Riot Games is dipping their toes in the roguelike genre taking over the industry as Path of Champions, a PVE adventure mode in Legends of Runeterra, is set to debut in Patch 2.19.0 on Wednesday, November 10.
The permanent game mode allows players to dive deeper into the depths of Bilgewater, learn more about the magic behind Piltover & Zaun, and experience the wonders hidden within Ionia.
In celebration of Riot's newly-launched Netflix series, Arcane, the trio of regions will be available to players upon downloading the patch with more content to come overtime. Naturally, a little more love from the development team was given to Piltover & Zaun as player's learn the stories of longtime favorites and stars of Arcane: Jinx, Vi, Ekko, and Jayce.
Despite being one of many dungeon-crawling titles that have grown in popularity in recent years due to their difficulty and replayability, Riot wanted to make theirs feel unique.
"This is like PVE content with a lot of roguelike influences on the game play," said Lead Designer Shawn Main at a pre-release event where Inven Global was in attendance. "Through going on these adventures. You're going to be building up a deck, recruiting new cards for the deck, items that modify those cards, passive powers that kind of reshape your whole experience and your strategy, and you'll be building up strength through combat encounters and non-combat encounters to take on a final boss in the adventure."
With numerous adventures taking place in each region and many stories to tell, players will be able to play as 15 different champions on launch with unique comics, lore, and speech bubbles helping players become further immersed in the journey they're on.
Along the way, players can purchase upgrades at shops to bolster their deck, upgrade their champion, take a quick rest to restore health or stumble upon one of a myraid of events that offer twists and turns.
On player's travels they'll notice a few dozen powerful cards unique to the game mode that they can add to their decks. The addition of Path of Champions-exclusive cards allows the development team to flex their creative muscles.
"This allows us as designers to do some things that would typically be considered pretty busted but, are really fun for PVE," Lead Designer Mel Li. "We're really excited about unveiling some of these. It gives us a bit more freedom in the kinds of cards that we can make and lets us fill out our modes a bit better."
At the end of each adventure lies a final boss with a suped up deck that stands between players and glory. Once defeated, different adventures and difficulties can be unlocked as well as permanent upgrades to your champions to be used in future runs.
With an emphasis on creative freedom in mind, the development team allows players in Path of Champions to customize their champions with different upgrades and enchantments that can be mixed and matched based on the journey ahead.
From the get-go, the Path of Champions' development team want players to be able to jump into the game mode without a financial barrier.
"To use different champions on adventures, you need to own copies of their cards," said Main. "For all of the story components elating to the arcane champions, you actually earn those through playing them. So you get of the story content just through for playing and you're able to earn some additional Wild Cards for champions. So you should be able to play this, for the most part, without any cost.
The development team didn't provide any information as to how they may go about monetizing the game mode going forward as their initial focus is making sure players enjoy the journey before asking them to open their wallets.
"We hope each adventure creates a unique experience for players to immerse themselves in the world of Runeterra," said Senior Designer Xian Li.
Tim Rizzo is the editor and a reporter for Inven Global. He joined the company back in 2017.