DreamHack is undeniably a recognizable brand, especially within the Hearthstone competitive scene. There had been a number of live events in the past, offering aspiring players valuable opportunities to participate in high stakes games that weren't all directly organized by Blizzard's in-house teams.
Naturally, the privilege to attend any of them in person in Europe, USA, or Canada has only ever been extended to the chosen few (...hundred/thousand) who could make such trips. Perhaps even some of the people reading these words found themselves lucky enough to be able to directly experience the circuit - be it as fans or as competitors. Of course, for the past year and a half nobody had any chance to do so, with various plans and live events being cancelled or put on hold left and right.
That live event ecosystem might slowly start resurfacing this fall, but meanwhile we've been offered something different that can be enjoyed from just about anywhere. A brand new digital experience, going "beyond" with its ambitions. And as it happens, somewhat unexpectedly DreamHack Beyond remembered to include our card-slinging game among its features once again!
The idea here is to offer an "all-digital free interactive experience showcasing the best of DreamHack". The festival will run from July 24 to July 31 - so basically for the rest of this month. Each day should have something of interest to gamers at large - content and tournaments for various titles, speedrun challenges, special videos, a multitude of engaging streamers and casters, and more. You can explore it all here in order to find anything that might suit your personal tastes. Oh, and there are even virtual tickets you will need to properly enter. They can be grabbed for free. If you don't have a DreamHack account yet, you will have to create one first.
It can all look a little overwhelming at first and seem rather complicated to navigate, but things should start making more sense as you explore and click around.
The way everything is connected? Through a somewhat unique online multiplayer video game (running in your browser). It has its own narrative to follow - you get to create and customize your character, complete quests, collect achievements and loot, etc. You can walk through vast digital halls and explore everything there is on display while interacting with other people and NPCs - as if attending the event in person (well, minus the NPC part). Just click that Play for free now button on the main page and your adventure shall begin. Doing so is optional, however: you can skip this kind of stuff if you'd rather just sit back and watch anything that might be of interest.
If you are still hesitating, know that there is also another juicy carrot at the end of this stick - you could get your virtual paws on free Forged in the Barrens packs! Now if there is one thing that can motivate a Hearthstone player to do things they usually wouldn't do as eagerly (such as impatiently watching all those live streams), that's just it. So let's look into the how to:
Mmmm, Gimme Packs
Within this virtual game reality, there is a certain Hearthstone Tavern. Very easy to find, as it's located within the first hall you enter right after the tutorial (which is also skippable). Just move ahead - and there are maps, schedules, FAQs and everything available through various icons, if you ever feel too lost. Within the tavern, you only need to have a quick chat with one generous goblin NPC.
Kudos to Marcin "Gnimsh" Filipowicz (you might notice a certain connection with that stylish goblin's name...) for giving us a heads-up! You may or may not know his history in the Hearthstone scene as a player, influencer, and a former Blizzard employee. Nowadays he is a part of the team over at ESL, the production company currently taking care of various Hearthstone Esports broadcasts. And as it happens, also running the upcoming tournament for DreamHack Beyond - but we will go over that one in more detail in its own section below.
In case you run into any errors, remember that you do need to have that virtual ticket we have mentioned for General Admission first. Afterwards, you should be able to locate your pack code here. You could also manually go to your "https://dreamhack.com/app" space and find 'My Offers' by clicking on the top right icon (which will have your 'Card Pack Giveaway' entry listed). Then just copy that visible code and simply redeem it in your Battle.net client. If you are still having trouble afterwards, you can follow the Twitter exchange as linked above (helpful posts from others), ask over there or tell us your question here. We should be able to figure out what the issue might be! It's supposed to be a daily giveaway, so make sure to check back again now and then. Also remember - there seems to be a limit on the total number of available packs, and so we don't really know how many days the supply will last. Hopefully several.
Important note: As we've learned from the DreamHack Discord, the pack goblin is meant to be reset every day around 9 am PDT (which is 6 pm CEST). However, it's not so simple as the process has to be done manually and apparently takes a while (up to an hour). If you attempt to talk to the goblin while the system is being reset, then there is a risk you will not get the code but still get the corresponding achievement, essentially starting your cooldown for the day and locking you out for the following 24 hours. So be careful! Best not attempt anything at that point.
Update: The greedy goblin has also increased his requirements for the tavern goers to first be level 5 and then 10 in order to receive any gifted packs - presumably to slow down the pace at which the codes were running out daily. This is a nuisance for many as the game has several bugs and doesn't always save your progress correctly. When everything works, it's fairly easy to level up.
