Have you been trying out Hearthstone lately? Ever faced an opponent playing with all basic cards, against your huge curated collection? Or more likely have you ever been on the opposite end playing with all basic cards, and facing an opponent having tons of cards with the shiny orange orb at the center of the cards? Ever seen players keeping up the misplays and still praying for a win? Ever seen your opponent draw a late card surge and leech out your life with a string of OP cards? How does this happen? Why does this happen? At what point in the game do you start questioning your morals (and your life as a whole)? How friendly is the game for new players at large? How fair is it? Is it worth getting into after so many years?
A Break from the Real life Card Game
First thing first. You can play Hearthstone on almost any device. Its available as a download on PC, and as an app on App Store and the Play Store. Not available on the consoles though, but with the kind of spread it already has, and if you want to play Hearthstone, you can do so easily, depending on your choice of platform PC or mobile.
Once the game is installed and you have setup a blizzard account, every player needs to go through a simple tutorial which teaches you the basic facts of the game. The tutorial is the same as it was 4 years ago, so while it does a great job at teaching you the basics of the game, it would not prepare you for the updates the game has gone through since.
Practice Mode/Single Player
Once the tutorial is done and dusted with, you would have the option of either starting off with offline Practice Matches where the game teaches the player some basic mechanics, and allows the player to continue to face the AI to unlock all the classes before using them in game against real life opponents. The Practice mode does a better job at teaching you the game, and by the time you are done unlocking all the classes, you would have a vague idea of the different strategies and the different plays which can be used in the game.
Once you are done with the practice mode in Normal, the game unlocks the Expert Practice mode and the Adventure mode, something we will discuss later in the article.
The Play Mode
The Play mode is the other mode which is unlocked from the go. The Play mode is essentially the Multiplayer of the game and pits you against real life opponents in a game of Hearthstone. Players can either start a casual game, or a ranked game, and then wait to be matched against someone.
The game’s engine tries to match you against the best match it can find, given the collection of your card, but it can trip up from time to time. So if you are a new player expect to be squashed a few times.
Arena is a game mode which is unlocked ONLY after you have completed the Practice mode on Normal. In this mode players draft decks from random cards and play with other players till they get three losses. Arena rewards card packs, dust and gold based on the number of wins accumulated. Greater the wins, better the rewards. Simple and straightforward.
Arena is typically the best place for getting free packs, gold or dust to build up a collection, but new players rarely touch arena, mainly because they fear that they do not have enough knowledge for crafting a deck out of random cards. Also, the grind gets a bit tough at the beginner levels, because of the lack of a good deck that can help bring wins to complete the daily quests that earn gold.
There are also 2 Arena modes. Standard and Wild. Standard mode consists of the most recent expansions, while Wild consists of all the expansions and banned cards from Classic and Promo sets. Once again the game’s engine tries to pit you against opponents that best match your collection and your recent stats. This would make newer players adapt more easily to the arena game mode, which also helps them accumulate dust and cards faster. Because of recent changes introduced by Blizzard, exotic Wild cards can no longer be played in Arena, which means it’s a Standard-only affair for now.
Finally and perhaps the most fun is the adventure mode. The Adventure mode is the closest thing to what Hearthstone has for a single player campaign. The players take control of a specific hero, and go through a sequence of card battles unlocking rewards on the way.
Each adventure is divided into wings, and while the first wing is almost always free, the other wings of the adventure can be bought for gold or real life money. This can cost you upto $5 per wing and $20-25 for the entire adventure, depending upon how much you are willing to shell out.
Hopefully this article helps you in understanding the different game modes in Hearthstone. Continuing our series, we will look at the different types of cards in the game, and how they can be crafted and dissassembled. We will also look at the different currencies in the game, and how to best farm them.