When it seemed like there were no more contenders between card games, Riot Games takes an ace with its own name up its sleeve. In the analysis of Legends of Runeterra we told you about the proposal that wants to make the kings of the genre tremble. Gets it?
Every time I buy a board game and get ready to read the instructions, I expect two things that are sometimes difficult to conjugate: that it is easy to understand and that its depth is enough to play it over and over again without getting bored. Perhaps games like Seven Wonders: Duel provide both, but generally, the second is usually obtained through dense -but fun- proposals like Twilight Struggle. If we transfer this situation to digital card games such as Hearthstone, Gwent, Magic the Gathering: Arena or Legends of Runeterra, where the fun also comes as a result of playing one game after another, I also hope that the game itself does not force me to pull credit cards to keep up with its constant card and mechanic updates.
I don”t want everything for free, but of course I”m not here for the task of spending 50 euros each quarter so I don”t fall behind in what will be my recurring card game. And that”s where I find the first virtue of Legends of Runeterra, where obtaining cards is not a problematic event, but rather a satisfactory path in which it is difficult to tire of walking. The fact that Riot enhances the monetization of aesthetics and proposes an excellent free unlocking system -based on a slight constancy on the part of the player- supposes the achievement of an almost indispensable condition for its sustainability over time to be something feasible.
But is that enough to consolidate such a proposal? Surely not, of course. The depth I mentioned before must appear as a result of varied mechanics, a large number of different cards (and, above all, useful) and synergies and winning combinations; but also a strategy on the part of the player who has greater prominence than the probability of drawing the necessary card at the right moment to achieve victory. Riot shows with this game that she has been no stranger to what the competition has done in recent years; its successes, its failures, its competitive advantages and its weaknesses. And that”s why Legends of Runeterra has a lot of those winning characteristics. Although he has failed to offer another very important aspect to which he referred in the first lines of the text: the quality of efficiently teaching the basic rules that support the game.
Difficult to learn, difficult to master
When I entered Legends of Runeterra during the beta phase and completed its tutorial, I felt overwhelmed for the enormous amount of concepts that I had just assimilated, while, at the same time, I did not fully understand when the turn passed to my rival and when he returned to me. Each game round one of the players attacks, while the other defends. However, with each unit of fast spell or slow spell that is put on the board, the turn passes again to the opponent so that he can respond to the action. In between, cards called ‘spell bursts” can be executed at any time, without the opponent being able to do anything to respond to it. And when the units have met, mana has run out and / or both players have decided to end their actions, the round is over.
Obviously, I managed to understand and verify this rhythm of the game with the passage of the games, forcing the trial and error in the face of doubts and investing a little faith given the numerous virtues that I had seemed to detect from the first moment. I do not think that the comprehension problem I am commenting on is due to the difficulty of the proposal, but rather due to the lack of clarity in the explanatory texts of the letters themselves and a poor tutorial which, by itself, does not encourage too much to get into much more flour. I have always thought that much of Hearthstone”s success was based on that magnificent tutorial that took you on the run to the first competitive game, pushing you to want more cards, to discover all the secrets behind the game and to seek victory from the first encounter. . Riot fails at this point, which is key in trapping the player in an ecosystem that, beyond this question, has almost all the conditions to make Legends of Runeterra one of the best card games today.
Because leaving aside the most negative point, the game system that Riot proposes is, surely, the one that best combines aspects such as creativity in the construction of the decks, the player”s strategy, the spectacularity in each game and the satisfaction for the progress achieved. And all this, minimizing the factor of the randomness so aided among some of its competitors. For this, the Californian Company has cemented its gameplay in the 7 regions in which, at the moment, the Legends of Runeterra cards are grouped: Demacia, Noxus, Ionia, Piltover and Zaun, Freljord, Shadow Islands and Stagnant Waters. Regions with particular styles of play that can be combined with each other and revolve around their own champions. Letters that in themselves enhance the personality of the proposal.
The Champions at the center of everything
If there is something I liked about Legends of Runeterra it is consistency and the desire to expand the League of Legends universe through the cards and the game board. The choice of the link as the core of life of each player is not trivial, nor is the mechanics created for the champions... These cards representing the namesake characters in Riot”s MOBA have unique characteristics that are unleashed after meeting a number of conditions. For example, when Braum manages to survive 10 points of damage, he levels up and increases his characteristics and, from that moment, invokes a “pore” with special abilities each time the champion survives the damage done again. If we see what Fiora does, we discover that when she manages to kill two enemies, she levels up and improves her attack and defense; but if he manages to defeat two others after that, the player automatically wins the game. These simple cases are a small sample of what the 35 champions that we can find in the game for the moment can do.
The importance of this type of cards is twofold because the visual and sound emphasis of the game also falls on them, which already undoubted robustness as a consequence of the excellent artistic work has done to create the images for each card. Riot takes advantage of the fact that he does not have to abide by the shackles of conventional card games to squeeze the possibilities offered by the digital medium. Thus, each level-up of a champion is accompanied by an animated sequence that provokes an injection of emotion in the match, and that is in keeping with the power that this card acquires. But also of very interesting dialogues when certain characters coincide at the table, and all in a perfect Spanish dub. Thus, Legends of Runeterra manages to place itself above the sobriety of Gwent and Magic the Gathering: Arena in this aspect, but one point below Hearthstone,
I”m not going to go into much more detail regarding the operation of the game, because it is not the purpose of the review. But I am going to point out that this variety of champion actions and their visual consequences are supported by adepts and spell cards that consolidate aggressive, control, utility maximization or victory deck styles in a single round, among many others. Legends of Runeterra allows you to build almost all of the known archetypes from other card games in its ecosystem thanks to the surprising incorporation in the final version of most of the most well-known mechanics -or keywords- of the genre. Also noteworthy is Riot”s determination to get a card game whose depth does not weigh down the pace and does not allow endless games. We have all experienced situations in which the opponent deliberately loses time or is unable to pass the turn despite not being able to take any action. The solution to this eternal conflict comes from the hand of different aspects, such as a default configuration that gives the opponent the turn if the player”s hand does not allow any action, preventing absurd deliberations or loss of time that affects the gaming experience. Also contributing to the solution is the figure of the “Eye of the Oracle”, an option placed on the board that calculates the damage points of your move and predicts what will happen next.
