss' unique abilities and style. Heroic bosses are therefore designed to offer a challenge not only in play, but in deck construction.

Completing Heroic mode usually requires either substantial ability in deck construction and encounter assessment, or the use of a specific guide. Even with a guide, players may still find Heroic mode bosses quite a challenge, as well as an interesting experience in learning the specific behaviors of that encounter.

Ultimately, Normal mode encounters are designed to be beatable using only a full collection of basic cards, while Heroic mode encounters expect players to have at least some other cards.[7] In some cases, this can mean Heroic mode encounters which are extremely difficult to beat without certain cards, although there is usually a range of possible strategies and decks capable of achieving victory. In testing, the Hearthstone team has ensured that all Normal mode bosses can be beaten with basic cards.[8]

For all current adventures, defeating all bosses of that adventure in Heroic mode will grant an exclusive card back, the same one used by Heroic bosses within the adventure.

Access

In each adventure, the Heroic mode of each wing must first be unlocked through completing that wing in Normal mode. Once unlocked, the bosses of that wing can be tackled in Heroic mode in any order.

Class Challenges[edit | edit source]

The League of Explorers Class Challenges screenshot.jpg

In addition to regular boss encounters using the player's own decks, players may also choose to take on Class Challenges, which are boss encounters that give the player specially-prepared class-specific decks for them to battle bosses with. This deck, and the enemy's deck, are not directly revealed to the player at any point. Normally the decks featured consist of 30 cards in total, and similar to Arena decks, they are not restricted to the 2-copies-per-card limit found in constructed play. Class Challenges offer a new twist on the adventure's regular encounters, often showing the player different deck archetypes that can be created for a class from using cards specifically released from that adventure set.

Completing each Class Challenge will reward the player with two copies of a new class-specific card for that class. Each Class Challenge features the related card in the challenge, as well as often including other cards from that adventure, which may not yet be available for players to collect. The player's decks often showcase a specific deck archetype, demonstrating how the related card can be used to great effect, such as by including several other cards into the deck with which the card has good synergy. This synergy often extends to the Hero Powers and cards used by the Challenge's boss.

Class Challenges are initially locked, and are unlocked by completing their corresponding adventure wing. Each Class Challenge is fought against a boss from that wing. Furthermore, Class Challenges do not have Heroic modes.

Rewards[edit | edit source]

Adventure cards[edit | edit source]

Adventure cards are cards obtained through adventures, the primary form of reward for adventures. Adventures contain around 30-45 new collectible cards each, including a mix of neutral and class cards.

Standard format adventure cards are normally obtained through defeating a particular boss or Class Challenge for that adventure. A few adventure cards are instead awarded immediately upon purchasing the adventure. All non-legendary cards are awarded x2; while legendary cards are awarded x1. Once the regular version of an adventure card has been obtained, both regular and golden versions can be crafted and disenchanted for the usual amounts.

Wild format adventure cards are still obtainable from their respective adventures, if the adventure was already purchased. Otherwise, they will have to be obtained through crafting. Players who did not purchase the adventure before the adventure left Standard format will only be able to obtain the Wild format adventure cards through crafting.

Regarding Arena, once the wing from which a card was rewarded had been released, that card would become available as an Arena pick for all players, regardless of whether a player had collected or unlocked it yet. Similarly, cards in released adventure wings can also be brought into play through effects such as Unstable Portal and Webspinner.

Adventures were released weekly in wings, adding these released cards to the game's main pool of cards on a weekly basis. This is in contrast to expansion cards, which are added to the main pool of cards all at once. This allowed adventure cards to impact the meta progressively over several weeks, rather than all at once like with expansion cards. Adventures also add far smaller amounts of cards to the pool, unlike expansions.

Other rewards[edit | edit source]

  • Defeating all bosses within an adventure in Heroic mode will unlock a unique card back.
  • Adventure matches can earn the player XP, but cannot be used to complete daily quests, with the exception of the "Total Dominance" quest.

Other features[edit | edit source]

Each adventure features a unique battlefield, used for all matches in that adventure. These battlegrounds are initially usable only during their corresponding adventure, but at some point following the release of the adventure are added to the rotation for regular play.

Each adventure also features unique music initially only heard while playing that adventure, and may bring new pieces of music added to the game's general musical repertoire.[9] Once the accompanying battlefield has been released into general circulation, the adventure's music may also be made available, exclusively for use with the battlefield.

