Riot Games bares card-based ‘Legends of Runeterra’

The green light is on for the latest addition to the “League of Legends” universe – the Legends of Runeterra (LoR), a digital collectible card game (CCG) developed and published by Riot Games.

The game, which has been released for Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS devices, exists in the same world where champions like the teddy bear-touting demon child Annie and the trusty and rusty robot like Blitzcrank roam around.

Gamers around the world are not strangers to card games on top of main gaming titles from the same developer. Some of the most prominent parallels include Valve’s Hearthstone to its multiplayer online battle arena game Defense of the Ancients, and Gwent, a card game based on the action RPG The Witcher which is coincidentally where the Netflix special of the same name was based on.

The move is pretty evident: Riot Games aims to provide a game for LoL fans who prefer card-based games. Although there is an upcoming mobile version for League of Legends called League of Legends: Wild Rift, this MOBA style 5V5 title won’t be arriving any time soon.

In an exclusive interview with Jennifer Poulson, head of publishing and product for Southeast Asia for Riot Games, she said card games are able to remain relevant as a popular genre since its gameplay nature remains as an “ever-shifting meta” with deep strategy, and ‘replayability’.

Legends of Runeterra is Riot’s way to elevate the LoL universe into a more player-focused manner. With the goal to cater to CCG lovers and gamers who are big fans of the game’s intricate and well-woven lore and character development through regular event campaigns, LoR will not only support multiple platforms, but can run on them interchangeably. 

Being a cross-platform game means that the progress of gamers will be the same regardless of the devices it runs on. With the flexibility to play the game on mobile or on PC at any given time, gamers in the region will be required to create a new Riot account and login on both platforms with their account.

One of the major concerns when it comes to online-based titles is the pay-to-play scheme. Even LoL has a similar system where players can exchange real-world currency for in-game currency to be able to unlock champions or champion skins, as well as other customizable aspects present.

When it comes to card games, the paid features come in the form of booster packs. These packs can contain a variety of possible loot ranging from common-to-rare and exclusive items. While LoR still has a paid feature, players do not necessarily have to spend money in getting card packs.

“As with League of Legends, Legends of Runeterra is free to play. We want progression to be earned with skill and persistence rather than purchases. There are two in-game currencies: Shards, which players can earn by playing, and Coins that players can purchase anytime,” Poulson explained.

The PC Open Beta was a no-show in the SEA region with LoR on mobile being first played in Singapore during the soft launch. Although Riot Games designed and built the game to be accessible to any player regardless of the device, running LoR on iOS devices with 1GB RAM is not recommended. For Android, at least 2 GB RAM and a GPU Adreno 306 and up would make a more pleasant gaming experience.

“We’re adding new twists to the CCG category by giving players control and choice in how they acquire cards — no randomness in unlocking cards of choice. We developed Legends of Runeterra because we love card games, and we felt there were aspects that could be improved for digital CCGs. Depth, F2P accessibility, and bringing modern systems design to CCG,” Poulson said.

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