Hearthstone provides five primary game modes in which to do battle: Play mode, Adventure mode, the Arena, Friendly Challenge and Tavern Brawl. Game mode affects several secondary play factors, including matchmaking, rewards and deck selection. However, the basic rules of play are the same for each.
In addition to the five active game modes, players can also view other players' matches through Spectator mode. Unlike the other game modes, Spectator mode is purely observational and does not allow the player to affect the match in progress.
The tutorial is considered a minor game mode, offering a limited introductory experience to Hearthstone. Unlike true game modes, it is non-repeatable.
Adventure mode[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Adventure mode
Adventure mode is a single-player game mode in which the player does battle against computer-controlled opponents. Adventure mode has two very different types of game: Practice mode, and individual adventures.
Practice mode[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Practice mode
The first game mode encountered by players following the tutorial is Practice mode. Practice mode is a special type of adventure, which allows players to do battle against a selection of computer opponents, representing the regular playable classes. Players can choose which class to play against, as well as one of two difficulty settings: basic and expert. Each opponent and difficulty setting features its own deck. Unlike other adventures, Practice mode opponents do not have special abilities, but rather represent regular Hearthstone opponents, making it perfect for practising for Play mode and Arena matches.
Basic opponents offer players a chance to learn the basics of the game, explore a new class, or prepare for battle in Play mode. Expert opponents offer a stiffer challenge, giving players the chance to try their hand against decks featuring higher rarity cards and specific plays.
Players can unlock and level heroes in Practice mode, making it the ideal mode for exploring a new class and acquiring its basic cards. The choice of opponent also allows players to focus on problem classes.
Adventures[edit | edit source]
Adventures are single-player experiences in which the player does battle against special computer-controlled bosses, featuring unique hero powers and special cards. New adventures are released regularly, with players able to purchase any adventures currently in Standard format.
Adventures offer a unique way to play Hearthstone. Unlike other types of play, each adventure has a specific theme and identity, and features heroes, cards, art and music in keeping with that setting. Players must unlock wings of the adventure to discover new bosses and tackle Class Challenges using specially-prepared decks. Adventures can be played in Normal or Heroic mode.
Adventures offer rewards in the form of unique cards not obtainable through other types of play. Defeating all bosses within an adventure in Heroic mode will award a unique card back.
Play mode[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Play mode
Play mode matches players against other human players of similar skill, in random matches. Players can choose to play Casual 'friendly' games, or take part in Ranked play, earning ranks and special rewards to reflect their skill and standing within the community.
Play mode represents the standard mode of Hearthstone play. Play mode offers rewards in the form of the completion of daily quests, as well rewarding players with 10 gold for every 3 victories. Participation in Ranked play is also rewarded by earning special card backs and golden heroes.
Arena[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Arena
The Arena offers a unique challenge, with players forging a new deck from a random selection of cards before using it to do battle in a series of games. A successful run in Arena can offer substantial rewards, including gold, Arcane Dust and card packs, but can be costly and difficult to achieve. Access to the Arena is purchased with gold or real money.
Unlike other game modes, the Arena does not use a pre-made deck, but one that is assembled at the start of that Arena run. Upon entering the Arena the player is given a random selection of 3 classes to choose one. Once a class has been chosen, the player is provided with 30 selections of 3 possible cards, choosing one - and only one - from each selection, slowly building a full deck. Unlike other decks, which are limited to 2 of each card, decks made in Arena may feature any number of the same card. As in any game mode, the strength of the deck constructed is a large part of achieving victory, but Arena's randomised process offers players an additional challenge in anticipating the cards on offer.
Once a deck is constructed, the player is placed in a series of matched games using that deck, although the games do not have to be played all at once. Once the player has won 12 games, or lost 3, the Arena run is ended, and the player is offered a reward determined by their accomplishments that run. Players who do well can reap handsome rewards, but failing to achieve a good run can turn the Arena into an expensive gamble.
With its random selection of heroes, the Arena is locked for players until they have unlocked every class.
Friendly Challenge[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Friendly Challenge
Players can choose to issue a Friendly Challenge, inviting players on their friends list to a duel. Friendly Challenges can be regular Standard or Wild format matches, or take place in the latest Tavern Brawl. These unranked matches are not generally eligible for completing quests, with a few explicit exceptions, and will not award gold for wins, but do award experience.
A player can issue a Friendly Challenge to any friend not already in a match, who may choose to accept or decline the challenge. Players can choose which deck to use, although their opponent will be none the wiser until battle begins.
Spectator mode[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Spectator mode
Spectator mode is an observational mode that allows the player to spectate a match being undertaken by one or two other players. The spectator can see the player's cards and all minions, and can mouse over all interface elements as if in control of the game. However, Spectator mode is purely observational and does not allow the player to affect the match in progress.
Tavern Brawl[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Tavern Brawl
Tavern Brawl is a weekly game mode, with a new Tavern Brawl available each week.
Each Tavern Brawl presents a limited time opportunity to face other players in special matches with unique rules. These might be requiring players to use special premade decks, to build decks according to specific guidelines, or even offering buffs to certain minion types. Once the game mode is released, each week will see a new Tavern Brawl, each with its own special rules. Each Tavern Brawl is only available for a short period, after which the mode will close for at least 2 days.
An intentionally "fun" game mode, Tavern Brawls offer unique limited time experiences, with far less of a competitive focus than other game modes, and are intended to be highly accessible, even for players without extensive card collections. However, Tavern Brawls are not unlocked until the player reaches level 20 with at least one class.
Other game modes[edit | edit source]
Tutorial[edit | edit source]
- Main article: Tutorial
The tutorial is the initial experience designed to introduce players to Hearthstone. It is composed of six 'missions', battles against special computer heroes, and must be completed before the player can play Hearthstone proper. The gameplay during the tutorials is heavily directed and limited, featuring special dialogue and instructions. The tutorial is not a regular game mode, as it can only be played once.
In development[edit | edit source]
- The tutorial may be made replayable, and/or expanded into more advanced lessons.