As you can see from the pictures above, there are also other NPCs that can be interacted with: our good ol' Bob, who mentions something about an invite to a special Battlegrounds game "if you check often" - that one is currently shrouded in mystery; and Spike, who informs us about the Three-Headed Dragon tournament. There is also Timmy by the entrance to give you a quick overview. Besides that, various clickable objects around the tavern, with links to Twitter, Discord, the website, and a little gallery.
Update: We have also learned what Bob's Battlegrounds invites are all about. Throughout the day he may direct you to an admin person of choice, in charge of organizing private lobbies. Shoot them a message, share your battle tag and preferred servers, and you might be picked to participate in one round. The winner gets 2 packs, anyone playing gets 1 (you can participate up to 2 times daily, however people who haven't yet played any games that day are given a priority). This does require a fair bit of patience and waiting around however, so be prepared. The announcements are best tracked through the Three-Headed Dragon Discord, with its separate #battlegrounds chat; alternatively through Twitter accounts such as Gnimsh's, Bemmie's, CaraCute's, or Enli's. Enli also has a Twitch channel where you can find the DreamHack stream with these private BG lobbies every day, as well as stay up to date on the current happenings.
Let's move over to that competitive side of things now:
The Three-Headed Dragon Challenge
That's the cool name and concept behind the online Hearthstone tournament for DreamHack Beyond. Or, to be specific - three separate tournaments, one for each of the three regions available for us to have a card collection on: that is Europe, Americas, and Asia. The great news here is that your current place of residence doesn't matter - you can be from EU and play on Asia if you so choose (as long as you have the cards to use on there). And the prizes are nothing to scoff at:
DreamHack has always had a history of the massive Hearthstone Swiss tournaments featuring the Last Hero Standing format. We’re bringing back that legacy for the inaugural DreamHack Beyond event. And what could be better than a massive Swiss tournament? That’s right, three massive Swiss tournaments.
As DreamHack Beyond has no physical location, we want you to be able to play regardless if your collection lives in Europe, the Americas, or the Asia-Pacific. Each tournament has a patronage of one of the Dragon Aspects creating a first ever Three-Headed Dragon Challenge.
The short and sweet version of the rules and relevant points:
- 9 rounds of Swiss into single elimination Top 16 playoffs - so basically the same structure as we've known from the previous three Masters Tours of this year .
- 512 players max per tournament - no qualifications, no special invites; it has been on the "first come, first serve" basis ever since the registrations have opened.
- Best of 5 Standard Last Hero Standing with a Ban - in a departure from what Masters Tours do, no Conquest; but we have seen the LHS format in Grandmasters.
- All the action is happening between July 26-27 and August 1.
- $10,000 prize pool per tournament:
- 1st place: $2,500 USD
- 2nd place: $1,500 USD
- 3-4th place: $1,000 USD
- 5-8th place: $500 USD
- 9-16th place: $250 USD
- plus an invite to the upcoming Masters Tour Silvermoon for each winner (or the next person in line if they are already qualified).
- A player can only compete in one tournament of their choice - they are all mutually exclusive.
Update: Full results for the broadcast finals can be found here now.
Looks interesting? Anyone is able to test their mettle, all you need to do is go over to Battlefy and register - pretty much the same as with Masters Tour Qualifiers. Also just as has often been the case with Qualifiers, Europe slots are already all taken (but it's still possible to get on the waitlist, in case somebody doesn't show up on time); as always, it's the most competitive region and possibly will be the hardest to win. Americas and Asia still have room to offer, however - in case somebody has a valid collection there and timezones aren't a huge problem if it's not your native server. Other than precious time, there is no other price to pay. Good luck in case you decide to try!
For your avid Hearthstone Esports watchers out there - unlike with the Masters Tour, there will be no official broadcast other than the Top 8 matches for each region. We will be sure to have an article with all the links and updates up once that time comes. Competitors are allowed to stream their respective Swiss and Top 16 matches, so there is a good chance you could catch the early action through your Twitch personas of choice.
As far as the competitive scene goes, it's a pretty great away to wrap up the Forged in the Barrens meta on a high note. We weren't expecting any high stakes action until the respective returns of Grandmasters and Masters Tour in mid-/late August. And Last Hero Standing format can get pretty quirky at times. Looking forward to see what comes out of it!
Ready to go Beyond with DreamHack? Plan to compete, watch, follow anything over there, or just chill?