Blizzard details The Dalaran Heist, Hearthstone's new solo mode

Hearthstone's latest solo adventure will launch on May 16—that's next Thursday for the non-calendar owners among you—and promises to be the biggest and best yet. We can say that with confidence because our resident card slinger Tim Clark played it a few months back, and said as much. As of today, in addition to the release date of May 16 we can confirm that Rise of Shadows' adventire is called The Dalaran Heist. It's the first part of a story that will span the game's Year of the Dragon.

Zayle Shadow Cloak

Zayle Shadow Cloak effectively gives players temporary access to pre-built (but randomized) decks—very handy, especially for beginners.

The Heist will lead players through a sinister five-part plan to plunder the riches of the floating city of Dalaran—and ultimately, to steal the entire city itself. It follows the same core format as Dungeon Run and Monster Hunt, but features substantial new features that should make for much more replayability. 

Each chapter of the adventure is set in a different location and tells a different bit of the story, with unique bosses and rules. An unlockable loadout system will enable multiple starter decks per class, and different hero powers will be selectable in order to ensue there are "alternative ways to play, as opposed to [hero powers defining] our new henchman," designer Giovanni Scarpati says in the new Hearthside Chat. 

New deck building options will also be enabled through non-combat "friendly encounters," in which you'll nip into the pub for a quick pint and either choose or dump a couple of cards—Tim said in his February preview that this might be his favorite part of the new mode. Normal and Heroic difficulties have been returned to the game, and once all five chapters of the heist are unlocked a new "Anomaly Mode" will unlock that will enable players to replay the adventure with randomized rules "ranging from tame-but-odd to almost tavern brawling." 

Here's a quick rundown of what's coming in each of The Dalaran Heist's five chapters: 

  • Chapter 1: Dalaran Bank - Twist: Coin-filled Coffers 
  • Chapter 2: The Violet Hold - Twist: Imprisoned Minions
  • Chapter 3: Streets of Dalaran - Twist: Crowded Streets
  • Chapter 4: The Underbelly - Twist: Swapped Attack and Health
  • Chapter 5: Kirin Tor Citadel - Twist: Four Additional Encounters

It's likely that not everyone will be thrilled with having to pay for the adventure, which will go for 700 gold or $7 each for chapters 2-5 (the first is free) or $20 for the full package, but Tim was thoroughly impressed by what he experienced in his preview. "Imagine the stuff you liked most about Monster Hunt, but dialed up with extra creativity and more deck-building options," he said at the time. "During the day I spent playing, I had multiple games that felt like the kind of lunacy normally found in a Kibler highlight video."

I am reasonably confident that he'll have more to say once he's had a chance to tackle the adventure full-on, so you'll want to keep your eyes open for that. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.