With the Curse of Naxxramas singleplayer adventure now all done and dusted for Blizzard Entertainment's Hearthstone, there’s now another option for you to play by yourself against the game’s AI instead of other players, other than playing in the “Practice” game mode.
It’s very likely that Hearthstone will have additional singleplayer adventures added onto it as time goes on (the amount of empty space visible in the “Solo Adventures” tab being a bit of a giveaway), so will it also be likely that the game will be implemented with an offline mode?
As it currently stands, you cannot play Hearthstone without an internet connection (at least on the PC), as the game was intended to be a player-versus-player experience by design, with the AI practice mode made available for those who want to, well, practice.
However, with likelihood of future singleplayer adventures being added, the game essentially has its own campaign now, which I believe should be able to be played offline.
It wouldn’t be a half-assed offline mode either, I reckon, as the challenges and Heroic variants of the Curse of Naxxramas bosses are difficult enough as they are, which already provide oppositions to put your Hearthstone deck where you mouth is.
I’m well aware that the world is steadily becoming more and more interconnected with the internet, but the option to have an offline mode of a game that has offline content would a nice touch, I feel, as it would allow for you to still play Hearthstone and adjust your deck accordingly to beat the game’s singleplayer adventure without the need of being connected.
As for all the progress made while offline, I reckon it’d just be updated normally whenever the game’s connected to the internet, amounting to your already-accumulated progress. The way I envision it is that Hearthstone remains predominantly the same, just with the added option of being able to play the game’s singleplayer adventures and AI practice modes without an internet connection.
I think it’d be safe to also still include card crafting, too, as long as you have the appropriate amount of arcane dust to do so. The new cards produced while offline would also be updated to your overall progress once you connect the game to the internet again.
However, I don’t believe the Shop would still be functional if Hearthstone went into offline mode, as Blizzard would have to keep track of all transactions and in-game purchases made in the game. I also don’t believe Quests would refresh when in offline mode, either. Sure, you can have quests just before you go offline, and complete them while offline, but if it passes the 24-hour mark whilst still being offline the Quests won’t refresh.
I’m not sure if buying cards with in-game gold would work either. Perhaps it might, as you won’t be spending real-life money and Blizzard won’t be tracking it (at least I don’t think so), so buying the one Expert card pack for 100 in-game gold might still work, as all the game would have to do is generate five random cards on its own. In saying that, I don’t know if an internet connection is still needed to generate the cards provided when buying packs, either with in-game gold or real-life money.
Either way, I still feel that an offline mode for Hearthstone is very plausible, even if it is a bit naive in its simplicity. It would certainly allow for more entertaining commutes to and from places, or just whenever you on a long flight or train ride to whever.
Do you think Hearthstone could have its own offline mode now that it’ll be receiving singleplayer adventures? Feel free to contribute to the debate in the comments below.