With the launch of Legends of Runeterra and the addition of emotes, can we expect more cosmetics to become available through a Season Pass?
As a free to play game, Legends of Runeterra — Riot Games’ brand new strategy card game — relies on microtransactions. But unlike other games of this nature, it’s hardly a pay to win formula.
Yes, you can purchase card packs and bundles via the in-game store but Legends of Runeterra has been designed in a way that’s pretty generous when it comes to rewarding cards. In fact, many of the players who participated in the beta prior to launch almost had complete collections by the time LoR officially released. Speaking to executive producer Jeff Jew, that was the team’s goal.
"“Since day one, our goal has been to offer players rewarding deck building and really generous progression. For us, being able to mix and match a lot of different cards and experiment with things, is really the fun of the game. Making sure you’re always feeling rewarded whenever you play the game, like you’re going to be constantly progressing and adding cards to your progression."
On the subject of rewarding players for their time playing the game, I immediately though of Teamfight Tactics, another Riot Games title. For those unfamiliar Teamfight Tactics is an auto-battler but, like Legends of Runeterra, it’s fairly new relatively speaking. One of the things Teamfight Tactics added in beta was a season pass. This season pass was later dubbed Galaxies Pass+ with the launch of Set 3, TFT: Galaxies, and the exit from beta.
Point being, TFT‘s season pass is a system that rewards players for playing the game. There are various tiers of cosmetics that you can unlock by earning experience simply by playing the game (or completing weekly missions). Riot Games is hardly the first developer to implement a season pass into its games, as it’s a very popular system right now in gaming. The idea is that the year is broken into “seasons” or “sets” or whatever you want to call them, each with a unique set of exclusive rewards you can unlock. These rewards are purely cosmetic and usually have no impact on the gameplay itself.
While speaking to Jew, I asked if a season pass was something Riot was considering for Legends of Runeterra. Here’s what he said:
"“It’s not in there yet. It’s something we’re considering. Right now, I think that you can earn cards on something that looks a lot like a season pass. You select a region at any given time and while you’re on that region, you start to earn cards specifically for that region, which really helps you target your collection. I think one day, we’ll definitely want to add a more comprehensive system that includes cosmetic items and things like that. Today, we don’t have it but it’s definitely one of the things we’re looking into.“It really makes sense. We feel the same way in that we want you to be rewarded for your time and you always want to feel like the time you’re putting into playing this game is getting you something that you want, and I think that with the success of the cosmetic items that we’re seeing, players are definitely going to want to earn those as well, so it’s something that we’ll keep in mind as we move forward.“Additionally, with the emotes that are coming out for launch, we’re working on a few other ways that you can really personalize your collection and so I think once we round those out, players will have a ton of different stuff they’ll want to collect and that might be the right time to introduce something like a pass.”"
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Currently, Legends of Runeterra‘s in-game store allows you to purchase things like board designs, card backs, emotes, and guardians (adorable cosmetic units that appear on the board during each match and react to the events that unfold). You can purchase these cosmetics (and card packs) with coins that you can buy with real life cash.
A season pass would essentially work similarly but rather than purchase individual cosmetic items, you’d pay a set amount of coins for access to a track of rewards. You would unlock these rewards throughout the season by playing the game and earning experience. Typically, these rewards would be exclusive to the specific season pass and refresh every couple of months.
Honestly, either system works, but I do feel like a season pass feels more rewarding, if only for the fact that it feels like you’re working towards something meaningful — especially if you’re not a competitive ranked player. If Riot were to tie missions/objectives to the XP, it could also serve as a streamlined tutorial to help teach players mechanics and strategies. Do you want to see Legends of Runeterra implement a season pass?