Practice mode is just that--practice. Here you can play against the AI to gain experience and unlock new cards. You’ll also need to wipe the floor with each hero in this mode in order to unlock them. But don’t get too comfy; after you’ve beaten them all, the expert level for each hero becomes available and it’s worth trouncing them all to hone your new-found skills and earn the reward of 100 gold for doing so.
This is a no pressure, no stakes match against a real, honest-to-goodness human being. You can also play with the custom decks you’ve been amassing cards for so that’s always fun. At the end you can evaluate whether your deck reflects the mind of a master strategist or if you just mashed together whatever looked pretty and hoped for the best, with no real consequences to concern yourself with.
The benefits of Play mode over Practice mode are that you’ll net more experience playing against real people than the AI and for every 3 wins in Play Mode, you’ll earn 10 gold--but note that there’s a cap of 100 gold per day to make sure you get out into the fresh air and stop those lesions from developing on your butt cheeks.
This is where the big boys go to fritter away gold like a 5-year-old with a pot of glitter. If you’re new to Hearthstone, this is a place best avoided until you’ve got a decent stash of gold and a whole sack of balls. Entry to the arena costs 150 gold and that sack we talked about earlier, because these are high stakes games so you’d better be prepared.
The entry fee (or ‘buy-in’ if you’re one of those casino types that didn’t leave after reading the intro paragraph) is 150 gold. You will be given 3 random classes to choose from which will have an effect on the randomised cards that you’ll be given to build a deck with, as they will be comprised of a selection of neutral and class specific cards. If you rushed over here and glossed over everything else, this is the point at which you’re going to realise that you’ve made a huge mistake.
There are only 3 ways out of the Arena; winning 12 games, getting kicked out because you’ve lost 3 or the most shameful of all--retiring.