Practice mode[edit | edit source]

Main article: Practice mode

Practice mode is a special type of adventure in which the player does battle against computer-controlled versions of the regular playable classes. Players can select the opponent of their choice, and either Basic or Expert difficulty, determining the deck and tactical ability of the AI opponent. Practice mode is the ideal mode for learning the basics of the game, exploring new classes, leveling or unlocking heroes and trying out new strategies.

Unlike other adventures, practice mode does not feature wings or boss progression, although the player must unlock each class before Expert difficulty becomes available. Practice mode matches are played against The Innkeeper, but unlike other adventures do not feature special dialogue or voiceovers.

Speculation on future adventures[edit | edit source]

While Curse of Naxxramas reflected the World of Warcraft raid's second incarnation, the original raid was released as part of 'vanilla' WoW, and the raid and dungeon instances represented in Blackrock Mountain are also mostly from vanilla WoW. The Karazhan raid instance was added with The Burning Crusade, although One Night in Karazhan takes place in a far earlier era. The League of Explorers is an original narrative, but revisits three locations from classic WoW - Uldaman, Zul'Gurub, and the Hall of Explorers inside Ironforge - as well as introducing the Temple of Orsis, an original location set in the Cataclysm zone of Uldum.

The most common thread seems to be focusing on classic and memorable World of Warcraft experiences, almost all based on instances from early in the game's history, albeit with substantial room for reinvention and a fresh, and distinctly Hearthstone, twist. With the exception of the Temple of Orsis' rough setting in Uldum, no adventure has yet been created based upon an instance from later than The Burning Crusade, and with a range of classic raids yet to be explored, it seems likely Hearthstone will see more vintage adventures.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Only a "very small" portion of players have obtained the adventure card backs granted by defeating Heroic bosses.[10]
  • One factor in the development of adventures was the desire to avoid outpacing new players through the regular addition of too many new cards.[11] The boss encounters of adventures offered an alternative form of content, engaging players and freshening the meta, while expanding the card pool by a far smaller amount. The guaranteed cards from adventures also offered a more reliable way for new players to obtain key cards, in contrast to the RNG of card packs.
    • However, with the replacement of adventures with expansions, which increases the yearly card pool by ~100 cards (an increase of ~33%), and enforcing the requirement to rely on the RNG of card packs rather than the guaranteed cards gained from adventures, it is unclear whether this design philosophy for the new player experience still holds.
  • In spring 2016, the developers planned to release one new adventure somewhere in the middle of each year.[12] However, adventure sets were discontinued and replaced with expansions in the 2017 Year of the Mammoth. Instead, free adventure-like optional single-player missions, themed around the expansion and serving to illustrate its story, setting, and characters, will be featured with each expansion, starting with the second expansion of 2017.[2]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

History
The adventure screen prior to the release of The League of Explorers

Patch changes[edit | edit source]

  • Whispers of the Old Gods logo.png Patch 5.0.0.12574 (2016-04-24):
    • The class colours shown on the deck selection screens are now much darker.
  • The League of Explorers logo.png Patch 4.2.0.12051 (2016-03-14):
    • The rules for which cards are uncraftable have changed. Cards from Standard format adventures can now be disenchanted, and cards from Wild format adventures can be crafted and disenchanted at any time. Previously all non-golden adventure cards were uncraftable, with golden versions craftable once the regular version had been earned.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Tested by User:Taohinton 2017-01-04: Selecting the Normal mode button on an adventure in the Solo Adventures screen produces a pop-up text box with the words "Requires unlocking every class."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hearthpwn - Year of the Mammoth Clarifications Roundup and Recent Blue Posts. (2017-02-18). 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ben Brode on Reddit. (2017-03-21). 
  4. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-02-18). 
  5. Developer Insights Live - Year of the Mammoth Q&A. (2017-02-21). 
  6. ChanManV (2014-04-24). Value Town #27 w/ ChanManV, Trump, Gnimsh, and Ben Brode Pt. 1
  7. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-04-10). 
  8. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-04-17). 
  9. http://www.hearthpwn.com/news/534-curse-of-naxxramas-pricing-structure-heroic-mode
  10. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-01). 
  11. Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-06). 
  12. POLYGON.COM - HEARTHSTONE AND COMMUNITY: INSIDE BLIZZARD'S RADICAL NEW APPROACH TO WORKING WITH PLAYERS. (2016-02-17).