Legends of Runeterra mostly spent the holiday season underground – a period of quiet after two busy Preview Patches that gave players a taste of what Riot’s been cooking for their debut into the digital card games space.
But “underground” doesn’t mean “dormant.” Rather, with a surprise announcement that the Closed Beta will instead be an Open Beta on January 24th, it will soon be time for the greater playerbase at large to start slinging cards as well.
Here’s everything we know about the upcoming launch!
Though originally intended to launch as a closed beta, with a limited pool of selected players, Riot Games announced instead that everybody will get a chance to try out their newest full-fledged game.
There will be two windows to do so: universal access on January 24th, and a one-day beat-the-rush window for players that already pre-registered or were part of the Preview Patch groups on January 23rd.
The full post-beta release is expected some time “in the first half of 2020,” but the specifics aren’t yet known past that.
Most importantly: there will be no more progression resets from the beta onward! Cards you earn during the beta are cards you keep!
Each of the prior Preview Patches showed off a different aspect of the game – in the original, the overall progression system and basic gameplay; in the second, the Expeditions draft system and how draft rewards will work. For the Open Beta, Ranked Play will be available for the first time.
For the most part, this will be near-identical in terminology and form to the one you’re used to from League of Legends. Players will advance through Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and finally Master and Challenger throughout a competitive season.
However, unlike the League of Legends standard, it is impossible to drop down a tier once you’ve attained it. This is in part to allow players to experiment with deck archetypes and new cards or updates without sacrificing what they’ve legitimately earned throughout a season. Notably, however, we don’t yet have any information for how long a Legends of Runeterra ranked season will last.
Outside of Ranked play, the Open Beta also opens up social functions to allow friends to directly test decks against each other.
The Open Beta patch also includes balance changes to address issues that cropped up during the preview patch. Though no official patch notes are yet available, the Legends of Runeterra subreddit has documented all the changes they’ve caught so far:
Note that this most heavily affects Freljord and Piltover/Zaun decks, and plan your new decks appropriately!
There will, of course, be a ton of new cosmetic options – especially as Riot’s declared their intentions to monetize LoR primarily through such means, rather than through randomized card packs like with Hearthstone and other competitors. Buying cards directly may or may not still be an option, but more emphasis was put on Guardians on the board to react to in-game moments, and custom board options to give your side of the field a bit more personal flair.
Finally: yes, plans are to make Legends of Runeterra a mobile game too, much like with Hearthstone. But the Open Beta is PC only, and there aren’t any confirmations yet as to when mobile players can expect their turn.
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Written ByJames Chen@Obscurica