Following a massive 10 Year Anniversary event last October where Riot Games revealed more than a handful of upcoming titles, they threw their new competitive card game, Legends of Runeterra, to closed beta. This January, they sent LoR to open beta, allowing a greater influx of players to experience the game and help them test decks and strategies, and work out all the kinks.
A little over a month later, Riot wrote an update on where the game stands - not unlike the Dev Blogs they do for League of Legends - in aims to "reflect on what we’ve seen, recap some feedback we’ve heard, and share a bit about our priorities this year." They cover the game as a whole, its specific mechanics, the meta, the unique playstyle, the parts they love, and all the things they want to tweak to improve.
The Good, the Bad, and the Almost There
Right off the bat, Riot covers the two things they love: the champions and the interactive strategy. Specifically, the champions are built to both feel good to use and feel similar to their League of Legends counterpart, and they've just about got it right. The gameplay is unique in its back and forth nature, with some actions allowing reaction, and others not, deepening the overall strategy of the game. Both of these traits help LoR shine.
One of Riot's main focuses going forward is improving clarity in all facets of the game. Not only are they better explaining each card in the text and the actions happening in the game, but also the UI and out of game experience as well. They plan to tweak the timer, especially when hit with a handful of burst spells, to allow for more fair strategy and always allow players to take action. Similarly, they're tweaking animation speed and input blocking to make gameplay feel more smooth. They'll also increase the FPS limit, for maximum smoothness.
Perhaps more than any other game developer, Riot knows a thing or two about establishing metas, whether you like them or not. Riot plans to implement a "live service mentality" to update LoR, similar to which they use in LoL. That includes monthly updates to keep the game fresh and make sure players are always able to experiment with creating the best decks.
While they are somewhat pleased with how many decks they've seen be competitive, they also acknowledge where they can improve. They are looking more deeply into the card play rates and win rates, as well as entire deck win rates and how each card interacts within its own region and different region combinations.
With all of that data, they can make the game more healthy, knowing full well that they "need to walk a fine line between satisfaction, interaction, and games actually ending." That means controlling the amount of RNG in a game, making sure each region set is equally powerful and clearly understood, and champions have a defined purpose (not too narrow, not too broad, and not too troll).
Progression: Gimme Moar Card Plz
Based on player feedback (good job guys, you made a difference!), Riot will be changing the card collection to provide more agency to players and leave it less up to RNG. That way, everyone can feel better while on the road to completing specific decks, and then they can actually complete them in time to use them in the meta before it changes.
They also plan to make experimentation feel more rewarding and less risky. Currently, everyone is stockpiling their wildcards - Riot wants people to use them to learn more and see more variance in their decks. There will always be new cards added and new metas to learn, so Riot wants to encourage people to try new things and test new cards. Again, it's all helpful to keep the game fresh.
Coming Soon (TM)
Other than their most direct focus on mobile and global launch, Riot is working on new game modes as well. Not only does League of Legends have multiple playable modes, and a huge array of rotating, rule-breaking games, but many other games have similar variety in their playability. Other card games have draft modes, dungeon crawlers, story modes, etc., and Riot plans to find more creative ways to interact with the cards and gameplay.
"We believe that it’s when tons of cards meet an equally wide variety of modes that our game will truly shine," Riot Umbrage said. "You can look forward to new ways to play with your collection, compete, and be recognized."
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