Dungeon Runs will be a free mode. It has players picking a class, starting with a weak-ish premade deck, and fighting random computer-controlled bosses. If you win, you earn some new cards for your deck. If you lose, you’re done. You have to start over. The goal is to beat eight bosses in a row without dying.
I got to play Dungeon Runs during BlizzCon, and I was immediately charmed by the new mode. Before, Hearthstone had depended on Adventures for single-player content. These have players making their own decks to fight unique computer opponents. It’s fun, but it has some problems. Since you make a deck out of your own card library, players who spend a lot of money buying card packs have an advantage. And you can always circumvent the challenge of deck building by going online and finding other people’s optimized creations.
Dungeon Runs work better because no player has an inherent advantage. Even if you download Hearthstone for the first time, you can jump right into Dungeon Runs. Some fans criticize Hearthstone for not being as free-to-play as it advertises since buying cards can be expensive and necessary if you want to make some of the best decks. But Dungeon Runs is an experience that is full without spending a penny.
Dungeon Runs also give you a sense of progression. Bosses become more challenging, but you’re also improving your deck. After every victory, you’ll get to pick between three sets of three cards. It gives you a chance to customize your deck while making meaningful choices.
Outside of adding normal Hearthstone cards, you’ll also get to add special spells and minions exclusive to Dungeon Runs. Some of these are passive effects. You could give every minion in your deck +1/+1, or you could choose to increase the mana cost of every enemy minion by one.
But some of the options are ridiculous. And I mean that in the best way possible. The Rod of Roasting is my favorite. It randomly casts Pyroblast, a spell that deals 10 damage, to random targets until a random hero dies.
I played it when I was losing, hoping that the boss would eat more Pyroblasts than me. I watched as a barrage of fire slowly killed every minion on the board, occasionally hitting our faces. Finally, the boss and I both had fewer than 10 health. The next Pyroblast would decide the game. And it hit me. I lost, but it was hilarious.
The demo version stopped after three bosses, but it was enough to sell me on Dungeon Runs. It’s a more dynamic and fair solo-game mode that will give Hearthstone fans great experiences at no extra cost.