eSports & Gaming

Is Legends of Runeterra dead? The future of Riot’s digital card game

Launching in 2020 across three platforms including PC and mobile, Legends of Runeterra is Riot Games’ foray into the digital collectible card game space. Thanks to the likes of Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering: Arena, the digital CCG genre was booming, and Riot wanted in.

LoR was one of several projects in the late 2010s that looked to push the League universe into new genres outside of the MOBA we all know and love. After a reveal in 2019 and a four-month open beta, LoR was officially launched in April 2020 with much fanfare.

However, despite an in-depth roadmap for 2023 and the introduction of The Path of Champions—a PvE experience similar in nature to Hearthstone’s Adventures with a narrative story—the future of LoR as we know it is now up in the air.

Is LoR dead?

No, LoR will not be taken offline in the foreseeable future—but fans should expect changes as Riot considers a new approach for the digital CCG.

The team working on LoR was heavily impacted by the mass Riot restructuring in January 2024, with many either shifting to another role in the company or being let go altogether. Outgoing LoR executive producer Dave Guskin provided insight on Jan. 22 shortly after Riot’s layoffs went live.

In short, Guskin said that while the game itself was solid, the business model built around it had not been sustainable for years and that LoR‘s “exploration” for a model that works ultimately impacted Riot’s other titles. LoR made up a seventh of the approximately $100 million in mobile revenue back in 2021 with over 13 million downloads. However, these numbers pale in comparison to Riot’s other mobile games Wild Rift ($64.7 million) and Teamfight Tactics ($27.5 million) which, unlike LoR, have assuredly grown since then.

We don’t have an exact count for the current LoR player base but it appears clear the game’s core audience hasn’t been up to scratch for Riot, who are two years into its five-year plan for LoR and the Runeterra universe as a whole. Despite The Path of Champions’ success, LoR just isn’t giving Riot the numbers it needs.

Where does LoR go from here?

We aren’t entirely sure just yet as to what LoR will look like in the future, but we won’t need to wait too long to find out. In the Jan. 22 blog post, Guskin stated he, alongside new project lead Eric “Shen1138” Shen, Riot president Marc Merrill, and senior vice president Andrei “Meddler” van Roon will reveal more about LoR’s new direction on Feb. 2.

Guskin did note the plan for the team is to rework the title with a heavy focus on the Path of Champions. “The Path of Champions is already a popular and rewarding experience enjoyed by a majority… and we’re excited to explore what else we can delight players with in this space,” Guskin said, but he didn’t give away any exact details.

LoR fans are hoping the CCG’s next shift doesn’t see it join the ranks of other similar titles in the digital card genre that supposedly use an “abusive” monetization model, something the community prides Riot and the LoR team on. Time will tell as to whether this form of LoR survives but one thing’s for sure—it was fun while it lasted.

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