Whenever I get to chat with Hearthstone’s Principal Narrative Designer, Dave Kosak, I have a great time. His energy is infectious and his clear love for Hearthstone, Warcraft and the lore absolutely shine. With the recent release of Galakrond’s Awakening, the game’s newest solo adventure, I spoke to Kosak about its return to the classic form.
Alongside the Rise of Shadows and Saviors of Uldum, Blizzard released the Dalaran Heist and Tombs of Terror solo adventures respectively. These single-player, PvE modes featured a series of boss fights in which the player uses a deck they upgrade and add to after every battle.
Galakrond’s Awakening returns to the classic form of the solo adventure like Blackrock Mountain, League of Explorers and One Night in Karazhan.
“Variety is one of the reasons we made that decision,” Kosak told me, referring to using a classic solo adventure format. “We’ve experimented this year with creating events in the mid-expansion cycle to help keep the meta changing.”
The desire to create a small, mini-expansion was also part of the reason Blizzard opted to use this format for Galakrond’s Awakening. “We wanted to do a full 35 card mini adventure and we were looking at a format that would allow us to do that.”
By crafting a curated solo adventure like Galakrond’s Awakening, Blizzard can do its best to ensure all players can access the new cards. This is, in part, why Kosak says the difficulty of the adventure is lower than others.
Kosak told me that getting the difficulty right was one of the biggest challenges. Players unlock the 35 new cards by winning battles in Galakrond’s Awakening and so Blizzard “needed to make sure that players of any skill we’ll be able to play through and get the cards.” Some players have complained about the difficulty and return to the classic format rather than the dungeon run style, but Kosak is confident the right choice was made.
I think we hit the difficulty in the right place. If our seasoned players feel that it’s too easy, then I think we’re probably in good shape for players of all skill levels to be able to beat it and get the story and get the cards.
Storytelling was another major reason that Blizzard opted for the classic format for Galakrond’s Awakening. By setting up specific decks and specific battle, Blizzard can ensure that there is a narrative focus. Something that isn’t really popular with the randomised nature of the dungeon run adventures.
This also ties into the fact that in Galakrond’s Awakening you play as both the League of E.V.I.L. and League of Explorers. Experiencing the same story from opposing sides means that each battle needs to occur in a certain way and at a certain time.
That’s the exciting premise. The idea that you can win your adventure but also that there are two adventures at once.
Galakrond’s Awakening is releasing weekly and Chapter 2 is available today.
Thanks to Dave Kosak for his time.