Last month, Riot Games announced a long list of new games including the digital collectible card game, Legends of Runeterra. According to the announcement, the game will be free-to-play but will give players the option to buy card packs and cards using real-world money. Couple this with the fact that Riot Games is owned by Tencent, a company with “pay-to-win” written all over their resume, and you’ve got a potential for disaster.
A recent dev blog by Design Lead for Progression Ryan “RyscG” Giuliany, however, hopes to put the negative assumptions to rest. “It’s important for us to be extra transparent about what you get for investing your time and/or money,” says Giuliany. “We’ve seen some players trying to estimate, but we think you should have the exact numbers—no guesswork required.”
According to Giuliany, players can get a ton of stuff without ever having to spend a Coin, the game’s premium currency, through the rewards system. Players will get a variety of Chests, Capsules, and Wildcards by completing daily quests (Vault Rewards) or by leveling up in your chosen Region (Deck Type). Wildcards can be swapped for any card of the same rarity. Chests and Capsules also have a chance of upgrading, or even chain upgrading, to a higher tier.
Players will also be limited to three copies of any card since that’s the maximum number you can use. Extra Common and Rare cards will automatically be converted into Shards while Epic and Champion cards will be rerolled into a different card of the same rarity. Once all Epic and Champion cards have been unlocked, all extra copies will automatically be converted into Shards.
Giuliany says that one of their goals is to ensure that everyone has a chance to be “set complete” before the next set comes out without spending anything. “Exactly how much you need to play will depend on the size of the set,” he explains. “The first one is pretty big, but even this set hopefully won’t feel out of reach for a highly engaged player (about 7 to 10 games per day on average). If you don’t play quite that much, you’ll still have a ton of cards unlocked; for the first set, if you get your level 10 Vault each week, you’ll have at least 75% of the set before the next release.”
“[. . .] There’s another major goal for us: create a game where how much money you spend is NOT the deciding factor in your success as a player,” adds Giuliany. According to the design lead, they recently just added the ability to purchase Wildcards using Coins. “When we had a version of the current system without the ability to directly purchase a card, we found that players who had less time to spend on the game felt totally left out,” he says. “So we added the option to unlock cards by purchasing them, but kept it limited so players who prefer to spend time don’t get left in the dust either.”
Giuliany concludes that their close to achieving their goals with the current progression system but that it’s not set in stone. “[. . .] We’ve only seen it in action for one week, so we’re not celebrating victory just yet,” he says. “While we’re likely going to tweak the numbers and make changes as we go, this has been a very promising start and we’re excited to see even more players get their hands on it in the next preview patch on November 14. We hope you are too.”
Learn more about the game in the Legends of Runeterra First Look trailer below.