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What Blizzard can Learn from Dalaran Heist

Dalaran Heist is some of the best single-player content in Hearthstone. Though pricey, it gives you a lot for your money. Five wings, dozens of bosses along with new unique treasures, hero powers and mechanics, it’s enough to sate the deepest PvE urge. But can Dalaran Heist do more than just entertain? Can it provide an opportunity to learn more about what players want in Hearthstone?

Side-grade Hero Powers

Dalaran Heist’s hero powers are interesting. They tend not to be direct upgrades in most cases; instead, they give an interesting spin on a classic class ability by using a 0 mana spell effect. Take Warrior’s Invigorating Brew, which is essentially Inner Rage as a hero power. Or the Priest’s Distort, which gives a consistent Topsy Turvy for 2 mana. These hero powers are not especially powerful, but they allow a greater diversity of playstyles within classes.

There are a number of reasons to be interested in these side-grade hero powers. Previous hero power altering cards like Death Knights, Genn and Baku were problematic due to the power level of the hero powers. Since hero powers are so reliable, repeatable and uninteractive, too much power generated a lot of problems and frustration. In particular, polarisation and repetitive gameplay were massive concerns. Side-grade hero powers could sidestep a lot of these issues, and Dalaran Heist is the perfect proving ground to find the most interesting ones.

Old Archetypes

heist
Could we see quest-like mechanics return?

One of the joys of single player content is the way you end up trying a new archetype almost every time. The unique demands of buckets, treasures and of course Bob make for some wacky decks, from a pre-completed Hunter Quest to a deck of all Ragnaros. A lot of entertainment comes from exploring old, forgotten archetypes. Quests are a prime example of this; no longer present in Standard, they nonetheless are exceptionally rewarding for many players.

The Dalaran Heist is a great way for Blizzard to explore these forgotten playstyles, and see what could still hold a lot of value. Sometimes, it’s worth putting a new twist on old ideas rather than re-inventing the wheel every expansion. It may not be surprising if some of the ideas being played around with in the Heist will end up in the next expansion.

Deck manipulation

Who doesn’t love Bob? The cheery barkeep is great for a nice bit of downtime between bosses, but it’s his deck manipulation that really shines. Be it adding more minions to your deck, clearing out those pesky bad picks or giving you extra value when you need it, Bob helps ameliorate the effects of an unlucky few picks or capitalise on this synergy.

Blizzard may well take heed of this. Deck manipulation can provide not only interesting skill-testing gameplay decisions, but it can take some of the frustration out of bad matchups. Cards like Prince Liam or Arch-villain Rafaam can create memorable moments too; just look at the Hearthstone Wold Championship Finals! Bob proves that deck manipulation is a great avenue for further exploration.

Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment via hearthstone.gamepedia.com

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