|Standard year, adventures released prior to the previous calendar year are moved to Wild format. Players will still be able to purchase them from within the game or from the Battle.net Shop website. Cards in Wild adventures will 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.
Cards introduced by an adventure form a card set. These cards are obtained through defeating bosses and Class Challenges in the adventure.
Adventures are not available to new players until they have unlocked every class. Practice mode appears in the same Solo Adventures screen alongside adventures, but it is not an adventure itself, but an introductory mode for new players.
In early 2017 the developers announced plans to integrate future adventures into expansions as free content in the form of Missions. Starting with the second expansion of 2017, Knights of the Frozen Throne, each release will feature optional single-player missions, themed around the expansion and serving to illustrate its story, setting and characters. These missions will be free of charge, but will not award specific cards, although they will award card packs for the corresponding expansion (besides Kobolds and Catacombs). Because of this the developers also plan to increase the base difficulty of the missions, but will be removing the separate Heroic versions.
In January 2020, Adventures returned with Galakrond's Awakening, which was an additional fourth card set in the Year of the Dragon. It's unknown if this is the new release plan for each year or simply a special case for the Year of the Dragon's story arc.
- 1 List
- 2 Standard format adventures
- 3 Wild format adventures
- 4 Setting
- 5 Wings
- 6 Class Challenges
- 7 Rewards
- 8 Other features
- 9 Speculation on future adventures
- 10 Trivia
- 11 Gallery
- 12 Patch changes
- 13 References
The following is a list of all single-player Adventures:
- Curse of Naxxramas — July 22, 2014 — Wild
- Blackrock Mountain — April 2, 2015 — Wild
- League of Explorers — November 12, 2015 — Wild
- One Night in Karazhan — August 11, 2016 — Wild
- Galakrond's Awakening — January 21, 2020 — Standard
- Players are allowed to craft and disenchant regular and golden copies of an adventure card for the usual amounts only after being rewarded the card. Once an adventure becomes part of Wild format, its cards can be crafted without the player first obtaining them in the adventure.
- Adventures are able to be purchased with both gold or real money, through either the in-game Shop or the Solo Adventures screen. Wild format adventures can be unlocked and purchased by new players once they advance out of the New Player Ranks in Ranked mode.
Standard format adventures
- Main article: Galakrond's Awakening
Directly following Descent of Dragons, Galakrond's Awakening is a four wing adventure, with each wing split into separate Explorers and E.V.I.L. chapters. Each chapter contains 3 bosses, and the adventure contains 24 bosses total. The adventure contains a total of 35 new collectible cards, gained through completing various aspects of the adventure. The wings of the adventure must be purchased with gold or real money before they can be played or their cards can be collected.
All normal mode Galakrond's Awakening chapters have the player take control of a hero or villain from the Year of the Dragon, and use a pre-built deck. Heroic difficulty has the player create their own decks instead.
Wild format adventures
Curse of Naxxramas
- Main article: Curse of Naxxramas
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.
- Main article: Blackrock Mountain
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
- Main article: The League of Explorers
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.
One Night in Karazhan
- 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.
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.
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.
- Main article: Boss
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", featuring powers far beyond those available to players.
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
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. 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.
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.
Galakrond's Awakening forgoes the usual Normal mode and instead features a Story mode, where the player controls specific named heroes with pre-constructed decks. In Heroic mode, players use their own decks as usual.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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. 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.
Speculation on future adventures
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.
- Only a "very small" portion of players have obtained the adventure card backs granted by defeating Heroic bosses.
- One factor in the development of adventures was the desire to avoid outpacing new players through the regular addition of too many new cards. 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. 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.
- Patch 22.214.171.12474 (2016-04-24):
- The class colours shown on the deck selection screens are now much darker.
- Patch 126.96.36.19951 (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.
- 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."
- Hearthpwn - Year of the Mammoth Clarifications Roundup and Recent Blue Posts. (2017-02-18).
- Ben Brode on Reddit. (2017-03-21).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2017-02-18).
- Developer Insights Live - Year of the Mammoth Q&A. (2017-02-21).
- ChanManV (2014-04-24). Value Town #27 w/ ChanManV, Trump, Gnimsh, and Ben Brode Pt. 1.
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-04-10).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-04-17).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2016-07-01).
- Ben Brode on Twitter. (2015-03-06).
- POLYGON.COM - HEARTHSTONE AND COMMUNITY: INSIDE BLIZZARD'S RADICAL NEW APPROACH TO WORKING WITH PLAYERS. (2016-02-17).
- PlayHearthstone on Twitter. (2016-02-02).