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Game mode

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Hearthstone provides five primary game modes in which to do battle:

Game mode affects several secondary play factors, including matchmaking, rewards, and deck selection. However, the basic rules of play are the same for each game mode.

The tutorial is considered a minor game mode, offering a limited introductory experience to Hearthstone. Unlike true game modes, it is non-repeatable.

In addition to the active game modes, players can also view other players' matches live through Spectator mode. Spectator mode is an observational mode which allows a player the choice of either communicating with the person being spectated, thus affecting the match in progress, or just spectating silently without influencing the match in progress.

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 most typical mode of Hearthstone play, with no cost to enter and competitive matches featuring a consistent set of playable cards and effects. 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. While Arena decks are less predictable than Play mode, Arena is still limited to the regular set of playable cards and effects, without any of the special rules or additions of adventures or Tavern Brawls.

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.

Adventure mode[edit | edit source]

Adventure mode refers to the single-player experience provided by Hearthstone, consisting of the two game modes Practice mode and Adventures, in which the player does battle against computer-controlled opponents.

Practice mode[edit | edit source]

Main article: Practice mode

The first game mode encountered by players following the tutorial is Practice mode. Practice mode allows players to do battle against a selection of nine computer opponents, representing the nine regular playable classes. Players can choose one of two difficulty settings to play against opponents: Basic and Expert. Basic opponents offer players a chance to learn the basics of the game and to explore a new class. Expert opponents offer a stiffer challenge, giving players the chance to try their hand against decks featuring higher rarity cards and synergistic plays. Each opponent's difficulty setting features its own unique deck, so there are in total 18 unique possible decks to face off against. Practice mode is the place for new players to unlock basic cards, and the perfect place to level up heroes and to practice battling in, until they are ready for Play mode and Arena matches. Players are also rewarded 100 gold for defeating all expert heroes.

Adventures and missions[edit | edit source]

Main articles: Adventure, Mission

Adventures are single-player experiences in which the player does battle against special computer-controlled bosses, featuring unique hero powers and special cards. Any adventure that is currently in Standard format will be accessible for purchase with either in-game gold or real money. In early 2017, Blizzard announced that Adventure card sets would be discontinued with the upcoming Year of the Mammoth, and that future expansions, beginning with the second expansion of 2017, would instead feature free, optional, single-player Missions to help develop an expansion's lore and narrative.

Adventures and Missions offer a unique way to play Hearthstone. Each adventure and set of Missions features heroes, cards, art, and music that are in keeping with a specific theme and identity. Players must unlock wings of the adventure to discover new bosses and tackle Class Challenges using specially-prepared decks. Adventures can be played in two difficulty modes, in either Normal or Heroic mode. Missions do not have different difficulty modes, and are instead intended to be challenging overall.

Adventures offer rewards in the form of unique cards not obtainable through other types of play. Additionally, defeating all bosses within an adventure in Heroic mode will award a unique card back. Missions, on the other hand, do not reward unique cards, but rather card packs from their respective expansion.

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.

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.

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.

In development[edit | edit source]

  • The tutorial may be made replayable, and/or expanded into more advanced lessons.

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