Legends of Runeterra could be the next big esport as Riot promises news soon

Riot Games
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With Legends of Runeterra officially released from open beta, when can we expect the competitive eSports scene to kick off?

Legends of Runeterra officially launched last week and while I’ve never been much of a strategy card game player, the simple fact that it’s from Riot Games and set in the League of Legends universe has me intrigued. Legends of Runeterra is Riot’s game on a genre that has been dominated by the likes of Hearthstone, Magic: The Gathering Arena and Gwent. Obviously, these are all very competitive games and with Legends of Runeterra coming from Riot Games, one of the leaders in the competitive esports — with League of Legends and soon VALORANT — it feels like it’s only a matter of time before LoR arrives onto the scene.

Despite being in an open beta phase, you may have noticed Riot hosting limited Legends of Runeterra Invitational tournaments in places like South Korea and Singapore prior to the game’s official launch. These were put on by some of Riot’s local offices in these areas and while it sounds like localized tournaments like these will continue to be held, what about competition on a global scale?

It sounds like Riot definitely has plans to support a global esports scene with Legends of Runeterra — and some announcements could be coming soon — but unfortunately, some of their plans were put on hold temporarily due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Absolutely,” Legends of Runeterra executive producer Jeff Jew told me when I asked if Riot has plans for LoR esports. “One of the things we learned during the open beta was how much players were really excited about competitive play. That came through in our ranked numbers and just the player community asking about esports.”

“Our original goal was to not push esports super hard at the beginning of this game because we didn’t want players to feel like, ‘Oh, i have to be really good at the game right away.’ We just think it’s fun to come in and experiment,” he explained, echoing previous sentiments we heard last year prior to the game’s launch. “As we’ve gone towards launch, we’ve really started to put our sights on building a healthy, kind of, path to pro over long term.”

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Unfortunately, he didn’t have anything to announce specifically; however, you may want to stay tuned. He promised Riot would be talking more about Legends of Runeterra competitive plans shortly after launch, and even revealed that they are testing formats that tournaments would be played in.

“You’re going to start to see some news coming out soon after launch,” he said. “Seeing people be really engaged with ranked and how much of the community content built around our game is competitive deck focused, it really lit that spark. We’re really excited about making competitive a real path.”

Riot’s focus on delivering a quality game first and foremost was certainly the right decision. But now that Legends of Runeterra is officially out, we’re starting to see a natural tendency by the community to flock towards competitive play. It’s nice to see Riot embracing the community’s desire for competition and hopefully we get some formal news soon.