Entry costs are a big problem for Hearthstone. Existing players facing growing expenditure to keep up with the new cards and keep their decks relevant in the constantly shifting Standard meta, while new players face an almost impossible outlay to build a competitive deck.
But upcoming expansion Kobolds and Catacombs will bring with it a new single-player mode that potentially offers a decent and ongoing experience for new players – and hopefully for Blizzard a way to turn them into future paying players.
Next month’s Kobolds and Catacombs expansion will arrive alongside a completely free new mode called Dungeon Run. It’s a single player experience and does not rely on any pre-built game decks.
Instead, every run will start off with players having just half the usual health (15) and a fixed deck of ten cards. With each victory, players will earn a new randomly selected card to use on the run. Once defeated, however, it’s game over – a permadeath system means starting over.
This is good, however. With every run starting on a level playing field, it matters not whether you’ve been playing for years and own the full Standard collection or have just started and own absolutely nothing. It could very much be the ‘in’ that Hearthstone has been looking for.
Each run can potentially last for as long as eight games. There are XXX bosses in total (along with several non-boss rooms) and their selection and order is randomised every game, leading to tremendous replay value. Add to this the fact that players have the choice of nine heroes to start with ever game, too, increasing the potential deck variety even further.
There are similarities to the Arena, although Dungeon Run will not require tokens or money to play, and there’s no fear of facing up against as experienced human opponent.