So you’ve defeated Illidan, unlocked all of the classes by beating them in practice mode, and have a basic grasp of the mechanics. Now it’s time to jump into the game, but you’ll notice that there are two modes other than practice: “Play” and “Arena”. Today I’m going to explain why Arena mode is the best place for new players to start despite its high entrance fee of 150 gold.Unlike Play mode where matches are fought between pre-built decks, Arena mode offers the player a choice between three randomly selected heroes. After the decision is made, the game then dispenses thirty rounds of three randomly selected cards for the player to choose from. Once thirty cards have been selected, you play matches against random opponents until you either lose three games or win nine. Once either of these conditions are met, you are given five random rewards, four of which have their contents improved based on the number of wins you achieved while the fifth is always a booster pack. The four random prizes can be additional boosters, dust, or gold of varying amounts.
A new player to Hearthstone may look at the options and think that Play mode is the better starting point. After all it’s free, thus leading to the illusion that the Arena is some kind of high-profile buy-in tournament that only the elite enter. In fact, the opposite is true. Play mode is where people go to test their theory-crafted min-maxed decks against opponents of similar skill, while Arena is more of an equalizer. Everyone has the same chance of getting the same cards in Arena regardless of how much money they’ve dumped into boosters. No one can go into Arena with a pre-built strategy, because even if you’re the best in the game at building turtle decks you might not get those necessary taunt minions and buff spells. You may be the newest player to Hearthstone in the entire world and be placed against someone who’s won multiple tournaments with their control/burn deck that they spent days and days on, and you might win because you just happened to pick cards that go well against the random cards they picked.
Arena is also a better training tool than Play mode. In Play mode, you have the cards that you’ve had the random luck to gain throughout your Hearthstone adventures or through your Swiss bank acocunt. While you can certainly destroy unwanted cards and craft the ones you need with dust, you’ll only know what cards would actually go into your deck by seeing them in action. Getting stomped by a pro is an option, but Arena gives you the chance to see a wide variety of cards in both your opponent’s decks and your own. This way you’ll have a better grasp of how certain cards work since you’ll be the one using them. After all, many of us learn better by doing things ourselves rather than watching someone else do it.
Finally, Arena mode is a far better way to spend gold than simply buying boosters. When you drop the 100 gold for a booster, that’s it. You get your five cards, put them in your library, and its right back to hoping for more quests the next day so you can get enough gold again. On the other hand, Arena gives you more bang for your buck despite being one and a half times more expensive. Think about it, for that extra bit of gold you’re still getting that booster, but you’re also getting the chance to win more boosters, extra dust, or even enough gold to afford yet another Arena run! Add in the fact that quests can still be completed in Arena, and many players will find themselves able to perpetually play nothing but Arena mode without ever dropping a dollar into the game.
Play mode is still an excellent way to spend your time. After all, there’s not much in Hearthstone better than painstakingly building a deck from the ground up with your own unique library of cards and crushing everyone else in your league, but new players won’t be able to do this right away. Everyone has to start somewhere, and Arena mode’s equalizing format and high reward potential make it the ideal starting point for us newbies.