After years of diligently playing Hearthstone each and every day to collect my daily rewards, I began to slip over the summer. As much fun as I’d had with the digital CCG over the years, I was finally beginning to feel burnt out. It wasn’t anything that the game was doing wrong (although my complaints from 2015 are still valid today) — it was just time for me to move on. So my playing time gradually tapered off until I stop logging in altogether.
Then the Kobolds & Catacombs expansion launched this week with 135 new cards. But it wasn’t new cards that lured me back. In fact, I had less than 300 gold to my name, so I could only buy two packs anyway. The reason that I spent a few hours playing Hearthstone last night for the first time in months was Dungeon Run.
Dungeon Run is the latest addition to the oft-neglected single-player side of Hearthstone. Blizzard made it clear that solo experiences would be of greater focus in the content updates of 2017, but Dungeon Run is the first time that the studio has truly made good on that promise. In Dungeon Run, you choose a class, start with a deck of 10 cards and have to face off against a series of increasingly challenging bosses. When you beat a boss, you will have the chance to add new cards to your deck as well as Treasures that affect the game in various ways.
These Treasure cards can give you huge advantages, such as doubling your health, giving all your creatures +1/+1, lowering the cost of your spells or giving you three secrets at the start of every match. But the difficulty curve is steep, and unless you’ve managed to craft a perfect deck, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat all eight bosses in a row.
With 48 bosses in the rotation, tons of Treasure cards to try out and endless combinations of decks to build, Dungeon Run is one of the first single-player card game modes that might actually hold my interest. Last night, after struggling to make much progress with Warrior, I swapped over to Paladin and made it to the final boss on my first try. Sadly, the internet cut out just as the tide was beginning to turn in my favor, but I still couldn’t wait to start another round.
The mode could probably use some balancing, as some of the bosses are legitimately unbeatable without the right cards, but even in its initial incarnation, Dungeon Run is one of the most compelling additions to Hearthstone in over a year. Now Blizzard just needs to commit to freshening it up every once it a while.