Dungeon Run is a new single player Hearthstone mode set to release as part of the upcoming expansion, Kobolds and Catacombs. Some lucky players at Blizzcon were able to play a slightly edited version of it. Similar to the Lich King battles from last expansion, you will have to complete some of the Dungeon Run in order to unlock additional rewards. Just like the Lich King fight, you’ll only have to do it once, but you’ll get a special card back for beating it with every class.
What Is Dungeon Run?
In Dungeon Run, you will choose a class and be given ten random cards to start your deck with. You also only start with a hero health of 20. But don’t worry, your first opponent will only have ten health. Even the newest of players should have no problem beating this first opponent. (Note that the health of both you and your opponents will scale up throughout the run.) The version featured at Blizzcon only went up to the third boss, but in it the player’s hero health went up by five maximum health each round, while the opponent’s went up ten. This means that in the third fight both the player and opponent will have 30 max health to start off – ignoring other factors, of course.
These ‘other’ factors are the treasures and cards that you earn for defeating the bosses. After you defeat each boss, you are given rewards. After every boss you are able to choose three new cards to put in your deck. You’re presented with three groups of three cards, and choose one to add to your deck. The groups of cards will have synergies to them, such as Dragons or Elementals. It is worth noting that while aggressive decks might seem appealing, the enemy health will continue increasing, making them less and less potent throughout your run. There are a total of eight bosses, so they’ll get pretty darn strong over time!
The other thing that you get to choose is a treasure. In the Blizzcon version you were able to pick a treasure after every boss, but it has been confirmed that in the actual version you’ll get one after every other boss – one, three, five, and seven. The treasures can be passives that affect your deck or hero, or they can be actual cards that are shuffled into your deck. The passives are incredibly strong, with buffs like doubling your hero health, or giving all your minions +1/+1. The cards themselves may be even stronger, with the incredibly strong one from the featured video being a 1/4 weapon with Poisonous and Mega-Windfury (can attack four times in one turn). These treasures are what will make your deck strong. Apparently, there are over 40 treasures to choose from, and you get to choose from three each time. Every Dungeon Run will be different in this respect.
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Lackluster Rewards From Dungeon Run
The biggest downside for me with Dungeon Run is that Blizzard doesn’t want players to get too invested in single player content. Particularly not content that gives you random cards. It doesn’t help their bottom line in any way. They want you to enjoy it, but not play it exclusively. As such, there are no significant rewards for playing the mode. You’ll get cards the first time through, and if you beat all nine classes you’ll get a card back, but after that, there are no more rewards.
In an interview, one of the developers said:
“The reward moments are the treasures you earn after every boss defeat–you’re paid awesome treasure, which is just a completely broken card if you had them in ranked mode. It feels satisfying, and the progression you’re making from a really basic deck of ten cards will probably be the strongest deck you’ve ever gotten your hands on. To me, the pressure is huge, and the reward as well.”
The treasure cards will certainly be fun to play with during the runs, but I doubt too many players will go back for more after they have gotten the card back. I saw some suggestions that we get ten gold for every three bosses defeated, to emulate ladder play. I personally am a big fan of this suggestion, because I love the idea of Dungeon Run and I want it to be something I play extensively, not just as a novelty.
Making Hearthstone More Single Player Friendly
Something that Hearthstone has never truly embraced is the players who want to play Hearthstone as a single player game. Of my real life friends who play Hearthstone, two of the six or seven only play against the Innkeeper. They aren’t huge competitive gamers, and they just enjoy trying out decks in a low stress environment. They don’t put money into the game, they rarely get new cards, but they still play because Hearthstone is a fun game to fool around in.
To me, this feels like a very untapped market, and it’s one that I’d like to see Blizzard continue to support. Giving out 10-30 gold per Dungeon Run is absolutely nothing to their bottom line. They don’t even have to make quests completable in Dungeon Run. Just give a meager amount of gold, so the thousands of players like my friends who just play solo still have some means of progression.
There’s always been a lot of talk about how Hearthstone doesn’t have a very good model for free-to-play players. The game is, to put it bluntly, too expensive. But lately, Blizzard has been making some very noticeable changes for the better in this area, putting out features that are designed to make the game a bit less expensive across the board. There’s still a long way to go, and little gestures like this would be great to get us there. It won’t make a serious difference in the long run, but it will feel nice, promote their new content, and get people enjoying the game even more. I know solo players aren’t what they want to cater Hearthstone towards, but really, what’s the harm?