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Legends of Runeterra to challenge Hearthstone by removing random booster packs

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends, is entering the collectible card game space with Legends of Runeterra, which uses characters and lore from the massively popular MOBA.

Legends of Runeterra shares certain similarities with titles such as Blizzard’s Hearthstone and Valve’s Artifact, in that players use mana each turn to summon allies and cast spells. The available mana per turn is limited, but it increases over time. In Riot Games’ CCG, the goal is to reduce the opponents’ 20 health points to zero.

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The biggest difference in the gameplay of Legends of Runeterra is that in each round, players take on the role of either attacker or defender. Each time a player makes an action, the other player is given a chance to respond. In comparison, Hearthstone players are mostly unopposed in whatever they do during their turn, barring the few Secrets that are available for certain classes.

Meanwhile, in combat, attackers choose the allies to send into battle, and defenders chooses the allies to meet each enemy. The outcome of each fight is determined by the bevy of keywords in the game, as well as the abilities that each card carries.

There are many other deep mechanics to the title’s gameplay, including spells with different speeds and Champion cards that are based on League of Legends characters. However, in an interview with Eurogamer, former Magic the Gathering professional player and currently the balancing lead on Legends of Runeterra, Steve Rubin, revealed the mechanic that will make the game stand out the most against Hearthstone and Artifact.

“I think the biggest thing is definitely accessibility,” Rubin said, as Legends of Runeterra eliminates the random booster packs that primarily function as loot boxes in the CCG genre. Instead, the game will feature an Evolve system that gives players a definite set of cards based on how much they play over a week.

Rubin said that Riot Games tried to eliminate booster packs entirely, but testers kept looking to open them, even if they are in digital form. This created the Evolve system, which will allow players to open booster packs but without having to pay for randomness.

Legends of Runeterra, set to launch next year after a series of private betas, is part of Riot Games’ announcements for its 10th anniversary, which also included first-person shooter Project A and League of Legends: Wild Rift, which will bring the MOBA to mobile and consoles.

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