The challenge of not exhausting the desire to play
Something that Riot has already been able to demonstrate from the start of the beta to the arrival of the final game is that he knows how to listen to the requests of regular players and professionals of strategy games. It is equally surprising and comforting to discover how Legends of Runeterra has been able to act quickly whenever a card or deck archetype in question unfairly dominated the metagame. Or vice versa, when it was detected that part of the collection was hardly being used by anyone. And all this with weekly actions previously scheduled. In the same sense, adding the Estancadas region in the final version or adding new keywords are examples of the ambition to quickly cut the lead time that other proposals have after years and years on the market.
This difference exists – not surprisingly – despite all this effort. Legends of Runeterra still needs to offer a single-player mode that meets the needs of those users who do not enjoy qualifying games as much, and who currently only have solitary games against artificial intelligence. This would be something that, in addition, would allow to deepen the universe of League of Legends, using for it stories that are born from the conflicts of Runeterra and that have already been explored by the official comics. Because really, the fun based on progress is divided, right now, between unlocking the card collection and raising the ranking in the qualifying games. Regarding the first, which I have already spoken at the beginning of the text, the need to enter every day to complete the missions that allow you to unlock the cards of each region and that, at the same time, add points for the abundant rewards of the weekly chest. The second is obvious, and corresponds to the desire that there is always to improve in the classification and obtain satisfaction with each new rise in rank.
I have consciously left Expeditions out of this section, a game mode that can be seen in other similar proposals and that consists of creating a deck by choosing cards that are offered to you at random to achieve the greatest number of victories possible, being seven in this case. This format and the associated rewards sparked fury in the beta phase for its smooth operation, but I think one of the changes in the final version has caused a loss of relevance in comparison. Expeditions combined the shortage of tokens that allowed their entry, with rewards at the level of the difficulty of achieving victory. The imbalance has been produced by breaking with the shortage of the chips and compensating for this fact with a reduction in the prizes obtained by winning. The challenge should always go according to the prize obtained and, for the moment, it is not being like that.
A long way to go
The release of the final version of Legends of Runeterra has brought with it more things, in addition to new cards, a new region or more aesthetic elements to acquire in the store. The most important novelty has been the launch of the version of the game for iOS and Android, something necessary to be able to take the games anywhere. Legends of Runeterra is a tremendous tablet enjoyment, but depending on the screen size of the mobile in question, the rearrangement of elements is not the most optimal. This causes occasional glitches in card selection or card placement, but it is also true that I have yet to see any similar titles that fully address this lack of space.
The question arises as to how Riot will use his vast eSports experience to take Legends of Runeterra to a higher level. I see it essential that this facet be encouraged through the support of professional players and the promotion of official competitions to grow the community. Twitch can sometimes become a good thermometer with which to measure the popularity of certain proposals, and it is indisputable that in no case has Legends of Runeterra shaken Hearthstone in its domain, despite the fact that the Blizzard game is not going through its best moment. Riot”s challenge is to attract the traditional card player enhancing the virtues that I point out here, but also by seducing its huge LoL community by breaking down the barrier of entry that learning the game represents right now. Only in this way the excellent playable base that is now can continue to grow supported by users.
Because of everything else, the pieces seem to fit in order to compete at the highest level with other card games already established in the market... Over the weeks, Legends of Runeterra has become my recurring game for two reasons: First, Riot offers me the possibility of getting all the cards for free in exchange for a slight regularity of play. Second, I feel that my decisions in each game have more weight than in other similar proposals. Only a depth that multiplies the possibilities of the game, practically free card unlocking and a receptive attitude towards criticism could allow a new proposal to make its way in an environment that seemed to no longer accept more alternatives, and Riot has managed to put all that together in Legends of Runeterra.
Riot has been able to detect what deficiencies the most played card games of the moment have and what Legends of Runeterra had to do to open a gap in the genre. The philosophy of monetizing through aesthetics and offering facilities to get the cards works very much in its favor, but also a deep and balanced game system that allows the most original ideas and the wildest strategies of each user to be unleashed. The lack of clarity in the explanation of some letters and the rough initial learning may be a significant barrier to entry, but if Riot continues to listen to the community and manage to maintain and motivate interest in Legends of Runeterra, the future of the proposal is more than guaranteed.
- The possibility of getting the entire collection of cards without investing a single euro allows the player not to fear being left behind if he does not pay.
- A huge variety of mechanics and skills that favor the creation of decks and strategies of all kinds.
- The ingenuity when using the League of Legends universe, being the champions the maximum representation of the personality of the game.
- Very elaborate animations and interesting dialogues when certain things happen in a game.
- Lack of a single player mode.
- The tutorials are confusing and learning how to play is not as rewarding as it should be.
- The explanatory texts of some letters are misleading.
- Players:1-2 (Competitive: Online)
The requirements of Legends of Runeterra in its PC version have finally been revealed. Here we leave you the minimum requirements of the Riot Games video game to play it on PC:
- Operating system:Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 64-bit
- Processor:3 GHz
- Memory:4 GB of RAM
- Graphics card:GPU with 512 MB + VRAM
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