Quests are one of the biggest additions to Hearthstone in the upcoming Journey to Un'Goro expansion, and will completely change how players approach the game.
Featured image via Hearthstone Top Decks.

Quests: Making Hearthstone Great Again

Mar 26, 2017
Featured image via Hearthstone Top Decks.

Hearthstone’s Journey to Un’Goro expansion will be launching in the next week or so. It will bring many changes with it, including a Standard rotation and 135 new cards. One of the new card types that Blizzard is introducing are Quests. We’ve talked about quests quite a bit, but here’s a quick refresher: Quests are one mana cards that are automatically included in your opening mulligan. You can throw them away if you’d like, but once you play them, the card monitors your progress towards a specific goal. Once the goal is met, a five mana card is added to your hand. The rewards for completing Quests are extremely powerful, offering a wide range of buffs, effects, and interactions.

There are nine different Quests included in Journey to Un’Goro, one for each class. Now, they are legendary, so don’t expect to open all of them. That being said, Quests are one of the best things that have happened to Hearthstone in a long time. They promote deckbuilding, strategy, and results-oriented playstyles. Let’s delve into everything that the new Quest system offers.

Reno Jackson

Reno Jackson is a 4/6 Minion who costs six mana to play. His card text reads: "Battlecry: If your deck has no duplicates, fully heal your hero."When talking about deckbuilding, Reno Jackson is one of the most important cards. He singlehandedly changed the meta, and dozens of decks were built entirely around him. His Battlecry was powerful enough to warrant changing around your entire deck for it. It promoted quite a bit of deckbuilding. Reno was a great card, and it will be a bittersweet moment for Hearthstone fans when he rotates out of Standard next week.

Quests are very similar to Reno Jackson in the deckbuilding regard. Like Reno, they have incredibly powerful effects, but only if you build a deck around them. The conditions for completing Quests are specific enough that you can’t just throw them in any deck–unless you’re including the right cards, you won’t be able to finish the Quest.

Part of what makes Quests an excellent addition to Hearthstone is that most of them can be completed using cards that already exist. Only a few of the revealed Quests feel like they will actually need new Un’Goro cards to be viable. With the addition of only nine cards, Blizzard have opened up entire new decklists and forced us to reexamine the tools we already have at our disposal.

Quests are easy to use and easy to build around, at least conceptually. They aren’t auto-fill, for the most part, and your ability to build around them creatively will be rewarded. They give players a clear framework to keep in mind when deckbuilding, something many people appreciate, and they allow entirely new viable decks all on their own.

Consistency and Rewarding Play

Consistency is something that Hearthstone has been greatly lacking. The best way to get a consistent one drop is to have ten of them in your deck. While this makes sense, it isn’t particularly enjoyable or exciting. These problems arise a lot, particularly when playing decks that have particular win conditions. It feels really bad to be lacking cards when you need them, but it feels worse to have ‘that one card’ on the bottom of your library. Freeze Mage, for example, had extremely difficult games if Emperor Thaurisan was their bottom card. Control Warrior cried when Justicar was their bottom card. The list goes on.

Lakkari Sacrifice is a Quest for Warlock. If you discard six cards, you're rewarded with a Nether Portal. Nether Portal is a five mana spell that reads: "Open a permanent portal that summons 3/2 Imps."

Even worse than missing a necessary card is the feeling that you’re building towards something only to never achieve it. This can be seen to some extent with Reno Jackson. You build an entire deck around him, but you lose consistency by doing so. If you don’t
draw him, you’re just playing a bad deck. Think of decks that have cards like N’Zoth or C’Thun. You’ve been actively playing cards with the goal of drawing those particular legendaries. But the game finishes and you not only didn’t draw them, but had no way to bring them out earlier. The only way to improve your consistency was to draw a lot of cards. Again, this kind of behavior is sensible, but not exciting.

Quests address the issue of unlucky draws by starting in your opening hand. They aren’t too easy to complete, so that’s not an issue. You start with them and play them turn one, and you immediately have a goal to work towards. Play seven deathrattle minions. Discard six cards. In most cases, completing a Quest doesn’t mean you have to rely on specific draws, since your entire deck can be built around fulfilling the requirements. You can easily control how many of the trigger you would like to run. The consistency of your deck is entirely up to you, and you’re able to play with a goal in mind. With Quests, players are being given an unprecedented level of control over every game of Hearthstone they play.

Class Identity

Class identity isn’t something I’ve talked about too much, and to be honest, until recently, it wasn’t something I cared much about. However, the Mean Streets of Gadgetzan expansion reinforced how important class identity is to Hearthstone. When three classes are all playing Pirates and another three are all playing Reno, the differences between them become harder to identify. Variety is a massive part of Hearthstone’s appeal, and losing games over the past few months has been awful.

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Quests bring class identity back to the forefront of Hearthstone. The Quests are all class cards, and they’re all extremely unique–at least of the ones we have seen so far. No two classes will have the same or even similar goals, and the rewards all have fundamentally distinct effects. If the Quest mechanic goes well, we won’t be seeing three different classes in tier one all running similar decks. The aggro, control, midrange, and combo archetypes will still be around, of course, but we’ll see a wider range of decks within these structures. Or at least that’s what we’re hoping, and what the Quest cards suggest.

Closing Thoughts

Quests are an incredible addition to Hearthstone, giving players deckbuilding opportunities and tools for promoting consistency. They also restore the class identities to many classes who have been difficult to distinguish from one another recently. We’ve only seen five of the nine Quests so far, but they’ve all been exciting (except, of course, for Rogue). I can’t wait to see the remaining ones, and I already know where all of my dust will be going when Journey to Un’Goro launches.

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Stephen Draper
Stephen has a degree in English from Brock University. He grew up playing video games and card games, always having an affection for strategy. He picked up League of Legends in early Season One and has since achieved Diamond rank multiple times. He also picked up Hearthstone in Beta and has since achieved Legend consistently. When he isn’t reading, writing, or gaming, he’s probably watching other people game.
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