Riot Games wants to succeed where other CCG developers have failed: It wants to balance every play mode in Legends of Runeterra.
CCGs like Artifact, Magic: the Gathering, and Hearthstone have typically focused on either limited or constructed play. But Riot is attempting to change this trend, according to design lead Steve Rubin, through balancing every competitive play format in Legends of Runeterra.
“We’re committed to balancing both constructed and limited (and any future formats) to a high standard,” Rubin said. “Many other CCGs don’t balance limited or alternate game modes to the same degree as constructed, or even particularly consider those formats when nerfing or banning cards. We want any of our competitive formats to be fair and regulated to the same degree.”
Unlike the recent MTG Arena CCG, Riot isn’t designing LoR for esports immediately. It wants the game to evolve organically, just like League of Legends did. This approach frees up the designers to focus on both constructed and limited formats, with a goal of making sure every card in LoR is playable.
“We aim to change cards in ways that don’t over nerf them or leave them obsolete,” Rubin said. “We think one of the worst experiences in card games is when a card gets over-nerfed or banned—which can leave an entire deck no longer functional.”
Bans and nerfs can ruin a player’s experience quickly, as time and money spent crafting a deck become worthless overnight. Rubin says that this won’t happen in LoR. The focus of the design team is to make sure every card and deck remains playable even if a card needs to get nerfed.
But a design team can only do so much, which is why Rubin says that Riot is relying on its player base to help with the balance of every format in LoR. Similar to League, the design team wants player input.
“We’re going to listen closely players to help us learn what the right level and frequency of change is,” Rubin said.
Players can get involved in helping design a balanced CCG when Legends of Runeterra enters its next beta stage in 2020.