In a recent Ask Riot dev post, Riot Games shared new details about their slew of upcoming games: from the mobile versions of Teamfight Tactics and League of Legends, to the Legends of Runeterra card game, to their yet untitled Project developments.
By far the most interesting answer concerned the future of Legends of Runeterra (LoR). Coming just at the perfect time with Valve’s Artifact being dead, Blizzard’s Hearthstone experiencing a slight decline, and MTG: Arena still relatively new, LoR aims to steal a nice chunk of the card game market by appealing to the huge League of Legends fanbase. Recent posts about how easy it would be to earn cards just by playing the game must’ve won LoR even more apologists as the game approaches its second beta test on November 14.
One audacious ambition the devs had is adding more regions to the game as time goes by and as they introduce the rest of League of Legends’ vast champion line-up. Currently, LoR features six of the main regions — Freljord, Ionia, Noxus, Demacia, Shadow Isles, and Piltover & Zaun — but there are champions in the game that belong to neither. The likes of Ryze, Annie, and Fiddlesticks don’t really fit any particular region, and even Teemo is a champion that feels slightly out of place at Piltover & Zaun.
“When it comes to champions that historically haven’t been connected to a specific region—we don’t use that as a restriction when deciding which champs to include in future releases. In Legends of Runeterra, we need rosters of champions to fit within each region, but some champs are more flexible than others when it comes to where we can potentially assign them,” Riot explain.
“For example, Garen or Jarvan IV are more restricted in that they are both Demacian, “now and forever.” But champions like Teemo, Riven, or Tahm Kench are far more likely to wander throughout different areas of Runeterra.”
Adding new regions would be a rather unorthodox move for a card game, which are often designed from the beginning to have N number of regions/heroes/colors/factions, as they define the overall tone of the cards belonging to them. In Magic, for example, the green color uses big creatures and mana acceleration to win games, while blue relies on trickery, counter-spelling and deck manipulation. Every new green or blue card should “feel” green or blue, respectively.
By introducing new regions, Riot are imposing a serious design challenge upon them, as it changes the game drastically. It’s not uncommon in other games for cards or heroes to change their color, but straight up adding new colors is unheard of. Still, this could make the game feel more dynamic and will certainly offer a unique perspective on the genre.