Riot uncapping wildcards in Legends of Runeterra is perfectly fine and healthy

Riot’s next LoR patch on March 31 should make the game even more free-to-play friendly and potentially help bring back streamers.

Image via Riot Games

Riot Games’ recent economy updates provide a lot of interesting changes in making Legends of Runeterra more free-to-play friendly than it already is. Vault rewards now go on forever and experience gain is no longer diminished after a multitude of wins. This allows players to play a bit more to their own schedule since experience reduction is less penalizing. But being able to play a bit each day still gives you the Extra Daily Experience bonuses.

Weekly Vault rewards have also been improved, granting an Expedition Token sooner, a guaranteed Champion card, and a guaranteed Champion wildcard at a later level. While the exact numbers for how much experience is needed past level 13 for bonus levels have yet to be revealed, or what Expedition rewards will be tuned down to since the entry fee is lowered, both will likely be player-friendly based on LoR’s economic model thus far.

These changes also improve the game for those who spend big money on it because wildcard weekly cooldown limits no longer exist. While this may seem like it might upset the balance of card acquisition between big spenders and free-to-play players, this will ultimately prove to be healthy for the game.

The economy of LoR is already wonderful

LoR is beneficial to those who play the game regularly without the need to spend a lot of money to complete their collection. My collection has reached 98 percent completion now if I were to spend all of my wildcards. If I were to use my Shards after my wildcards, I would reach 100 percent completion. Achieving this feat was possible before nine weeks’ worth of Weekly Chest openings.

This proves that if you put in the initial time investment, LoR is a free-to-play friendly game and the upcoming economy update only helps those already spending less to complete their collection. Opening up LoR to more big spenders and streamers with the new wildcard uncap can only help the game from here. 

One benefit of keeping a cap on wildcards is that the meta had interesting developments in between monthly card changes. While losing this makes a bit of the novelty of “solving” each of LoR’s shifting metas fade away, the game has much more to gain if Riot can solve the overarching problems that it’s facing.

LoR’s Twitch problem

After its initial launch into open beta, LoR hasn’t had as strong of an impact on Twitch as fans had hoped. The game has seen steady declines in viewership since January 2020. 

Multiple streamers of the card game genre have expressed their enjoyment of LoR. But due to being unable to put in as much time compared to those who have LoR as their main game, their collections aren’t as varied, even if they buy wildcards on cooldown from the store. As a result, popular streamers have shown less interest in playing the game since they have fewer opportunities to try different decks and keep the interest of viewers.

What the solutions may entail

Even before these changes, LoR has been a game that’s proven to contend with other titles on Twitch if tournaments happen for it. 

While the largest competitor on the CCG market, Hearthstone, is still leaps and bounds ahead of LoR, the EU Creators Invitational and the Korea Invitational 2020 tournaments brought in viewership for this game that was similar to its initial beta release streams. But increasing concurrent viewership outside of these big events is the key to retaining larger overall numbers for LoR’s audience on Twitch.

If Riot can continue to provide events for big streamers to attend and keep the game enticing for both the free-to-play and big-spending crowd, LoR could have a nice future on Twitch.

The ideas proposed here likely won’t solve every underlying problem that LoR has on Twitch, but Riot has shown that it’s willing to update the game for the sake of the community and its chances on big-streaming platforms alike. Additionally, changes that grant streamers more access to the game may not improve lower viewership numbers immediately since a streamer’s affluence and personal interest in the game are still factors that must be considered.

All of these changes will ship in the next LoR patch on March 31.