Hearthstone Solo adventures is something that Blizzard strayed away from for a long time. Playing with other players has always been the main focus, and even the missions could only be done in competitive play. However, around a year ago they finally gave in and reworked the system, adding solo adventures and more ways to complete quests.
Quests and their Downfalls
Daily quests, or missions, have long been a bone of contention for many players. There have always been missions that are not enjoyable to complete, such as winning games with specific classes. Because they always specify winning, if you don’t already have a deck prepared that suits the requirements, they can be exceptionally difficult to complete, and take quite a long time. They did a revamp of a handful of quests a few months back, but the ones that they added require new decks to be made.
These quests were difficult because you had to delve into classes you didn’t know well, and you were also required to have certain cards. Whether that meant enough cards to build a deck that could win, or having specifically Murlocs or Pirates for quests, everything came down to owning cards. For free to play players this was a huge issue. They use the quests as their main source of income, but were required to use their precious resources in order to complete the quests in the first place. Re-rolling has always been an option, but re-rolling the higher profit quests certainly doesn’t feel good.
It was long suspected that this was intentional, forcing players to spend their hard-earned money in order to attain more. In this way you would always be forced to play a variety of classes and decks, and feel the obligation to spend real money in order to keep up. This is obviously a tinfoil hat theory, but it also isn’t particularly far-fetched.
The Quest Solution
Blizzard finally gave in and presented a solution to the quests. You still can’t do them in solo adventures. However, you can not do them with a friend. This was a nice middle ground which still promoted playing with others and bringing new players in the game, but allowed people to complete their quests without being forced to buy new cards.
Rather than be forced to complete your quests in competitive modes, you can now complete them in a custom game with a friend. There are a base level of moves required (which, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure of), but I’ve never had an issue if we actually play the game out, in the sense that the loser hits zero life points. Surrendering can be tricky.
This allowed players with smaller collections to build theirs for free, without feeling bad that they couldn’t complete their dailies. It was a huge boost to bringing people into the game since it not only provided a clear source of income, but also created a thing for friends to do with each other every day.
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Allowing quests to be completed with friends created a great way for new players to earn an income. However, there is still a huge gap between having a small income and a few cards, and being able to actually play competitive Hearthstone. The price for admission into competitive has become rather prohibitive of late. So how does Blizzard get around this and keep people playing, without reducing their profit margin? By creating solo adventures!
I realize this was a very cynical entry, but solo adventures are an amazing way to play Hearthstone. They are a no-risk, no-stress setting in which you can relax and play the game. It doesn’t matter how many cards you have, as many of the solo adventures give you cards to use for your run so anyone can play. This not only provides a great way for new players to play, but it also gives them a great way to experience new cards.
From personal experience, I have several friends who play Hearthstone casually, and they all love the fact that the new adventures are free. They can casually play, and enjoy the game.
Blizzard has also been making massive improvements on the introduction to each adventure by creating full cinematic sequences and stories to lead the players along. For someone looking for a good time, this is a perfect way to ease them into enjoying Hearthstone as a whole.
I personally feel that these solo adventures will be the saving grace for Hearthstone. There is no denying that the game is losing popularity, and that the cost of startup is extremely prohibitive. Short of changing their pricing model, solo adventures are the best possible way to keep existing players playing, and new players interested, particularly among casual players. Since Hearthstone has been pushing its mobile app it is promoting the casual play-style far more than the competitive one. For these players, solo adventures are their bread and butter: calm, relaxing, and inexpensive.
Moving forward, I think that the best way to have people continue playing, without doing a full price readjustment, is to push the solo adventures even further. The biggest step would be allowing quests to be completed in solo adventures, or to give a small gold amount for completing the adventures. It takes quite a while to run through a full adventure, and you have to actually be successful. Giving ten gold for a proper completion would be a nice bonus without affecting the economy of the game. You can even cap it at 100 gold per day just like normal games, in order to prevent bot abuse.
These small bonuses are the sort of thing that will have players stick around longer and actually enjoy playing the game, even when they aren’t in the mood to be competitive, or have the cards to compete. This would promote the casual atmosphere that Hearthstone is trying to push for as well, which is something that the game has been sorely lacking for a long time. Allowing players to complete quests would only push for more play time. Would these changes make Hearthstone more single player than multiplayer? Yes. Is that a bad thing though?