The Legends of Runeterra team announced earlier this year that their theme for 2023 was community, and, boy, did they deliver!
Recently, as a content creator, I got the chance to ask them a couple of my own questions, and I really took advantage of that form having no text-limit. In this email-interview, I asked the Legends of Runeterra team 9 questions regarding balance, cosmetics, new modes, QoL, and more!
Check out below all the answers!
What was the motivation behind enhancing old skins?
"A few reasons:
- We wanted some champs to get more support that was in line with their popularity in play rates across the game, not just Ranked (e.g., Pyke, Zoe)
- We wanted to continue delivering player value on skins, as there's been some general expressed dissatisfaction with the common rarity tier.
- Our timeline for making skins (and all of our cosmetics generally) is very long, so when opportunities for additional epic skins arise, it's faster to enhance an old skin rather than allocate the resources to a skin that is over a year out from release."
- Eric Shen.
How do you balance out the casual player base with the competitive one?
"It's definitely a balancing act - on the one hand, we want to provide the tools for our competitive audience to really prove themselves in a worthy arena, and we think the smart way to do that is to give those tools to those in the community we can partner with to make memorable, rewarding, and interconnected high-level competition. And on the other hand, we want to continue to support many ways to play LoR, including chill single-player Path of Champions and fun sometimes hilarious formats like Free Build and potential successors to the now-sunset Expeditions. "
- Dave Guskin.
Are there any plans to enhance QoL? Such as game history, search tool in the friends tab, better spec mode, etc
"We have our own internal list of QOL changes we want to make, but our priority right now is to enhance our primary game modes into more robust and sustainable versions before addressing QOL. That being said, we're always collecting feedback and would be thrilled to get requests from the community at large to add to our roadmap. "
- Eric Shen.
Why aren't traditional control (old stall tools in Freljord/SI for instance) tools not favored for LoR's metagame?
"As we introduce new cards and rebalance old ones, different strategies are going to rise and fall. While the metagame is leaning more aggressive right now, control has been strong in the not too distant past, and will probably come back in the future. In terms of direct stall tools, LoR's base systems often favor passivity - spell mana, interleaved turns, and limited board space all mean that forcing your opponent to act first gives you a natural advantage. Because of this, we try to favor proactivity in our card designs, even when making control cards, so that the game as a whole feels more in balance. "
- Jon Moormann
What are the hardest challenges with the game right now?
"The hardest challenge we have with the game right now is making sure we are able to reliably make and release the game and maintain it, as well as prioritize making new bets. We dont want to let our players down, so it is a continual game of hard choices to drive and create the best player experience with the lowest amount of misses. We have spent the past year working to stabilize development at our new team size and get comfortable in the new world, and now we're pushing to try and see what we can do more, to learn and make bets that will resonate with all the players; which is where it really matters."
"It's a continual challenge of spinning plates and shifting priorities as we adjust to make sure we're funding the right things in a way that won't let down the players but also won't burn out the team."
- Scott Hansen.
Are customization/monetization tools something worth being explored? Maybe a rework to prismatics, or more emote slots?
"Oh, yes, we are. A bunch of ideas are on the table, but it's a matter of calibrating the effort against the expected return. Past prismatics are a good example - it was a lot of work across a bunch of different disciplines to deliver prismatics to players, but the reception wasn't what we hoped it would be. So we have to be very careful and deliberate about how we invest into a second iteration of prismatic card styles, and having it do a better job of delivering a great player experience without overloading the team and sacrificing other important parts of the LoR roadmap. "
- Eric Shen.
Do you consider rotation a success? On that same note, is Eternal where you want it to be in terms of attention/care?
"Yes, I believe that rotation thus far has been a success. We are seeing as many folks play Standard as Eternal, and generally it accomplished our goals of creating design space and sustainability for the team moving forward. There's always room for improvement - after all, this is only the first time we are rotating cards in and out - and there's much to learn, especially about the level of support and how ambitious to be with each rotation. "
- Dave Guskin.
Draft mode was supposedly coming late 2023. Are other game modes being explored? Past experiences with those seemed not to gain a lot of traction, but with League's 2v2v2v2 mode, is that something you'd want to explore?
"We are aiming to have something to share on a successor to Expeditions, with potential connections to Draft, by the end of this year, yes, but it takes time to find a new game mode that is both fun and worth investing in (by us and by our community). We do want to continue to explore potential new ways to play, especially ones like how the Path of Champions ended up being, where you can really feel good about your time and dollar investment and return to it again and again."
- Dave Guskin.
In cases when one region dominates the meta for a long period of time, is it considered a problem to be addressed? Considering certain regions are most used as a splash, do they have a different goal in terms of play rate?
"We want to keep all regions (and, ideally, champions) as a viable option. That doesn't mean that everything is played exactly equally all the time, but it does mean that when something lags behind or gets too far ahead, we make balance changes to try and bring it back in line. This also extends to how much a region is played - we'd ideally like them all to feel like they have a reason to potentially be the focus of your deck, so we ideally wouldn't want to leave a region in "splash-only" territory for too long. That's usually an indication that too much of the region's power is sitting in a small number of cards. Things will work better if we spread that around a bit."
- Jon Moormann.
I want to thank everyone in the community and the devs, particularly, for giving me such thoughtful and thorough responses!
See you later!