Our impressions of the new Riot Games game cannot be better: this is his foray into the CGS.
One morning at the Riot Games offices in Dublin, Ireland, it has been enough to prove that there is life beyond League of Legends. The next step of the American giant will not be trivial: the study focuses on another mass genre, the multiplayer card strategy. Because there are no simple challenges in one of the most influential brands of the last decade.
The silence of recent years responds to a working method below the radar. All eyes (which are not few) have focused exclusively around the MOBA; from the inside, on the other hand, there was a need to expand its influence to other aspects of potential success. The first step of this new Riot Games is titled "Legends of Runeterra." Welcome to the expanded universe.
“This is the fruit of our last three years of work,” explains Andrew Yip, design director. And it is that the first impression among those present was to be before a fairly trained, thoughtful title; even ready to leave now, if they wanted to. The creative himself explains that the CGS (acronym for Card Games Strategy, from now on) “create new frustrations”, not only for the type of gameplay that is intended to be implemented, but for the entire progression curve, which is seen affected as the post-launch contents add up. From the first moment it was considered as free to play.
The concepts integrated in Legends of Runeterra seek to be the solution to the problems of current CGS, starting with monetization. “The packages are very lucrative. No attempt is made to find new ways to encourage the player. ” Andrew is clear: his game must be accessible, it should not cost to reach the breadth of his offer. All additional content will come to the game at no additional cost through a season-based system. "The acquisition of random packages is over."
Blake Midstokke, gameplay initiative lead, wondered how they could "change" the way CGSs are understood. That's where its three fundamental pillars are born: Active Round System, Oracle’s Eye and Spell Mana.
Active Round System is the way in which the shifts unfold within the table. In essence, it works like a traditional tug of war. At the beginning of the game it will be determined which user will start attacking. This may propose which cards may be played both in that turn and in the coming ones, everything will depend on whether you want to use your offensive movement. Meanwhile, the defender must do the same, except that if we go to an offensive resolution, he must decide which letters will be responsible for stopping the attack.
From your deck you place cards that will be waiting to be played. If the attacker decides to play, his cards will pass to the center of the table, which will force him to move on to the resolution phase after the movement of the defender. There will be as many preparation shifts as many actions allow the level of power. Upon completion, the roles are changed; so to end the 20 health points that the rival nexus has.
For those who are less habitual of these types of proposals, they will see the introduction of Oracle’s Eye as a vital aid in understanding how to play. This mechanic allows, while activated, to see what the results of our potential movements can be: in purple it will be indicated both before and after, so it will facilitate understanding to practice combos and others.
Last but not least, is the mana bar. Next to the power mark, a complementary bar will appear that will allow you to use spells that manipulate the state of the table before moving on to the resolution phase. Learning to use them is key if we want to extend our turn beyond what the physical cards do.
The heroes of Runeterra
Riot Games wants to represent the majority of regions in the League of Legends universe in a term “between 2 and 3 years” from its launch. At the beginning we will have six available; Each expansion will be focused on new additions. The territories have their own style of play in front of others. The same goes for the representation of unique champions, stronger cards that have special abilities. 24 will be those available at the beginning of your journey.
These exclusive features not only remain in a number of features, but have the ability to level up by meeting certain objectives. For example, Garen will regenerate health if he manages to survive an attack, which will change the card and allow him to have more damage.
Focusing on a specific region will make it possible to obtain rewards tied to our choice. That is, each of those six initials will have its own progression. During the four hours we remained immersed in it, we were able to complete almost half of one's trajectory. It seems that it will not demand so many sacrifices in front of the screen.
These items added to our account vary in different ways: chests of particular oddities, backs, shards … The latter will serve as currency to redeem the specific cards we want to unlock. Although it will not be the only way to increase our wardrobe: there are daily and weekly goals that ease the progression from a global vision.
In the offices of Riot Games there is no wall free of messages in favor of your community. You breathe an atmosphere of communion with your followers, something that is not easy to achieve. "We are worried about what our players think," says Andrew. Treating them from "respect" is one of the maxims in the team. Therefore, after these three years in the most absolute silence, it is up to those who enjoy behind the keyboard to finish shaping the project.
If the opening to the general public can help, it is in terms of balance. Creating an experience as fair as possible in a CGS is not always possible because of the number of game forms that can be developed. Blake explains that "balancing is a complicated issue"; when it comes to doing so, unlike other competitors, "it makes more sense to reduce the power of a card than to increase it." The idea is to decrease your chances, not give you more options that impact on letters around you.
According to what we said, the design director emphasizes that the value they will give to the opinion they receive external to the study. "We will listen and improve from what the community reports to us." It will not take long to be able to do so, since your roadmap will go through multiple stages until it is completely released.
The first phase of that trajectory begins today, October 16, and will last until the 20th of the same month. Both press and content creators can show how Legends of Runeterra operates for the first time, without restrictions. When it finishes, it will not be until November 15 when it reopens, which will add the expedition mode and the first invitations to the selected players will begin to arrive.
Its stage in 2020 will begin with the launch of the private beta at some point in the first quarter of the year. This means that they have "completed" all the fundamental mechanics and are fit to go out to the masses. The list of friends and the classification system will now be available, as well as the distribution of many more invitations.
These three goals will be exclusive to Windows computers; Once it reaches the market throughout 2020 it will also be available on mobile devices. To the questions of FreeGameTips, we learned that they are working on their own launcher that will include all their works. They do not know at this time whether the League of Legends friends list can be shared.
Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering share most of the cake in a genre that lives one of its best moments in the last five years. The constant comparison of Legends of Runeterra with its two top rivals is not something that bothers those responsible. Right now they trust that their state is "fun" to play, although it is still in full development to squeeze all its capabilities. They firmly believe that the biggest difference everyone will find in "the type of movement on the board." "The rhythm and intensity are very different," they conclude.
We can confirm that confidence after completing the first session with the international press. Its quality is indisputable, it remains to be able to take a place in the best multiplayer card games of today.